Here’s Grammie’s article from this time last year.
As a writer for RGQ one sometimes has a hard time settling on a source
article for ones assignment. This happens every so often. Sometimes
it’s due to a genuine dearth of suitable material on which to base ones
writing. Sometimes there is a veritable plethora of material from which
to choose and the problem is making up ones mind. Sometimes you find
a subject which fires your imagination and you’re sure will generate
a multitude of responses and there results nary a nibble. Sometimes
you write about something you are not so sure many will care about and
are shocked by the responses. Then there is today.
I’ve been having a FB discussion with a dear friend in Arkansas over
what is pretty much a local issue and which I wasn’t sure would appeal
to most RGQers. However my opinions have become quite provincial in
my dotage and I am not entirely unbiased so maybe you all can help settle
this debate. This is a real friend from meat-space, not just a FB friend.
She lives in an Arkansas county that is “dry.” That is, they aren’t
allowed to sell liquor, beer or wine there. As a resident of that county
that likes to drink, she is forced to travel to the beer woods, an anonymous
little liquor store just outside the county line for her alcoholic needs.
Not calling her an alcoholic, btw, but she is fond of her box o’ wine…and
tequila…and rum…but I digress.
There has been a concerted effort over many years, and especially recently,
to overturn in some (any) way, shape or form the county wide booze ban.
Numerous attempts to open bars as well as attempts by various restaurants
and stores to be able to sell beer and wine have been killed before
they could see the light of day.
However, recently the ptb better known as the ABC board (Alcohol Beverage
Control) have decided to grant a permit to sell beer and wine at a members
only organization called the Anglers Club. This permit is set to take
effect after the Memorial Day holiday. Sounds like a club where fishermen
could go to tell tall tales about the ones that got away, perhaps on
the same par as the 19th Hole at a golf course. I wonder how exclusive
the club would be? Would it just be open to good ol’ boys and their
close friends, or would anyone willing to fork over $5- to $10- at the
door for a membership card be admitted, like they do in Utah. Any Utahns
out there? Bring me up to date here.
My friend, meanwhile, is trying to figure out if she is eligible to
join the club and is all for loosening the liquor laws. Like many others
in her county, she feels that local businesses are being hurt by the
prohibition. Summer festivals in the county seat are suffering low turn
out and lack of taxable revenue because of it. Plus, she feels that
the citizens of the county are looking like backwards country bumpkins
in the eyes of fellow Arkansawnsans…Arkansians…Arkies…Arkansans?
Yet this is the same person that, when she moved there several years
ago, couldn’t quit singing the praises of the friendly neighborhood
Mayberry RFD qualities of the place in which she had found to live.
She was delighted to find bluegrass musicians and musical festivals
abounding in the summertime. There are people picking and grinning in
the town square and on many street corners come a mellow summer evening,
in addition to the scheduled concerts. Yet, she is horrified when talk
around town turns to developing this sleepy little town into another
Branson, Missouri which I feel is sure to follow if booze is legalized.
Then there is the other side of the debate which feels, and perhaps
rightly so, that any liberalization of the ordinances against liquor
consumption would cause all hell to break loose. By all hell, I do mean
Hell, in the biblical sense. This part of Arkansas is firmly in the
Bible Belt, and if you’ve never been there then it’s hard to explain.
This teensy weensy quaint little town is the county seat with a population
of about 2700 people. That is pretty near the population of the whole
county. It’s pretty amazing on the drive into town, from her place in
the Ozarks, you see that there is a church about every three hundred
feet or so it seems. Come Sundays, take the same drive into town and
these churches are jam-packed and you wonder where do all these people
come from? The town doesn’t seem big enough to hold all of them. There
is also a large Mennonite population which for the most part remains
under the radar. It is this entire God-fearing part of the population
that powers the anti-booze drive.
Now as a person who used to drink but does not now do so, I have been
trying to point out to my friend that the quality of life that she so
enjoys will most likely suffer immensely if the liquor bomb goes off.
Statistics show that crime rates rise exponentially where liquor abounds.
Taxes would most surely rise, if only to support the increased need
for police officers to deal with unruly drunks and their collateral
damage. My friend already complains about the increased traffic and
lack of parking when the summer festival season is open. The quality
of life she now finds so enjoyable in this little corner of the 1950’s
is sure to change and, I fear, not for the best. But like I said, I
used to drink but do not now do so. I may be a little biased on this
issue. I don’t understand persons dependence on an artificial substance
to have a good time.
I do understand her wish for some progress on this point, and I can
even sympathize with her to a certain extent. It would be nice if the
courts were open more than the once a month it takes for the circuit
judge to make his rounds. A low cost health clinic could conceivably
be funded, if only partly, by liquor taxes. Yet the trip back in time
that one takes when one visits this sleepy hollow could cease to be
What about you, dear readers? Am I just being an uptight former drinker?
Do you think loosening the liquor laws could benefit this community
or hurt it? Any of you ever have any experience with living in “dry”
towns or counties? Is this really an issue of booze vs. no booze, or
is it all about a persons freedom of choice?
He who rejects change is the architect of decay. The only human institution
which rejects progress is the cemetery.
Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks
I put a dollar in one of those change machines. Nothing changed.
On This Article
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The worst thing you can do for those you love is the things they could
and should do for themselves. - Abraham Lincoln
It takes as much courage to have tried and failed as it does to have
tried and succeeded. - Anne Morrow Lindbergh
A businessman who
needed millions of dollars to clinch an important deal went to church
to pray for the money. By chance he knelt next to a man who was praying
for $100 to pay an urgent debt. The businessman took out his wallet
and pressed $100 into the other man’s hand. Overjoyed, the man got up
and left the church.The businessman then closed his eyes and prayed,
“And now, Lord, that I have your undivided attention …. “
Gray skies are just clouds passing over.
A problem is a chance for you to do your best.
There are two kinds of worries - those you can do something about and
those you can’t. Don’t spend any time on the latter. – all from Duke
Ellington, American composer, pianist, and bandleader who died on this
day in 1974
My Most Embarrassing Moment
My Scariest Moment
Speak right up!
How Flies Fly
Sometimes, to get a quick sunbath, I just lay a pad down on the gravel
outside my back door. After some time, my neck will complain about the
contortions to read, and I’ll give up and just stare at the gravel under
my nose. It is very nice, as gravel goes, with great variety from many
places the glacier had been. Quite a few lumps of rock even sparkle.
Then there are the little plants trying to get going, so I pick at those,
disturbing the forming soil. This reveals a new world of ants, beetles,
millipedes, and so on. With the close-up view, I notice that there are
some insects that completely dwarf others, like house cats to horses.
There are bugs that wouldn’t make a mouthful for a housefly still running
around with some notions about habitat, food, mating, and so on in their
teensy-weensy heads. I’m assured that even the tiniest of these, who
might dine well on a single algae cell, are bedeviled by microbes, and
they by viruses. The mind boggles.
Fortunately, there’s a very
passionate fellow who has been trying to understand how flies fly.
For many years, engineers were famously unable to explain how bees could
lift so much with such small wings, but the problem extended all across
the insect world. At that scale, air is considerably different to deal
with, but it was eventually discovered that those simple little wings
were being flapped very precisely, to take advantage of tiny little
vortexes forming around them. They can also react to threats far faster
than even Bruce Lee. It does not seem too strange that a tiny computer
might be fast, but how can it be so smart?
When I was programming a primitive computer, I made a mistake one day,
and found that the display was alternately showing two different bits
of data, without any buttons being pushed. This was actually a fine
feature, not a bug, and it had come about without the usual several
lines of code I’d expect to write. It was even something that I never
would have thought of trying, let alone perfecting so elegantly. It
seems that insect flight has had many such happy moments in the development
history. Most insects have four wings, but on the housefly, the after
pair have been reduced to odd little stumps. Looking like unfortunate
ballast, they actually work much like a flywheel to enable wild evasive
action, and also react directly on the few “smart” muscles that aim
the true wings.
Perhaps the simplest “brain” is the mere dozen neurons that run the
chewing muscles on a crab. They manage to produce quite a few different
motions, just by being upset by one control input or another. The same
nerve cells can be re-programmed on the fly (no pun intended) for several
different tasks, just as a computer can play music in it’s spare time
while flashing two adverts, keeping track of the mouse, and waiting
for you to hit another key. Like old code that has been worked over
by many developers, none of whom left notes, the system is incredibly
byzantine, but extremely effective. Someone once programmed a computer
to design a radio antenna, which is somewhat of a black art, and what
it drew was totally bizarre, but remarkably effective. Perhaps it had
never heard of wires and tubes as standard design elements. In organic
life, some features are probably counterproductive, but there’s no way
to change them now. At one time, it made sense for the nerve that goes
to the mammalian larynx to branch off from the one that went to the
heart. Then, the heart wound up on the far side of the larynx by quite
a bit, but the nerve still makes that detour, even in Giraffes. So,
when a geek tells you that he is speaking from his heart, he really
One fellow went around asking various expert entymologists about the
best way to swat a fly. Most of them dismissed him, often saying it
was a silly question, as if they had never been chastised by Feynman
or any of the other curious stars of science. Eventually, he found one
who thought it was a trivial question. You just use both hands, approaching
the fly from two directions. Its brain generates two conflicting signals,
and it just sits there until you are in range to move faster than it
can react. That’s when you can understand the program used. “If one
eye is seeing something getting bigger, go the other way, fast” has
worked for millions of years, but a two-eye signal crashes the system.
Moths usually navigate by keeping a constant bearing to the moon, so
when a light bulb is brighter, they lock on to it and make tight circles.
Similarly, my friend has a Cowbird gazing at it’s reflection in his
window for hours every day, occasionally attacking his rival. Kittens
and puppies can also be mighty upset by a mirror.
One of the branches of investigation into Artificial Intelligence has
been in self-replicating patterns in computers. The game of “Life” is
played on a grid, according to very simple rules, such as “turn on if
3 neighbors are on.” One of the early triumphs was the “glider gun-”
a pattern that repeatedly emits other bits that drift away from it.
Most patterns were boring, but a few generated amazingly complex behavior
from almost nothing, like tiny organic life, generating patterns with
a beauty all their own. How about your life? Have you discovered a simple
rule behind what had seemed a big mystery?
on this article
The past three days in central Oklahoma have been filled with danger,
death, damage and unspeakable horror. A new term has been brought
forth, Tornado Alert which means if you want to seek shelter in your
inner room such as a bathroom or closet, and you are in the path of
an F4 or F5 storm you will probably die. The only safe place is below
ground or in a safe room. As I write this, day four, my building is
shaking from thunder, storms are building again. People who greet
each other rather than saying things “Have a nice day, good day, etc..are
saying, Be Safe, Hope you make It home okay, May God be with you.”
People are weary…tired of these storms, day four of constant hammering,
worrying about families, homes. If you live close to the affected
area, it may take you four to six hours to get home. Drinking water
for hundreds of thousands of people is unavailable, phone service..forget
it. Even at work in downtown OKC, was out. The tornado yesterday was
three times worse than the F5 tornado in 1999 which was the standard
by which all tornados are judged by. This monster was at times two
miles wide. Three schools destroyed, twenty-four dead. This is a disaster
beyond belief…yet we can learn something.. build safe rooms or secure
basements for schools. The news coverage was fantastic and saved many
lives. Many homegrown heroes saved lives by going door to door pulling
people out of the rubble. The term Oklahoma Standard has been mentioned
a lot. In reality it is an American Standard. I have witnessed caravans
of trucks, emergency vehicles coming down I-35 heading towards Moore,
Oklahoma for the next phase, repair and cleanup. The communities of
Newcastle, Carney(severe damage), Luther, Edmond, Shawnee, Bethel
Acres (90 percent destruction), Norman are also damaged I know my
wife and I will build a safe room in our home in Kansas. I am selling
my home in Oklahoma soon (no damage other than limbs down). We will
be donating clothes to the cause. Donate to the Salvation Army, Red
Cross things that are needed….Be safe.
On This Article
Now here’s something to consider. Heroine is more popular in Florida
than ever because pills are getting so hard to find. It seems like people
who want to get high are going to do it, no matter what the gov’ment
says. Our prisons are filled with people who either took or sold drugs.
Our mental institutions are filled with people who should. (I just made
If you read about some of the horrific crimes that have been committed
under the influence of pharmaceudicals, you might take a dim view of
drugs. I take a dim view myself, but not in the self righteous “you
shouldn’t do it” way. My reactions are more pity for the addict, his
family, and anyone else who is effected by his elicit activity.
Making drugs illegal hasn’t worked any better than that time in our
history when we tried to prohibit the use of alcohol. People didn’t
stop drinking. In fact, criminals had a hay day flouting the law by
importing liquor from Canada, and making their own concoctions, dangerous
I am not saying anyone anywhere should be allowed to sell drugs. I have
seen too many commercials where the side effects take longer to describe
then the benefits do to think we should all do our own prescribing.
One of my clients died recently from a drug overdose, and there was
nothing to indicate that he was trying to commit suicide.
What we need to do is eliminate the penalties for possession. If you
have a drug for your own use, it isn’t likely that its illegality would
deter you. It isn’t likely that a jail term will teach you anything,
either. However, if you could be thrown in the hooscow for years for
selling drugs without a license, it might take some of the fun out of
dealing. resources we use confining users who don’t deal could be redirected
to capturing those who do harm by providing.
As usual when I get going on this rant, I don’t claim to have all, or
even the best answer. However, enough lives are ruined by drugs, and
making possession illegal has done so little to curb their use that
I can’t help but think there is a more effective way to address the
problem. I do know for a fact that the best first step is to start the
conversation. I hope those of you who have ideas will weigh in.
On This Article
Ends - More Fun Facts…
According to market research firm NPD Fashionworld, fifty percent of
all lingerie purchases are returned to the store. On EBay, there are
an average of $680 worth of transactions each second. The Eiffel Tower
shrinks 6 inches in winter. The first FAX machine was patented in 1843,
33 years before Alexander Graham Bell demonstrated the telephone. 72%
of Americans sign their pets’ names on greeting cards they send out.
In an effort to encourage the use of nuclear energy, the United States
lent highly enriched uranium to countries all over the world between
1950 and 1988. Enough weapons-grade material to make 1,000 nuclear bombs
has still not been returned by such countries as Pakistan, Iran, Israel
and South Africa. Homing pigeons used roads where possible to help find
their way home. In fact, some pigeons followed roads so closely that
they actually flew around traffic circles before choosing the exit that
led them home.
Thanks for the limericks - let’s try this line -
Next Line - I once met a gal named Marlene…
Here’s a great new rhyming/composition tool. http://www.writerhymes.com/
There’s also a great rhyming dictionary at http://www.rhymezone.com/
Limerick rules. http://freespace.virgin.net/merrick.sheldon/limerickrules.htm
once met a gal with three cars…..
That she used to hit all of the bars…..
She didn’t like fight’n'…..
But she loved her white lightnin’…..
‘Specially from a fruit jar.
Stupid, or Old laws in the State of Ohio
Women are prohibited from wearing patent leather shoes in
It is illegal to get a fish drunk.
It is illegal to fish for whales on Sunday.
No person shall solicit sex from another of the same gender
if it offends the second person.
Participating in, or conducting a duel is prohibited.
Re: Dining Out
I dine out quite often. I would say I eat at a restaurant at least
3 times a week, and, sometimes, upwards to 5 times a week. But it
I have been banned from my kitchen. When I almost sent my son to see
St. Peter (my performing the Heimlich maneuver was only a slight offset),
I was told I was to never again attempt to cook or bake. I am allowed
to barbeque, however, but only with supervision.
My wife and I work opposing schedules. She is often coming home either
around the time I’m leaving, or after I am already at my evening job.
So, since I’m banned from the kitchen, I must rely on the efforts
of others. And, because I insist on at least one meal with a well
balanced selection, I dine at buffets that have the necessary fare,
or at a full service restaurant with a full menu. Obviously the buffet
is cheaper and is thus the place I most frequent.
So, in my case, I am spending a lot more dining out these days. As
a matter of fact, I believe my income from my evening job is simply
a source of funds to that end. If I were to deduct all costs for going
to work versus the income generated, the balance would probably equal
exactly the funds needed to eat out so often. - Cliff
dishwasher would not be my most important appliance. I have one, but
as I live alone, I do a lot of dishes by hand. I would have to live
almost next door to a laundromat to give up the washing machine, and
I use the refrigerator and stove more than the washer. Probably a
toss up between the frig and something that cooks the food. I’m just
glad that, for this question, the toilet isn’t an appliance. - bob
My dishwasher also got stopped
up and the guy who installed it showed me how to fix it. Very simple,
Unplug it from power source. Roll it out into kitchen…(it’s on wheels.)
Take out the bendy little piece of rubber tubing that is the drain.
Go to home depot or lowes and buy another one. Replace rubber tubing.
Roll machine back into it’s nook. Plug machine back into it’s power
He also told me another thing. It really pays to rinse your dishes
off well before putting them into the washer. No matter what the dishwasher
detergent people advertise. Those particles of food left on your dishes
are the ones that end up plugging up your dishwasher, they don’t just
magically dissolve and go away because you buy Brand X dishwasher
soap. - GrammieSammie
several of my friends and/or acquaintances have died. Most were way
too young and the circumstances were tragic. One of cancer and one
in a house fire. I have actually been very surprised at the relationship
of a good friend. A young woman we met when my husband was in college,
she and her husband lived next door to us for two years. The day they
were getting ready to move back home, she mentioned her grandmother’s
name, and it seemed really familiar to me. We went to my house and
called my husband’s mom. Sure enough, her grandmother and my MIL were
cousins who had grown up together, but lost touch! She and my husband
were distant cousins and hadn’t known it all the time they lived next
door to us. As far as grief goes, my friend, you just have to let
it run its course. It burns out after awhile, and then you can let
the good memories in. - Ruth in WA
I’ve lost two good friends
this year, one suddenly ( stroke), the other the end of a long illness.
Both have left a gap inside me where our interactions had been, so
I know exactly what you are feeling, Cliff. A friend is a brother
or sister by choice. I’ve written pieces for memorial services about
other friends who have passed , and find the best things we can say
about them for a public mention are the same things that drew them
to us in the first place because they are usually what others saw
in them, too. A Priest officiated at the funeral of the first friend,
who had been an active member of our kite club. In speaking about
Gene’s hobby and how he delighted so many by presenting his flying
prizes, he started to sing “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” and all of us joined
him, even his family members. There will be many people at your friend’s
service who don’t really care about his private life, just want to
remember the person they knew. But you might want to ask his family
what they would like to have said, and let it flow from there. And
here’s a virtual hug. - Nancy L in Ohio
Disclaimer- All quotes printed in this publication are believed to be
accurately attributed, but no guarantees are made that some incorrectly
attributed, or even outright false quotes won’t get in here from time
to time. I assure readers that I will do my best to weed out incorrect
quotes, and will print a retraction as soon as I become aware of any errors.
Click here to see the archives of past issues, or go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/reallygoodquotes/messages.
If you run across something really outstanding when perusing the archives,
I’d appreciate it if you’d mail me at TheBestOfRGQ@yahoo.com
and point it out to me. I’m in the process of compiling an e-book
called, not surprisingly, The Best of RGQ, and I’d like to hear from you
which pieces impacted you the most.
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