Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I'm going to get labeled... But I don't give a rat's ass

But quite frankly, I really don't give a shit. I've been toying around about posting this for a while and haven't until now because I was afraid I'd be labeled as a racist... Because now if you're a white guy and say anything you're automatically labeled a racist. I'm not, but I can't relate this story without bringing race into it. I chatted with a friend a few weeks ago and she implored me to blog about it, but still I didn't because I didn't want that label as a racist.
But something happened tonight that just so inflamed me I just have had enough, and I feel like that guy in the old movie "Network"...
"I'm mad as hell! And I'm not going to take it anymore!"

Anyway, I had gone to WalMart tonight for some groceries and upon leaving I was wheeling my cart across the parking lot to my car and a family, who just happened to be black had finished loading there purchases into their car that was parked next to mine. The father, or who I think was the father, in front of his two kids, pushed his cart into the side of my car loud enough for me to hear it from several yards away... I stopped in disbelief. The man turned around and noticed me, raised his fist in the old Black Panther, 1960's style Black Power fist and shouted:


My only crime, besides being a 40-something white guy? My car still sports a McCain~Palin bumper sticker.

What the FUCK!

It's not like I have a new vehicle. I drive a 1992 Lincoln... Not the nicest car in the lot. But it's mine, I paid for it and it runs pretty good. I never did a damn thing to this motherfucker and I've never seen him before today. Did I fucking deserve that? This wasn't a thug~type black guy and family either. He looked middle-class like me, nice vehicle and even had the same Labor Union decal on his car... He most probably works for the same company I do, we're Union Brothers. But still...

I bit my tongue and loaded my groceries into my newly dinged car and drove home, fuming on the event. I'm so goddamn sick of this shit...

In my 43 years I've had more fucking racism shoved down my throat that I care to repeat. All against me, because I'm a fucking white guy. But time and time again, I'm the fucking racists. Well, tell you what! I'm fucking sick to death of it!

I digress. here's what I wasn't going to blog about because I'd be labeled a racist. And it took place at the very WalMart I was at tonight.

I shit you not.

A few days after the election last November, a black woman went into WalMart and loaded her shopping cart up with well over $300 of groceries... And decided to walk out of the store without paying. Security went after her and the police were called... She felt she had a right to the groceries. When asked to pay for them, she replied:

"I don't hafta pay for em! Theyz be free!"

Officer Friendly: "Ma'am, you've got to pay for them!"

Woman: "I don't hafta pay for em! Obama be'z in da Whitehouse now! He'z gonna take care of us now! We'z gettin' all our groceries fo' free!"

What tha fuck! George Bush was still President, but yet, the Savior, The God King Obama, The New Messiah, was going to pay for her groceries now.

Needless to say the woman went to jail. Of course because we whiteys have been oppressing her for so long. She's a political prisoner in her mind no doubt.

I'm so fucking sick of this... I'm sick of Obama, Jessie Jackson, Al Sharpton, The Black Panthers, Nations of Islam and the rest of their ilk. Beside all the Socialist programs and our money being spent in untold trillions for bullshit social programs everything I've worked for my entire life is going to be spent away to the point they'll be nothing left when I retire...

But I'm a racist just because I just so happened to be born a white male. I remember something my grandmother told me when I was very young, because she died when I was about 5 or 6... When she came from Ireland in the early 1900's she remembers seeing signs...

"Help wanted...

Irish Need Not Apply!"

Don't you fucking talk to me about oppression and slavery. My family wasn't even here before the late 1800's. We had no part in the American Civil War. I owe no reparations, don't fucking ask for any from me. You want to talk about slavery and oppression? Ask the Irish and the Scottish about the 300 years or so from the British.

Stick it all right up your ass with a cherry on top!
Copyright 2009 Thomas J Wolfenden

Friday, April 24, 2009

Trying to find a happy medium...

All during the sugar crop I was dreaming of this time when I could sleep as long as I wanted, not getting up for the alarm clock...

Now my sleep patterns are so screwed up I'm forgetting what day it is.

Last night I was in bed before 8 PM. then wide awake at 3 AM. I tried to write a little of my novel but wound up staring at the screen for over an hour, gave up and watched the early morning news programs.

The other day, in contrast, I was up to almost 3 AM and slept until 1 PM the next day and felt like I had waisted the entire day. I did get a call from a buddy who wanted to meet up at the Tiki Bar for lunch, wound up going there and drank far too much far to early in the day... I've GOT to stop doing that... I spend to much money there.

I guess I just need some structure in my life to get me on an even keel... I hope this isn't telling me what retirement is going to be like. If it is it's going to suck. Looks like I'm going to have to drag my alarm clock out and put myself on a summer sleep schedule. Until the 11th of May I've really nothing to do and my house is spotless, all the laundry done...

The Sugar Festival is this weekend, so I do have that to go to, but shit... I'm bored out of my mind already!

Copyright 2009 Thomas J Wolfenden

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

This scares me...

I keep on thinking that the last fifty years, post WWII, were for naught. Everything we fought so hard for during the Cold War was for absolutely nothing. This Gomer we have in what's turning out to be the most expensive Section 8 house in the country is giving it all away, Writ Large.

I'm by no stretch of the word in favor of a renewed McCarthyism, but one has to be either completly blind to history or a complete moron not so see what's happening.

If that happenes we have no one to blame but ourselves.

Video from Utube, text copyright Thomas J Wolfenden, 2009

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Summer Agenda

I've said before I've a full schedule for this summer... I'm beginning to think it's easier at work. First things first, next month I'll be heading up to Titusville, FL to watch a Space Shuttle launch in person on May 12th, barring any complications with the weather. I've seen a few while living here, but not up-close & personal like being right at the Cape. My brother keeps telling me he was at an Apollo launch in the early 70's on a school trip and tells me it's quite spectacular. I'll keep you all informed and will definitely have pictures to post!
Secondly, I'm definitely getting down to the Keys again this summer... At least for four or five days. And of course, I'll have pictures this year to post on that adventure. I'll be doing my best Ernest Hemingway impression at Sloppy Joe's! (IE; getting really drunk)
Third, I'm actually going to pay into COBRA this year and get some major dental work done I've been putting off for too long. And maybe some of you will stop asking me to smile in my pictures! I will smile broadly after this summer!
Fourth, I've had another problem I've been putting off for a long time. Way too long as a matter of fact. I'm going in for surgery this summer to finally get rid of a really, really uncomfortable condition... I'll be out for about a week after that. It's got to get done though. The thing that pisses me off is this, I get really good medical & dental in the winter, but I work so much I don't have the time to utilize it.
Lastly... The one chore I'm dreading the most. I've been tasked by a few guys at my American Legion post to finish off the bar & lounge and get it opened by the fall. It needs to be done if the post is going to survive, but I'm in for an up-hill battle with some of the membership. Seems that some of them are religiously apposed to having the bar opened and because they feel it's against their religion to consume alcohol, they've decided to thrust their beliefs down everyone else's throats to the point that only three people showed for last month's meeting. The membership is down to under fifty members, most of them in late retirement. I've told them in the past that in order for the post to survive and thrive, to attract membership, we've got to get the bar opened to give people something to do... Come in, have a beer or two, shoot some darts or pool and swap war stories. Right now there's absolutely nothing to do there. It's a building gathering weeds. And to be honest, if I want a religious sermon, I'll go to church. I don't need to hear it at my Legion Hall and if my brothers & sisters want to come in to have a few adult beverages, I'm buying, they deserved it!
I'm going to need all the help I can get on this one, because I think I'll be going this one alone.
Oh, and to top that all off I've been writing about five pages a day of my novel... As soon as I finish the third rewrite of the first chapter I'll post it for you to peruse...
Copyright 2009 Thomas J Wolfenden

Thursday, April 16, 2009

My life in retrospect...


I've been a little slack in posting... I've been busy actually with things around the house I've let go while I was working. I promise I'll be posting more soon!

Friday, April 10, 2009

I'm at a loss for words...

The last few months I'd been waiting to burn up my keyboard again like in the old days when I just started blogging... Sitting on the locomotive at work and all these things were just churning and spinning in my gray matter. Like our New God King, how he'll fix everything from global warming, the financial crisis, children starving in Africa, end the war, make peace in the Middle East and make us bestest buddies with Al Qieda, make friends with Iran with talk and finally cure the heartbreak of psoriasis all with just pixie dust, angel farts and hope. Oh, and also bowing in subservience to the Saudi King.
Ah... Appeasement. Worked so well for Nevil Chamberlain, didn't it?
I've been burning with anger over how close we're actually coming to Socialism... The Government taking over Banks and other financial organisations, Taking over General Motors, the Prez actually fired the CEO of GM! What the Fuck! Oh, yeah. Let the Government run things. It worked out so well for Amtrak. You guys think the Government can do it better? Just remember that and think next time you go to the DMV...

On to happier things... Above is my brand-spanking-new Amana washer~drier combo. No more going to the Laundromat! (Que? Que? No habla englaise Senor!) Usually $1,100, I got this sweet deal for $730 out the door, delivery & set up for free! I absolutely loathe going to the Laundromat. Now I can do all my wash in the privacy of my own home, including my delicate underthings. I'm happier than a pig in shit.
I've also had several rants planned on how, by the end of the crop my engineer, Slack Action, was driving me absolutely batshit... The last few days we had the ONLY locomotive in our fleet that had a WORKING air conditioner... But every time I'd get back on the motor from walking the train or making a coupling or setting out a cut of empties, sweating my balls off, he'd have it turned off. His reason? It was too loud and he couldn't hear me on the radio... What The Fuck! HOW ABOUT TURNING YOUR RADIO UP?!? Oh, he couldn't do that! the radio hurts his ears... So because YOU can't hear me, I've got to sweat my fucking balls off? 90 fucking degrees, 100% humidity, I've just walked the entire train and all I want to do is get cooled off... I walk out of the kitchen only to walk into a oven.

Like when I took these two photos above. It was Monday, the last day of the crop and we were sitting on a siding waiting for a northbound train of ours to clear up And I was sweating my ass off. Open the windows? Oh fuck no. Can't do that. Aboslutely not. The wind was bad and kicking up a lot of dust, and that aggravates his pulmonary fibrosis from smoking all those years. He'll also tell you how he quit cold turkey, to the exact minute, 12 years, 3 months, 11 days, 8 hours, 24 minutes and 33 seconds ago. Believe me, I heard about that little gem daily... I'd get the anti-smoking lecture almost constantly until one day I just blew up at him.

"Yes, I know smoking is bad for me. But it's my choice. It's not just a cigarette, it's a crutch. It's also a drug and I'm addicted. When they raise the price too high with all the taxes I'll break into your house to get the money to buy the cigarettes!"

The most ironic thing about his malady is this: I'd light up 30 yards from him and he'd make this big production of gasping for air and groping helplessly for his rescue inhaler, but the locomotive could be belching huge billowing clouds of black smoke from the stacks, blowing right into the cab and it wouldn't faze him. Case in point. One night we were coming back into the yard and I started to smell something burning. I looked up at my computer hammerhead which was giving off the only light in the cab... It was dimmed by a cloud of smoke... "SA!" I yelled. "Do you smell something burning?" Nope sez he... I reached up and turned on my overhead light... The whole cab was filling up with smoke from the electrical panel at the rear of the cab! And he didn't even fucking notice!

Wow. I guess I did have some shit to rant about after all.

Copyright 2009 Thomas J Wolfenden

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

If my life had a soundtrack,

This would be my theme song!

As Ned Kelly said... "Such is life."

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

It's over!

It's finally over... The 2008~2009 sugar harvest. I'm one tired puppy! The last two years I had kept track of the empties going out and the loads I brought in... But around December of this year I kind of lost track and really didn't give a shit anymore... Me and my engineer, Slack Action, hauled in a shitload of raw sugar cane... I was so tired most days I didn't even feel like getting my hair cut... I've got this whole Christopher Walken thing going with my do...

Me being contemplative, coming back to the yard in my train with more cane... It's getting close to the end I'm thinking. That and it's fucking hot... I need a shower!

Looking at these pictures I think, shit I've got to get a haircut!
I'll let you all in on what's in store for me this summer! Right now it's a shitload of adult beverages and a ton of sleep with no alarm clock!
Copyright 2009 Thomas J Wolfenden

Sunday, April 05, 2009

I love irony...

While is school, my worst subjects were math and English... I excelled in history & science, but fell short in the latter subjects.
Now I find it really ironic that I have a job where I have to do addition and subtraction in my head, on the fly daily... Math is a huge part of my job...
Secondly, my second passion is writing... I'm working on a novel right now and this little piece of my world I try to write about daily... I fall short most times, but I love writing.
I love Irony.
Copyright 2009 Thomas J Wolfenden

Thursday, April 02, 2009

This scares me...

This is in the category of "I can't make this shit up!". I remember this from the campaign and somehow the media never really reported on it. It chilled me to the bone then and now I see what O'Bama our new Oirish prez is doing with our country I'm more frightened than ever. Wasn't Change that Germany was looking for in 1932? Wasn't it Change that the Russians were looking for in 1917?

This is what I'm talking about.

Go here:
A new breed of "Young Pioneers" in the Soviet fashion?

Or how about a new generation of little Brownshirts running around.
Doesn't that sound like shitloads of fun?

Ted Nugent was right... We are a Nation of "Sheeple"... We are a bunch of sheep being lead to the slaughter because we're too stupid to realize it.

Wake up America and look at what's happening.

"“Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one..."
~Benjamin Franklin

Don't say we can't do anything about it. It's time to take a stand. Look around you! Do you like what you are seeing? Is this the end of this Nation as we know it?

Do something!

George Washington didn't sit around... Nor Thomas Paine or John Addams, nor Paul Revere!

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

~Theodore Roosevelt

Copyright 2009 Thomas J Wolfenden

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

I'm tired...

Of stupid people.
Tonight when I got home I was fired up with a really good rant about a few of the other guys I work with... It was either that or tell you all about my spiffy new Washer~dryer combo I purchased a few weeks ago...
But after I got home, had a short chat with a good friend of mine, ate dinner and watched the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson I decided to tone it down some.
This is a watered-down rant.
We use radio communications while making movements with our trains. For the most part. Hand signals are used primarily when the distance is short (ie: 20 car lengths or less) and visibility is good.
At night I use my lantern and can use signals at a greater distance, 30 or more cars away from the locomotive.
Yes, that's right. I spend only about 30% of the time on the locomotive. I'm usually on the ground, making couplings, lacing air hoses and walking the train line.
Far away from the engine.
Now mostly I can use hand signals... Mostly.
A lot of times I NEED to use the radio because of several factors, this being the major one:
Unless the light is just right, there's no dust at all, the sun is at the right angle in the sky, the planets are all aligned properly, He can tell me the same stupid story or lame joke again for the five-thousandth time, I'm wearing the right colored shirt, and I'm within 10 car lengths of the engine (400 feet), and he's been able to gather his aluminum cans up and take out the garbage and make the coffee...
Case in point. Three weeks ago I had a switchman out on the job with me to learn the road job. This is cool, I've trained several new road conductors since I've been here. We pulled a cut of 20 cars out of an elevator clear of the mainline switch and I threw the switch for the main.
The bottom angle cock was open and I had no air coming through for the brake test. Since another crew was on our frequency I couldn't get on the radio to tell him to cut the air in.
So I did what any railroader would do.
I gave him the standard railroad hand signal for daylight to cut the air in...
What the fuck do you think he did?
Mind you, the switchman was standing In-Gauge (between the rails) at the rear of the train...
He started to BACK THE FUCK UP!
I had to pull the switchman out of the way lest he gets run over...
Four... Count em'! FOUR fucking frequencies and the fucking moronic assholes who SHOULD know some hand signals don't FUCKING USE THEM!
Just tonight I used hand signals to pull three elevators with over 60 cars, coupled 30 cars to 20, made the joint, laced the air hoses, cut the air in and backed the train up to pick me up and never once used the radio, and the other crew never SHUT THE FUCK UP on the radio and even use it to move FIVE FUCKING CARS over a switch and into a siding.
Another thing... When I DO happen to be on the radio making a move with my train... These other fucking train crews will just walk all over me with all kinds of senseless chatter.
Fucking morons.
Deep breaths...
Ok. I feel better now.
Well, on to other things. The two photographs above are of the actual mill and dump where the raw sugarcane I haul in eventually winds up so you all can have your sweet tea, sugar in your coffee and on your Wheaties in the morning.
You like that stuff, don't you?
You're welcome.
I took some pictures of the place because I very rarely get to be around that part of the mill, but the other day we had to take the locomotive we were using to get serviced mid-shift because we were down to 400 gallons of fuel (obscene, isn't it?) and the loco shop is right across from the dumps where they unload the cane so I decided to take a few shots.

So the great guys at the roundhouse took care of our engine, checking the brakes, putting sand in the sanders, and topping off our diesel with 2,000 gallons. So while we were waiting I decided to take a few pictures. Do you have any idea how long it takes to pump 2,000 gallons?

I had a few cigarettes and a cup of coffee while we waited...

I'd hate to have that gas bill... And now we're getting busy as the crop winds down and we're using this amount of fuel daily...

But you need that much fuel to haul 2,100 tons of sugarcane in a 60 car train as pictured above...
Coming around the bend from Elevator V-1 across the SCFE Diamond headed for the mill.

But all is good. After getting the fuel we needed and coupled onto another train of empty cane cars, we headed out of the yard down the mainline to service our elevators I spied this sight...
A ray of light that told me the end was nigh...

The light at the far end wasn't another freight train heading for me...
It was the end of another successful sugar harvesting season for the only sugar company (that I know of) in the US that owns it's own railroad!
Only six or seven more days now and I can toss my alarm clock into the dustbin for another six months.
I Can't just sit around though, I've got a bunch of things on my plate for this summer and I'll tell you all about them later!
(And Gary, yes, I ain't right!)
Copyright 2009 Thomas J Wolfenden