Geezer Gas

I feel the Senior Citizens, of which I am one, need a place to express their thoughts and goals. We need to be heard, and our voices will speak from this corner.

Location: Sious Falls, South Dakota

I am an avid fisherman which is an addiction I inherited from my Dad. I teach classes in custom fishing rod building. I started fooling with computers when few companies had a computer, and even fewer individuals had a PC. Today I teach computer classes for fellow seniors at our local senior center. I am married to a Master Gardener, so I spend a lot of time digging beds for her plants. I spend a lot of time admiring the achievements of my three sons and their offsprings. Most of all my wonderful soulmate keeps my life alive and exciting.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Is it really the Star Spangled Banner?

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Defiling our National Anthem

Our National Anthem is a tough song to sing. Over the years many have said we should have a different one that any one can sing. Fine! But until then, we have the Star Spangled Banner. I don’t need to dig into the history and all it means. It is our National Anthem.Now, here comes a host of singers, soloists, groups, and bands that take this beautiful piece of music, and add their own interpretations. Fine. But why do they feel their talents are so great, that they can apply them to this music until it is almost unrecognizable.A young, “world famous” recording artist did the Star Spangled Banner before the 4th game of the World Series. Great voice, horrible arrangement. He added enough extra notes to make another completely different song. He also rearranged in such a way that the lyrics were the only clue that he was singing our National Anthem.I have no objection to these artists taking any song ever written and adding their interpretation to it. Bury it in any arrangement they choose. That’s music and they have the freedom to do with what they wish. I for one just tune them out, instead preferring to hear the music the way it was written. Of course, I immediately date myself and show I am out of touch with today’s music In my younger years my folks wondered why I listened to the music I did, as I wonder today why kids listen to the music they do. Each generation seems to have their favorite music.Back to the Star Spangled Banner. Why can’t these present day artists realize the glorious history of this anthem, and sing it from their hearts? I’ve heard many renditions that were clean, clear, and memorable. Today’s generation could say these artists are making it memorable by applying their talents to it and doing it their way. Nuts. Next, they will probably say our flag should be “interpreted” like they do the Anthem, and change the colors, add polka dots or whatever distortion they feel makes it memorable.A bit of humor during the World Series occurred at the 7th inning stretch of game 3. Another “well known country artist “ that I’d never heard of, sang God Bless America. Somehow she and her guitar were in two different keys. She was flat beyond the imagination. It was as funny as the National Anthem vocalist was sad.
posted by Grandpa John 6:29 PM
Friday, October 28, 2005

A poster in a fast food eatery
A Burger King is the last place you’d expect to find a memorable phase that really struck home. I did. I took my wife’s seven-year old grandson for his favorite meal, a king fry and a glass of water. Not my choice, but he loves it. On the wall was a large poster with this phrase, “Unless you try to do something beyond what you’ve already mastered, you’ll never grow.” That struck home. It rang with the same flavor as my oft-said expression, “I can hardly wait to see what I’m like when I’m fully grown.”But in both are the reasons why I am teaching computers to seniors, like myself. As I stare 80 in the face I could choose to sit back and do little except live day to day. Triple by-pass surgery over a year ago is a reminder that the human condition is fragile at best. Instead, I chose a whole new career, teaching computers. Most of what I know about computers is self-taught through the trial and error method. When I joined our local senior center, I agreed to coach computer classes. That led to reading the manuals for each of the classes taught. When asked, I said I would teach a class. But the revelation was not my teaching, but those in my class.In my first class the youngster was 67, and the oldster a bright eyed 92-year old. Before I started, I asked each of the 10 attendees why they were in a computer class, and what did they hope to learn? Several wanted to learn word processing in order to write their family history. Another had agreed to take over the newsletter at her church. Email was the number one reason for the class. They wanted to stay in touch with friends and families.These seniors had mastered the art of living. They’d raised families, enjoyed the grand and great grand children. Their life’s work ranged from farming, to factories, from homemakers to attorneys. But one and all had a thirst to learn more. To grow. To acquire a skill that would extend their joy of living. And I enjoyed being a part of their growth, for I, too, grew with them
posted by Grandpa John 6:25 AM
Sunday, October 23, 2005

At 79, what am I doing learning to write and post my thoughts to a blog? Yes, I have things to say. But most of what I plan to share are the thoughts of a great many gray heads like mine. These are folks that I spend a lot of time with at our local senior center.We have over 4,000 active members, of which the majority are 55+ with a host of them in their late 80's. They are talkative, willing to express their opinions, and can talk about a world of things besides their aches and pains, and grandchildren.I don't know that we have an active voice. The empty suits in DC want to battle for our vote. Maybe battle is not a good choice of words. Maybe they want to buy our votes with a handful of programs that will make our life easier, and stretch our budget. We instinctively know there are strings. And like most of the trash they dole out, it will be complicated and difficult to understand. The final plan will require a third person to try and explain it.The Center has trained a large group of people to explain the new drug plan to us. Some of us understand it and can see some relief in paying for drugs. Others see it as join now, like it or not, or we'll penalize you later. We'll watch it.Most of the folks I share lunch with, voted Tom Daschle out of office, realizing his "all for you fellow South Dakotans" was really more like, "I'm all for what is best for me first and foremost." They also returned GW to office, and now are regretting it.When you're 80, you spent your youth in the depression or post deparession age. We personally know what fiscal responsibility is. Now, we see our President as a spending fool, with no conscious worries about the future. He lacks the guts to cut pork; he lacks the talent to lead. How's that for openers? And it gets worse from there. Regretably, I voted for him, twiceSo, from here on in I'll share what the gray brigade is talking about, at least those from the flatlands.Grandpa John
posted by Grandpa John 1:18 PM