Blogging to you from the Northeastern Badlands of Lake County, Illinois USA, WELCOME TO THE NEXT CHAPTER! WARNING! ALL FORMS OF SOCIAL MEDIA ARE ADDICTIVE; EXCESSIVE USE MAY LEAD TO MENTAL HEALTH DISORDERS, REDUCED JOB PRODUCTIVITY, LACK OF SLEEP, SOCIAL ALIENATION, BIRTH DEFECTS, BLINDNESS, SEXUAL IMPOTENCY, AND / OR DEVIANT FUNAMBULISM. NOTICE: NO GUNS OR AMMUNITION ARE FOR SALE VIA THIS BLOG. (No, I will not trade my Colt Python for some lubricious adventures with your trophy wife and a future first-round draft pick.) CAVEAT: This blog is not suitable for viewing while at work, while inside a public library, while inside any public or private school, or while inside any public or private restroom. Do not view this blog while driving a motor vehicle or while piloting an aircraft. Viewing this blog may be illegal inside the EU, Chicago, and other parts of the Third World. THIS BLOG CONTAINS (albeit often very childish) ADULT-CONTENT. DISCLAIMER: This blog is a hobby, it is not a livelihood. Even though much of what I blog about relates to firearms collecting and recreational shooting, I am not an expert (by any measure) on any facet of guns, shooting, hunting, or personal defense. Entries at this blog are akin to good old-fashioned campfire chats or post hunt bourbon-fueled barroom-bluster; I offer no opinion on what you should or should not purchase, or what you should be using or doing. What does or does not work for me could be rugged-country-miles away from your tastes and your needs. All products, places, and miscellany that I review for this blog are purchased / rented / leased at retail price by me. I do not accept payment, gifts, discounts, freebies, products on loan, distilled spirits, recreational pharmaceuticals, plea-bargains, probation, parole, Papal Blessings, Presidential Pardons, or sexual favors for doing any review or blog post. TRACKING COOKIES: Google et al stick tracking cookies on everybody. If you are online, you are being spied on via one method or another, for one reason or another; 'nuff said. You may be able to minimize your online DNA residue by using Tor and Duck Duck Go. Vive la liberté! Vive all y'all! Ante omnia armari. To each of you, thanks for stopping by! I appreciate it!
Please consider RECURRING UNIVERSAL BACKGROUND CHECKS of ALL FEDERAL, STATE, AND LOCAL POLITICIANS (including but not limited to school records, acquaintances, employment history, Social Media, financial, drug, and psychiatric screenings). Please consider TERM LIMITS; political power corrupts.

'We the Politicians of the United States, in Order to avoid a more perfect Union, manipulate Justice, destroy domestic Tranquillity, provide for the common offense, promote general Warfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty for ourselves and our Progeny, do blaspheme and eviscerate this Constitution of the United States of America." ("Zack," circa 1966 -1970)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Archive from November 27, 2007

I went to a meeting tonight about how to appeal a Lake County, Illinois real estate property tax assessment. It was a standing-room-only crowd of some exceptionally pissed off people. Property taxes run most all of our government services. There are certain non-tax based enterprise funds, such as sewer and water user fees, but real estate taxes fuel most of the needed functions along with all of the not-so-needed functions. Sales taxes seem to offer little relief to the property owners.

The meeting covered nothing that I did not already know. I appealed my assessment about 7 years ago and received a 5% reduction in assessed value, which was good for one year, which the government recovered in the following assessments. I really don’t believe there is any chance of scoring another reduction, and do not feel like spending $300 for the needed appraisal in order to find out. The system is stacked cold against the taxpayers. Paying nearly $8,000 a year in property taxes for the privilege of living in a 3-bedroom house is just plain insanity.

If you do not live in Illinois, think long and hard before you decide to move to this money sucking state. If you must move to Illinois, Lake County is the last place you should choose to live. If you must move to Lake County, I have just the house for you to buy.

Please call soon.

James A. Zachary Jr

Monday, November 26, 2007

Archive from November 26, 2007

I believe everyone should write a weblog. Blogging gives us all a chance to practice our writing skills. It is fun and often cathartic. If you wish to blog for fame and fortune, your dream is not impossible although the lottery may be a better bet.

How do you get your blog noticed over the noise of 90 million other blogs? We all are at the mercy of the search engines. The search engines once indexed my website to “Serval Cats” and I was getting hits from all over the world. I never had those keywords on my site, but the search engines decided otherwise. The point is that certain keywords will bring hits. What are those words? First, you should know that there are con artists, predators, and some law enforcement agencies that you are better off not having as fans. Playing with some hot keywords can bring unwanted results. Use of the word “Jihad” at one time brought all kinds of attention to blogs and websites.

One of the biggest uses of the internet is for porn. You don’t need to peddle porn to get some hits on your blog. You can blog against porn if you hate porn. Just having the word “porn” in your blog will draw a few accidental hits. If you write in your blog “porn sucks,” you now have two keywords. Complain about “Online free amateur sex videos” and your blog may see quite a surge of hits, but most of the visitors will NOT be there to join your crusade against porn.

Pet owners often search for blogs written by other pet owners. If you are a cat owner, write blogs about your cat. Readers who also have cats will search for blogs indexed to the word “cat.” You will get far more hits if you write about your “pussycat,” but many of those visitors will NOT be searching the keyword “cat.” If you gave your cat a bath, or if it just came in from the rain, write about your “wet pussycat.” Size does matter, so mention if it is a “big wet pussycat,” or a “small wet pussycat.”

What is your husband or boyfriend’s name? Is he a big guy or a little guy? If his name is Richard, you will get more hits writing about “Big Dick.” Amusing daily events can attract readers. If the cat is hiding behind the sofa after her bath, and your husband cannot get to her, your story can read, “Little Dick could not quite reach my wet little pussycat.” Many of your new readers will offer to help.

Thanks for visiting.

James A. Zachary Jr

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Archive from November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving.

Be thankful for what you have. If what you had is gone, be thankful that you once had it. If you never had it, be thankful you never felt the pain of losing it.

A true optimist is one who can say “so far, so good” while standing drunk in a campfire as the flames climb his pants toward his balls.

So far, so good.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Archive from November 20, 2007 #2

How many of you are sick of the human larvae that skate down store aisles on those damnable roller-shoes? You know the shoes that I am talking about, the ones with the wheels in the heels. All stores post signs prohibiting roller-shoes. Parents ignore those signs and then ignore the nuisances created by their spawn skating around the legs of the other shoppers. How many of you are secretly rooting for one of the little demons to skate full blast into Daddy’s crotch? How many wish for uniformed store security to toss Mommy, Daddy, and the mobile offspring unceremoniously out of the store? Welcome to my planet of simple pleasures.

I wish no harm to any child. Inevitably, there will be injuries and parents will sue the respective stores for not enforcing the posted rules against roller-shoes. I can hope that the only spilled cranial juice is from the fractured skulls of negligent parents who trip over their own rolling progeny.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Archive from November 16, 2007

Awesome news came in the mail today. According to the Warren Township Assessor, my modest three-bedroom house now has a market value of $310,790. The downside to that news is that property taxes will be going up yet again.

I need the Warren Township Assessor, maybe with help from my Lake County Board Rep., to do me a favor and find someone willing to pay me that much for this house. I will gladly move out of Lake County Illinois, away from the huge property taxes we all find so dear. There is just one small problem that the Warren Township Assessor will have finding me a buyer. No three-bedroom house in our neighborhood sells for near that price. I know of no house in our subdivision that ever broke upwards of the $300,000 level. The housing bubble has burst, and it is time for our political leaders to quit looking at our homes as their inexhaustible pet sources of municipal income. Why is the onus on the taxpayers to pay for appraisals and then jump though hoops filing appeals to prove the market value of their respective homes? The assessor’s job is to make accurate assessments. It is time to reassess the assessors.

Across the street from my home is a larger, newer, four bedroom home recently listed with an asking price of $287,000. It will go for less than that. Why is he selling? More than likely it is because he too just read his property tax notice.

Thanks for the visit. Hope it wasn’t too taxing.

James A. Zachary Jr.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Archive from November 12, 2007

Entry for November 12, 2007
James Allen Zachary Sr.

Known to most as Jim Zachary.

Born March 31, 1933 in Poplar Cove, Fentress County, Tennessee
Mother = Dorothy Mae (Slaven) Zachary
Father = Otha Allen Zachary Sr.

Passed away one year ago, November 13, 2006, in his sleep at his home in Lake Zurich, Illinois

Married to Georgia E. Blair on December 3, 1949 in Albany Kentucky by minister O.G. Lawless.

Dad spent many years as a journeyman machinist with the Bell and Howell company in Lincolnwood, Il. In his younger days Dad was a competitive bowler, winning many trophies. He also was an avid fisherman for many years. Most of his retirement was spent on his hobby of gardening.

Wayne G Zachary b 1950
James A Zachary Jr b 1952
Jeffrey R Zachary b 1954
Gordon E Zachary b 1956
Raymond B Zachary b 1958

Rest in peace Dad. You were quite a man. We love you, and we miss you.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Archive from November 8, 2007

When the foliage turns crimson, and the late evening winds blow cold, a man can fancy the warmth and company provided by a wee pint of rum. Few things can be as excruciating as a rum hangover. Sorrowfully, that truth needs confirmation every now and again. I’m not sure why I need to do it; it should be an easy lesson to remember. I recall waking one morning with a dreadful, ear-splitting headache. Still cannot remember what her name was or where it was we met.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Archive from November 5, 2007

Entry for November 5, 2007

Going through Mom’s writings is not something you can just choose to do over a weekend. This project may just take months; she was a prolific writer. I told her long ago that all I ever wanted from her estate was to have all of her writings. What a collection of treasures. Songs, poems, prose, some of the things I am reading bring me warmth and smiles; some bring tears. She had some published works, and she had the fortitude to collect quite a volume of rejections slips. One of her recent quips sized her drive; “Is the best that I can do, the best that I can do?”

Mom had been having trouble with her memory for a couple of years before she died. It affected her creativity and her organizational skills. I suspect she was both too proud and too scared to have a frank discussion with her personal physician about it. Alzheimer’s is a big fear among old folks, even though it can be managed somewhat. After seeing a doctor, many folks would find they don’t have Alzheimer’s, but that they have one or more of a few dozen other manageable ailments that affect memory.

Whether Mom was suffering early signs of dementia or was suffering from something else is now nothing but floodwater gone dry. If there are any old folks reading this that are worrying about memory problems, please see your doctor early and often you stubborn old geezers. As much as your children want to drag your wrinkled ass down to the doctor, they probably won’t do it. Aside from having you declared incompetent, they legally cannot do it. Your family and friends want you to have your dignity as much as you want to keep it. They also want you to be as healthy as possible for as long as possible.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Archive from November 2, 2007

Entry for November 2, 2007


Copyright © 1987 James A. Zachary Jr.

“Child! So good of you to visit old Maize! I don’t get many guests nowadays, this place bein’ so full of sadness and all. Yes, Doc say the cancer still be there and gettin’ worse. They can’t cut on me no more, they done cut out all but my soul. The worst thing is the pain, the pain. I don’t take no drugs though child, just usin’ the Tylenol and aspirin. They give morphine if I want it, had it for the operations. Wish they would promise enough just to end all of this. Can’t blame the kids and gran’children for not comin’ to see old Maize. They hurt themselves bad as the cancer hurts me, seein’ me like this, and seein’ the others that be here. Don’t know how these bills get paid, all what was to the kids inheritance is gone; house was sold long ago. They call this the hospice, a place for us to come to die. They be folks here that try and help by comin’ ‘round to talk ‘bout diein’. Lord, child they do mean well but I wind up tellin’ them ‘bout livin’! They just don’t know, bein’ as young as they are. I be nearin’ seventy-four-years and most of these helpful folks, they be thirty years at best. I seen some things in my life, good and bad, done my share of both! Old Maize done some things not to be proud of, but I hurt nobody but me. Wouldn’t trade none of it! Could have left this world at twenty and not had a regret, many things I done twice, I be so old now. Don’t you go sittin’ and wishin’. You do all what is your dreams, no matter some things can’t be had, you go after them. Don’t you go sittin’, diein’, wonderin’ what you could have done. Grow old and at least have the memories of tryin’. I don’t mean to ramble, my mind tells my mouth to keep movin’ ‘til all is said, don’t have much time anymore. Come closer and let me look at ya. Even with these thick glasses, can’t see much. Lookin’ real good, you are! Life will be good to you child, you have the gifts. No matter what you do child, you gots to promise old Maize one last thing. Promise you’ll remember me, just every so often. I don’t ‘spect you to dwell on my passin’, just give a thought to me every now and again when you feel the autumn wind in your face. That’s the only part that bothers me anymore, the fear that once I’m gone there will not even be a thought on this earth to prove me once bein’ here. Ah, I feel the sleep comin’ on again, best you be runnin’ along now. I sorry I can’t walk you out, but there ain’t much of me left. Feelin’ very tired, so very tired. Give a smile to old Maize. Thanks child, bless you.”

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Archive from November 1, 2007

Entry for November 1, 2007

Once again, it is time for me to reach back into the era of the dialup personal computer bulletin board systems (BBS). Fidonet was a network of bulletin boards that exchanged email and newsletters. Below is another work from the year 1987, archived at many locations on the web.


Hotline 3 (c) 1987 James Zachary

Every now and again, a caller to the water and wastewater department will ask about issues of national concern.


Southeast Plant, this is Zack.

"I am taking a survey for my organization. Do you have time to answer a few questions?"

Ma'am, this is a sewage plant...

"You are a taxpayer and a voter aren't you?"

Yes Ma'am, but ...

"This will only take a few moments. Do you think prophylactics should be on television?"

Say what?

"Prophylactics... condoms... they are..."

I KNOW what they are lady.

"Should they be on your TV?"

What good would they do on my TV? It never leaves the house...


I could not care less.


You seem to be a living testament to that...

"Would advertising them on TV offend you?"

After working 14 years in sewage, nothing much can offend me.

"Now, as a viewer of TV, what names would you find the least offensive?"


"I mean what descriptive name? Condoms ...? Prophylactics...?"

Call them rubbers. I don't much care.

"That's a bit crude don't you think?"

Here at work, we call them whitefish or bottlebass ...

"What do mean 'at work'...? You wear them at work?"

No ma'am. Remember that this is a sewage plant and that anything considered disposable usually winds up being flushed down the commode. Everyday we get a few thousand of them buggers floating in the clarifiers and filters. You seem like you are preparing to lobby for having them advertised on TV, so maybe you can give me a break and tell people to quit flushing them.

"What harm does flushing them do?"

Ma'am, they plug the sewer pipes and everything else. I remember one of the many times that I had to pull a plugged pump. You can never see what is in that mass of goo stuck in the pump impeller, so you just have to reach in and grab hold of it all. Well, some bozo had flushed one of those 'exciter' types...

"What type is that?"

... the kind with antlers. I mean to tell ya, it scared the hell outta me when I latched onto that thing! It was wiggling, like it was alive! For a moment, I thought I had an octopus by the ears...

"Uhhh... you mean... there is more than one type?"

Oh, yes Ma'am! Should be interesting to see all of the marketing approaches they will use on TV. Should also be VERY educational for the "ignorant public" that you are so worried about. We used to keep a bulletin board filled with all of the different sizes, models and colors...

"You are kidding of course..."

Oh, no Ma'am! We fished out all of the novelty items and tacked them up for display. My favorite was one that had the American Flag on it.

"The Flag? Just where did they put The Flag?"

About half-staff ...


Hmmmmm. She must have dropped the phone while saluting...

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Archive from October 30, 2007

Entry for October 30, 2007

I spent part of the day getting some exercise by walking around Waukegan Harbor. There is a major remodeling underway of the south half of the south-harbor. Next year I assume they will do the north half of the south-harbor. The fixed height docks are being replaced with floating docks. The radical changes in Lake Michigan water levels have been very frustrating for boaters over the past several years. From the looks of their design drawings, the old north harbor will remain as is.

In 1997 I bought a boat and kept it in the south harbor during three summers. It was an exceptionally good experience; a great adventure on every outing. The overused cliché about a boat being a hole in the water where one pours buckets of money is quite true. Another truism is that the two happiest days in a boater’s life is when he buys the boat, and when he sells the boat.
How much does it cost to keep a boat on Lake Michigan? I am sure some can do it on a tight budget. For a decent size cruiser, don’t be surprised if you wind up spending a sum of around $5,000 a year for slip fees, insurance, fuel, planned maintenance, repairs, and off-season storage. Larger boats can run up some truly overwhelming costs. If the harbor is where you will be spending all of your summer vacation and holidays, keeping a small to mid-size cruiser might just be reasonable. It is like having a floating summer cottage. Watch the Fourth of July fireworks then sleep in the boat; not a bad experience at all. Lake Michigan makes one huge backyard to play in. You have not lived foolishly until you have taken storm-waves into the cockpit of your cruiser. Mother Nature does not care how much your boat weighs; she will slap it ten feet sideways whenever she feels like it.

Lake Michigan fishing is an awesome experience. I need to admit that most of the fish I caught were more by accident than with skill. My boat-neighbor was an expert. He felt sorry for me when I came in empty handed and would often take me back out to do some serious fishing.

Will I ever buy another boat for Lake Michigan? Probably not, it was an experience I cherish but have no desire to repeat. When I relocate to Florida, then I may consider another boat.

Here is a link to the Waukegan Harbor Website. There are plenty of charter services around if you want to spend the day salmon fishing.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Archive from October 28, 2007

Entry for October 28, 2007

Trick or Treat for Waukegan, Illinois was today. They limit it to two hours, between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Since Halloween for this year is not until Wednesday, having Trick or Treat today may seem a bit strange. The city long ago decided to take control of Halloween, after the vandals had taken control of Halloween. To some extent, it is sad, although it does make it quite convenient for the adults. Every group of kids came to the house today with at least one adult to supervise.

When I was a kid, Trick or Treat was on Halloween no matter what day of the week it fell on. Kids ruled the streets, wraiths running from house to house for as far as you could see. Typically, we ran from whenever school let out until 9:30 p.m.

Last year there was the highest turnout of kids of any year that I have lived here. I gave away the contents of two bags of candy, and wound up finishing out the day giving away money. One quarter was given to each small kid and two quarters to each of the bigger kids. The kids and their parents loved it. I went broke.

This year I decided to plan for another mob, and walked out of Sam’s Club with two big bags of assorted candy bars. As I am typing this, it is past 4 p.m. and the fun for the kids has ended. There will probably be a few stragglers but there was no mob of kids to swarm us this year, just a couple of dozen. I am stuck with one and a half bags of left over candy bars. Whoops … ignore that last statement. I just flagged down my neighbor, who has three kids and plenty of visitors, and gave him a half of a bag of candy. Now I am down to just one bag. Just what a retired guy needs, a bag full of assorted temptations. I need to save some for my Granddaughter, who will be here on Wednesday. Maybe I will just send her home with ten pounds of chocolate. Yeah, let her Mom try to take it from her. Grandpa is a good guy, Mommy is bad. That is sweeter than any candy.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Archive from October 26, 2007 No. 2

Entry for October 26, 2007 No. 2

Recently I met a writer from out East who was an amazing, soulful talent. This artist could touch the essence of any man or woman with her prose and poems. For now, she is unpublished, but I hope she chases her dreams. She is not yet retired and has a busy schedule. My guess is that the best writers in history go to their graves unpublished. Either they never pursued publication or they were simply “undiscovered.” Rejection slips from publishers fuel the flames that consume the spirits of many aspiring writers. Early on, I made rejection slips a badge of honor. You cannot fly until you try. It is time for me to add more to the collection.

Retirement should be the time in life for everyone to “put up or shut up” about all of the dreams that were put off in anticipation of someday finding the time to pursue them. Want to be a writer? Write. Want to be a painter? Paint. Grab a big chunk of rock and start hammering out the sculpture that you have had visions of for your entire life.

Thanks again for the visit.

James A. Zachary Jr.

Archive from October 26, 2007

Entry for October 26, 2007

For those who worry that their health will start to deteriorate as soon as they retire, I guess anything is possible. Consider these few possible health saving benefits of retirement.

You have more time to pay attention to your health. It is much easier to find the time to schedule a visit to the doctor or dentist. You will not need to try to schedule appointments for after work, or need to take a day off from work.

You may find, as I have, you eat less after you retire. I am not sure why, but I am not nearly as hungry as I was while working, and I don’t feel the need to snack. That might have something to do with stress, so if NOT working is going to cause you anxiety or boredom, it is possible you will gain weight. For me, so far I am down fifteen pounds and hope it keeps dropping off.

You have more time on your hand to exercise. One ex-coworker I know that took an early retirement joined a health club and goes there regularly. He has dropped even more weight than I have. While he was working, he never was able to work a health club into his schedule.

If you a tobacco user, you may find the lower stress level makes it easier to abstain.

I ran into another ex-coworker a few months ago who retired when he was around 58 years old. He is now over 80. He was always an active guy who loved eating homegrown vegetables. I believe he just plain became even more active after he retired, loved the lower stress level, and continued his hobby of gardening.

I do recommend that you visit the doctor regularly, and take all of the damn pills prescribed. Most of the old geezers I know always run to the doctor at the first sign of trouble. The ones that don’t, well I guess I know a few of them too, but their group has more funerals.

Should you retire and not be able to afford health care insurance, I am guessing things could go very bad very fast.

ZACK REMINDER: The COMMENTS-function for this blog is not working as it should. YAHOO has already been informed and, in their typical fashion, they have done nothing to correct it. If you are looking to start your own blog site, I recommend you check out Google Blogger.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Archive from October 18, 2007

Entry for October 18, 2007

Last month when we brought Mom home from the hospital, it was for the simple reason of having her die in her own house. She was born in a time and place when the lack of modern medicine mandated that most everyone who fell terminally ill would die at home. She lived through the era when the abundance of modern medicine mandated all terminally ill would die in a hospital, often after spending months or years hooked to machines used to prolong life. She lived into the era when hospice care became acceptable. Full circle, again the terminally ill could die at home.

Along with my Aunt Shirley, Rainbow Hospice of Park Ridge, Illinois provided the care for Mom during her final days. Caregivers from Rainbow Hospice are assigned to teams with names from the colors of the rainbow. The “Purple Team” served Mom. They all were skilled, caring, gentle, respectful professionals. They provided comfort for Mom and all of her family. One day when I arrived at the house gospel music was flowing through the open windows. A hospice C.N.A. was singing with my Aunt Shirley. She gathered everyone at Mom’s bedside and led us in singing Mom’s favorite song, “Amazing Grace.” Reliving that moment still pulls at my heart.

On behalf of the five sons of the late Georgia Zachary, I would like to thank Rainbow Hospice. Collectively and individually, you were blessings.

James A. Zachary Jr.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Archive from October 16, 2007

Entry for October 16, 2007

If God has created anything gloomier than the low lying, gun barrel blue evening clouds of October I have yet to see it. The falling leaves have left barren patches in the tree line, with the remaining leaves favoring the color of skin lesions from secondary syphilis. Bourbon offers no comfort; it just digs a hole below what would be rock bottom for anyone with sanity. Still another drink will splash to see where the hole will lead. Life is what it is. Depression is just one room of many in the house called life. How many rooms still to visit? So far, all rooms have had doors that lead back to here. There is no hurry; depression is the only room left where it is still acceptable to smoke a good cigar. We will see what the next room holds as soon as the tobacco runs out.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Archive from October 06, 2007

Entry for October 06, 2007

The visitation for Mom was on Wednesday. The interment was the following day. Yesterday we drove Aunt Shirley back to Tennessee. Today we returned home.

Now we will begin thanking everyone for the prayers, help, and kindness. It truly has been overwhelming. Neighbors, co-workers, friends, family, and perfect strangers all provided support throughout all of this.

Death to me is as natural as birth. It is inevitable that someday we will all lose each other. My sadness comes from knowing Mom will never again answer the door when I knock.

I celebrate each moment of the life she gave me, and I celebrate each moment of the life she lived. A memory will kiss each remaining beat of my heart.

Thanks for listening, and thanks for being here.

James A. Zachary Jr.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Archive from September 25, 2007

Entry for September 25, 2007

Saturday morning my older brother decided to accept an offer of assistance from one of Mom’s sisters. I left late Saturday afternoon to pick up Aunt Shirley from Tennessee. We arrived back here late Sunday evening. Saturday and Sunday were the only two days I did not see Mom since she had the first stroke. Until the drive to Tennessee, my job had been very easy, simply sitting with Mom, holding her hand, and talking to her. My brothers took care of the endless list of everything else, as well as finding time to visit with Mom. She would be very proud to see how all of them took care of business.

Aunt Shirley saw Mom in the hospital on Monday morning. It was quite moving to witness the reunion. Aunt Shirley is every bit as tough, loving, and beautiful as Mom. Aunt Shirley and my brothers spent the balance of Monday on the final preparations to bring Mom back to the house where she raised us. This house was the base of her happiness since 1956, and it will be where she spends her final moments on this earth. My brothers worked with near superhuman endurance to get everything ready but without Aunt Shirley being here bringing Mom home would not be possible.

Today, Tuesday September 25, 2007 Mom returned to her own bedroom, in her own home. We hope she finds peace and comfort here. She is weak, but she still shows occasional signs of recognition to voice and a touch. She knows that she is at home. She knows that she is loved.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Archive from September 21, 2007

Entry for September 21, 2007

The days have all become a blur. I am rarely sure what day it is. My brothers are worn out. I too am worn out. My older brother is holding everything and everyone together.

We have made a very difficult and painful decision. All medical treatment to extend Mom’s life has ended by our request. She is now under Hospice care. The doctors believe this is the correct decision. The nurses believe this is the correct decision. We believe it is the correct decision, and we believe it is what Mom would have wanted. She said so in her written directive, and her sisters say Mom has told them in earlier conversations that this would be best.

I sit with Mom for hours every day, talking to her and holding her hand. She will never answer, but I hope she finds comfort in my voice and my touch. Even though I believe stopping medical treatment to be the correct and proper course, a very small part of me has a doubt. Ninety-five percent of me believes she should be allowed to die naturally, in as much comfort as possible, with as much dignity as possible. Five percent of me wonders if this was the right thing to do. That five percent doubt is ripping my soul out. It would take a miracle to bring Mom back to health. I almost feel I am denying her that chance for a miracle.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Archive from September 18, 2007

Entry for September 18, 2007

Late yesterday Mom suffered a second, larger, more devastating stroke. She is unresponsive. Her condition is not survivable.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Archive from September 16, 2007

Entry for September 16, 2007

Mom is refusing to eat. It has been about five days since she had any solid food. The hospital is keeping her hydrated via IVs, but Mom says she has no appetite, is nauseous, the food has strange odors and tastes. She seemed more confused today that she has been in a couple of days. When I was there, she was talking to one of my brothers who was not even in the room. She could not remember my name today.

They got her out of bed for an evaluation today. She cannot stand on her own, and has substantial loss of motor function on her left side. She also has a partial vision loss in her left eye. Her speech is still clear, but her thoughts are jumbled again.

The MRI showed no tumor, that there was a great deal of bleeding into her brain.

The doctors are saying that a feeding tube now needs to be inserted to provide nutrition until she starts eating on her own. They are trying to get her out of the ICU into a semi-private room but her condition never improves enough to pull off the transfer.

There is still a long rocky row to hoe for this old farm girl. I believe her condition is survivable, and that it is possible for her to have a great deal of quality time on this earth. I know this woman very well, and what bothers me is that I see something missing. I am not seeing the inner strength, the fight, the fire, the will to live. She is still as courageous as she has always been but so far I have not seen the spark of life that has always been there for her and for her family. Her seventy-five years on this earth have rarely found moments of rest. She is very tired, and physically she is drained. I pray she finds an ember of life left somewhere.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Archive from September 15, 2007

Entry for September 15, 2007

So far, there is not much change in Mom’s condition. No worse, which is good since the doctors all say the next couple of days are critical, i.e. she could have a catastrophic blow out. She recognizes each of us, speaks fairly clearly, has no short-term memory as of now, e.g. I can walk out of the room and she will not remember I had been there. Reality is a very confused world for her. She is weak on her left side. Her face looks like she boxed Liston and lost. We are prepared for the worst and praying for the best. She was clawing the IVs out so the nurses had to put a sleeve over them. Occasionally she will attempt to drag herself out of the bed. The neurologist needs an MRI to rule on /out some issues, and the MRI machine is broken. Last word was that they were going to try again about 10pm. It is a long run of tests if they get the contraption to work. Results would not be available until morning even if does work. One of my younger brothers is taking the shift until morning.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Archive from September 13, 2007

Entry for September 13, 2007

When I stopped to visit Mom this morning I found she had suffered a bad stroke and a bad fall, I’m not sure which came first. She was lying on the floor, insisting she was fine and that all she needed to do was rest. She was coherent enough to get quite loud with her objections to me calling 911. She has a black eye from hitting her head when she fell. I was in the emergency room all day with her. She is now in ICU and a prognosis is still pending. My brothers are all there now, so I came home for a break. We are going to sit with her in the ICU in shifts (she has five sons).

Mom is an amazing woman. I could write pages about her. I love and admire her very much. The doctor was very frank and honest with me, which I appreciate. She said this type of stroke only has two directions; the patient gets better or dies. If anyone can beat this, it will be this wonderfully tough old woman from Tennessee. One can only hope and pray for the best. It was just last November when we lost Dad.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Archive from September 12, 2007

Entry for September 12, 2007

One of the things I did in getting ready for retirement was to put a brick patio in the backyard. That was during the early spring of 2003. On most mornings, I wake up, toss on some cargo-shorts, grab a cup of coffee, and sit on the patio where I catch some sun and listen to the bug-music coming from the garden. Amazing number of noisy critters, but their songs relax me. The flowers attract bees and butterflies; some are of types I haven't seen since I was a kid. I was hoping that retirement would give me more time to surf the patio. So far so good. Occasionally I cook and eat a steak there, sometimes a snooze until midnight. The patio should add value to the house when I put it up for sale. I figure another one to three years or so here, then off to an area with more heat and humidity, and hopefully another patio.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Archive from September 8, 2007

Entry for September 08, 2007

The tall baby-killing sheik has once again crawled out from under his rock to tell Americans to convert to Islam. The bearded baby-killer believes that Freedom of Religion should be limited to one choice. Otherwise, he promises there will be more dead babies, collapse of our economy, etc. In short, if America does not change, we are doomed. The baby-killing sheik truly believes he is a Prophet. Let me see if I can speak in his language. HEY ASSHOLE, YOU ARE NO PROPHET!

The baby-killing sheik will now crawl back under his rock with the rest of the maggots, and wait for his zealots to rack up the body count. What worries me is NOT the rhetoric from these murderous pigs. What worries me is that I hear more and more Americans wanting to do totally barbaric things to the Middle East. The more the maggots push us, the more resolute we become to be even more ruthless than they are. Historical Holy Sites in the Middle East are now being bantered about as fair targets. The irrational has become totally rational. The baby-killer and his friends may really want to reconsider where they are taking all of this. Do they really want a missile aimed at every Madrasah? Many Americans are at the point where that sounds quite palatable. The only thing that altered the thinking of the Japanese fanatics during WWII was total and utter destruction. Come on, let’s all go nuts like kids in a playground fight and smash each other’s balls! Good fun!

If you come to America as a friend, you will find no greater friend, and we will die for you. If you come to American as an enemy, you will know no greater enemy, and we will kill you. It is time for you to choose. It is time for us to quit playing nice.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Archive from September 4, 2007

Entry for September 04, 2007
Waking on a beach during the early morning light of utter radiance, 
finding comfort in her loving arms, 
then fading into her sleep, sharing her dreams.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Archive from September 3, 2007

Entry for September 03, 2007

Waking on a beach during the early morning light of utter innocence,
finding comfort lazing in the early sands of time,
then fading into the sleep of never ending dreams.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Archive from August 27, 2007

Entry for August 27, 2007


Even Bourbon will not erase it from your mind, the lilt of her voice, the flow of her hair, her satin skin. She indeed had unforgettable eyes.


Saturday, August 25, 2007

Archive from August 25, 2007

Entry for August 25, 2007

Young men ponder being laid with zest.

Middle-age men ponder being paid the best.

Old men ponder being laid to rest.


Thursday, August 16, 2007

Archive from August 16, 2007

Entry for August 16, 2007

I’m tired. No ambition. Had to change the kitchen faucet and I am too old for crawling around under sinks. Wore me out so I don’t much feel like blogging off in public today. How about an archive from 20 years ago?

This is another that has been found at various sites on the web.

FidoNews 4-26 Page 1 13 Jul 1987 James Zachary Fido 115/537
Hotline! (1) (c) 1987 James Zachary

On any given day, at any given moment, the phone at the water and sewage department can ring with a crisis call.


Southeast Treatment Plant, this is Zack.

"Ahem, err, why are ... uhhh are you adding ... uhhhmmm, why are you putting ammonia in our drinking water ...?"

Pardon me?

"Uhhh, in my drinking water ... in my fish-tank ..."

You drink the water from your fish-tank?

"Uhhhh, errr, nooooo, I uh ..."

Sir, we have a terrible connection, sounds like you're talking into a garbage can ...


What else are you on?


Never mind. Don't shout, I can hear ya fine now. You said your fish-tank tastes funny?

"Uhhhh, nooooo. All my fish died so I tested the water and it has ammonia in it."

What's your point?

"The water in my fish-tank came from our faucet ... it's regular drinking water from you. Your ammonia killed my fish!"

We don't add ammonia to our water. Some of the large systems do, to form chloramines so they can carry a chlorine residual for great distances, but we don't do that.

"Now wait a minute! I tested the water, both in the fish tank and from the faucet and it has ammonia in it!"

I see. How much ammonia?


Five ...? Five what? Five parts per million, parts per billion, parts per trillion...?

"Uhhhhh, it just says five."

What kind of equipment are you using?

"Well, I dunno but it cost me PLENTY! I spent $12 on it to find out YOU killed my fish! It has test tubes and a color chart! I went to college, you know!"

Uh huh, I'm sure your mother is proud. Look, friend, let me assure you our lab, as well as the EPA lab, cost a tad more than $12. Both labs are certified for technique and accuracy and their results show the drinking water has barely enough ammonia to measure.

"You mean I wasted $12?"

Looks that way.

"But my fish are all dead! The tank even smells like ammonia!"
How big was the tank and how many fish were in it?

"It was a 10 gallon tank and I had 50 black mollies in it."

Wonderful. You had 50 fish in a 10-gallon tank?

"Sure! The book that came with the tank said ..."

Whoa! Listen, ammonia may have played a part in bumping your fish off but the ammonia came from their own waste.

"Their own waste? I don't understand!"

Waste ... excrement ... in college terms, your fish made wee wee in the water...


... and they made big poo poo ...

"Ahhhh, but my filter removes all that!"

Right. When was the last time you cleaned your filter?

"Why, NEVER! This filter turns the waste into air by rotifer reaction so it never needs cleaning. It worked fine for a month!"

Sir, have you ever considered changing hobbies to something other than tropical fish?

"Well, I USED to raise tropical plants until YOUR water killed them!"

How often did you water them?

"At least four times a day ..."

Maybe you'd consider raising hydroponic pet rocks.

"C L I C K ! ! "

Sometimes it doesn't pay to be helpful ...

Monday, August 13, 2007

Archive from August 13, 2007

Entry for August 13, 2007

Many years ago I was a member of an amateur personal computer communications network known as FidoNet. It was good fun; I learned a lot and met many wonderful people. That network had its own newsletter, and they were kind enough to publish some of my work. It was a pleasure to find that people moved some of that work onto different pages on the internet, where it can still be found today. The following is one.

FidoNews 4-29 Page 9 3 Aug 1987
James ZacharyFido 115/537Hotline! (2) (c) 1987James Zachary

The telephone at the water and sewage department is often busy with calls from customers concerned with public health matters.


Southeast Treatment Plant, this is Zack.

"Is this the water department?"

Yes Ma'am, for most of this area.

"Good. I have some very technical questions to ask you about the water."

I'll try to help.

"Why are my nipples getting so hard?"

You're not really serious.

"I AM SO!! My nipples ... they're hard and they have this white coating on them!"

Uhhhh, huh ... hard, uhhh, nipples with white, uhh ... stuff...

"Not only that, they're getting warped!"

I see.

"They used to be soft, pink, and round!"

I'm sure they were.

"Now they really look disgusting!"

I'm sure they do.

"So I want to know what you're going to do about this!"

I really don't think I can help you. Have you discussed this with your personal physician?

"Yes I have! He said I should call you because he thought it was from the water!"

I see... uhhhh, just why and how does he think the water is causing this?

"He said cleaning them in boiling water sometimes does that."

Sounds painful. Can't you just sponge them off?


Now I understand.

"Are you going to buy me new ones?"

Why would we do that?

"Because your water ruined these. My baby won't suck them anymore. He's been sick and I think it's from the white stuff... he used to really suck ..."

May I ask how old your baby is?

"He's six, going on seven."

Six ... and he refuses the bottle? Maybe he's getting a little old for the bottle.


I wasn't. How long have you been using these nipples?

"Since he was born."

Hmmmmm. My guess is the white film is from the calcium carbonate in the water ... kind of like bathtub ring of the nipple ...


... and they are hard and warped because of being boiled and bitten for six years.

"So! You are refusing to pay!"

Well, that's not for me to decide. I was only trying to suggest they might just be plain worn out.


There is really nothing more I can do for you.


Well, why not grab your nipples and run down to our main office. There you can file an insurance claim.

"What good would that do? Will they give me the money?"

They will investigate and make a judgment whether to settle or not.

"Well, you sure haven't been any help! How do I get them to pay more attention than you have?"

Just show them your nipples.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Archive from August 12, 2007

Entry for August 12, 2007

The word “survivalist” often has bad connotations. People picture some shirtless Rambo gnawing the bark from trees, or some camo-clad recluse scavenging road-kills. In fact, we are all survivalists. When things go bad, we look for ways to get by, we find ways to survive. Even with no planning at all, most will salvage or scavenge enough to last quite a while.

Mom and Dad came from an area of the country where luxuries were few, and from an era in time when people knew how to make do with what was available. As far as food, if they did not buy it, barter for it, or grow it, they would go out and shoot it. They had kerosene lamps for reading homework assignments, homes heated by burning wood and / or coal.

The Chicagoland suburbs are not the Cumberland Mountains, until Mother Nature decides so. While I was a little tyke, an ice storm once took down all of the power lines and closed every road. This event lasted for several days, and Mom and Dad took care of themselves and their brood of five sons in style. There was no heat, no fireplace, no water, but we never shivered, never thirsted, and never felt hunger. Mom always kept the shelves well stocked, so food was available. Water ran a little short, but we got by. One morning Dad built a fire in the front yard, melted snow in a pot, tossed in a hand full of coffee grounds and voila, the vilest tasting coffee ever suffered by man or boy. This memory prompted me to have bottled water, a propane stove, and a camp-stove peculator in my collection of disaster gear. I am never going to be as tough as Mom and Dad, nor will I ever be as smart. I need to plan ahead. Winter survival can be tough. One of these days, you will be in an area where the electricity will be off for days. If the roads are closed going to Grandma’s house will be off the option list. Give it some thought.

Summer survival should be easy, but heat kills more people each year than any other weather event. If the power drops off for a week or two during a heat wave, what will be your options?

Many people associate the word “survivalist” with eating insects. If you plan ahead, bugs will be pretty far down your food chain. A couple of large jars of peanut butter and a couple of boxes of saltine crackers will store on the shelf a good long time, and feed you and a couple of friends for three or four days. If you tire of eating peanut butter, put some on a cracker, leave it outside for a few hours, and then munch the peanut butter with the bugs that are stuck on it. Think of it as animated extra crunchy with color. If you are starving to death and find yourself covered with bugs, you may want to eat those bugs before they finish eating you.

When Y2K was all of the rage some folks took it to the extreme and decked their domiciles out in preparation for the end of civilization. When Katrina was bearing down on the Gulf States, most treated it as just another windstorm. The best preparation is probably somewhere in between obsession and neglect. What will you need to have on hand to survive for one week, be it at work, at home, or stuck somewhere in between?

Thanks for listening,

James A. Zachary Jr.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Archive from August 1, 2007

Entry for August 1, 2007

Every day there are great numbers of needless deaths because your elected officials do not have the fortitude to institute the ban needed to save lives. The body count rises daily. Until a total ban is in place, the bloody carnage will grow and bodies will be stacked in the morgue like cordwood. Heed my words.

What do you hear when someone honks a car horn? Do you hear the horn as the voice of the other driver saying, “Excuse me, I hate to bother, but I believe you need to be aware of my presence,” or do your hear “WATCH OUT YOU PUSS GUZZLING SPAWN OF A WHORE”?

When you honk at some antisocial types, what they hear is you saying “I NEED TO BLEED! KILL ME! COME ON, KILL ME RIGHT HERE AND NOW!” They often will be most accommodating.

Of all of the money the government wastes on studies, as far as I know they have yet to study the effect car horns have on people. I speculate that ninety percent of all road-rage incidents begin with the puff on the old horn. It is time to BAN THE HORN! Before you dismiss that idea as bullhonk, consider the following. How many times do you use a car-horn to avoid an accident versus using it to insult other drivers? Come on now; be honest about it with yourself. Only once or twice in your entire life of driving is the horn used to help avoid an accident. The balance of your honking is pure horn abuse. When you honk, the horn is your voice and the thoughts in your head are full of great malice. All horns sound like four letter words, and you have a full vocabulary readily available on the steering wheel. “MOVE IT MOTHER-HONKER!”

In reality, I am aware that a horn-ban will never work; that some judge will rule that honking-off in public is a form of free speech. So be it. A kinder gentler car-horn needs to be developed. Something that sounds friendly and polite, and less like death howling from your bowels.

If the angry horn cannot be eliminated, maybe we can offer drivers incentives not to toot. I propose a big honking tax. The government can work with the automakers and the cell phone companies to rig high-tech gadgets in every motor vehicle. Give a toot and your bank account is debited ten bucks. Lean on the horn for a full second and you just blew twenty bucks. A nice long complicated sliding scale of penalties; the hornier you are, the more you pay. The politicians will love the idea, citing your health and welfare as the motive, all the while dreaming of green.

Please, no angry emails telling me to get honked.

Thanks for listening,

James A. Zachary Jr.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Archive from June 28, 2007

Entry for June 28, 2007

Congress keeps busy, but nothing substantial or effective ever becomes law. The immigration bill that failed to pass today was a typical bill that would have accomplished little other than to legitimize our failures. They need to start with clear minds and rethink the whole issue.

There was a problem with illegal immigration when I was 15 years old, and there is still a problem 40 years later. Every few years there are new laws but never a solution. Passing laws and not enforcing them makes no sense. Businesses were supposed to be penalized for hiring illegal aliens. I once needed to show my employer some form of ID in order to verify I was not here illegally from Botswana or other faraway land. That requirement fell into disuse. It used to be a standard of practice to deport illegal aliens when discovered. Now that idea is being brought up as something brilliant and new.

Illegal aliens come from all over the world, from every country. They are drowning in oceans, and dying of thirst in deserts, because their governments suck. Their countries usually have the elite class, and the lowest of the lower class. Middle class in most of these countries does not exist. People from those countries want to come to the USA to be in the middle class, which is a huge improvement from the suckhole lives their homelands allow. It seems part of any immigration bill would need to insist that these countries evolve. How many illegal alien Canadians have you heard of? Find me one illegal alien Australian sneaking in. No illegal aliens come here from countries that do not suck.

Our government has failed to secure our borders. Homeland security, the war on drugs, and stopping illegal immigration all start at our borders. Cutting the budget of the Border Patrol and the Coast Guard never has made any sense, yet that is what each administration does. Start with a bill that secures our borders, then work on the temporary worker visas, then work on what to do with the existing illegals. If you are going to grant some form of amnesty, call it that and quit trying to put a spin on it.

Our government should work out a deal with the various suckhole countries from where most of the illegal aliens come from. They can take them back or they can contribute some money toward “amnesty.” A better deal is this; we will take one honest, hard working immigrant for each criminal we can export. Most of the trash governments of this world have draconian prison conditions. They can house one of our hard-timers for each honest immigrant we take. I smell a real solution here.

Thanks for listening,

James A. Zachary Jr.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Archive from June 12, 2007

Entry for June 12, 2007

There are Moslems who are American Citizens. There are American Citizens who are from the many countries of the Middle East. My roots in the USA go back to before the Revolutionary War on both my Mother’s family and my Father’s family. A Citizen of the USA naturalized yesterday afternoon is as much an American as I am. There is no DNA measure for being an American. If the USA says you are a citizen, then by God you are a citizen and you have the same rights as all Americans. That's not my idea mind you, I personally feel I should be King with a harem of Hooters Girls, but The Constitution of the USA keeps me in my place.

During World War II we subjected Japanese Americans, Italian Americans, and German Americans to internment and other violations of their rights as Americans. Bigotry, fear, and anger motivated many actions that in hindsight we all recognize as wrong.

The founding principals of this nation included Freedom of religion; Moslems are not an exception. The War on Terrorism should not be a War on Moslems or on American Citizens with Middle Eastern roots. Terrorists can hide behind religion or ideology, but they are quite simply nutballs looking for a reason to kill. They are controls freaks with explosives. The fool that blew up the Federal Building in Oklahoma City hid behind some convoluted ideology. He was a terrorist, a nutjob looking to go down in history as a martyr. Never will I dignify his name by writing it. He killed women and children without regret. Terrorists of any shade are quite simply baby killers, the lowest form of life on earth. Do not call yourself a patriot after killing babies to make your point.

We often think we know the mind of God. No human can ever truly know the mind of God. I will venture a guess that if we hear a voice telling us to kill, we most likely are not talking to God. If we hear a voice that tells us to oppress fellow Americans because of their religion or roots, I’ll hazard another guess that we are simply hearing the voices of fear and bigotry. Our Founding Fathers listened to a different voice.

Thanks for listening.

James A. Zachary Jr.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Archive from June 9, 2007

Entry for June 9, 2007

Few things can rattle me any more. Most things that should freeze my bones barely get a shrug. There are a few exceptions, one of them being Modern Slavery. Go to your web browser and type Modern Slavery into the window of any decent search engine. What you will read should make you sick.

Many cultures still look at slavery as a tradition, or as part of their social order. Many governments and religions find no sin in slavery. Many of the countries that condone slavery are the same ones we consider “friends” because they sell oil to us, or allow us to “fight the war on terrorism” from their soil (or sand if you will).

Pakistan has slavery. Think of THAT the next time you buy a shirt made in Pakistan. The corporations of this nation should swear a public oath not to buy goods or services from countries that condone slavery. We as consumers need to vote with our wallets, and refuse to buy any goods from any country that allows slavery.

The USA once condoned slavery, and the USA purged itself of that sin with blood spilled during a great war. Many alive in this country today had great great grandparents who were slaves, or who fought in the war that ended slavery. More that a hint of the foul taste of slavery still exists in this land. The horrible stench of Modern Slavery exists unchallenged in other lands. If the USA looks the other way for the sake of expediency in our dealings with countries that allow slavery, we are just as vile now as we were antebellum.

Thanks for listening.

James A. Zachary Jr.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Archive from June 7, 2007

Entry for June 7, 2007

On September 11, 2001, all of the air-transportation in the USA came to an abrupt, unpredicted stop. The politicians came up with no answers; everyone was on their own to find a way to where they needed to go.

Amtrak stepped up to the plate and moved hordes of people across the nation. Amtrak was a system that was in place to do the tough job. Amtrak proved itself as a key part of our national security.

Few politicians feel Amtrak is worthy of continued subsidy from the federal government. Interesting thought, since the federal government subsidizes roads and airports. In the overall picture of federal spending, Amtrak is but a drop. Still, each new administration seems to have the death of Amtrak as a key part of their mission statement.

Take an Amtrak ride when you get a chance, even if it is on a train going to “anywhere.” Passenger trains helped build this nation and passenger trains help keep this nation strong. Trains can be for both recreational and essential travel. Not everyone can fly. Not everyone can drive. A substantial number of Americans need Amtrak to get to where they need to be. Let us hope there is never another national emergency like September 11, 2001. Let us hope Amtrak continues to exist to serve us all in case there is.

Thanks for listening,

James A. Zachary Jr

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Archive from June 2, 2007

Entry for June 2, 2007

Any company or bank that issues you a credit card is not your friend. Read that sentence again then tape it on your bathroom mirror. Banks and credit card companies moan and cry about the risks they take, and about how many deadbeats there are in their business world. It is all trash-talk. Banks and credit card companies LOVE people who cannot manage their money. They LOVE when you are late with a payment so they can charge you a late-fee that is pure profit. The profits they make on late fees are obscene. Further still, a credit card with a “low rate” is seldom under 9% unless it is a “teaser rate.” Therefore, you rack up a huge credit card balance at 9%, which is bad enough. Pay it late once or twice and suddenly you can be 18%, 21%, or even as high as 29.99%. These obscene rates are what your government allows these companies to charge you. If a crime syndicate loan shark charged these rates, the politicians would call for congressional action. Credit cards can be your friends, but the banks and credit card companies that issue the cards never will be. They can legally raise your rates into the “penalty zone” if you are paying ANY of your bills late, not just your credit card bill. The politicians have failed you.

If you are thinking of investing for your future, if you have any dreams of building a nest egg for retirement, PAY OFF YOUR CREDIT CARD BALANCES and promise yourself NEVER to carry a monthly balance ever again. It is the biggest step you can take to achieve financial independence. The only friend you have is yourself. Give yourself a hand.

Thanks for listening.

James A. Zachary Jr

Friday, June 1, 2007

Archive from June 1, 2007

Entry for June 1, 2007

Gangs of smelly bikers have returned to our highways with the warm weather. Their expensive chrome laden rides glisten as they race down the roads with little regard to laws or common sense. They often ride in packs, denying any right-of-way to cars and pedestrians. In groups, they fuel each other’s need to intimidate. They all feel the need to dress the part, to wear the uniform of true bikers. Police are powerless and let them do as they please. Politicians dare not try to regulate them. Sweaty outlaw bikers will be with us until the snow drives them away.

We can only hope that someday they all move on to motorized cycles, where their recklessness will result in thinning of their ranks via natural selection. Yuppie bikers wear helmets as part of the uniform code. Yuppie motorcyclists do not.

Thanks for listening.

James A. Zachary Jr.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Archive from May 24, 2007

Entry for May 24, 2007

Seems all elected local, state, and federal officials are jumping on the steamrolling bandwagon to snuff out smoking. Politicians have traditionally had a herd mentality; if it feels good, they all want to scratch the same itch. They have discovered there are a substantial number of potential voters who believe the only form of human lower than a politician is a non-voting smoker. It is no surprise that the anti-smoking politicians mimic hyenas circling a road kill.
All of the lowlife tobacconists hiding in the shadows will soon find law enforcement waiting there in ambush. I am sure the police are looking forward to enforcing all of the new smoking laws, since the politicians have made police work boring by eliminating all gang crime, domestic violence, and hard drug trafficking. After all, second hand smoke is responsible for global-warming.

We need our politicians to go further. We need them to refuse all revenue from the sale of tobacco products. We need them to set an example for the entire world and ban the sale of tobacco nationally. Please help save us from Demon Tobacco. Forsake all of that tobacco stained tax money. Do it now. Otherwise, people may think politicians are hypocrites, and we sure cannot have that.

Thanks for listening.

James A. Zachary Jr.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Archive from May 23, 2007

Entry for May 23, 2007

Last Memorial Day I was called out to my workplace due to a major power outage. At work things get very-bad very-fast if there is no juice to run all of the pumps and compressors. Since everyone wants holiday-weekends off, it was hard to find someone working for the utility company that could troubleshoot the outage. Further, our department had only a skeleton crew available so it took some time to transport and set up the diesel powered emergency generators.

Other that the fact that I was burned out from being called out on emergencies on holidays and weekends for over 30-years, this episode was just plain stressful. I took solace in demon tobacco. I had quit cigarettes 10-years earlier, but saw no harm in choking down a cigar during this over-nighter.

One year later I am still hacking down a cigar a day. May not sound like much, but I had beaten my lungs and other vital organs for over 35-years with cigarettes.

My goal is to quit cigars by this Memorial Day. There is plenty of nicotine gum in my pockets and the will is strong. Wish me luck. I wish good luck to you.

Thanks for listening.

James A. Zachary Jr.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Archive from May 22, 2007

Entry for May 22, 2007

It is getting late. It has been a long day, probably for you as well. Sometimes I feel the need to write even when I really do not have much to say. Some folks like to talk when they have no reason to. All day long I had ideas for what I would blog, but they all vaporized by evening. How would you like the listen to me groan about gasoline prices? No?

So, what are you doing for the Memorial Day Holiday weekend?

It’s hard to find an American Flag that was actually made in the USA. I found an outfit and I will post a link to their site from mine. Trouble is that they do not sell direct to the public, so the flags are available only from retailers. Many outlets have NON-USA-MADE American Flags and they are not clearly marked. For some reason, I just do not feel comfortable flying an American Flag that was made in China. Your mileage may vary.

Be safe and thanks for listening.

James A. Zachary Jr.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Archive from May 21, 2007

Entry for May 21, 2007

Today I read where a 24 year old man was stabbed to death yesterday (Sunday) with a most unusual weapon. Autopsy showed he died after being stabbed in the back of the neck with a house key. A 40 year old woman is being held by the Chicago Police as a "person of interest" in the killing.

Late last week three senior citizen males (age late 60s, early 70s) were walking in a forest preserve near here. There was an altercation of some sort with a younger male, who subsequently attacked all three seniors with a rock. One senior was killed, the other two seriously (but not critically) injured. Attacker has not been caught, described as a younger, thin male between 5'8'' and 6'0'' tall.

Gun control in Illinois is indeed working.

Thanks for listening,

James A. Zachary Jr.


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