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Ghost of Sam Post

July 2008 - Posts

  • The Globalization Snafu

    Here in the South they have a few things that are actually sensible. The one phrase that comes to mind right now is: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. I think that most folks will agree that globalization requires massive change. But “change” should be a good thing; it shouldn’t cause massive problems for anyone. A little inconvenience here and there – for the greater good – no problem, it’s inevitable. The “G” word should have only four letters. It is crippling this country’s economy; it is ruining the people by taking away any pride or integrity they may possess; it is (possibly) going to make the U.S. a third world country. It would be better if we retained our hard earned way of life and then encouraged the other countries to better themselves – if they desired to do so. But we meddle; we stick our nose in the business of other citizens of the world and we try to make them live like us. How much better we would be to MIND OUR OWN BUSINESS! Instead, in our massive stupidity, we try to take over the whole world. We are very wrong to do this. Not only do we ruin our own people’s integrity, but also we destroy whatever pride there exists in the people in the other countries. Why, for example, when our ubiquitous “aid” goes to some areas in Africa, the local people steal all the supplies and then kill the workers who have decided that they will come in to show the local people how to live? Answer: This may happen because we are stealing the local people’s pride in themselves – this may be all that they have – and they will fight to keep it. Who decided that we are the “gods of the Earth”? Change for change sake is Donkey dust.

    What of our own people? We don’t produce anything anymore; we are fat and lazy; we eat food and make filth. We don’t have an education system (don’t get me started), we have a brain wash system. Our young people have almost no clue how to work, or even that they should work. We have taken away meaningful living in this country. How many of us can rightly say that we have done a good day’s work (that is, work that really adds to the life of the community) on a daily basis? What happened to the worker who used to stand behind a cash register at a store? She used to know how to count, make change, converse with the customer in a friendly way, and send the customer off with the feeling that they were glad that they shopped at that store. Now the cashiers are robots, they are machine tenders. The machine does all the figuring while the automaton just pushes the start button. These people can’t even make change, the machine has to tell them what coins to give to the customer. Conversation? Not all cashiers can speak the language of the people, and of the ones who can, not all of them can hold a conversation or maintain a proper attitude. And this isn’t necessarily the fault of the cashier. They aren’t required to learn the language, or to count, or to be pleasant. They have been relegated to the job of “machine tender”. They are less intelligent than the simplest of machines. Can we imagine what is going on inside these people; how they must feel? Where is the pride in a job well done? Can these folks go home at the end of the workday with a sense of accomplishment? I won’t go into the deeper psycho/emotional issues here, but it’s much worse than most people know – or will admit. You see, one of the outward manifestations of what was just described is the feeling of fear, fear of being seen as one of this society’s failures. Most just deny that they feel anything; they stick their heads in the sand and try to convince everyone else that they’re “fine”. More Donkey dust.

    War, anyone? Many years ago there was a folk singer by the name of Phil Ochs. He hated war as most people do, and he wrote many anti-war and other protest songs. One of the lines from one of his songs: “its always the old who lead us to the war, always the young who fall ……..tell me is it worth it all?” The man was a genius. He also wrote “Draft Dodger Rag”, a very good song about all the ways people try to get out of military service. Anyway, does it make any sense that we are so quick to go to war? I say, no. When you stop to think about it, you will see that the population of one country is not necessarily angry with the population of the other country. For example, how many Iraqi’s do you personally loath? Come on now, give me names. Right, I didn’t think you could. And, how many of the average Iraqi population hate you, or me? Right. Yet we have a big army over there and people on both sides are dying. Show me the reason. What if our army came home, no one gets killed on either side, isn’t this better? Duh. Okay, I’ve a better understanding of these things than most of you because I’ve been to war, Vietnam, and I lived among the average people for over a year. We got to know each other. Nobody hated anybody. All of us came to wonder why we were there. The official reason? We had to stop communism from spreading to the South. Gee, if the Communists get into South Vietnam, then the whole world is doomed, our way of life is gone. Donkey dust. Most of you know the story, we pulled out of Vietnam, North and South became one country (Hey, didn’t we Americans do that in the 1860’s?) and years later, through no interference by us, Communism failed as the overwhelming monster that we thought it was. Yup, lied to again by our leaders. Now that enough time has passed, documents from that era are surfacing with regularity. Do some reading, extrapolate the information to today’s military operations, and you will see some alarming similarities. Government Donkey dust, again. So says Sam Post.

    Posted Jul 28 2008, 07:47 PM by Sam Post with no comments
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  • Is Anybody Listening?

    Well, no one can claim the hundred gallons of gas that I offered last time. Don’t you guys ever listen to the news? The answer to last week’s puzzler is: Olivia Newton-John. I bet even Google could have told you that. Oh well, I’ll have to use all that gas myself. I’ll use it in my scooter to get the most use out of it. It won’t be long before the gas prices will soar once again. I think that the politicians will use the gas situation to try to fool people into voting for them. They will keep lying up until after the elections, then we’ll get crunched again with higher taxes. This will increase the price of gas to over five bucks a gallon. This is just a guess, it might go higher than that. You see, politicians don’t have to worry about how the little folks are suffering “out there” because whoever is in office gets all their living expenses for nothing. Can you just imagine the presidential limo checking gas prices to find the cheapest gas station? Yeah, I’m laughing too. Actually, the Washington politicians have a great gig. They get all the goodies while they are in office, and then they get all their benefits, sometimes their full salary too, for the rest of their lives. What about the little folks? Oh yeah, they have to struggle with downsizing, job losses, higher taxes, higher prices on food, clothing, schooling, etc. The benefits? Who has a great benefit package these days? No one. How many times have you heard about people being fired (or, downsized) when they have nineteen years in the company? If they made their twenty year goal, they could retire with a benefit package to help pay for medical, food, etc. No doubt about it, the job market these days is all about paranoia; no one gets comfortable in a job these days because you never know when the axe will fall. And, you never know what criteria are going to be used to fire you. Gone are the days when you could do a good job for the company, display loyalty, go the extra mile, and take a real interest in the job. In times past a person was recognized and rewarded for having a good attitude, possessing and displaying their talents, and taking initiative. In the old days virtue meant something. Today, none of these things matter. If you have a job today, great, but you are always worried about tomorrow; there is no future to look forward to in this society anymore.

    Pensions? Does anyone even know what a pension is? The last time I heard of a common worker getting a pension was in the generation before mine. If you put your time in (usually twenty, or more, years) you could count on a partial salary for the rest of your days. You could also get social security and you could work if you so desired. These days, the government has stolen the money from the social security fund and they have raised the age at which you can receive benefits. It used to be age sixty-five for everyone to get full benefits, now the age gets progressively higher. Most people in the work force now will have to wait until they are sixty-seven. But, according to the government, the social security will be gone by about 2038. And before that time, they plan on reducing payments to try to stretch out the remaining money. Sure isn’t a good feeling to know that you have worked for many years, paid into social security, paid all your taxes, have been loyal to your company, and then you can’t look forward to anything during retirement. It is a sad situation that most people today, knowing the aforementioned facts, realize that they cannot “retire” in the normal sense of the word. Most folks will work until they expire. As the old adage goes: Life sucks, then you die.

    Many thanks to the folks who made comments last time. How come there are not more people commenting? Maybe it is the type of subject matter that I present. I wonder what type of subjects would get more people commenting. I know that questions and contests don’t draw much, because if they did, everyone would be getting great firewood, cash, and free gas. Without some sort of comments one gets the impression that they are speaking into outer space. The blog is just going out into the void of nothingness. Maybe, in a few light years, the blog will hit something out there and a response will come back. Oh, but that would mean that it would have to be deflected exactly in this direction. What if it were angled a tiny bit and the return message (comment) missed us by an inch? A cosmic inch. Maybe the moon would be in the right position to intercept the transmission. I think we should get a mirror up on the moon so that we can reflect these “comment beams” back to us so that we can “recomment”. Just a thought.

    Yes, there are recordings by me that might be able to be heard on the internet. I don’t know how to put them on the machine; I’ll have to ask my wife to do that. But, I sense a danger here. I see that some of you folks out there can only contact the world by computer. This is dangerous. It would appear as if you have been cocooned and that the only way to communicate is through the internet. Even if you just watch more movies and get some time away from the computer, you would at least have some entertaining input instead of a steady diet of watered down, homogenized prattle that may or may not have any relevance for life. There is far more misinformation than good information on the net. Trying to cull out good from bad is a daunting task at best, and very much stress producing. And, lest you think that I am the lone voice in the universe espousing these views, I can recommend some reading material by some eloquent scholars who issue the same warnings. There are even psychotherapists who have specialized in their practices in trying to treat the addictions of the “net”. This subject is also addressed in psychology textbooks so that students who enter the profession will be apprised of the situation before they see it in their future clients. In fact, there is a short book on the market right now that speaks to the problems of stress and its management. It is called: Welcome to Stress Management by Dr. Richard F. Marsella. Though not entirely directed toward the computer or the internet, this easy to read book gives many suggestions for stress reduction as well as a thorough definition of stress. The book is in the major bookstores, or you can contact me since I am very knowledgeable about this erudite scholar and his writings.

    I look forward to the many comments that will speak about the subjects mentioned here. Until I get more feedback, I dare not give out the next puzzler; I might get the answer to my question from some far off galaxy several light years away. How would I deliver any great firewood prize that far out? And, how would I know that the entity who answered correctly uses any firewood? Such a dilemma! So says Sam Post.

    Posted Jul 22 2008, 08:57 AM by Sam Post with 3 comment(s)
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  • The Post Man Cometh

    No, I haven't decided to start delivering mail. Let me start this episode by answering a few things from last time. On the question of failing to claim one's great prize, I can reassure you that there is no cry of "foul", I will simply store your prize wood for you so that at some future time, when you have a proper fireplace, you can come and get it. Alternatively, if you want to get your wood now, I would recommend that you pile it around the HVAC doohickey that you mentioned and when the weather turns really cold, you can light it up at that time. There is plenty of wood, so don't skimp on the heat. Your portion of the great prize will heat your home for many years to come. On second thought, better wait until your lease is up before you light the fire as described, and better leave one minute after you light the wood on fire. For Mr. Google, I will, of course, store your prize wood too. When we move to parts unknown, I will deliver your wood to your front door, free of delivery charges. This means, however, that you will have to use the back door to get in and out of the house, but then, you won't have to go very far to carry wood from the woodpile to the fireplace either. Such a deal!

    Now for last week's puzzle. No one got the quote. What up with that? "Be on your merry" is a quote from the movie Serenity. It was spoken by Mal to Simon (the doctor) at the occasion of one of their numerous verbal altercations. Jeez guys, I thought one of you would get that one. What happened? Didn't Google have the answer? I'm reluctant to give you this week's puzzle. You realize that each week the puzzle gets more difficult, right? Too bad no one got last week's answer, the prize was $100.00 in cash. Oh well, at least two of you got some neat firewood. But, the cash prize will not be awarded because nobody even tried. I guess no one wants cash out there. Maybe this time I will award a hundred gallons of gasoline. Is anyone interested in gas for their car? Okay, I see a few hands up out there, so I'll give you the latest puzzle. From memory now, what is the name of the star in Grease who just got married? For extra credit, name their spouse. For more extra credit, what was the star's name in the show? For more, more extra credit, was Harrison Ford in the same show? For more, more, more extra credit, did I spell Harrison Ford's name correctly? Did George Washington have a white horse? How do you know? Wow! All those questions and all that gas, this is going to be the best contest ever. I'm just getting started with the questions; I've got a million of them.

    None of you guys commented on my hilariously funny jokes that I included last time. You must still be laughing so hard that you haven't been able to respond to them. I know, I know, I get that all the time. During my years as a musician I used my jokes in my musical act. If we weren't getting any response  from the audience when we sang a song, I would start to tell jokes from the bandstand. It worked every time. Someone would always jump up after the second joke and yell, "Sing". That's how I knew that they loved my singing. Oh, I forgot to tell you guys that I used to make my living on the bandstand? Yeah man, from age seventeen to about age fifty, I worked as a musician/entertainer. I started in New York, we worked every "toilet" from Manhattan to Montauk. (Basically, that's from the City to the end of Long Island.) I grew up during the 1960's and I knew the City very well. I saw the greats in the music business, some before they were "great". We went frequently to Washington Square to hang out with other players and we saw more talent there than you can imagine. In the clubs in the City we saw jazz greats like Herbie Mann and Kenny Burrell (Kenny was nineteen in those days!). On Second Avenue there was an Irish pub that we were told to audition at. We did Country and Western music at the time and some Irish music. This pub in the City was known for sending Country bands to Ireland for tours. You had to audition so that the owner could hear, and approve of, anyone that he was going to bankroll, so off we went to audition. When we arrived the owner wasn't there but there was another band auditioning. We sat down to listen. These guys were fantastic! They did one song where the lead singer "clucked" like a chicken - no lyrics, just clucking for the entire song. He played a bass fiddle while he did the song and the rest of the band, of course, backed him. We looked at each other and wondered how we would ever top this band's performance. Besides, Johnny Cash never clucked his way through a song that I know of. We never did get hold of the owner for another audition time. I would like to have gone to Ireland, but I guess it wasn't my time. Anyway, we worked at many seedy places and dives all over New York. It is interesting that you seem to find the most fantastic players in the most out of the way, sleazy places.

    I remember one place on Long Island where the bandstand was riddled with bullet holes. I guess the patrons didn't like the music. I've heard of people throwing beer bottles at the band (you learn to duck at your music lessons) but shooting at the band? Some people take their music seriously! Another time, it was a very cold winter, and we were playing in a local saloon, corner bar type of place. The patrons were locals and represented every age group. There was a little old lady, maybe sixty-five years of age. Her light gray hair was frizzed out; she looked like Phyllis Diller after she stuck her fingers in the light socket. She was about five feet short, wrinkled, skinny as a rail, and drunk out of her wrinkled socks. She had gone to the ladies room during one of our breaks, the place was relatively quiet. When she came out she screamed, "Hell, you could get pneumonia of the blow hole in there!" I guess there was no heat in the ladies room, and she wanted everyone to know.

    Not all of the places we played were dives; we played at some nice places too. As you may know, Long Island is the home of many TV and movie celebrities and they have many parties. We booked many of these parties and had the pleasure of entertaining many of TV's entertainers. We were booked by one of our agents to play in a large Hilton Hotel. The lounge was reserved for the Disco people and a very loud D.J. We were hired to play (there was only two of us) in the lobby. The lobby was big enough to land 747's. It was triple level and contained maybe one hundred tables where people waited to be seated in the dining room, or just rested from other activities. The management wanted us to play quiet, listening music for the people. We did as was requested but then some of the patrons requested us to play some folk music and some country music. They said that the Disco was too loud and smoky. We did as they wanted. The aisles started to fill with people dancing to our music. We really got into trouble when the Disco crowd started to find their way out into the lobby. We had pulled the bulk of the people out of the bar - maybe that's why we didn't get hired back the following month! You see, even when you please the crowd, you can still get into trouble.

    When I think back over the many years I had in the music business I realize that it was a lot of fun. I met a lot of great people, I worked with Nashville stars, I worked the Alan Freed Rock and Roll Shows with many of the 1950's groups. I've been on live TV and radio, cut several recordings, and I've worked in the lowest dives in the dirtiest cities on Earth. I wouldn't change a thing. And if I had the chance to go back and do it all again, I would be even more enthusiastic because I would have the knowledge that I possess today. We always look back to see the good ol' days and we never see today and tomorrow as "good". Maybe we should regard what we are doing today as good. First, we will enjoy it more - positive outlook better than negative outlook - so we can be happier now, and second, so we can have something to tell others about in the future - about the good ol' days.

    Well, boys and girls, I didn't plan on going into my musical past today, but it just sort of happened. I find that it is good to reminisce. It is like taking stock of who you are and where you have been. I tend to remember the good times more than the bad times. I guess that's because I survived the bad times. I'm happy to say that I was never shot at on the bandstand and I was usually hired back to play. That's a good thing, it means that I didn't screw up the first time I appeared. Life is mostly good. So says Sam Post.

    Posted Jul 15 2008, 03:38 PM by Sam Post with 2 comment(s)
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  • Prizes Galore – Wood For Everyone

    Bravo! What a wonderful job you guys did in figuring out my riddle from last time. I guess I’m going to have to split the grand prize though, for a few reasons. Number one, there were only two contestants. Number two, one of them cheated. There is no way that a person could know, offhand, the details of that song title, and the lyrics, and the name of the movie, and the singer. Somebody looked it up on Google, didn’t they? The other contestant has to get kudos and a prize for sheer enthusiasm. I felt your zeal as I read your response; you didn’t even take time to capitalize! No matter, I didn’t take off for grammar. The rules stated that the longest comment would win. Well, that means that Ms. Zeal wins; the other contestant, Mr. Google, had more facts, but the comments, though numerous, were very short. Then again, the suggestion for the grando prizo was a good one (free, upickitup fire wood) so he should get a prize for that suggestion. But, the rules also stated that for anyone to win, all of the people in the office had to comment. Did we lose a few employees? Are we down to a two person office? No matter, I’m awarding the grand prize to both our contestants. Both of you can come over here and share in the monstrous logs (see picture from last time) that can be used to fuel your homes to keep them warm and cozy for many years. I have even chopped them into smaller pieces (each maybe six feet in length) for you so they will fit into your cars. (What a guy!) I bet that all the other employees in the office are feeling bad now that they didn’t participate in the festivities. I probably would have split the prize to include everyone. Then everyone would have a load of firewood. Like they say, you’ve got to be in it to win it.

    Now that I see that you guys are chomping at the bit for the next exciting contest, I’ll give it to you here. Who said, “be on your merry.” This could be a movie, oops, I did it again, I wanted to not make it so easy. Who said it, what movie, was there more to the sentence, who was it said to, and concerning what? C’mon, Emcee, I know you can do it! We’ll use the same rules as before. Everyone must make a comment (just ONE comment, thank you) and the longest, most fact filled entry will win another stupendous prize. How exciting (yay). As before, I’ll take suggestions for the prize. I’ve still got plenty of wood, so if you guys really want more wood, that’s okay. Cash prizes would be nice, but you guys don’t really have to pay me for running this contest this time, maybe next week ?. I’m thinking of including all of these contests in a future anthology. Should I call it “Bloganthology”, or “Ghostanthology”, or “Sam Postanthology”? There will be a prize for the best suggestion for the name of this grand writing. Of course, everyone who participates will get a free, autographed copy for their archives. Such a deal!

    Now for an update on the tree. Remember the picture showing the part of the tree on the ground, and the other part still attached overhead? (Raise your hand if you remember) Okay. You remember that I told you that I had to rig it such that it would experience a slow fall. I didn’t want it to crash down and ruin the fence, or my hairdo. It worked well, it came down very slowly as planned and I was able to detach upper from lower so that the one part stayed up while the other came to rest quietly on the ground. So far, so good. Now it has been about a week since chopping the tree. The upper portion is still in slow fall. Very slow fall. The supporting trees are bending under the weight of the large tree and I figure it will touch down in about two years time. Each day I go out to measure the progress. It seems to be in slow motion. This is rather “cool” because, at some point, it will be low enough for me to chop more of the trunk above the rope holding it up without having to use a ladder. I am calculating how much the remaining trunk will spring and how far it will project the tree in the opposite direction when I cut the trunk. I figure that I can cut about another ten feet off of the tree that is protruding above the rope. Ten feet of this tree has to weigh (yes, I’m guessing, now) maybe five hundred pounds, three and one-half ounces (rough estimate). Of course, we must take into account that the tree is still attached to its roots, mangled, but attached. This would figure into the equation. Wind speed at the time, whether it is raining, whether I’ve had coffee, these are some of the many factors that will affect the slingshot effect of such an undertaking. If any of you out there can shed any light on the situation, I will grant another prize for the most accurate answer. That is, what is the distance, to the nearest inch, that the tree will spring back when I chop off ten feet of its length?

    Nuff said about trees, time to leaves. (Get it? Tree, leaves?) I was going to be a stand up comedian, you know why? Because I didn’t have a chair! That’s an original, boys and girls, you heard it first, right here from the Ghost.

    Saw a neat movie last night. Mad Money. A story, based on true events, about three employees of a government facility that destroys old money. The employees, suffering from the present dilemma (where do you find the “dilemmas”? Right next to the “dilimes”) that we are going through with downsizing, job losses, foreclosures, and such. The people get together and decide to steal the money that is scheduled for destruction anyway. Why not? Well they steal a lot of money, they get caught, and now they start worrying about who’s going to jail. Thing is, no one can prove that they stole anything. But, they get a lawyer who represents them all and he pretty well gets them off because the government can’t prove anything. Then the IRS comes in and says, “they didn’t pay taxes on the stolen loot, so we have them for tax evasion.” Then they cut a deal where, if they give the money back, then all is forgiven – no jail. Great, give it all back, they don’t gain, but they don’t go to jail, so that’s good. They make the deal; everyone is poor again, but relieved. Not quite. After all is said and done, the ringleader gathers her buddies to a hidden cache where she’s hidden lots of other money that the Feds don’t know about. Now they are happy again and they all go to other parts of the world to enjoy life. Happy ending. I know that all of us would like to be able to do something like this, get money for nothing, then lead a life of luxury, but what message is being sent to the young folks? That the clever people get the loot and the stupid ones go to work? That it’s just as laudable to steal money as it is to earn it by working? That it’s okay to overextend your finances (being irresponsible) and then you just go steal your way out of the trouble? Remember that the government was not able to prove that they stole anything, so that makes it okay to steal? In the beginning of the flick (it’s told in flashback modules) the main character says something like, “Well, I figure that there’s some criminal in everyone, so it’s okay to do what we did.” She says that we are all capable of doing crimes so that makes it okay to do whatever we want to do. Then, if you get caught, you lie your way out, or hire a lawyer to lie for you. After all, that’s what lawyers go to school for, to learn how to “win”, not to learn about morals. It isn’t about making a society better, it’s about technicalities, deception, lies, and winning your case. The more stories of this type that are spread throughout our society, the more we are teaching the citizens that winning, stealing, lying, and crime are equated with virtue, integrity, and hard work. Are we to learn from stories like this that work is for people who are not clever enough to steal?

    Another flick comes to mind that I saw recently. This one was a martial arts movie about a Thai whose father is murdered by the Chinese and two of his elephants are stolen. This young man is filled with integrity. He goes in search of the bad guys, beats all of them with his Muay Thai (Thai kick boxing) and succeeds in getting his baby elephant back home. It was a little hokey in the movie making department, but it was refreshing to see the pride and integrity in the main character as he avenged his father’s death and saved at least one of his prized elephants. They had a bit of historical fact about how elephants, in the old times of war, were used and highly prized by the royalty of the time. The main character reminded me of Jackie Chan, only he was tougher. So says Sam Post.

    Posted Jul 08 2008, 10:00 AM by Sam Post with 4 comment(s)
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