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Eye doctors in picture may appear shorter than they actually are!

Eye doctors in picture may appear shorter than they actually are!

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Today I paid final respects to a man who was very prominent in my formative years.

We all have had teachers like that when we were growing up.  These people touched our lives in ways that we cannot always express.  They are indeed, a part of us deep down inside, and death can never take that away.

Darwin H. Bistline was the director of the marching band when I was in high school.  Under his direction, the AAHS marching band won first place awards in 15 of his sixteen years at the helm.   He retired in 1982, the year I graduated.

They had several video montages for guests to watch, featuring marching bands from the late sixties, the seventies, and even a few pictures from my high school years in the early eighties.  They brought back many memories–band camps in the heat of summer, cold parades in November, and band trips in the spring.  Back in the day, the high school band was a fixture in the community and brought a sense of pride to the hometown.  Schools actually provided uniforms and weren’t cutting music programs from the budget to make ends meet.

Darwin H. Bistline

Those were the days my friend
We thought they’d never end
We’d sing and dance forever and a day
We’d lead the life we choose
We’d fight and never lose
We were young and sure to have our way

I guess its true.  You can’t go back.  You can never go back.

I thought I would meet more people I knew at the funeral home, but alas, I was alone except for my memories.  Nearly thirty years separates me from that time in my life and many of the people in our band are spread across the country.

One montage showed countless pictures of Darwin and his family.  Sometimes, as students in school, we forget that our teachers have lives just like the rest of us.  I saw him as a young director and you could see the fire in his eyes.  He was a demanding perfectionist when I knew him in the twilight of his career, but there was another man I never knew who preceded that one.

At one point, I even considered a career in music–to become a band director–because of the influence this man had in my life at that time.  In college, I joined the marching band and even designed one of our half-time shows.  But I didn’t have the musical skill or ear and my interests were drawn elsewhere.  I can’t even carry a tune in a suitcase.

Mr. Bistline taught his students discipline and a strong work ethic.  Do it with spirit, tradition and pride.  That was his slogan.  STP.

The 1982 AAHS Marching Band!

I still get chills when I hear his–our–signature march, Barnum & Bailey’s Favorite.  To this day, I occasionally throw some march music into the CD player and I know my appreciation for this music came from him.

The leader of the band is tired
and his eyes are growing old
But his blood runs through my instrument
and his song is in my soul
My life has been a poor attempt
to imitate the man
I’m just the living legacy
to the leader of the band.

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Funny word.  Haboob.  Sounds anatomical.

Got Milk?  I got Haboob.  Or two.  That’s better.

But actually, a haboob is a type of desert storm.

And I survived the desert storm.

We were visiting friends in Phoenix, and two days before we were scheduled to leave, we met the haboob head on.  We had just returned to the house from dinner and looked up into the sky to see this:

It's coming fast . . .

It was just like those movies in the desert where a wall of sand is crashing down upon you like some huge, dirty tidal wave.  Well, that’s just what it looked like to us.  I’m glad we didn’t get caught driving in that!

It was the worst sand storm our Phoenix friends (who took the pictures) had seen since they moved there several years ago.

What's that in your eye? Could be dust!

It got to the point where you couldn’t see the houses across the street.  The wind howled through the roof vents.  The pool in the backyard looked like some muddy swamp in a horror movie.  But it passed quickly, which I suppose happens when the winds are traveling 60 mph.  It left everything dirty in its wake, despite a small amount of rainfall that followed it.  We saw one plane flying across the front of it.  We didn’t hear about any crashes so I assume they made it through the storm okay.

We survived the haboob!  Bring on the habeer!

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Udderly Ridiculous

How do you even categorize news like this?  A sign of the apocolypse?  Stupid Human Tricks?

In case this tantalizing tidbit of technological transcendence has eluded your perusal, I am talking about the announcement that scientists have genetically modified COWS to produce HUMAN MILK, as you can read about in this article by Richard Gray, Science Correspondent.

The milk tastes stronger than normal milk.

Really?  I don’t remember.

Seriously, they have created around 300 of these animals to produce human breast milk.  Isn’t science wonderful?  Always pushing the envelope, breaking down barriers, answering unanswerable questions.

Like WHY?

They hope genetically modified dairy products from herds of similar cows could be sold in supermarkets.

Well there’s the answer:  MONEY.

But just who is the target consumer?  Babies?  Most don’t have disposable income; just disposable diapers.  What kind of mother is going to buy this, this, this . . . . MILK, and feed it to her baby?  What baby is going to choose to feed itself this way?

China is now leading the way in research on genetically modified food and the rules on the technology are more relaxed than those in place in Europe.

That makes me feel better.  With quality like that we can expect the milk to be high in formaldehyde, arsenic, and lead and as well.

“The modified bovine milk is a possible substitute for human milk. It fulfilled the conception of humanising the bovine milk.”

There are horror movies with weaker plots than this.

The researchers also insist having antimicrobial proteins in the cows milk can also be good for the animals by helping to reduce infections of their udders.

I am going to assume that this is a big problem for cows, probably right up there with mad cow disease.  Angry Udder Discharge.

Offspring of cloned animals often suffer health and welfare problems, so this would be a grave concern.

Health and welfare problems?  Loss of  insurance?  Will these cows  have to find jobs instead of getting their monthly checks?

Regardless of the ethical issues, I think it is quite clear that these genes still make the cows look fat.

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My day got off to a bad start when I checked my email this morning.  My credit card company had sent me a notification that a large purchase had been applied to my account.  Fortunately, I had instructed them to do so for purchases over $300.

Unfortunately, I did not recognize the company.  I called my wife, and likewise she had no idea what the charge could be.  But there it was:  $541.44.

So I went to the website that was associated with the charge.  They sold toys.  I have children, but my youngest is now 12.  I didn’t see anything on the site that would interest them.

So I called the 800-number and questioned the purchase.  Apparently, I wanted over $500 worth of . . . wait for it . . . legos and I had moved from Pennsylvania to Tennessee.  This little treasure trove of plastic building blocks had been ordered on-line and an email address with my name in it had been used.  It was not my email.  They had my home address, but the items were to be shipped to some place in Tennessee.

The lady on the phone was very nice and I think I caught the issue before the order was actually shipped, as she said they would stop the order.  I still had to call my credit card company and naturally they are going to close the account and issue me new cards. 

There was also a charge on the same day for Itunes for $1.00 and for Yahoo Mail for $19.00.  I do not use Yahooo mail, but my wife has a free yahoo address.  I did just make a couple of purchases from Itunes, and I thought it interesting that they requested my credit card number again–and didn’t download the song I requested.  I clicked to download it again, and the second time it worked without requesting my card number.  I’m pretty sure that is when the security breach occurred.  But how they infiltrated iTunes I do not know?

I am sure of it  now that I googled “iTunes credit card fraud.”  Among the top links was a messageboard with posters lamenting security issues with their iTunes account.  Another story described the $1.00 “test” charge like the one applied to my account. I actually purchased more than $1.00 worth of tunes and that purchase hasn’t been applied to my account yet.  Now it won’t thanks to this theft and the company closing that account number.

But there is a much more significant issue here.  What is wrong with criminals these days?  $541 worth of . . . LEGOS????  Seriously?  Did they buy the Death Star?  You go to all that trouble to steal someone’s credit info and you buy . . . plastic bricks?  I’m offended.  Isn’t my card good enough for an HDTV?  Or a 3-D TV?  Have I been scammed by a six year old???  Good God, if you’re going to risk going to jail, why not buy some jewelry.  Apparently our edumacational sistem has faled these yuths.

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