Saturday, January 27, 2007

An Elder Statesman

Just awhile back I stumbled across a blog written by a gentleman who is almost twice my age, and his mental agility puts my relative young mind to shame. I think perhaps Buffalo turned me on to it: I forget already (isn't that pathetic?) Let's set aside the fact that he is over 90 years old; his writings have a wisdom, grace, and continuing curiosity born of a lifetime of experience that seems to have gotten the attention of several generations. His blog is called "Don to Earth". If you fail to investigate this blog, you will have missed something priceless!

As far as popularity goes, well, I just went back to check him out after not having done so for a few weeks and I was astounded to see his last post garnering over TWO HUNDRED comments! Here I was thinking the Tim, HE, and Ms C were the comment kings, and this wonderful old gentlemen has put them collectively to shame! He has touched the lives of people of ALL ages, without any bells or whistles, simply the reflections of a life lived to the fullest, parlayed with a humility that even I wish I could lay claim to.

One of his recent posts examined his realizations and feelings concerning how close he is coming to the end of his journey, and what I admired so much about it was not any expression of fear, but simply a good, basic distaste for the idea of checking out before he actually wants to, and despite all the ills of the world, all the challenges he now faces in his advanced age, he's still very much alive and kicking with plenty to say about everything. I swear to Bob this gentleman is more alive now than I have been in the last 20 years of my life, and I certainly admire him for it. I personally do not expect to live past my late sixties, due to my own choices in life and how they are effecting my longevity, but I certainly do hope that I can approach my own ending (or transition to the next big thing) with as much style and grace as this man has displayed.

The thing I most fear, having been exposed to it in my job for so long now, is the loss of my mental faculties before my body gives up on me, for that to me is truly hell on Earth. I never understood why we didn't evolve to simply shut the whole shop down when the head office begins to act like a mental Bush administration. Don, however, has proven that one's mind CAN remain fully intact and full of life instead of reverting to that second childhood so many elderly succumb to, and it is refreshing to witness. I highly recommend you go witness this yourself. You'll be glad you did.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A Red Rubber Ball

Having already made a contribution to Freedom's Place, I turn my attention to what damage I might create here at "Thoughts". I decide to go surfing thru my favorite blogs to see what's going on with the breathren, stopping first at Dizgraceland, and my attention is riveted by what's on Tim's mind today. I read it again, just to make sure I understand the sentiment. Hmmmmmm. Then I read the comments. HMMMMMM. Interesting. Excuse me for a moment, I need to go somewhere.........

Virtual reality being the state of mind that it is, I find myself strolling up the path towards the gazebo in the town square of Freedom's Place. The skies are leaden and overcast, and a gentle breeze sweeps the square, kicking up an occasional unswept leaf, two metaphors dancing with each other. Then, I notice a little boy, dressed warmly in a woolen coat and stocking cap, tossing a rubber ball at the bulletin board, bouncing it off the cork-board covered in posts. He doesn't exactly look happy.

"Hello, Timmy, what's happening? You thinking up a post?"

He doesn't say anything at first, just bounces that ball, back and forth, back and forth. His brow is pinched, like he's trying to think of the right thing to say. Finally, he catches the ball and turns to me.

"Maybe I don't WANT to post. Maybe I wanna go home. I like my place better."

I stare at him, taken aback somewhat, but I realize he has feelings about this place that aren't all that different from others who have passed thru lately.

"I like your place too, Tim. Matter of fact, I'd bet almost everybody who sees it thinks it's one of the best around."

He stares at me, that look of hopeful suspicion on his face, like he doesn't exactly trust what I'm telling him.

"You think? Well, if it's so good, why did you drag me over here?"

"Tim, I didn't DRAG you over here, I INVITED you. There's a difference."

"Well, fine, but I don't see the point. I have my own blog; I can say all I want there."

"Indeed you can, Tim. We all can. And we all do. Perhaps I can try to explain the point a bit better. Or, maybe I won't, but I'll try, if you give me a chance, OK?"

"Sure, go ahead. Whatever."

I sigh, and gather my thoughts. I glance over at the statue of Tim-Id/Braveheart. He follows my gaze, trying to look serious, but I can see the grin creeping past his serious demeanor.

"Tim, I don't know about the others, but I personally think that is one of the finest contributions we've had here in our town. And you know what? It does more for your blog than it does for us, to tell the truth. It piques a visitor's curiosity and makes them wonder where such a cool thing came from. So, from here, they are led right back to Dizgraceland, where they are able to discover more of what you are capable of. We're all proud of it, knowing we have such a talented member in our midsts. Everybody here in Freedom's place has their own unique contribution, that not only makes this place so special, but makes their own blog a place worth checking out. Freedom's place simply provides one more way for others like us to come together."

"Well, fine, " he grumbles, "but I don't have that much time to be coming here, and what am I supposed to say here that I can't say back home? And when am I supposed to do it? Don't we all have to take turns? It's kinda complicated...."

"Well, Tim, that's the beauty of Freedom's place. It's the very essence of the word. You do what you want when you want to do it, and so what if you are the fifth post in a day, or maybe once in a blue moon? The cool thing about freedom is that it frees you FROM things as much as it allows you to participate in them. You know, as many people came to America to get away from expectations as they did to have the right to tend to their own beliefs and desires. We welcome people of all persuasions and inclinations. They can come and go as they please, and if they feel they only have enough energy for their own personal blogs, well, that's OK too. As for what we talk about here, well, the same thing applies. Community means different things to different people. Some can't wait for the next parade; others you couldn't drag to one if you tried.....we all belong in our own special ways; one is no better than the other. Here, whatever topic floats your boat is fine, there is no format requiring you to speak of any one thing."

Then I point something out that till just now I hadn't even noticed before, a brass plague adhered to a granite stone next to the gazebo. It seemed to sum it all up in a way only the author could have said it......

"I Refuse to join any club that would have ME as a member!" Groucho Marx.

"My friend, if even HE can rest here in Freedom's Place without turning over in his grave, I think the rest of us can survive it."

I glance across the street and notice Whitesnake leaning against the wall of pub, and he raises his mug of Guinness in my direction, smiling. Shandi studies the wall in the alley next to him, wondering what she can do to it to make it more than just an alley, and I am happy to see her here even if she has her own doubts.

I turn back to Tim, who now stands tall and looking very much like the Tim that is all grown up, living in Seattle, and doing the things that only a Tim is likely to be doing in the real world. I offer him my hand.

"I apologize if I somehow invaded your space, but I hope you'll find enough purpose in this place not to abandon it totally. Maybe this will be a ghost town one day, but I think it was worth a shot, and I'll always be proud of the idea if not the execution. I guess if I was half as good at anything as I thought I was, I'd be president now, but we all know that ain't gonna happen. I just want to thank you for at least not out and out saying the whole idea was stupid to begin with. And the next beer is on me if you care to come visit karaoke night over there at the pub. If Whitesnake leaves us any, that is."

Tim shakes my hand, not committing to anything, but I think I see a glint of understanding in his eyes as he flings the rubber ball across the park and heads off towards Dizgraceland. I turn and walk across the street to join Whitesnake at the pub. It's another day in Freedom's place, and I cross my fingers, hoping there are many more to come.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Dances with Carburetors, amongst other things.....

I'm sitting here on a Saturday night, kinda mad at myself for not having come up with another FANTABULOUS post for this blog in so long, but I think I have a valid excuse, between work, launching Freedom's Place, saving the universe, and being a husband and all. So, in an attempt to keep These Thoughts Escaping Me, I will attempt to create something worth reading in the time I have between wolfing down some of THE Wife's fantastic chili ala' leftover and having to leave to go get her from work. Wish me luck.

Awhile back THE Wife had some of that miracle lube they make from chicken feathers injected in her knee to keep it working awhile longer before the dreaded joint replacement is called for. It was suggested that it would work for maybe six months, but it's been roughly a year now and it finally wore back down, the sad event heralded by new knee pain. So, it's back to the orthopedic guy to inject some more into her knee, hopefully for another year of lubricated, pain free function.

I'm about to add small engine repair genius to my repertoire of "figure-it-out-myself" abilities. The shredder wouldn't start for me, and I attempted to pull the carburetor apart to see what was the matter, screwing it up even more. The parts guy at Sears explained to me what was the most likely voodoo going on in this complex part, and ordered me the parts, explaining to me which part did what and why and how to put humpty back together again. Next time I'm off I'll clean it real good, reassemble it, put it back on the shredder, pull the starter cord, and hopefully continue my fine tradition of mucking my way through things as only a journeyman layman could. The back forty has a fine crop of leaves that have to be danced with, organized into neat piles, and shredded for the greater glory of our gardens, which we hope to get established once we can figure out when Winter has actually ended, Spring has finally sprung, and it is safe to plant seed and seedlings before Summer comes along and kills every living thing on the planet, or at least our little acre of sand.

Meanwhile, on the political front, it seems as though the whole country is holding it's breath, as we seem stuck between the intransigence of the Bush Administration and it's old, discredited right wing congressional dynasty, and the new, more centric hammer that's poised to put some hurt on it. Now, I say POISED, because right now the newly elected congress is taking baby steps, working to pass some much needed legislation that the old guard kept hidden in the basement, and making some "we don't like that" noises at Bush's stupid "damned the torpedos, stay the course" prosecution of this war that should never have happened to begin with. The main concern that everybody, even alot of liberals, seem to have is that leaving Iraq too abruptly could invite chaos and leave the Middle East in shambles, resulting in a breeding ground for terrorists...........HELLO? Am I the only one that sees an Iraq already in chaos, a Middle East in shambles, already a prime breeding ground for Muslim extremity, THANKS TO US? Geeze, I must be fucking seeing things! The only way I can see a "surge" in troop strength accomplishing anything is if we are given complete freedom to go into Sadre City, shooting anything holding a gun, and taking out anyone who even LOOKS like a member of a sectarian death squad. Enough of this bullshit! Put American and Iraqi cops and police on every damn street corner, and every time a bullet or shoulder launched grenade comes flying out of a building, you take out that entire block with a KC-130 Specter Gun-ship. Do that once or twice and I think the good citizens of that part of town will get the message. Don't allow it! If an IED goes off in a neighborhood, you tell everybody living on that block they have one hour to pack up their belongings and get out, because it's going to disappear, because no one reported someone planting the damn thing in broad daylight! Again, a message well understood; DON'T ALLOW IT! It's called the rule of law, folks. It's called social responsibility.
But, we won't do that, will we? So just get the hell out, and let them have at it. Last man standing gets to rule over a wasteland, and nobody is going to send them money to rebuild. They make their choices, let them live with them.

That's why I am so far attracted to the idea of Berack Obama running for President. Not only is it time to elect a man for his ideas rather than how light skinned he is, but this is the only man I have heard suggest that we should divide Iraq into three regions, one each for the Kurds, the Sunni's, and the Shiites. These people simply can't live together without the iron fist of some maniac tyrant making them behave. We can put a base in Kurdistan and sign a security agreement with them; they still love us despite how often we betrayed them, and they are the least bloodthirsty of the three. Let Syria and Saudi Arabia keep the Sunni's safe and armed, and allow Iran to keep the Shiites supplied. If the two factions down South want to duke it out even more, then fine, let them. All we have to do is mine the border up North near the Kurds and carpet bomb any move from the Sunni's. End of story, Goodbye Sadam, sorry we messed up your country, we elected an idiot.

Well, that's my rant, rave, and report on the goings on here a Pendragon Hold. I hope it was worth the visit. Any thank you all for the wonderful times we are having in our home town, Freedom's Place, where all the men are rock stars, the women all diva's, and the kids are behaving for once.

Sunday, January 14, 2007


I was running around town getting things done, and around noon I decided to grab a quick bite at a fast food establishment. Mistake number ONE. While I was perusing the menu, I decided that I deserved to have a nice, big Angus beef burger, something I NEVER eat (red meat, that is), figuring, what the hell, a walk on the wild side once a year was justified. Mistake number TWO. Of course, this sandwich was no where near as big in real life as "The King" makes it out to be in the commercials, but it filled me up, that, and the strawberry shake. What in Bob's name was I THINKING?

I am now paying the price. At first I thought the beef was simply not agreeing with a digestive system that normally only has to handle chicken, fish, and turkey. Plus, I had two glasses of "Real" Sangria with dinner later on that night, which sometimes loosens things up in the pipeline. Well, let me tell you, the Banzai pipeline is fully open for business, my friends, and I think I picked up one of those dreaded "bugs" that fast food places are now dispensing to the public. I knew I was in trouble when aside from a queazy stomach, I started feeling a bit warm, then cold, then.....well, you get the picture. I have a fever.

I hadn't even fully made it over this bad chest cold and this damn thing gets me. I was planning on taking THE Wife to St. Augustine tomorrow, but between the rainy weather that moved in and this damn stomach bug, I don't think I'm gonna be up for it, which makes me feel even worse, remembering how bright THE Wife's face got when I promised her this impromptu vacation. Well, who knows, maybe I'll be over it by tomorrow, thanks to Imodium, tylenol, and whatever other wonder drug I can hit this with. Or maybe not. I just hope it's not contagious. The wife's had enough sickness to deal with.

I've really been enjoying the contributions being made by the citizens of Freedom's Place. One side effect seems to have been that the links are bringing you guys some more readers, who might have not noticed us otherwise. Viral friendship, unlike viral running man syndrome, is a GOOD run!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Karaoke Blessings

This has certainly been an interesting month. Global warming coupled with El ''Nino has made this one of the strangest Winters I can remember. George Bush is preparing to send more targets to Baghdad for the insurgency to shoot at. Candidates are coming out of the woodwork like flies to vie for the office of President when the present idiot's constitutionally mandated final term is finally up, and we've got a whole slew of good, or bad choices, depending on your political leanings, as well as the tendency of politicians to say or do something stupid before the primaries. Sometimes I think having to choose between Satan himself and Ghenghis Khan would be an improvement over what we've had to put up with over the last eight years. And on top of all that, bad judgment bit me in the ass and killed my cat.

It hasn't been all bad. I managed to work some holidays and overtime and brought home some righteous bacon. I bought us one of those $15, pay as you go cell phones so that we'd have a way to call for help in case of emergencies. I had to give up the Cingular phones a while back, they were just to expensive considering we hardly used them and the signal wouldn't reach out to the house anyway. Then, I somehow took a rather odd idea and turned it into reality. I created a virtual community, populated by people from all over the globe, and even attracted a "Big Name Celebrity" without spending a cent! Thanks, Ms C! Yea, I know, creating a "team" blog is nothing new; the net probably is crawling with them, but it's MY baby, and we all know that the ugliest babies are beautiful in the eyes of their parents. I am amazed, however, at how eagerly my friends joined in to make Freedom's Place such an instant success. I can't thank them enough. If this new blog is here a year from now, I can smell an award......can't you?

With just a tad bit of extra cash at hand, I'm taking THE Wife to St Augustine Monday, the only place within reasonable driving distance we go anymore when we want to pretend we are going on vacation to someplace exotic. There are cute little shops there that we love to frequent, including those that cater to us pagan types. Since the weather is so insanely mild, it should make for a very pleasant day. Such are the finer, simpler pleasures in life.

The best thing that has happened to me, however, is this realization that I am not cut off entirely from the world I once thought I had been exiled from, hunkered down as I am here on this little acre of sand in Florida, a place that fate deemed right to plant me on. I and THE Wife do not have an extensive circle of friends. We have acquaintances at work and we have some family. But, for the most part, it's her and I and the pets keeping each other company. THE Wife is happy with the status quo, and has no real interest in reaching out beyond this small circle. I, however, have found great pleasure in the relationships, however tenuous and limited, I have established with all of you whom I have come to know and care about over these past several years thanks to Blogger. I truly wish I could meet, in person, each and every one of you, if only to take the liberty of hugging you and thanking you for coming into my life and enriching it in each odd and wonderful, spectacularly individual way that you all have. I am a lower-middle class individual hanging by the razor's edge of outright poverty, yet I could not feel richer for what you all have given me. If this wonderful iMac of mine blows it's motherboard, the damage would far surpass the utility it provides me in areas such as bill paying, information gathering, record keeping, and entertainment. It would cut me off from YOU, and THEN, yes, THEN I would surely be lost. I cannot afford the 1200-odd dollars it would cost to replace it, so for the sake of my sanity I pray to Bob that she holds up until such time that fortune smiles upon me and grants me the wherewithal to acquire a new one and remain connected to this wonderful family that has welcomed me into their lives.

So I'll shut up now and finish this post by thanking each and every one of you for being in my world and making it so much richer than it otherwise could have been. I'll be seeing you at the pub in Freedom's place, hogging the karaoke mic. They used to claim I could sing. If they were lying, could you see it in your heart to keep to tradition? Just order a few more rounds of drinks.........I get better with each and every beer you down...........

Thursday, January 11, 2007

A Failure of Stewardship

Mankind has this strange relationship with certain other species, namely dogs, cats, hamsters, gerbils, goldfish, etc. These species of animals I speak of, most of them, at least, would not even exist in their present forms were it not for the influence of man. We call these animals "pets", an odd name assigned them due to our propensity to want to stroke them, which makes us, and sometimes them, feel good. Now, if we go back to the beginning, when we were just beginning to form this close bond we have with these creatures, our motives were somewhat more practical. There were certain benefits derived from our domestication of these creatures, and we put them to work, serving us in whatever capacity we discovered they were best at, depending on the individual species. Cats, well, they were good at keeping vermin at bay, such as rats and mice. So we kept them around, and fed them when the rats and mice were on short supply. Dogs, we discovered, had all kinds of talents, such as sentries, aids in hunting, herding our sheep, goats, and cattle, and even tracking. Back then, a domesticated animal only remained in our good graces so long as they performed some practical function, but beyond that, they were no more kin to us than the animals they helped us exploit.

Much later, as we ourselves evolved beyond fighting nature tooth and nail merely to survive on a day-to-day basis, some of us discovered another use for these creatures beyond mere utility. We discovered they could provide us with companionship, in some cases a kind of companionship preferable to that which we got from our fellow humans. What these animals gave us was an unquestioning, nonjudgmental sort of acceptance and love that many of us came to depend upon in our increasingly complex world. When's the last time your dog NAGGED you, or questioned your worth in this world? When's the last time your mate purred contentantly as you scratched their ear? Many has been the human who has existed solely on the loyalty and devotion a pet has provided them, when the humans around them have left them wanting. Thus, these animals we adapted to suit our own needs rose above mere utility to become our friends, and have become as much a part of our family as any human sibling, Aunt, Uncle, Mother, or cousin.

OK, so what in the HELL was all this about? LIke I haven't just told you something you didn't already know, if, I am willing to bet, you have experienced this connection to an animal that you have brought into your own life. Well, what I want to do here is discuss a very important concept......Stewardship.

When we adopt an animal into our lives and become responsible for them, we take upon ourselves a responsibility that is no less demanding than the love and caring that we assume with our human family members. Now, I know that many people, perhaps most, do not exactly see it that way, treating their charges as property rather than kin, and I will not argue the point to that degree. So I am speaking to those of you who know damn well that perhaps these pets of ours deserve so much more of us in return for what they give us than we usually impart to them. I'm sure you all have heard of devotion for a pet so deep with some people that they will spare no expense to keep them heathy, giving more devotion to them then they would any human they know, even related to them. I myself am torn between thinking of my pets as property and at the same time respecting them as fellow beings who have as much right to the same things I take for granted. I try to think of my dog Shiloh as my friend and not merely a dog that I expect certain things from. To tell the truth, I honestly don't think the love and loyalty this dog gives me is something I CAN take for granted, despite the social pack animal motivations that I know drive him to behave towards me the way he does. He's my friend, period, and there's no need for me to denigrate or study how he feels.......he's MY friend, and that's all that matters to me.

Well, speaking of that regard both I and the wife have just failed miserably. Our cat, Tuvak, has been with us, since he was a cute little kitten, for most of our marriage together. He's always been a "house" cat, never having been exposed to the cold cruel world outside of whatever dwelling we called home. The only life he's ever known has been within the boundaries of a human artificial construct, thus he has never experienced the vulgarities of the outside world, with all of it's temptations and dangers. So, when he recently began to behave in a very untidy manner, urinating and defecating almost everywhere but his litter box, we responded to his rebellious behavior in the worst possible way.......we kicked his canine ass outside at night.

Now, Tuvak had it bad enough when we brought Lola into the household and he had to get used to sharing his turf with another cat. But he adapted. Then recently we adopted another cat, a sweet little female that our son-in-law had become allergic to, called Cricket. Perhaps that was the straw that broke his tough-guy back. Perhaps he simply couldn't handle having to accommodate so many other contenders for his owner's affections, food, and litter box. So he replied to the situation, and not in a way that was acceptable to our neat and tidy expectations.
The wife began to discover the cat scat in front of the litter box, and angrily caught our now renegade child pissing all over the place. She demanded action, and in the spirit of appeasing her and not thinking more about the why, I took the easy way out and exiled this house cat to the strange and frightening world beyond our walls, perhaps thinking that the experience would make an impression on him. Now, tell me, just how STUPID can a man be? Yes, Tuvak brought this upon himself, yes, the wife had to be appeased, but, YES, as the man of the house with the final word on the subject, I became the judge, the jury, and.............yes.......sigh............

The wife called me at work, on the verge of tears. I had tossed the cat out the back door last night. She found his still body on the side of our dirt road when she returned from taking me to work that morning. What did Tuvak know of cars and the deadly consequence of being in the road? He probably was having a hard enough time digesting where he was and why he was out there in that world he had never had to experience. Yes, my friends, for all practical purposes, we killed our cat. This has been our hard lesson in stewardship.

Once again, on this night, there was a funeral pyre set ablaze on this sandy acre we call Pendragon Hold. Once again we sent a friend on his journey to wherever pets go when they die. Only this time I had to stand there and ask this friend for forgiveness. I do not fear any punishment for this sin, no fear of roasting in some hell for this deed I had a hand in. But I do fear suffering from some nonchalance of the loss of life of a mere animal, for this was no mere animal, this was a friend, and I failed him. All I can ask is that this has taught me a valuable lesson in regards to stewardship for a life that I took responsibility for by bringing him into our lives.

Go now to Summerland, my friend, and learn how to catch mice, and I promise that when we meet again, I hope you will allow me to scratch your ear, and that you will purr in contentment, and forgive me.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


First off let me inform you that I have precious little interest in football, which in my opinion lost all "cred" when the first team deserted it's mother city and moved to another, the ultimate betrayal of the sports fan. When the Baltimore Colts became the "Indianapolis" Colts, and then the Rams left Los Angeles for St Louis, of all places, I said the hell with it. TRAITORS! I compare that to the United States Marines moving their headquarters to Mexico City. When money trumps loyalty, it cheapens everything. The fact that some players are dragging down more moolah than the President, simply for getting an inflated pigskin from one end of the field to the other, has also contributed to my disdain for what I once considered a noble endeavor and source of community pride.

Which leaves college sports. OK, I admit it, the current bowl system is so totally screwed up that there's no way for the best of the best to rise to the top, especially if they don't belong to one of the major "money" conferences. A team with a 9-3 record could actually end up being declared the champion while an undefeated team gets shut out, based on an asinine poll system that every sports writer I know has declared to be downright stupid. However, there's no danger that the Fighting Irish will ever play for the University of Miami, and we won't be seeing the Crimson Tide representing Yale. These teams are actually tied to their schools, and you can't very well sell them off to someone else.

So this year the team most North Floridians call their own, the Gators, made us proud, pulling off the most unexpected and well-fought upset ever, beating the undefeated Ohio Buckeyes, and beating them BADLY! 41 to 14! If ever a team felt like simply dropping out of school in shame, I think the Buckeyes do right now.

I have quite a few coworkers who must be walking on air right now, and I feel good for them. Gator fans are about as fanatic as they come. Whenever the Gators take on the Georgia Bulldogs, every Florida fan expects a feast of roast dog, while Bulldogs always insist that Gator tastes like chicken. College rivalries sometimes make nations at war look like wimps.

So, OK, I'm smiling. I may not care much for football, but I am proud of these boys. These are their glory days, and I look forward to the movie that I'm sure some Hollywood type at this very moment is busy writing the screenplay for. It should be inspiring!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Now We Can Hang TOGETHER, as Well as Seperately!

My fellow bloggohaulics, the deed is done! After carefully weighing the votes it appears that the name "Freedom's Place" has barely edged out all the others. I personally was rooting for it since it was suggested, even though I personally suggested "Reason's Refuge". FP is a fine name and I want to thank morningstar for seeding it, and Whitesnake for fleshing it out. Every name you guys suggested, with the exception perhaps of DILLIGAF (Whitesnake's initial ornery offering), was a fine one and would have served us well. Thank you all for your inspired participation!

Along with the launch of Freedom's Place, I sent out invites to participate to every member that I could get an email for. If you did not receive an invite from Blogger to participate in this blog, please let me know, providing an address, and I will get it sent out posthaste. Also, if your mug or graphic is not showing up in the slideshow, please send me something I can use to represent you. AND, if you are not a contributing member, but feel that you have been poking around this place long enough to be considered one, please do not hesitate to email me and say so. Also, if you found yourself in our group by surprise, and didn't exactly wish to be associated with us, please accept my apology for assuming that you belonged with us, and I will remove you, but I hope you'll wish to remain. If you happen to be here, it's because you matter.

For posting, please adhere to these simple guidelines. Include your pic or graphic with the post, sorta like a columnist would in the paper. Try to keep the obscenities to a minimum (something I have been known to be very guilty of....hehe) and please do not use our forum to launch any attacks that might reflect badly on the rest of us. This is not to say I am asking for any real censorship here, just a tad bit of respect. That being said, anything you wish to say about a certain emperor of a superpower is fine by me, as long as you don't mind having black vans parked outside your door.

So, welcome to your new community. Each and every one of you have been adopted into a family that could never have existed before Blogger came along, and I am very proud to be a part of it. I realize that your own personal blogs come first, all I ask is that you drop in on us at least a weekly basis and add your own two cents worth to whatever happens to be going on. Since you will be posting rather than simply commenting, you have the room to add your own take to the discussion, along with your own personal flavor, such as pics and poetry, and yes, even your face, Tim. Speaking of faces........if there are any enhancements you wish to contribute to Freedom's Place, perhaps with photoshop, feel free to email your concept to me and we'll work to get it incorporated.

If there are any other bloggers that you guys know that might be interested in joining our community, please feel free to recommend them. The more the merrier.
So, without further ado, please glance over to the links and click on the link to your new home. Just wipe your feet before coming

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Birth of a Nation, the Continuing Saga.......

I know it seems as though I've up and disappeared, but in reality, aside from the daily grind of my own reality, I have been working on the group blog and trying to get some consensus on the name of it, without much luck. I did not publish the votes for the community name in order not to influence the outcome, which in retrospect might have been a mistake, because, sigh, no two people voted for the same name. However, the choices so far DID get narrowed just a bit, so I am going to publish those, and try one more time. I am also going to publish the comments to the last post so that you can see the spread and each person's reasoning. I hope that helps.

I will need all of the contributing bloggers to send me their email addresses in order to "invite" them to contribute. That seems to be the mechanism Blogger uses to approve contributing members who can write to the blog. I thought that as Administrator I could just add your names, but it's not that straightforward, apparently. So.......if your name is on the list, please send your email to me at so that I can get the invites out. I promise you will not get in return any sales pitches for penis enlargement or herbal viagra.

Please choose from the following.........

Freedom's Place
Lower Slobovia
Reason's Refuge

and don't forget to forward those emails to me ASAP, please.

Sheesh, democracy is a messy affair...........

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


Ladies and Germs, I now present you with the nominations for the name of our virtual community. They are as follow, not in any particular order or degree of popularity.......

OK, now, three of these names where offered up by one kind soul, perhaps in jest, so that counts as one. So, I need to collect no less than nine votes. I will accept any vote from a regular, their "regularity" being determined by myself. After I have recorded the votes of those nine that offered up a name, I will determine the winner and announce it with the launch of the new community blog. I will provide the link to that blog when I have created it. Void where prohibited.

I want to thank all of you who embraced this idea, as well as those who did so with a tad touch of wit. I have no idea how well this new place will fare, since it adds an extra burden to those who already put so much of their hearts and souls into their own personal blogs, but I think it has great possibilities. Perhaps thinking of it as a place to make the mother of all comments might incline many to visit it often, since the usual comments are somewhat abbreviated due to the space alloted them. I do ask that you choose your favorite photo or graphic to include with each of your posts, since they will be somewhat like that of a newspaper column, so that those who visit us know us each by our faces and/or representative graphic as well as by our words. If the whole thing ends up falling flat on it's face, so be it, but I promise to give it my share of attention, and only ask that you give it your own. After all, it's YOUR town, might as well add your own unique signature.