Sunday, May 28, 2006

401 keg plan

The advice that I have included, below, is one of those forward/forward/forward messages that I rarely read. This one is from an old friend and drinking buddy and I usually read his forwards. I just had to include it as a couple of us were just talking about investments because Ken Lay and others were apparently going to jail.

If you purchased one thousand dollars of Nortel stock one year ago, it
would be worth $49.00. With Enron, you would have $16.50 left of the
original $1,000. With WorldCom, you would have less than $5.00
But if you had purchased $1,000.00 worth of beer one year ago, drank it
all, then turned in the cans for the aluminum recycling price, you
would have $214.00.
Based on the above, current investment advice is to drink heavily &
It's called the 401 Keg Plan.

We knew the answer didn't we? Carry on Bubble heads! Stole the photo from
Thanks Myron

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Memorial Day Weekend

Yea, it is almost over. Just one more day as we are not going to work Sunday except to pickup some of the garbage. Today we will hit the graves with weed whackers smoking as we chop and cut those errant blades of grass and weeds that the mowers missed. These are the little items that make the Cemetery look bad. Of course we still have a few winter decorations left and a few artificial flowers that we missed but all in all we have done a pretty through job transforming the cemetery from the winter look to a new, fresh, summer appearance complete with blooming flowers such as the traditional red geranium to the first, brilliant bursts of lilies showing their colors. Azaleas are doing their brilliant best to invigorate the grave stones as the reds are as brilliant as I have seen in many years.

The first class of baby birds have emerged and the skies are still alive with the battles of the birds as the males via for the favor of a special female or the females chase of an unwanted suitor or a tough female trying to take over their nest. Yesterday I watched as a low flying hawk circled low and slowly was approaching these fertile hunting ground and I could hear the warning cries of an unknown species far away. Those cries became even more frantic as the hawk entered the cemetery forest and then the crows picked up the warning suddenly launching like a fighter squadron heading off to battle the interloper. Diving at the hawk time after time protecting their nests I felt I was watching a dog fight of WWI, allied biplanes battling The Red Baron. Snoopy temporarily disappears below the treetops and reemerges with a rodent, of some type in his beak, quickly breaking through the circling birds and then establishing a new cruising height that few chasing birds are able to reach and suddenly calm becomes the norm again in the 20 acre forest.

Today we will be joined by a couple of dozen veterans from our local Vietnam Veterans association as they change out the colors on the hundreds of veterans graves from the Revolutionary War to Vietnam. The cemetery suddenly will come alive with the bright red, white and blues. We are very happy that none of our local veterans have died in the Iraq Conflict and would require a flag. God Bless the United States of America and our young men and women that are fighting to keep us free.

Friday, May 19, 2006

We are swamped

We are swamped!

Only 10 more days until Memorial Day! As you may know, my wife and I operate a cemetery of 57 acres and 18,000 deceased and Memorial Day is our most important day of the year. 80% of all the people that visit the cemetery, every year, will do so on Memorial Day or at least Memorial Day weekend. They judge our operation skills based only on one visit. It isn’t fair but that’s the way it is. This is a bad Spring for us as we went through a long dry spell in April and now a prolonged rainy spell. All of the grass seed we put down in April has perished because there was no rain, as there normally is in April. We don’t have time to replant. Yesterday was our first day that we could get back on mowers and we need two mowing and a good weedwhacking of the 57 acres before Memorial Day. I have one guy to help me but he is a really good worker and my son-in-law helps out on Monday and Tuesday. We have 7 major beds to put in and we also have foundations to put in for all of the gravestones purchased over the winter. It will be a busy 11 days but we will get there, as we always manage to pull it off. Then we rest until next spring. Right now we are working 10-12 per day for 7 days a week and there is very little time for posting or reading. I’ll be back, right after memorial day and in the mean time I will try and get off a couple of postings.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


This is our new purchase. Our new digital camera is about 1 ½ x 2 ½ inches. Made in China and called “Innovage”. I have given it a little bit of a test and I have found the initial results satisfactory.

This is a picture of our previous dog run area that I have just started to work on. The picture was taken on a day the rains were falling and it was foggy and overcast. We purchased the camera at the Bon Ton for about $10.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

My Dad's Pink and White Ford

My fathers nickname was J.U. which was short for James Upton. He was always partial to Fords. His pride and joy was a 1959 Ford Galaxy 500 with all the bells and whistles and the color was Geranium and White.

This is a picture of the car except his was a 4 door hardtop. I figured you had to see the color.To my friends and I it was Pink and White.

When he brought it home, we all thought he had cracked up. It had dual spotlights, which were illegal in South Dakota, but he had a hidden switch that turned the right one on and if it didn’t work it was legal. He had it installed with a cow caller. For those of you that have not spent very much time on the range, a cow caller is used by ranchers to call the cows as it sounds like a cow. The cows are trained to do something, usually come and eat, when the cow caller sounds. My Dad did not have any cows except he bought one just after my Mother and he were married but then they didn’t make cow callers and you just rang a bell or hollered and the cows came. Shortly after getting the car, he ended up in a spot inspection roadblock launched by the Highway Patrol. He passed with flying colors except when the trooper walked in front of the car, yup you guessed it, he blew the cow caller at him. He received a very stern lecture and all sorts of threats because the cow caller was illegal. My Dad never forgave the trooper for being so thin skinned and lecturing him. This is a man that is the largest employer, except the federal govt., in town with about 200 men working for him and he is going around blowing a cow caller at the State Police. Go figure.

He never had a cow caller before but he had dual chrome air horns mounted on the fender of his other cars. At our High School football games, you could park a car right up on the front line if you were early enough. There was a cable you parked up to, then the running track and then the team benches. We always had his car on the front line. My Dad could sit in the car, or by the car, and blow the air horn for good plays or touchdowns. I was 7 or 8 and loved to sit in the car when he was blowing the horn. Once in a while he would even let me blow the horn. His cars were always work cars and they were always loaded with everything under the sun. He had a wooden box with hand holes, on the side, that was in every car. It held chains for his car, a towing chain, jumper cables, a brass carbon tetrachloride fire extinguisher with a handle coming out the back and flares. A shovel for killing rattlesnakes and a double bitted axe. The axe and shovel were really just in the trunk and not in the box. Sometimes for long periods of time the box would be in the back seat? In the glove compartments were rings and rings of keys. Keys to every padlock he ever owned and a key to every house he ever built. Even 10 or 15 years after he built a house, an owner would call him up and say they were locked out and could he help with a key? Of course he complied.

Rarely did I get to use my Dad’s car for dates but always my Mom’s 56 Chevy which was OK because it was a cool car. My friends and I had a triple date going on a Saturday afternoon with the Pink and White and had been to the lake swimming. On the way back to town I saw about 50 head of cows that belonged to Mr. Hoyle up on a hill and I got an idea. In order to be cool and clever I stopped the car and blew the cow caller at them. Apparently Mr. Hoyle was doing the same thing when he dropped off feed. Here come the cows, down off the hill, through a little stand of Cottonwoods and across the prairie to where my car was. We were all laughing hysterically at the cows and as I slowly drove the cows were still following until they got to the spot where the fence was down and they came through it. Now I am in trouble as here come the cows. Holy Cow, what do I do. As I look in the mirror I can see the cows coming down the road and I speed up only to see the cows do the same. Now they are running full out. Finally I put the Pink and White to the floor to escape but we’re on a gravel road and the big Police Interceptor engine has put me sideways on the road. Finally I got the car under control and we escaped. I didn’t go back on that road for a couple of months because I figured the cows would recognize me and probably turn me in.

One summer, when I was working out in the woods scaling logs, I got caught in a major storm complete with golf ball sized hail. The Pines weren’t offering much cover and besides lightning was hitting all around. I was running dead out trying to get back to our work camp, which was about a mile away, and as I came around a corner there sat my Dad in his Geranium and White 59 Ford, Galaxy 500, sitting out the storm. I was never so happy to see a 59 Ford. He had been driving in on some old logging roads to check out some timber.

After I left for the Navy, my Dad turned to buying a new Jeep Waggoner every couple of years. Obviously the Jeeps were much more practical for a man that spent a good amount of time in the timber, cruising timber sales and checking up on his crews but it was tough to get the man out of the Fords. He had bought a used 61 Ford, Highway Patrol Car for some reason or another but that had so many problems he went to Jeeps.

He found that taking the Jeep to the shop every 3 months or so was the way to handle jeeps as they had a lot of problems also and preventive auto care was the answer. He took such good care of his Jeeps that everyone in town wanted J.U.’s trade ins and he carried a card in his pocket with the name and phone number of everyone that wanted to be called when he traded. It was first come, first serve and when it was time he would go down the list until he found the 1st person that was ready to pay his price. He wasn’t greedy so it was always a good deal for someone. I’ll never forget when my brother Gary rolled one of the new Jeeps. He was coming back from a keg party with a full load of passengers and he was probably talking when he should have been watching but he took it over the edge of a fill on a gravel road. The Jeep rolled a couple of times but landed on its wheels so Gary put it in 4 wheel drive and climbed out of the cut to leave it in the driveway at home. Imagine my folk’s surprise when they came back the next day.

Gary-I wouldn't tell all your stories but they are better than mine. I was the nice one - remember.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Early Remembering

Galena is located east of Strawberry Hill about 13 miles southeast of Lead-Deadwood in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Galena came about as the results of the silver rush in the Deadwood area in the 1880’s. Galena also had a sawmill which was my fathers but that was in the late 30’s and early 40’s. My oldest brother went to first grade at the school in Galena and I recall seeing a picture of him on his 1st day standing in front of the school. Wonder what happened to that picture? The CCC [Civil Conservation Corps] camps were in the Black Hills working on roads, bridges and working in the woods during the depression years. When these camps closed, at the end of the Depression, my father drew from some of those men as employees in his Galena Sawmill. He wanted to be partners with a couple of these men but they chose to be employees instead. Both were with him until they passed on in the 60’s and 70’s. Life was tough in Galena but my only knowledge of that was an occasional story from my Mom. I heard lots of stories about his logging trucks and their cars’ having to go up hills backwards because reverse was a more powerful gear than low was. I remember once, in Sturgis, when I had accidentally, or more likely, lazily, left the water running in the sink unattended. She tore my head off about it but later apologized for her behavior telling me that in Galena their only water was from a pump at the bottom of the hill. She carried all of her water up hill and up the steps so many times that she swore she would never waste it again. I have never wasted it either because of that.

My parents sawmill burned to the ground about 1942. Dad made the decision to move to Sturgis rather than rebuild in Galena and I came along in 1943 in our house in Sturgis. I don’t remember much about that house until later when my Grandparents moved into the house and we moved to a house downtown. On Saturday mornings My Dad and I visited the local ice house and brought a big chunk of ice up to Grandma and Grandpa for their icebox. That was a different time.

My father had several logging camps in the Hills and we, as a family, visited them frequently. I remember all good things as there were always children my age to play with and the camps had these great work horses that were used to skid logs. Someone would always make sure I got a ride on one of these gentle giants.

For me that seemed like a great time to be a kid except I don’t remember very much about it. In January of 1950, I was 7, and my friend LeRoy, who was 6, and I pondered the great mystery of what happened to the 4 that always followed the 19 when you wrote the year in the snow. I hold a great mind picture as I wrote 1949 in the snow, with a stick and my friend wrote 1950 above it. I think it just went down as one of life’s unsolved mysteries as we couldn’t resolve it or at least I don’t think we did.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Whirley Thing

This is a picture of my Wife’s new flower garden. A few months ago it used to be a poop garden but Mike, Ellen and Sam bought a house and took the dogs with them. I took down the poop garden fence as we didn’t need it anymore. Originally there were two big maple trees in the poop garden but they were dying, in sad shape and we had them removed along with their stumps. We cleaned up all the old poop, brought in new topsoil and like magic, a garden was ready for planting. Saturday was the first day for a trip to the garden center as she wanted some good roses to be the anchors of the garden and they had them. The Poop garden is the destination for a Hydrangea bush that isn't showing well and some Azalea's that will be getting their last chance. She picked up a few other plants to continue the process and we well keep picking them up until she is happy with how it looks.

This garden is about 40 feet by 6 feet. Additionally we have planting areas across the front, planting area on either side of the main sidewalk and another one across the side yard about 4 by 60. She will be busy as we have four formal gates that need designing and other areas inside the cemetery that need attention. Her most important one, I think, will be the one that replaces the poop garden. It is an interesting time of year as we haul truckloads of flowers from various wholesalers and a trip or two to a wholesaler that sells trees and shrubs. Slow down Ted! I think I’ll do a few separate postings on her planting projects and get back to this posting.

The Whirly Thing in the center of the picture is a present from my daughter to my wife for some reason or another. I’ve noticed that Mothers and Daughters tend to do that for each other. It’s like they really aren’t spending the money if they are buying it for each other, or something. I don’t even pretend to understand the process or the logic but I do know enough to leave the subject alone, Now. When the sun is out and there is a breeze, the Whirly Thing is something to behold and is a great centerpiece for the garden. Glad she didn’t buy a globe as I don’t like globes but now that I mention it, I think my wife likes Garden Globes. Soon the plants will be all in, the garden mulched and edged and Ted gets the fence fixed or replaced. After a couple of weeks of sun, more plants, water and fertilizer I’ll take some pictures of the finished garden.

Saturday, May 06, 2006


Here he is. Our latest addition to our menagerie of four legged friends. His name is Percy and as Sam says it “Percy, get it? Purrcee”. The cat was at the pound and had been there for a week with no takers. My wife loved him, so home with us he came. We only have Simon, a 12 year old Shih Tzu, at our house and Simon is really pleased with our new addition. The two really get along great.

To me it is just another cat but Dale was thrilled to learn that it is a Blue Point Siamese. Saving the cat requires money so donations will be appreciated. You can send them to The Ted Dickson Save The Cat Foundation in care of Theodore Dickson, Foundation President, 140 West Silver St, Westfield, MA 01085. Donations of between $25 - $50 will receive some internet information on Siamese cats. Donations of between $50-$500 will receive a beautifully framed membership certificate of proof of membership in the T.D.S.T.C.F. signed by the Foundation President plus the internet information on Siamese Cats. Donations of over $500 will receive all of the above plus an elegantly framed glossy photo of "Percy" the Blue Point Siamese. For $1,000 donations I can probably manage to smuggle the cat out and ship it to you. I prefer cash but will accept money orders, paypale, checks and stamps.

Thanking you in advance for your Donation
Very sincerely
Theodore R. Dickson Foundation President

p.s. There are also a limited number of animal helper positions available for a donation of between $100-$500. You will get a “Special Helper” badge for your smock and get to clean the liter box. Please bring your own slotted scoops. Only a few positions are available.

Sheriff had to take them away.

Randy and Boo went on the lam but got caught and landed in the hoosegow. It seems that their parents had a small fire, in their home the other night, and the house had to be ventilated. Windows, fans, etc. to get the burnt popcorn smell out. Well in the process, a door that doesn’t normally get opened was left ajar and no one but the two bad guys noticed. The next morning Mike and Ellen go to work and Sam goes to school. The greatest adventure of all awaits the two sneaks as they slowly steal their way to freedom and a “Great Adventure”, all of their own. Well the two really are not very brave and they sort of hang out in the area, much like a kid skipping school who has to come back to the school he is skipping from, to hang out. Finally some lady checks the dogs out and tries to call but no answer at home, so in desperation she calls the Animal Control Officer and he shows up and snags the two renegades and locks them up in a doggie holding cell in order to cool their heals. So the two got to have a sleepover with a whole bunch of new friends.

My wife and I are the only people that could get away from work to try and spring the two wayward pups. First stop was City Hall with Rabies Inoculation records in hand because daughter had neglected to purchase City Registration Tags as rebellious puppies could not be released without proper registration at $5 each but wait. No proof of being neutered? Add $15 each for a new total of $40. Trip to Southwick, our neighbor to the East with whom we share town dog kennels. Renegades had been housed overnight, that will be $25 each plus $50 Administration Fee [This is the fine for dogs running loose] and a new total of $140. There is a hidden fee involved as wife fell in love with a little, white, kitten that was on the hit list. Cost as of this writing prior to vet expenses $70. So far these two unruly puppies have cost me $210 with more to come. The kennels were very neat and tidy and the two officers involved were very nice. There is a real moral to this story. “Stay out of your daughters business”

Friday, May 05, 2006

The Legacy Continues

Congressman Kennedy blames accident on medications
5/5/2006, 5:01 a.m. ET
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy says he'd taken a prescription anti-nausea drug that can cause drowsiness, but consumed no alcohol, before crashing his car near the Capitol. In a statement, Kennedy, D-R.I., said the attending physician for Congress had prescribed Phenergan to treat Kennedy's gastroenteritis, an inflammation of the stomach and intestines. Kennedy said that after working Wednesday evening he went home and took "prescribed" amounts of Phenergan and Ambien, another drug that he sometimes takes to fall asleep. In his statement, Kennedy said he was apparently disoriented from the drugs when he got up a little before 3 a.m. Thursday and drove to the Capitol thinking he needed to be present for a vote. "At no time before the incident did I consume any alcohol," he said. Louis P. Cannon, president of the Washington chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police, who was not on the scene, said the congressman had appeared intoxicated when he crashed his Ford Mustang into a barrier on Capitol Hill. Cannon said the officers involved in the accident were instructed by an official "above the rank of patrolman" to take Kennedy home and no sobriety tests were conducted at the scene. A letter written by a Capitol Police officer to Acting Chief Christopher McGaffin said Kennedy appeared to be staggering when he left the vehicle after the crash about 3 a.m. The letter was first reported by Roll Call, a Capitol Hill newspaper. Kennedy reportedly told the police he was late for a vote, but the final vote of the night had taken place some six hours earlier.The Capitol Police did not return phone calls for comment.
This is a photo of Patrick's father who had his own little incident on Cape Cod at Chappaquiddick in 1969. At least no one died this time. As I write this it is being aired on ABC's Good Morning America. Good!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


What I want to know is, Who in the Hell is the IDIOT that let soda machines into our schools? It didn't happen during my time. You could not even smuggle a soda into school without getting into major trouble. You could have milk or water. We did not even have soda at home and milk or water or juice was it. Coke was for vacations, carnivals, and Rodeos. Soda was something you might get from a soda jerk, at a drive in restaurant or theater. But in school, Never. Lou, who I work with, is 42 and says their were no soda machines in his school. So how in the hell were they allowed in?

The nation's largest beverage distributors have agreed to halt nearly all soda sales to public schools, according to a deal announced Wednesday by the William J. Clinton Foundation.
Under the agreement, the companies have agreed to sell only water, unsweetened juice and low-fat milks to elementary and middle schools, said Jay Carson, a spokesman for former President Bill Clinton. Diet sodas would be sold only to high schools. Cadbury Schweppes PLC, Coca-Cola Co., PepsiCo Inc. and the American Beverage Association have all signed onto the deal, Carson said, adding that the companies serve ''the vast majority of schools.'' The American Beverage Association represents the majority of schools.

Does anyone know how those machines got into our schools? How did the Beverage companies get so powerful that they control what beverages and snacks get into our schools? Now they are a problem and need to be removed. They are making our kids, or grand kids fat and they have to come out and it is taking a former president and his foundation just to get them out. My God, what has happened to America? Why can't we just say to our school superintendents "Get the damn soda machines out of our schools and take the snack machines with them because they are killing our children!" We should also tell them, "When you get the machines out of our schools, you get out because you are idots for loosing control!"