Political Grace Before Dinner

The Thanksgiving holiday is over, and I made it without a mental breakdown. Grandma Peggy and I entertained the kids and the components of their families that could make it. The highlight of my day was saying Grace.

I went off the deep end and veered into the political arena, but recovered quickly. I thanked God for the current President who is  teaching us how fragile our liberty is. We have lost liberties throughout his tenure. One of the worst is the government take-over and ultimate ownership of two car companies, and some banks too. How about the President firing the CEO of a major car company? The entire Board of Directors at GM lost their rights on that one. The Constitution does not cover that detail anywhere, not even between the lines. I recently re-financed my mortgage and had to sign several documents pertaining to the Department of Homeland Security. A pure waste of paper, and probably the time of several bureaucrats hired to review the document; for what?  I’m sure I could put together a pretty good conspiracy, and pull it off before anyone at Homeland Security can detect a problem by the review of those documents.

Anyway, after my political Grace, I got down to thanking God for the food on our table and editorialized the fact of how lucky we were to have food at all because I had personally delivered food to a family in need just a few days earlier. They were desperate and very grateful to have that which I delivered. Finally, I got to:

Bless us oh Lord and these thy gifts which we are about to receive from thy bounty through Christ our Lord. Amen

The food on our table:

Turkey, stuffing, corn, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, gravy, lasagna, tossed salad, cucumber salad, a relish tray, wine, and desert too: Cherry pie, apple pie, brownies, cinnamon cookies, a giant chocolate chip cookie, ice cream cake, and more.

No, we didn’t have cranberry sauce or pumpkin pie.

A New Mind-movie Adventure.

Windbeeches on the Schauinsland in Germany (Bl...

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This is probably the longest spell I’ve had between posts since I began blogging. Something has happened to make my zeal for life, blogging, cartooning, and just plain living wane and fall into the universe. All I know is that it ain’t in my soul anymore. I even contemplated shutting down Grumpa Joe’s Place and disappearing into the sunset.

Winter blahs, maybe, SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) perhaps, but most likely it is a severe case of LAD (Light Affective Disorder). I thrive on sunshine and there is none this month.

I keep seeing past events playing a loop over and over in my mind. There are never any new adventures, just some really good old mind-movies that can never be duplicated, relived, nor even remembered exactly the same. Even walking does not pump me with feel good seratonin, only aches and pains that spread throughout the joint network.

There is so much in my life to be thankful for, yet the mind-movies continue to play the scenes of Thanksgiving past with all the old relatives, friends, and close family. Perhaps that is it. This year, will be the first time in fifty that my closest family will not be with me at Thanksgiving. Just writing that last sentence has brought on the melancholy.

Today is the first day of the rest of my life! a new mind-movie adventure.

Car Auction Surprise

GRAHAM

A car enthusiast friend of mine sent a link to a car auction that took place last weekend November 3,4,5, 2011. It is the Lee Hartung collection in Glenview, IL. I learned that Lee Hartung collected anything that interested him. Most of it dealt with transportation, i.e. cars, trucks, airplanes, motors, toy cars, bicycles, motor cycles, out board motors.

He lived on a four-acre plot surrounded by upscale subdivisions and accumulated an amazing amount of junk since he started collecting in 1949. There were no upscale subdivisions in Glenview in 1949, so he got there first and did what he pleased with his piece of heaven. I spent an hour watching the videos on u-tube showing the various stuff. Today I thought, why not see if there is anything on the auction results. For fun, Google Results Lee Hartung Auction and look at some of the stuff and the prices it brought.

I had to learn about Lee Hartung. Who was he? What did he do for a living.  There is not much about the man, but I did find one news article that said he dealt in scrap metals and hauling. I guess there is money in junk. His collection is testimony to that.

All of this stimulated my memory to recall a work associate Carl Swanson telling me in 1964 that when he was young there was a car company for every letter of the alphabet. Carl was already sixty-eight when I met him so his youth went back to the nineteen ten through twenty period. I started a spread sheet and began listing American car companies by the letter of the alphabet. I thought I did pretty good listing thirty-eight cars and covering nineteen letters. Then I got the idea to Google American cars A to Z. I got a pretty extensive list, but the one I chose to study was the Wikipedia list of defunct United States automobile manufacturers. WOW! The list put me in shock.

Not only are there manufacturers for every letter of the alphabet there are hundreds of them. I counted seventeen hundred and ninety-four manufacturers. All out of business by bankruptcy or by assimilation into another company.

The early nineteen hundreds was a prolific time for car makers. Everyone had a better idea for how to make a car, but only a few have survived. When you think about it, there are only three manufacturers left in the United States, Ford, GM, and Chrysler. Between them they produce Ford, Mercury, Lincoln, Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac, Dodge, and Chrysler. Eight out of seventeen hundred and ninety-four is a worse average than I had with my list.

Collectors have a long way to go to find a single item from each company. I think it would be just as hard to find a photo of all the defunct cars listed by Wikipedia.

What happened? Competition. The weak fell or were bought out. Currently the American car companies continue to struggle in the competitive battle against foreign companies to decide who will eventually win.

What is your guess? Will the United States automobile industry fade into oblivion, or will it survive for many more years?

Here is my list:

111107-American Car Companies A

Look Out Idaho Here I come!

A cherry tomato and a beefsteak tomato, showin...

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The devil made me do it. Earlier this summer I left a potato on the counter top too long. I had it there waiting to use it with a dinner.

One day I looked at it and it had all these green sprouts protruding from the eyes. The great experiment began. My mother taught me that if you plant the sprouting eye of a potato it will grow into a plant and produce more potatoes. Why not? I was late in getting my vegetable garden started, and potatoes are a vegetable, right? I carefully cut the sprouting eyes out of the Idaho potato and planted them, five in all.

Sure enough, within a few days five green sprouts broke through the soil. I let them be. I paid more attention to the three varieties of tomatoes I  planted. Of the three, the biggest crop came from the grape size tomato plant. The smallest crop came from Beefsteak, and the third, also called beef-something produced fruit that wouldn’t turn red on the vine.  Last year, the grape tomatoes were sweet and flavorful. This year they were acidic and sour. The fruit on the beef-something distorted and resembled Siamese twins joined at the chest. I wrote a Halloween post about one of the beef-somethings called Graden Creature. Once a beef-something turned red it was tasty, but it required a lot of  trimming of the stem and from the juncture and the distorted twin top.

Visions of my Grampa Jim ran through my mind all summer as I waited for the potato beetle to come and devastate the five plants. Grampa Jim invented the green movement of organic gardening. His method of eliminating the potato beetle was to tour the rows and pick the bugs off the plants by hand. He flicked them into a coffee can with kerosene. Often, when I scoured the shed for nails and tools, I’d look into a coffee can only to find an inch of kerosene in the bottom and a layer of bugs floating on the top. He didn’t waste his cans or kerosene either.

Miraculously the potato bug didn’t arrive in my tiny garden. Last week, during garden cleaning, I finally harvested the potato crop. My heart raced with excitement as I dug for the tubers. Success, I found several under the first plant. These potatoes have a way to go to compete with the Idaho they sprouted from, but it is a start. Look out Idaho, Look out Maine, Grumpa Joe is adding potatoes to his crop.

The 2011 crop

The largest is three inches long, the smallest is the size of a large marble

What is Wrong With This Picture?

I often brag about my garden titled 2011 Monet Vision. I am proud of the scene I’ve created in my own little piece of the world.

Today, I took another photograph for the record. Wait, what is wrong with the photo? Can you tell? This garden is in Frankfort, IL, and it is November 5. The trees are bare, the tall grasses are brown, many of the shrubs have dropped leaves. Dead foliage lays between plants waiting for me to rake and pile them on the mulch heap. The water lilies are dormant as are all the other aquatic plants. So what is different?

The begonias, marigolds, and lobelia are still blooming. Where is the killing frost? By this time in year’s past we have had a killing frost that would take out  the annuals. My breathing must be extra heavy and I’m exhaling too much carbon dioxide. Yeah that’s it. I’m watching too many young women (anyone under sixty qualifies for that) and they are making my heart go pitter-patter and raising my carbon footprint, thus warming the globe.

Yep, that’s it, too much CO2. I have to put the blinders on to make the weather behave more normally. What is normal for November in Frankfort? I Googled temperature records and learned that in 1977 it reached seventy-seven degrees in November. Wow! In 1977 I drove a VW that got 35 mpg. I must have breathed real heavy to outgas that extra CO2 to warm things up that much. The opposite occurred in 1958, the low temperature dipped to “ZERO.” I must have reversed the process and consumed CO2 during that year to effect Global cooling of that magnitude.

Record highs and lows don’t really give us a clear picture of November weather. Averages do a little better. November average temperatures range from 48F high to 32F low. This November has been slightly higher with more days in the fifties, but I’m sure that will change in a few days. Most likely we will catch up with degree days and freeze with colder temps.

So what does all this have to do with the picture? Nothing, it just means that I got lucky this year and got to see my flowers bloom a little longer than in past years.

Here is what 2011 Monet Vision looked like a few weeks ago.

2011 Monet Vision

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