Sunday, February 28, 2010

28 Fundamental Beliefs Of The Founding Fathers ...

Principle 1 – The only reliable basis for sound government and just human relations is Natural Law.

Principle 2 – A free people cannot survive under a republican constitution unless they remain virtuous and morally strong.

Principle 3 – The most promising method of securing a virtuous people is to elect virtuous leaders.

Principle 4 – Without religion the government of a free people cannot be maintained.

Principle 5 – All things were created by God, therefore upon him all mankind are equally dependent, and to him they are equally responsible.

Principle 6 – All mankind were created equal.

Principle 7 – The proper role of government is to protect equal rights, not provide equal things.

Principle 8 – Mankind are endowed by God with certain unalienable rights.

Principle 9 – To protect human rights, God has revealed a code of divine law.

Principle 10 – The God-given right to govern is vested in the sovereign authority of the whole people.

Principle 11 – The majority of the people may alter or abolish a government which has become tyrannical.

Principle 12 – The United States of America shall be a republic.

Principle 13 – A Constitution should protect the people from the frailties of their rulers.

Principle 14 – Life and liberty are secure only so long as the rights of property are secure.

Principle 15 – The highest level of prosperity occurs when there is a free-market economy and a minimum of government regulations.

Principle 16 – The government should be separated into three branches.

Principle 17 – A system of checks and balances should be adopted to prevent the abuse of power by the different branches of government.

Principle 18 – The unalienable rights of the people are most likely to be preserved if the principles of government are set forth in a written Constitution.

Principle 19 – Only limited and carefully defined powers should be delegated to government, all others being retained by the people.

Principle 20 – Efficiency and dispatch require that the government operate according to the will of the majority, but constitutional provisions must be made to protect the rights of the minority.

Principle 21 – Strong local self-government is the keystone to preserving human freedom.

Principle 22 – A free people should be governed by law and not by the whims of men.

Principle 23 – A free society cannot survive as a republic without a broad program of general education.

Principle 24 – A free people will not survive unless they stay strong.

Principle 25 – “Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations — entangling alliances with none.”- Thomas Jefferson, given in his first inaugural address.

Principle 26 – The core unit which determines the strength of any society is the family; therefore the government should foster and protect its integrity.

Principle 27 – The burden of debt is as destructive to human freedom as subjugation by conquest.

Principle 28 – The United States has a manifest destiny to eventually become a glorious example of God’s law under a restored Constitution that will inspire the entire human race.


Saturday, February 27, 2010

Taxidermy 101 ...

Recently Lamar Beefeater graduated from taxidermy school and set up a temporary studio in his parents Henry and Maude Beefeater's attached garage ... he also enlisted the help of his best pal Luther DooLittle, giving him the title of apprentice par excellence ... surprisingly Lamar proved to be very proficient, word spread of his fine craftsmanship and the endeavor took off like gangbusters ... "Lamar's Stuffed Stuff" as it was called had become a great success as clients were coming from miles around to patronize Lamar's shop, anon the boys were overwhelmed with stuff to stuff ... in no time, all of his daddy's shelves and cabinets had been filled with their completed work, every nook and cranny had some type of stuffed mammal crammed into it, so Henry told the boys it was time to go out and look for another place to operate their business, they had to move everything out of the garage, and soon ... that evening the boys took to the road to scout out a new location for "Lamar's Stuffed Stuff."

The boys searched the local countryside until nearly nightfall, but were unable to find a suitable location for the new studio, so they decided to go home and give it another try the following evening ... about a mile or so away from arriving back at the Beefeater place, Luther spied something lying in the ditch beside of the road, something big ... curious as to what it was, he slowly pulled up next to the motionless object ... lying there in the ditch was a beautiful, enormous lynx, or bobcat as it's commonly called ... the big cat appeared to be in perfect condition, as if it was just resting or maybe asleep ... Lamar blew the horn while he and Luther yelled as loud as they could, but the animal didn't budge ... it must be dead, so Lamar had Luther get out and poke it with a stick just to make sure ... Luther DooLittle reluctantly obliged, but the critter still didn't move, the boys couldn't tell by looking if the animal had been shot by a poacher or struck by a passing vehicle, but it was deader than a doornail! ... suddenly Lamar was stricken with a great idea ... he would scoop up that dead wildcat, take it back to the garage studio, perform his magic by mounting it, sell it for a pretty penny, then apply the money toward rental payments for his new shop ... so he and Lester gently hoisted the pristine carcass into the back of his daddy's covered pickup truck bed and closed the door ... as good as money in the bank, pure profit ... Lamar could hardly wait to show his daddy this valuable find!

The boys rushed home and Lamar hit the button opening the garage door just as he slid the truck to a quick stop inside, the door closed automatically behind them ... Lamar began yelling for Henry to come out to the studio so he could show off his newly acquired treasure ... Henry came running out of the house so fast he forgot to close the door between the garage and the kitchen just as Lamar turned the latch opening the truck's bed cover door ... the last words anybody can remember being spoken before the screams began were those of Lamar ... "daddy, look what I found!" ... it began as a low growl and rapidly grew into a shrill, piercing squall -- the growl came from the cat, the squall came from Lamar! ... in a flash, every moving part on that bobcat was doing just that as it emerged far from deceased from that truck bed ... teeth and claws came into contact with every living and non-living surface in that garage, many times over ... Luther, Henry and Lamar all had their clothing torn to shreds in a matter of seconds, along with their skin ... all of Lamar's taxidermy equipment and supplies were strewn about the concrete floor, along with every stuffed masterpiece previously sitting on shelves and in cabinets, all destroyed ... but that wasn't the worst of it ... the beast was now headed from the garage through the open door leading to the kitchen where Lamar's mama Maude was fixin' to fry a mess of cheesy taters in her big ol' cast iron skillet ... fearful for his mama's safety, Lamar screamed at the top of his lungs ... "look out mama, that thing ain't dead!" ... a few tense moments passed, then a sickening sound rang out in the kitchen -- BONG!!! -- then silence ... Henry and the boys held their breath until Maude calmly and coolly announced ... well it's dead now, come get it out of my kitchen!" ... Lamar has since recovered and moved into his new studio ... sitting for sale in the window is a magnificent and majestic creature ... one stuffed and mounted pug-nosed bobcat!


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

One And Done! ...

We've got Democrats pretending to be Republicans, Republicans posing as Democrats, both major parties along with Independents, Libertarians, Progressives, the Green Party, the Tea Party, red states, blue states, Liberals, Conservatives and all other cliques and parties in between professing to be comprised of ordinary human beings ... one group blames another for all the world's problems yet offers no solutions, and vice versa ... nobody takes responsibility, and as always the American people are the real losers ... payoffs and bribes, waste and lies influence nearly every decision made by these self-serving career politicians ... the country is being blatantly stripped to the bone with extreme prejudice by these pretentious, unscrupulous power mongers ... we have little or no say as to the actions or lack thereof by our sworn public servants ... we've been hoodwinked and bamboozled, the wool has been pulled firmly and impudently over our blinded eyes, we've all been sold a bill of goods ... we've all been left in the dark holding the bag, an empty bag at that!

I have a solution, a crazy, radical, off-the-wall solution that just might work, but would never in a million years be accepted ... it's a simple solution involving term limits ... the following is how it would work ... since the majority of all politicians spend so much time and money just to get elected to public office, then after taking office spend even more money and most of their time trying to get reelected, with most decisions being made with the thought of gaining favor and approval from the most potential voters, and little effort actually put forth into doing their jobs ... I propose term limits of "one and done" all across the board from top to bottom.

Now what "one and done" means is that any particular person who is qualified, and who has the good of his fellow man at heart would be permitted to seek and to hold just one regular 2 to 4 year term in public office in any governmental capacity during their entire lifetime, all the way from city councilman to President of the United States ... that means if you are elected as city councilman, or dog catcher, mayor, governor, senator or president, and your term in office officially concludes, your career in public life then ends, you return to the private sector ineligible to ever hold any type of public office again for the rest of your natural life ... oh you would still be allowed to offer your expertise, advice or suggestions to your predecessor free of charge and in a limited, unofficial manner if requested, but you would have absolutely no power or authority.

Crazy huh? ... "one and done" ... but that's not all, so as to ensure that elected public servants genuinely have the good of the public at heart, no public funds could be spent on political campaigns ... limits would be set fairly and equally as to the total amount from private sources that any candidate would be permitted by law to accept or spend in their respective political arenas ... each "servant" would only be paid the federal minimum wage while in office ... medical coverage would be provided by the same providers and at the same level and cost as that of any other public employee insurance system in their respective geographical areas ... there would be no pensions or retirement benefits ... in addition, or subtraction, however you want to look at it, elected public officials would not be permitted to hold employment at any other job while in office, they would be required to devote all their time and attention to the duties and responsibilities of their respective offices ... and would be required to provide their own transportation to and from work ... just maybe if our public officials didn't have to spend all their time trying to gain power, money and influence in order to get reelected to multiple terms in public life, and just maybe if public life suddenly became an extremely unprofitable and less glamorous venture, then just maybe all the worthless, self-serving, lying, deceitful, thieving miscreants would get out of the way so talented, capable, well-meaning folks with no motive other than the good of our country could step forward and serve one term in public office with little or no financial gain, their only reward being the satisfaction of knowing they contributed something of substance for the betterment of mankind at great personal cost and sacrifice! ... might reduce the size of government too ... one and done.


Monday, February 22, 2010

ScamVille? ...

Recently folks suggested that I create a Facebook account and sign up for NetworkedBlogs as a way to promote TheSouthernJackAss ... also, I thought maybe I could reconnect with old friends that I hadn't seen or heard from in years, so I created an account and placed this site on NetworkedBlogs ... almost immediately people I had never heard of began adding me as "friend," and I was inundated with invitations to join numerous cause and gaming applications ... I've never been much for playing games, but so as not to appear unfriendly or anti-social I did my best to oblige the masses and participate ... I raised crops, fed cows, milked cows, built barns, mopped floors, cooked meals, waited tables, found lost baby whales, fertilized others folks crops, sent hearts, reached level 7 and 8, was awarded 3 gold coins, planted, plowed, watered, bought a rooster, owned an Island Paradise and a Tiki Farm in Farm Town, had a Barn Buddy, went to Happy Island and suddenly realized I was ready to lose my mind ... was it just me? ... was I unfriendly, inconsiderate, stoic or anti-social after all? ... I mean it seemed as though everyone other than myself was having a grand ol' time ... until I read the following by Michael Arrington at TechCrunch.

"Scamville: The Social Gaming Ecosystem Of Hell" by Michael Arrington: [Last weekend I wrote about how the big social gaming companies are making hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue on Facebook and MySpace through games like Farmville and Mobsters. Major media can’t stop applauding the companies long enough to understand what’s really going on with these games. The real story isn’t the business success of these startups. It’s the completely unethical way that they are going about achieving that success.
In short, these games try to get people to pay cash for in game currency so they can level up faster and have a better overall experience. Which is fine. But for users who won’t pay cash, a wide variety of “offers” are available where they can get in-game currency in exchange for lead gen-type offers. Most of these offers are bad for consumers because it confusingly gets them to pay far more for in-game currency than if they just paid cash (there are notable exceptions, but the scammy stuff tends to crowd out the legitimate offers). And it’s also bad for legitimate advertisers.
The reason why I call this an ecosystem is that it’s a self-reinforcing downward cycle. Users are tricked into these lead gen scams. The games get paid, and they plow that money back into Facebook and MySpace in advertising, getting more users. Who are then monetized via lead gen scams. That money is then plowed back into Facebook and MySpace in advertising to get more users…
Here’s the really insidious part: game developers who monetize the best (and that’s Zynga) make the most money and can spend the most on advertising. Those that won’t touch this stuff (Slide and others) fall further and further behind. Other game developers have to either get in on the monetization or fall behind as well. Companies like Playdom and Playfish seem to be struggling with their conscience and are constantly shifting their policies on lead gen.
The games that scam the most, win.
And some users aren’t dumb, either. For every user who gets tricked into some fake mobile subscription, there’s another who can beat the system. That’s where the legitimate advertisers, like Netflix and Blockbuster, get hit. Users sign up for a free trial with a credit card, get their game currency, then cancel the membership and start over. Netflix has a policy of only paying for a user once. But game developers use a complex set of partner chains to launder these leads and try to get them through for payment. Netflix sees an overall lowering of quality and pays less for leads. Game developers, desperate to monetize, then search for ever more questionable offers to make up the difference. In the end, the decent advertisers are out, and only the worst of the worst remain.
Left alone, the system really will slide into a full blown disaster. The platforms (Facebook and MySpace) are in a position to regulate this, and even have rules prohibiting some scams. But those rules are routinely ignored by developers, and are rarely enforced by Facebook and MySpace.
There can be only one reason Facebook and MySpace turn a blind eye to user protection – they’re getting such a huge cut of revenue back from these developers in advertising. If they turn off the spigot, they hurt themselves.
Zynga may be spending $50 million a year on Facebook advertising alone, fueled partially by lead gen scams. Wonder how Facebook got to profitability way ahead of schedule? It was a surge in this kind of advertising. The money looks clean – it’s from Zynga, Playfish, Playdom and others. But a large portion of it is coming from users who’ve been tricked into one scam or another.
And recent moves by Facebook to shut down application spam only make the problem worse in some way – game developers have to spend more money on advertisers to get users now that the viral channels are shut down. That means the games have to monetize even better. Which means more scams.
It’s time for this to stop. Facebook and MySpace need to create and enforce rules against it so that game developers aren’t tempted to get a competitive edge by scamming users. And if Facebook/MySpace won’t protect users, then the government will have to step in.
There’s an easy way to determine if something is a scam or not. For any particular offer, ask yourself if anyone would buy the product or service if the terms were clearly spelled out for them, and they weren’t being bribed with in-game currency. The answer for many of these is a resounding “no.”]

I regret that I didn't find Michael's article before I went to all the trouble of finding out that Facebook just ain't my cup of tea ... and before I angered all those old friends I hadn't seen or heard from in years because I began ignoring their requests to play FarmVille, YoVille, RestaurantVille, iHearts, Causes, YesVille, NoVille, MaybeVille, LaterVille, VilleVille, etc .. etc .. etc and especially ScamVille! ... so I'm now left with FACEBOOK DEACTIVATEVILLE! ... also, here is an informative article which discusses social networking attacks I discovered at LAPTOP Magazine.


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Tiger Woods - Enough Already! ...

I don't know about you guys, but I've seen and heard about enough already concerning Tiger Woods! I've  never liked the game of golf, and I've certainly never been a fan of Tiger Woods. Whatever he has done in the past, and whatever he may do in the future has no bearing on my life one way or the other. I must say, after watching that scripted, staged "apology" he put on in front of a handful of select media hounds, I now hate the game of golf even more if that's possible, and am now firmly convinced that Woods is not a fellow I would follow in any sport, and certainly wouldn't want as a role model for any young person. What this guy has going for him is the fact that he can slap his balls around and pretty much put them anyplace he wants, and he's a moneymaker for various corporations, the media and the PGA. If he was a regular guy like me, he wouldn't be given the time of day.

So, for all you fans and worshipers of Tiger Woods, and for the PGA, sports media and all the corporate sponsors that are missing their cash cow - he's back! That emotionless, scripted, staged, monotonic, robotic performance he gave yesterday was the first step in the process of his return, the plan is now in motion. He'll be back on the green soon, putting his balls wherever he pleases, and all you sponges will be back "in" the green again. Oh it's not all his fault, you created that monster, all of you. He said it himself, he had worked very hard to reach that pinnacle, he felt entitled to do wrong, privileged, and far above any moral laws that apply to the regular guy. But like he said, it's between him and his wife and kids and God, please, let's leave it there. I just hope when and if he asks God or his family for forgiveness, that he doesn't have to read it from a prepared statement, it should come from the heart, of course, maybe it did.

I've even thought of a way I might make a few bucks off ol' Tiger. Remember all those images of him using those "Titleist" balls and clubs? Well, I'm thinking about coming out with my own brand of golf equipment, and it just might fit in perfectly with Tiger Wood's new image -- I shall call it "ENTITLEIST!" - for the non-discriminating golfer!

Guest blogger -- Peeptoe Hobo aka SickWilly

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Boys Of Summer ...

With a surplus of snow and an acute case of cabin fever weighing heavily upon my psyche, and as MLB pitchers and catchers file into camps in anticipation of their first official workouts, I thought I would share this old post of mine just as a tease, and as a reminder that spring and our favorite pastime is just around the corner ... overly written for effect, but I hope you'll enjoy "The Boys Of Summer."

The brumous August morning that dawned bearing a foreboding threat of rain showers had now given way as radiant sunbeams pierced the billowy clouds as they floated proudly across the cerulean sky ... gentle breezes conducted the dulcet redolence of yellow honeysuckle intermingled with delightful aromas of hot buttered popcorn, hot dogs, boiled peanuts, cotton candy and candied apples throughout the old ballpark ... the temperature had risen to a pleasant 71 degrees ... a perfect day for baseball ... and for the boys of summer.

There was nary a vacant seat in the place ... many folks standing wherever they could gain a suitable view of the playing field ... excited fans had stocked up on food and cold drinks before settling in for the game ... a beautiful rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" had just concluded, players had all been announced and the visiting nine had assumed their respective positions on the field as the pitcher took his final warm-up tosses ... excitement grew as the leadoff hitter strolled into the batters' box, then the crusty umpire finally gave the signal while sternly shouting  "play ball!"

Butterflies dancing a frenzied version of the "Jitterbug Waltz" in the pit of the young ace's roiling stomach had induced waves of galling nausea, however, this was not uncharted territory for the lanky right-hander as he posed on the mound peering in with a sneer toward the catcher crouched behind home plate ... those butterflies had little to do with fear, but rather his desire to compete, and to win ... the husky catcher dropped a sign ... Gibson unleashed a beautiful bender which veered far from the strike zone, but it danced back in painting the corner of the plate, freezing the stupefied batter in his tracks as the implacable umpire loudly bellowed "Stee-rike!" ... time to showcase the patented fastball ... the scowling flamethrower let loose with a grunt, you could hear the blistering sphere buzzing like an angry bumblebee as it approached the dish, biting in on the hands of the unnerved hitter, coercing him to weakly swing through the pitch as it slapped the catcher's overstuffed mitt with an emphatic pop for yet another exigent "Steee-rike!" ... the now confident hurler received the fuming ball back from the catcher with a smart snap of his Rawlings glove before taking a leisurely stroll like a haughty peafowl around the dusty mound ... those fluttering butterflies were mercifully settling down ... and so was he!

The strapping batsman, his spirit also seared amidst the intense flames of that same competitive fire, had faced crafty pitchers of this caliber countless times in the past, usually with great success, and was determined to thwart the efforts of this worthy opponent glaring defiantly at him from the mound ... on this perfect day for baseball ... Williams believed the cunning righty just might deliver another filthy bender ... he dug in, waggled his bat and patiently waited ... instead it was a hard scorcher, too high and called for a ball ... alright, maybe next pitch ... again he took the sizzling heat for a ball ... Williams wondered if Gibson had lost command of his good stuff, and was hopefully incapable of getting that heater over for a strike ... he was convinced that a lazy curveball would assuredly be forthcoming ... he took a long, deep breath, firmly planted his nails in the sandy soil and anxiously waited like a coiled viper enticing it's prey ... Gibson toed the rubber while coldly staring Williams squarely in the eyes, and with a scowl on his determined face, he propelled the baseball toward the plate with a menacing growl ... the seasoned slugger had it gauged perfectly, the ball looked as large as a watermelon floating toward him in slow motion ... Williams unleashed his trusted Louisville Slugger as smoothly as a lumberjack laying the keen edge of a broadaxe to the base of a jack pine as he made lethal contact with Gibson's meandering offering ... the clobbered orb roared skyward and tauntingly disappeared beyond the leftfield wall before the eyes of the jeering throng.

As Williams triumphantly rounded the diamond, he was showered with a deluge of stinging condemnation from the dispirited, hometown faithful ... Gibson stood motionless on the lonely mound, his head bowed toward the ground in defeat and humiliation ... the home team eventually went on to win the game that day 5 to 4 ... but there is a thin line between the thrill and the agony ... at first glance you might think this story is touching on some fantasy match-up involving the great Hall of Fame pitcher Pack Robert "Bob" Gibson, born in 1935, or maybe the incomparable Hall of Fame slugger Theodore Samuel "Ted" Williams (1918-2002), also known as "The Thumper" ... far from it ... this brief narrative pertains to a game played by a ten-year-old pitcher by the name of Grant Gibson of the Pocahontas Warriors and an eleven-year-old slugger named Jackie Williams of the Clarksville Mudhawks, one in a series of games held in the Little League regional championship tournament in Nashville, Tennessee ... truly a perfect day for baseball ... and for the boys of summer.

"Baseball gives every American boy a chance to excel, not just to be as good as someone else, but to be better than someone else. This is the nature of man and the name of the game." --Ted Williams


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Be My Valentine ...

While the origin and history of Saint Valentine's Day is often debated ... there's little argument that it can be a time of extreme trepidation, anxiety, disappointment and even embarrassment for many ... according to some, in 469 A.D., Pope Gelasius declared February 14 a day to honor a Catholic saint named St. Valentine ... actually there were three St. Valentines, one a bishop, one a priest and little was known about the third, however, all three men were martyrs ... one legend has it that a Roman emperor banned all soldiers from marrying sometime during the third century, consequently, St. Valentine took issue with the ban and became an outspoken advocate for the soldiers' right to take a wife -- he ultimately lost his life as a result ... another legend says St. Valentine was executed for his beliefs in Christianity, and just before he died, he left a farewell note for a loved one and signed it "From Your Valentine" ... sounds good to me.

I remember as a young gentleman toiling amid the throes of receiving the bulk of my education, during the early years of "grade" school, or elementary school as it's referred to these days (1-6), that each class would host a Valentine's Day party annually ... after lunch, we were permitted to talk and play games while feasting on cookies, candy and cupcakes, and chugging Kool-Aid like there was no tomorrow ...however, the highlight of the entire day was the exchanging of Valentine's Day cards with our classmates -- thus begetting the aforementioned extreme trepidation, anxiety, disappointment and embarrassment ... even at a young age, cliques had developed amongst schoolmates, and each of us were well aware of our position on the totem pole of popularity, or lack thereof ... usually I found myself somewhere near ground level ... subsequently, and mercifully, the teacher always made sure that potentially life-altering daggers of rejection and indifference were dulled somewhat by requiring each student to exchange at least one Valentine's Day card with every other student in attendance ... we were each given a list of names of every student in our class a week prior to the party, and each of us were then required to present at least one card to everyone on the list, or we weren't allowed to participate in the card exchange at all.

Parents would purchase a big pack of assorted Valentine's Day cards, then each of us would choose the best cards for our favorite sweetheart or friends and whatever was left would be given to the less fortunate ... in the meantime, the teacher had each of us make a large envelope from brightly colored construction paper and paste with our names printed down the front with a Magic Marker ... we then attached these envelopes all along the bottom of the huge chalkboard which ran the entire width of the front of the classroom, then we placed our respective Valentine's Day cards in their corresponding receptacles ... a good idea I suppose, and although the teacher made us wait until we got home to look at our bounty, one couldn't help but notice that the more popular kids had the fattest envelopes ... I found out in later years that the teacher always placed a large "Special Valentine" unique from all the others in each of our packets from "A Secret Admirer" just in case someone hadn't received such a card from a classmate.

So I would run home after the party with my skinny envelope containing my fate and dump it out on the kitchen table while nobody was watching ... and there they were, mostly generic cards identical to those I had previously culled for those I had deemed as less than desirable ... but at the very bottom of the pile I found two large, beautiful and bright cards ... one from "A Secret Admirer" and the other from my most favorite, cutest, little sweetheart of them all which simply said "Be My Valentine" ... can't be any more popular than that!

"Happy Valentine's Day" --sja

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Still Making Lemonade ...

Luther Beefeater ... favorite cousin of Lamar Beefeater ... Luther was a poor boy as far as life's common necessities were concerned ... from the time Luther began to walk as an infant until his graduation from high school, he received a new pair of shoes but once a year in the fall around the time the vibrant autumn leaves began to bow their tired heads and spiral helplessly toward the chilly ground ... Luther seemed to always be able to make those shoes last all the way through and beyond the approaching  winter until school let out for summer vacation ... hand-me-down clothes and a rummage sale coat were blessings indeed ... often other kids made fun of Luther's clash of colors and ill-fitting style of dress, but the lad didn't mind, at least he would stay warm ... Luther's daddy had been killed fighting a war that Luther never had understood ... consequently, his mother had to work two jobs just to provide the family with the bare essentials of human existence, which were meager indeed, just enough to get by ... Luther wasn't used to having much, he didn't need much really ... the family had plenty of love, and that meant everything.

Folks always told Luther "when life gives you lemons ... then make lemonade" ... everyone likes lemonade, right? ... so he would go behind the market each day to scavenge discarded lemons which had been deemed unfit for sale and tossed in the garbage, then he would make several visits a day to the cafe around the corner, and those tiny packets of sugar would seem to mysteriously appear in his pockets afterward ... then Luther made lemonade ... he turned over a big wooden crate out near the street, and hung a sign made from an old bed sheet ... "TheOldLemonadeStand" ... Luther was in business ... all he lacked were some customers.

At first, Luther had a few passersby stop by for a glassful of his delicious concoction ... they would all say how good it tasted, how it had just the right amount of sugar, and how it was always ice-cold ... Luther posted signs all over town advertising his venture and invited everyone he ran into to come to his little stand ... he thought business could only get better ... a few stragglers patronized his tiny enterprise regularly, but after a while those visits became less frequent, then not at all ... except for a few regulars ... Luther was dismayed ... he had charged but a mere 5 cents for a tall glassful of the delightful beverage--and refills were on the house ... maybe he would try giving it away free-of-charge ... so free it was ... still, hardly anyone stopped by.

Luther was at a loss, what had he done wrong? ... yes, there were plenty of those fancy fast-food joints along the same street that his stand sat on, but none of them sold good, ice-cold, homemade lemonade ... especially at a mere 5 cents for a tall glassful--refills on the house ... and now free ... were people shunning him because he hadn't always been a young man of good refinement? ... yes, he had been loud and outspoken on many an occasion ... was it because of his tattered clothes and worn shoes? ... were they embarrassed to be seen drinking his lemonade? ... did he smell bad? ... after all, he had been tossed out of more than one establishment because of his unseemly behavior, loud mouth and ragged attire ... but all that was in the past ... Luther was trying to be a better person.

A few loyal customers continued to drink the lemonade, and they seemed to really enjoy it ... but Luther began to wonder if it was worth the trouble to keep the stand in operation, gathering lemons from the trash everyday and visiting the cafe in order to find that sugar in his pockets ... that lemonade stand took some work too ... all that effort for just a handful of thirsty folks? ... maybe he should just take down the sheet, drag the crate out back and call it quits ... be real easy to do ... no, Luther couldn't get rid of that stand ... besides, as long as he had a handful of patrons who still enjoyed stopping by once in a while for a glassful of ice-cold, homemade lemonade, then it's worth the effort ... so Luther will keep on squeezing those lemons 'till there's no more thirsty friends ... it's on the house too!

Comments encouraged and welcome --sja