Monday, June 30, 2008

Two calls

I got two calls today and neither one made me happy.

First was from a broker. I was on my way to Woodstock, IL to pick up a load of pallets to take to Columbus, OH as my backhaul, and had called the shipper not an hour before to make sure of where he was located, can I park there overnight, and all that stuff. He says, fine, park by the Schneider trucks and we'll see you in the morning. My broker for that load calls me an hour later and tells me that the shipper has canceled the load since he doesn't have enough product to make a full truck load. Could he not have told me that on the phone when I spoke with him? I pulled off on to the shoulder, no worries, it was a wide one, and the talked to the broker as he told me he had another load for me that weighed a little more, picked up in downtown Chicago anytime after 8AM but the delivery time is in Columbus at 130AM on Wednesday. Not sure why it's at such an odd hour but there you have it. So here I sit in Russell, IL at the IL/WI line waiting for the morning. Easy day tomorrow and it'll probably work out better anyway.

Second call was from my wife. She went in for a biopsy last week and went back this morning to get the results. The doc said he wants her back in two more weeks cause they want to send something off to someone else for more testing. Seems she's got a spot in one of her tata's that raised some questions. As I understand it, she has cancer. She doesn't seem too worried about it. the doc's say they could not have caught it any earlier. If you were to rate cancer from 1 to 5, 5 being the most serious, apparently she's between 3 and 4. They want to do more tests to pin it down. So the treatment would either be medications or a lumpectomy. A lumpectomy? "What do they want to cut me out for?" Needless to say, I was not happy about this call. But she seems ok with it. Maybe she's just not as attached to her tata's as I am.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Update: I'm down to 305 podcasts and up to 5114 songs on my Ipod. OK, no more about my new toy. I know, I know. It's getting old. On to the topic of the day.

Since I have been listening to...wait, I said no more. OK.

In the recent days, I have been taking in information that originated from various sources, a lot of it being historical and/or commentating in nature. One being interviews from the 2008 conference of the ACLU. Now, I am not a member of the ACLU, but it was during this podc...interview that the topic of this post came to mind. Words. More importantly the words that we use that indicate, include, exclude, offend, and even inflame.

For example; if one were in favor of abortion rights one could be said to be either 'pro-life' or 'anti-abortion'. On the surface these two may appear to mean the same thing but they also convey a message of how the speaker perceives someone who holds these beliefs.

We use words like this all the time, often without thought. Conservative, liberal, progressive, enlightened, traditional, and so forth and so on. These normally appear to be positive words but when I say that I am 'enlightened' the sub-message that I am sending is that those who do not agree with me are 'unenlightened'. this was driven home to me after listening to an interview of Antonin Scalia, one of the nine Supreme Court justices, by the TV show 60 minutes. The following comes from the 60 Minutes website:

Scalia has no patience with so-called activist judges, who create rights not in the Constitution - like a right to abortion - by interpreting the Constitution as a "living document" that adapts to changing values.

Asked what's wrong with the living Constitution, Scalia tells Stahl, "What's wrong with it is, it's wonderful imagery and it puts me on the defensive as defending presumably a dead Constitution."

"It is an enduring Constitution that I want to defend," he says.

(italics are mine)

I have noticed that we do this sort of thing all the time. If I am say I'm 'progressive', those who disagree with me are not.

We include certain people with these words (those who agree with us) and exclude others (those who do not agree with us.

Two other terms come to mind and I'm sure they will elicit a bit of controversy. One is the term 'person of color'. This term really irritates me. As I understand it, a 'person of color' is anyone who is not Caucasian. I have heard people who are biracial say "my mother (or father) was an African-American and my father (or mother) was white. I guess what irritates me about this term is it's exclusionary form. The only people who are not 'persons of color' are white, and therefore we have no color. We are clear, without color, all the same, bland. These are the things that come to mind when I hear that term. Being excluded. I don't like it. No one likes to be excluded. We're not supposed to say that African Americans are black anymore and yet I am still called 'white'. I don't mind being called white. It's just a word and let's face it, I'm white. Actually, my belly is white, my arms are bronzed, one more so than the other, and my legs are sort of a East Coast Sand. Anyway, back to my comment. If a black man is an African American, then why isn't a white man a European American, and why aren't both of them just Americans? Why do we automatically make the color distinction as though it's necessary to point this out? I read back over this and I think, "Man, this guy sure is a racist." I would not consider myself a racist at all normally, but along those same lines, I think that we are all racists to a certain degree. When we see another person, especially for the first time, we have certain thoughts that fleet through our mind that are solely based on the skin color or cultural background of the other person. They may be extremely minor in their social impact, but we all do it. If you say you don't, well then you don't. But you lie. It's our nature to notice differences between ourselves and skin color is an obvious, immediately noticed difference. Should we then treat that individual differently due to their skin color. No! Absolutely not. We all know that. The movie "Crash" was an excellent movie that addressed the issue of race as to how it affects us when we interact with each other on a daily base. Very good movie. If you haven't seen it, go get it.

All that to say, I am white and proud of the heritage that made me what I am, just as the black man should be proud of the heritage that made him what he is. But I am also a person of color. I am not clear, blank, or bland. Well, sometimes my wife says I'm bland.

The other term that bugs me is 'homophobic'. My daughter and I had a discussion about this. She said that this word is actually in one of her college text books.

"It's a made-up word", I said.

"It's in the dictionary", she said.

"Well, if you really want to be technical, all the words in the dictionary are made up words. Let's break it down" , I said. "Phobia means irrational fear and Homo means man."

"Actually", she said "Homo means same."

"No, it really does mean man. Homo Sapien. Homo Erectus. Homo Genus. Anyway, if I use the word according to it's breakdown homophobic would mean an irrational fear of man."

"But that's not how it's used", she said.

"I know."

"So you just object to the fact that the word is used differently."

"That and the fact that it's not a real word."

"What makes it a real word?"

"Using it correctly."

"But they are using it correctly. That's the definition they assigned it."

"But it's the wrong definition."

"What kind of shake do you want?"


"I'll take a Cookie dough hurricane."


"That'll be $7.00", the voice said.

"Who are you?"

"The girl taking your order."

"But you're not in my blog."

"Guess I am now. You just wrote me in. Do you want the shakes?"


Anyway, I had a ball game to go to before I finished this blog, then I came home, had dinner, watched a movie and now I'm ready for bed. So I guess I'm done with this blog.

This white caucasian, conservative liberal, enlightened traditionalist, originalist person of color is off to bed. Maybe in the morning I'll think of another word to discuss with my philosopher friends at work.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Are we having fun yet?...You bet!!!!!!!!!!

During our last episode we learned that Sheila's car was broken down, as was John's, and Hana's as well. This all happened after John had recently received a brand new 80 gig Ipod for Father's Day, Anniversary, Birthday, and Halloween. In a typical sense of priortization, John's truck has been repaired. Hey, It was the cheapest fix. Actually Hana's was the cheapest fix but climbing in and out of that little thing is like driving a clown car. And no air conditioning either. Imagine squeezing yourself into a tin can full of mildewed clothes and then throwing yourself down a hill. This is "driving Hana's car".

So...all other energies have been expended on learning the ins and outs of this new marvel of technology, the Apple 80 gig Ipod. Can you say "Obsessed"? I am beginning to think that maybe Sheila is regretting the purchase of this apparatus for her favorite man. John has spent quite a bit of time exploring the loading and listening capabilities of this little marvel. I must say though, the miles literally FLY by with that toy in use. I got caught in a major detour last Monday since I-70 was shut down due to rain. Word was that a portion of it had washed out between exits 41 and 23 in Indiana. All I know is that it took me 4 hours to go 66 miles. I was quite calm. Probably too much so. I was sitting in the backup and noticed the weather had turned quite nasty again. Maybe I should take my earplugs out and see what the weather station has to say.

"The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm warning for this county and that county and the other county. This storm is tracking northeast at 36 miles per hour. Towns in it's course are Podunk, Pittling, Miniville, Minortown, and Notmuch. If you are in the path of this storm you should seek shelter immediately. This storm contains nickel size hail and damaging winds up to 60 miles per hour."

I just went through a little town. What was the name again. Peaster? Poolville? Pittling! That was it. Pittling. Hmm. Big truck. No houses around. Wind is whipping. Trees are swaying. Wonder where I should go. I was between trees and not out on an open stretch so I figured I would probably be okay. I figured right. One thing I learned...well, two things. One, when the rain is blowing sideways at the left front corner of my truck my windshield will leak a little bit. Not much, just a little. Two, maybe I should take the earplugs out a little earlier if the weather changes. It is illegal to drive with earplugs anyway in most states anyway.

All is well though. And that four hour backup only seemed like three hours and forty-five minutes with my wonderful new toy to help pass the time.

So what's on my Ipod? 3646 songs, 541 podcasts, and 7 TV episodes. (I haven't figured out how to reformat my movies to get them on there. That will come later.) I have found that I really like that podcasts from places like Nature and the Discovery Channel. Science stuff is cool. A lot of it is pretty short stuff. A hundred or so are just a minute or two long. I figure that once I find what I really like I can pare (pair?pear?) it down some. But for right now...I am in "exploration" mode. Plus I seem to be using a lot of quotation marks in this post. Sorry if that throws you off. Deal with it. What's with all the drama this morning?! Maybe you should see someone about that.

Anyway. Found out this week that our mechanic at work will fix Sheila's car for about half what the garage wanted for doing the job. So I need to get the van towed out to his house to get that done. Maybe today I can work on Hana's car.

But just to show you all that I'm not a big ogre, Sheila is driving my truck and I'm driving a little Ford Ranger that my neighbor had just sitting doing nothing. My truck has air plus it's got a back seat so it works better for her right now. See. I'm not so bad.

Work has still been slow but next week one of our drivers is on vacation so the rest of us are taking an extra run or two to cover the slack. So next week will be lots of hours for me. Should be anyway. COOL! I can use the overtime.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Are we having fun yet?

Talk about a good time! There are 4 cars...that's right, I said four! (4) cars on my insurance roll. One for each of those of us who call ourselves adults. Hana and Ben both bought cars for themselves, never mind the fact that neither one has their drivers license, but I won't go there.

At this point, as we speak, and I'm talking right NOW, not a single one is running. My pickup will start but it's hard to drive when my gas tank is laying on the ground. That's right. The good old straps that hold my gas tank up decided to protest the price of gas and just snapped. Thank the great and awesome God above that I was sitting in a parking lot when it happened and not doing 60mph down the highway when it happened. The mechanic at my shop is gonna fix it for me tomorrow so that's cool. Should have it back by the time work is over.

Sheila called me Monday when I was in Chicago and said her van was sitting in a friends driveway because it wouldn't start. It'll crank but it won't catch. I told her it's either not getting gas or fire. Got to be one or the other. Probably the fuel pump from the sounds of things. We gotta get it over to our mechanic down the street today (he didn't have room for it before now) and he said he'll take a look and let us know.

So we've been driving Hana's little yellow Geo Storm. Talk about tiny! I can get in the car but I almost need to put both hands on the ground to crawl out. Can you say Clown Car? Anyway, it started overheating yesterday. With a sewing machine engine it doesn't take long to get too hot. I drove Preston to school this morning and when I got back to the house it was HOT. Less than 2 1/2 miles.

Ben's car never has run since he brought it home so that's out of the question.

Good thing I didn't have to work today. But I do tomorrow. Maybe I can catch a ride.

All this right after I finally broke down and bought me an 80g Ipod. Oh well. Mom always told me, "Money is just a tool."

True, but people keep getting into my tool box and not putting anything back!

Monday, June 2, 2008


It's been a while since I've posted and I would use the excuse that it's been busy but it really hasn't been any busier than usual. Life goes on.

Wasn't that a TV show?

Here's some updates.

Last year one of my sister-in-laws got divorced and her ex is usually working so the kids, which are all 18 and older, don't see much of him. There's a "getting along" issue as well. I don't get involved with that. Sunday was "Graduation Sunday" at church where all the graduates walk down the aisle with their parents and are recognized. My niece asked me to walk with her since her father wasn't going to be there. I was so thoroughly and utterly honored. I cried. They think I'm a great uncle. Maybe I should have been an uncle to my own kids.

Had a talk with my 19 year old son. He seems to have become less than enthusiastic about going to church. (My daughter only goes when there's something special going on, like the Grad Sunday) and we've tried to not push the issue, once they graduated anyway, and allow them to make their own spiritual decisions. I know you can't force that but it's disconcerting when you see your child "straying?". Not sure if that's the right word but I'll use it anyway. He's not really straying. Maybe struggling is better. Maybe just thinking.

I had a talk with Ben on Sunday and I said things like, I love you, I'm concerned about you, "this" is what I see happening, and stuff like that. I really tried not to dictate and control and I think I was successful. He said that he has a hard time worshiping at our church because of some bad memories. A friends' struggles, a youth pastor who left under less than ideal circumstances, and what he perceives as a condescending attitude by certain individuals. My words to him were this; "Don't allow the actions of any other person to come between you and God. If you find yourself unable to worship God in this church, then find another one where you can. And you will do it with my blessing." I would rather he worship God anywhere else than come to church with me and not meet God there. This is a boy (man?) who went on a mission trip to Peru when he was 16 and was "on fire". There have been some changes in his life; World of Warcraft, a girlfriend(first one and she's a sweetie) and a close friend moving to Vegas. It appears the time has come for me to let him go. Damn! That's hard to do. After our talk he said he appreciated my words and that he felt like I was letting go of being the father and becoming the mentor that he always wanted me to be. I cried again. Looks like he's gonna be just fine.

Today is our anniversary. I'm sitting in a Wal-Mart parking lot in Woodstock, IL. I should be home with my wife but life goes on. Twenty four years ago we stood in the sun in front of friends and family and thought we had reached adulthood. Man, were we wrong. I'm not sure I've reached it yet. As a matter of fact, the older I get the further away it seems. We got married with no jobs, no place to live, and we were going to Texas so I could finish school, which never happened (the finishing school part), and the majority of money that we had in our possession came from gifts at the wedding. One thing I learned from that...we were idiots. My kids will definitely marry under different circumstances. That is if I have any input. But she's put up with a lot over the years and all I can say is thank you and I love you. Oh...and my sock drawer is empty.