Our great nephew Kassem is being deployed to Iraq soon. Kassem joined the Marines, a choice he had talked to me about several times while still in High School and as long ago as 7 years when we still lived in Utah camping at Starvation lake. I had the four boys with me for a few days and that’s a trip I will never forget. He listened to his parents and tried continuing his education after high school but the pull to his personal desire won out. I think he has the right temperment for the military and is physically tough. It won’t surprise me if he decides to make a long career of it and we should all feel safer that guys like Kassem are out there keeping us that way. He’s never been far from the front of my thoughts and I’m proud of him.

You know that one of my pet peeves is the storm prediction and naming game. Laura. I rest my case. This is maybe a storm that perhaps formed in the center of the Atlantic and is heading for Europe or someplace like that. They are calling it a sub tropical storm but reached into the list of names used, I thought, for tropical storms. Give me a break. I’m not saying I could make a better forecast but I probably could by just picking the average number for the past 100 years. I wonder if our hurricane tracking planes will track this event all the way to London.

Bear update – ran into an old friend yesterday at the Post Office. She lives on the road where the bear supposedly got the pot bellied pig. She told me that she didn’t know about that attack but that her neighbor had lost 2 full sized pigs that were being raised by their grandson for a 4-H show. I figure that’s good news. If the bears can get all that bacon a couple miles away, why would they rummage around my place. I know those places out Buckles road are farmettes with lots of chickens, goats and the like.

Heard a funny one on Fox News Wednesday. The studio was talking about the dire straits and the pending Senate vote on the bailout/rescue. “What does the man on the street in a pivotal swing state think. Our reporter on the ground in Bucks County PA will sample the mood there.”. The intrepid reporter is in a diner where the locals are eating breakfast. He goes up to a table of 4 and asks if they are following the bailout/rescue activity and all four say no. One said he hadn’t heard anything about it. Ok, let’s go to the next table. He got exactly the same response – total disinterest and the folks had no idea what he was even talking about. He told that group that a lot of people were really concerned and they just shrugged and said nobody there was even aware of it. Cracked me up. He couldn’t find anybody in the diner that had a clue about it, let alone being concerned.

I mentioned that Joey was experiencing numbness in his fingers. Turns out that it (peripheral neuropathy) is an anticipated side affect from one of the chemicals used in the ABVD chemo regimen. Normally it’s temporary and goes away as new nerve cells regenerate post treatment. Here’s the interesting part – Turns out the culprit is the “V” – a drug called vincablastine. Believe it or not, it’s derived from the vinca or periwinkle flowers that grow nearly wild here. So he’s getting a blast of vinca juice -maybe vincablastine is latin for a blast of Vinca. I know one interesting thing about Vinca’s. They are quite drought resistant and can handle heat, humidity, or lack thereof with relative impunity. The flowers are quite pretty and when we first moved here I bought a few flats and tried planting them in nicely prepared garden spots. They would bloom for a while and then die off. No success at all. But they started appearing from self seeding in my gravel driveway. I would carefully dig them up and replant them in the well fertilized, well watered, tender loving care section of the yard. Gone in a few days. But they keep sprouting up in places like the cracks in my concrete deck, between rocks on the retaining wall, and by the hundreds in my granite gravel driveway – which by the way is about 6” thick. So Vinca’s are tough, no coddling kind of plants which is maybe why the scientists decided to use them to terrorize cancer cells. Who’d a thunk it. Maybe lantana would be a good one to try.

I have listened to Obama speeches for the past two days and heard something that leaves me scratching my head. Maybe somebody can help me out. He said that he was going to cut capital gains taxes for small businesses. Should I interpret that as saying he simply doesn’t understand small business accounting – small businesses pay income tax on income, not capital gains. I never heard of a small business with capital gains unless they occur when the business is sold or closed down. Or should I interpret it that he does understand and is just making this statement to impress/fool people that don’t have a clue about small business. So is he stupid or does he think we’re stupid??? I know some of you either now have small businesses or did in the past so let me know if you ever had a capital gains tax.

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