My Old Friend Did It Again!

My old friend did it again! She bloomed once more. This orchid plant, a gift to Barbara in 2001, has bloomed every year since. I have abused, and neglected her, but she refuses to let me down. This year she bloomed a full three months behind her normal schedule. By suggestion from Sherman, my orchid growing friend ,  I  moved her to a new location with more light. That did the trick. Even though orchids can be low light plants they do need light to thrive. It is direct sun they do not tolerate well. I found out they love lots of bright, indirect light.

Now that she is blooming, I expect to see the blossoms well into the summer. She is my link to Barb and it gives me joy. As long as she is in  bloom, a part of Barb is still with me.

Paleanopsis Orchid

Paleonopsis Orchid Blooms





Orchid Close Up

Grumpa Meets His Match

gran-torinoYesterday, I met my match. I like to refer to myself as “Grumpa” because my disposition is not always cheerful. Peggy and I continued our ‘wild and crazy” days by seeing another movie. That’s two within seven days of each other. The main character in the movie is Walt Kowalski played by Clint Eastwood. Walt clearly owns the title of “Grumpa.”  He’s retired from Ford, and living next to a troubled kid who loves to garden.

The movie is Gran Torino. I thought Slumdog Millionaire was great, but Gran Torino is right next to it. My expectation was to see a car movie. There is a beautiful 1972 Gran Torino in the film, but it is there as a grand possession. It barely moves throughout the film.  Throughout the story, Walt is bugged by a young priest who tells him he should go to confession. The story had me laughing out loud, yet at points it  brought me to tears.  We saw it on Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, and it was a beautiful way to begin lent. 

The opening  begins at a funeral mass for Walt’s wife of many years.  Walt moves on to deal with his grief by exhibiting great animosity and hatred for his Hmong-Chinese neighbors whom he mistakes for Koreans. Slowly, Walt, a gook hating veteran of the Korean war evolves into a man who truly loves his neighbor, and is willing to sacrifice greatly for him.

This picture includes all the key elements of a good story. It has drama, intrigue, humor, tension, conflict, love, and compassion. The acting by Eastwood and the supporting cast is  believable and noteworthy. The plot is  a 2009 vintage contemporary drama. The ending is guaranteed to bring one to tears, as it did me.  It is also untypical of what one might expect from today’s society. The symbolism in the final scene was dramatic and thought provoking.

Why wasn’t  this movie nominated for an Oscar? As I watched the credits roll by it became clear to me that Eastwood was being dissed by Hollywood. He is a co-author of the story. He produced, and directed the film. Additionally, he played the  principal role. I believe he bucked the establishment with this performance, and produced a heart warming story with a moral. Another reason might be that the story includes religion in it’s telling. Could it be that the liberal anti-God, hollywood gay loving establishment dissed the Catholic Church too?

Peggy and I have been discussing the film ever since.

We give it four stars.****

Take Vitamins and Live Healthy

My Flag Flies Everyday

My Flag Flies Everyday

Life continues to teach lessons to the end. I confess that I am three score and ten in years, but I am still learning everyday. Just this week I learned something new. Since I try to be a positive person, I look for the positive that comes out of a negative. Last week I received a call from a loan company telling me that I was fourteen days past due on a loan payment. The loan company is a government backed organization similar to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.  For once they were correct about my late payment. They did me a favor by calling to remind me of the oversight. I told them I would send them money immediately. At the same time, I completed a form requesting a direct debit from my checking account to prevent the problem from occurring again. On Thursday, I rushed to the Post Office to send the check and the request.  I wanted the check to get there fast so I chose to send it by “Express Mail.” It cost $17.65 to send the money this way. It was guaranteed to be in their hands within twenty four hours.  At the same time, I mailed my request for direct debit by certified first class mail; the cost was $2.65.

My experience with the US Postal Service has been fair. I always trust them and expect my mail to get through. I remember as a kid that the mailman came to the house twice a day. We had a morning and an afternoon delivery to the front door. Currently, I have to walk to the curb to pick up my mail and I’m lucky if it comes sometime between nine and four. The service is now threatening to cut service to five days a week down from six. I still expect them to perform as faithful servants of the people by getting the mail through.

Today, I received a letter from the loan company telling me that I was in arrears. I decided I had better check on the status of my payment. I enterred the tracking number into the USPS website and got a surprise. The payment arrived at the loan company on Saturday afternoon, not on Friday as planned. There was no one at the office to receive the mail and sign for it. The USPS left them a form indicating they have special mail and they should make arrangements for a redelivery to occur. It is Monday and the payment is still late.

I was furious and called the local PO. A nice lady explained the process to me. Yes they were late with the delivery. I had no recourse except to hope  the loan company will request a redelivery. I asked her if I can claim a rebate for the $17.65 . “Yes,” she said, but you have to wait until the item is delivered to make a claim. Then I have to prove to the local PO that it was late.

Later this evening, I checked the USPS site again and learned that the item was delivered at 10:00 a.m. ten this morning. The second item sent to the same place by snail mail arrived at  8:39 a.m.

All of this got me to thinking about our  desire to make “Change We Can Believe In.” The latest direction is to nationalize health care. The idea that we will screw up our health care system by giving it to the government is insane. The USPS has had two hundred years to get it right, and they continue to erode their service. Their employees are indifferent to their performance, and are generally unhelpful. Can you imagine what it will be like trying to get cured using the bureocracy? I suggest we all take vitamins and live healthy, because getting help will be like expecting the post office to deliver a piece of mail on time.

Slavery to Slavery?

My Flag Flies Everyday

My Flag Flies Everyday

I got to thinking about those trillions the government is throwing at earmark projects called stimulus. I asked myself how many people could a trillion dollars really help?  I looked at three items that people spend money on: house, car, and college education.

Here is how it works out:

1. How many $200,000.00  houses can one buy for a trillion? A two hundred thousand dollar house is probably affordable for most of the population.

ans: Five million

2. How many cars valued at $25,000.00 each? Not a Lexus or Cadillac, but a Ford Focus will get you to where you need to go.

ans: Forty million.

3. How many students could spend $40,000.00 on college tuition?  This one assumes you spend three hundred dollars per credit hour and you require one hundred and thirty credits to get a degree, and live with your parents.

ans: Twenty five  million five hundred thousand.

A trillion dollars given away in this fashion would most likely stimulate the economy. Instead we will direct the money through a filter called “government.”  The end result will be that only a third will get to the consumer. The remainder will be lost in management fees. In big government management fees are more commonly referred to as GRAFT.

What BHO failed to tell the people of the USA is that his redistribution of wealth will make everyone in the country a slave. By robbing the rich to give to the poor, the result will make everyone poor.

The direction of the country toward “Change You Can Believe In,” will bankrupt the treasury. The end result is that the greatest country in the history of the earth will become  a slave to the countries who buy our debt.

Barack likes to compare himself to Abraham Lincoln. While Lincoln freed a small number of the population who were slaves, Barack will enslave the entire country. How will that happen?

We will borrow the money from China or other countries. In order for them to loan us the money, we will have to make it worth their while. We will have to pay higher interest. Higher interest will mean that the government has less money to pay for the programs that they have legislated into law. In other words if it takes a trillion dollars to run the country, we’ll now have to add the interest to that.  Where will the government get the extra money? They have two ways: 1. Pass the expense to the tax payer by increasing his contribution. 2. Print more money to cover the bill. This means that your money is worth less than it was before. I already have trouble making ends meet on my fixed income.

Here is what the interest payment looks like on a trillion dollars:

Interest rate-percent   interest payment
2   20,000,000,000.0
3   30,000,000,000.0
4   40,000,000,000.0
5   50,000,000,000.0
6   60,000,000,000.0
7   70,000,000,000.0
8   80,000,000,000.0
9   90,000,000,000.0
10   100,000,000,000.0

In case you have a problem reading all those zeros, they are billions.

Mark my words, this country is headed for another civil war with the rampant spending under this president. Isn’t civil war another issue that Lincoln had to deal with?

Dear Representative Halvorson:

This is my response to a letter received from State of Illinois Representative Deborah Halvorson.(Her letter is included below in it’s entirety.)
Dear Representative Halvorson.
The so called stimulus bill is nothing more than a gift to Obama to implement his campaign promises. It will not stimulate the economy. You are wrong in your decision. Time will tell. I don’t believe you or the Senate is responsible enough to spend the money wisely. You will spend the money to stay in office.
Here are my recommendations to you and your group:
1. Take a salary cut of 50% as a show of leadership and example.
2. Pass legislation to limit congressional and senate service to two terms maximum.
3. Pass legislation to make it mandatory to have one Democratic and one Republican Senator from each state.
4. Pass legislation to split the House of Representative to  fifty fifty between Republicans and Democrats. In states where there is an odd number of congressmen, give the odd man to the party of the majority.
5. Pass an ethics bill that is effective, and will fire Congressmen and  Senators who are found to violate any provision of the bill..
6. Reduce the size of all governrnent departments by 20%. The private sector is cutting jobs like crazy, but the government never cuts. This is totally unfair.
7. Instead of spending money, try paying off the deficit. Bill Clinton did that and according to him the economy flourished.
8. Cut out using the government aircraft for travel. Use only commercial carriers; the President included.
9. Balance the federal budget. When tax income does not cover expenses, cut spending to balance what we have.
10. Pass legislation to eliminate spending  federal money on abortion and contraception.
11. Do not pass any legislation unless there is a provision in it to find money to pay for it
You see Representative Halvorson, I don’t buy anything you stand for.
Please resign to minimize further embarrassment to the citizens of Illinois. 
Grumpa Joe

Thank you for contacting me regarding your opposition to the economic recovery legislation recently passed by Congress. I appreciate hearing from you on this important matter. I understand many of your concerns regarding this legislation. Even supporters of the economic recovery plan acknowledge that it is not perfect, however, legislation resulting from compromise and negotiation rarely is. Like you, I am worried by the high price tag of the plan, but there are safeguards in the bill to ensure that the money will be spent wisely. The plan contains no earmarks and taxpayers will be able to track expenditures on a public website.


We are in the midst of the most severe economic crisis in decades. In some communities in our district, the unemployment rate has already reached double digits. I have heard from many constituents who are struggling to pay their bills and to feed their families. We need urgent action to start addressing the crisis. Economists across the ideological spectrum estimate that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will create or save over 3 million jobs. This goal will be reached by investing in our country’s urgent infrastructure and energy needs. Throughout the 11th Congressional District, there are aging schools that need renovation, crumbling roads and bridges that need repair and rural communities that lack access to modern high speed internet. By investing in infrastructure projects that will address these needs we will create new jobs in Illinois and throughout the country.


The economic recovery plan also includes one of the largest tax cuts in American history. By providing significant tax relief that will put money in the pockets of 95% of working Americans, the plan will once again start growing our economy. The road to economic recovery will not be easy. History has shown us that big problems often require big solutions. The recovery plan is expensive, but this is the price we will have to pay to turn our economy around.


Again, thank you for contacting me. I always appreciate receiving feedback from my constituents. Please feel free to contact me again in the future regarding any matter of concern to you. Also, please visit my website,, for regular updates on what is happening in Congress.





Debbie Halvorson


My Flag Flies Everyday

My Flag Flies Everyday