Highway 431 Blog

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year! ::

We're wishing everyone a safe and Happy New Year, but it's starting off badly for some on Hwy 431 this evening. I was coming back from town just a very short while ago and there is a very bad accident in the southbound lanes of 431 just south of the New Hope stop light at Oak Grove Road. Traffic is being routed over to the northbound lanes so the back-up is pretty bad and the rescue squad is involved. Not a good sign!

I turn right onto Oak Grove to get home and luckily I was able to make the turn. I initially thought that I would have to go back to New Hope and take the long way around.

[update]

Sadly,1 teenager was killed in the crash. From this morning's Huntsville Times:



A teenager is dead and five others are in the hospital tonight after a two-car accident in New Hope.

The boy, whose name was not immediately available, died at the scene of the 6 p.m. wreck at U.S. 431 and Oakgrove Road.

John Walling, 17, a passenger in the vehicle, was taken by MedFlight to Huntsville Hospital with potentially life-threatening injuries, said HEMSI Chief Operations Officer Don Webster.

The backseat passenger, 15-year-old Briana Nelson, was taken by HEMSI to Huntsville Hospital for Women and Children. The two passengers were both from New Hope, Webster said.

Three people in the other vehicle, a Ford F250, were also taken to Huntsville Hospital. Vickie Gray, 41, and her two children -- 7-year-old Jericka and 9-year-old Jadia -- all suffered from non-life-threatening injuries.

There was immediate word on the cause of the accident.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2008 According To Jib-Jab ::



But, more importantly, where did my header go?

[update] Seems that the remote server which hosts my header image is down right now, hopefully not for long!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Winding Down 2008! ::

And we have 22 days of The Shrub left!

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas and holiday season and we're looking forward to a Happy (and safe) New Year.

I'll be interested to see how the holiday shopping season shakes out. I actually wound up spending more than usual, but the big purchase was a 32" HiDef television to replace one of my 19 year old RCAs. I tried, and I hope succeeded, to get some educational gifts for the grandkids. I think this is the first year I haven't gotten them any books, but I'll send them some reading material throughout the year. Savannah has become interested in music so we gave her J.'s Guthrie guitar in hopes she will become the musical one in the family. Before her accident J. did a mighty Janis Joplin imitation on stage and we spent many fine nights around a campfire with the guitar accompanying a sign-along. When she had the accident the subclavian artery from her heart to her left arm was torn in half which necessitated an arterial graft. Unfortunately the nerve which controls the left vocal cord wraps around this artery and was cut in the process so she has a permanently paralyzed vocal cord and her singing days on stage are over.

I'm wandering again and losing track of why I started this post. I was in the local Wal-Mart garden (read Christmas) shop earlier this evening and didn't expect to see much left on the shelves. Normally when the holiday merchandise is put on deep discount after Christmas the shelves empty very quickly, but this year seems to be much different and there are still an awful lot of holiday decorations on the shelves. This seems to say more to me about this economy we are experiencing than anything else I have noticed!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Merry Christmas To All! ::



It's A Wonderful Life just started and tomorrow will bring 24 hours of Ralphie in A Christmas Story.

This is a really tough year for a lot of people. I did some volunteer work at a couple of charities earlier and I got some small idea of just how many people need help this year.

One of my co-workers had car problems earlier this week and this will set him back just under $1,000, but he is without the car until this next Monday. His mother has been undergoing intensive cancer treatments for many months and this unexpected problem just added more angst to his psyche. D. will be ok and his friends and family will help take care of what he needs to do over the next few days.

Another co-worker told me earlier this afternoon that his wife had been laid off from her hospital job this past Monday. Crappy news on Christmas week but they'll be ok. A. is also in nursing school which is one of the few career paths offering growth opportunities.

The owner of the company I work for is noted for his Christmas gifts to employees and he generally spares little expense. This year he asked if any of the employees would object to a generous donation to a charitable organization in lieu of our normal Christmas surprise and if there were any objections I don't know of them. I hope we were able to make some small difference in some peoples lives!

Anyway, I hope that everyone has a very Merry Christmas and a safe and Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Another Sad Closing!



I seldom get up around the North Parkway, but I took a drive up to Tennessee this afternoon and came across this sign. I love old hardware stores and there are few left anymore driven out by the sterility of Lowes and Home Depot!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Will BRAC Save Huntsville From The Recession? ::

I was struck by the headline in The Huntsville Times earlier in the week regarding Tommy Battle's feeling that the incoming BRAC jobs should insulate the city from the effects of the recession.

Mayor Tommy Battle said Wednesday the city should pull out of the economic recession earlier than most communities because of the growth headed here with new BRAC jobs.

Battle predicted that Huntsville's economy will begin to rebound in 2010, when the bulk of military jobs from the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission decisions start arriving in Huntsville.

"Do we have challenges? Yes. But with every challenge is an opportunity, too," Battle told 1,200 business and civic leaders at the Von Braun Center during his first State of the City address.

(added emphasis is mine)

I'm struck by Battle's understatement on the challenges faced by the city and county. There are 2 major problems that immediately leap to my mind regarding the coming influx of people.

The first is the traffic situation and there seems to be little movement in addressing this issue. Anyone who has done any driving around the city in the past few weeks during this holiday season can attest to the gridlock on the streets. Building overpasses on the parkway may help a bit although I continue to be amazed by how inane the construction schedules are, but the parkway is nothing more than a feeder system to the secondary streets and little is being done on these streets to alleviate the traffic although the Governor's Drive project is immensely helpful.

The State of Alabama finds itself in a serious proration situation and the schools are going to suffer immensely yet our school systems are not equipped to handle the influx of new students. I like the idea of consolidation, but question whether or not this is a feasible answer to the problem right now. I have never had children in the Huntsville school system so I'm watching this from the sidelines, but I foresee a lot of problems in this area simply due to the lack of money, not to mention planning.

I have also been struck by the boom in housing construction in the past couple of years in anticipation of the incoming BRAC jobs. If one drives around Huntsville and the surrounding communities there is ample evidence that a lot of new developments were started, but due to the current economic situation are sitting idle with utility connections sticking out of the ground! For some odd reason I have long scanned the foreclosure listings in The Huntsville Times and I have begun to notice a lot of foreclosure of development property. This is not surprising and will probably get worse into 2009 with a lot of local developers going belly up. I would not be surprised to see some of the well-known local companies closing their doors in 2009!

I was also struck by Battle's comments about the scavenging of workers:

Only about 20 percent of displaced BRAC workers, most from northern Virginia, are expected to transfer with the jobs, he said. The remaining 4,000 will be filled with local workers or employees recruited from elsewhere.

He warned businesses of work-force challenges caused by companies raiding each other to replace employees who leave for government jobs created by BRAC.
"As soon as they move over, you have to go to someone else and steal someone, or they may steal from you," he said, stirring chuckles.


I have already seen this begin to happen with at least 2 people I know leaving NASA for the Army and I have some friends hoping for offers from companies doing contract work for the Army.

Amid all of these serious problems the city administration is concerned with decorating trees and shrubs along Cecil Ashburn Drive!

Christmas functions have been particularly challenging, he said, starting with his ban of roadside Christmas tree decorating along busy Cecil Ashburn Drive. "We got called a Grinch on that one," he said.


Grinch indeed!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Earnest Nunley, One Fat Cowboy, Update ::

I got a short e-mail from Earnest yesterday on one of my more obscure e-mail accounts and apparently he is recovering nicely after his bypass surgery and is still planning to complete his ride across the country! We're wishing him the best!

The original post about Earnest, Snowey and the trip is here.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

More Rain! ::

I wish the rain could be spread out a bit more throughout the year! I have always been curious about the statistics spouted by the weathermen about the rainfall deficit. They always put forward this as a yearlong deficit when I think that a much more accurate measure would be a monthly measure, especially during the growing season and even then the statistics should be weighted toward specific crops since cotton requires a different rainfall amount than, say corn, for an optimum yield.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Actions And Consequences! ::



The road I live on runs, for a bit, alongside the Paint Rock River before dead-ending at a farm. This morning I decided to drive down there to see how high the water is after the heavy rains of the past week. I really wanted to get down there right after the rains but I leave for work before dawn and get home after dark so this was my first opportunity. The water is still very high, but there doesn't seem to have been any damage.

It's not unusual to see deer when I drive down this road and this morning was no exception. This little doe was in the road when I came around a curve and startled her. She jumped over into this bramble pile and stood still while I got my camera and snapped this photo. Just behind her is a hog wire fence and when she tried to jump it she got her left hind leg hung up in the vines and the fence and couldn't get loose. All I had with me was my pocket knife and I tried to cut her loose with that, but she was trying to get loose from the fence and away from me and I couldn't free her. I live just about a mile away so I rushed home and got my wire cutters. She was still hung up when I got back, but I snipped the wire around her legs and she took off running up the side of the mountain. I don't think she was injured. I was really worried about her leg but she seemed to be ok although she was favoring it a bit while she ran.

My fingers are crossed that she is ok tonight!

Civil Disobedience ::



There are a few decorated trees on Cecil Ashburn Dr. but nothing like last year. I had to run back up there this morning to photograph the tree of flags!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Dining Out Updated ::

Promoted from comments!

From Tim:

Thanks for the info. I will be awaiting the arrival of a more professional local restaurant. The Chef's Table over Cecil-Ashburn is an excellent restaurant. Locally owned and operated, it provides high quality food for a relatively low price. A few other restaurants have opened recently in Jones Valley but none deliver the service or quality of The Chef's Table.


The Chef's Table was previously in a tiny location on South Parkway and one of my co-workers has long raved about both the food and service. I have yet to try them out, but they are on my radar!

And this from an anonymous tipster:


You need to try "Around Your Table". It is right next door to the Art Store in Hampton Cove. It is execellent.


This is in the little strip center next to the Wal-Mart. I didn't even know "Around Your Table" was there until this past weekend when I drove through there just to see was was available. I'm glad to see a very positive review of it and I'll be trying it out soon.

Enjoy your dining out!


Saturday, December 6, 2008

New Dining Opportunities Around Hampton Cove ::

Here's a comment from Tim promoted from a comment on another post:

Unrelated to this post, but relevant to previous dialogue, Hampton Cove is getting a steakhouse. I saw the building site in front of Lowe's, but I don't remember what franchise it was. It was a well known business. I don't eat out much because I prefer to cook, but I think a nearby steakhouse might be worth it. Owens Cross Roads is moving up in the world, though that may not be what many residents are hoping for.


Here's a photo of Santa Fe under construction:



Also on the other side of 431 is a new little place called Carsons. I haven't tried it out yet, but it looks like it could become a local watering spot!



Last, but not least, someone has reopened the little coffee shop:



[update] Both Carson's and Cafe Domain are difficult to see from the road, but they're both in the little area behind the Exxon station where the Pizza Hut is.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Alabama Football ::

I generally have no dogs in this hunt since I passed my misspent college years at Clemson U., but I always pull for whichever Alabama team has the best shot at a good record which, of course, is U. of Alabama this year and I will continue to do so in the SEC championship game, but I'm really curious about why Alabama doesn't get more respect in the quest for the national championship. Alabama is undefeated but still the underdog to Florida this weekend. All of the talk is about Florida, Texas and Oklahoma while Alabama seems to be unfairly marginalized as a potential national champion. I don't understand!

I'm not that much of a football fan, but I do watch a few games each year and I'll be pulling for Alabama this weekend; probably with a cold adult beverage in my hand!

Let me also add that I'm saddened by the news that Tommy Tuberville was let go today. I have come to understand the politics of big-time college football, especially in Alabama, but I was still surprised that he was cut loose as I always thought he was a class act as well as a good athletic motivator!

I wish Tommy Tuberville the best and I'm sure he will not be lacking in discretionary funds for quite some time!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Decorating Cecil Ashburn Drive ::



Seems as though the city of Huntsville is playing Grinch this year regarding the short lived tradition of decorating the trees and bushes along Cecil Ashburn Drive although I did see one tree yesterday that was fully decorated. I loved driving over the mountain during the holiday season enjoying the eclectic decorations and I'm surprised by the vehemence of those who are opposed.

The above photograph was not taken during the Christmas season, but rather in August.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Bad Evening To Be On The Road! ::

Normally every day I come home to New Hope via Hobbs Island Rd. which is a frightening road under most circumstances. This evening I got to my turn onto Oak Grove Rd. and could see all sorts of flashing blue, yellow, and red lights further up Hobbs Island. I got home, picked up J. to take her to work and there was another significant accident at Hobbs Island and Hwy. 431. We got up to the stop light at Owens Crossroads and on the little side road to the right an 18 wheeler was trying to make a turn and his load shifted. They had to bring in a crane and a big wrecker for that. I dropped off J. at work and at the foot of the mountain at Sutton Road I could see more flashing blue, yellow, and red lights. I don't know what was going on there and someone just a few minutes ago told me that there was a motorcycle accident somewhere this side of Monte Sano.

The police will be busy with reports tonight!

This leads me to an editorial comment! I cringe every time I see bicycle riders riding on Hobbs Island Rd. I have been driving this road for years having lived down at Honeycomb a few years ago. I try to drive the speed limit and be careful, but far to many people are impatient and pass where they shouldn't be thinking of passing. Speeding is a huge problem, not to mention the big trucks hauling sand from the river operation. This is just one hugely dangerous road and seeing bicycle riders on this road just scares the crap out of me!

[shaking my head over spam] Looks like even blogger is not immune to spam given the comment down below. My mantra: "There must be a special place in HELL for spammers!"

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Monday Update On Earnest Nunley ::

From my anonymous friend in comments:

EARNEST IS IN EMORY CRAWFORD LONG HOSPITAL ATLANTA GA. DUE TO HAVE OPEN HEART SURGERY MONDAY NOV. 24, POSSIBLE 4 BYPASSES WE HAVE NOT SPOKEN TO EARNEST SINCE SATURDAY. MY HUSBAND SPOKE TO HIS SON SUNDAY NOV. 23 EVERYONE PLEASE KEEP EARNEST IN YOUR PRAYERS.


I just spoke with Craword Long Hospital and Earnest is in room 2107 in the intensive care unit. I will be sending him a card and I would like for a lot of people to do the same. Crawford Long's address is:

Emory Crawford Long Hospital
550 Peachtree St, NE
Atlanta, GA 30308

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Iron Bowl 2008 ::

Coming up next Saturday! I was up around Gurley yesterday taking a few photographs and snapped this:

Friday, November 21, 2008

An Update On Earnest Nunley ::

I got this e-mail today:

Anonymous said...

Fred this is a friend of Earnest just to let you know some up dates Earnest is in the hospital Ga possible heart attack my husband spoke to Earnest today friday nov. 21 around noon. please keep Earnest in your prayers




And I am thinking of Earnest and Snowey this evening hoping for the best.

Anonymous poster: Keep updating me on any new news in comments to the posts about Earnest. When you post a comment I get an automated e-mail with your comments and I will continue to update here with any new news!

Oh yeah, here's the original post about Earnest, Snowey, and the quest!

And we're wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Beautiful Night ::

Cold and clear down here at the country mansion in New Hope. The night sky is beautiful and the International Space Station and Space Shuttle Endeavour should fly overhead the next 2 nights. I'll post the schedule tomorrow evening, but if you're adventurous you can find it at NASA's Human Spaceflight web site.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Fixin' Some Turnip Greens ::

While running errands this morning I decided I needed some greens to cook this weekend so I went by this little barber shop off Clinton Avenue where the owner always has good fall greens. I got a huge bunch of Turnip greens for $4.50 and they're cooking right now. He didn't have any Mustard greens yet so I'll check back in a couple of weeks. Normally I cook half and half: half Turnip and half Mustard.

If anyone reading this wants to know where to find some good greens at a good price just go north on Clinton to Cemetery Street. Turn right and there is a little barber shop on the right and the owner sells the greens. I've been buying from here for a couple of years and have never been disappointed!

He also has sweet potatoes. I don't particularly like sweet potatoes so I haven't tried his, but I may stop back in next weekend to pick up a couple for a Thanksgiving pie.

As an aside, my birthday is on Thanksgiving day this year. I was born on Thanksgiving day 61 years ago! I think the whole family will be here for dinner and I look forward to seeing all of the grandkids at one time!

Another Of Life's Little Mysteries! ::

Why can I never find a stapler when I need one?

Never mind-I found it, but it's out of staples!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans Day

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Alabama Football! ::

I'm not much of a football fan, but I'm watching the Alabama/LSU game just went into overtime. I have no clear favorites in the state of Alabama but I will pull for the team which has a credible shot at a national championship which is, right now of course, the Crimson Tide!

[update] Alabama punches it into the endzone to win!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Dinner! ::

Every couple of weeks I stop in G&G Pizza in New Hope for take-out dinner which will last us a couple of days. I did it again tonight and I recommend them highly! I've never been disappointed.



I took this photograph about 3 weeks ago early on one morning when the area had a lot of fog. I liked it!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Vivian Figures Loses Badly ::

Too late out of the gate and no legs on the campaign!

Arab Going To Hell!

Looks like they voted for alcohol sales! That'll drive the bible thumpers mad!

Voting On This Historic Day! ::

J. and I got to our polling place at the New Hope city hall this morning at about 6:45 am and there was already a nice line forming around the building. The poll opened at 7 am and the line moved nicely and we were out by 7:30am. I was very happy to see the turnout that early and I imagine that it evened out during the day. I drove by just about 20 minutes ago and there were still people inside waiting to vote.

I'm looking forward to the returns coming in this evening and, so far, I am encouraged about an Obama victory. I have no illusions about which way Alabama will break, but I sincerely hope that the margins are much narrower than projected.

On my way to work I drove by my old polling place in south Huntsville and the road was lined with cars which meant that the ample parking lot was full.

I am really looking forward to seeing the demographics in Huntsville and surrounding areas.

Election Day ::

In the words of Walt Whitman:

If I should need to name, O Western World, your powerfulest scene and show,

'Twould not be you, Niagara - nor you, ye limitless prairies - nor your huge rifts of canyons, Colorado,

Nor you, Yosemite - nor Yellowstone, with all its spasmic geyserloops ascending to the skies, appearing and disappearing,

Nor Oregon's white cones - nor Huron's belt of mighty lakes - nor Mississippi's stream:

This seething hemisphere's humanity, as now, I'd name - the still small voice vibrating -America's choosing day...


[quote snagged from DailyKos!]

A New Spam Attack Begins ::

I am just now beginning to see the start of a new spam attack on my g-mail account and before the day is over I will probably have deleted several hundred e-mails. I hope there is a special place in hell for whomever propagates these things!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Voting Tomorrow ::

I'm going in to work late tomorrow so we can vote early tomorrow morning. I don't think there will be any problems with lines at our location, but early morning will work best for me and J. I had hoped to help out at Dem headquarters tomorrow afternoon with giving rides to the polls, but that is looking pretty grim right now. I have a morning meeting and had to accept an afternoon meeting tommorow so that would severely limit any time I have available as I have to get J. to work by 6pm. If the afternoon meeting is canceled I'm going to take the afternoon off and offer my services.

Robocalls ::

Let's see. I got them at work today from Parker Griffith, Wayne Parker, and Bill Clinton. Got them at home today from Griffith, Deborah Bell Paseur, and one that was barely intelligible. I have to say that no matter who they're from they're irritating!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Earnest Nunley-One Fat Cowboy! ::

I was heading toward Huntsville yesterday afternoon when I saw this guy on horseback leading a packhorse. I didn't have time to stop then to ask if I could take a photograph, but on the way back in an hour of so I drove halfway to Guntersville futilely looking for him. I figured that he was on some sort of quest and I was curious.

I had to run to the store this morning and I saw his horse at my neighbor Mike's place. I had to unload some things and by that time he had gotten on the road, but I caught him just before he got to Hwy. 431 and I had a few minutes to talk with him and take a few photographs.



His name is Earnest Nunley and he is riding his horse, Snowey, to San Francisco. Here, in his own words, are his reasons for making the trip:

Hi!!
I 'm One Fat Cowboy (Ernest Nunley) and this is my horse Snowey.

I am traveling across America by horseback.
Please, keep the children for whom I am riding,
Snowey and myself in your prayers.
We have alot of rough miles ahead of us.
After completing 400 miles of our journey,
we have 3100 miles left to go.
Just me and my horse against the elements,
with no comforts of home.

Hopefully, this trip will accomplish several goals:

*Bring awareness that there are still way too many children
suffering from Catastrophic diseases and cancer,
as did four of my family members,
whom did not live to adulthood.

*Not all children that need help are physically
or mentally ill, but have parents that are too self involved.

*That you are the one who can make a difference,
by the donation of your time and/or money,
to the different charities, organizations or churches
that provide services for these children.

*To honor the memory of all the children who have succumbed
to childhood cancer and other illnesses like my family members.

As for me personally, it will give me a chance to meet people
and talk about my favorite subjects. Those subjects being
children and horses. It will, also, reunite me with my brother in
California that I have not seen in 17 years.
I will, also, join the ranks of a very few, in recent times,
that have ridden horseback from coast to coast.

The only way I can accomplish this is
with God's help through you.
Any donations, horse food, use of pasture,
food, board, cash, etc. will be appreciated!

I am not affiliated with any charity or group
so anything you give is strictly to help Snowey and Myself
complete this Quest.


Earnest has a web site, onefatcowboy.com, where you can make a donation to help him on his trip. Consider tossing him a few bucks to help him out on his journey!



[postscript]

I meant to also say that Earnest was getting ready to head south on Hwy 431 toward Guntersville, Albertville, and points south, but he always needs a place to stay and to stable and feed his horses. If you see him on the road and can offer a night at your inn please do so!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Drastically Underemployed In Huntsville ::

Tristero at Hullabaloo had a post on this early this morning and I couldn't pass on commenting given the local flavor, especially given the Nobel announcements earlier.

In a couple of months, Roger Y. Tsien and Martin Chalfie will head to Stockholm to collect the Nobel Prize in Chemistry and $450,000 each in prize money in recognition of their development of a revolutionary technique that lights up the inner workings of living cells.

Meanwhile, the scientist who provided the essential piece that made Dr. Tsien’s and Dr. Chalfie’s work possible — a jellyfish gene that produces a fluorescent protein — is out of science.

Douglas C. Prasher, who conducted his research on the Aequorea victoria jellyfish while at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts in the early 1990s, now drives a courtesy van for a car dealer in Huntsville, Ala., earning $10 an hour. He said he was not bitter or jealous of this year’s winning chemistry Nobelists: Dr. Tsien of the University of California, San Diego, Dr. Chalfie of Columbia and Osamu Shimomura, the original discoverer of the jellyfish protein in 1961.

Trained as a biochemist, Dr. Prasher, 57, was interested in the chemistry of how certain animals are able to glow. In the late 1980s, he applied to the National Institutes of Health for a five-year grant to track down the fluorescent protein gene.

Dr. Prasher said his proposal included speculation on how the fluorescent protein might be used as a beacon to light up structures in cells. “That would have certainly been part of my research program,” Dr. Prasher said. “I knew it could serve as a genetic marker and it would be really, really useful, which it has turned out to be.”

That application was turned down. A parallel proposal to the American Cancer Society succeeded, giving Dr. Prasher only two years of financing, enough time to isolate the gene, but not pursue any applications.

By then, however, Dr. Prasher had decided that Woods Hole was not the place for him. Instead of going through the tenure process — he thought he would be turned down, anyway — he looked for a new job. Dr. Chalfie and Dr. Tsien independently contacted Dr. Prasher asking about the jellyfish gene. Dr. Prasher generously shared the gene with both of them.

Dr. Prasher then worked for the United States Department of Agriculture, first on Cape Cod and later in Beltsville, Md., developing methods for identifying pests and other insects. Again, he was not happy, experiencing the beginning of bouts of depression. “I was not happy with management there, so I looked for another position,” he said.

His next move was to Huntsville, where he worked for a NASA subcontractor that was developing mini-chemistry laboratories, which would be needed as health diagnostic tools for a potential human flight to Mars. Dr. Prasher loved that job, but NASA eliminated the financing for the project. For family reasons, he stayed in Huntsville, which restricted his opportunities. “The amount of life science done here is very limited,” he said.

The depression returned. “That’s been a serious problem off and on, but anyone who doesn’t have a job has that problem,” Dr. Prasher said. “If they don’t, there’s a problem with them. Or they’re independently wealthy.”

After a year of unemployment, he started driving the van for Bill Penney Toyota, his job for the last year and a half.


The above was snagged from Hullabaloo, but the entire NY Times article is here.

I'll be curious to see of The Huntsville Times has anything on Dr. Prasher's situation!

Dealing With Plants In The Fall ::

Moving plants in the fall is always a dilemma for me. I will be taking some to work, but the larger ones sometime pose problems. A couple of years ago I gave a couple of Dracenas to a friend who has a music room with 10 foot ceilings as they were touching the top of my ceilings at home. Now they live in a very well lit room along with a parlor grand piano. The small Dracenas I have left are easily incorporated into my great room, but I'm curious to see what will happen with the Philodendron. I bought it about 3 years old as in a 4 or 6 inch pot for about $4. I take great pleasure in getting small inexpensive plants and growing them to maturity. I have a beautiful Amaryllis which I have been babying for probably 5 years and it is just now really becoming an interesting plant.

The 2 year old Boston Fern has been moved into the garage, but I'm not sure what to do with the Staghorn Ferns other than to put them into the garage for now. I have 3 which I have also grown, over a period of time, from very small plants. I may combine the 3 in moss next spring in one big hanger. Something to consider over the winter!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Obama Yard Signs And Bumper Stickers ::

Yesterday afternoon I drove up to Hollywood and Stevenson chasing both light and pixels hoping to produce some new photographs. I found a bit of each and I also found some Obama signs in downtown Stevenson. I hadn't been up in that area for a long, long time. I was disappointed that downtown Scottsboro was less photogenic than I remembered, but I did get an image or two in Stevenson although I'm not particularly happy with them and I will have to go back when the light is better. Here is one I shot which I will have to look at some in judgment:



I'm struck by how much we speed by on 4 lane blacktops without slowing down to take the side trips where the really interesting scenes are found, but I have lost my train of thought and my original reason for this post.

I saw several Obama yard signs in Stevenson and the Democratic headquarters in Scottsboro was in a great location where traffic should be great. I had to stop at the Piggly Wiggly in New Hope this afternoon for a quick purchase and found a car, other than mine, with an Obama bumper sticker. I was heartened with 2 weeks left!


Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Decatur Daily Endorses Obama ::

Here is just an excerpt, or two:

Even recently, Mr. McCain advocated, “opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking.” He repeatedly demonstrates an inability to understand complex issues, and an ignorance of the plight of those who have not enjoyed his financial success.
...
Mr. Obama’s efforts to help the middle class, branded socialism by his opponents, show considerable wisdom in light of the current financial mess. Faced with a crisis, the government has had to respond with a flood of cash that increases the income polarization of Americans. Mr. Obama’s approach — helping middle class families avoid foreclosures at the front end — would have cost the nation less, helped those who needed it and possibly prevented the crisis entirely.

Mr. McCain offers few details on how we would prevent a repeat of our financial calamity, and even fewer on how he would deal with the mounting human and financial costs of the Iraq war. His proposals on health care, according to his own allies, would be disastrous.


(emphasis added)

Go read the entire endorsement and pass it around to your fence sitting friends!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Another Obama Sign ::

Someone else just down the road with whom I have a passing acquaintance has his Obama sign out so I don't feel so lonely now although I am surprised someone has not yet ripped it off. A passing pickup driver did yell something at me a few days ago: I'm not sure what he said, but I didn't figure it to be a compliment although I will give him the benefit of the doubt.

Change!

Winter's Coming! ::

It's cold down here in New Hope this morning!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Donating To Obama! ::

I just tossed a few bucks to Obama in light of his performance in last nights debate, but I got a little carried away. No, not with money-I couldn't afford that much, but, after donating, I was led to a page where I could forward my support of Obama to 10 people from my address book and ask them to support the Obama campaign with a donation also. Some of these addressees are true-blue Dems who may need a nudge, but I have to admit to some push-back to old high school classmates who have been inundating me with anti-Obama e-mails for the past few months.

I have bitten my tongue and generally just deleted these Obama attacks with a shake of my head, but I think it's now time to let some of these people know just how I feel. I have no false hopes of converting any of these people to Obama supporters, but I feel better just letting them know that I support change!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

New Header ::

I've only been planning to add something like this for the past year and a half. I took a few days off work this week and kicked myself in the butt and made the change. I also did a header for the blog I created for my high school graduating class. It only took me about a year to do that one also!

Monday, October 13, 2008

An Endorsement For Jerry Craig ::

As if he needs my endorsement for re-election to his county commission post, but I met him personally for the first time this past weekend at the New Hope Founders Day celebration when I was working the Parker Griffith tent.

Every time I have e-mailed commissioner Craig or called his office he has gotten back in touch with me and, believe me, this is something I appreciate, but there is more to his community involvement than that. He had several tables set up and he was giving away free books. I am a firm believer in the power of being able to read and I was happy to see that the book selection was good for both adults and children and this was a popular area. I snagged a biography of F. Scott Fitzgerald, an anthology of English literature, and Dude, The Big Book of Zonker (I couldn't pass this one up).

One of the guys working the Griffith tent with me is a school teacher at Madison County High School in Gurley and he tells me that commissioner Craig regularly gets free books for the school system and for the students. I don't know how he does it, but I applaud his efforts to promote reading!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Parker Griffith Tent At New Hope's Founders Day Celebration ::

I spent the morning and late afternoon/early evening in, or near, the Griffith tent and we had a pretty good turnout although the location was not the best. I had to leave before the parade started and that was supposed to be when the most traffic occurred. Even at that we had a lot of people getting brochures and stickers. Parker was there for the parade and then a later stump speech and we found a lot of support for his candidacy!



The republicans had a booth set up, but I didn't see a whole lot of traffic through there although I did see a few people pick up McCain/Palin yard signs.

I had to leave a couple of times to run to the house and I did see several Obama/Biden signs on the back road to 431. That was heartening!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

New Hope Founders Day Celebration ::

This will be happening tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday. If everything goes as planned I will be manning the Parker Griffith booth Saturday morning. Stop by and say hello!

Obama Yard Sign Is Still UP ::

I put it out Sunday and no one has snagged it yet! I'm amazed.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Huntsville Mayoral Election ::

I moved away from Huntsville just over a year and a half ago so I had no voice in the election of Tommy Battle over Loretta Spencer, but I am happy with the result. I was very pleasantly surprised by the margin of victory!

The Obama Yard Sign ::

None of my meth addicted neighbors have stolen the sign after 3 days so I'm hopeful!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Obama/Biden Yard Sign ::

I put mine out this evening to counter my neighbor's McCain/Palin sign. The neighbor has his kinda hidden right up against his house and is difficult to see. I put mine right out by the road.

I'll be surprised if it's still there tomorrow, but I hope I'm wrong!

We've got roughly 4 weeks left and now it should get interesting. I'm really looking forward to the next debate between McCain and Obama, especially since McCain has pulled out of Michigan and Obama has made a push in North Carolina. I understand he was in Asheville over the weekend. Asheville is one of my all time favorite towns although I haven't been up there in quite some time.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Bailout Vote In The Senate ::

So, Shelby and Sessions both voted against! Interesting and I'm looking forward to seeing how the vote now goes in the house.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Picking Cotton ::

Driving home this afternoon I saw the first field being picked. I have spent some time in the past photographing agricultural activities and I hope to do the same this year and will share some pictures if they are interesting.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Richard Shelby On The $700B Bailout ::

I've gotta say that I am happy about Shelby's position in opposing the financial industries run on us, the taxpayers, and our treasury. I'm happy to see at least a modicum of integrity and honor from our senator!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Bud Cramer On The Bailout ::

Bud seems to be silent on the issue and if he has anything up on his web site it is deeply hidden. I have sent him a couple of e-mails in the past 2 days expressing my opposition to a taxpayer funded $700B (which I feel is a low estimate of the final cost). Today I am hearing that some representatives are calling for a suspension of the capital gains tax. If a company is realizing capital gains then why would it need a government infusion of money?

I can see my comments to Bud getting stronger as each day passes and I must say that I'm heartened by Shelby's approach to this government theft!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Bicycle Riding In Around Huntsville ::

I just rode my bike a short way up the road-a rural road with relatively sane traffic.

We have, unfortunately, just lost a rider to an accident last week. When I first moved to Huntsville I had a pretty nice, although aged, Peugeot road bike, but I quickly realized that biking around here is extremely hazardous so I got rid of the bike. I now have a relatively inexpensive mountain bike which I can ride through the fields around home, but I often come across large groups of bikers on Hobbs Island Road and I cringe every time I see them. I find this road to be extremely dangerous in a car and I would not conceive of riding a bicycle on this route between Huntsville and New Hope.

When I lived in south Huntsville I enjoyed the Aldridge Creek Greenway and often rode it down to Ditto Landing. I would really like to see bike lanes on local roads such I saw in Belgium lo those many years ago when I visited that country.

I make a conscious and concerted effort to protect bicycle riders when I see them on the road and I urge everyone to do the same.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Huntsville Times Embarrassment ::

Leave it to The Times to make a screw-up of this magnitude as posted earlier on al.com:



I can't find this up on al.com now, but the screenshot was grabbed over at Doc's Political Parlor. I would love for this to get back to both Wayne Parker and The Shooter!


"Impeach Bush" Signs In Huntsville ::

I lost the larger versions of these, but the WHNT web site has these smaller images up:



This one was on the overpass at Triana Blvd and I-565.



The above banner was hung on the rock wall adjacent to Maple Hill Cemetery at California and McClung. Too bad these were not in the path of Cheney as he motored through Huntsville!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

35803-Decisive In The Huntsville Mayoral Race?

From today's Huntsville Times:

with the candidates separated by a few hundred votes, the runoff election Oct. 7 could come down to a dead heat among the 5,000 voters in ZIP code 35803.

Unlike other areas, no favorite has emerged in the neighborhoods closest to the Tennessee River. Battle won some boxes. Spencer won others. Technically, neither one crossed the 50 percent mark there.


I hope that the Times follows up on this story after the election with zip code specific numbers 'cause I am very curious about how they came to the conclusion that this area could well decide who the next mayor of Huntsville will be. I lived in 35803 for 8 or 9 years and I just don't understand why it would be different from any other area of town.

New Hope-September 14, 2008



People in New Hope, especially the downtown area, seem to love yard signs and I noticed that a very large number of yards had Deborah Bell Paseur signs out. Hopefully that is a good omen!

Madison County Democratic Headquarters ::

I went by late yesterday afternoon about an hour before closing to pick up some election goodies and those manning the office were still busy with people dropping in. I talked to Sherry for a few minutes and she said that the grand opening had been wildly successful and many people had volunteered to help. As I was leaving at around 3:30pm there were still people pulling into the parking lot. All in all a very gratifying grand opening!

Some photographs are up at Left In Alabama.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Madison County Democratic Headquarters ::

The grand opening is today. Here is the e-mail I got from Sherry Walker, volunteer coordinator, a couple of days ago:

I hope you can attend the Grand Opening of the 2008 Madison County Democratic Headquarters this Saturday, Sept. 13, at 10 am. Many of our Democratic candidates will be there to meet you and ask for your vote and support in the upcoming election. We will have music, coffee, cold beverages and snacks for your enjoyment plus balloons for the young and young at heart. The Obama-Biden bumper stickers, buttons and t-shirts have already arrived and we have high hopes that at least a few of the yard signs will be delivered tomorrow and available Saturday.

Headquarters is located at 2227 Drake Ave., Suite 26. From Memorial Parkway, go West on Drake past the Senior Center. Turn left across from the American Legion building into the Brahan Spring Professional Center and drive straight back. Democratic Headquarters will be toward your right.

If you haven't already filled out a Volunteer Form or been contacted about the type of volunteer work you are willing to do and any special talents you may have, please reply to this message and let me know. We have a recurring need for people to perform the following tasks:

General office staff
Host an event (house party, candidate reception, etc.)
Write a letter to the editor
Voter registration
Phone bank
Sign assembly
Sign distribution
Door to door canvassing
Legal expertise
Mailing assembly
ELECTION DAY Poll Watcher
ELECTION DAY Driver
ELECTION DAY Office staff

Thank you so much for your willingness to give of your precious time and energy to support the Democratic cause in this important election year. You are much appreciated.

Sincerely,
Sherry Walker
Volunteer Coordinator
534-1776

Madison County Democratic Headquarters
Open Weekdays 10 am to 8 pm, Saturday 9 am to 4 pm


I will be stopping by, but I'm afraid it will be later this afternoon. Come out and make your presence known!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

More Of The Redneck Survey ::

This past weekend I was in South Carolina and North Carolina and saw no McCain bumper stickers, but I did see 3 from the Obama campaign. Also, near my brother's place in rural (very rural) S.C. I saw an Obama yard sign.

I had lunch Sunday in Atlanta's East Village with John and Lester (smoked trout dip along with a spinach salad). Here's John, looking sufficiently stern, and he's proudly wearing an Obama button:



[update] I forgot to add that I do have a delusional neighbor here in New Hope with a McCain yard sign!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Sue Schmitz On Trial ::

So, we wind up with a hung jury! I was hoping for a complete acquittal and we'll have to wait and see if she will be prosecuted again.

I'm very concerned about what will happen to the justice department under any new administration and I'm afraid that the politicos are just too firmly entrenched to be rooted out. Seems like a difficult task to me!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Election Results ::

There will be run-offs in October in both New Hope and Huntsville.

Tommy Battle and Loretta Spencer will go at it again. Although I was pulling for Tommy Battle I expected Spencer to handily win so I guess my major endorsement of Battle must have done some good!

I voted around 6pm at New Hope city hall and I was surprised at the size of the crowd out front when I rounded the curve. Apparently friends and relatives of those running for office were out in force. Jason Smith will face John Lee Howard in October.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Election Day ::

Time for voting in local elections. I've been watching this young guy, Jason Smith, running for mayor of New Hope. I've lived down here for about 15 months so I don't know much about the local politics, but this kid (he's pretty young, at least compared to me) seems to have heart. Yesterday evening I had to run J.to work and he was standing out by the road, in the pouring rain, campaigning.

Yep, Jason Smith in New Hope gets my endorsement for mayor!

Of course, I can't vote in Huntsville any more, but I will endorse Tommy Battle for the office. Maybe that would signal an end to the "good old boy" politics in Huntsville although I doubt it.

No matter what, get out and vote. I make it a point to vote in all elections no matter how trivial or inconsequential!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Dining Out ::

We don't get out often, but yesterday I had a few extra bucks and I had a hankering for some crawfish so we took off for Crawmamma's in Guntersville. The appetizer was fried alligator tail and the entree was crawfish, steamed oysters, steamed mussels, corn and cajun boiled potatoes. It was good!

I hadn't eaten there in years and it used to be called Crawdaddies. Crawdaddie opened a second location up at Goosepond outside Scottsboro and somewhere along the way there was a crawdivorce with Crawmamma getting the location in Guntersville while Crawdaddie kept the Goosepond location.

The food didn't suffer!

Troy King: Kill The Wabbit, Kill The Wabbit ::

h/t to Loretta for leading me to this bit on Huffington Post about The King's crusade against sex toys. Here are a couple of excerpts:

Mr. Troy King, Republican Attorney General of Alabama, will soon be out rabbit hunting himself, by his own testimony, and he doesn't have to worry about it being the off-season. The rabbit he will be gunning for is a mechanical one, namely, the vibrator Rabbit.

What is the habitat of this rabbit, and why does this attorney general (who has, among other things, an extremely high rate of violent crime in his state to worry about) have it in his sights? For those of you who may be unfamiliar with such matters, it is essentially a vibrating dildo atop which sits a small rubber rabbit, complete with tiny, upright ears, which also vibrates when the device is running. The little rabbit's purpose, to be direct, is to stimulate the clitoris, while the other part of the device provides internal pleasure. The device produces intense orgasms, and it produces them quickly, and, if desired, in rapid succession.

[snip]

To what else may Mr. Troy King devote his time and energy if his rabbit hunt comes a cropper? Well, for one thing, since his days in college (when he frequently wrote impassioned letters to the student newspaper on the subject) he has been a dogged and rabid anti-homosexual agitator, and continuing that effort could be consuming. For another, revealingly, his wife recently caught him in bed--their bed--with a younger, rival sex partner (and banished him from their home, reportedly). King had to resign from his position as John McCain's Alabama campaign chair.


Now, to be fair, the allegation that The King is gay is an unfounded rumor at this time although he has not seen fit to comment on the allegation one way or another, but I'm a firm believer in the old adage that "where there's smoke there's fire!"!

Come on Troy. 'Fess up!

Yard Sign

I was driving through a subdivision in the northeast section of the county yesterday and what did I see but a Vivian Figures yard sign! I hadn't considered it before, but I got to thinking that I don't remember seeing a Session sign anywhere which means that for the next couple of months I'll have to exercise my peripheral vision while driving.

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Friday Afternoon Redneck Survey ::

Once more I drove through the lanes of the Sutton Rd. Wal-Mart (Hampton Cove area) and I saw no McCain bumper stickers. I also saw no Obama bumper stickers, but I have been trying to watch the traffic in the past few days and I only remember seeing 1 McCain sticker.

Is it just too early or is there just so little enthusiasm here in north Alabama?

I plan to be out of town for a few days, but I'll try to do the redneck survey in Camden and Columbia, South Carolina when I'm up there. Given the time I'll make a day trip to Gastonia, North Carolina to see the middle daughter, but I'm going to keep my eyes open for bumper stickers for either candidate and keep some sort of running count. Stay tuned for the rest of the story!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Parker Griffith Event Reminder

[update from Jason]

We have canceled the yard sign distribution as a courtesy to our municipal candidates. We will reschedule for later in the month, following the municipal elections. Thanks for your support.




Hi to everyone. We are organizing a district wide yard sign distribution for next Saturday the 9th and Sunday the 10th. I am still working out all of the details, but I wanted to get the word out quickly to all. We will need an immense volunteer effort to really make this a reality. We would like to paint the district red with Parker Griffith signs in one weekend. Please call me or email me and let me know your availability for next weekend. We appreciate any amount of time you can give us. Also, please help us spread the word to others who wouldn't mind putting a few yard signs up in their neighborhoods or communities. Thanks again for your help and your support. I look forward to seeing you all.


Contact information:

justin@griffithforcongress.com
www.griffithforcongress.com

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Dan Calls It Quits! ::

The Daily Dixie is shut down for now, but I'll bet that Dan will be back before November. I certainly understand how he feels and I have felt the same as the enthusiasm and content waned in the ups and downs of blogging. My energy level has been low lately and I have a great deal of respect for Mooncat who seems to have a boundless blogging energy level.

Take a rest and recharge, Dan. We'll be waiting!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Web Outage? ::

I'm having trouble connecting to a host of web sites although some are fine.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Looking For McCain Bumper Stickers ::

I noted last Sunday that I had just seen my first McCain bumper sticker, but a commenter said that I must be driving around with my eyes closed if I had not seen more so I did a redneck survey this morning in the local Wal-Mart parking lot. I drove up and down each lane of parked cars and never saw a McCain bumper sticker. Truth be told, neither did I see any Obama bumper stickers, but that was not the challenge.

Maybe it's just too early in the election season, or, perhaps, everyone is already jaded.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Obamaroo In Huntsville ::

As usual I missed Thursday's mention of this in The Huntsville Times. Here is information:


Obamaroo, a fundraiser for the Illinois senator, will feature nine acts that range from bluegrass to folk to rock 'n' roll.

Bimini Road, Married in a Fever, The National Trust, Group 6, Jay Plizer, Tim Tucker and the Uh Huh's, Zac, Dragon Master and Andrew Michael are set to play.

Tickets are $10. The music starts at 4 p.m.

All proceeds will go to the Obama campaign.


I think I will be able to make some of the early hours showing my support for the Obama campaign. Hope to see you there.

[update] As it turnes out I think I overdid weekly yard activities and overheated myself a bit. I felt poorly and stretched out on the couch for a while, but I hope that this is not the last of the local Obama festivities!

Parker Griffith Campaign Looking For Some Volunteers ::

Next Saturday and Sunday, August 9th and 10th.

Hi to everyone. We are organizing a district wide yard sign distribution for next Saturday the 9th and Sunday the 10th. I am still working out all of the details, but I wanted to get the word out quickly to all. We will need an immense volunteer effort to really make this a reality. We would like to paint the district red with Parker Griffith signs in one weekend. Please call me or email me and let me know your availability for next weekend. We appreciate any amount of time you can give us. Also, please help us spread the word to others who wouldn't mind putting a few yard signs up in their neighborhoods or communities. Thanks again for your help and your support. I look forward to seeing you all.


I should be able to give some time as I have already been in touch with the campaign looking for yard signs. If you can help out contact Justin at:

justin@griffithforcongress.com
www.griffithforcongress.com

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sharks In Lake Guntersville! ::

I don't see any way this can be anything other than a hoax, although a great hoax! It takes me about 6 to 7 hours to drive down to the coast so I'm curious just how long it would take a saltwater compatible fish to swim through the locks to Guntersville. I eagerly await the input from the biologists although, as I understand it, the fish was destroyed.

I haven't boated since just after J.'s accident since, at the time, she was unable to physically spend much time on the lake, but I miss it. I love being on the water and there is little more magical to me than being on the water at about midnight on a full moon! Ironically I spent 4 years in the U.S. Navy and never set foot on a ship!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

McCain Bumper Sticker ::

I saw my first one earlier today. Clearly someone delusional!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Josh Seagall Running In The 3rd Congressional District ::

Not my district, but I really like the power of this campaign video:

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sunday Evening Bird Blogging ::

There are little baby Mockingbirds living in my Boston Fern. I have to be very careful about watering the fern now and I am dive-bombed by the parents who don't seem to realize that I would never hurt the baby birds. Such is nature!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Catfishing In An Economy Down The Toilet :;

It's amazing just how much we're affected by the "global economy" along with rapid rising oil prices. Here are some bits from today's New York Times about southern catfish farmers going out of business.

LELAND, Miss. — Catfish farmers across the South, unable to cope with the soaring cost of corn and
soybean feed, are draining their ponds.
“It’s a dead business,” said John Dillard, who pioneered the commercial farming of catfish in the late 1960s.
Last year Dillard & Company raised 11 million fish. Next year it will raise none. People can eat imported
fish, Mr. Dillard said, just as they use imported oil.
As for his 55 employees? “Those jobs are gone.”

[snip]

Perhaps nowhere has the rise in crop prices caused more convulsions than in the Mississippi Delta, the hub
of the nation’s catfish industry. This is a hard-luck, poverty-plagued region, and raising catfish in artificial
ponds was one of the few mainstays.
Then the economics went awry. Feed is now more than half the total cost of raising catfish, compared with a
third of the cost of beef and pork production, according to a Mississippi State analysis. That makes catfish
more vulnerable. But if the commodities continue to rocket up — and some analysts believe they will —
other industries will fall victim as well.


I hadn't thought about corn going to ethanol production affecting catfish farmers, but this seems to be pretty dire.

Rising feed prices were the final straw for Dillard & Company, which decided to close last January. Eighty
of its 10- to 20-acre pools are empty already. An additional 170 will follow as soon as their fish are big
enough to sell.
“It’s easy. You just pull the plug,” Mr. King said, surveying a pool that was nearly dry. Nearby, half a dozen
men were running their nets through a pond, then hoisting the last of its catfish onto a truck.
“I’ve been doing this for 23 years,” said one of the workers, Craig Morgan. “I don’t know what I’ll do now.
And there are a bunch of me’s out there.”


emphasis added is mine!

I have a friend who I seldom see who runs a catfish operation about 40 miles away. Buddy is old school and technology challenged so he doesn't use e-mail, but I think I'll run by there in a few days to see how he is doing. His operation is pretty small compared to what we're reading about here, but I'm sure that the impact of higher feed prices is just as crucial, if not more so!

There is also a feed mill down in Guntersville, about 20 miles away from me and I wonder just how this is affecting them. I don't know anyone who works at Wayne Feeds, but I may go down to Guntersville this weekend and ask around.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Cheryl Baswell Guthrie

Gone by something like a 4 to 1 margin, but her comedic tv ads will be sorely missed, especially the Bush lookalike monkey!

With the money she tossed down the drain a lot of hungry people could have been fed, clothes could have been obtained for poor children, and at least some health care for the needy could have been provided! Instead her misguided vanity led her into a losing political battle. I hope that she has learned a humble lesson from her experience!

Bye, Bye, CBG.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Run-off Election Today ::

The results tonight should be interesting, but I expect Pea Nut Parker to take the republican nomination. I gotta say though that I will miss the hilarity brought into our lives by the TV commercials of Guthrie!

On a national level John McCain does a good comedic job every day!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Baby Mockingbirds! ::

I went out early this morning to water the plants and 2 of the eggs had hatched overnight so I can expect the other 2 to hatch sometime today. Now I have to be very careful in watering the nesting fern!

See the post down below for a photograph of the eggs.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Troy King=Teh Gay=Schadenfreude? ::

I came late to this story today and I'm waiting for it to play out in the Big Boy Blogs just to see what happens, but this is just too delicious not to savor! I don't know what the definitive outcome will be, but I have to keep following Loretta in order to keep up. Here are some of her thoughts:

I have been sitting on this story for about a week. Truth is I am SORE from having to sit on it so long....but not as sore as Troy King is. Badda Bing! I would have blogged about it when I first learned of it but I can't afford a defamation lawsuit and Troy King already hates my guts anyway because of this...

[snip]

I have some friends in pretty high places in Alabama politics so I called one of them up with the juicy details. They told me they heard a rumor about his sexual orientation some six months ago from a former reporter with a large, credible newspaper in Alabama. I also know that reporter and knew them to be very credible. The rumor at the time was that Troy's mystery man was his old college roommate who he gave a position to when he took over the AG office in 2004. Supposedly when Troy was out of town so was lover boy.

The story then became that the mystery man was a young man who had just graduated from Troy University and was the Homecoming King(no pun intended) (God that gets confusing...Troy King with the homecoming king who graduated from Troy) and that was who the wife walked in on. Then a few weeks later Troy and his boy toy from Troy were spotted at the YMCA (not kidding) engaging in....ummmm....inappropriate activities. Yeah...at the YMCA...made famous by the Village People. Apparently Troy has no inkling of what it means to be 'discreet'.


OK, I'll lay off for a bit because my sides are hurting from laughing at the hypocritical asshole. I don't care that Troy King enjoys gay sex as I don't make value judgments on anyone's lifestyle. What I do care about is the hypocrisy shown by an elected official who is so adamant in denouncing the gay lifestyle while enjoying it in his, I presume, offtime.

I'll be curious to see his the reaction of his wife and I would be astounded if she didn't know about the AG's sexual predilictions all along. Maybe that was her kink also!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Elder Draper Helping People!

Here's my first Youtube video try. Let's see how it works.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Rove Refuses!

Rove, through his attorney, has said that he will not appear before the House judiciary committee on Thursday even though he has been served with a legal subpoena. I just tried to call Artur Davis' office to voice my opinion that Rove should be immediately held in contempt of congress, but I was too late for his office hours. I have resisted calling from work, even on my cell phone, but I will be making the call tomorrow during office hours. I generally try to watch as many of the committee hearings on c-span as I can I have long been impressed with Davis' tenacity in questioning. I'm hoping that he will support a congressional contempt citation against Rove!

Artur Davis' phone number is: (202) 225-2665. Let him know how you feel about this issue since he is the only Congressman representing Alabama on the committee.

As an aside, I happen to own a bit of property in South Carolina and I am not shy about expressing my opinions to the legislative delegation from that state. It helps a bit that I have a cousin in the state legislature!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

I have a nice collection of plants on my front porch and several require watering twice per day. The Petunias are especially thirsty, but I have this Boston Fern that I have babied for the past couple of years. During the winter I keep it in the garage and it sheds some leaves, but it rebounded nicely this spring.

One day last week I noticed that there was a bird nest in the fern, but I didn't think much about it until a couple of days ago when I noticed 4 little eggs which left me scratching my head as I had not seen any birds around the fern. That has now changed and the fern was occupied a little later although all I could see was the tail sticking up.




Now I have to figure out a way to water the fern when the little ones hatch. I'm kinda thinking a rubber tube and a funnel so I can route the water around the nest.

[update] It's a Mockingbird which is sitting on the nest. I was out watering this morning and she stayed on the eggs most of the time I was doing the watering of the other plants, but she flew off when I neared the fern.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Summertime Veggies ::

Well, some fruits also. Yesterday I visited the farmer's market in Guntersville and picked up some green tomatoes, some squash, and about 3 pounds of okra. Oh yeah, there were a couple dozen ears of Peaches and Cream corn thrown in there also so I prepared everything except the squash and put it in the freezer yesterday evening. I picked up another 15 pounds of squash this morning from some local growers I have been dealing with for the past 12 or 13 years (squash at 75¢/lb) so I put about 20 pounds in the freezer. I'll do this for the next couple of weeks with a mixture of squash and zucchini. I'm hoping that I'll be able to get a bushel of okra locally. The past few years have been so dry that local okra has been scarce, but my fingers are crossed for this year.

I also spent a couple of hours back in the lower forty (the back 1 1/2 acre) picking wild blackberries. I promised one of my co-workers that I would pick some for her grandmother. The blackberries are doing pretty well given the rain we've had this year and the next 2 or 3 weeks should be really good. The only downside is that the tick problem is terrible this year and I have already picked 3 off myself this evening.

It's hard work preparing all of these things for the freezer!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Good Morning Democrats-June 22, 2008

Let's try this again. Thanks to the Daily Dixie for leading me to this Alabama Republican party web site where they apparently try to get some digs in each day. Yesterdays was probably more telling than they had hoped for!

Birmingham, AL – We would like to welcome Michelle Obama to Alabama as the Obama campaign brings their liberal ideology to Mountain Brook today to raise a little money, funds that will go towards the advancement of radical socialist ideas and policies. The move by your Party to bring the Obama camp back to Alabama shows that your local leadership believes strongly in the platform laid out by the campaign – a platform of big government, higher taxes, gay marriage and weak national security. The visit by Obama also gives Parker Griffith, Bobby Bright, and Josh Segall another opportunity to vocalize their support for your nominee, something they are apparently hiding from. We call on Griffith, Bright, and Segall to show the people of their districts that they stand for something, either support Barack Obama or publically let the leaders of your Party know that they do not agree with your platform and will not allow funds raised by Nancy Pelosi, Obama, Howard Dean, or any of the other liberals who have walked out of Alabama with handfuls of cash, to be used in their races. It comes down to principle and the taxpayers don’t need fence-sitters in Congress. Voters need to understand that if these three can’t decide whether to support the Party that they represent, then they can’t be counted on to make decisions on the future of America – decisions that are undoubtedly a little more difficult. We need convicted leaders in Congress, not Pelosi pawns whose decisions are made based on the direction of the political winds. – Griffith, Bright and Segall are proving that they represent the latter.

Ps: bet there will not be any talk of eliminating the federal income tax deduction at the fundraiser!


The added emphasis is mine, but I'm happy to see that the Alabama republicans realize just what their leaders are!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

David Prather On "Policing The Police"

I sent Prather an e-mail Monday evening expressing some thoughts on his column which is presented over on the left in PDF form. I was pretty forceful in my condemnation of The Huntsville Times as being a mouthpiece for the city and the local chamber of commerce. Prather apparently took this personally in his reply. I sent him a follow-up e-mail expressing my dismay that he took this critique personally, but he has not responded and I doubt that he will.

As far as "policing the police" goes I am now, for the first time, going to express my thoughts on the disastrous chase across Redstone Arsenal earlier which resulted in the death of a NASA employee. The powers that be, both within the city government and the military organization of Redstone, have determined that the chase was within local guidelines. I find this to be a ludicrous finding and I am appalled that, given all of the hype related to security in the aftermath of 9/11, the security situation on Redstone is so porous that this breach occurred! Redstone Arsenal should have the ability to be locked down in a matter of scant minutes and a high speed chase should never have been allowed to happen.

It's too late now and one death and several injuries resulted from poor decisions by police officers of the city of Huntsville as well as Redstone Arsenal security.

Incompetence by any other name is surely nothing more than incompetence and I certainly feel less safe than I have felt in years!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

More On A Huntsville Police Officer Shooting An Innocent Citizen ::

I put a link to a pdf of the Huntsville Times article over to the left.

Read the article and try to determine who was tailgating whom, but we'll get back to that in a later post.

The story says that Scheuerman was shot 3 times. Actually there was a 4th shot that wasn't counted although there is a lip scar as a result. This one happened as Scheuerman was trying to get away from the attack, but let's move on a bit although I will come back to the initial scene later.

Ricky Scheuerman is suing the city of Huntsville for several reasons not the least of which is false imprisonment. The Huntsville Times article states that the hospital stay was 69 days although I think the actual stay was much longer. After the shooting incident Scheuerman was taken to Huntsville Hospital, but was not officially placed under arrest. Due to the severe nature of his gunshot injuries he was placed in a chemically induced coma, but a police officer was stationed outside his door and his family, including his mother, was only allowed visitation based on official jail policy which, if I'm not mistaken, was just a few minutes on Sunday although all of the doctors recommended that family be allowed liberal visitation given the nature of the injuries. If he had been officially arrested prior to the hospital admission then the city of Huntsville would have been liable for the medical charges incurred by the actions of one its employees.

More to come on the nature of the charges against Ricky Scheuerman soon, but I have been wondering why the Huntsville Times has not been reporting on this story although it is common knowledge in legal circles around town. I have long felt that The Times primarily functions as an extension of local government and the Chamber of Commerce, but why the story now?

Obviously the city is feeling the heat, knows it is a losing position, and is throwing a rogue police officer under the bus in an attempt to mitigate it's losses! I'm waiting to see what sort of follow-up the Huntsville Times will offer. My guess is little unless prompted by the city government!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

A Trigger Happy Huntsville Police Officer ::

The Huntsville Times finally got off their collective asses and printed a portion of this story although most of what is written is mis-characterized or totally off base. I long ago tried to get The Huntsville Times to cover this injustice, but, given that The Times is little more than an mouthpiece of the local government and the chamber of commerce, nothing was ever written. My take on why this story has now been written about is that the city of Huntsville has finally realized that their position is untenable and their potential liability is huge. The city is now tossing Jeff Weaber under the biggest bus that can be found in order to try to limit its liability!

A Huntsville police officer could face federal and state charges for shooting a motorist in the chest and stomach after the man allegedly tried to run over him.

And the federal court opinion in the case also says the officer violated several department guidelines for using deadly force. The department's shooting review board and representatives of the Madison County district attorney's office cleared the officer in the shooting.


I plan on writing about this story for the next few days and, in the interest of fair disclosure, let me say that Ricky is a friend and my wife's ex-husband. He also often dog sits for me when we're out of town.

This tale is long and involved and I don't pretend to know all of the ins and outs, but I know enough about what transpired to write about what I do know and what is, or should be, public knowledge.

Check back in over the next few days for a truly frightening tale of the Huntsville police department and what is known inside the department as "The Wild, Wild West"!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Bitten By A Tick For The First Time

This year I have learned to spray myself pretty well with Deep Woods Off since I have found several ticks crawling around on various parts of my body in the past few weeks. Just a few minutes ago I took a shower and noticed an itching on my upper left thigh and looked down. At first I thought I had scratched a bit too much and had drawn a bit of blood which had died, but it turned out to be a small tick which had chomped down on my leg. I have spent a good portion of my 60 years living in the country and this, to my knowledge, is the first tick bite I've ever had, but luckily I caught it quickly.

I don't know the symptoms of Lyme disease but if I become incoherent in any writing here (moreso than usual) and threaten to vote for a republican then you will know that the tick bite went to my brain and I need to be put out of my misery!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

A Discount For Being A Democrat?

I am afraid that I'm in dire need of a new set of tires and let me say upfront that I absolutely hate buying tires! I have been pricing them at some of the franchise shops and the Wal-Mart in Huntsville and it's pretty depressing.

I took this afternoon and tomorrow off. Today I had some bidness to take care of and tomorrow I'm going to let my 3 week old granddaughter drool on me as much as she wants, but I stopped in a small local tire shop here in New Hope to get a price on a set of tires. There were a couple of guys in the office when I entered and when I asked about the price of tires one of the men said that if I were a Democrat then I would probably get a better price. I had no problem admitting to my political affiliation! Now, I don't know if I got any sort of deal, but their price was not out of line with the discount franchise places and I will probably buy from them. I am a firm believer in keeping my business in my local community and away from the big-box stores!

Election Outcome

Everyone for whom I cast a vote came out on top, but I'm curious about why the Huntsville Times did not print the precinct results for the Sessions/Figures outcome. I was looking forward to seeing how my neighbors down here in New Hope voted. I guess I'll spend some time wandering around the Madison County web site hoping to find some results!

[update] Well, that was quicker than I expected for the total results:

Figures-6169
Sessions-21834

Which seems to pretty much mirror the percentage of Republican vs Democratic turnout.

OK, I found New Hope City Hall results:

Figures-60
Sessions-153

Seems as though some work needs to be done.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

We Voted This Afternoon

I will be curious to see how my precinct went. I didn't ask about the turnout, but I was surprised at how many people were in the small room in New Hope.

I will be watching the news closely later this evening given the conflicting reports regarding what Hillary Clinton may, or may not, do. When James Clyburn of South Carolina broke for Obama I knew that the writing was on the wall for Clinton and tonight should be the tipping point.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Voting

Tomorrow, June 3, is the day and I'll be casting my vote late in the afternoon. Parker Griffith will get my vote to replace Bud Cramer and Vivian Figures will, of course, be my choice in the U.S. Senate race.

I have seen a lot of signs around opposing the sales tax increase to benefit the county school system. I have no children in the Madison county schools, but I care about the future of our educational system so I will be voting for the tax increase. This is probably another instance of our progressively tilting at windmills, but I will at least make the effort!

Whatever you do tomorrow go out and exercise your right to vote. I never miss an opportunity to cast my ballot no matter how minor the issues involved!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Mowing

I finished mine just in time today as the heavens opened once again!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

So Much For The End Of The Rain!

My yard is once again a pond and my squash plants are swimming in water. On the upside I came home to my DVD video of "An Evening With Scott Horton". Gonna pop her in the player in a short while and watch it.

That reminds me that I need to add a link to North Alabama Media Reform and the North Alabama Peace Network.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Rain Seems To Have Passed ::

Well, according to weather.com for a while anyway. I just walked outside to the singing of the insects and just a couple of nights ago I saw my first firefly winging his way through the backyard of the family compound. I don't look forward to the coming humidity!

I'm Livid Tonight!

I don't understand how people can so marginalize those with disabilities and special needs! More to come when I calm down.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Huntsville Times

Left out my Sunday morning comics and I miss Dilbert!

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Great Speckled Bird Would Have Been 40!

There will be a celebration in Atlanta tomorrow, the 24th, of what would have been the anniversary of The Great Speckled Bird, one of this nation's premier alternative papers. Here is where the information about the celebration is happening. Amy Goodman of Democracy Now will be there. I wish I could make it, but that will not be possible.

I fondly remember The Great Speckled Bird being sold on street corners primarily by homeless people picking up a few extra dollars to see them through the day. Unfortunately The Bird went out of business not long after I moved to Atlanta. The premier alternative paper in Atlanta now is, I imagine, still Creative Loafing, but I also very fondly remember The Atlanta Gazette which also had a relative short run, but which had some truly good writing.

Here is some more very interesting information about The Bird.

I wish I could go!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Congressional District 5 Debate On 19

Sorry, but this is just lame! The pandering is terrible!

David Maker, unfortunately, has a terrible presence although I like some of his ideas!

I'm going to end this and go make myself a sandwich. Then I'm going to the local pub, such as it is, and have a cold adult beverage and ponder my wish for better choices in representation!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Gunfire

The past 2 or 3 weekends I have heard someone back behind us doing what I thought was probably some target practice with a small caliber rifle or pistol. The same thing happened this afternoon and I thought nothing of it until I heard several bursts of fully automatic fire. I don't really mind so long as whoever is doing the shooting is being both safe and legal, but I tend to have my doubts about the legality. In my life I have known several people with fully automatic weapons and the only one who was legal was a dealer.

Siegelman Interviewed ::

In the Anniston Star. Here's a snippet:

"It is clear to me — and I think to those who have been investigating, and that's why they're so hot about this case — it is clear that Karl Rove abused his power and misused the Department of Justice as a political tool to win elections, and that is something that would happen in a police state. That is something that we might have read about in history books as happening in Russia, but it is not something that should be allowed to happen in the United States of America. And Congress, and I believe John Conyers, clearly sees this as a wrongful action against democracy in this country, and he wants to make a statement that is clear and unequivocal that this kind of abuse of power is not going to be tolerated under any administration whether it's a Democratic administration or a Republican administration."

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Thoughts From GK ::

And I heartily concur! From Whistle & Fish:

I consider myself a citizen of the world, and I firmly believe two tenets. First, that every human should have proper nourishment, adequate shelter, and minimal healthcare; we should all have meaningful work that empowers us to earn these things in a dignified manner; and we should be able to pursue them in peace. Second, since the first tenet seems an impossibility, I believe in the socialist principle, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”

That said, I love the United States passionately. Outside my back door I reach down and touch Tennessee soil, American soil, and it thrills me. I feel about the United States Constitution the way most people feel about holy scripture. It stirs me, gives me hope, and challenges me to be a better person and a better citizen, both of the nation I am fortunate enough to call my own, and of the world. It is a document and a set of principles for which I would gladly lay down my life.

For the past seven years—at least—I have watched greedy, unscrupulous men and women wipe their backsides with the Constitution. I’ve seen them prey on human fear to enrich themselves, broaden their power, and marginalize the civil rights of ordinary citizens. I liken it to being tied to a chair and forced to watch the brutal gang rape of someone I dearly love: my mother, sister, daughter or lover.

Four of those seven years, Republicans controlled the House, Senate and Executive branches of government. During that time they regularly marginalized the will of “we the people.” When Democrats gained the House and Senate they did nothing to stop the process—or even slow it. They have let the most unpopular president in the history of the Union have his way with them.

And before you tell me this is simply politics and I shouldn’t take it so seriously, bite your tongue. This is no game and the Constitution is no ordinary document. I am appalled by the cavalier attitude of those who pooh-pooh the decline of our Democratic Republic. If this were happening in France, the streets of Paris would never be empty of protestors. Because the French, for all their faults, understand something Americans don’t: for democracy to thrive, citizens must be on guard against runaway government, and revolution must be an ongoing process.

In America we get no revolution. Instead we are offered Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John McCain.

If Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John McCain are the best and brightest America has to offer, we should be ashamed of ourselves. And if they are the the two-party system’s finest, the parties deserve to be pissed off.

Or pissed on.


If you have not bookmarked or linked to Whistle & Fish then you're missing out!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Rylee Quinn Porter ::

New granddaughter born May 13, 2008 at 3:46pm in Springfield, Tennessee:



6 lbs 10 oz and 19 inches. She is very active and and both mother and baby are strong and healthy! I look forward to much burping and drooling!