Redbud trees don’t age well, unless you like the way they age — they get gnarled, lose branches here, sprout them there. When you get a really old one like this, you sometimes see this spring phenomenon, where the flowers crawl all over the trunk like fungus and it looks, well, really cool.
Redbuds are the reason spring was invented. Rah, redbuds.
Yesterday was a beautiful day, the sort of day where not going outside to enjoy it is, in many states, a felony. Certainly I wasn’t going to risk prosecution, so I went down to the library to replenish my reading material, and to pick up some books on furniture refinishing. (I have a project in mind. Yes, I’m sure it’ll be exhaustively covered here.) I chose, even though it wasn’t exactly right for my purposes, “The Furniture Guys Book” because I fondly remember watching Joe and Ed with Alan, early in our marriage. Where did they go? I never see them on TV now.
And then there was the interview with them on “Whaddaya Know?” which was one of the funniest I’ve ever heard on public radio. The part about Dean Johnson and his serial TV wives was one for the ages. (“You know why he’s always building those decks with poured-concrete foundations, don’t you? He needs a place to hide the bodies. This guy is, like, the O.J. Simpson of the home-improvement circuit.”)
OK, some bloggage:
The former mayor of Fort Wayne is headed to Washington, where he’ll lead the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and the Brady Center. Hearty congratulations to you, Paul. I get the feeling he’s been looking for the next thing for a while, and if he had to find it outside of the Fort, well, he’s not the only one. Helmke served three terms as mayor, governing as a moderate Republican in a decidely immoderate place. I’m sure this news will be greeted the way it generally is there, with nasty remarks about good riddance and prying guns out of cold, dead fingers. Oh, wait, here’s one now:
Paul Helmke is a perfect example of why the freedom loving citizens of Allen County do not wish to be governed by the same people who rule Fort Wayne.
“Rule.” Gotta love that. The city cries out under the grinding bootheel of a self-described “Bob Taft Republican” (not that one, this one) while the “freedom-loving citizens” of the county preserve their rights to do…whatever. Avoid being annexed, I suspect.
The last couple of days I’ve been pricing new cell phones, trying to avoid re-upping for another two-year contract and wondering if I really need a pink Razr, or just want it. Well, whatever I do, better add a hands-free headset. Detroit is banning talking-while-driving, unless you have both hands on the wheel.
What a concept.
mary said on May 4, 2006 at 10:42 am
I told my kids I want a pink razr for mothers day. I’ve had serious second thoughts since then. I told them that while watching a commercial for pink razrs. I have the bottom of the line free phone you get with a two year contract right now, and I don’t know if a pink razr is really my style. A lime green razr maybe.
Nick said on May 4, 2006 at 10:43 am
I miss the guys too. Adding insult to comedic injury, I can’t get Whaddya Know on NYC public radio anymore (Maybe Mr. Feldman’s humor was a litte too Jewish for New York). The webcast is right in the middle of Saturday morning so I rarely catch it.
From: The Furniture Guys – Ed Feldman and Joe L’Erario
“There must be something wrong with my TV. You’re not on it anymore. Are you ever going to be back on my TV? (several fans)
It’s not that we’re not into doing the show, it’s just trying to get another show. . .ahhh. . .there’s the rub. We are working on developing a new show and hope it’s on before your sons are too old to care about two goof-balls who fix furniture. We will be back. The Guys”
brian stouder said on May 4, 2006 at 10:48 am
All the rubes who “live out in the county” are worked up over the spectre of Allen County’s ‘government’ merging with Fort Wayne’s municipal government, AND THEN BEING CONTROLLED BY….’those people’
‘Cept – as a Fort Wayne resident, I feel like the people who reside in the county but not within Fort Wayne are getting a subsidized ride from county residents who live in the city, like ME! Anyway, Helmke is an OK feller, regardless what the bozos at the filling station in Zulu think.
As for cell phones, Pammy’s head has been turned by the thinnie-minnies; and I have been noticing that I very rarely ever use my phone at all (and when I do, either she has called me, or I am calling her). So I am thinking of a revamped plan where we dump my phone and upgrade hers
alex said on May 4, 2006 at 10:59 am
Yeah, I know just the kind of “freedom loving” citizens as the one above. They also cherish the freedom to beat their wives and kids without interference from anyone, the freedom to use the “n” word in the workplace and the freedom to stomp the shit out of anyone who appears too uppity.
They’re the ones who also seriously entertain the idea of rounding up all the Mexicans, and in this dumbfuck bumfuck town I’ve been overhearing plenty of that lately as well. Puts me in kind of a tit for tat mood, frankly. Let’s round up all the peckerwoods and put ’em back in the south. There, now I feel better.
nancy said on May 4, 2006 at 11:06 am
That was always the hardest thing to explain to some of these folks — the idea that your little unincorporated corner of paradise wouldn’t exist if there weren’t a city nearby to provide an economic center, therefore you need to pay at least some of the freight. Like there’d be bedroom communities without a living room and kitchen.
And the idea of merging at least some city/county services simply makes fiscal sense. Why have two of something if you can get it done with one?
Claire said on May 4, 2006 at 11:26 am
Love the picture of the redbud tree. I had a big one in the house I lived in in college and I miss it. There are some puny ones in my neighborhood in Chicago, but they don’t quite fill my need.
Danny said on May 4, 2006 at 12:16 pm
They’re the ones who also seriously entertain the idea of rounding up all the Mexicans…
This totally mistates the situation. For the benefit of those of you who are somewhat insulated from this in the middle part of the country:
1) I know personally what it is like to starve because the wages have been driven down in the contrsuction industry. In my early 20’s I found it very difficult to eat and keep a roof over my head, much less pay for college. The illegals had broken the trade unions in So Cal and I could not compete with someone who was willing to live in their car at the construction site.
2) Emergency wards and hospitals are closing and suffering because of the very large number of uninsured illegal aliens that they have to take care of who are using the emergency wards as primary care facilities.
3) Schools are suffering because of this too. You cannot imagine.
It is ridiculous for anyone to make the argument that those who want to see this situation addressed (like 74% of the nation) are racists. And “rounding up” never, ever has to happen. The government merely has to consistently prosecute employers who use illegal “slave” labor. No market, no draw. All of my colleagues of Hispanic descent are baffled by this too.
alex said on May 4, 2006 at 1:17 pm
No quarrel with what you’re saying, Danny, with respect to other solutions. Making aliens “legal” so that they’d receive fair wages and in return pay a fair share of taxes is also part of the solution.
The “roundup” mentality, however, is unabashedly racist and xenophobic and it’s being expressed by people who are entirely unaffected by the immigration problem except insofar as they think it gives them license to vent on someone. Last year it was the fags destroying marriages.
Danny said on May 4, 2006 at 1:36 pm
Agreed, Alex. In all parts of your post. There are definitely some bottom dwellers who are willing to use this situation to vent their personal racism.
mary said on May 4, 2006 at 2:07 pm
As someone who works about fifty feet from an ER, I can tell you it isn’t just illegal aliens who don’t have insurance. This is a non-profit hospital which accepts all comers, insured or not, and believe me, there are unisured people of all varieties and economic classes. It’s our screwed up health system that is shutting down ERs, not illegals.
I hire nurses, and when I relocate a nurse to come work here, we might cover their insurance for the two months before our benefits kick in. Usually it costs about a thousand dollars a month to do this. Anyone who is self employed or is not covered by health benefits at work would pay something close to this out of pocket. If they can’t, they’re uninsured.
Did you read about the survey results that were released yesterday about the health of English white males compared to American white males? They are much healthier but spend much less on health care. Think we might ever get over the stupid idea that single payer health coverage is a commie plot and start taking care of everyone? Can we think of health care as a benefit to society in general, like education, and provide it to everyone?
Danny said on May 4, 2006 at 2:30 pm
Can we think of health care as a benefit to society in general, like education, and provide it to everyone?
You might be right, Mary. I really don’t know what to think of the health care situation in this country. It is a very complicated issue.
Some of the arguments we’ve all heard over the years, I can’t judge. Does socialized health care lead to poor health care? In some cases, it probably does, but we definitely have problems of our own here. And I’ve heard the argument that many countries can offer socialized “this” or “that” because they do not fund their military. They let the U.S. do that. That has some truth to it.
Regarding the survey, didn’t read it, but we chatted about it a coffee (I have a few Brit expats in my coffee click). I figure that the health issues, or lack thereof, have more to do with culture and lifestyle than with the health care system. I’m in agreement with Europeans. Less work, more leisure. Couple that with good nutrition, regular excercise and adequate rest and one should be ahead of the curve.
Danny said on May 4, 2006 at 2:45 pm
Whoops, meant clique.
mary said on May 4, 2006 at 4:10 pm
>> I figure that the health issues, or lack thereof, have more to do with culture and lifestyle than with the health care system
mary said on May 4, 2006 at 4:24 pm
hmm. Got cut off there.
I was going to add that more Brits smoke. You’d think that would make them less healthy. I’ve got a Brit living in my house, and he thinks it’s the fact that everyone can go to the doctor before they get extremely sick. Everyone can get annual checkups, and everyone can afford their medications.
But that’s just a theory.
Danny said on May 4, 2006 at 4:41 pm
he thinks it’s the fact that everyone can go to the doctor before they get extremely sick.
That is a very good point. Though not life threatening, I see this sort of thing with respect to sports injuries. Depending on your insurance situation, it can be extremely difficult to get an MRI or other types of exams that can get to the bottom of an issue. Sure, they’ll do x-rays because insurance readily pays for that even though it will not tell you anything about soft tissue damage. But, in some cases, doctors hands are tied to such an extent that they will just prescribe anti-anflammatories (repeatedly and for extended periods of time) until the patient gets bad enough to need something really expensive like a joint replacement. Go figure.
mary said on May 4, 2006 at 7:12 pm
There are lots of things that caught early are much easier to treat. Right now uninsured people wait until things become unbearable, and it becomes a bigger problem.
alex said on May 4, 2006 at 9:43 pm
Probably the difference between the rest of the world and the U.S. also is that the focus is on basic health care and not the veritable buffet of elective pharmaceuticals and surgeries for advanced disease being advertised as if they were designer sunglasses and Cadillac Escalades. For many years insurance would take care of anything, and people shopped as if it weren’t coming out of their own pockets, which is also how the system got as out of whack as it is. If health care — and I mean basic health care — were a right like public education, and things like Viagra and Prozac and Terry Schiavo machines were available only to those who choose to pay for extra insurance on their own, then we’d have a better system.
Katherine said on May 6, 2006 at 11:51 am
I’ve known Paul my entire life and I wish him the best of luck in D.C.
As for “illegals” undercutting the construction industry, Danny, people who are somewhat insulated in the middle part of the country are not as insulated as you think.
That aside, in Indiana–especially the Allen County we’re writing about–the PERFECTLY LEGAL Amish have been forcing lower wages on the construction business for decades.
ashley said on May 7, 2006 at 11:46 am
Danny, you ought to check out the New Orleans ERs. Totally and completely filled (my neighbor, the nurse, says about 60%) with illegals who have fallen off of roofs and such.
But hey, I’m not complaining. At least somebody somewhere is doing something.
Danny said on May 7, 2006 at 1:40 pm
Katherine and Ash, yes, I know. I used the modifier “somewhat” because I know what you two are seeing in your areas of the country. It just does not compare to what we see in areas like San Diego, where I live. We are the front line. Any day of the week, for the twenty plus years I have been here, I can see scores of illegals gathered at corners just 2 blocks from my house. Any neighborhood you go to. Plus, out of the top ten most wanted list for the local police, about eight of them are illegal aliens. Poverty and desparation go hand in hand.
I’ve actually heard three or four reports and interviews from areas hit by Katrina. How people who would like to be rebuilding their own neighborhoods have no opportunity becuase they cannot compete with someone who is willing to sleep on the ground, shower with a garden hose, and crap in the bushes. One very detailed interview was with a job placement specialist. She recounted how several hundred jobs that were available just disappeared as contractors rescinded their orders for legal labor in favor of illegal labor. She went on to describe how 50 or so other workers who were willing to drive 50 miles one way, each day, were let go after three weeks. Grown men returned to the employment office in tears. The illegals had displaced them.
So yeah, I know what is going on. And I do not blame the illegal aliens. The overwhelming majority are hardworking and honest. They are poor and desparate. We are a rich nation and I have a heart too. The blame lies squarely with our own government who will not govern, the greedy, feckless employers who are never prosecuted and with the corrupt governements of Mexico and other areas where people come from because they have no hope.
ashley said on May 7, 2006 at 8:56 pm