Tell Me It Isn’t True

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After a twenty week layoff, Peggy and I went to see a movie. She is suffering from hot weather cabin fever, and I am happy being outside. She won, I lost. This was opening day of a suspense film called “Closed Circuit.” She loves mysteries, but she came away from this one totally befuddled, and I came out explaining it to her.

I learned an important Senior Citizen rule today, don’t go to see a movie on opening day. It cost me double the usual norm. I picked up another clue when the description included words like heavy on dialogue. That means there is little to no acting required, but the actors do have to know how to speak. It also means reading the book is probably just as good or even better. This film is from England and the actors Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall were totally strange and new to us. I enjoyed that, in that I didn’t have to leave the film to puke after watching some über liberal Hollywood type spew his communist propaganda in the name of art.

The people we watched might have been the English counterparts to the likes of Matt Damon, or Kevin Spacey, but I didn’t know, so it was a pleasure.

The story remotely centers around England’s love affair with close circuit video cams watching every move of every citizen. I got the impression the Brits have raised “Big Brother is watching you” to a new level. The second peculiarity involved their judicial system which assigned two advocates to side with the accused, I believe it was one from the prosecutors side and one from the defense side, there lies the story. The court assigned a couple who were friends (lovers) before to serve as advocates. The former lovers, now advocates, were not allowed to talk to each other nor meet with each other during, or after hours during the investigation and the trial. The need to remain silent and away from each other allowed some unusual body language and discomfort to occur between the two.

The case deals with an act of terrorism that involved National Security so everything the advocates did had to be behind closed and locked doors. They had to lock any notes they made on paper, or a computer in a safe before leaving the office.

The suspense occurs when the advocates independently realize a government cover-up involving their notorious M I 5. The mystery ramps up as the two begin to meet and plot ways to expose the government without becoming murder victims themselves. I give the Brits some credit, I did not see a gun on any of the characters throughout the story. I did see them use the old-fashioned mafia weapon of a cable strung around a neck from behind. It is quite effective, and less messy than a bloody gunshot wound. I wonder if they are marching to ban cable in England.

This story kept me riveted to my seat, because I did not want to miss a word of dialog. Not even my lousy hearing aids nor my bursting bladder got me to move. The actors did a fine job of convincing me of their humanity, and the bad guys did an effective job convincing me of their evil intentions.

The feeling I came away with after this film was that British writers are just as uneasy about their government and agencies as I am about mine. I felt the story could have been true and very real. It also made me wonder how many times the good old USA has covered up similar phony incidents.

Since I am a conspiracy theorist I loved this story, however, I believe Liberals will hate it because it exposes the dangers of big government and Big Brother.

Flavia, Feely, and Daffy?

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The system I use to select reading material at the library has steered me into murder mysteries. For the second time in a row, I selected a book based upon its cover art, and both times the stories were mysteries.

I don’t really like murder stories, but I read this one because it was good. The premise is a little far-fetched, but entertaining. The book I selected this week is “Speaking From Among the Bones” by Alan Bradley. What I found a little suspect is the character who solves the mystery. In this story, Flavia de Luce is a precocious girl of eleven years who is the detective who out shines the local constabulary to solve the crime. I found the read somewhat Harry Potter like in that the central character is dauntless.

The story takes place in a small town in England during the nineteen fifties. The characters surrounding Flavia like her sisters with names like Feely, a nickname for Ophelia, and Daffy, a nickname for Daphne all have unique English names, and add to the entertainment of the story.

The story centers around the discovery of a dead body during the exhumation of a local Saint Tancred who is buried under the church named after him. What ever, the stretch of the imagination is Saint Tancred being uncovered on the five hundred anniversary of his death. The reason, to collect relics and to determine the condition of the body. Rumor has it that true Saints do not decompose and emit a heavenly scent when exhumed. The surprise comes when the committee exhuming Saint Tancred discovers the recently disappeared church organist in the chamber immediately above that of Saint Tancred.

The story becomes more involved when Flavia uncovers that an ancient monk left notes in his diary describing a huge diamond known as the Heart of Lucifer set into the Shepard Crook that lay with him.

As I said above the idea that an eleven year old is so astute to solve this crime is somewhat unbelievable, I have a ten-year old grand-daughter who is smart as a whip but cannot compare to Flavia de Luce.

One of the factors which drew me to this book is the bicycle on the cover art. I am a bicyclist and must admit that cycling reigns supreme above my old car fetish. In the story, Flavia rides a bike she named Gladys. Gladys is a character, but thankfully not a principal.

Author Alan Bradley did an outstanding job of creating the character of Flavia and I never imagined her as anything except a brilliant (genius) girl. The setting for the story is perfect for the year and the characters involved. Bradley’s descriptive writing made me see the story in my mind as it unfolded. Flavia and Harry Potter are similar, although Flavia is not a witch or a sorcerer.

My assessment of this book, is that I spent my time wisely, and it left me wanting more.

 

Hacked?

Behind the ear aid

Behind the ear aid (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A strange thing happened to me yesterday which drove me crazy. Since I recently reached middle age, I can admit that one of my physical deficiencies is poor hearing. My love-hate relationship with a pair of world renown Siemens hearing aids began three and a half years ago. I love my aids when they work, and I hate them when they do not, or are marginal at best.

This day, they worked. Peg and I sat having lunch within a few feet of our TV listening to news as we usually do. The house was cool, but not cold, while the outside temperature stood at ninety-two degrees. I spent the morning working on the 2013 Monet Vision and came in rather sweaty, but by the time we had lunch I felt dry.

My aids sent me a string of tones of unusual sequence. The electronics will send me a set of four notes running down the scale when a battery dies, but this one was entirely different it went up and then flat. Within a few seconds of the alarm, the aids shut down. I didn’t panic immediately, I just pressed the button on the right aid and turned them back on. The two devices respond to each other wirelessly. Within a few seconds I got another set of tones and a shut down. Oh, oh I thought, this is not good. This time I pushed the button on the left side and they turned back on, but without the usually tonal ping that says ‘I am on” yet in deed, both aids were on. The signal tones and shut-downs lasted for a good ten minutes as I played with the buttons and the aids continued to communicate with each. Peggy thought I was going crazy. I left the table to install a new set of batteries. Nothing changed, they continued to shut down after sending tones from one ear to the other in various notes.

I removed the faulty aids and installed my new MSA30X sound amplifiers that I bought from a TV ad for $47.95. WOW! They do amplify. They do such a good job, I could hear every sound 30 times louder than normal even though I had them turned down to low. Background noises are the worst, and Peg’s voice still unintelligible. I couldn’t take these new aids either.

I spent the rest of the afternoon reading in wonderful silence. By the evening hour I decided to try using one aid alone. Since the right one seemed to respond more normally, I put it in and turned it on. It worked, and I didn’t get the Mexican Hat Dance playing before shutdown.

This morning I reversed the order and used only the left unit, it worked. After two hours of trouble free function, I installed the right unit. I turned them both on, and experienced wonderful stereo sound again. So far, they are still functioning (knock on wood), and I am back in the “love” phase.

All I can deduce is that the NSA read my boring e-mails, and because they didn’t find anything incriminating they went one step further to hack into my head through my hearing aids. What other explanation can there be?

Obama Supporters Will Go Hysterical Over This Well Sourced List Of 252 Examples Of His Lying, Lawbreaking, Corruption, Cronyism, Etc.

This is an amazing documentation of ways the President has abused his office.

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Dan from Squirrel Hill’s blog

I ask you to please show this list to as many people as possible – and especially, to please show it to as many Obama supporters as possible. Sunshine really is the best disinfectant. I can’t stop Obama from doing any of these horrible things, but I can tell people about what he is doing. So please share this list with others on Facebook, Twitter, etc. Thank you. The short link for this is http://tinyurl.com/ku9vxug

Every President, every politician, and every human being tells lies and engages in acts of hypocrisy. But Barack Obama does these things to a far greater degree than anyone else that I have ever known of. His campaign promises were so much better sounding than anyone else’s – no lobbyists in his administration, waiting five days before signing all non-emergency bills so people would have time to read them, putting…

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Just For Laughs

I love it when people send me stuff, especially when it involves a bunch of guys amusing themselves because they are bored to tears with their job.

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Do think he hitched a ride?

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Ah Yes! nothing like a dunk on a hot day

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Why won’t this thing get off the ground?

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Clever, I wonder if he sucked anyone into his ploy.

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These guys look a little too Chinese for me

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Big Boy Toys

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I hope he misses his foot.

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Fly in the wind.

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My favorite

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Do you think the ass held still during the shooting?

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An instruction manual?

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Trusty Spotter

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Just a friendly joust

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Bean powered missle

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A new way to play war?

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I hope that hand bag doesn’t weigh as much as Peggy’s

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Mooning Muslims in broad daylight

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Murder, Kidnapping, Intrigue

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Finally, I finished another book that is not political. I found this book in the Frankfort library using the same system I used in Arizona this winter; walk in, scan the new releases, and take the first book that catches my eye. This time it was the cover art for a book titled The Yellow Packard. I immediately knew it involved old cars, and probably was about the period in history that matched the car.

The Packard car remains in my memory as one of the classier cars on the road. The styling characteristic that turned me on was the grill. Packard spewed elegance, opulence, speed and class.  One of the most popular customers for the Packard were funeral homes, they used them for hearses, flower cars, and limo’s.  I guess having your last ride in a Packard meant one had finally made it to the big time.

Once I began reading, the book held my interest until I completed it two days later.

The author, Ace Collins is someone I never heard of, but upon reading his bio it surprised me to learn he has sixty published novels. Collins is a master of character development, and his writing allows the reader to see what is happening throughout. He does an amazing job with details about the depression era.

I won’t get into details about the plot, because it is a mystery and talking about the plot may spoil the mystery. The plot has many sub-plots expertly woven into the main story. The central theme of the story details how people’s lives changed after the yellow Packard enters their lives. Some of the changes are very positive, and others not so.  Even though the Packard is an inanimate object, in this story the car has a life and becomes as central a character as the people who come to own it.

It was delightful not to read any foul language, nor be titillated by sexual content. Keeping true to form to the depression era the language and morals of the country were much different from what they are today. In fact, I enjoyed the story more because it was clean.

I thought Collins wrapped up the story in a comical way when he did a Perry Mason like ending with all the people who owned the Yellow Packard assembled in one place for a recap of the clues that allowed the FBI to solve the kidnapping, and to unveil of a surprise mystery.

This book is a must read for mystery fans, old car nuts like me, and those who want to learn what it was like during the First Great Depression, or for anyone who enjoys a genuine good story.

Who Needs Uncle?

Twenty years ago Frankfort Illinois was still a small town out in the country. Today, Frankfort is still a relatively small town (Pop ~16.000) but the big city has expanded to reach it from three sides. The south suburbs of Chicago touch us on the north and east, the suburbs of Joliet reach us on the west, but the south end of town is still wide open farm land with horse farms and gentrified farmers who commute to the city. Even though the population has exploded by five times in the past twenty years the small town feel remains.

Frankfort has many traditions and institutions. One institution is Camp Manitoqua established in 1955, but whose roots go back to Chief Manitoqua of the Potawatomi Indians. Manitoqua is a Reformed Church summer camp that ministers to the surrounding area. A newer institution which has become a fixture within Camp Manitoqua is a group called Camp Quality. Camp Quality began in Australia in 1983 and expanded to the USA in 1986 as a respite for kids with cancer. The camp specializes in giving kids with cancer a new life. They do an amazing  job of making these kids who are on chemo, radiation, and in many cases their last days forget their disease. Volunteers staff Camp Quality, and the need grows every year.

The Frankfort Car Club began in 1976. Car Club members  love cars: old, new, fast, and loud. The car club has many charitable functions like awarding scholarships to Lincoln Way High School students headed into the automotive field, they collect food for the township food pantry, or by matching each dollar collected for the pantry on Cruise nights. As an example, last Thursday evening they anted 500 dollars to match the amount donated that evening from the visitors to Cruise Night.

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The car club began a new tradition a few years ago in cahoots with Camp Quality. They give the kids a ride in a hot rod.

Here is a quote from the car club press release for their event with Camp Quality:

 ” The Frankfort Car Club put quite a few smiles on the faces of kids with cancer who are attending what is called CAMP Quality. The group takes over Camp Manitoqua facilities for a week and provides many and varied activities. Our car club gathers up 60-80 cars and parades to the camp where we load up with the kids who pick out their ride. Off we go with Frankfort Police Department escort service over about a 10 mile run south of town. Upon return we enjoy some ice cream donated by Culver’s of Tinley Park. It is our privilege to give these kids a night to remember and wish them well on their return to good health.”

A friend from the car club sent these photos of the event.

First the Club gathers in downtown Frankfort:

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Then they parade to Camp Manitoqua:

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They regroup at the camp:

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The kids pick out a ride

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Everyone blows off steam with an escorted ten mile ride on the roads south of town.

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Finally, they all come back to Camp Manitoqua for. . .

ICE CREAM!!!!!

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Thank you Frankfort Car Club for providing smiles to a courageous bunch of kids.

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