Saturday, August 11

The value of newspapers

 The value of a free (no government control or censorship) press is to individuals as it is to society as a whole. In August I shared a healthy exchange of views with another writer and the readers of the Letters to the Editor of The Post and Courier (Charleston, SC).

This letter started the exchange:

(Published August 3, 2018)

Trade War
  Farmers helped elect Donald Trump to be president, As president, Mr. Trump initiated a trade war that hurt farmers. Now, he is spending $12 billion taken from taxpayers to help the farmers.
  Exactly which drawer in the lunacy bin should this be filed under?

  Francis x. Archibald
  Central Haven Drive
  Mt. Pleasant, SC

Another reader/writer chimed in:

(Published August 7, 2018)

Making Deals

 In response to the article in the Aug. 3 paper titled "Trade war," how about filing it under the luxury bin next to the move by President Barack Obama to send two planeloads of cash to Iran for the release of one Army deserter.
  President Donald Trump, however, was able to get three men released from North Korea without spending a dime. Who was the smart one in these deals?

Perry Jones
Pimmit Place

I countered with this:

(Published August 10, 2018)  

  The claim in the Aug. 7 letter to the editor, "Making Deals," that President Obama sent planeloads of cash to Iran for one Army deserter is inaccurate.
  CNN reported at the time (January 2016) that five men were released, including an American journalist in a prisoner swap. The money coincidentally sent to Iran was theirs and had been held by the United States since the Reagan administration.
  It was publicly announced in the United States and only became part of anti-Obama conspiracy theories six months later when Iranians started the rumor. This was covered by fact checker

Francis X. Archibald
Central Haven Drive
Mount Pleasant

Wednesday, August 1

Random Things

After dressing I came out of the bedroom and into the living room and thence to the kitchen where I heard a hard loud noise. I thought the refrigerator was coming apart and then I thought it was the air conditioning.  After checking each of these I was baffled for a few moments until I remembered I had started the dishwasher before I went into the bedroom to put on my clothes, and a couple of pots were being banged around

On the second day of the Paul Manafort trial in Virginia, The Washington Post reported: “President Trump’s former campaign chairman spent more than a million dollars on suits and luxury clothes over a five year period, using foreign bank accounts to pay for cars, renovations, and real estate in what prosecutors say was a tax-dodging scheme.” Manafort is said to have bought a $15,000 Ostrich jacket. I feel embarrassed for being a cheapskate. A couple of weeks ago I would not pay $175.00 for an end of the season seersucker jacket.

Via Amazon Prime, I am watching NYPD Blue the gritty cop show set in the fictional 15th precinct which kept viewers coming back week after week during its twelve-year run (1993 to 2005). Each season had 21 or 22 weekly shows. Surprisingly these shows, unlike many others of the same period, retain a contemporary appeal. Each week’s offering could be taken right out of today’s daily news. I am into year three. These shows were (are) much better than what is on TV today, and won Dennis Franz, four Emmys. 

Saturday, July 14

Baseball and the Shift

This week one of my sons alerted me to a sports agent for Bryce Harper, who is having a dismal year at the plate for the Washington Nationals, saying: Bryce’s poor batting record reflects “discriminatory shifts.” In short, he is discriminated against by opposing defensive players employing an effective strategy. 

This brought back memories of my youth when I was about 14 or 15 and listened to the Red Sox games on the radio. There was no television in 1946, or at least we did not have one.  

Today, July 14, is the 72nd anniversary of the Lou Boudreau “Ted Williams Shift." Boudreau was the shortstop and manager for the Cleveland Indians. In the second game of a doubleheader, he was playing the percentages against Williams, an extreme pull hitter.

Boudreau rolled out an infield player shift that packed all four infielders between first and second base. The announcers and Red Sox fans were astonished at this deployment but it worked in that game. Williams went 1-for-2 with a double and a pair of walks. It is estimated that the shift, later also used by other teams, took 15 points off Ted’s lifetime batting average: .344 BA (8th).

Ted was the proudest hitter in baseball and would not modify his swing to hit to left field. (He did not play golf because a golf swing is different from baseball and he felt it might adversely affect his baseball swing.)

Incidentally, in the first game of the July 14, 1946, doubleheader, Ted hit three home runs and drove in eight runs for a Boston 11 to 10 victory.  Ted was in his first season back after military service in World War II.

Young Mr.Harper could not do much better than take a lesson from Ted Williams. 

Wednesday, May 30

A man and his hat

I recently had a “laughable moment.”  I withdrew $200 (ten new, unused $20 bills) from a drive-up ATM and because others were behind me in the line I tossed the cash into my big floppy summer hat laying on the seat beside me and drove away. As I got out of the car in my garage I put the hat on my head and walked to my apartment. 
The hat!

When I took the hat off, the money spilled onto the floor. I picked it up and counted it. It was only $180. I looked around and didn’t find the missing $20. I thought I must have dropped it in my garage and would find it there later. I did a couple of housekeeping chores and then laid out in my recliner to rest. I dozed for about an hour and when I awoke and rubbed my eyes I realized something was on my head. I reached up and found the missing 20 dollar bill stuck to my hairless head. 
The hairless head! 

Tuesday, May 15

'The place to be"

Two weeks ago I wrote a Letter to the Editor, The Post & Courier, Charleston, SC, to pay public homage for recent medical care.  On May 15th an abridged version of the letter (below) was published. 

April 26 and 27 I spent two of the worst days of my 86 years at Roper Hospital on Calhoun Street undergoing spinal surgery.
The service I received was caring, compassionate and thoroughly competent, starting with the nurse who prepped me for surgery and the anesthesiologist and the surgeon who came by before the procedure.
In the operating room these doctors led by Dr. James K. Aymond and their outstanding staff went to work on me for about 2 1/2 hours. Afterward I went into recovery, and about an hour later was wheeled by a volunteer to a room where I would spend the next two days. The service was for the most part outstanding, led by the wonderful, caring and patient day nurse Anne Wirth.
Two days after the surgery, I came home in the company of my oldest son, Frank. During the travail all of my five children were on hand. Every parent should be blessed with such caring children.
I learned again that when you need medical services Roper St. Francis is the place to go.

Tuesday, April 17

Salute to Matthew - Our Family Airman

I hosted a pizza party on Monday, April 16, 2018, in the common room at my apartment house in Mt.Pleasant for family and a couple of guests to honor my grandson, Airman First Class Matthew Godbold, USAF, son of my daughter Wynn and her husband Rett. Matthew is home in Myrtle Beach on leave from his service on Okinawa. This is his first home leave in about 18 months.

Matthew continues a family tradition of USAF service. I was in the Air Force (1951-1959); his grandmother (my late wife) served from 1951 to 1954 and his uncle James served four years in the 1970s. 

(Somewhere along the line my oldest son Frank, and two of my brothers went astray and were United States Marines.)

As usually happens, everyone was snapping pictures and I was no exception. Here are some snapshots from the happy event (some pictures have been removed from the original post at the request of the participants.)

 Matthew laughs at something his smiling Uncle Frank just said. 

Friday, April 13

Clean up! - The maid is coming

Clean Up! - The maid is coming

I have heard it in movies and on TV sitcoms and thought why? Yet, this very week I found myself thinking the same line; (not uttering it out loud lest I be guilty of talking to myself, a sign of  dementia,) “I have to clean up, the maid is coming.”

I emptied wastebaskets in the bathroom, bedroom, and den. I put dishes in the dishwasher and organized the napkins on top of the table. Some clean pots and pans on the stove went into a nearby cabinet. I put a three or four day trove of newspapers into a paper bag and later took the bag to the trash dumpster. I took bath and hand towels and a face cloth and put them in the clothes hamper to be washed later. I picked up slippers and shoes and organized them in a closet. I adjusted the window blinds in the open position and straightened up the bed covers. Then satisfied that all was satisfactory I left my apartment, locked the door, posted a note to the maid that the key was in the rental office and went out to face the day.

Why do people always clean up for the maid? Why did I do it? Isn’t this her job?

My first wife and I were married 56 years and we had five children. I had a government job and there was no money for a maid. After her death I re-married and my second wife didn't want a maid “because it is easier to do it myself.” When she died I hired a maid who came every two weeks.

Then I moved and rented an apartment and my cost of living went up. Initially, I cleaned the apartment myself, including vacuuming carpet and washing wood floors. Then I tired of it and hired a maid service. 

So now on the first Friday of each month, I find myself uttering, “I have to clean up the maid is coming.”