Archive for the ‘Writings of Uncle Buck’ Category

             There’s not too much I find to my liking on television these days. It seems as though reality programming and people making fools of themselves is what a great deal of it comes down to if ya want to be serious about it. Of course, I don’t think that Survivor shows and talent shows cost all that must to put on the airwaves, so once again, we come back to greed, profit, and the bottom line. Sports are pretty good, although I get the feeling that women’s beach volleyball is for a little more than your average sports fan and, for the most part, soccer’s just about as good as any sleeping pill I’ve ever known.

            The History Channel is my latest favorite. It can either scare the daylights out of ya, let ya in on some things ya never knew, or just plain make you stop and think. Let me give you an example of that last. The other day, I was watching a rather long program about The Dark Ages. It appeared to me that after the death of Jesus, Europe damn near got wiped out. There were invasions by peoples from other lands, counter-invasions that didn’t seem to work out too well; more invasions and counter-invasions, droughts, famine, and finally disease – the bubonic plague that killed nearly one hundred million people. That, by the way, was about half of the earth’s population at that time. One of the other big problems they seemed to have, was the way in which they were governed. You take that Emperor Constantine, for example. Seems he’d lie, cheat, steal, and change the rules to suit his own needs, just so he could feather his own nest. Of course, he wasn’t the only one; there were some other rich folks who would treat those around them like dirt and try to take everything they had without any consideration for what the average person required just to live.

            When that program ended, it got me to thinking about how we’ve behaved during what I’m now thinking might be the beginning of our own Dark Ages. To me, that began with the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand. Perhaps “began” is the wrong word to use, because there was a lot of political and military tensions going on long before the poor archduke became the catalyst that started the fireworks. If I read it correctly, however, it still came down to the few trying to keep the many in “their place” while making their own lives more comfortable. So, after inflicting more than 37 million casualties, the hostilities finally came to an end…well, more or less. Some people got richer because of the war and the same old suckers took it on the chin once more. It seems that this was the beginning of the modern Dark Ages. Those countries who were classified as the ‘losers’ in the war went away, licked their wounds, and began plotting how they could ‘get back’ at those who’d defeated them. In America, we had a few good years…at least good for some, but if you ask those who were in agribusiness, I’m not certain they’d agree with you.

            The real Dark Age of America came around about 1929 when the Great Depression hit. My grandfather’s business went belly up in those tough times, but he wasn’t alone. We were all so busy trying to dig ourselves out that we didn’t realize there was some darkness going on in other parts of the world.  Adolph Hitler and his gang were breaking the rules of peace by secretly rearming Germany. The Japanese were looking to expand their holdings, and the politicians were just looking for ways to hold on to their cushy jobs.  Heck, Hitler’s initial moves into Austria and Czechoslovakia drew only a few “tsk-tsk’s” from some of the other countries of the world. When he invaded Poland and started to get a little close to Russia, however, the rest of Europe started to take notice. It was sort of like the Vikings trying to take over England…oops, drawing analogies isn’t very nice.

            When Japan attacked American, the whole damn thing started all over again. If you compare the Dark Ages of Europe to what became the Dark Ages of the world just before WWI, I think you might say that things were running along parallel tracks. About the only thing missing was the famine, but don’t tell that to the people whose cities, towns, villages, and hamlets were getting bombed day and night; whose bellies were so empty, they looked like skeletons.  Deaths ranged from 50 – 70 million in that conflict, depending on what sources ya look at. Any way you put it, it still adds up to Dark Ages.

            The times after WWII weren’t a hell of a lot better. Everybody seemed to be scrambling to get a bigger piece of the land pie and armament buildup was so fast and furious that every major power seemed able to kill every other major power ten times over. There were some fortunes made during and after WWII, but the little guy still seemed to be fighting to keep his head above water.

            I’m still trying to figure out why we had to go into Korea or Viet Nam. Seems all we did there was to stop population explosion in the United States and create a bunch of angry young people, but I’m sure somebody else would have a different take on those situations.

            Just when things appeared to quiet down, the Iraqis decided they wanted a piece of Kuwait. Hell, the Kuwaitis probably would have sold it to ‘em if they’d asked…but they didn’t. The U.S., still playing Big Brother on the world stage, had to go and stick our nose into the situation and piss off more people in the Middle East. Too bad we never learned to become less dependent on oil and more dependent on some other things, like the sun and the wind, but that’s us…and you can’t fix stupid.

            Are you catchin’ my drift about the way this whole thing is beginning to mirror the Dark Ages of Europe? Because if it hasn’t hit you yet, there may be better hope for the fence post in the back forty than there is for your fried up brain.

            The next chapter in this lesson in comparative history gets just a bit confusin.’ A bunch of Saudi Arabian fellas, led by one Mohammed Atta, high jacked some American planes and flew two of them into the World Trade Center in New York. If that wasn’t bad enough, some other Saudis flew another one into the Pentagon in Washington. There was a fourth group, but some passengers on that plane grew a set of big brass ones – if ya know what I mean – and they just crashed that sucker into a field in Pennsylvania.

            Now, get ready for this, because I’m only gonna say it once: The guy who took the credit for the planning and for the attack is Osama bin Laden, the son of a Saudi billionaire. Seems to me, there’s an awful lot of Saudi influence here, but of course, that’s where we get a lot of oil, so I guess we didn’t want to piss them off. Instead, America the bold decides to go after Saddam Hussein, the chief honcho in Iraq. Go ahead; ask the question; beats the hell outta me too. Once we find him and hang him, all the politicians applaud and say, “Yep, our job is done. We got the son-of-a-bitch!” What son-of-a-bitch is my question? We didn’t get this other guy. He’s still out there. He’s still making plans. He’s drawn us into a war that we stand just about as much chance of winning as we had in Viet Nam. Is there one goddamned politician in Washington who is listening or understands what is going on? The answer to that one is easy, and the answer is, “No.”

            If I had my way, we’d be pulling all of our troops out of everywhere we have them…all around the world. No more Big Brother. If those people want to kill each other, fine, let ‘em at it. If they want to come over here and try to kill us, we simply level the biggest of their cities. No warnings, no, “here we come;” none of that nonsense; just do it. Will it lead to Armageddon? So what if it does; that’s the way we’re moving right now; we’re just doing it a bit more slowly. Might’s well move things along to their ultimate conclusion. I rather doubt that there are that many fools in the world that someone is going to push the “big” button. After all, if they do, they die also, and whether it’s five, ten, fifteen, or a hundred virgins, I’m not certain anyone in the world is that horny.

            So let’s bring home the troops, protect our own borders, tell the rest of the world to work with us or go to hell, and let’s get everybody on the road to living a decent life. Let’s stop the bullshit dependence on foreign oil. Let’s bring jobs back to this country and provide tax incentives for those who will. If they won’t, shut ‘em down and get management teams in there who will think and act, “America first,” and stop this nonsense of big bonuses for some and to hell with everyone else.

            Is this Socialism? No! Is it Communism? No! Is it common sense? You bet your ass it is baby, and it’s about time someone laid it on the line. Just ask your Uncle Buck!

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            One of the things I find wrong with these computers, ya know, like the one the kids gave me and I went off to school to learn about…that’s the one. Well, anyway, the one thing that’s wrong with ‘em is they can suck up a lot of your time, and ya sorta find yourself rushing through the things ya haveta do just to get back on the damned things.

            Now, ya have ta understand that rushin’ through the chores isn’t such a bad thing because, after all, it teaches ya to be more efficient in the way ya git things done. For example, I invented an egg roller where when one of the hens lays an egg, it sorta rolls through the straw on which she’s sittin and down a cotton lined roller to a cotton-lined bucket, so I can jes walk along and pick the eggs up from the bucket rather than havin’ to reach under the hen and maybe get my hand pecked…that’s just an added advantage. What most folks don’t know is that when a hen lays an egg, the shell is still pretty soft, but by the time it drops down through the hay and onto this cotton slide, it’s toughed up enough so it can take the ride.

            Anyway, it’s this type ‘o thing that allows me more time with my laptop, and I gotta tell ya, this thing really shrinks the world. Not only that, but you can find just about anything your little ole heart desires merely by doin’ some kind of search. Why, you kin find pictures of naked women, if that happens to be your thing. As for me, I gittin’ a little long in the tooth to be favoring such pictures, and besides, pictures ain’t half as good as havin’ the real thing, but I’m getting’ a tad too gimpy to even enjoy that. Notice that I said, “a tad;” I didn’t say I was dead.

            They’s some stuff, however, that the computer can’t really bring into your home. One of those things that occurred recently was the death of Senator Ted Kennedy. Nope, for that I had to go back to the television set, and I admit that I spent a good deal of time in front of it, watching what the world and the news commentators had to say about old Ted. I remember meetin’ the man several years ago. He was still recovering from a plane crash that he was lucky didn’t take his life, and my back was already givin’ me the signs of the trouble it’s given me throughout my life. We were introduced and I sez to him, “Looks like the back is givin’ ya a lotta trouble Senator.” He looks me in the eye – I was only a couple years younger – and he says, “You got back problems.” I allowed as how I did, and I believe that at that one moment, we might not have become friends, but we sure became colleagues in pain. “There’s not a day goes by,” he said, “that I’m not reminded of both how fortunate I was to get out of that crash alive or how much this back of mine is going to hurt for the rest of my life.” It was one of the few times I ever heard a politician tell it the way it was.

            The way I see it is that when a famous person dies, a lot of people try to make a hero out of him or her or call them a great “this” or “that.” Seems to me that the real heroes aren’t the people who are famous, but the people like the firefighters in Worcester who got killed in a burning warehouse or the two who were just recently killed fighting a fire when the roof collapsed, or the cops who are killed in the line of duty, trying to protect others. Those are the real heroes.

            Of course, there are exceptions and Ted Kennedy seems to be one. I think that, despite the flaws he had, and I ain’t no one to talk about flaws; probably you ain’t either…well, anyway, despite his flaws, he seems to have done a great deal for this country, from his interest in helping senior citizens like me be guaranteed a fair shake, to trying to get health care for everyone…too bad he didn’t live to see that come true.

            The thing is that we can all be “great” in our own way, even if it’s just in a small way, and only a few people know how great we really are. Part of the trick, I think, is not to try to be great. Just do what you can do and do it the best you can. There’s a book called, “All You Can Do Is All You Can Do, But All You Can Do Is Enough.” Now, I never read that book, particularly since I’m not all that big on reading,’ but I’ve tried to live my life just a little bit beyond that. I find that all I can do ain’t always the case, so I’ve always tried to do a little more than what enough might be.

            Doin’ a little more than what ya ought ain’t something that comes to ya naturally. Both my Mom and Dad had that philosophy. Dad put it this way: “If a thing’s worth doin,’ it’s worth doin’ right…and it’s worth doing it right the first time ya do it.” Over the years I’ve worked for too many people who were in a real hurry to get the job done only to find that it wasn’t done right. There have been times when it’s cost them and the company money as well as extra time. In one case, I remember a fella was in such a hurry and the job got so screwed up, he didn’t even get a chance to do it over. Difficult to do when you’re being kicked out the door.

            But, I’m getting a little far a field here. Let me get back to Senator Kennedy and my computer for a minute. As I say, he seemed to be the politician who wanted to help people and not just his kind…the rich folks. He seemed to want to help the little guy and for that I admire him. It looks like he was admired in a lot of other countries too. When I look at some of the newspapers from other countries, they’ve got some pretty nice things to say about him. Man can’t ask for a heck of lot more than to be remembered by those who matter, the people who do the work and who understand that when you take that extra step or extend that helpin’ hand just a bit further, you’re one of the “good guys.” That’s the way I’ll remember the Senator.

“Uncle” Buck Hartnett is from a side of the family I don’t know too much about. I’m aware that we are, somehow, related. What the relationship is, I was never quite certain, but Uncle Buck has asked if he might make contributions to the web site periodically and since I was told a long time ago never to say, “No” to Uncle Buck, I’ve said, “Yes.” I have no idea when or what he might say, so you may wish to review any of his writings before letting the children read them

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            It’s been said that if ya wait long enough, things seem to come back around. Now that may be so about some things, but about others, I’d say this: If ya wait long enough, some son-of-a-bitch will find a way to make you believe what he says is right and what everyone else says is wrong. Seems to me that we used to have to think for ourselves and make up our own minds about this, that, and the other thing. I’ll get back to that one in a while, but we started off saying that things come back around.

            Do you remember knickers? They were the pants young men wore to school at one time. They came just below your knees and had elastic at the bottom; I guess it was so they wouldn’t ride up, but the damn things were so tight, there was little chance of that. The better chance was that they’d cut off yer circulation below the knees and if ya sat to long, ya damn near fell down when you first got up from lack of circulation. We had these long socks that you wore under the elastic so they wouldn’t fall down, at least until after school when the socks came off so ya could play unencumbered, so ta speak (Didn’t know I knew those big words, did ya?). Well, knickers started to make a comeback I really thought Payne Stewart, the golfer, was going to set a trend. Unfortunately, the Good Lord took him before he could make a go of the whole knickers thing. Guess it’ll be a while fore anyone else tries to bring ‘em back.

            Baseball caps have always been popular, but the way in which kids where them today has me scratchin’ my head. I suppose that it’s okay to get sunburn on your face and you don’t want the bill in the front, and I’ve even gotten used to seeing the caps worn backwards. The thing I don’t get is when they wear them sideways and/or inside out or both. Makes ‘em look like damned fools or worse. I’m not sure what they’ll do next, but some idiot will come up with another way of makin’ himself look even more stupid.

            The scariest thing of all seems to be the color of the clothes today’s young men and women choose. If you’re wearing the wrong colors in certain parts of the country, you’re dead, and I don’t mean you get beaten up or anything like that; they kill you. And sometimes they kill you with guns that not even cops are allowed to carry. I’m all for the Second Amendment to the Constitution, but I really don’t think the right to bear arms extends down to kids who are just lookin’ as they say today, “to pop a cap in someone’s ass.” That’s just not right. Most of these kids don’t even understand that when you’re dead, that’s it brother; there’s no coming back for next week’s episode. You are in the ground forever, and some mother, father, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, etc., has been deprived of a life they had watched partially grow up…it’s just not right.

            I also don’t really understand why people feel they need guns that can fire bullets at hundreds of rounds per second. Either their aim isn’t very good or they’re not planning on leaving a helluva lot of whatever it was they were shootin’ at. I just love these guys who say, “Well, we need ‘em for huntin’ deer.” What the hell ya gonna do, kill it and gut it at the same time? You can’t put a deer down with one shot, one deer slug, then hell man, the deer won that round; give the poor animal some kind of a sportin’ chance. No real need to wipe out all the trees around him just to bring the poor bastard to ground. Gonna be so much lead in him, you won’t be able to eat the venison anyway. “I need the gun to defend my home.” From what; what are you protectin’ them from, the invadin’ Mongol hordes from across the sea? Well, shit, cap’n, if they get as far as your street, I think you might just stand as good a chance by bendin’ over and kissin’ your ass goodbye. I mean, after all son, that’s what we’ve got an Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps for, to protect idiots like you, and don’t go givin’ me this crap about civilian food riots and all that other hogwash. You’ve been brainwashed by a few politicians if you think that’s gonna happen. Those are the people who need to have their own brains washed every once in a while just to make sure they’re functioning the way they should. About the only thing more crooked than a politician is a path home made by a cow drunk on mesquite.

            For the very life of me, I cannot understand why people are so against everything. However, that’s an attitude that has come back; it used to be that way a long time ago, but it went away for a while and now we have the same damned thing. It’s sorta like, “I don’t know what I’m for but I’m agin whatever it is you’re trying to get me to like.”  Did you ever consider opening your ears before you closed your mind? Take this health care thing for example: Lots of people seem to be saying, “No,” but no one is saying, “And here’s why.” I love the sign, “Obama wants to kill grandma.” Yep, that sure makes a lotta sense. Hell, he probably don’t even know grandma, and maybe she just needs killin’ anyway. I doubt it; probably a nice old lady and I rather doubt that the President of the United States is out to kill her over her health care. If you don’t like what the man’s proposing, give him something else to work with. We all know that universal health care in this country isn’t a reality. We also know that some kind of insurance is needed. We also know that the drug companies and the current insurance companies are making too much money. So, what’s the alternative? Do we let them continue to screw all of us or do we try to take ‘em down a peg?

Buck Hartnett

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The name, my friend, is Buck Hartnett. It would be nice to say that I serve as the mind of the real Dick Bishop and express what he would like to say. That’s not quite the case. You see, sometimes Dick and I disagree on a particular point, and him being the way that he is, he told me I could sometimes have a say on his blog…pretty damned thoughtful of him if you ask me.

I like to talk about things that aren’t very popular or that some of our “leading” – that’s a joke – politicians and businessmen and women lie to us about, although I think political correctness is a pain in the you-know-where. And, I can tell you, we get lied to a great deal. Some of the crap that the media, the politicos, and the business folks try to make us believe is actually so blatantly untruthful that it’s funny.

There was a time in my life when I trusted the media. Walter Winchell told it like it was over the radio. Of course, while he was doing that, Franklin Roosevelt was having his “fireside chats” and lying through his teeth about a lot of things. Don’t get me wrong, I think that President Roosevelt did a lot of good stuff, like pulling us out of the terrible depression that Hoover and his cronies got us into. Sort of reminds me of today, though I don’t know that Obama’s got the brass or the people behind him with guts enough to make it happen twice. Sort of getting off the track here, but anyway, during WWII, we had Ed Murrow broadcasting from London and you could take what he said to the bank. John Cameron Swayze was a pretty good newsman, but the one man we Americans knew we could trust to tell it to us straight was Walter Cronkite. He was – watch out, here comes one of my big words – the epitome of a newsman. He not only reported the news, he lived it. He went where newsies weren’t supposed to go and he got the real story. He told us we had no place in Viet Nam and he was right. He cried when Jack Kennedy was killed; newsies aren’t supposed to do that, but Walter did because he was human. He couldn’t even talk when Neil Armstrong put a foot down on the moon. He was real, not like most of these talking heads today who have their own agendas or who are working for the Democrats or Republicans.

That folks, is why Uncle Buck is here. I don’t have much education. Graduated from high school and went straight to work in a warehouse where I worked until I retired last year. They did make me a supervisor and yep, I eventually got to own a few warehouses of my own, but I don’t pretend to be a big deal. My motto was always “A fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.” When my folks found themselves in trouble, I didn’t help ’em out, we helped each other. We worked together, and that was important. But hell, you don’t want to hear all that.

Anyway – hey, that’s the name of the first column – anyway, from time to time, I’m gonna be showing up here with some things to say. You don’t like ’em, that’s your problem, not mine. You like ’em, good; glad we could agree on something. I really don’t know how often I’ll be writing, but Dick wants me to follow his format so I guess that’ll have to do. I’ll be writing to you soon.

Uncle Buck Hartnett

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