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Back in the sixties, my dad was friends with a man (Bob Scott) who knew a whole lot about radio technology. I believe Bob worked at and lived near the 50,000 watt WWVA 1170 AM transmission facility “Story Acres” on Barton Road in St. Clairsville, Ohio. It always intrigued me that during nighttime hours, the AM frequencies would “skip” farther along the ionosphere, allowing WWVA to be heard over vast areas of the country. Of course the raw transmission power of this station was already so great that many nearby folks could hear the broadcasts on their telephones and other non-radio devices.



The building itself always reminded me of a fortress or a mausoleum and in my young mind held many technological secrets behind its stone walls. Before the days of the internet, radio engineers always seemed to hold an enviable expertise and I believe at one time Bob offered to take my dad and me to see this facility. However, this never happened -- but sometimes I wish it did or even that I could now go and see its inner workings.

Ah, But don’t you believe them

green_hospital_sock.jpg

Over the past ten years, I’ve put these on quite a few feet – ranging from those on CEO’s to those on homeless folks; and not surprisingly, all feet are pretty much the same.

It has served as a reminder that while we may wear different styles of experience and character, we are all more alike than we are different and we are all prone to failing health in very similar ways as we approach the end of our lives.

I’m sure there are many other things, just like those treaded green socks, that may bring us to a greater realization and potential for humility, from whichever side of the bed we happen to be.

1+1=?



It is interesting how many “news” items can be twisted oppositely as propaganda depending on the ideology of the writer. Are we really so blinded by our preconceptions or our hatred such that 1+1=1 for one side and 1+1=3 for the other? I’ve recently taken to reading some of the more popular boutique news sites, simply to try to get a better understanding of how or why this happens.

The things I keep coming up with are:

• The truth often lies somewhere in the middle
• While they may be unkind, uninformed, unethical or immoral, people commonly depicted as pure evil, usually aren’t
• I would rather try to sort out the truth from a mainstream media source, employing educated journalists, than from some individual or small group who starts an internet news service with limited resources or credentials
• If we personally held ourselves to the same high standards we hold for people of notoriety, we’d typically rank about the same or perhaps even less.
• Articles from many news services often are more click-bait for advertising rather than for providing useful and/or accurate information
• Words and phrases in headlines where the person of interest is “Schooled”, “Hammered”, “Taken Down” or “Destroyed” commonly belie the true content of the article


“Collectively, if we keep searching for the wrong in each other or in some other side, we may never find much good in anyone -- and it will surely become our addiction and sustenance, putrid as it may be.”

Telling Stories

He is 95 and she is 94. They’ve been married 72 years and raised nine children together. Mostly I noticed how much she smiled at him as they talked about managing a large family. Rather than any obvious measure of ennui or complacency, there seemed to be an active and genuine affection that they held for each other. We joked around for nearly an hour, had a great time together, and I learned a few things.

Just like smashing caps on the sidewalk




I remember her washing clothes in the Maytag and the smell of hot sudsy Tide and Clorox water. The small basement windows would fog and it always felt safe – even when I got my hand caught in the wringer - mainly because she and dad made the decisions. Her health was never great, with years of smoking and a wretched back, but she did make it to eighty. She called me names like “Bizzer” - which has no specific meaning other than love. All of it is gone, except for her laundry stick and of course one other thing.

Everything

Sitting in the waiting room at my doctor’s office yesterday, I was undoubtedly the youngest of the group of very old men seeing the urologist that day. When the patients were called to the window or back to a treatment room, each of those men struggled mightily to rise to standing. I had the urge to help one guy stand but thought that pride might be at issue, so I didn’t.

No matter how strong, vital or kick-ass we think we are, time will ultimately erase our physical strength -- and at sixty, I’m not far away from this.



There are days when I remember sitting on the bench seat of dad’s car, just like it was yesterday but that is simply my mind playing tricks on me and everything changes.

That line from Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Boxer” is one of the truest notions I can imagine. When browsing social media, it is easy to find many examples of two equally intelligent people that are 100% sure of the truth in their diametrically opposite viewpoints. Often they are people whom I wholly respect in terms of their positions of integrity and wisdom. Although they might see the world differently, they also tender the same need and affinity for love and kindness. Heck sakes, many of these are friends and family from the old neighborhood where we played together in those endless summers of selling watered-down lemonade, catching crawdads or playing ‘Kick the Can’. They are part of who I am. And so even though we see the world differently, surely this inexplicable human character makes us much more alike than most of us will readily admit. Of course there are absolute truths out there, but we all tend to blind ourselves to many of them in order to survive our own ideologies.

As they often play in my head even without revisiting them, these well-spoken words resonate and remind me about the importance of humility:

I remember my dad bringing home a civil defense brochure that was published in the early 60’s. It detailed various types of nuclear fallout shelters that a person could construct using simple and readily available materials.

When I was young, the notion of such a war made me so afraid that it was often hard to fall asleep at night. Although after several years, it began to make me feel more angry than afraid --not so much with any potential enemy but rather with the constant presentation of fear without a countering measure of hope.

Hope will never dictate an outcome but it has the capacity to change what directs a heart.



FalloutShelter.png

Ben Casey



I was never really sure what this was intended to mean, but it always felt so eternal and profound as the character of “Dr Zorba” somberly read the definition of each symbol while scribing the corresponding icons unto a chalkboard.


I was in my single digits when this show aired, and I certainly cannot recall the particulars of any single episode, yet this introduction endures – perhaps as it does for many. Perhaps the appeal was the dichotomous nature of the list (except for the “infinity” symbol which has always seemed to stand by itself).

Maybe I think too much.

Tru-Green Chem Lawn



This small clump of Bluets has grown in the front yard for many years. We always take the time to mow around it. It is now beginning to wilt and has become very frail – just like we will be soon enough. I wonder in the coming years, will anyone notice these or will they be sprayed with some sort of toxic weed and feed mixture.