Archive for May 2006

In Memory of Those who Died.

May 29, 2006

Ah, Memorial Day – beginning of summer. Picnics with scorched hot dogs, raw hamburgers, and worn out moms. A holiday. A time for fun and games with the kids. A day when Anericans can forget their maxed out credit cards, and tenuous jobs.

No, it's not that – although that is a typical description of how most people will spend this day. It's really a day when we can do all of the above, and most important, benefit from all the freedom we take for granted. Freedom that was (and is being) bought with the lives of young Americans who have died in many wars.

But wars are not just "things" that happen across seas. War touches everyone, even if bullets are not whizzing past our ears. Quite likely, unless it affected your family, you have never heard of the huge number of soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines who die before they even reach the battlefields.

My brother was one of those. He was a Second Lieutenant in the Army Air Corps – a fighter pilot who flew P-47 "Thunder bolts." He was on his way to England when he hitched a ride on the wrong C-47. It crashed in northern Nebraska, killing 28 pilots. That one week (the first week of August in 1944) fifty-four airmen were killed in unrelated accidents in Nebraska and Iowa alone. Note: Many Army airfields were built in the plains states because the land was so flat it allowed quick and easy construction. Unfortunately, it is also the part of the U.S. which sees the biggest and most dangerous thunderstorms in the summer months – a major cause of air crashes in those days.

In total, from 1941 to 1945, there were 16,000 airmen who died in this country before making it to Europe or the Pacific battle fields. Yet they are almost totally forgotten on this day when we see the thousands of white crosses of Normandy on TV. Their names are not carved in stone, they are not even in archieve records. But we shouldn't forget them – because they were just as much the heroes as those went on to die in foreign countries.

I know I won't forget, because my brother was my idol, and he is just as much responsible for me having the freedom to write this, as anyone else who selflessly gave their lives for this nation.

johnny b.


Great News for Writers! Maybe….

May 22, 2006

This reporter has it from a fairly reliable source (he was mostly sober at the time) that the Harriette Austin Writer's Conference (HAWC) may show a faint pulse and is not quite dead. As you know, Dr. Charles Connor cancelled this year's conference, but not from choice.

For 12 years Connor hosted the HAWC at the UGA Center for Continuing Education, and for 12 years the Center gave him nothing but trouble. It was almost as if they didn't want the conference there at all. Their lack of cooperation and increases in cost grew over the years, until expenses exceeded the income, and Connor had no choice but to kill the conference.

However, my undisclosed source says that the HAWC may be revived, possibly as soon as next year, at a new and more accomodating venue. Keep your fingers (and your word processor) crossed. This conference, which had grown to be the largest of its kind in the southeast, was too valuable to writers, agents, publishers, and teachers to fade away as it did.

Who knows? The HAWC may fly again!

johnny b. 

Idiots at Large

May 21, 2006

Okay. Now, let me get this straight. In order to get English codified as the "official" language of America, we are now going to give Social Security benefits to people who sneaked into our country illegally.

As far as I know, England, France, Germany, Japan and all other countries have not felt it necessary to designate their languages as "official" for their respective countries. And, if I go to those countries to live I must go through the proper procedures to become a citizen and I am expected to speak the language.

We all know that Social Security (because of politicians dipping their greedy paws into the slush fund) IS going to run out of money in the not distant future. So to make it run out faster we now will give it to people who admittedly are in the U.S. illegally! Ah, now I see the logic of this move – it is to secure the vote (yes, illegals can vote) of this growing minority.

If I were in a corrupt, repressive state such as Mexico, I would want to leave also. And now, since I would receive a retirement plan (SSI) and injured worker's benefits, I would have even more incentive to rush over the border illegally.

Every day a more preposterous "plan" comes out of Washington that is even more odious than the one the day before. Am I wrong, or is this the most stupid gathering of idiots to make up the congress in the last fifty years? And, as far as the president and his cabinet goes, every day they dig themselves a little deeper into the hole. What is an ultra-intelligent, classy, diplomatic genius like Condelesa Rice doing iin such a smarmy group?

Let's get rid of the whole bunch (except Condi) and see if we can elect people with at least the intelligence of a bagel to run our country. Better yet, let's elect my mom as President. She'd straighten out this mess in a heartbeat.

johnny b

Random Flatulence

May 14, 2006

Let's be honest here – old people fart. Being an old person myself, I can speak from experience when I say this is not a voluntary action on our part, so it is both unkind and not nice to point at old people and giggle when they let loose with a double-flutter blast while standing in line at the Post Office.

Of course, being a young person, you think this will never happen to you – but it will. And then you will be sorry that you ran from the room at 87 year old Aunt Margaret's birthday party because the green haze had reached from ceiling to knee level. And should you encounter such a situation again – for God's sake, don't strike a match or flick your Bic! A little known fact is that most Senior Citizen 4 alarm fires are caused when someone in the rec room lit off a cigar while everyone was watching reruns of "I love Lucy."

So be kind and ignore this involuntary tendency in your elders. Many of us take pride in the fact that we can both walk and fart at the same time, something you kids won't be able to accomplish for years. It is the only thing left that we can be proud of, so join with us in this celebration of life. It is one way we can tell we are still alive, sometimes the only way.

If you really wish to show your kinder side, the next time you are conversing with grand dad and he lets out with a loud, "Braaaaaaaaaaap," point at the dog and say, "Spot, shame on you!" Grand dad will silently appreciate that generous act on your part.

And that being said, let me wish all of you a Happy Mother's Day. Phewwwwwww, I gotta get out of this little office!

johnny b


May 6, 2006

One thing we have not mentioned in reference to record breaking gasoline prices is this: You can't lay all the blame on the gas producing companies. You may have wondered why the President, or congress, or anybody in politics hasn't done something to relieve the people of these burdensome prices.

It's simple, really. There is no doubt the government needs money. We have the highest indebtedness in history. But, standing at the gas pump watching the dollar digits spin around, we forget that – as gas prices go up, both the national and state revenues go up because both are a precentage of the price YOU pay. Are we naive enough to believe that our government and state officials are going to try REAL HARD to cut those taxes? Actually, if I remember correctly the government treasury received almost as much in increased taxes as the oil producers did in profit.

Of course, the Republicans are going to fix all that with the embarrassing "rebate" of $100 to everyone. By the way, that $100 is taxable so it might pay for a couple of tanks of gas. And the Democrats have never seen a tax they didn't like, so give up any hopes of "help from on high." As I have mentioned before in these rants, it is up to us to cut out any unnecessary use of gas, and the market will take care of the bringing the price down. 

Once again it is up to us as individuals to control our destiny. If you've been sitting around waiting for the government to do that, you must have just arrived from another planet.

johnny b