Saturday, December 30, 2006

Hard to believe it has been a week already

I looked at my blog earlier today and saw that I have not written an entry since last Friday. Lately, my work schedule has kept me busy, the holidays have been in full swing, and I have been fairly silent on some issues about which I could write.

I have been reading about different news items and can comment, but for some reason, I have not been so inclined. I have spent more time thinking about my column for topics for writing. I also constantly am thinking about writing my novel that has been in my head for a while. In addition to that, I have been wanting to write a theological book. I have started with notes and a direction in the past, but put it on hold. I think that the direction will change, if I am going to write anything.

Christmas was quiet around here. I like it that way. Last Saturday, we went to Greensboro for a family lunch gathering. It was good to see most of the people that were there. All were on Teresa's side of the family, since I don't have any of my family down this way.

There were two notable exceptions to the joyous occasion. Teresa's grandmother is the most henpecking woman I have ever seen in my life. She has absolutely beaten down her husband over the 50+ years of their marriage. She nags him incessantly and treats him like whale dung. I love old Joseph Woodie. We get along well, and I have a great deal of respect for him. I have no earthly idea, however, how he has tolerated that woman all these years.

Another exception is Teresa's father. James Brown may have died recently, but another man by the same name is alive, and was there this last weekend. He did nothing but sit and stare at Teresa. He would not say a single word to me the entire time. No hello, no goodbye. He ignored me entirely. Maybe that is for the best. He has pretty much alienated everyone else in the family with his behavior and attitude, anyway. What a miserable life. Teresa was not comfortable with the staring. If he tries anything like he did in years past, he will join the other James Brown.

Saddam Houssein is dead. Good. As you may have seen, I found and embedded the video on this blog. I have already seen search hits on my blog since I have put it here. I wish that we executed criminals that quickly in this country. Good riddance. I hate the idea that he is probably in Hell, but he lived a life full of evil. He has rejected the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as well as Abraham's seed, Jesus the Christ. Allah is not the same god (small g) as the God (big g) of Abraham.

Big surprise in this report...the Town of Selma has been suffering from poor accounting practices. Here is a paragraph from The Smithfield Herald.

An audit of the town's 2005-06 finances found improperly reconciled bank statements, unrecorded cash receipts and disbursements, and a lack of checks and balances among town officials with access to public money, said accountant Keith Joyce.

I wish that there was more oversight on such things in the town budget, accounting, and spending in the past. I had no control over that at all. I wish I did. It is good that the mayor and some council members seem to want to continue to work to change all of that. It has been a long year for the town in that regard. I wish that I could have done more to help in all of that, but hey, I lost the election.

I am a bit disappointed that such news items are almost never updated on The Selma News web site. If it was, I would link you there. I know what it is like to try to keep a web site or two updated. I have the same issues myself. I have to totally redo in a bit, since the holidays are about over. With the work pace lately, I have not done much with it.

Gerald Ford died. I watched part of the state funeral this evening. I really don't remember much about Ford's administration. I was born in 1968. Ford was President from 1974-1977. I was only six years old or so when he took office. I don't remember much about Watergate and Nixon at all. That is what I enjoyed about reading behing G. Gordon Liddy and listening to his radio show. I loved it when he talked about his days in the Nixon Whitehouse. I don't remember any of that time period, although I was alive then. I am the same way about watching documentaries about Barry Goldwater.

My earliest memory of any sort of Presidential or national politics was the election between Ford and Jimmy Carter. I remember that elementary school students like myself in the second grade cast ballots for President. We were young and stupid. How would we know who to vote for? I distinctly remember how some of us children decided how to mark our little ballots. We asked each other, "Hey, who are you gonna vote for?" The reply was, "I think Jimmy Carter. Gerald Ford has already had a chance. Let's give someone else a turn, too." Thinking like that is extremely immature, which is what you would expect from a six or seven year old. Unfortunately, many adults are just as informed as voters.

I believe that Teresa and I are going to start with a one year Bible study. If any of you want to check it out, it starts January 1 and continues all year long. Here is a link to the site where you can find out more. There is a weekly or bi-weekly email with the daily readings. The one I just got today starts for January 1 and covers the first 10 days.

Undedited video of Saddam's hanging

It isn't a great quality video, but there was more footage from different cameras than just what ended up on the major media outlets. Here is one that is online.

Friday, December 22, 2006

It is hard to believe they actually sang along

I saw this bit on TV. I am amazed that Cohen actually got rednecks to sing along with an anti-Semitic song. That makes it kind of funny, even if I do despise anti-Semitic attitudes. By the way, Cohen (Borat) is Jewish.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

A saint has gone to be with the Lord

I remember when I was working at WBZB over a decade or so ago right here in Selma. We played a weekly program of some music that I considered to be "hick". I was never into Southern Gospel or country music a whole lot. We aired a program by a lady named Ginny Wicker. She came by once a week with a new tape for broadcast.

I always thought that she was a very sweet old lady. I never knew just how old she was, but now that I see her obituary, she must have been around 74 or so. I was never much for her music, since it did not fit my personal taste. Hopefully, she did reach some people with her message, though. Like I said, she was a sweet lady and I am sure that the Lord delights himself with her passing on to be with Him.

From the WMPM web site:

Ginny Wicker, 84, Local Country And Gospel Singer - Local country and gospel music fans have lost a member of their family. Ginny Wicker of Kenly died Wednesday at the age of 84. Ginny began singing at the age of three and began making appearances on stage and radio at 11. For years she was featured in The Ginny Wicker Home Folks Show where she performed many off her own original songs. She was a regular at church and community functions as well as the Folk Festival at the NC State Fair. She even appeared as an extra in several movies. Wicker once said, "My country music comes from my imagination, but the gospel songs, well those are real life experiences." Wicker was a member of the Johnston Community College Country Music Showcase Hall of Fame, where she appeared regularly. Her professional associations included membership with the Nashville Songwriters Association and American Federation of Musicians. Wicker was a member of the Kenly United Methodist Church , where she served as a Sunday school teacher, Sunday school superintendent, youth leader, and a member of the church choir. She is survived by her husband, Ralph A. Wicker; daughter and son-in-law, Annette Rains and Victor of Princeton; brother and sister-in-law, H. Milton Wilder and Betty of McLeansville; and one grandson, Marion Victor "Sonny" Rains III, of Wilmington . Funeral services for Virginia “Ginny” Wicker will be held Saturday at 11:00am in the Kenly United Methodist Church . Burial will follow in the Kenly Cemetery .

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

A few funny quotes

Conservative Rocker Ted Nugent on Hunting:

Nugent, an avid hunter, was being interviewed by a French journalist. The journalist asked, "What do you think the last thought is in the mind of a deer right before you shoot it? Is it, Are you my friend?... or is it, Are you the one who killed my brother?"

Nugent replied, "Deer aren't capable of that kind of thinking. All they care about is, What am I going to eat next? Who am I going to screw next? and Can I run fast enough to get away? They are very much like the French."

Policically Correct Katie Couric & The Marine Sniper:

Katie Couric, while interviewing a Marine Sniper, asked, "What do you feel when you shoot a terrorist?" The Marine paused for a moment, shrugged, and replied; "Recoil".

Monday, December 18, 2006

An equal opportunity offender

The last two LaPlante's Rants columns of the year (Dec. 21 and 28) are coming. I am an equal opportunity offender. I don't just pick on liberals. I have plenty of rant material for future use. I am going to make people work a little bit in my column for the 28th, though, in order to get the whole commentary. I hope people end up looking up a few things.

Leave me some feedback.

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Saturday, December 16, 2006

Watching some weirdos

I am sitting in my living room watching a documentary on The Sundance Channel. I have seen similar documentaries before. Here is a description of the movie from the Sundance web site:

It’s no revelation that religion has the power to prompt extreme behavior. Yet among the world’s many bizarre religious rituals, the small group of Pentecostals who handle deadly snakes, drink strychnine, dance with fire and speak in tongues are among the most mysterious. Filmmakers Gabriel Wrye and Michael Mees present four portraits of contemporary Appalachian worshipers who find nothing unusual in these practices, including a brother and sister whose father, a preacher, was fatally bitten by a rattlesnake during a Sunday service.

I don't handle snakes, drink strychnine, or dance with fire. I know there are religious zealots who operate with a twisted notion of scripture. They take things out of context. How anyone can take Mark 16:18 "They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." to mean that one should play with snakes and purposely drink poison is beyond me and just plain stupid. Even Jesus himself made it plain about purposely doing something stupid in dealing with Satan and said in Matthew 4:7 "Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God."

To twist the Bible like this or even allow verses to be taken out of context is just so contrary to the Spirit that I know and have walked with for years . When your father, daughter, and even self get bitten by snakes and then claim it is God's will, that is just plain mockery. If they die because of their own stupidity, it is because of stupidity, not "the will of God".

Some of the bizarre individuals who are "reverends" have a history of child molestation, have married fourteen year old girls, collect rattlesnakes, copperheads, and other poisonous serpents. The possession of these snakes is illegal, they admit. Yet they do it anyway, all in the name of Jesus.

Many people in this documentary sure reinforce the stereotype of Appalachia dwellers.

I am recording it on my DVR for future reference.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

I don't believe in ADHD of ADD

Ever since we first started hearing about Attention Deficit Disorder, I knew it was a crock of manure. It is simply a lack of discipline, not a disorder. It is just a matter of making excuses for bad behavior. Here is the best remedy for ADD kids.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Still, too little too late

Jim Black disgusts me as a public servant. He is a corrupt individual, which made him a very corrupt Speaker of the House for the NC House. Unfortunately, he was re-elected to his seat in the House, even after all the scandals. At least he will not be Speaker again. I hope he ends up in PMITA prison for his crimes.

...and I busted my hind end to get there.....

I made it to the Selma Town Council meeting last night before the start time of 7PM. By 7:30, I left along with most of the people in the room. Here is the story on The Selma News web site.

Selma Council a 'no-show'

The majority of Selma’s Town Council did not show up at Tuesday night’s regular December meeting prompting Mayor Charles Hester to reschedule the meeting for Tuesday, Dec. 19 at 11 a.m.

Only Councilwoman Debbie Johnson and the Mayor were in Council Chambers at 7 p.m.

Mayor Hester called on Rev. Rodney Pearce, pastor of Temple Baptist Church, to open the meeting with prayer.

The Mayor then read an article on the Pledge of Allegiance and led those assembled in the Pledge.
Still, no other Council members had shown up.

A special presentation was made to Parks & Rec employee Jen Black. It was nearly 7:15 p.m. and still no Council.

“Would anyone like to sing Christmas carols?” joked Hester to a large crowd of citizens who had turned out for the meeting.

Hester asked Town Manager Stan Farmer to see if he could reach any of the Council members by phone.

At about 7:25, Hester announced that he was rescheduling the meeting for next Tuesday.

After the meeting that didn’t happen, Hester said that Councilman Gary Jackson had a death in the family. He said he thought Councilman Jeff Weaver was still at work and that he had no idea where Councilwoman Jackie Lacy was.

He said he planned to talk to Council members about their commitment to the meetings.

On the agenda for the meeting was a proposal for several huge tracks the town is giving notice that it plans to annex.

Also on the agenda was the town’s audit report plus a proposal to chance the town’s sewer rate structure.

Town Clerk Fran Davis said, in response to question from Hester, that she could recall in years past that meetings had to be postponed when not enough Council members attended to have a quorum.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Are you a tax payer?

Want to read something that will make you angry as a taxpaying citizen of the USA? Here you go.

Response to the letter to the editor

In one earlier blog entry, I shared the letter to the editor that was printed regarding a column I wrote about town council member Jackie Lacy. Today, I wrote a response letter that will be mailed out. If it happens to be read here first, so be it.


December 11, 2006

Mrs. Yvette Lacy Grantham
308 Fox Ridge
Louisburg, NC 27549-9769

I am writing to you pursuant to your letter to the editor of “The Selma News” that appeared in the December 7th, 2006 edition of the paper. You took exception to my column from way back in October regarding comments made in an open town council meeting by your mother, Jackie.

For the record, I like your mother on a personal level. She and I have never had anything but pleasant words for one another. However, I do believe that comments like the one made by your mother are entirely inappropriate, regardless of who made them.

You were obviously not in attendance at the council meeting in question. I was, as were dozens of others who heard the actual comment. Furthermore, the council meeting was audio taped by the Town Clerk. The recording is public record and available for the public to review. I obtained a copy of the recording, knowing that I would have just such a reaction from a reader as you have shown. I took the EXACT quote from the tape. I also took the exchange between Charles Hester and your mother and put it on the internet so that anyone could hear the comments for themselves.

Mrs. Grantham, Jackie Lacy’s comments were in no way taken out of context. You mentioned the comments that I made on the internet, as well as in my column. Had you actually taken the time to read the comments on my web site, you would have had the opportunity to hear the comments yourself, in their context. Your argument about contextual error are just plain inaccurate.

If you took the time to listen to the audio, you will find that your mother was not provoked into her comment. Again, I was there and I have an actual recording of the meeting, neither of which can be claimed by yourself. I can understand wanting to defend the honor of your mother, but please do not make up excuses for her behavior. She is an adult and can either take responsibility for her actions or not. If she can not, then she does not belong in public office and does not need fallacious excuses from people who were not eye witnesses.

I would appreciate an explanation as to why you believe that your mother is deserving of an apology in this situation. She made an inappropriate and racist comment in an open governmental meeting. A concerned citizen and media figure, such as myself took note of it. Wherein is an apology warranted TO your mother rather than FROM your mother? This idea is beyond my comprehension.

Furthermore, if as you state, she deserves an apology, please explain from whom an apology is due. Certainly you can not mean that she deserves one from me. I am the messenger, not the one who created the message. Should a newspaper apologize for reporting news? Should an opinion columnist apologize for giving an opinion? Factually, I was correct and took great care in making sure that I was correct. Ergo, there should be nothing worthy of an apology. Your mother, on the other hand, has yet to issue any sort of apology for her inappropriate and racist behavior.

Your assertion that your mother may have said something other than what I have quoted is just plain erroneous. Your assertion that someone else would have said the same thing just because Mayor Hester is from an “affluent area” of town is not only speculation, it certainly does not provide a sufficient excuse for inappropriate behavior.

If my mother made such a comment, I would not be making excuses for her. I would rather politely and respectfully rebuke her. If the situation was reversed and it was a Caucasian individual making such comments to a Negro, there would be great outrage over it. I would be included among those so outraged.

Please explain to me why it is fine for a Negro to make a racist comment but it outrageous for a White man to do so. This is an inequity that I find totally hypocritical and deplorable by those in the Negro community who are of such mindset. Making excuses for bad behavior does the Negro race and local community a disservice. It is comments like yours that cause people like me to despise characters such as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. I hope that Jackie would have raised someone with higher standards than those of Misters Sharpton or Jackson.

Please show me where I am wrong in anything I have said and I will apologize immediately. If you do not have the audio I referred to, you can obtain a copy at Selma Town Hall as I did, you can download it off the internet, or I will even make a CD copy for your listening pleasure.

Respectfully Yours,

Troy LaPlante
Author of “LaPlante’s Rants” column in “The Selma News”

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Busy week and A Flock of Seagulls

I just got home from Myrtle Beach. It has been a long week, with most work days being twelve or more hours each. Only one day was closer to nine hours. One of my coworkers is out this week (nay, the rest of the year), so I am covering this half of the state every day. There was a maintenance item that I needed to do in Myrtle Beach. The tech called me twice this past week about an alarm. The trip down is almost four hours. Work time there: ten minutes.

I got to take a walk on the beach before coming home, pick up a few t-shirts (I am running low on shirts. My old ones are just that...old, full of holes, and ratty.) I stopped at a seafood place in Myrtle Beach that I have been to before. I am paying the price for it now. I had to make an emergency pit stop on the way home to visit the porcelain throne, had to do the same as soon as I got home, and am about to hit it again. I may want to avoid that place again. They have three locations in MYB and North Myrtle. I went to a different location today than I went to last time.

I have not even had the time to write my weekly column yet. I need to do it tomorrow, for certain. If you liked last week's column, you will love this week's, too.

Our gas insert pilot light went out suddenly last night. The tank gauge says that it is half full. Maybe it isn't accurate. When I push down the pilot gas light knob, it releases gas and I can light it. When I let it up, the flame goes out. I have never had this before, except on my gas grill when the tank was low. I could not keep the grill lit. I wonder if the pressure is just too low in the tank to keep the pilot lit and the regulator going. I sure wanted that fireplace when I got home. I love a fireplace going in the living room.

Friday, December 08, 2006

From my morning news read

This bit of a story/commentary comes from the Neal Boortz new page. This stuff is getting extremely frustrating. First we allow this invasion to happen. Yes, I agree with calling it an invasion. We allow our economy and the public to be pillaged by looters (yes, looters). Then we are going to pay to allow the pillagers to remove money from our economy? You gotta be kidding me. Since when is the government allowed to get into business, much less that of a monetary transfer agency? There is private industry for that. Not only is it wrong to facilitate the transfer of money out of this nation with US tax dollars, it is even worse to do it at the expense of private industry. Damn liberals!!



The Federal Reserve Bank and its equivalent in Mexico are finalizing an agreement to make it easier to send money back and forth to Mexico. Translation: the U.S. Government is going to make it easier for the 12 million illegal aliens in this country to send money back home.

This is absolutely the reverse of what should be happening. We are enabling and supporting the Mexican invasion by making it easier for the invasion force to transfer money back and forth across our borders.

Can the situation be worse? Why, yes! Thanks for asking!

What's even worse is the fact that the program will be subsidized by taxpayer dollars. So let me get this straight: the American people, who are being victimized by illegal aliens every day, will now pay to make it easier for billions of dollars to be transferred from the United States to Mexico? You got it. This government program is essentially going to replace Western Union and services like it, who hauled in $2 billion in fees out of the $21 billion or so that was sent to Mexico from here in the U.S. Now the taxpayers will presumably be footing the bill for the transfer of looted funds to Mexico.

So there you have it...the ultimate insult. Not only are we paying to put up with millions in illegal alien, we're going to pay to make it easier for them to send their ill-gotten gains home. Should we expect anything less from the politicians in Washington?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Stupid is as stupid does

In October, I wrote in my LaPlante's Rants column about a problem at one Selma Town Council meeting with council member Jackie Lacy. I never really got any feedback about that column...until today. In today's Selma News, there was a letter to the editor responding to my column. Click on the picture of the letter to read it.

I love my mother, but if she made some outrageous racist remark, I would let her know about it and not try to deflect things away from her. To make excuses is just plain stupid. To claim that Jackie Lacy was taken out of context is assinine. It is especially so if you consider the fact that I took a direct quote from her and have the entire meeting on tape. I was present for the exchange about which I wrote. I listened to it several times on tape and put it in a format for internet use. The sound file has been heard by others and there was a room full of people present when the the remarks were made.

That makes the commentary by Jackie Lacy's daughter just plain STUPID.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Searching for Peter Hemmi

As I wrote earlier, I got my K-31 Swiss rifle yesterday. I have been getting used to its operation. The Swiss put a small tag under the butt plate of every rifle with the name of the man to whom the rifle was issued.

I have been spending some time searching the web for clues as to the man's identity. I have located a Dr. Peter Hemmi in Switzerland. I have send a few emails and put a few contact entries on web sites attempting to locate the man.

It looks like the rifle was perhaps issued in 1954, so I figured that it is entirely possible that the man is still alive. If the man I am looking for is the same one I have seen in web searches, I have seen his picture online and the age looks to be about right.

I used a web based language translation service, hoping that it is accurate. The primary language is German, as that is the language I keep finding online for Swiss sites and for Mr. Hemmi.

I hope to hear from him sometime soon. If I do, I will let you know, and maybe even post his picture.