Sunday, May 31, 2015

Blogs and School

One of the realities of working in the modern world is the power of social media.  I am a High School teacher and it has become painfully aware that not all who floosh through the pages of the blog world are ok with a teacher having strong opinions.  Sooooo....I have laid low these last years and will for the most part remain so.  Religion, history, sciene and politics are the things I think about in mixed company.  But, they are filled with potholes and mine fields.  Nuf said......

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Passing the Buck, again and again

After twenty eight months of being in office, I am a bit confused about what President Obama’s goals are. What are his goals for the economy? What are his goals for helping those out of work? And my big question is who is in charge? Is it Obama? It seemed to be Pelosi and Reid but they have been demoted, so who is now? I wonder and why, because not much has changed and certainly I cannot feel any improvement, have you? Fact is even those on the left are beginning to bicker and complain about Obama. He did not close Guantanamo; he has not ended either Iraq or Afghanistan. And his goal to revitalize the economy is MIA. What is the outcome? What is he going to change to make things “really” better for Americans? I am not sure are you?

Why is this administration so afraid of dealing directly with the economy, the goals and hopes of our allies across the world, the international monetary policies and the threat of religious and political upheaval from the adversaries that dislike America? Why, well, let me explain. I think it is because fundamentally Mr. Obama does not understand how business works or why business works. He has spent most of his life with the belief that corporations are not the source of wealth or good in the US but they are a problem. They are a problem and they need to pay for the problems they have cause. And do not get me wrong, but when you say corporations those are the people who sell you things. Everything from sub sandwiches to airplane tickets. From Grocery stores to ship builders. They are the bad guys. Yet, what Mr. Obama does not understand his future rest with their success.

We have entered a time when the financial future of America is at risk and not only are politicians lying about the reality of such things but are kicking the proverbial “can down the street”. A few weeks ago, Paul Ryan a Republican came up with a number of suggestions that put into place would at least address the issues at hand. What is the public result on TV and in the Newspapers, Obama and his minions calling those who are doing their best to actually address these issues as thieves who are trying to take away the very provisions the US Government may very soon be too broke to support if we follow his policies. Crazy, it gets crazier.

Harry S. Truman had a sign on his desk which said, “The Buck stops here”. In the 1930’s it was a saying that politicians would pass the buck as far as they could to avoid having responsibility for anything. The origins of this phrase come from the 19th century and pioneers playing poker. Instead of a chip indicating who was to be the dealer, often a “buck” knife would be used to identify whose turn it was to deal. By “passing the buck” the responsibility could be passed to the next person in line.

President Truman, a Democrat from Missouri who followed Franklin Roosevelt, was a no nonsense pragmatist who was faced with extraordinary issues following World War Two. He was challenged with the decision to drop the Atomic Bombs upon Imperial Japan in 1945, how to rebuild Europe and avoid the chaos and confusion following World War One, with the rise and hunger of the Soviet Empire following World War two and Stalin’s desire to conquer the world. All of these handled in a manner which backed up his simple sign on his desk.

Paul Ryan, in that same mind set as Truman, set out a complete proposal to attempt to deal with all of these issues. In his proposal the Congressman attempts to preserve Medicare, give tax breaks for the purchase of medical insurance and to personalized the social security program to preserve this program. It would allow investment in an individual’s retirement through the stock system giving American citizens the right to choose how they invest in their retirement. It would be a boon to investment, savings, business, the economy and would turn around the very nature of our retirement process into a win-win experience. It would make Social Security permanently solvent; translate that as to keep it alive. Why wouldn’t anyone support this? Well, 1st it takes the control of this from politicians and gives it back to citizens, you know as well as I that none of us can be trusted with anything. And secondly Senators and congressmen would not have Social Security to steal from anymore, Oh my gosh!!

This plan also attempts to reorganize the tax code to prevent theft and illegality with the goal of simplifying this system while giving the Corporate Tax Rate a break and bring it in line with the rest of the working world. You and I work for, buy from and realize most of our investment growth from Corporations when they succeed and compete in the World Markets. So, we ought to give them and us every opportunity to succeed, yes? Retirement plans and IRA’s, mine and yours, need to be given the chance to succeed and not be vilified. Corporations make the economic world go around and America needs jobs and jobs are created by those who do business. Making the businessman evil is in direct contrast to job creation.

Why are we then so inept in 2011? The dirty secret most politicians know is that the social commitments, called entitlements (social security, Medicaid, Medicare) will consume our entire tax base by 2025. What is not being told to the electorate is that we are on the edge of the US Dollar being devalued and the dollar becoming a second rate currency. In addition, this Obama administration is making an attempt to answer all these questions with the response that the richest Americans do not pay enough and we need to expand and raise the tax rate.

Raise taxes,why is that the first and only answer? Well, most Americans are not rich, and in our hearts we are fully convinced that most got rich like the Kennedy’s, that they inherited. Most Americans who have some money work as small businesses to make ends meet. Tax rich guys more? The top 50% of all taxpayers pay 96% of all of the taxes already. Did you know that? Rich guys pay a lot of our taxes already. Give people back their money and guess what? They do what you and I do, they spend it. And when they, those guys, the rich guys, spend, they spend a lot and when they spend a lot the economy gets good! Sshhhh, it is a secret, apparently to the Democrats.

Millions of Americans count on the government for the social network set up under Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the 1930’s, namely Social Security. The expansion of Medicare and Medicare, a health insurance program, under Lyndon Johnson set a new health quality level and insured those with Social Security for health concerns was expanded even more under Republican George Bush. Tell seniors these benefits are being adjusted is risky. Fact is Obama Democrats are telling American that Republicans want to end all of these protections. In reality and this is the part that is crazy, if the United States does nothing these programs WILL go away. A dirty political trick is to accuse your adversary of the very thing you seem to be doing to mask the good sense your opponent holds.

We could raise taxes on everyone. Raise rates such that for every $100.00 a person makes the treasury comes and takes, say 50%. Rich guys don’t need more. They can spread it around to the un-rich. The problem is rich guys have businesses and when you tax them they pay their taxes like good citizens and do not reinvest in more workers, more expansion and more equipment and the country enters into a depression. Oh, we are close to that already. Well, maybe we should change course then!!

Why does he, Obama, do nothing about international status of the dollar? How, by not balancing the budget like every household in America must do. A weak dollar has a huge impact at the cash register. What would happen to the American economy if gas prices hit $6.00 to $7.00 per gallon at the pump? What? You say that would cut down on the frivolous use of the automobile and lead to America actually confronting its need for fossil fuel. Wow, we could go green. Americans believe in preservation. Look around you; see how many National Parks and preserves within miles of your home exist. When it comes to fuels, you better slow down comrade, the exchange rate affects the purchase of oil, which affects the price of everything shipped anywhere in the US. We are now dependent upon oil from around the world. It goes up and the price of everything rises. And soon, even the middle class folks are poor and cannot afford the simple things they used to afford, like health care. So, am I to become dependent on the Government for more…….maybe, I have discovered the underlying goals of Mr. Obama. I might need to be dependent upon government. I don’t like it, I don’t. I do not want to be dependent upon anyone who does not see the provisions for success we have been given in the United States. I like my freedom and I do not want the rest of my world turning into the Department of Motor Vehicles or the Post Office. Sorry, most of what the Federal Government does sucks. My problem is twofold: The Buck does not stop with Mr. Obama; fact is he has just stopped the buck from moving period!!

Monday, November 08, 2010

Spinning like a TOP

I heard the spin on the Sunday shows yesterday and was flabbergasted. Democrats spun the results from last weeks elections with silky smooth and almost understandable clarity, Dems lost not because of policy but because of the economy. It is hard for incumbents to win when Americans are concerned about their paychecks. And well, there is no question that is the truth. Repeat that mantra over and over and one comes to the conclusion if the economy was just better then everything would be ducky for the Democratically elected President, Senate and House of Representatives.

But it is not! Why? Well, Mr. President, Mrs. Pelosi and Mr. Ried you had two years to work on this problem and you did not get anything, zip, zilch, nada ...well almost nothing. You passed Obamacare and you have given millions perhaps billions away and you still received the largest butt whipping in a political world since 1938.

1938.....few of us remember 1938. I do, you might recall I teach US History, so I spend a fair bit of time remembering such examples. Why was 1938 so volatile. FDR had just won the Presidency in the largest landslide in political history. FDR had won 538 electoral votes to 8 for someone who was goofily named Alf (Landon). So why did the election turn so cold for the Democrats. One 1937 was the worst year of the depression, yes the worst year of the depression. Made doubly worse because the Federal Government had spent five solid years expanding the size and scope of everything Washington and had directly or indirectly employed between 14 to 20 million Americans and the depression had worsened, got worse, bad, badder..... I thought we had learned our lesson then that big government cannot spend its way out of a recession-depression but we did not. And for those who have FDR as a hero, particularly in the African American political scheme, that lesson was missed.

There are those who clearly say the the onset of WWII brought the needed expansion to allow full employment, and it a way that might be true if you included the millions of men who were sent around the world and picked up a paycheck from the government during this time. But it is what happened after the war that held the "good times" and extended them into the future.

Franklin Roosevelt died in 1945 and during the war many of his New Deal Reforms were killed. The CCC, the WPA and the NYA because the war came first. Both Roosevelt and then Truman wanted to hold to the New Deal and its program but by 1946 something had happened. The House was controlled by Republicans 248 to 188. Americans no longer liked the big government policies of the 1930's. Truman could not pass his Revival of Roosevelt's policies. The Republicans repealed the high tax rates of 94% on income over $200,000. Dems pick on the rich often! In 1945 and 1946Congress repealed the excess-profits tax, cut the corporate tax to a maximum 38%, and cut the top income tax rate to 86 percent. In 1948 Congress sliced the top marginal rate further, to 82 percent.

Those rates were still high from the standpoint of modern non-war America, but they were the first cuts since the 1920s and sent the message that businesses could keep much of what they earned. That message was heard loud and clear. Why do you presume that business' are hoarding cash this year.

The reason is that for the last two years there have been consistent messages attacking businesses, for my liberal friends that means CORPORATIONS. Businesses where people have jobs, where retirement companies invest and buy stocks and try to make a profit. They still have profits but they are hoarding it...why? Obamacare, unease with the new tax policy. What new tax policy, well, the old one, the tax breaks created by George Bush to hold off a recession in 2000. Yes, he had one too but he did not scare business but gave them what would HELP them! Those are going away and the solution from the formerly employed folks on Capital hill was to have them expire. To raise taxes on those rich guys. I heard Phill Gramm formerly the Senator from Texas who by the way is married to an economist think tanker, said " I have never received a job from a poor person". True...all the people I have ever worked for where in several tax brackets higher than myself. Frankly, I liked them and wanted there businesses to stay lucrative. Our government should as well.

When the uncertainty with health care and the future of the tax base resolved adding a bonus for hiring and a tax break for hard goods and business investment would go a long way to ramp the business world. Demonizing those who create jobs from the Jimmy Johns sandwich shop on the corner to Microsoft is not good solid political or business practices. Why? Government does not create jobs business does.

I often ask my students if you or your family had more money to spend, translate for the Democrat less tax, what would you or your family do with it? Consistently the response is clear, we might spend some, we might save some, we might send me to school, we might take that vacation more Mom wants or we might add the second sandwich shop. That is how you expand jobs, quit taking so much money, spend less in Goverment, for those not working teach them to work and for those working let them keep more. Learned that back in 37 someone needs to teach some history to our New Democrats!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Why I decided ..........

Every once and awhile a lovely note sends my brains racing for the "right stuff". A note sent to me about this blog did so. It led me to review why is it that I am a conservative. I am not a Republican. Fact is on certain issues I lean towards some Libertarian views on one or two issues. I used to be a Liberal.

Why I am a Conservative?

Every once and awhile it will come up in conversation, for the most part when I am at school and discussing a historical or political topic. I hear it in the lilt of the discussion. It sounds something like, “You Republicans….” Offtime to which I respond, “Technically I am not a Republican or a Libertarian, I am by choice a Conservative.” I thought this through because, well because it is important.

I haven’t always been a conservative. There was a time in college when everything Phil Donahue said made sense, when I wanted to fight for freedom and choice. I wanted to have choices and believed that all should have them including the North and South Vietnamese. I did not trust government and certainly felt that Richard Nixon was too good of a politician to be trusted. Fact is everyone over thirty did seem to look at the world different than I. Then I read the Constitution of the United States and the Declaration of Independence from start to finish and made some decisions.

I read about Thomas Jefferson who did not trust government and in agreement to get the Constitution passed advocated for the ten amendments that were added. Those who use those amendments as legal tools today forget why they were crafted. The danger lies not in us but government and those who try to do things for us by it.

Why I am a Conservative:

1. 90% of life is maintenance, keeping what works working. Love works. Marriage works. Family works. Church and a belief in something other than self works. Work works. Hard work makes all the above work. Even my Communist teaching colleague has his car serviced at regular intervals-to keep it working.

Jesus said, “No greater love has a man than to lay his life down for another”. Things that work are worth sacrificing for. The issues are to prioritize what really works. I try to support the things that work. Freedom works. Capitalism works. Wanting to get ahead works. And the adage that matters...if it works don't fix it, especially if you are the government!

2. Equality is a given to those that understand that life is a precious commodity, equality is a mindset not a mandate. Freedom is not. Freedom has always been earned and work must be expressed for it to be retained. See America at War-with the exception of the Spanish American War which was bogus.

To mandate equality is impossible. One can only mandate the lowest common denominator of a society. Freedom is different than mandated equality. Under the law each of us should have the same freedoms. I often ask my students, "What if I gave every one of you a C, no matter how hard or how little you work, what would you do and how hard would you work"? The answers are always the same. "Nothing, I would do nothing". It is a function of humans ....they will work with the chance of success. Give a person the Freedom to experience excellence and they will seek it. Hand to them mandated equality and they will remain standing with their hand out forever doing nothing.

I prefer freedom as principle over the virtue of making the right decisions. I believe just as I did thirty plus years ago that Citizens of the World deserve a free and unbridled ability to CHOSE. Choice makes the difference. Choice is balanced by a hierarchy of values and freedoms. IE. I can choose to shoot a gun as long as it is not at my neighbor or my neighbors house. Choice and the hierarchy of choices trump even the hope that people do things in the proper fashion. We must allow people the choice to fail if they want to. We can be either equal or free but both do not hold the same space in politics. To enforce the equality of all men at all times eliminates real freedom. Given real choices, in my humble opinion the human spirit does its best work and soars. Given real choices apart from pathology humans choose and find themselves on the levels of the Philosophers. Humans will choose freedom over tyranny and our history has ample evidence to that point.

“Are we maximizing Freedom…? Barry Goldwater.

3. Human nature must be dealt with suspiciously. Romans 3:20 says “For all have sinned…”James Madison wrote that: “If men were angels no government would be necessary….
Why do they want it passed? Follow the money….follow power! Question Authority. (some sixties stuff so resonates in my brain I cannot get past it) I trust nothing that I hear on ABC and half of what I see on the Radio. *S*

4. Power as a tool tends to corrupt. Since it corrupts, those who wield it must be dealt with suspiciously-be sure that those who have it can’t do too much damage. Therein lies the danger. See Thomas Jefferson. See the Bill of Rights

5. Government for the protection of all must be kept limited. Government cannot do all things and in fact does little well, with the exception of the creation of protections. Protections against adversaries and ourselves. See Army and FDA. If you look to the government for help. You have entered into the world where you government must and will get bigger and bigger because you realize it is never enough. Why? Because government never solves anything. So, it appears like more of it would make a difference. You see the yen but not the yang.
Henry David Thoreau said, “That government that governs least governs best”.
Ronald Reagan said, “Government is not the solution to our problem: government is the problem.

6. Some individuals can do more. They should not be punished because others cannot. I learned that from Paul Hayden. He could always run faster than me.

7. The old adage holds, “Give a man a fish, he eats for a day, teach a man to fish he eats for a lifetime”. Conservatives love on the long term and wish those who can, to be able to do so as well and to do so for a lifetime. Liberals feel better about the fish and feel best when they can give the fish away. It works but not for as long-see rule 1.

8. Creating a welfare state is a method of earning votes for a lifetime. It is also a method of re-creating political "sharecropping". No one ever gets out of poverty when there is that kind of sharing. We have new slave owners in America they believe they are helping others......but the slavery remains a condition of the institution itself. Once you have created an institution it does its best to remain. And to remain forever. If the money comes from the suspicious. Not much will get done and it will stay that way forever.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Political Gymnastics

There are questions I have been asking about the new administration:

There is something that I have always been amazed at those who have the linguistic skills of salesmanship and politics. I am not sure I really am the proficient at either. When I trained with the best reputable company in the business, they are Mormon if that helps, in timeshare. I learned it is not what you say but how you say it that seems to have most people buying timeshares in droves. My wife says often....I have no problem with what you are saying....but how you are saying it. Might be just a man thing but ....there were some timeshare guys who I would not trust any farther than I could throw them across a river but they sold timeshare. Does your client, customer, owner, whatever you were going to call them that day, trust you? The counsel was it was all how you asked the question. So many bright, intelligent and financially secure timeshare veterans would seem to know all the tricks, "When did you stop beating your wife", as an example of the power of framing a question properly. It is the perfect "gotcha" question of all time. Most of us today see through such framework but not all of us. You can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time but not all of the people all of the time.....famous guy said that not me.

Those who are fans of the Sunday News shows of Foxnews Sunday and Meet the Press know that how one frames the question is substantial in getting the proper response. These are lessons glean from years and years of watching 60 minutes pummel their guests with the microphone in their face as they ran down the street. By the way, Chris Wallace and Mike Wallace...yes, Father and Son. So when did you stop beating your wife?

Health care professionals have learned it is imperative to ask the proper questions if you MUST have the truth. Dr. Kevin Fiscella found it matters a great deal medically,
The first question was, “How long has it been since you’ve had a mammogram?” Most women of all races and ethnicity's tend to underestimate how long it’s been: They’ll circle 1 year, for example, when in fact it’s been 18 months or 2 years since their last mammogram. Indeed, the responses showed no significant differences in mammogram rates among black, white and Hispanic women.

But the responses changed to the question, “What health care services have you received in the last four months?” Fiscella found that when he looked at an entire year, 28 percent of white respondents versus 15 percent of black respondents reported receiving a mammogram. He believes the 13-percent disparity gives a more accurate picture of mammography rates.

Even the election of last year has its very unique and different views. Of course Barack Obama who won the electorate by a 52-48% margin has a "mandate" and has turned the world around according to some TV moderator types who are wondering how the Republican party is ever going to recieve one more vote.....Ever! While at the same time California rejected same sex marriage by 52-48%...and the comments by the same TV moderator types is that it passed by the "narrowest of margins". It is not only how you frame the question but sometimes how you frame the answer. Did anyone notice this small but significant inconsistency? Does the guy have a mandate? More than that.....does he really know the right questions to ask. He is a bit of a newby when it comes to making anything work. And making things REALLY work is what this fellow is going to need to do.

I teach US History and am just about to embark into a discussion and trapse through the mess known as the Stock Market Crash and the New Deal......did you know the New Deal did not work. Take out employment provided by the federal government and the worse year for unemployment, prices and a down economy was 1937. Most knowledgeable History types easily say, "Well, it was World War II that brought us out of the depression". And it was. So why do Democrats wistfully remember Franklin Roosevelt as the cure all, savior and Icon for the Democratic Party. There were all kinds of solutions and the ABC's of any government plan. Most have gone away but a lot stay FOREVER!!! Well, you can fool some of the people....and they were and are.....and well, now we have Barack Obama. But all of the people all of the time?? More government does not help business. Where is it the easiest in the world to set up and get a business going? Try Hong of the business centers of the world. Might take me two months in Orlando but could take two hours to get up and running in Hong Kong. Government knows what makes that Island work. Do we? How does government create one job. And if there do it is temporary at best. What is the definition of a government employee? Bureacracy, red tape and worse...incompetant.

What concerns me most is this. The bad guy for the last eighty years in the Stock Market Crash and Depression was Herbert Hoover. Know what he did? Support and give money to banks and insurance companies, try to fix the home loan business....YIKES. Mr. Obama...the New Deal did not work. The Moment Roosevelt was out we saw the next fifty years dominated by Republicans. Why? You can't fool all of the people ALL of the time. We do not need more government! I do not trust the government. I remember walking the freeways of Seattle in 1970 knowing not that I did not trust anyone over thirty, my Dad was over thirty and I trusted him, but that I did not trust government. I do not trust anyone who does not understand and know history as well.

We need regulation...Teddy Roosevelt was right! I want my environment clean (thank Nixon for EPA), I want my food clean (thank Teddy for FDA) and I want people to get hired and work and to be prosperous.....(does this administration know how that is done)????? That is the Question isn't it! Or are you ready for fifty more years of Republican Rule?

Monday, September 01, 2008

Advantage McCain

She rocks!

Several weeks ago I heard Bill Crystal mention Sarah Palin Governor of Alaska as a possible running mate for John McCain. all good political junkies I googled my way through Sarah's life. is a mother of five, a very successful Governor who has an approval rating in Alaska in the 60% level., a seemingly quite happy marriage to Iditarod snowmobile Champion and a veteran of 15 years of racing (the Ironman of Alaska) By the way they call him the "First Dude". Sarah Palin is all of that and more as my 19 year old said.

Just wait the liberal bloggers are going after this young woman as you have never seen. Sarah Palin is not the woman who married a political genius who first was the Governor of Alaska. SHE was the Governor of Alaska while her hubby stayed home to race, hunt, fish and watch the kids. Listen, I would do it for Sarah as well....I've seen the bio photos just like you. She Rocks!

Sarah Palin can stand on her own two feet and that is going to aggravate liberal types to the core. "Did you know her husband worked for an oil company". Unfortunately, in Alaska that is NOT a bad thing. But, certainly in the minds of a liberal who has no concept of the need, the neccessity and the importance of energy companies he will be demonized.

Did you know she is a moral reformer who has taken on everyone including the Republican party in Alaska. As one 60 minutes commentator used to say...."I like that". What is missing in politics is honesty. Pelosi cannot tell the truth through her caps. Clinton....well, Bill is an embarrasment and I just feel sorry for Hillary. But if she had not been married to Bill where would she be today. A successful corporate lawyer in Illinois making the big land deals she is famous for. Biden...and Republicans are just as politically vexing as the Dems.

It is true that people do not vote for VP but it does say a lot about a candidate who their choice is. Kennedy picked LBJ for one reason without Texas he would lose and LBJ could deliver Texas. By the way, without some very unscrupulous voting shennanigans in Chicago by Mayor Daley Kennedy would have lost and Nixon would have been President. Reagan picked Bush because he was a moderate to dispell the Barry Goldwater rap that had been bestowed upon him. Gore was the Son of a Democratic hardliner and Clinton needed some mileage from the insiders. Each choice is different.

This one is about where does the future of the Republican party go? Sarah Palin is the face of that party. She is the woman who can handle her own. She can touch all of the bases politically and personally. She is the right to lifer who KEEPS the baby herself and helps her daughter do the same. She lives in the real world. She Rocks! I say....she is all of that too!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Along Route 66

I have always liked taking a trip and driving at night. I remember clearly the first time I knew it was great. When I was six we took a trip from California to Illinois. I learned it was my Dad's choice to drive at night. Almost every trip of substance started either at 9pm after dinner or early, early in the morning, 4am.
My Father would say, "We need to get ahead of the traffice or We want to cross the desert when it is cool".
This one would start after dinner. Dad had found an automobile Air Conditioner, it attached to the passenger side window and it looked and worked like a jet engine, taking air blown into the front and blew cooled air from the water inside the container into the car. It dripped a bit. But it worked! It was like having a wet rag on your face with the wind blowing in. What was the best about these trips is that most children fall asleep as soon as the car starts. At least mine did. I didn't. My parents would say.
"Mark, does not want to miss anything."
That wasn't really accurate but when I was a youngster you did not contradict Mom or Dad. Times have changed for most parents. The truth of the matter was that it was the only time when I had my Father's complete attention. Mom would fall asleep, my three brothers would fall asleep and I could talk with my Father for miles and miles. My folks had purchased a fire engine red 1956 Chevy Belair Nomad Station Wagon for the trip. It was a beautiful car. My Dad had a pad made so that when the rear seats were put down it turned into a rather comfy bed. By the middle of the night I was sitting on the passenger side getting dripped on while everyone else was asleep in the back.
I would learn a great deal. My Dad would tell me how to find which way you were traveling from the stars. As a pilot in World War II it was part of his training. How to reckon from the North Star and figure which direction was North. Where Orion would rise and set and which direction it would travel. The Big Dipper and Cassiopeia, due North I was sure my Dad was some kind of genius. I would learn about farming beans. A High School project to earn money he and his twin brother had engaged in. Green Beans was a warm weather crop and if skillfully farmed could allow for lifeguarding at the community pool during the summer days as well. The key was moisture and soil. Being a shallow crop the key was enough moisture for growth but not enough to allow for "rot". Wasn't really sure what "rot" was but it didn't sound good.
I would learn about how teenagers in the 30's spent their summers. That practical jokes of the 1930's I am sure would land someone in jail today. And how in fact my Father had been arrested. It was a revelation of immense purportions. I learned the important questions: how? Where? Really? Why? What happened then? Climbing and swimming in the cities water tower during the hot summer nights in Iowa.
"Seemed like a good idea at the time." It really was the first time my Father admitted to consuming adult beverages. He told of how after being arrested it was his Grandfather who had to sentence he, his twin brother and another friend for swimming in the city water supply.
"Was it worth it"?, I asked.
Then this sly grin came across my Dad's face.
"I was never so scared, I had never climbed so high before. It seemed you could see the lights of Des Moine from that tower."
It had been worth it. For hours my Father would quietly talk as we moved down Old Route 66. Across California and Arizona. I remember the asteroid showers in the middle of the night in the dessert. I had never seen them before. My Dad said August is a great time as he explained the extraterrestial visitors plummeting to the ground somewhere over the mountains and plains of the United States. Sometimes two or three a minute and every once and awhile a big one.

" ... could be a small rock but it burns up and lights up." My Dad would comment. It was amazing.
Route 66 was never boring. There were signs, interesting signs about place to eat and places to stay and about shaving. Rhymes about shaving. Every two or three hundred yards would be part of a poem.

They looked like this but spread along the highway.













The Grandest experience of all was the lights. Route 66 had Neon lights when you went through a town. Not like today where the Highways bypass the business sections. On old Route messages galore along the highway did their best to entice you to get gas, eat, stay the night, enjoy air conditioned sleeping and communicate the reality of vacancy or no vacancy.

On that trip I remember driving all night and coming to a town. It was a larger town than most. While driving by one motel I notice it had a train in the middle of the hotel grounds and that train would go through the parking lot around the pool and kids could ride it. If you stayed at the hotel you could ride if for free. It was suppose to help with the ease of taking bags and people to thier rooms. But to a six year old it was Disneyland. It was clear to me that the motel was a bit over what my parents had imagined the budget to be. But, after a long night of commoraderie with me Dad he thought it was a fine idea and said so to my Mom. What a place. What for the train to take you to the pool or to the gift shop or just get on board and ride. I have wondered how much did that engineer get paid to run around and around in that train. I have got a feeling he would have done it for free!

Years later I would drive Route 66 as a graduating college student. Cars, girls, fireworks, 4th of July, Indian Reservations.......a bit different view of Route 66 but still magical.