If you have something to say, post a comment. I will not respond to anonymous commenters, so if you care to joust with the GROUCH, open yourself a FREE GMAIL account and get yourself an ID so I'll know who you are.

If you'd like to be a guest contributor, email me at:
ka4p1@hotmail.com
Opinions of the guests are not necessarily the opinion of the GROUCH!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Megoliath - Musician's Friend Brings Home the Bacon

Some of you may remember the difficulties I had with Musician's Friend a while back over a MacBook Pro. Well, Paul Christensen with Musician's Friend invited me to call next time I planned on a big purchase and he would do what he could to make things right again.

Look at my new SWR, Megoliath bass cabinet. The monster has eight 10 inch speakers and a high frequency horn. It is rated for 1200 watts continuous power and in spite of it's enormous size, it is quite easy to move around. The other Morbid Strangers liked it as well. Paul made me a helluva a deal, $300 dollars off the catalog price!

Thanks, Paul, for your honesty and your help. Musician's Friend is back in my good graces once again. I really like their website. You can sit there pointing and clicking forever.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Crime in Decatur County, TN.

With all the fine homes and expensive property here in Decatur County, the crime of trespassing can be a real problem.
Hat tip - Kathy Melton.

A Good Laugh After Midnight

Late night at the ER and a good laugh is sometimes in order:

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Identity Crisis

Well, I've thought for the longest that our sweet beagle dog, Penny has thought she was part cat. Now I'm convinced. Last night she spent most of the evening in her room with her food bowl. This is unusual. She is usually in the living room giving us love and attention.

This afternoon I was coming in the house through the back door. I could hear sweet Wifey yelling, "NO! PENNY! NO! PENNY! NO! PENNY!"

I entered to find Penny engaged in combat with a mouse in the middle of her room. I'm not sure what she was going to do with it, but at the relief of sweet Wifey, I got Penny away from it and quickly and humanely ended the rodent's life. After I had disposed of the corpse, Penny stayed in the room sniffing for the longest. You just can't fool the beagle nose.

Now, not only does she walk on the back of the furniture, she also chases mice! Meow! Bwaa Haa Haa!

I Just Wanna Celebrate!

While I'm at it and criticizing the NO FUN LEAGUE, if I were the commissioner I would immediately lift the ban on end zone celebrations. For as far back as I remember celebrations have been an entertaining part of the game. For the most part, nobody gets hurt unless the celebrating player hurts himself doing some kind of a contorted raindance. Even sweet wifey, who generally cares nothing for football will enjoy a hearty end zone celebration. C'mon, NFL, lettum play! Lettum have fun! Watch the videos below and smile.



And my favorite of all time, Billy "White Shoes" Johnson! They'd probably fine him for such behavior today.

Legislating Away the Laws of Physics

Issac Newton explained it when he developed his laws of motion. In his first law of motion he declares that objects in motion will tend to remain in motion. He also declares that the center of mass will move at a CONSTANT speed in a STRAIGHT LINE.

Consider the task of a linebacker, a cornerback, or a safety who's job it is to stop the member of the offense carrying a ball toward the goal line. These defenders are often headed at full speed toward the offender, indeed a CONSTANT speed in a STRAIGHT LINE! Suddenly in a split second they are expected to breakoff or modify the attack in order not to commit an illegal hit. Not only are they at risk of now giving their team a penalty but they now risk being ejected and suspended from games and even being fined large sums of money.

This all started last weekend when there was a flurry of big hits around the NFL resulting in concussions and other assorted injuries. Now I think the league is as usual probably over reacting to a situation. If there had only been a single incident I betcha it the whole thing would have been quickly forgotten, but there were several, so now we have talks of fines and suspensions.

There is no doubt that dirty hits and unnecessary roughness does occur but I am afraid we are coming to the point where players will be punished for simply obeying the laws of physics.

As the march toward the NO FUN LEAGUE continues it seems the management has become obsessed with making sure nobody gets hurt. As far back as I remember, people have gotten hurt playing football. I even remember when I was in high school a player on an opposing team was paralyzed from the neck down. We were all shocked and saddened but things went on and there have been other players injured or even killed playing at all levels of football.

I am sure that all players, especially at the professional level are aware and accept the risks. In like manner, race drivers, skydivers, jockeys, boxers, skiers, and even Olympic players are subject to injury and even death. Anytime a mass is headed at high speed in a straight line there is always risk of bad things happening. It is usually that sudden stop that does the damage.

So if you want no risk I guess we just ought to have chess and checker tournaments, perhaps a friendly game of tiddlywinks or maybe the canasta finals, and lets have a federal gubment ban on everything else.

I say take reasonable precautions but otherwise lettum PLAY! Life without risk is a dull undertaking indeed.

Friday, October 22, 2010

I'm Really Worried About the Republicans

Of course I am hopeful that the Dimocrats suffer a disastrous defeat this November and that the Republicans will enjoy comfortable majorities in both houses of congress, but I can't help but still be very worried. You know it seems no matter how much they may have going for them, Republicans just can't seem to keep their noses out of trouble!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Fun with your Tramp Stamps

For a little good clean fun, click HERE!

Hat tip - Neal Boortz.

The Truth About Congress

A Congressman was seated next to a little girl on an airplane so he turned to her and said, "Do you want to talk? Flights go quicker if you strike up a conversation with your fellow passenger."

The little girl, who had just started to read her book, replied to the total stranger, "What would you want to talk about?"

Oh, I don't know," said the congressman. "How about global warming, universal health care, or stimulus packages?" as he smiled smugly.
"OK," she said. "Those could be interesting topics, but let me ask you a question first. A horse, a cow, and a deer all eat the same stuff - grass. Yet a deer excretes little pellets, while a cow turns out a flat patty, and a horse produces clumps. Why do you suppose that is?"

The legislator, visibly surprised by the little girl's intelligence, thinks about it and says, "Hmmm, I have no idea."

To which the little girl replies, "Do you really feel qualified to discuss global warming, universal health care, or the economy, when
you don't know crap?"

And then she went back to reading her book.

Hat Tip - Neal Boortz.

Juan Williams, My Thoughts

Well, NPR fired Juan Williams apparently due to "disparaging" remarks about..............YOU GUESSED IT! MUSLIMS!

Go to sweet wifey's blog to read all the details.

As far as his political beliefs, I have little use for much of anything Juan has to say, although, once in a while he will surprisingly get it right, but you know a blind hog will pick up an acorn every now and then.

He certainly is in the not in the back pocket of Obama and will criticize the president heartily when it is deserved. I really think that Hillary was his girl during the campaign but as any good liberal would do, he's just trying to make the best of a bad situation......which seems to be exponentially getting worse.

I can say that Juan is always prepared. Tasked with trying to sugar coat left wing BS, he argues powerfully and always seems up to have his ducks in a row. Wifey and I smile as we watch him go toe to toe with Britt Hume.

Juan seems like a nice guy. The folks at Fox News appear to really like him. I have heard him talk about going out to baseball games with his kids and some of the Fox people. He strikes me as the kind of guy that you'd like to talk with over a cup of coffee or take fishing. Seems like he can take a joke. I just don't want people with his political beliefs in  position of authority.

So he gets a little nervous when he gets on an airplane with Muslims dressed as Muslims........hmmmmm, well I guess Juan and I feel the same way about that one. I betcha most of his lib buddies feel the same way too. They just don't have the stones to say it.

I betcha Juan will be just fine. This may be just the opportunity he needs to move on to bigger and better things.

Of course NPR just fired him because he is black. Whaddayamean I have no evidence of this? Show me evidence to the contrary! It's not the evidence, it's the seriousness of the charge.

Demerol Sandwich

I'll have a Demerol sandwich with a side order of Vicodin with a Phenergan-Percocet shake, and I want it now and I want it for free.

In this week's local newspaper there was an idiot complaining about the ER. He was complaining that those vile people in the ER would not give him his ready to order shot. After all, the ER is like McDonalds, isn't it? You just prance in like you own the damned place and order whatever you want! and unlike McDonalds, they should give it to you for free, right?

Evidently he was angered that the ER doctor instead ordered some tests and charged him a hospital bill. He was griping about other things too, and I do not recall ever seeing this person at any of the hospital board meetings.

I have not seen this person's medical record so I do not know the specifics of the case and I do not know what tests and treatments were ordered. I do know this: If the doctor had just prescribed the requested shot and something had gone wrong, this complaining person would be the first to rush to a lawyer and sue the doctor and the hospital. It is funny to me that no matter how big the slug, they always seem to have a lawyer.

I frequently encounter the same thing:

"Well, Dr. Jones gives me this shot when I am sick."

I counter with, "Well, then, perhaps you should consider making an appointment with Dr. Jones."

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Down's Syndrome Benefit

The Morbid Strangers had a pleasant time yesterday at the Little Rebel in Jackson. We were playing for a benefit for Down's Syndrome. There were delicious barbecue chicken dinners, plenty of beverages, auctions, raffles, giveaways, horseshoes, and of course lots of Morbid Strangers music and the weather could not have been better.

I have been informed that $4617.00 was raised for the cause yesterday.
 
For more pictures you can go to my FLICKR PAGE. The latest pictures are at the end of the set so work your way back.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Technology on the Water

As I said in a previous post I have been fishing since I was 5 or 6 years old. Our first boat was a green wooden boat with a 5 horsepower Evinrude. I had great fun driving it and my daddy patiently instructed me in its proper use.

I remember it seemed pretty cool. When I opened it up it made some noise and the boat threw up a small wake. It seemed to me that we were really going fast and I remember being a little disappointed when my daddy told me we were probably only going 7 or 8 miles per hour.

My daddy's good friend was Mr. Alexander. He also had a wooden boat and had a 10 horsepower Johnson on the back. I thought he was really in the big time with a motor that large. In fact nobody we knew for the longest had anything bigger than about 10 horsepower. According to my daddy, big motors were not for "serious" fishermen. If you had anything bigger than 10 horsepower you were at the river mainly just to ride around.I remember there was a 12 horsepower Sea King (a defunct Montgomery Ward brand) motor hanging on the door of a shed at Mr. Alexander's cabin. My daddy told me that was a real fast motor and that if we had anything like that on the back of our boat, it would be more than dangerous.

Now in those days we did not have trolling motors. I learned to skull a boat with a short paddle and one hand while fishing with the other. This is pretty much a lost art but I still see some old timers on the river doing it even today. This pretty much limited your options on very windy days. You either tried to find a place out of the wind or you simply didn't fish. My daddy used to say that the fishing wasn't good on windy days. Later on after trolling motors came along I finally discovered that the wind seems to bother the fishermen a whole lot more than it does the fish.

We also did not have depth finders (sonar) and our knowledge of our fishing waters consisted of scoping out the area during periods of low water and making mental notes of what structures appeared and where the channel was. Later on when I finally got a sonar, I marveled for the longest at some of the things we had missed.

Some guys moved into a cabin a couple of doors down from us. They had a runabout with what I recall a 40 horsepower Johnson (looked like a washing machine). I remember those guys drank a lot of beer and certainly did a lot of riding around with that big motor. Indeed my daddy knew what he was talking about.

We eventually got rid of the old green boat and got a 14 foot Alumacraft with a 9.9 Johnson. Boy the Johnson was way faster. I betcha we could go every bit of 10 to 12 mph! We also got a trolling motor which made fishing in the wind a lot easier.

Not too long after that, our friend, Mr. Carruth, got some kind of a fiberglass boat with a 35 horsepower Evinrude. My faith in my daddy was briefly shaken in that I could not understand how Mr. Carruth, a fisherman, could justify having such a big motor. My daddy finally explained that Mr. Carruth was a crappie fisherman and he needed a different kind of boat than us bass fishermen. He also had to travel longer distances to find the crappie. I was satisfied once again. I remember that Mr. Carruth drank a substantial quantity of beer and I began to draw a connection between beer and big motors.

Mr. Carruth, Mr. Alexander, and my daddy had a 4 slip boathouse that they had built on a place called Rickett's Creek. There was a 4th slip owned by a guy named Fred Smith. He lived in Illinois and we never saw him. We all had a lot of good times in that boathouse.

Not too much later, Mr. Alexander's 10 horsepower Johnson died and he came back with a 20 horsepower Johnson. Now I was mildly perplexed, but not as much as before, I guess cause I was getting older. I had decided that Mr. Alexander was a real fisherman no matter what kind of motor he had.

My daddy taught me a lot of things about the river. He taught me to watch the weather. He taught me about the dangers of high winds. We never messed with barges or large boats and always got out of the way. They could create rough water and dangerous conditions. He taught me tips about fishing, tips too numerous to count.

As I approached my teen years I got interested in playing music and girls and my interest in the river waned. I would still go from time to time but not nearly as much as before. Some of the best times I remember was when sweet wifey and I would join my parents on the river. This was right before my daddy's health got too bad for him to go. How I would like to have those times back if only for a few moments.

Finally my daddy's health got so bad that we pulled the boat out of our boathouse at the river and brought it home. He was too sick to make the trip but I did manage to take him to some nearby lakes for short fishing trips. When he was healthy he could fish all day. Now he could only last a couple of hours tops. So sad.

My father passed away in 1983. Shortly after that, Mr. Carruth came by and asked me if I would sell my quarter interest in the old boathouse to him. He was going to get a bigger boat that was going to take up 2 slips. I offered to give him the slip for free. I could not have taken anything from him. I told him my daddy would have wanted him to have it. My daddy was just that way and valued his friends and kindness toward others much more than any material thing. Mr. Carruth had tears in his eyes as he told me that he loved my daddy and said he was a great friend. That was the last time I saw Mr. Carruth. I heard he had passed shortly after that. That old boathouse has since collapsed and is no more.

I rarely went fishing for a long time after that. I was more interested in career I guess and put the "important" things on hold. In 1995 I finally came to my senses sold the old Alumacraft and bought a brand new Hydrasport bassboat with a 115 Horsepower Johnson. It had a built in trolling motor and 2 sonars. I asked the salesman if I really needed a motor that big. He told me that a heavy fiberglass boat like this needed a big motor in order to properly perform. I did not want anyone to think I was at the river just to "ride around".

In 1996, sweet wifey and the dogs and I all moved to the river and we have been here ever since. I don't plan on ever leaving. My new Hydrasport bassboat is now 15 years old and on its second 115 horsepower outboard, a Mercury (my first Mercury ever). I am sure that if my daddy were still around, he would approve of my choice. I can go places now in the big boat that would have required an hour trip in the old Alumacraft and my Minnkota autopilot trolling motor is a set and forget machine, even in the wind. With every bass I catch I just know that my daddy is up there somewhere smiling.

I'm smiling! What's not to smile about?

Where's the Fire?

I have been fishing ever since I was about 5 or 6 years old. I can remember the first time my daddy let me drive the boat. We had a 12 foot long, green, wooden boat powered by a 5 horsepower Evinrude outboard. It was not much by today's standards but we thought we were in high cotton at the time.

One of the very first things my daddy taught me was to slow down to near idle speed when passing other folks fishing. It was just the polite thing to do. To this day I never wake another fisherman.

It is obvious to me that others never learned this lesson. I was out pounding the water for bass yesterday and was in the main channel of the Beech River. At least 3 or 4 times people in bassboats zipped by, some only a few boat lengths away, just waking the sh*t out of me, and grinning like jackasses as they passed. Now it would be nice if these people were young folks that didn't know any better, but no, a couple of them were old geezers, older than me anyway.......

I just don't get it. It only takes a few moments to slow down and quietly pass by. What is even worse are goofballs that "slow down" as they pass, but never get off the plane. I got news for you. If you are driving a boat with a planing hull, your wake will get WORSE if you slow down. You have to drop off the plane and down to near idle speed to make your wake go away. If you're not gonna get off the plane, then give it the gun. A bassboat at very high speed actually makes very little wake. This is because not much of the boat is actually in the water. Just slowing down will not help.

Many people do not realize that if your wake causes damage or injury to another, you can be held legally responsible. Of course I am not sure how you could necessarily prove that speedy Gonzalez actually caused the trouble has he would probably be quickly out of sight.

I was listening to marine channel 16 one day. Some dude was calling a large cruiser politely imploring him to slow down before passing. The guy in the cruiser replied that he was in the main channel and that he would go as fast as he damn well pleased. I thought this was pretty rude. It would not have inconvenienced the captain more than a couple of minutes if he had pulled back on the throttles. Those large cruisers and yachts can really stir a wake when they are making a head of steam. Most of the drivers are courteous, but a few are idiots.

To me the river is a place of enjoyment. If you feel the need to be in a hurry there, you're missing the whole point. I like to take the time to slow down and enjoy nature at its best. Evidently, some out there do not share my joy.

Outraged Over New Taxes! REALLY?

Well our new mayor and new county commissioners have been in office slightly over 2 months and now we have an increase in our property tax and also our wheel tax. These new taxes according to the mayor have been levied to take care of 3/4 million dollars in debt accrued by the county. I have heard that the new mayor had one of those "oh my God" moments when he took over and found bills and invoices stuffed away in drawers and cubby holes. Evidently some of these bills were several years old. I don't have all the facts but I have to wonder how far back these debts go and how many previous administrations are responsible. According to the mayor the additional 20 dollar increase in wheel tax will go solely to retire this debt.

Have you ever noticed when politicians encounter a shortfall they immediately jump to the conclusion that there is a REVENUE problem and the solution is to raise taxes? It seems they never consider that there might be a spending problem and the solution is to CUT, CUT, CUT! This new mayor is a local bidnessman. I wonder how he would have handled a shortfall in his bidness? Would he have tackled people on the street, dragged them into his bidness, and forced them at gunpoint to buy more of his goods and services? I think not. Rather he would have cut his expenditures, downsized, laid off people, etc. to make ends meet. In a similar manner, so should gubment, but NO, it's so easy just to raise taxes.

Across the county there has been outrage over these new taxes. Calls have gone up for impeachment of the mayor and county commissioners. There is also talk of starting a teaparty movement. What is funny is that I have noticed that some of the people railing against the mayor are politicians and former politicians that actually VOTED FOR or supported the creation of the wheel tax several years ago! Funny how things change when the shoe is on the other foot. Indeed they must think the masses have forgotten about this, but, NOT ME....... Fine if you've had a change of heart about taxes, but it's kinda like a former alcoholic now cursing someone else who takes a drink. But now these previous tax creators are OUTRAGED! REALLY? Or could it be because this outrage looks good politically? I just don't know.

The wheel tax we have now was implemented I think back in 2005. This was to pay for a new jail. It was first put before the citizens in the form of a referendum. The referendum was soundly voted down. The mayor at the time and the county commissioners proceeded to vote in the wheel tax anyway. You can imagine a lot of people were really pissed off. It makes me wonder why they had the referendum in the first place. And now some of these same tax raising politicians are OUTRAGED!

I always thought it would be cool if the US Constitution was amended to require new taxes be approved by referendum only. Can you imagine the whining and complaining by politicians if such a thing ever came to pass? IT'LL NEVER HAPPEN!

Nobody axed me about the new jail, but I thought a large field surrounded by electrified barbed wire with some tents and a few wood stoves would suffice. A prison camp much like the one use by sheriff Joe Arpaio in Arizona I think would be pretty cool (and hotter than 400 hells in the summer). I don't see the rationale of spending a lot of money on a jail. It should be a place to which nobody would wish to return, but that's just me. We, however, have a nice, shiny, state of the art facility funded by wheel tax money.

No doubt I am unhappy about the new taxes, but I'm not yet ready to blast the new mayor into oblivion. I'll let him get over his "oh my God" moment and see over the long haul if he manages to cut waste and spending and bring the budget into line. Whatever happens I don't look forward to a repeal of any of these new taxes. That's the bad thing about taxes, they never expire, only "tax cuts" expire. Have you ever noticed that?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Football Time


The band wasn't playing last Saredee so I took a little time to kick back and watch some college football for a change. I'm sure all the yankee sportswriters were thrilled when South Carolina knocked off #1 Alabama. Now those yankee sports writers can gleefully elevate Ohio State or Oregon to the #1 position. Wait a minute, LSU and Auburn are still undefeated, what about them? Nah, those yankee sports writers are prejudiced against SEC teams. Any time they get a chance to elevate some yankee team or west coast team over an SEC team, they're gonna do it. If Notre Dame could win 3 or 4 games, they'd put them at #1. Those yankee sportswriters just LOVE Notre Dame.

Just to give you an example of yankee prejudice, consider the loudmouth bloviating yankee, Sean Hannity. From time to time he has coach Lou Holtz on his program. He always introduces him as "former Notre Dame coach". The fact of the matter is that Holtz not only coached at Notre Dame, he also was head coach at William and Mary, North Carolina State, Minnesota, Arkansas, and South Carolina. I guess those schools are just chopped liver in the eyes of yankees like Hannity.

I've complained about this before, but this ranking thing just really gripes my ass. I'll say again that we really need a college football playoff system and just let the top teams slug it out at the end of the year........winner takes all.......there's no points for second best. It's one of the few things Hussein Obama and I agree on. The SEC (South Eastern Conference) is probably the toughest conference in all of football. Many times though most of the teams don't go undefeated, mainly because they all have to play each other in the conference. Unfortunately it is nearly impossible for a team with a single loss to get a shot at the national title. In my humble opinion, many of the SEC teams with 1 or 2 losses are better than a lot of the undefeated teams from other places, hence the need to a playoff, if you really wanna find out who is the best.

Speaking of the Alabama, South Carolina game, you gotta hand it to the old ball coach, Steve Spurrier. No matter what you think of him, he always has his team well prepared and has a few tricks up his sleeve.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Morbid Strangers rock Barley's

The Morbid Strangers want to thank everyone who came out to Barley's Brewhouse last night. The crowd wasn't huge but those that were there seemed to have a great time. We're hoping to come back again real soon. Go HERE to see the pictures from the gig.

Tattoos Revisited

Ever since I put up my first post on tattoos many months ago I have found that it is the gift that keeps on giving. I still get an occasional flame from people too ashamed to admit they made a bad life choice by getting some hideous emblem permanently emblazoned on their body. Anyway I found this picture that somewhat summarizes the implications of tattoo locations.
. 
Hat tip - Neal Boortz.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Right Place at the Right Time

Tuesday I was way back up in the back end of Cub Creek bass fishing. This time of year, Cub Creek is a treacherous place to be with nothing but lots of shallow water and billions of huge stumps. The bass will come into this shallow water and lay on these stumps as they begin feeding for the winter, but you'd better know where you are going before tackling the creek in low water.

I was sitting in a bend in the creek on the edge of a large flat hitting one target after another with my Balsa B when a young guy and a girl in a flat bottomed aluminum boat slid by. He was moving rather briskly and I thought to myself that he had better be careful.

At that moment I heard a CRASH! I looked around and this dude had cut corners from the channel onto the flat and had ended up centered on the top of a huge stump. The boat was almost completely out of the water and he was stuck but good. He was probably about 100 feet away from me and he looked over at me and said, "Well, I guess I can't go that way."

He walked from bow to stern a couple of times scratching his head but it was obvious he was going nowhere. It was then I noticed he didn't even have a trolling motor or a sonar on the boat. I'm not even sure if he had a paddle.

"You think you're gonna be able to get off that stump?" I shouted.

"Well, maybe we could get out of the boat and push it off." he suggested.

I could tell the young girl with him didn't think too much of that idea. The water temp was 65 degrees and she was already wrapped up in a hoodie. I trolled on over toward him, careful not to get up onto the flat myself. I carry a large rope with hooks on each end for the specific purpose of towing something. I handed him the rope and instructed him to secure it to the bow of his boat and I secured my end to the transom of mine. My big Mercury didn't even groan as I pulled him free.

He thanked me for the rescue and said, "It was a good thing I hit that stump where I did cause I have not seen another boat in here all day."

I agreed, "You might very well have been sitting here at this time tomorrow!"

I tried to point out some places to him where he should not go and cautioned him a couple of times about the shallow water and the stumps. He asked me how long I had been fishing in Cub Creek.

"About 50 years." I said, probably at least twice as long as he had been alive.

He told me he was not a fisherman but rather a deer hunter searching out some places along the creek bank to try out later and he proceeded on upstream and out of sight. I slowly proceeded on downstream toward the main river hitting each stump I could find with the crank bait.

About 45 minutes later here he came back the other way. He waved as he passed and I noticed him hit several more stumps and churn up the shallow bottom on his way out. On some places on the creek there is only one place you can go and ONE PLACE ONLY. I smiled and shook my head as he disappeared around the bend.

I know he made it cause I passed him on the main river on the way home. There's always something to smile about on the river.

Kudos to Outback Steakhouse

How about a "feelgood" story for a change? The other day, sweet Wifey (she is so sweet) and I went out to see a movie and then we went over to the Outback Steakhouse. Boy I just love a Blooming Onion! At the door a nicely dressed young man greeted us. He was obviously somewhat "mentally challenged" but he held the door open, smiled, and almost gleefully exclaimed, "Welcome to Outback! Thank you so much for coming!"

During our meal I listened to him from time to time gleefully greeting all the customers. I could not help notice but many of the patrons grinning extra large grins. You could also tell that the young man was enjoying himself tremendously.

On the way out, he held the door open and said, "Thank you so much for coming! PLEASE! Come back!"

I shook his hand and patted him on the shoulder and thanked him. Wifey remarked how nice it was that the store had hired this young man and put him in that position.

It sure was. I am still smiling just thinking about it.

New Business!

A friend just started his own business, making landmines that look like prayer mats.

It's doing well.

He says Prophets are going through the roof.


Hat tip - Neal Boortz

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

More Band Pictures

Announcing some more pictures from the Shriner's Toy Run last Saturday. These pictures were taken by Marty Harvey, a professional photographer and let me tell you, they are OUTSTANDING! I have posted just a few of them below, but I set up a set on FLICKR for a full viewing. Go HERE to see all of them. You won't be disappointed.







Monday, October 4, 2010

He Lost, He's Angry and Bitter, He's Looking for Someone to Blame!

A couple of months ago we had the election for our new county mayor. We have already received an increase in our property tax and our wheel tax, but this is not my story today. In July I posted a story titled the "The 1200 dollar Fishhook and Dishonest Politicians". If you didn't read the original post you need to go HERE right now and read it or the rest of this won't make much sense to you.

Good, now that you're back, a few days ago I got a letter in the mail from this very same politician. He was very upset with me about this blog post. Well as you know I'm not going to let a single bit of hate mail go to waste so here is his letter and a couple of documents. What follows is my reply to him along with a few comments for my blog readers. Here goes:

LETTER FROM ANGRY POLITICIAN

Please find enclosed a copy of your blog of July 15, 2010. I recently received this rant by mail from an anonymous source. Having served in government for several years, I have learned that criticizing politicians is a pastime for some. Granted in many cases it is very deserving but in some cases it comes from sheer ignorance and is a mere means to vent frustrations by “badmouthing politicians” rather than kicking the dog.

Although you state that I was charged ZERO for the services provided by you and the hospital, I will not be as rude and crude as you were and call you a liar, but I must say you have skillfully demonstrated your ignorance.

To address your absurd accusation that I lied about the amount I was charged by you and the hospital, I have enclosed the Explanation of Benefits notice provided by Blue Cross Blue Shield. 

Please click on the images for hi-res versions. I have included some educational explanations in the images - GROUCH


This clearly indicates to me that Decatur County Hospital charges to me were $256.00 and your charges including the ER services were $927.00; that totals $1183.00 or $17.00 short of $1200.00 Pardon my exaggeration but that’s pretty close to $1200.00

I have paid for health insurance for half a century and Medicare since its inception, as a result much of my healthcare needs are covered. What you implied was free to me was grossly inaccurate—I have paid for my health care through 50 years of insurance premiums and Medicare taxes and premiums.

For a doctor whose purpose is to care for people, I find it astounding that you are spewing such hatred. After reading your blog I’m convinced you have an acute need for a psychiatric analysis. I wish you and the hospital the very best, but from my vantage point, the future looks dim for you as well as the hospital.

And now folks, my entertaining reply. This is long so if you have something else to do, go do it and come back later, but it's GOOD, I promise:
 


I appreciate your most thoughtful letter. I have to wonder why you bothered to send it. The election was almost 2 months ago. You lost. It is time to move on.

I also wonder why this person anonymously sent you a screen capture of my blog page. Again this is over something well in the past. I suppose the person that sent it must have way to much time on their hands and only sent it to create ill will and discontent, which apparently it has done at least for you.

First let me say that if I had wanted to be rude, I would have identified you on my blog page and then called you some names. I did not. I left it up to the readers to figure out the culprit. I guess the person that sent you the screen capture was able to figure it out.

I also had to almost laugh out loud at the EOB you sent me when the figure “Amount you owe provider” was .00! If you knew anything about health care and hospitals which evidently you don’t, you would know that the amount doctors and hospitals “charge” and the amount they are actually paid by insurance companies, including Medicare are always substantially different. The health providers always “settle” for a discounted or negotiated amount which is generally drastically less than any initial charges. I am sure that you thought your precious Medicare paid the hospital the “Medicare benefits” amount which would total $1124.31, however, you probably failed to notice the little disclaimer at the bottom of the EOB which discusses “Medicare allowed amount”. Nowhere on the EOB is there an amount that Medicare actually paid the hospital. The amount would be so small it would be disgraceful and the government intentionally hides it. The problem is that the average person on the street would not necessarily know this and if I boasted that I was charged $1200 for a fishhook removal, that person might believe that I actually had to pay this. If you’re going to be the mayor of a county, it is up to you to educate yourself about how EOB’s work and exactly what they mean, especially if you are going to launch darts at the hospital. It appears you chose not to bother with this little detail.

The figures I quoted in the blog post came from the hospital administrator. If you would like to argue any inaccuracies, I am sure she would be delighted to meet with you.

By the way, please don’t whine to me about all the money you’ve paid into Medicare over the years. I am in the same boat as you and in my opinion, Medicare and Social Security are a couple of the biggest socialist rip-off schemes ever foisted upon a populace. Health care providers have been held hostage now for many years by Medicare with the government dictating what they can and cannot be paid.

You of course missed the whole point of my blog post which was not the amount you were charged for your fishhook removal but rather that you chose to stab the hospital in the back in front of a would be constituent. The fishhook charge is irrelevant. Your childish behavior as a public servant is disgraceful.

There is no doubt that the hospital is and has for some time been in financial trouble. This is not something that just happened, but is due to years and years of incompetence, neglect, and abuse by the people that were supposed to be running the show.

Did you know that when the new administration took over, old bills and invoices were slowly uncovered, found stuffed away in drawers and cubby holes? The amount of these bills were in the high 6 figure amount approaching nearly a million dollars! Did you know this?

Did you know that the current administration has slowly paid down this debt to about half of what it was, while still on a shoestring budget and still barely making payroll? Did you know this?

Did you know that insurance claim forms were stuffed away in drawers and cubby holes and never filed with insurance companies? These were claims totaling about ¾ of a million dollars. They have since been submitted. Did you know this?

Did you know that the accounts receivable days were over 150 when the new administration took over? The old administration made little effort to collect money for the services it provided. The AR days are now less than 50. Did you know this?

Did you know that when the new administration took over the charge master for the hospital had not been updated since some time in the early to mid 1990’s? We were charging early 1990’s prices for services rendered in late 2007 and beyond. The charge master has since been revised. Did you know this?

Did you know that several years ago, the hospital had the opportunity to become classified as a “critical access hospital”? This would have meant a restructuring of how we are paid and would have gone a long way toward alleviating the financial crunch we are in now. Unfortunately. the old administration used incorrect data and determined that it would not be in our best interest to go critical access. Now I am told that the rules have changed and it is too late for us to go critical access. The administrator told me the other day that this is a door that has been closed to us, possibly forever. Did you know this?

Did you know that the hospital is continuously under assault by Medicare in the form of the thing called RAC audits? They come back at a later date and try to take money away from us on claims already filed in good faith and already paid to us by the government. One of the latest travesties includes the government trying to take $11,000 dollars from us because the doctor used the word “removed” instead of “excised”! Did you know this? Why are you not on the phone complaining to your congresswoman and senators as I have already done?

Did you know that all of our ambulances are falling apart? The hospital cannot afford to buy more trucks. Calls to the county for help have repeatedly fallen on deaf ears. Did you know that on more than one occasion we have been down to a single functioning ambulance for the whole county? Did you know this?

Decatur County, not the hospital, is tasked by the state of Tennessee with providing 911 service (including the ambulance service) for the county. Yet the burden for this has been laid solely on the back of the hospital, a burden it can ill afford. Did you know this?

Did you know that if you have a heart attack or a stroke that your chances of survival are significantly greater at DCGH than they would be at another average hospital. In spite of all the financial difficulties previously mentioned, through the efforts of the doctors, nursing, EMS, and administration, we have become an accredited chest pain and stroke center and are affiliated with St. Thomas Hospital in Nashville. This required a lot of hard work and enormous effort. Did you know this?

Did you know that for a hospital of our size we are number one in the nation in our progress toward the computerized physician order entry program? This means we are on the cutting edge of technology. We are well on our way to having a completely paperless medical record system which saves time and money and also reduces errors and improves quality and hopefully will expedite reimbursement. Did you know this?

Did you know that we have a radiology department that certainly surpasses any other hospital of similar size offering state of the art CT scanning with teleradiology support, MRI, mammography, and ultrasound? Recently we have received a large grant to implement the PACS (picture archiving and communication system) which will streamline our radiology department and eliminate the need for old hardcopy films and enhance support of the staff doctors by the radiologist. All of these achievements required much thought and much hard work, and all was accomplished on a shoestring budget. Did you know this?

Our lab at DCGH is second to none, performing tests quickly and accurately on a scale generally found at much larger hospitals. Did you know this?

Did you know any of these things about the hospital? I doubt it. You could have known if you had been interested, but never do I recall seeing you at a single hospital board meeting. All of these issues have been discussed in open forum at the board meetings. I can’t really pick on you individually here as I recall seeing none of the mayoral candidates at the any of the board meetings either.

Instead of taking the time to educate yourself and find out the facts about the hospital, you chose instead to slap one of the “good old boys” on the back, have a good laugh, and stab the hospital in the heart. You sir, should be ashamed of yourself. If the hospital should cease to exist it will be a tragedy for the county. You accused me of being ignorant. Perhaps you would like to take a moment of silence at this time to contemplate your position on ignorance.

I know of quite a few people walking around today who would not be here were it not for the hospital. We have quite a large elderly population, Many of them are unable or unwilling to travel long distances for their health needs. Without the hospital, many of them simply will not receive care. The hospital is one of the largest employers in the county. If the hospital goes away, so do those jobs.

You would think that a politician running for mayor would take time to find out all the facts about a facility as vital as our hospital and would celebrate our successes and pledge to do everything possible to make us financially sound, but, NO! I guess you would rather collect your facts from the barber shop and the local restaurant and whine about your $1200 fishhook and the fact that you’ve paid Medicare tax all your life!

It would have been so refreshing if you had said, “The hospital has done a lot of good things but they are having financial trouble. If I am elected I promise to do everything humanly possible to assure that the hospital becomes and remains financially sound.” Such a statement would have been so welcomed and so meaningful. It might have even gotten you elected.

It seems that hospital bashing has become a pastime with many in Decatur County. The problem is that the bashers have NONE of the facts and I NEVER see any of the bashers at any of the board meetings. You’d think the politicians would be above this, but I guess that is too much to hope for.

Your fishhook comment did not go unnoticed at the hospital. Hard working employees were shaking their heads. A couple asked me why you would say such a thing. None of this was due to my blog post by the way. The hospital was buzzing with the news long before that. The board members heard about it too. They didn’t say much, but they were all looking at the floor in disgust and shaking their heads.

I am encouraged to see that you are also an expert in mental health. It seems as if you take umbrage with the fact that I am a blogger. Evidently you don’t like my blog very much  It could be that it pains you that I am a private citizen expressing and exercising my first amendment rights. That’s right, I am just a private citizen. I can’t raise anyone’s taxes, I can’t send anyone’s sons or daughters off to war, and I can’t make a bunch of stupid laws that infringe upon someone else’s freedom and liberty. I can only do what the first amendment grants, speak my mind.

I guess establishment politicians as yourself, who don’t think much of the Constitution anyway, would rather the people just sit down and shut up while you and others like you in all levels of government do as they damned well please, spend money we don’t have, trash the Constitution, and ruin this great country. In your eyes, we don’t know anything anyway, do we? For too long politicians of your caliber have enjoyed a population of voters who simply did not pay attention and most of those who did pay attention were too afraid to say anything. I don’t happen to fall into either category and sadly for you and your ilk, people across America are starting to wake up. If that makes me in “need for a psychiatric analysis” then I assure you I AM A RAVING LUNATIC!

The days of “politics as usual” where you could just say anything and do anything and not be challenged are quickly coming to a close. Frankly I cannot understand why you bothered to run for mayor. If your concern for the hospital is any indication, it is apparent you could care less about the county as a whole. Indeed the only thing you cared about was GETTING ELECTED. I am glad you lost. I am sick and tired of politicians who think they are entitled to the position and act like bullies when they finally get there, throwing their weight around and running roughshod over the voters.

Being elected to office does not and should not come with a throne and a crown. You work for the people! YOU ARE A SERVANT OF THE PEOPLE! Not the other way around!

I am hopeful that the elections this November will be a turning point for the direction of America and that politicians like you will be relegated to the dustbin of history for good!

Have a great day,

Thomas Hamilton MD.

PS. I would never dream of kicking my dog.


My friends, here is a classic example of what is wrong with politicians today. He thought he could just go around spouting a bunch of garbage and not be called to account for his statements. When I called him out, he was highly offended. Like most of the establishment politicians today, when someone disagrees with them and tells the truth, that person is labeled as crazy or hateful. I am surprised he did not call me a Nazi or a racist.


Now he has lost the election. He is hateful and bitter and looking for someone to blame. He thought he was entitled to the position and just cannot believe he was not elected. I can think of a few on the national scene that remind me of him in the likes of Lisa Murkowski, Charlie Crist, and Mike Castle. The PEOPLE rejected them and now they are bitter and angry and just can't give it up. Obviously this attitude sifts down even to the local level.


If you took the time to read all this, I appreciate it and I'd like to hear your comments.

PS. To the person out there that likes to anonymously send my blog pages to other people, GROW A PAIR! Identify yourself, don't be a spineless wimp!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Toy Run


Yesterday, the Morbid Strangers spent most of the day at Fatbaby's Bar. We were all celebrating the 31st annual Toy Run which was a benefit for the Shriner's Childrens Hospital.
 There were bikers,
more bikers,
 even more bikers,
 
 and even the radio station showed up.

Of course the band was there.




Everyone had a great time raising money for the Shriners, eating barbecue, and listening to the best music around. Join us next Fridee at Barley's Brewhouse and Eatery in Jackson.

I created a new set on FLICKR for these photos. Click HERE to see them all.

Failure to Feed the Blog

I been kinda slacking and slouching for the past few days, not many posts. Frankly I am tired of complaining about the idiots in Warshington and such. It gets old. Besides that we have had beautiful fall weather. The water temp has dropped about 10 degrees and TVA has drawn the river stage down to near winter time low. The bass are moving up into shallow water and onto the stumps. Many of the stumps which are normally invisible are out of the water or barely covered and make nice targets for my Balsa B crankbait. So I've mostly been out beating the water and riding the motorcycle when I'm not playing music.

I'll be blogging more when something important pops up or when the crummy winter weather finally gets here. Be patient.

RINO REMINDER

Senator Lamar Alexander is the traitorous senator from Tennessee who voted to confirm the racist judge, Sonya Sotomayor. Never again will I vote for Lamar Alexander. He is not up for re-election until 2014, but I intend to post this reminder each and every month until then. I hope he either resigns or they run a true conservative against him in the primary. I challenge my fellow bloggers to do the same if you have RINO's in your state that need to go. I may add my other senator, Bob Corker, to this reminder. I'm waiting for him to cross the aisle again and work with Dimocrats.