Monday, September 29, 2008

It's Official.

I am now old. I am a card-carrying member of AARP. Now I can become a crotchety old man. Hey you kids, get off my lawn. (But you don't have a lawn.) Shut up. I can holler if I want to. All you young whippersnappers better shape up or else.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Beware This Man.

Yes you must be afraid of this man. Don't ever let him turn your back on you. Why? He was charged with battery on a police officer. His weapon? His gastro-intestinal tract. That's right. He farted on a police officer. On September 23 this gentleman, Jose Cruz, was driving in West Charleston, West Virginia with his lights off. He was stopped and failed a field sobriety test, at which time he was arrested. While in custody he allegedly hiked his leg and let fly, then to make matters worse he allegedly fanned it. You can read the arrest report here. Now I realize to call a fart battery is stretching the imagination. If that is battery people are being assaulted daily. Saner heads have since prevailed, as you can read here. The battery charge as well as an obstruction charge have been dropped. the DUI charge remains as well it should. I wonder how many times the arresting officer has been compared to Barney Fife? Since he finds farts so offensive, I hope that officer never sees Blazing Saddles. The campfire scene might kill him.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Under The Counter.

If you go into a Lifeway Christian Bookstore and want to buy the magazine you see here, you will have to ask for it. It will be found under the counter, not out on display. Why? Because Lifeway is owned by the Southern Baptist Convention. They do not believe in women pastors and evidently think that their membership will be contaminated by simply reading an article about them. I want to point out here I am not condemning the SBC for their beliefs. I don't agree with it, but we have freedom of choice when it comes to our beliefs. To me this is more of a censorship issue than anything else. There also is some hypocrisy involved. We won't display the magazine, but we will take your money if you want to buy it. Huh? If it offends you that much, don't sell it. No one is forcing them to carry that magazine.

This is one of the problems that I have with organized religion. I believe in God, but sometimes the churches try to tell you how to think. I am not putting down any preachers. I have several friends who are in the ministry. I have been in churches where the problem was not in the denomination, but in the preacher. My wife and I were driven out of a church once because of that. I will go further with that topic later. I do not believe that God wants you follow blindly. If you listen He will talk to you. I have never heard a voice, but I believe God has spoken to me several times. I used to teach Sunday School and would spend 5-6 hours preparing for an hours lesson. More than once while teaching some good point presented itself. I hadn't seen it before, and I took it as a point God wanted made to someone listening. A couple of times after the class I was told how much that point meant to someone. People should be following God. He is much bigger than a magazine article. There are much more urgent things that the SBC should be worrying about. For another take on this read what my friend Mike Parnell has to say about it. Mike is a Baptist minister, but is not affiliated with the SBC.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

My High Five

My friend Jeff posted in his blog about 5 questions that are making their way into blogs. I like the questions so here are my answers.

1. Where was I 10 years ago?

I was receiving manager at K-Mart. My wife had started studying for her GED, which she would get the next year.

2. What was on my to do list today?

Today is my day off at Wal-Mart. I plan on watching a DVD, sort some baseball cards, and do some cleaning in my apartment. I do not plan on going anywhere today, which is unusual for me.

3. What would I do if I was a billionaire?

I would make sure I had enough money invested that I could live off the interest. To occupy my time I would run a collectibles store featuring my 2 hobbies, baseball cards and comic books. I also would start a foundation that would give away a lot of money, but would have a paid staff to make sure that the money given was not going to scam artists.

I have never wanted to be that rich. I would like enough to live comfortably but I enjoy my life as it is.

4. 5 places I have lived.

Mason City, Illinois/Springfield,Illinois/Auburn,Illinois/Hanover Park,Illinois/Calhoun,Georgia.

That also is everywhere I have lived.

5. Bad habits.

I eat poorly and don't exercise enough.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Could It Be?

Theodore Roosevelt was in the final year of his Presidency.
William Howard Taft would be become President-elect by defeating William Jennings Bryan.
For the first time a ball drops in Times Square in New York City to welcome the new year.
Mothers Day is observed for the first time.
The Office Of Chief Examiner is established by the US government. This would be later renamed the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The company that would become General Motors is founded.
Henry Ford makes his first Model T.
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid are allegedly killed in Bolivia.
And on October 14 Orval Overall pitches a 3 hit shut out as the Chicago Cubs defeat the Detroit Tigers 2-0 to win the World Series for the second consecutive year. The Cubs won the series 4 games to 1. The Cubs would appear in the series 7 more times, but 1908 was the last victory. Their final appearance in the series was 1945. Now we look at 2008.
The Cubs have the best record in the National League and the second best in baseball. They have been extremely consistent, except for that losing streak at the start of this month. Is this their year? I am a die-hard fan and will tell you of course it is. They have great hitting and pitching. Their pitchers also are good hitters. I don't know if it is still true but the Cubs number 9 spot had produced better stats than 4 American League teams. No matter what happens, this will be fun.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Take Me Out To The Ball Game.

Today is the last game that will ever be played in Yankee Stadium. There is a very slim chance that they could make the playoffs. All that would need to happen is the Yankees win every one of their games and the Red Sox lose every one of theirs, then there would be a play off. The Yankees are guaranteed a winning season, but considering their payroll more is always expected. How much would you be willing to pay to be there? According to a website called Razorgator, which keeps tabs on the secondary ticket market the average price for this game is $1111 with the highest ticket going for $18,300. The article that I read that is 9 days old. I was going to talk about this sooner, but I have been a little distracted. I am curious if anyone actually bought the seats for that much. You can ask for it, but getting it is totally different.

With Yankee Stadium going away, Fenway Park in Boston and Wrigley Field in Chicago are the oldest ball parks around. The next oldest is RFK Stadium in Washington, DC which was built in 1961. The House That Ruth Built closes tonight. I am not a Yankees fan, but I do like their manager, Joe Girardi. I hope they close it out with a win.

For the last game at Yankee Stadium, what better baseball card to represent the ocassion than the Bambino himself. This card is from Upper Decks' Yankee Stadium Legacy series, which I have posted a few previous examples. this is from Game 909, August 14,1934 in which the Tigers beat the Yankees 7-3.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Collecting Follies.

I am taking a break from my previous posts. I have one more to do but I am going to do it later. The comic book shown here is creating a controversy, and you can read about it here. There are some swear words that did not get totally blacked out and DC recalled the book. Of course copies immediately went on eBay. I just checked. There are 278 copies available, prices ranging from 99 cents to $499.99. The highest bid is currently $192.50. I understand the collector mentality, but this kind of stuff blows my mind. Are people that juvenilish that simply because some swear words are present we will pay almost $200 to own it? I do not have a copy and never will. I like Frank Miller but I have read enough about this series that I don't want to read it. It should come as no surprise that language is present. In issue 1 of this series Miller had Batman tell Robin, "I am the G.D. Batman". I would be amazed if whoever buys this book ever comes close to recovering what they paid for it. The only one who will make a lot of money are the ones who are selling now. My attitude with my collections are they are only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. I don't care what a guide book says. If you hold out for that price you probably won't be making a sale. when I buy off eBay I decide what I am willing to pay for something and if I get outbid whoever bid more can have the item. I refuse to get into a bidding war. If someone is willing to pay $200 for a few blacked out swear words, they must either be an uber-geek or they have more money than sense.

Baseball cards had a similar situation 19 years ago with the Billy Ripken card. There was an obscenity on the knob of his bat. You can read more here. WARNING. If you are offended by obscene words do not click here. There are 19 cards listed on eBay, prices range fron 10 cents to $49.99. There are also 17 in eBay stores, prices running from $1.49 to $$185.00. I have the card. A friend gave me the 1989 factory set for Christmas 2 years ago. Personally I would not pay more than $5.00 for the card. You can read more about this card here.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Final Journey, Part 3.

Obituaries follow the Joe Friday rule, just the facts. This is my Dad's:

MASON CITY - Howard Merlin Bagby Sr., 76 of Mason City died at 1 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 4, 2008, at his residence.

He was born March 31, 1932, the son of John and Myrtie (Patterson) Bagby in Mason City. He married Doris Patterson on Oct. 1, 1955, in Mason City; she survives.

Also surviving are three sons, Howard Bagby of Calhoun, Ga., Steve Bagby of Mason City and Joe (Alisa) Bagby of Sheridan, Ind.; five grandchildren; a great-grandson; a brother, Norman Bagby of Williamsville; and two sisters, Betty Sparks of Mason City and Dixie Bergman of Lincoln.

He was preceded in death by two brothers and five sisters.

Services will be at 1 p.m. Monday, Sept. 8, 2008, at Hurley Funeral Home in Mason City. Burial will be in Big Grove Cemetery. The Rev. Curt McCallister will officiate.

Visitation will be on Sunday, Sept. 7, 2008, from 6 to 8 p.m.

Memorial contributions may be left to Big Grove Cemetery or Leases Grove Cemetery. Hurley Funeral Home in Mason City is in charge of arrangements.

You can only say so much in one. I don't know what each newspaper charges, but based on the Springfield paper, it can be very expensive. When my wife died 8 years ago it cost me $30. To pay for Dad's the cost was 15 cents per character.

Dad grew up in a large family. There were 11 children, but 2 died in infancy. He was the youngest boy. Dad dropped out of school after 8th grade to help work on the family farm. When he was 18 he enlisted in the Marine Corps. Until recently he never talked much about his experiences there. He served in Korea and saw combat there. Through battlefield promotions he made the rank of Staff Sargent. When he returned to the states he had to take a test to retain the rank, which he passed. He told me there was some resentment from some of the other Staff Sargents because of his age but that didn't bother him. What did bother him was the fact that because he did not have a high school diploma he could not become an officer. Had he reenlisted he would have been assigned to the marine base in Quantico,Virginia where he would have trained officers in the use of weapons. He was not good enough to be one, but he could train one. That bothered him and when his time was up he returned home. He had told his family he was never going to get married, then he met Mom.

Mom was a friend of one of his sisters and was in her class. They married on October 1, 1955. They bought a house and 8 acres of land, and still live on that property today. A new house was built in 1974. When they got married Dad worked at Corn Products, where he loaded bags of seed onto railroad cars. He got a job closer to home at what was then called Fabers, but is now called National By Products. It is a rendering plant. In case you don't know what that is, it is a place that takes meat scraps, dead animals, and old grease and converts them into tallow, which has many uses. On a hot summer day it gives off a unique odor. He also farmed and raised hogs. Eventually he left that job and farmed full time.

In 1984, at the age of 52, Dad got his GED. He applied at the Postal Service and got a job in Beardstown, Illinois. He worked there until he retired. His health was bad for many years. He had a weak heart and was diabetic. He had prostate cancer, but beat that. He was a fighter up to the end.

Dad always said when I was younger that he was going to build a cabin in some woods that we owned and just stay there after retirement. He couldn't have done that because he loved talking to people too much. When my youngest brother started school Mom went to work for the State of Illinois. Dad took over the cooking since he farmed and especially in the winter had more time. Cooking became one of his passions. After retirement he would cook things and take them to friends and neighbors. He really enjoyed doing that.

There were many lessons Dad taught us in life. My brother covered much of it in his prayer and I think he said it well enough that I am not going to rehash what he said. Dad was not a perfect man, but none of us are. In the end he gave us a great legacy. I owe my work ethic to him. You see so many people today just going through the motions and not wanting to put forth any effort. I was taught no matter what your job is, do it to the best of your ability. If you can help someone, do it. Laughter is a great thing. Dad kept his sense of humor up to the end.

It is hard to believe he is gone, but that is the fate that awaits us all. Before he died, Dad told me he had lived a good life and was ready to go. I am glad I made the decision to take an extra week off and got to spend that time with him. Good bye Dad. I love you.

It is ironic that I am posting this today. Today would have been my 30th wedding anniversary. Life goes on. You can bury yourself in grief, or pick yourself up and go on. I chose that path 8 years ago and I plan on living my life to the fullest. There are set backs along the way but every time you get knocked down just get up, count your blessings, and go forward. Anytime I mention this I am not asking for sympathy. I just like making people aware there are no guarantees in life so let those you care about know how you feel. You may never get another chance to let them know.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Final Journey, Part 2.

I have had a hard time writing this. I know what I want to say, but the words just aren't flowing like I want them to. I am going to ad 2 more parts to this. This one will cover the funeral, the next will be random thoughts about the last month, and the final will be my version of Dad's obituary.

I arrived in Illinois in time to join my Mom and brothers to go to the funeral home to plan the funeral. We took Dad's clothes in with us. Dad would not have looked right in a suit so we took a pair of bib overalls and a shirt for him. The bibs had pinstripes and Dad always said they were his formal bibs. One request he had made was he wanted a plain pine coffin. He had read that is what Billy Graham was buried in and he liked it. It was not easy getting one, but they managed to find one.

After we went back home I went and took a nap. I had only had 3 hours sleep before I left Georgia. While I was laying down my lady friend, Vickie, called. My nephew answered the phone and did not know who she was. She told him she was Howard's girlfriend. I am Howard,Jr and everyone there calls me Howie. I was told he did not know what to do, but he did not want to give Mom the phone. He thought Dad had a girlfriend that no one knew about. Mom finally got the phone and then he realized who was calling.

The visitation was on Sunday night. We went to the funeral home around noon and had our private viewing. I was amazed how many people came to the visitation. We had a continuous line for almost 2 hours. I saw a lot of people that I had not seen in about 30 years. Living 600 miles away I don't see many people other than family and a few friends when I return.

The funeral was held on Monday. It had rained a little and the day was overcast, but the rain held off. The funeral was very nice. Dad's favorite song was Beautiful Dreamer and my Uncle Wayne, Mom's brother lead everyone in singing it. My brother Steve said a prayer. He did very well with it. If I had tried to speak I couldn't have done it. I asked for a copy of his prayer and permission to put it here. He had to write me another one, because the original he put in Dad's pocket. His prayer was:

Father it is with heavy hearts that we come to you today thanking you.
Father we thank you for the life you gave Dad.
Father we thank you for the many things you taught us through Dad,
Through the way he lived his life.
You taught us love and commitment, family first.
How to help out and how to give.
How to be gentle and caring.
How to fight for our country.
How to work hard.
And you taught us to laugh
And to never give up.
Father we thank you for the past few weeks that you gave us with Dad.
Thank you for allowing us to laugh
And allowing us to cry.
Thank you for this special time we had together.
Father thank you for the promise that life does not end here on earth
But it is just the beginning of a life spent with you.
Thank you for Jesus, our Lord and Savior, that he died so we may live.
Thank you for our life here and the promise of life here after.
In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Burial was in a cemetery about a mile from our house. It is an older cemetery and not real big. Mom and Dad had worked at cleaning it up and repairing stones there. Dad was also a member of the board, which he was very proud of. Since he was a Korean War veteran, an honor guard was there. The don't fire a salute any more, but Taps was played. Then after we left, Dad was laid to rest.

The picture here is from the funeral card we selected. The verse inside is a paraphrasing of Ecclesiastes 3:
For everything there is an appointed season,
and a time for everything under heaven.
A time for sharing, a time for caring,
A time for loving, a time for giving,
A time for remembering,
A time for parting.
You have made
Everything beautiful in its time.
For everything you do remains forever.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


I am finding it hard to post lately. It must be writers block. Hopefully Tuesday I will continue. Tomorrow is my crazy day working both jobs.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Final Journey, Part 1.

Shortly after I made the previous entry I called my mother and was told that Dad was getting worse. I went to Wal-Mart and arranged another week off. I tried to get some sleep and got woke up by a "wonderful" telemarketer. I decided to surf the internet for a few minutes and then go back to bed. Right after I started I got a call from my brother telling me Dad had passed away at 1:00 PM. It was about 5:00 when he called. I decided to go ahead and leave even though I had had about 3 hours sleep. I wouldn't have gone back to bed anyway. This part I am going to talk about about the first trip and the next I will talk about the second.

It was hard seeing Dad as weak as he was. He had always seemed so strong and like most kids I thought he could do anything. Now even breathing was a struggle. After I saw him in the hospital I was very glad I had gone. He was asleep when I got there and didn't wake up immediately. When he did he told me he was glad I had come. I had been told all that they could do had been done. They tried shocking his heart and that worked, although we knew it was only a temporary solution. He had 20 pounds of extra fluid and he got rid of half of it after his heart started working better. On Monday they allowed him to go home and it was arranged that he would get hospice care. They also brought out an oxygen unit to help him breathe easier.

I had planned on being there for Labor Day because the Bagby family always gets together then. The picture I have here is something that Dad built. It is on the east side of our property. It started out as a pavilion and it ended up being much more. It makes for a great place to gather. Later I will post some pictures that I have from the interior. Dad wanted us to go ahead and have it. He was going to stay in the house and people would come in to see him. We had a good time, but we have lost several in the family in the last few years and Mom said it seemed a little emptier than past get togethers. The next day Dad seemed a little better, but in the afternoon I went and brought his brother so he could visit with Dad, but Dad slept through most of it. That night a lady came out and played the harp for him. She had called earlier and asked Mom if she could come. She said she does that for hospice patients. I had to leave the next morning. My vacation time was up and I had to go. I figured then I would soon be back, but I didn't realize how soon.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Final Curtain.

"And now, the end is near;
And so I face the final curtain."
Paul Anka.

I wasn't sure if I wanted to write about this but I think it will help. My Dad's health has been bad for over 10 years. He has congestive heart failure, diabetes, recently broke his hip, has a pacemaker, has beaten prostate cancer, and is 76 years old. During his most recent hospital stay he was told by his doctor that nothing more can be done. I was told that on August 21, just before I left for work. I did not get as much done as I usually do, and decided I needed to go there. I had planned on going there for my vacation, so I took an extra 4 days off and went there. It is a 12 hour drive from here. They got him well enough to go home and arrangements were made with hospice care so he could stay home.

The time passed all too fast and I had to come back to be at work tonight. I am now waiting for that phone call that I don't want to get but I know is coming. Dad told me he has had a good life and when God is ready for him he is ready to go. I will talk more about this later. I have been writing some things on paper but I am not yet ready to post them. I feel blessed that I am 51 years old and still have both my parents, for a little while longer anyway.

The picture I have here is me and my Dad in Kentucky in 2001. My Dad's parents moved from there to Illinois.