Friday, January 23, 2009

Restored....Sort of

I couldn't save the photographs or the comments...but I did manage to save the substance of my posts from last year....restored to pre-hate mail status. I am sure that there are people that are not going to agree with the things I said...I suspect it might even irritate a few people, but that is not my problem. I have an opinion and I am entitled to it. I pose no threat to national security...I don't advocate anything illegal...I just share my opinions. If you don't like them...don't read them. For the folks that do read regularly, I'd like to say that I appreciate you taking the time to listen to my musings.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Originally Posted 10/3/2008

Tuesday's Trash
from The Daily Scream by Dan
When I went to bed last night, I was sure that I lived in the United States. But when I woke up this morning, it would appear that I have somehow moved to Israel. Why else would the Congress of this country be taking the day off in the middle of a national crisis to celebrate Jewish New Year? Yes...the Constitution of the United States guarantees freedom of religion...but nowhere does it say that our Congress is granted the right to celebrate non-traditional holidays. What are these fools thinking? It is understandable for the members of the Jewish faith to celebrate the day, but it sets a very poor precedent when the other members decide to blow the day off as well. What's next? A recess for Canadian Thanksgiving? Bastille Day?

Many Americans are wondering if we are teetering on the brink of the next Great Depression. Our elected officials would rather spend the day playing grab ass at the beach, instead of worrying about the concerns of the American public. How many of these clowns are up for re-election and just how many of them are going to get voted back in? Perhaps it is time for Joe Average to get off his ass and scream a bit...particularly at the voting booth. Time for a change. Time to take back the government that supposedly is by the people, for the people.

Originally Posted 10/3/2008

Wednesday Wonderings
from The Daily Scream by Dan
Ever wonder how in the hell Hillary Clinton became NY State's Senator? Seems that Senate seats are simply bought and sold. You don't have to be a resident of a state to be the Senator. How absurd is that? Why on earth was an arrogant house frau from Arkansas elected to represent people she has no knowledge of? The sale of Senate seats in NY is not a new concept, Bobby Kennedy bought one back in the 60s.

Hillary isn't the only example....Elizabeth Dole is only marginally better. Yes, she did live in NC eons ago...but left and hasn't been a resident or even much of a visitor for over 40 years. It certainly seems odd that we elect people to represent us that are totally out of touch with the needs and wants of the very people they were sent to represent.

On a slightly different subject, why don't we have term limits on ALL of our elected representatives? We decided we didn't want a president for life....the same should apply to members of the Senate and the House of Representatives....and it should trickle all the way down to the local level. Two terms in any elected post is ample....and we certainly aren't lacking for replacements. Share the wealth...let everyone have a chance to screw things up.

Interestingly enough, I had written the bit about term limits before the nonsense in NYC with King Bloomberg and his sudden desire to ditch the term limits he once supported. Makes you wonder why one person so thinks they are so valuable to the planet that things will just cease to function without their tutelage.

Originally Posted 10/3/2008

Thursday Thrashings
from The Daily Scream by Dan
Am I the only person that is totally annoyed by negative campaign ads? I swear, they just make me want to smack the boob that dreamed them up.

Almost as annoying as the negative ads is the latest trend of having people in commercials talk like they had just been harpooned. That pained, gasping speak is right up there with dragging fingernails across a blackboard!

In 1979, I owned a Ford f-150 pickup that routinely got 28-30mph....2 wheel drive with a 302 V-8 and overdrive. My last pickup was a 2003 Ford Ranger....on a good day it got 17 mpg....from a rompin', stompin' little 4-cylinder. And American auto manufacturers wonder why their business sucks.

How about that gas crisis in the Southeast US? The lies are simply amazing. I sure hope we never have a true national one could respond because the gas all evaporates when there is even a threat. I suppose it could have something to do with the southerners tendencies to hoard things. Anyone ever seen what happens if the weatherman mentions snow? You won't find a loaf of bread, a gallon of milk or a roll of toilet paper. Makes you wonder what these people do when the storm comes...then again...maybe we don't want to know.

Originally Posted 10/3/2008

Friday Fumigation
from The Daily Scream by Dan
Much ado is being made about Governor Palin's lack of experience. Has anyone bothered to make note that Senator Obama is equally inexperienced. The big difference? One is a Presidential candidate and one is a VP candidate. I think I am a whole lot more concerned about a greenhorn with his finger on the trigger, than I am about one with a supporting role. The VP can gain a whole lot of experience in office without directly harming the nation....the same can't be said for the President.

The elections are still over a month away and the negative ads are coming to a fever pitch. Sure am glad the TV remote features a mute button. I want a TV that automatically cuts the sound off when commercials come on.

Anyone following the Wachovia/Citi/Wells Fargo saga? I think it is wonderful that there is some competition for my bank. I also find it pretty funny that Citi is screaming that since they made the first offer, it has to be honored. Wachovia has a responsibility to their customers to make the best deal possible. Certainly an offer for seven times what Citi was offering merits serious consideration.

Originally Posted 10/3/2008

It Must Be Fall
from The Daily Scream by Dan

I am not sure what the fascination is with this image, but it consistently gets 50-70 hits a day on my photo gallery. If you are looking for autumn images, be sure to check out the full gallery.

Originally Posted 10/4/2008

Hey...It's the Weekend
from The Daily Scream by Dan
And I wasted today. Just couldn't seem to come up with a good game plan for shooting today. Maybe tomorrow will find renewed motivation.

Dang goat has it made...just eat, sleep and be wonder he has that laid back look. Goat's eyes are kind of creepy though...I think I will keep my own.

Just signed on for another term on the judging panel for the POTN Photographer of the Year Competition. The only downside to being a judge is not being able to compete for the title. Then again, maybe that isn't such a downer after all. :) Between Photographer of the Year and version 3 of the book...there probably won't be a lot of free time for a while.

Originally Posted 10/5/2008

Sunday Summary
from The Daily Scream by Dan
Today marked a campaign visit at Asheville High for Barack Obama. Crowds were insane...much as I would like to have gone, staying clear seemed the prudent thing to do. Local TV provided good coverage both live and online....and the other media outlets have plenty of spin to share.

Speaking of marking also made one week on the new fitness kick. Walking a mile or so every day seems to help with the breathing. One loop around my neighborhood is a mile....and it includes about a 200 foot change in elevation. Climbing the main hill is quite the attention getter...but I am sure it is good for everyone that walks it.

I love sports days like this...They usually never happen...The Giants, Colts, Phillies and Smoke all were big winners today!!! A repeat performance next weekend would be sweet! Especially if the Sabres can get their season off to a good start as well.

I didn't take my camera with me on the walk....stupid me...missed a great sunset shot, with a cow silhouetted on the of a shot...missed. Oh well, I can expect this to be a perfect day. ;) I'm sure the shot would have rivaled the one I posted.

Originally Posted 10/6/2008

Monday Musings
from The Daily Scream by Dan
The stock market took a nose dive today...based on news from overseas. Sometimes having readily accessible media isn't such a good thing. I the past, there wasn't instant worldwide coverage of news and the markets were nowhere near as volatile. By the time the American market reacted to trouble in Europe or Asia, those markets had already recovered and vice versa.

I suspect the media is also partly to blame for the increase to school violence. When it took 3 days for the people in NY to hear about an event in lost some of the glamor and punch. Also, by the time the story reached the more remote outlets it had been tempered considerably...and all the glitz and gleam were washed away. Instead people just saw the tragedy for what it was...a horrible moment in time, not the glorification of some loser seeking to make a name for himself the easy way.
How about some fall flahrs to brighten up a gloomy news day? Flahrs? What the heck are flahrs? I have to give credit to that to a drunken resident of a community treatment home just up the street from my old home in West Asheville. He stopped by the house one day...wanting to collect money for "flahrs" for old lady Battleaxe to commemorate her passing. Only trouble is....she isn't dead. I suppose it seemed logical to a drunk.

BTW...the Red Sox moved on in the play-offs. Dare I hope for a Boston-Philly Series?

Originally Posted 10/7/2008

Tuesday Tatters
from The Daily Scream by Dan
Since I am primarily a photographer and not a writer, perhaps I should actually focus on some photography instead of trying to save the world from the evil politicos! I actually spent time today doing basic camera maintenance. Sensor cleaning is not my favorite chore, but it isn't the nightmare some would have you believe. I prefer the Giottos Rocket Blower and LensPen SensorKlear route. A few puffs with the blower generally takes care of 90% of all cleaning chores. Today required a move to the next level....a few stubborn particles remained after blowing the large chunks away. A couple of gentle swipes with the SensorKlear and we are good to go again.

After completing the cleaning chores, I grabbed one of the cameras and a macro lens for a few trial shots. This was one of the results.

Originally Posted 10/8/2008

Wednesday Words
from The Daily Scream by Dan
Today was the monthly meeting of our local camera club. I see a meltdown on the horizon. For several years, there has been a bit of a secret society running the show. Suddenly they have all aged and are ready to take a less vital role in running the organization. Unfortunately, they chose to not include any younger members in the day to day operations. Now they are faced with the prospect of having people step down and no one with any experience or connections to take over. There are no officers, no elections and no real leadership....just a "steering committee" to try and run things. The next few months could be very interesting.

I did have the opportunity to play with the new Canon G-10...not a bad little camera. I wish it had a slightly wider zoom range...but it still is a nice option to use when a real camera is just too big. Also found some little visitors while out walking.

Originally Posted 10/9/2008

Late Thursday
from The Daily Scream by Dan
Fitness program is starting to pay off...made 2 full loops of the "block" cramps and no being is a start, but there is still a long way to go.

There was a pretty sunset this evening, but nothing that jumped out as photographic. I probably should have taken a few shots, but it just seemed better to watch and enjoy. Besides, I was semi-busy making dinner anyway. Did chicken halves in the oven....with lemonade, olive oil, onions and garlic pepper. Very tasty.

Spent the evening watching the National League play-offs. Phillies beat the Dodgers 3-2...Go Phils!!!

Dharma and Woolburr had fun playing in the yard...they look like they are trying to kill each other...but we know better.

Finally, we have some local political news that just merits noting. One of the local tourism directors was busted for drug possession for the second time in less than a year. This time it led to her resignation....gee, what a was starting to give new meaning to tripping to Haywood County.

Originally Posted 10/12/2008

Saturday Stuff
from The Daily Scream by Dan
Today was a beautiful day for shooting....warm, crisp blue skies and the hint of autumn colors beginning to show. Did a loop of northern Buncombe and Madison Counties. Banged out a couple hundred just need to process them all. See more here.
Add starShareShare with noteEmail

Originally Posted 10/16/2008

Politics as Usual...and an Anniversary too.
from The Daily Scream by Dan
Another day...another lie...can't we hurry this election along? The negative ads are a sure way to get me to vote for your opponent. If you both start slinging mud...then perhaps it is time to write in someone that just wants to do the job. The latest lie pertains to the southeast gas crisis. There are still only about half the gas stations that actually have gas...I seriously have to wonder what they have stockpiled in all those tank farms scattered around the region. You are going to play hell convincing me that those are all bone dry.

Spent Monday night celebrating the anniversary with my lovely wife. Whipped up a special dinner...Steaks (bacon-wrapped Fillet Mignon for her, a slab of prime rib for me), baked potatoes with sour cream, fresh sauteed mushrooms with onion and garlic and of course, the requisite shrimp cocktail. Hard to believe it has been a year both married and in the new house. Jan surprised me with a fabric art project she has been slaving over....a portrait of me. I have to is pretty impressive. Time to celebrate...the Phillies are headed to the Series!!! Now all we need is for the Red Sox to bounce back and win the American League play-offs.

Originally Posted 10/18/2008

Friday...not Thursday.
from The Daily Scream by Dan
Once again the stock market stumbled and fumbled. People are refusing to heed the advice of the experts and are continuing to panic sell...the market should bottom out sooner or later...then it is time to snap up some bargains. Hell, today might have been a good day to snag a few, but I didn't have any spare millions laying around.

Discovered an old bank note floating around on eBay....signed by one of my customers back in the days of a childhood paper route...he was the president of the bank. It was a totally radical find....and again...if I had some serious extra cash laying would be in my collection.

Originally Posted 10/21/2008

Shooting, Shooting, Shooting
from The Daily Scream by Dan
Autumn is in full swing and it is time to snag some images. I hope to complete a swing of the NC sections of the Blue Ridge Parkway over the next couple of days. I think I'll head to Cherokee tomorrow and shoot from the southern end of the Parkway back to Asheville...then drive over to Fancy Gap, VA the following day and take the Parkway back to Mt. still remains closed between there and Craggy Gardens.

Did a partial of both trips on Saturday and today. Definitely want to do the whole route to get some better images for my I love fall colors. This shot is from the Devil's Courthouse...there are only a few days each year where the sun hits the rock just right at sunset to turn it red...I just happened to catch one.

Saturday was spent near Mt. Mitchell....and again....just happened to capture a rather unique phenomena...Stratus Topclouds

Originally Posted 10/21/2008

Enough Already!
from The Daily Scream by Dan
What the hell is with all these commercials? It seems like the major trend in advertising, be it political or consumer, is to use spokespeople that sound like they just lost their best friends. Lifeless monotonous voices delivering messages of gloom and doom....even when talking about happy stuff....there is even a depressing sounding Disney much for the happiest place on earth!

Can't wait until the election is over so the lying and name calling can stop for a week or two. There are days it is hard to believe anyone could vote for any of these clowns. Sure would be nice if we took back our government...tossed all the career politicians out on their collective asses and re-established the government of the people, for the people, by the people. Then again....we might implode if Washington took on any semblance of reality.

Weather has screwed up the photography plans. Currently have hopes that tomorrow will be a better looks like it might be...if so...then I will head to VA to head back down the Parkway. Come on sunshine! Don't want to lose all the color. The weekend forecast is looking nightmarish. We need rain...but it never rains in October!

Originally Posted 10/27/2008

Just When I Thought it Was Over
from The Daily Scream by Dan

OK....This crap has got to stop. We have a national do not call list and that should be exactly what it is. No political calls, no sales calls, and no calls from so-called charities. You select who you want to talk to...and who you don't. Lots of people pay for their incoming cell calls....why should I be charged for a call from someone I don't care to talk to or listen to?

The politicians don't dare put any teeth in the law, nor do they dare take away their ability to harass us. I've already told both Obama and McCain that I have heard enough from the local scum are starting to call. Bad enough we have to listen to their stupid negative commercials on TV and radio....

On a happier note, the Phillies now have a 3-1 lead in the World Series. Go Phils!!!

Originally Posted 10/27/2008

Extremism: the Death of Freedom?
from The Daily Scream by Dan

One word...Why? Why is it that we have lost all sense of reason? Life isn't black and white...and there is no reason that politics should or even need to be. You can't hunt pheasants with an AK-47. You can't expect a 14 year old rape victim to bear her father's child. You can't believe that throwing money at foreign nations is going to make them adore us.

Perhaps you are asking why I called this condition the death of freedom...well, the answer is very simple. When you have no choice in an election...when there is no candidate that serves to protect your have no freedom. You have become a slave to the machine. It is scary to think that fruitcakes like Nancy Pelosi are actually serving in positions of power in the US. George Bush is proof positive that a complete moron can be elected President of the most powerful nation on earth today. Again, you ask why....

The answer is still pretty simple, as big of an ass as George Bush is, he isn't quite as stupid as Al (I invented the internet) Gore or John (if it weren't for the ketchup, I wouldn't be running) Kerry. Look at the choices for the top office this fool would like you to believe that you will like his tax cut that gives you back $800 a year...only catch being that it is funded by $2000 a year in new taxes. He is the same guy that thinks we can just put the whole country on the Federal payroll, that should solve all the problems. Lenin and Marx? Nah...Obama and Biden. Then we have the nut job opponent that thinks medical research should be banned, you need that AK-47 and it is perfectly ok to impregnate your own children.

How in the hell can you vote for any of these clowns? Time to wake up people...we need some rules and we need some qualified candidates. Election day draws near and even if you aren't satisfied with your take the time to vote for the best option...whatever you may feel that is. Don't give up your vote just because you are frustrated.

Originally Posted 10/28/2008

Yesterday, Today and Maybe Tomorrow
from The Daily Scream by Dan
I got an email today asking if I was really one of those crazies that thinks that guns should be banned...Let me set the record straight right now...I believe in gun ownership, I own guns and I love to shoot. That said, yesterday was really about extremism, not about guns. You don't need an AK-47 or an AR-15 to hunt pheasants, I have a lovely 16 gauge Spanish double-barrel that is my favorite bird gun...for pheasants, grouse or quail. The Republican party has taken up the NRA line that if you restrict any gun, you restrict all guns. Bull...pure and simple...bull. Show me a legitimate reason for a homeowner to have an Uzi...or teflon coated bullets. Should a regulated, licensed, insured gun club with a legitimate armory have access to such weaponry? Why not? If they have a place to shoot it safely, if they have a place to secure it at the end of the day so that some nut job can't just walk off with it...perhaps that is an idea to consider.

The Republicans don't have a lock on being nut jobs. I really wonder why it is that the Democrats are so afraid of instituting a national ID program of any sort. You know, if there was a face attached to your fingerprints, attached to your Social Security number, attached to your driver's license, attached to your checking account and any other business you have....there would be far less chance of identity theft. It would be far easier to conduct a census, it would certainly make it clear who was and wasn't in this country legally. Why is it so important to allow people to conceal their identities? If you had to identify yourself, voter fraud would be out the window! Is the Chicago political machine that strong? Certainly it is no secret that they have made sport of having folks that have been dead for decades vote on a regular basis.

Today marked a departure from the norm for the media. I actually heard a couple of apologies for the way they have given Obama the kid glove treatment while ripping Hillary Clinton and later both John McCain and Sarah Palin. I guess they finally realized the Sarah clothing issue was absurd. Now about that experience issue...just exactly what leadership experience does Obama have? None? Imagine that...better vote for him. (for the web savvy...this is where I would normally insert that rolling eyes smiley!)

We have a rather heated battle for the Senate here in NC...on one hand we have Liddy Dole...who has managed to do a grand total of nothing during her tenure in the Senate. Ranked 93rd in overall effectiveness....there is something to brag about. The sad part is that Kay Hagan doesn't exactly have a real shining record either. Should be interesting to see how it all plays out. Should the Republicans lose this could mark a major shift of power in the Senate...virtually assuring the Dems have the ability to override any Presidential veto.

Tomorrow should bring an improvement in the weather...the World Series can resume...and maybe I can go snap a fresh photo or two.

Originally Posted 10/29/2008

PHILLIES 2008 World Series Champions!!!
from The Daily Scream by Dan
The title says it all!!! Go Phils!

Originally Posted 10/30/2008

Politics as Usual
from The Daily Scream by Dan

At some point, you have to draw a line when it comes to how nasty you can get in a campaign ad. Senator Elizabeth Dole crossed that line yesterday. Even after a judge ordered the ad removed from TV, Senator Dole said that she would not remove it. Stretching the truth is one thing, but making up a total lie is another. The voice at the end is purportedly Kay reality, it is an actor. North Carolina doesn't need someone as immoral and unscrupulous as Dole representing them. Anyone that thinks that ad is appropriate is borderline insane and anyone that would run that ad is a complete and utter waste of skin.

Originally Posted 10/31/2008

The End is in Sight
from The Daily Scream by Dan
Am I the only person that is flat out sick and tired of elections? I don't even care if I vote at this point...I just want it to be over and done. The constant stream of negative ads have simply worn me out. It all boils down to who is the best liar. Pretty sad commentary on our society.

Once this gets over I'll have to find a new range of topics...I might even have to talk about photography! The horrors.

By the way...I have every intention of voting, even if the politicians don't deserve it. The vote is still one of our fundamental rights and it needs to be exercised. There is nothing wrong with writing in a good candidate if there aren't any on the ballot. Perhaps a little recognition will draw them out for the next election.

Originally Posted 11/4/2008

Hooray! It is Finally Over!
from The Daily Scream by Dan nice to actually watch a few minutes of TV without annoying election ads. I bet Liddy Dole is regretting her decision to use the most repulsive attack ad ever crafted. No doubt it single-handedly derailed any hope she had of returning to Washington for a second term. Maybe we really will see some change in the politics as usual club...wouldn't that be a treat?

Went to vote this afternoon and was surprised by the very light turn-out. I guess everyone really did get into the whole early voting routine. Now we just need to develop a way to vote that isn't tantamount to a second grade popularity contest organized by the class clown. Paper ballots and coloring in little ovals in 2008 is beyond absurd. Give me one legitimate reason we stopped using the good old voting booth.

As I was traveling home from voting...I came across this fellow. Guess it was an omen. ;)

Originally Posted 11/7/2008

Friday Fun
from The Daily Scream by Dan
It's Friday and another week draws to a close. We elected a new president and a few new faces in the Congress. Some people feel that a huge mistake has been made and some folks think we have taken the biggest step in American history. Only time can tell. Presidential success and failure is seldom measured well until the term over and there is a new face in the Oval Office. I don't think it is going to take that to measure the failure of the Bush Administration. Pretty obvious to even a casual observer that they have totally mucked up everything they have touched.

Today is Billy Graham's 90th birthday. Shame that none of the other noted evangelists were able to follow in his footsteps and maintain a life of devotion and service that didn't include seeing how rich one could become. His own son Franklin certainly doesn't measure up...seems to be a major sleazeball with the sole intention of lining his own pockets and living high on the hog. Happy Birthday Billy!

Originally Posted 11/11/2008

Time to Reflect
from The Daily Scream by Dan

Today is Veteran's Day. In a strange twist of reality, almost everyone but Veterans has the day off. The men and women of our country that really might appreciate the chance to stop by the local VA Center, War Memorial or cemetery are denied that option. Lord only knows why the people that schedule the events of the day typically arrange for them to be held during typical work hours instead of the early evening when a few more Veterans might be able to attend.

I won't say that my family has a long standing military history, because I honestly don't know that to be a fact. What I do know is that my great uncles Ralph and William Wise served, my dad Robert Houck along with my two step-fathers Paul Blow and Andrew Stash served and my step-brother James Blow and I served. Those that did serve seldom discussed their service or their sacrifices, instead they chose to simply be active in Veteran's organizations such as the American Legion and VFW that supported and furthered the causes of the brave men and women that defended our nation. Uncle Will was a Charter Member of Legion Post 907 in Candor, NY...the post that Dad and I still belong to.

A lot of blood, sweat and tears have been shed to get our nation to the point we are today. Maybe our system isn't perfect, but I can tell you that I haven't found another that begins to compare. We have rights and freedoms that citizens of other nations can only dream of, including many nations that consider themselves to be democratic and free. One of the unique opportunities afforded me during my tenure with the military was being able to travel the world and see a large number of different countries and cultures along with their rights and freedoms or lack thereof. Ask any Veteran and they will probably tell you the same thing, there are many beautiful and exotic lands beyond the shores of America, but when it comes right down to it, there is no place like home.

I think I will venture out later today and pay a visit to the VA cemetery in Black Mountain. My former neighbor Charles England is buried there along side countless other brave men and women. It may be a small gesture on my part, but not one taken lightly. I am very thankful for the sacrifices of our Veterans and I am proud to be an American.

Take a moment from your busy day and reflect on your freedoms...then go out and thank a Vet!

Originally Posted 11/12/2008

Affordable Healthcare
from The Daily Scream by Dan
Will it ever happen? Are we going to see the day when every American can just go to the doctor of their choice when they need and not have to worry about starving for months to pay the bill?

Until someone in Congress finally has the balls to take definitive action, it will never happen. The first step to affordable healthcare in this country begins with capping these ridiculous awards for "damage" stemming from "malpractice". Sure, doctors screw up, nurses screw up, technicians screw up...anyone involved in the medical practice can screw up. Let's face it, we need to be realistic, a misdiagnosed hangnail is not worth 5 million dollars. We also need to become aware of the limitations of modern medicine. Just because we have the ability to keep a baby born with half a heart alive...are we doing the right thing? Spending millions and millions of dollars to prolong a life that is only going to be filled with suffering doesn't seem all that rational to me.

I'm not advocating playing God...we already have him to take care of that work. What I am advocating is providing comfort care for those folks that have no reasonable expectation of a realistic quality of life. Sometimes just letting nature take its course is the most humane course of action. Think about it, would you wish to spend the rest of your days in screaming agony, hooked to some machine that will keep you alive, just because it is possible to keep you alive...not because there is ever any hope of your recovery?

Modern medicine is a wonderful thing, but until we have effective tort reform, we will never see affordable healthcare. We are never going to see an answer to this until we quit sending lawyers to Washington to represent us. There isn't one of those blood-suckers going that would risk taking a penny from his own pocket...and let's face it...who gets rich off these lawsuits? Only the lawyers.

Originally Posted 11/23/2008

Happy Holidays
from The Daily Scream by Dan
Well, the holiday season is upon us. I don't know about everyone else, but I'm not feeling real festive this year. The bottom continues to fall out of the economy...the real estate market has tanked and people in general are acting pretty weird. Mother Nature is just adding to the fun by dumping snow and record cold temps on us here in the usually warm south.

Don't get me wrong, even with all the gloom and doom around, I still find plenty of things to be thankful for. My wife, my kids, and especially my two little monster granddaughters...Abby and Livvie bring me lots of smiles and make the days worthwhile. I don't want to forget the rest of my family either...Dad and my step-mom, my brother Jeff and his family and my sister Kristin and her brood. Somewhere out there I have another sister...but I haven't a clue where she even is...Washington state I think. Maybe someday I'll find her again.

One thing I am not all that thankful for is my birth mother...she decided to drag me home to America from Germany when I was only a few months old, so she could dump me on my grandparents (my dad's parents) and run off to Florida and play with her boyfriend. At some point, she tired of her boy toy and returned to time to flush my fish (Christmas presents) down the toilet...because they smelled funny to wash my turtle (birthday present) with Ivory soap...because he smelled funny (he didn't survive the bath)...I spent a lot of time worried about how I smelled...just in case she decided I smelled and needed to die too.

Yep...dear old mom was a loving bored with me and sent me to spend some quality time with her drunken parents...they had company over one afternoon to sit around and get drunk...and told me to get out of the house..."just go somewhere and don't come back until we call you" I walked over to a friend's house. Now, mind you, this is the same house that my mother used to go to as a kid...because her childhood friend was the mother of my friend. We spent the afternoon playing and having a good time just being kids. Around supper time, my grandmother showed up...drunk on her ass...swearing and screaming, she started beating on me with a stick. She finally got bored with that and slammed me in the car...the entire drive back to her house was filled with profanity and rants about what a worthless bastard I was. We got to her house and I was dragged from the car and beaten again. Then I was dragged into the house and beaten while I packed my stuff. The beating continued all the way to the car...several sticks and rulers were broken in the process. Once in the car the tirade began again. I was called every horrible name imaginable to a young boy. The old battle axe told me that she never wanted to see me again. We got to my home and I was yanked from the car yet again and slapped across the face several times. My mother stood by and said nothing. Over the ensuing years, that evil woman (mother's mother) never did speak to me again...she bought Christmas and birthday gifts for my siblings...but none for me. When the bitch died, my mother insisted that I be a pallbearer for her funeral. You have no idea how much I just wanted to take that casket and throw it off a cliff.

My mother went out of her way to make Christmas special. Every year she would ask me what I would like and every year I would get some crap that had nothing to do with anything I was even remotely interested in. One of the best was the year I asked for a set of screwdrivers and instead was given a guitar. I am not musically inclined...never have been, never will be. Hell, we even had a discussion about music and I told her repeatedly that I had no interest in it. Come Christmas morning I opened a very suspicious looking package and sure enough, there was this stupid guitar. I was a kid, I cried...I didn't want a guitar...I got my face slapped and sent to bed. Merry Christmas.

I will share more stories of a mother's "love" in the coming weeks.

Originally Posted 12/8/2008

Holiday Spirit
from The Daily Scream by Dan

Took a short drive to Bristol, TN last evening to see the Christmas light extravaganza at Bristol Motor Speedway. Every year the show grows bigger and better...takes about an hour to make the loop and you get to experience a bit of the high banks of the speedway to boot. If you leave there without a smile on your face, you are in need of a visit or two from Mr. Dickens' ghosts....obviously your name is Scrooge. I had the camera along and snapped off a few shots...some are ok...some leave a bit to be desired. The memories are still to spend a few quality minutes with my wife, so that was an added bonus. You can see the photos here....

On the trip home, I noticed what appears to be a Heisler thermal storage engine, 2 cars and a caboose in Elizabethtown, TN....I need to go back for photos.

Originally Posted 12/13/2008

Zen and a Fairy Tale
from The Daily Scream by Dan
Fall Floater

The haunted forest?

Originally Posted 12/15/2008

More Crazy Memories
from The Daily Scream by Dan
Now that I have spilled the beans on my bizarre childhood, some of the memories of it make a whole lot more sense. For example, one of my most vivid memories is of my bedroom at my grandparent's house. It now makes very good sense that it would be right off my grandparent's bedroom, since they were the ones taking care of me. For the longest time, I couldn't grasp the concept of why my bedroom would have been connected to their room.

I also have lots of memories of traveling around with my grandfather from a very young age. I guess since I was living with them, it would only make sense. I always felt like such a lucky kid...because my grandparents took me to all kinds of interesting places, to see all kinds of interesting things. One of my favorite memories were the Sunday afternoon drives, which always included a stop somewhere to look at trains. I don't know who was the bigger kid when it came to the railroad, Grandpa or me.

We often traveled to Corning to visit with Uncle Ralph (my grandmother's brother) and Aunt Clara....for some reason my memories of their house are usually very dark...dark in the sense that the inside of the house seemed to have a lot of dark colors and woodwork. They had a less than sociable Cocker Spaniel named Checkers. I seem to recall being told repeatedly that Checkers was going blind and to not bother him....but I also have a pretty vivid memory of sitting on the stairs with the dog with his head in my lap...

Uncle Ralph worked for the a engineer. He knew of my love for trains and had promised that when I was big enough, that I would have a ride in the locomotive...unfortunately, he died before that wish was fulfilled. Some would think that might be classed as a bad memory, but I know he had every intention of getting me that ride. Two years ago, I finally got my was hard to hold back the tears...tears of joy. I know Uncle Ralph smiled that day....and so did I.

Our travels often took us to Pennsylvania. We would either go to Forkston, where my Aunt Arlene and Uncle Shorty (my grandmother's brother) had a summer home on Aunt Arlene's family plot, or to Harrisburg, where they actually lived. Uncle Shorty was anything but short...he was a fairly big character, retired from the Pennsylvania State Police as the head of the Governor's security detail. When you shook hands with him, you knew your hand had been shook. He had a grip like a vice and he expected you to have one too. It was always a contest to see if I could give him a shake that he would be proud of. Dad, Grandpa and I often joked about shaking hands and who would have a sore hand for the longest time afterwards.

Sometimes the travels weren't nearly as far, Uncle Will (yet another of Gram's brothers) and Aunt Hazel only lived five houses down the street. I liked to go there to visit...because Aunt Hazel had fish. I believe that is where the fish that my mother killed off came from...a gift from Uncle Will and Aunt Hazel. But we won't dwell on is about happy memories. I remember going for a ride with Uncle Will on a couple of different occasions...and never go this fast when others are driving. Guess he had a bit of a lead foot.

There is one other memory of my grandfather that I need to share. I can remember anxiously awaiting him to get home from work, so that I could hop up in his lap and we could read the newspaper every day. Grandpa often had a cigar or his pipe while we read the paper, waiting for Grandma to rustle up supper for us. The big memory though, was Grandpa's thumbs...I still remember them as being huge...huge thumbs with huge thumbnails. I suppose to a kid three, four or five years old, that anyone's thumbs would seem huge...but I don't have that kind of memory of my dad...just Grandpa. Below is a photo of a smoker's stand similar to the one my grandfather had....except his rack was full of pipes and there was a large gold ashtray.

Time to stop for the day, before this gets much more disjointed. Thanks for tuning in.
Add starShareShare with noteEmail

Originally Posted 12/17/2008

2009 Calendars
from The Daily Scream by Dan
Looking for a great calendar for your home or office? If you like flowers, then check out my 2009 Gallery Calendars. CLICK Frogdawg Fotografix CLICK

Originally Posted 12/20/2008

Closer to Christmas
from The Daily Scream by Dan
We are now another day closer to Christmas and there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of holiday cheer this year. The economy is in the toilet, family is so far away and even the weather doesn't seem to be cooperating with enhancing the festive mood.

It seems like someone is trying to take Christmas away from us. Screw the politically correct and their lame happy holiday greetings....Merry Christmas! Peace on earth, good will toward men. If your religion doesn't believe in God or are granted the right here in the United States to not believe....but I am also granted the same right to believe. I am also granted the right to believe in Santa Claus or any other mythical, mystical, magical or otherwise figure that I so choose to accept as real. If I want to believe that reindeer can fly and have glowing red be it.

Someone decided to make up a holiday called Kwanzaa. If folks wish to celebrate it, it certainly is within their rights to do so...if I don't care to participate in that particular celebration, I also have a right to do so. The key element here is that while I might not choose to celebrate Kwanzaa, I have no right to expect others to not want to participate. Somewhere along the line we lost track of that concept. When the United States was founded, nearly the entire population was Christian and accepted the Christian tenets. Today, our cultural make-up is far more diverse, but the same laws, rules and regulations still apply. If someone wants to set up a Nativity scene, they have the right to do so...they are under no obligation to hide such a thing from view because it doesn't correspond to your beliefs, you right is your ability to simply walk away and not view or interact. Same thing applies if someone wishes to display a Menorah. That is their right, your right is again to walk away should you not find that display in line with your personal beliefs.

Whatever you decide to do this year, take a moment and slip a buck or two in the kettle for the Salvation Army. They don't ask victims of circumstance their religious beliefs prior to giving aid and comfort, they simply give in times of need. I spent nearly 30 years of my life working in emergency services and when the chips were down and people needed a hand...the Salvation Army delivered!

Don't waste your money making cash donations to the Red Cross, they spend more time attempting to sell comfort and trying to profit from the misfortunes of others than they do providing the aid they claim to dispense. Two huge events come to mind...during a major flood in NY, my father's cousin and her family lost everything to the flood waters, their house dislodged from the foundation and moved downriver. The Red Cross arrived on scene and tried to sell them a sample tube of toothpaste and a child's toothbrush for $3. Similar prices applied to any number of other trial and sample sized products. The Salvation Army arrived and handed the same stuff out for free. Several years later, northern NY State was hammered with an ice storm...power was lost and temperatures were hovering in the brutal cold range. Once again the Red Cross showed up and tried to sell relief...while the Salvation Army quickly set up their mobile canteens and began providing free hot meals to those that needed.

If you want to give to the Red Cross, give them the gift of blood, the gift of life. That is one area where they manage to excel and have yet to contaminate. Donations of blood are typically low this time of year and the need increases. This is a great gift to give, as it truly is a gift straight from the heart...with no strings attached and no expense involved!

Originally Posted 12/24/2008

APD Gives a Christmas Gift to the Parking Public
from The Daily Scream by Dan
It has only taken 8+ years for something to be done, but finally the Asheville Police Department has given an early Christmas gift to folks that park in downtown. After years of complaints of predatory towing, APD finally decided to attempt a sting didn't take long.

How sad is it that these sleaze balls would rig payment boxes to make it appear that customers hadn't paid...all so they could haul off the car and then charge exorbitant fees for the (questionably) safe return of the vehicle. How many visitors and even locals have been scammed? This gives the whole city a black eye.

APD...don't stop now. Based on the complaints, you have only touched the tip of the is time to put a stop to this nonsense and regain a small measure of justice for those folks that have been ripped off.

Originally Posted 12/25/2008

Merry Christmas
from The Daily Scream by Dan
Season's greetings. May your day be filled with peace, love and good cheer!
Add starShareShare with noteEmail

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Historic Day

Today marks the dawn of a new era in America. Barack Obama was sworn in as President of the United States. Some folks think that the simple act of assuming the role of President is going to be enough to effect sweeping, overnight change. I'm afraid they are in for a rude awakening.

As the old saying goes...Rome wasn't built in a day...and the US is not going to change in one either. It will take some time to implement any true change or meaningful new direction in the country. Obviously, the more cooperation from Congress and the general population, the swifter and easier change will come.

One of the grand ideas of the new administration is to get folks to volunteer. It is a great idea, but we have too many people in this country that think it is their right to sit on their ass while lesser people do the volunteering. It will be interesting to watch this one play out.

One burning question...who dressed the new First Lady for the Balls? Mrs. O is usually quite the striking dresser...the gown she had for the first dance looked like it was made from used toilet paper. That had to be one of the least fashionable and foolish looking things ever worn to an event of that magnitude. She should have stuck to wearing things from her own closet. At least they would have had some style.