Thursday, May 26, 2011

In Grateful Memory

PFC Thomas C. Allers (U.S. Army),
23, Plainwell, Michigan, killed by an    
improvised bomb in Kunar Province,
Afghanistan, May 23, 2011. We did
not know the family; many in our
area did.  He was an only child and
a well-liked grad of the local high

The Price is What?

A few years ago, when beautiful wife Sandy and I were young marrieds, we had to watch every penny to stay above the poverty line. Included in our little family was a lovable poodle named Mitch—for Mitch Miller, the sing-along star of TV fame. Trust me; there really was a resemblance between the jovial band leader and our favorite pooch.

We wanted all the best for Mitch so, despite our meager bank account, when doggie problems came up we promptly took him to a veterinarian of good repute. Dr. Shebanek had a degree from Ohio State as a credential, and a pleasant dog-side manner that made clients want to return whenever professional care was indicated. After several visits, we noticed the bill was identical for quite different services.

We began to refer to the good vet as “Twenty-dollar Shebanek.” We paid that amount every time we put Mitch in his care. Perhaps the limited fee schedule was a way of simplifying his bookkeeping.

Nearly a half century and lots of cost inflation later, we noticed a certain parallel. Sandy’s computer went soundless. Our favorite expert couldn’t fix it. It was repaired at the local techie place. Cost: $200.

This happened about a week after a blogger from Ohio reported her computer developed a mysterious ailment, which her electronic expert friend couldn’t fix. It went into the shop for repairs. Cost: $200. Just after Sandy’s puter returned to duty a blogger in Virginia said his machine went whacko and was sent off for treatment because he could not find a cure. Cost: $200.

We just don’t know what to call the repair nerds. Maybe, $200 geeks? Doesn’t seem to have much pizzazz to it.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Hold That Celebration

All sorts of reports appeared over the weekend of people in many places partying and cracking bad jokes because it appeared that the forecast Judgment Day and associated Rapture transporting the worthy to heaven was just another false alarm.

Well, hold on there a minute, folks.

It is true that Judgment Day did not start at 6 p.m. on May 21 in New Zealand with an earthquake as the prophesy said it would. And nothing spectacular happened at 6 p.m. as we progressed through the other time zones. But that is not cause for celebration or ridicule. The preacher who launched the whole idea surely will point this out as soon as he has had a chance to think things through.

A quick check of the status of most of my friends and acquaintances shows all are still with us. But we would have to check the missing person lists worldwide to be sure others were not raptured soon after their clocks struck six. It’s a little embarrassing to admit, but few if any of my contacts have unblemished records. I may have committed a few minor transgressions myself. It is, therefore, not surprising that none of us vanished over the weekend.

If the bar was set very high, it just could be that only a dozen or so humans qualified to rise into the kingdom on the 21st. The rest of humanity, according to the prophesy, will get what’s coming to us between now and October 22. During that time, a series of catastrophes will extinguish many lives throughout the world. On the 21st, presumably at 6 p.m. although the prophet didn’t state the hour for this event, the world will end in a fiery ball.

Looking at things this way explains something that’s been bothering me. Following my generous offer (see May 11 post) to accept excess assets from all who believed they were too wealthy to make it into heaven, I received only two responses. One fellow blogger sent me a bill for $40,010.00, after calculating that his net worth was under water. The other respondent mailed a check for $1.37.

It’s too late now to make yourself more attractive by shedding your cash. You’ll all just have to join me in toughing it out until fall. Then we can party with confidence.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Modesty, First Class

For about 20 years when we lived in Ogden, Utah, the Geezer regularly played golf on Saturday mornings at the Ben Lomond Golf Club with the “Local Legends.” The Legends were mostly U.S. Forest Service personnel and retirees, but there was some diversity in the membership.

For a time, Richard Jones, a professor at Weber State University, played in the group. Of course, he almost immediately became known as “Dr. J.” What else?

Dr. J. was a big man who appeared to be in excellent condition and could hit golf balls a long way. He soon was asked the obvious question, “Did you play football in college?”

“Yeah, I played for a couple of years at a small West Coast school,” the professor somewhat grudgingly admitted.

Dr. J. continued with a story about one of the toughest games he ever played in when Michigan State badly defeated his team. Spartan coach Duffy Daugherty went directly into the losing team’s locker room after the game and gave a little speech telling the dejected players they should be proud of they way they conducted themselves during the contest. Dr. J. said he had never forgotten that example of goodwill by an opponent and how he was positively affected by it.

What was the “small West Coast school” whose team lost that day with our friend at tackle?


Saturday, May 14, 2011

In Grateful Memory 

Cpl. Daniel W. Courneya (U.S. Army) 19, Vermontville, Michigan. Killed by enemy fire near Al Taga, Iraq, May 12, 2011.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Let Me Save You

We have been assured by Christian fundamentalist Harold Camping and his followers that the long-awaited Judgment Day is May 21. That gives us only ten more days of normal life.

The Geezer was concerned. A quick google of “Judgment Day” turned up all the biblical arguments and associated mathematical formulas that Camping says prove beyond a doubt we all will be brought to judgment on the 21st. Further, after a period of Rapture in which the “elect” will be taken up into heaven, the world will end on October 21. The webpage evidence was overwhelming. It made a believer of me.

Being convinced we now are living in the last few day’s of the history of earth, I did a little more Internet searching for details about just who the “elect” may be. Well, I found precisely who they will not be.

The Christian bible says, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God.” Wow! That’s pretty clear. We can assume that rich women, except for very skinny ones, also are excluded from entering the pearly gates. In the days Matthew allegedly penned the words, men didn’t feel much obligation to give spending money to their ladies, which probably explains the discriminatory language.

Some fundamentalists have tried to wiggle out of the clear biblical meaning by claiming the “eye” really is a narrow street or gate, so only the chubbiest of billionaires would have to be concerned. A majority of religious thinkers, however, say those who put forth this view are full of camel dung. The needle is a needle, and needles don’t have big eyes. And camels have big humps.

Unfortunately, nowhere in the bible is there a concise, or any other, definition of “rich.” So we are left on our own to figure that out. At least in America, almost everyone who is not extremely wealthy took a real kick in the assets during the last two years. So, it seems fair to define as “rich” any person whose net worth at the moment exceeds $10.

After pondering the situation at length, I have decided to sacrifice myself to save vast numbers of my fellow citizens. After all, I have lived a long and satisfying life. It is now time to dedicate what few days remain to others.

If you are nervous about your wealth, you can wrest yourself from among the rich guys who are going to unpleasant places on October 21 by cashing everything in and sending me the difference between your liquified assets and $10. Hurry. This offer definitely expires at midnight May 20. After that, it's a crap shoot.

Should the million-to-one chance that the fundamentalists are wrong actually happen and we are still here on October 22, I will cheerfully return all of your cash (except for a minor administrative fee of 5 percent to cover postage, transportation, and office expenses).

No need to thank me. The joy of giving myself up for a good cause will be reward enough.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Was He Worth It?

Two related things deserving of comment happened this week at almost the same time. As just about everybody knows, President Obama announced that Osama bin Laden had been killed in Pakistan. A day earlier, a Blog reader asked why I limit posts honoring our war dead in the Middle East to men and women from Michigan.

Considering the question first, the Geezer would like to honor all our troops and those of our allies equally. Unfortunately, I simply don’t have the time or resources to identify and salute every individual who falls in combat or is killed as a result of our wars in the Muslim world.

I only had to lower my flag and do a post here four times during April to recognize American heroes from my home state of Michigan who were killed in the Middle East. Four is a terrible toll, but it is only a fraction of the 49 young men and women from throughout the USA who were killed during April in Afghanistan and Iraq. And it is an even smaller number compared to the total of NATO allies lost plus hundreds of Afghans and Iraqis killed during the month.

The news media seem to have lost any interest they had in reporting Middle East casualties, but if you want to keep track of part of the carnage you can do so at That site will give you details of American deaths as they continue at the rate of about one every day. For the others, you will have to do additional detective work.

One of our government’s stated purposes for spending nearly a decade as an occupying force in Afghanistan was to hunt down bin Laden. Now we have succeeded in that. I most assuredly do not mourn his passing. But I wonder whether the life of that despicable monster was worth even one of the fallen sons, daughters, or grandchildren of my Michigan neighbors and many other good people throughout the world who participated in his pursuit.

Will we now honor all of our troops and their comrades by bringing them home?

Monday, May 02, 2011

In Grateful Memory                

Pfc. Robert M. Friese (U.S. Army) 21, Chesterfield, Michigan. Killed by a rocket-propelled grenade, Al Qadisiyah Province, Afghanistan, April 29, 2011.