With today (December 10) being "Nelson Mandela Day", so to speak, I am reflecting on my family progression in racial tolerance. Much has changed in past 100 years.
My grandfather Smith, while raised in Northern Indiana (b 1890), was quite the bigot. I well remember his language regarding blacks--and he didn't call them "blacks". It was all he could do to tolerate a black person playing major league baseball.
And while the apple falls not far from the tree, his son, my father (b…Continue
I just have to vent. Tornadoes ravaged my part of the country a few days ago. Television interviews of victims replayed all the standard cliches thanking god for being spared, etc. I want to scream. Is there some sort of separation or distinction between their god and mother nature? I mean, is it mother nature that is responsible for the tornado and its destruction, and god responsible for saving them? And who or what caused some people to die? I just don't understand the rationalization…Continue
Imagine my surprise when I saw the title THE BONOBO AND THE ATHEIST, In Search of Humanism Among the Primates in my small conservative town's public library! It's a brand new book by Frans de Waal, a Dutch/American biologist teaching at Emory U. in Atlanta, GA.
The book can best be summed up in the cover's introduction: "In this lively and illuminating discussion of his landmark research, esteemed primatologist Frans de Waal argues that…Continue
Having just returned from a two week Sierra Club trip to Greece, I feel obligated to share my experience. I'll attempt to be brief. To paraphrase Mark Twain in his autobiography, there's no possible way to go into detail. And the experience is in the details.
For me, seeing and being in Greece was a once in a lifetime highlight. I mean the history, geography, culture. I was transported back in time over and over again. I've seen photos of the Parthenon dozens of times, but to be…Continue
Doctor visited, blood tests good, plane reservations completed. I'm all set to go.
Yep, I'm going to Greece come Sunday (9-22) for two weeks. Way last January I signed up for a Sierra Club trip entitled "Hiking the Greek Islands". I've always wanted to go to Greece--home of democracy, philosophy, science, literature, etc. So I plucked down my $3000 and will join 15 unknown others to fulfill my dream (I won't use the term "bucket list").
It's more than just touring the Parthenon…Continue
All this time, I've been blaming my high blood pressure on my genes. I mean, my BMI is 19.1. I exercise like mad. I try to eat right. I have very little stress in my life (except when I have a 3 foot putt). I'm a model of good health. Or so I thought.
Then I read this book Blood Pressure Down. It's about how to drop ones blood pressure without medication. I take lisinopryl (for 3 years). I evidently need it. When I went on vacation last…Continue
About five or six years ago, I read Alan Weisman's The World Without Us. Its content has stuck with me many times over.
In the book, Chernobyl is referred to as one of those "worlds". And a PBS show featured that area as a good example of how nature reestablishes itself.
Living in a rural area (north central Indiana), I'm very cognizant of the war between man and nature. Farmers subdue all nature's attempts. Weeds, grasses,…Continue
I just finished reading The Future by Al Gore. You all know him, right?
The book is about, well, the future. Good book, but somewhat tedious. In summary, according to Gore, the world is in a pickle--in every way, shape, or form. We must act, or else. All in all, pretty depressing. But I'm not here to review the book or his premise.
It occurred to me that he never brought up the subject of religion, acknowledging its role in…Continue
When I first heard about a bus crash in Indianapolis killing 3 people, I cringed, as I do with most tragedies. How awful, I think.
But when I discovered this bus carried Baptists returning from a church camp, I said out loud, "Ha!". It was a spontaneous outburst. Why? I'm sure you know. Their all-loving, caring, saving (etc.) god failed them.
I know it's wrong, but I get some sort of perverse joy out of lightning burning down a church. I can just imagine the congregation asking…Continue
Now I remember why I don't watch (or follow) major league baseball anymore. In a word--BOOORING.
With nothing else on TV, I decided I'd try to watch the All Star game last night (with a book in hand). First, the introduction of players took forever--and their on-camera antics were embarassing.
Am I being anti-American if I mute the singing of the National Anthem? As usual, the person singing (I have no idea who it was) gave an awful rendition. When Jose Feliciano gave a…Continue
In my last post, I pondered why I was never invited over (or out) for dinner by friends and neighbors I've known for years. Well, guess what? I was!
I recently half seriously teased my golfing buddy about his frequent statements, "We should have you over for dinner", without following through. Last night I went to his 150 year old home. He is currently restoring it, continuing a mammoth task that began 18 years ago. It's one of those old brick "mansions" one sees in little…Continue
After reading a book, Dinner with the Smileys, I reflected on my own experiences. In the book, a father of three boys is deployed overseas. The mother of the boys decides to invite a person for dinner once a week for a year to take dad's place at the supper table. Interesting concept and a great idea.
What does that have to do with me? Nothing really, except that I have never been invited "over for dinner" in the 18 years I've been a…Continue
Among so many other things, there's one thing I'm not very good at: writing. But I read a lot and appreciate good writing. (It's the same with art and music.)
I enjoy reading about famous and less-than-famous people, mostly from the the past: for example, Houdini, Zambrini, Ripley (Believe it or Not), and recently, Ernie Pyle.
Pyle was a native Hoosier (Dana, IN), about 60 miles from where I live. He became famous as a war correspondant (WW II), eventually getting killed by a…Continue
I don't know about the rest of you, but I get disgusted at the piousness of others.
When my golfing foursome ate lunch last week, one of the guys bowed in silent prayer before eating. It was awkward to have to watch him and be silent. I don't know what he said (some words of thanks, I suppose), but I admittedly smirked (to myself).
And how many times have we all heard, "Thank you Lord, for this lovely day" (or whatever)? That really makes me want to gag. I wonder why we never…Continue
I need not say how much telephones have changed in my lifetime. I still remember the crank phone of my grandmother's. 32 years ago, I was on a party line. Now we have cell phones with all the doo-dads imaginable.
Confession time: Ignorant am I. However ignorance is bliss. Nope, I don't use or even own a cell phone. One might as well put a shell to my ear. It's partly because I'm intimidated, but mostly because I've convinced myself I don't need or ever want one. I have my reasons, but…Continue
Actually, the rednecks are here and everywhere. Let me say, I'm not a big fan of these people. That's putting it mildly. Need I describe them? You know who I mean.
This seems to be the time of year when they come out of the woodwork. Here in Indiana, as the weather gets nice, the motorcyclists are out in full force. I hate the noise cycles make. Then there's the Indianapolis 500 fans, the majority of which are rednecks. Interview them or a typical Pacer fan (big news as they face the…Continue
I'm done. I quit. I give up. Besides, it's too late. It's hopeless, despite the "springs eternal" cliche.
After 13 years of being a bachelor, living the solitary life and all, I thought I'd try a couple of dating services. They all sound so promising. They lure you in with the "it's free to join" hook. But if, just if, someone bites (or you bite), they make you pay.
After you pay and contact someone, it never pans out. In my experience, the women write promising--almost…Continue
The other evening, I was reflecting on my ancestors, realizing how little I know about them. What really irritates me is that I never thought to ask my grandparents questions about their parents and grandparents.
My maternal grandmother lost her husband when my mother was only 7 years old. I'm not sure why he died--perhaps leukemia. But I never once asked her about my grandfather. And my mother remembered very little.
On my father's side, neither grandparents talked about their…Continue
Have I miscounted? Has it actually been 43 years since the first Earth Day, April 22, 1970?
I was teaching earth science in Pomona California. I remember organizing a "clean up" day, kids picking up litter and trash in their neighborhoods. They solicited money from residents (probably mostly parents) which, if remember right, came to around $350. We sent it to an animal "shelter" (zoo) in Edmonton Canada. We had seen a National Geographic film on the Craig brother's efforts to save…Continue
I got about 5 inches of rain this past 3 days. Farm fields have ponded. I've even had ducks in my yard. Much of the rain water fed into my basement (old farm house), so the sump pump ran and ran and ran.
Too wet to mow, garden, even play golf. On top of that, my clothes dryer belt snapped. Too cold and wet to hang clothes outside. But, it could be worse.
My farm kids, for example, can't work the ground. It's their livelyhood. Greenhouse plantings are germinating. And they're…Continue
Added by Randall Smith on April 20, 2013 at 7:57am — No Comments