Thursday, April 26, 2007

Picture Identification Required

The sign on the door to the Wetumpka Post Office is like those on USPS buildings everywhere; AUTHORIZED EMPLOYEES ONLY BEYOND THIS POINT. ALL EMPLOYEES MUST HAVE A PICTURE IDENTIFICATION. There are lots of security measures in postal facilities and many are wise requirements, especially in large facilities like the mail processing office in Montgomery that employs hundreds of men and women on three shifts working literally around the clock. In an office that size, nobody can know everybody and disgruntled former employees are not rare. But in a small office like Wetumpka, we DO all know each other which makes some of the restrictions and requirements silly. They are, however, still requirements. And so there are regular checks of ID badges and a log must be maintained showing the dates that badges were checked and actions taken so that when somebody comes from a REALLY big office they will have lots of things to check, evlauate, and write up.
It sometimes reminds you of Barney wanting to follow some obscure regulation in Mayberry where Otis, the town drunk, has always locked himself up and released himself after he sleeps it off. I have played all the roles in this comedy, including inspector/enforcer. Now I am playing the role of laugher/mocker. I was born for this role. The latest act began when the part-time work I have been doing for the District Attorney's office in the Pre-Trial Diversion program was assigned to be a state job. There were many forms to complete and many checklists and hoops and dogs and ponies and it was ridiculous and I had much fun with the process. However, there was a catch. One of the hoops I had to jump through was to provide my Social Security card for.....well, nobody could explain what just have to have it. I tried to remember the last time I used or saw my Social Security card. Couldn't remember. When I realized it was not in my wallet, I had no idea where it might be. It was not in the fire-proof box with my outdated will and other outdated papers. I tried to trick them with the devious plan of submitting my annual statement from the SSA showing my meager earnings and what I MIGHT receive if some money is actually in the SSA accounts when I turn 62 or 65 or 67 or 94 depending on the year of my birth. Nope. That will not do because........well, nobody knows just have to have a card. Not a problem, I cheerfully replied. I will just jaunt down to the SSA office and pick up a replacement card. Whoa, not so fast. What you actually have to do is download a form (this saves the 2 to 3 weeks it will take for them to mail you one), fill it out, and submit it in person at the nearest SSA office along with 37 forms of identification (at least two of which must have a picture) and a copy of your outdated will. Seriously, the form had many blanks including your mother's AND your father's social security numbers. I am not making this up! While digging through sexy birthday cards from my sweet wife and threatening notes sent home by Mark's grade school teachers I stumbled social security card. I danced like George Bush! Card submitted, copy faxed, hallelujah I am now a State employee AND a postal employee. You can't make me do nothing!
Here is the point of the social security card story; in the process I also found an ID card from the days when I worked in mail processing. This was prior the the ultra-modern General Mail Facility or as most locals call it--the AUM Post Office. This was in the earliest days of what was called the CPA--Capital Plaza Annex. That is right, when we began to be automated we quickly outgrew the facility in the old federal courthouse downtown and moved into......well......a former grocery store on the Southern Bypass. This old ID gave me a chuckle and an idea. So I used my hole punch to make a slot for the clip, switched the clip from my ID showing me in white shirt and tie to the newfound ID and wore it to work. I bet you would love a look at the Id. You know you want to see it. What did Roxy look like in 1974? Has he always had white hair? Did he always have a beard? Was he always muscular and ruggedly handsome? The answer to all these questions is NO! He used to look like this............

Of course, the white streak in the middle is where I covered my SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER! Because we all know that all you really need is the number and not the actual card to steal somebody's identity! Now, some of you will look at this picture and say "That is not Roxy, that is J.D. Williams. His signature is at the base of the picture." Good observation. But that is the name of the postmaster in Montgomery in 1974 who was fairly intelligent but did not understand that he sould sign UNDER where it says "validating signature". That is indeed me at about age 20 and I have had more fun with this badge already than a brand new BB gun. And there is little danger of putting anybody's eye out. Actually, the more recent ID is far more likely to cause eye damage!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Wedding Pictures

It took a few weeks, but here are a few great pictures of Lindsay and Mark's wedding. The pictures are by John Anderson and can be viewed at He took over 1200 so there will be more later!

Beautiful setting.

Beautiful mom.

Keep scrolling......

Helen and Lindsay--all smiles.

Lucky groom.

Proud dad.

The grooms grandmothers

Pretty girls everywhere!

When the wedding director is away, the boys will play.
The bride was stunning!
We laughed at the cold wind.
It got warmer and warmer.
And warmer.
Graceful entrance.
If the photographer is John Anderson, there will be some "swangin".
The mothers-in-law seem to be getting along just fine.
Turns out, weddings can be lots of fun.
The Sun sets on a beautiful day.
You should see this sunset TWICE.
Everybody was really glad to see me........get off the dance floor!
They must be off! What's the hurry?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Virginia Tech Massacre

Many facts about the shootings at VT will be uncovered over the coming days. Even more opinion and speculation will be broadcast because lots of 24 hour news networks must fill the void with ever-more spectacular perspectives. I can not resist offering some simple observations. Let me state the obvious; I was not there on that day and did not know Mr. Cho before the shootings, therefore my observations are based on news reports and I fully realize that some of those may be inaccurate in these early days. Still here are 10 observations;

1] Cho Seung-Hui's parents and sister are also victims and need our prayers.

2] It is possible to live in the richest country in the world, be given a good education, a car, and unlimited opportunity and still be envious of others that seem to have more.

3] Self-centered people will use this terrible event to push their agenda--conservative and liberal, republican and democrat, news reporters and entertainers.

4] This is part of the reason your "narrow-minded" parents do not want you to dress in goth style, get tattoos, and multiple body piercings--if you adorn yourself like a mass-murderer, it is not unreasonable for others to suspect that you may have those tendencies.

5] We have a right and responsibility to ask people about their behavior and expect some level of compliance with societal norms.

6] No, you do NOT have the right to think, do, and say whatever you want without being questioned.

7] Do not blame the university president, security, local law enforcement, nor the business who sold the guns. Only one person is responsible. Nobody else could have prevented it.

8] Do not blame the guns. Cho also had knives and posed with a hammer in attack posture.

9] For perspective, keep in mind that Muslim extremists kill this many people almost DAILY.

10] What the world needs now is love, sweet love. That's the only thing there is just too little of.

Monday, April 16, 2007

How did I miss that?

Although I went to school back in the days of buckboards and outhouses, I have tried to keep up with trends and social change. Not keep up in the sense of being trendy--just aware of the trends. I will never wear sagging pants nor shorts that come to my ankles. But I need help concerning something much more important than clothing trends, shifts in musical interest, gas prices, and rapidly changing technology. This change has a sneaky element. It was done on the sly and I am not sure ANYBODY has noticed it. Yes, it does have ramifications for global warming. Does anybody know the low for last night in Montgomery? I have checked several sources and they range from 38 to the mid-forties. The lowest report I have found is from WSFA which is 38 degrees. The Weather channel this morning said 39 degrees. I do not have an outside thermometer so I usually just take their word for it. However, today is not the first time I have noticed that MANY rooftops in my neighborhood and all the way up Hwy. 231 to Wetumpka had a significant amount of frost. Frost is, of course, dew that falls during the night then freezes. Now, way back when I was in school, water froze at 32 degrees. And not as soon as a thermometer said it was 32. The air had to be cooler than that or at that temp for a while to freeze water. If my house is pretty close to the geographic center of Montgomery, how can there be a fairly heavy frost when the coldest temperature of the night was 38 degrees?

I have over the years hiked, biked, and ridden motorcycles through enough varied terrain to be acutely aware that passing through a bottom at night where humidity has gathered will be several degrees cooler than an area a short distance away. But I do not live in a bottom. And Wetumpka is uphill from Montgomery. Yet there it was--everywhere--heavy frost on a morning when the coldest temperature was at least 6 degrees above freezing. Is it possible that the reported temperature--the OFFICIAL temperature--is several degrees warmer than the actual temperature? Is it possible that an airport is not the most appropriate spot to determine an accurate temperature for the surrounding area? Is it possible that most of our temperature readings are taken in metropolitan areas affected by nearby pavement and artificially heated and cooled buildings? Sure, temps are taken in small towns but not in cow pastures and wooded areas. I am solidly convinced that the "official" temperatures are often incorrect for many areas and unless the point of freezing for water has changed, today's frost makes it more than a "feeling" or opinion. How would that affect the average temperatures over the last century if reported temps are off by 6 or more degrees? Somebody PLEASE let me know if freezing has been moved to 38 or 40 degrees so I can respond to future forecast appropriately.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em!

For a while I was angered by the claims of pseudo-scientists and the inventor of the internet. Then I began to just laugh at claims such as "global temperatures have risen steadily throughout the 650,000 years of recorded history." 650,000 years? Where is all that history recorded? And where was it when I was in school? Did we recently dig up some weather reports showing the current temperature and rainfall for the past 24 hours from 650,000 years ago? So much of this "science" defies logic. Once I started laughing at the silly claims, I could not stop. When I began to hear about Algore feeling fine about his private planes and huge house while he flew around telling people to feel guilty about hauling their kids to school in an SUV because he buys Carbon off-sets I was rolling in the floor laughing. This is better than anything on the Comedy Network. I laughed and I laughed. Occasionally, it seemed prudent to explain to someone that I really do feel we should be good stewards of the earth. Gradually, I began to conceive a plan. I can help save the earth. It turns out that some of the companies that will gladly receive your carbon off-sets--say $5.50 per ton--use that money to plant trees which solve the problem. I have always wanted to own some timberland and now I see a way. My company will use the off-set money you send me to plant trees on my land. Now, I do not actually own the land yet. I will have to buy the land from the proceeds of your guilt. But with everybody on the bandwagon now about global warming and nobody noticing that it was FREEZING over the Easter weekend, it should not take long to have the land paid for and begin planting trees. So send your money. You will feel better. I will feel better. And Algore will have invented the internet, won an oscar and Nobel prize, and saved the planet. Everyone will feel better.

Monday, April 02, 2007


I have just escaped the kidnappers and the first thing I want to do is post to my blog! Alright, I wasn't really kidnapped. I have been out of the country.....yeah, I was in Greece with Brad. You don't believe me? Actually, the truth is I have been caught up in a vision from the island of Patmos. That's right, I am teaching Revelation for the first time and have been reading A LOT. That does not excuse breaking my promise to submit weekly accountability reports on chasing my weight loss goal. That is not going so well. I am not giving up, but discouraged. This week will not be a good one because it is a week of celebration. That is my segue to a more fun part of this post.

Saturday, April 7, my son Mark will marry Lindsay Edwards. It has been a long time coming in many ways. I am thankful that they dated a long time and had a long engagement to allow time to be sure about their decision. Such a time is usually happy for parents. I feel doubly blessed because Mark went through a time in his life when the future didn't look so bright. He was making bad decisions and was mad at the world for the consequences he was suffering. It is very painful for a parent to watch. But prayers were answered and Mark did the hard work to turn things around. He worked harder and did without more than most people can understand. During that time he developed a relationship with Lindsay and that relationship grew during hard times. Lindsay demonstrated true, unselfish love during those times in ways that convince me the two of them can overcome any difficulty they encounter. Will they ever argue? Sure. Will they experience difficult financial times? Probably. Will they ever worry about what other people think? Well, one of them will. But I believe they love each other with a deep, mature love and that they both understand that seeking God must come first. Because of that, this weekend is a great celebration in my mind. Will something at the ceremony not go as planned? Probably. Will somebody get their feelings hurt? Possibly. Will the reception be more rowdy than most of us older folks prefer? Ummm, good chance. But at the end of the day, Mark and Lindsay will be married. And I for one will be happy....proud....content.....dancing like an old fool!