Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Entry for February 26, 2008

For in reason, all government without the consent of the governed is the very definition of slavery.Jonathan Swift(1667-1745)

Being a die-hard, card-carrying, redneck-conservative, I have a grand belief that government should stay out of 90% of our lives. Still I am amazed that government has stayed away from some issues that seem to be well within the intended mission of law. For instance, the maximum legal speed limit in the USA is 80 MPH (daytime on interstates in West Texas.) Why do all cars have a top end speed far greater than that? Why has the government stayed away from governing the top speed of automobiles? Technologically, it would be very cheap for all automakers to microchip the top end speed of all except emergency vehicles. Seems it would save both lives and fossil fuel.

Someday cars will communicate with each other, the roads, and the traffic signals.
Vehicle collision-avoidance systems are getting some very serious attention by Ford Motor Company. Further still, GM predicts driverless cars will be available for sale within a decade. They predict these cars will even find their own parking spaces. Being the cynic that I am, I believe that GM will need to hire Japan to do the engineering if this is to happen in 10 years. If GM tries this alone, look for it in about 30 years, and the cars will occasionally drive into rivers and park in bedrooms.

I for one am looking forward to a world without road rage, a plush car driving me to Florida while I snooze and booze. I am curious how cars on autopilot would get out of the way of ambulances and other emergency vehicles when locked in a traffic jam. Will the autopilot know what to do if it encounters a flooded road or a missing bridge? Ted Kennedy and other inquiring minds want to know.

I have great faith that most anything man can imagine he can achieve. What are the benefits of driverless cars for consumers? No longer needing a driver’s license would be huge, especially for drunkards, illegal aliens, and the 80-year-old curmudgeons that don’t want to give up the road. I would assume insurance companies would offer incentives for driverless vehicles since it would remove much if not all of the human driving errors. Indeed, there would be no moving violations for speeding or running red lights for us to deal with. Imagine a world without the long lines of traffic court.

Some people will miss the days of steering with their knees while wolfing down a McMuffin, chugging coffee, and talking on the cell phone, but not me. Pour me three fingers of bourbon please, and wake me when we roll into Key West.


James A. Zachary Jr.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Entry for February 23, 2008

February 24 through March 2, 2008 is America Saves Week, a somewhat flaccid name for a campaign in my humble view. A better moniker would be “America INVESTS Week,” since savings rates look quite poor compared to the long-term returns from the stock markets. Better still, how about “Get your ass out of debt week”? It does not make too much sense to try choking money into savings or investments when your credit cards are maxed out and you are paying between 12% and 19% (or higher) interest rates.

http://www.americasavesweek.org/

Give the site a quick click and get some ideas. It may let you know you are doing everything right and are well on the way to the land of happily ever after. It may tell you that you need a little improvement and give some hints on how to better yourself. If it says that you have crashed and burned, sit down with pencil and paper and start budgeting your way to success. You can do it.

Wishing you good health and sufficient wealth,


James A. Zachary Jr.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Entry for February 19, 2008

The other day I blogged that Barack Obama was fairly safe as far as media coverage as long as nothing dirty from his past was exposed. I was also going to include that he best be careful to not, even by accident or inference, “play the race card,” but I left that out for reasons of discretion. In any case, some feel his wife Michelle may have been doing a little “race talk” when she said "Hope is making a comeback and, let me tell you, for the first time in my adult life I am really proud of my country. Not just because Barack is doing well, but I think people are hungry for change."

I added the emphasis on the part that raised the eyebrows of many and the ire of some. Was she playing race? Even though I am a die-hard conservative redneck, I really don’t think so. Was she being somewhat unpatriotic? Again, one sentence does not show the contents of a person’s soul. I found the statement somewhat amusing but it did not raise my flag waving dander. I am further amused that she managed to gaffe on the same day that Barack was ducking jabs that he had plagiarized a speech of a fellow Democratic, Massachusetts governor, Deval Patrick. Expect Hillary’s wrecking crew to work on both issues, and dig for more. Politics is much more entertaining and brutal than professional wrestling. I will also today state the obvious; any candidate that pisses off the press is doomed. If McCain, Clinton, or Obama complain that the press is being unfair, they can expect the media gloves to hit the ice.

In other news, my daughter called today to tell me that my adorable five-year-old granddaughter is studying the solar system in school. She came home and told mommy that Pluto has gas, but not the kind that come out of your butt.


Fidel Castro has called it quits. Today he submitted his letter of resignation. That kinda made me sad. As far as murderous dictators go, Fidel has always been my favorite. He outlived all of his enemies and allies, Kennedy, Khrushchev, Mao; the list would fill up a page. He was like the Energizer Bunny of dictators, he just kept going, and going, and going. It is too bad he won’t be around to entertain our next President.

My hat is off to you, Fidel. Thanks for the memories.


James A. Zachary Jr.


Monday, February 18, 2008

Entry for February 18, 2008

To a fifteen year old, looking back in time forty-five years will pull up some interesting facts that will seem like very ancient history, even though forty-five years is only three times his or her age. To most of us baby-boomers, we should remember much of it because we lived it. Some of the facts and memories seem surreal.

Below are some facts from the year 1963, clipped from
Wikipedia .

During January,
George C. Wallace becomes governor of Alabama. In his inaugural speech, he defiantly proclaims "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, and segregation forever!" Black student Harvey Gantt enters Clemson University in South Carolina, the last U.S. state to hold out against racial integration.

During February, travel, financial and commercial transactions by
United States citizens to Cuba are made illegal by the John F. Kennedy Administration.

In March, the
Alcatraz Island federal penitentiary in San Francisco Bay closes; the last 27 prisoners are transferred elsewhere at the order of Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. The Beatles release the album Please Please Me.

In April,
SCLC volunteers kick off the Birmingham campaign against segregation with a sit-in. Martin Luther King, Jr., Ralph Abernathy, Fred Shuttlesworth and others are arrested in a Birmingham protest for "parading without a permit".

In May, thousands of
African Americans, many of them children, are arrested while protesting segregation in Birmingham, Alabama. Sheriff Eugene "Bull" Connor later unleashes fire hoses and police dogs on the demonstrators. Dr. No, the first James Bond film, was shown in US theaters. A smallpox outbreak was recognized at Stockholm, Sweden, lasting until July that year. Mercury program: NASA launches Gordon Cooper on Mercury 9, the last mission (on June 12 NASA Administrator James E. Webb tells Congress the program is complete).

During June, in
Saigon, Buddhist monk Thích Quảng Ðức commits self-immolation to protest the oppression of Buddhists by the Ngo Dinh Diem administration. Alabama Governor George C. Wallace stands in the door of the University of Alabama to protest against integration, before stepping aside and allowing African Americans James Hood and Vivian Malone to enroll. President John F. Kennedy makes an historic civil rights speech, in which he promises a Civil Rights Bill, and asks for "the kind of equality of treatment that we would want for ourselves." Medgar Evers is murdered in Jackson, Mississippi (his killer is convicted in 1994).

During July,
ZIP Codes are introduced in the U.S. The Roman Catholic Church accepts cremation as a funeral practice. NASA launches Syncom, the world's first geostationary (synchronous) satellite.

During August, the
United States, United Kingdom, and Soviet Union sign a nuclear test ban treaty. American civil rights movement: James Meredith becomes the first black person to graduate from the University of Mississippi. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivers his "I Have A Dream" speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to an audience of at least 250,000 during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

During September, the
16th Street Baptist Church bombing, in Birmingham, Alabama, kills 4 and injures 22.

During October,
Sam Cooke and his band were arrested after trying to register at a "whites only" motel in Louisiana. In the months following, he recorded A Change Is Gonna Come (song).

During November, in
Dallas, Texas, United States President John F. Kennedy is assassinated, Texas Governor John B. Connally is seriously wounded, and Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson becomes the 36th President. All television coverage for the next three days is devoted to the assassination, its aftermath, the procession of the horsedrawn casket to the Capitol Rotunda, and the funeral of President Kennedy. Stores and businesses shut down for the entire weekend and Monday, in tribute. Alleged assassin of John F. Kennedy, Lee Harvey Oswald, is shot dead by Jack Ruby in Dallas, Texas on live national television. Later that night, a hastily arranged program, A Tribute to John F. Kennedy from the Arts, featuring actors, opera singers, and noted writers, all performing dramatic readings and/or music, is telecast on ABC-TV. New U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson confirms that the United States intends to continue supporting South Vietnam militarily and economically.

During December The
Warren Commission begins its investigation into the assassination of President Kennedy. I Want to Hold Your Hand and I Saw Her Standing There are released in the U.S., marking the beginning of full-scale Beatlemania.

We all are, each of us, no small part of history. If you are reading this, you are still part of the future.

Hope to see you there tomorrow,

James A. Zachary Jr.


Saturday, February 16, 2008

Entry for February 16, 2008

Spring is finally here in Chicagoland. I saw two robins this morning, both mercifully frozen to death.

This promises to be one of the most interesting election years, at least during my lifetime. The standard of excellence for presidential candidates has been slithering lower over the past several elections. Whether or not the quality of these candidates is any higher, this campaign promises at least not to bore us to the point of brain death. Is the USA ready for a black President? Certainly we are. There once was a bias against an Irish Catholic becoming president, we survived. Will there be intolerance against Obama? Yep and we will survive that. If he becomes President, will it help heal this country or cut the wounds deeper? My bet is that it would be mostly a healing experience.

Will Barack defeat Hillary in the primary? Yep, unless the dirt diggers find something real juicy in his past. Drug use already is moot; our current POTUS has a past that would make any junkie look presidential. Our previous POTUS took infidelity to a standard no other mortal could match. Unless proven to enjoy necrophilia or the company of Michael Jackson’s playmates, I believe Barack is safe from the tabloids.

Whom will Obama choose for vice president? That choice can cinch the presidency for him or put his momentum deep in the ooze. Does McCain have a chance against Obama? Yep, although I fear the “red” and “blue” states are going to be even more acrimonious towards each other than during the last two presidential elections. Whom will McCain select for vice president? The right VP choice could nullify Obama; the wrong choice will deify Obama. Some offer that Condalisa Rice or Colin Powell as a running mate for McCain could make this election year super historic. If Cactus John chooses some little known dweeb, call this election as finished, he can kiss his last fat campaign baby and just go back home. Currently, many of the independent voters are leaning toward Obama. McCain needs a big magnet to pull the swing voters over to his side of the fence. One on one, I feel Obama has it over McCain in popularity. This could become a battle of the better VP.

Will the election be close enough to be decided by hanging chads? Anything is possible. In that case, we will find out which candidate’s chad hangs the lowest.

Who is my choice for President of the United States? Quite simply, my vote is up for sale. At this point in my life, my decisions are all strictly mercenary.

Now, who will start the bidding?


James A. Zachary Jr.


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Entry for February 14, 2008

This winter has been quite an adventure. During one of our many snowstorms, I followed a yuppie in a Maserati for about five miles. That car may be great on dry curves at 180 MPH, but it purely sucks trying to go in a straight line on snow at 15 MPH. The bozo driving it looked to be drunk or demented and had absolutely no control of that fine machine. Everyone else on the road was giving him a wide berth; no one wished to explain to an insurance agent how he managed to squash a Maserati. I am not sure what kind of a yuppie fool would drive a Maserati during a blizzard. This fool did finally pull into the parking lot of an upscale restaurant. I speculate he was trying to impress his fur clad, elegant looking young lady friend by driving that excellent car and treating her to some exquisite dining. She unquestionably could not have been impressed with his driving skills. Still, I hope he got lucky for his efforts.

Another example of a grand lack of common sense is riding a bicycle in winter. I am not talking about the poor folks that have no cars and need some means to chug to work; they do what they need to do. I am talking about the yuppie slobs who somehow find it fitting to take recreational rides along slick dark roads narrowed by rows of plowed snow. Yes, the yuppie boneheads have a RIGHT to do it. It is plain idiotic and inconsiderate that they exercise that right during near emergency conditions.

For the first time in days, the roads are clean down to the pavement. The municipalities have already used up their road salt reserves. Yesterday morning the roads looked deceptively good. Soon I came across one SUV in the ditch, then another, and another. There were cars stuck in snow banks for as far as the eye could see. Luckily, I felt the ice in time and was able to stay safe. I have owned four-wheel drive vehicles since the days when only lowlifes would drive them. I learned at an early age that four-wheel drive on ice is no better than two-wheel drive. When yuppies discovered four-wheel drive vehicles, the SUV was born. The yuppies and their larvae crashed so many of the SUVs that the insurance industry had to raise the rates for the whole class of vehicles. Expect another rate increase very soon. There have been lots of upside down SUVs this winter.

Remember guys, today is Valentine’s Day so don’t forget to buy some over-priced dead flowers for the one you love. For all of you beautiful women who suffer through this stupid “holiday” alone, or have a love that has no love in his heart, just remember that all of us guys are good for nothing, cheap shallow pigs who only want to tell you lies, get you naked and jump your bones. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Stay warm, drive safely,

James A. Zachary Jr.



Saturday, February 9, 2008

Entry for February 09, 2008

Once upon a time, on a Valentine’s Day long ago, our hero scurried home from his busy job to give his wife of many years a traditional heart-shaped box of chocolates. She chose that moment to tell him that she wanted a divorce. Legend has it she still found enough love in her heart to eat the chocolates. He found enough love left in his heart to call her a bitch.

“Buy her diamonds,” say the commercials on radio, television, and the internet. Cram it, it ain’t gonna happen. I don’t care how much these commercials try to shame me into feeling cheap or unsuccessful, there ain’t gonna be any Valentine’s Diamond. Nor will there be a new Lexus in the driveway, wrapped in a big red heart-shaped ribbon.

Many women, if not most, hate Valentine’s Day. Not having a significant other, or having one that doesn’t deliver a gift, can be painful. Valentine’s Day is a cruel day of angst. Even if she has a love, and he has righteously shown up with a dozen roses year after year, eventually she will wonder why the loser hasn’t bought her a Rolex like Mr. Successful in the TV commercials.

The only guys that like Valentine’s Day are trying to get laid. Most guys hate Valentine’s Day. Roses can jump to $100 a dozen in some areas, and giving the obligatory heart of chocolates is cliché and considered cheap. When she says she doesn’t want anything, you guys best know that you had better show up with something, and you had better hope she did not see that damn Lexus commercial.

The legend says St. Valentine died by execution. I am sure it wasn’t just for womanizing. Once Valentine started giving out the gifts, he was doomed; the other men knew women would expect gifts forever. If Val had quietly jumped from bed to bed, he would have died a worn out old man. Nope, he just had to start handing out his flowery business cards. The horny little bastard got what was coming to him; that short, fat, bald, incontinent hit man named Cupid put an arrow through Valentine’s cheatin’ heart.

We now need to find out if the fool that started Sweetest Day is still around, and if he is, we need to lynch his sorry ass.

With eternal love, and all of that other saccharin rot, “Your Valentine,”

James A. Zachary Jr.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Entry for February 05, 2008

Documenting my life is important to me, so I decided to look up all of the women in my life and get their reviews of the great sex we had.

Most said they did not remember who I was and they threatened to call the police.

Some remembered me but did not recall any sex.

Only a couple remembered the sex, but they were laughing so hard I could not get them to tell me what they remembered.

For the time being, I am going to leave this chapter blank. Women must not remember things as well as guys do.

Sorry about having such a short blog,


James A. Zachary Jr.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Entry for February 02, 2008

Wednesday, January 30, 2008 4:00 A.M. Ruth Virginia (Blair) Wright passed away in Corinth, Mississippi. She was 78 years old. She was one of my aunts.

She was 17 months older than my Mom was. She died just 4 months after Mom died.

I did not get the word of her passing until the morning of Thursday, January 31. The visitation was scheduled for Thursday evening, with interment on Friday morning. The short notice was a problem. At best, it is a 12-hour drive for a young man on a good day from here to Corinth, barely enough time to be able to catch the end of the visitation. I am no longer young enough for 12-hour drives, and my eyes are no longer any good for driving after dark. Another complication was the predicted snowstorm. A flight was considered but ruled out because there was no guarantee that it would not be delayed or canceled due to the weather.

It was unfortunate, but I did not make it to the service or the funeral. Condolences were offered via telephone, and flowers were sent. Still, I feel bad that I was not there.

Goodbye Aunt Ruth. You have no more worries, and you have no more pain.

With love,

“The Brat”,
James A. Zachary Jr.