Good Ground Tree Care and Landscaping

James McDonald of Good Ground Tree Care and Landscaping Service and his crew are true professionals.   In the You Tube video links below, James dangles from a hickory tree over thirty-five foot above the ground.  Watch him as he frees  a jammed limb, trims limbs with extension saw, or descending from tree.


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Tailgatin’ Alabama Style

 In the hill country of northeast Alabama – not that far from Huntsville, a little known family tradition is repeated each year on the weekend after Thanksgiving.  A set of brothers, the Odell’s – Seth and Sefth, are quite famous in their neck of the woods.  Perhaps not as famous as their distant cousins – noted sports radio personalities, Brent and Brett Beaird; but still well known in their parts for their annual, though unusual,  Iron Bowl tailgating ritual.

The brothers own the Odell Septic Cleaning Service.  The company has four employees and a fleet of three pumping tank trucks.  Those three trucks keep the slush tide rollin’ and flowin’ for most of the year. But the last week of November, the brothers put the tailgatin’ gears in motion by pulling one of the pumping trucks off the service line.   The truck is driven down to the outdoor carwash and given a good soaping/rinsing (inside and out) with the high pressure wane.  The process is repeated several times.  Then when a stream of clear, lump-free water flows from the release valve hose of the tank; the brothers are ready for the most important aspect of their annual Iron Bowl ritual.

 The boys dump four hundred gallons of hot water, five pounds of malt extract, one hundred-fifty pounds of generic frosted corn flakes, fifteen gallons of blackstrap sorghum molasses, and twenty-five packets of brewer’s yeast into the five thousand gallon tank.

After pouring in all of the ingredients, the brothers drive their portable microbrewer around town for twenty to thirty minutes, givin’ it a good mixin’.  Then with the contents well agitated, the truck is driven back to the shop where ten electric blankets are draped over the tank.  The heat from the blankets cooks the special draft to perfection.  After thirty-six hours, the septic brew is ready – residual bacteria in the tank helps speed the brewing process considerably.

So with a hot tank of brew, ten live chickens, a goat, and a mixed case of Golden Flake Thin & Crispy Potato Chips and Jalapeno Cheddar Puffs; the Odell brothers are set to hit the road and party.  So no matter if the tailgating’ activity’s in Tuscaloosa or Opelika, their microbrew wagon is ready to meet the challenge.

As a side note, the boys said that the truck isn’t usually ready to return to the fleet until well after Christmas.

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Nick Saban To Texas – 5 Reasons Other Than The Money

1. Room to Breathe: Like the thick air of a hot sweltering Southern night, Nick Saban and his family are smothered by Crimson Tide fan adoration. Back in January 2007, I told a co-worker that Saban would leave Bama within 5 years. His departure wouldn’t be over wins or losses, money, the NFL, or a better job offer. Rather that his departure would be driven by the gravity of his success and the millstone of exaltation placed around the neck of the One who would become the Golden Calf of Alabama’s chosen people. In today’s high tech world, the Bear is AOL and “You have mail!” to most Tide followers – while Saban is all Twitter and #hashtag#. The Saban family has found that the human deities actually become the captive possessions of its worshippers. In Austin, the Saban family will be able to move about freely and breathe deeply without restriction – within the wide open spaces of the Texas hill country.

2. Longhorn Football Isn’t the Only Show in Town: Longhorn football is big in Texas. Everything is big in Texas. However; Longhorn football isn’t the main reason that people journey to Austin for a weekend excursion. Austin is an entertainment hotspot and the second home to Country Music. Saban will be just one of many celebrities living in and seen around Austin, on a daily basis. In Austin, he will be viewed more on the status of a prominent CEO, rather than a football deity.
3. Validate the Claim: Within the second, if not the first year, of the coaching tenure at UT, Saban will win a national championship. He will be the only coach to have won national championships at three different universities. The title of Greatest College Football Coach Ever will be his to claim – without question or dispute.
4. Savior of the B12 Conference: Just introducing Nick Saban as the new head coach of the University of Texas Longhorns will catapult the Steers back into national college football prominence. The Big Twelve Conference Commissioner will hitch onto the Longhorn’s shooting star, expand conference membership, establish a string of national championships, and move ahead of the SEC as the premier college football conference in America.
5. Unlimited Potential for the Saban Family: Money won’t be the deciding factor in Nick Saban’s move. His name on the door will guarantee wagon loads of money wherever he decides to park. But Alabama can’t buy the cultural, economic, or political influence which will surround the Saban family in Austin. There are 52 Fortune 500 companies headquartered in Texas – two in the Austin area. The entire state of Alabama headquarters just one Fortune 500 company. Texas is relevant on a national level –economically, politically, financially, culturally, and academically. And while Alabama is a nice place; they can claim none of those attributes. In the nineteenth century, Texas was a republic. They have a storied history of independence; the same type of independence which Saban demands in his working environment. Today, Texas would still thrive as a republic. The state has the people, resources, and attitude to govern itself, without outsider intervention. In this environment, the Saban family would establish lifelong ties to prominent centers of influence, people outside the world of college football – relationships under which the family would prosper for generations.

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No Man Knows the Hour

The previous post addressed a relationship between Rosh Hashanah (Festival of Trumpets) and the Rapture of the Church. For some time, I have been convinced that there is significant Biblical evidence in the Holy Scripture to logically consider the fifth … Continue reading

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Rosh Hashanah–Festival of Trumpets

    Reposted Annually: Around the world, today at sundown; the Jewish holiday – Rosh Hashanah – will commence.  You ask as a Christian, “Why do I care?”  Well there are several reasons why today’s Christian should have an interest in the … Continue reading

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Words of Comfort – Children of Moore Oklahoma

I Didn’t Get to Tell You, Bye

Or Kiss You on the Cheek.

You’ll always Long to Hold Me Tight,

And Hear My Soft Voice Speak.

But in the Roar of Raging Wind

While Things Were Tossed About,

As Dark Clouds Loomed and Thunder Boomed

I Never Had a Doubt.

For Deep within the Chaos

As My Spirit Was Set Free,

I Heard a Whisper Calling,

“Child!  It’s Time to Come with Me.”

And in the Arms of Jesus,

I, Securely, Am Embraced

Until the Time He Calls You, Too

And Our Separation Is Erased.

 S A Collins

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Tribute to Those Who Dream of Playing at Augusta – Home of the Masters Tournament

The Whole in One

Morning starts bright and clear.
Hope is high, no need to fear.
Distant clouds build from the West.
A torrent storm – No one can guess.

So with much glee, a swing is given.
From the tee, the ball is driven.
Sailing high to great height,
The golfer smiles with delight.

But a gust of wind does take hold,
And the ball’s straight arc now is stole.
Now no one knows were it may land.
Or of the fate, this Gale has planned.

So as the golfer leans in hope,
The ball’s control – now out of scope.
Encouraging words slip from his lip.
As from his view, the ball does dip.

Anticipation fills his heart.
An unknown challenge soon to start.
His drives were always straight and true.
A shot from the rough – is something new.

“For a Mulligan, You know, I’ll buy a beer?”
But the field marshal says, “Shoot from here!”
Moments like this – Where’s One to embrace?
As Doubt and Fear jump square in your face.

A morning which started so simple and clear,
Now holds thunder and lightning – ever so near.
While buckets of rain begin to pour,
Your hope is dashed – deep down to the core.

But just like the rain which we can not control;
God has a plan for man and his soul.
When storm clouds smother all reason and hope;
Look for the Savior – Look for the Rope.

A current of water laps at the golfer’s shoe;
Shifting his foot, the current does too.
Racing through the gully and lifting the ball;
Down the hill side – with a tumble and fall.

Along the fairway and upon the green;
Its way to the cup – seems ever so clean.
Till at the lip, the ball comes to a halt;
But into the hole – it will not vault.

Onlookers marveled at the wondrous shot,
A thrill and sensation which couldn’t be bought.
But even with that, sadness hangs in the air.
The ball didn’t drop – it doesn’t seem fair.

Life and its mysteries can give us success.
But with God in control – we receive His Best.
For with His release of a sweet gentle wisp,
He’s ever there – for the Silent Assist.

                                                S. A. Collins

Originally dedicated to co-worker Rick Bynum of Forsyth, Georgia

From Pop’s Collection of Work


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Farewell, Annette!


         Yesterday’s announcement from the official Disney Fan Club  that Annette Funicello had succumbed to complications of the disease – multiple sclerosis- struck a sad note in the hearts of millions of Americans over the age of 50.  Ms Funicello represented all things clean and decent about America in the late 50’s and early 60’s.  Through her, along with the Cleaver’s, the Reed’s, the Nelson’s, the Anderson’s, and a little later – the citizens of Mayberry; we witnessed an example of how everyday life should be, during that treasured American era.

            But just as MS and age brought a close to Annette’s influence in our lives, a steady moral decline and shift in family values are bringing a close to that generation’s perception of the American Way of Life.  In today’s TV situation family, Father no longer Knows Best – or for that matter, knows anything at all.  The parents are idiots.  The children are in charge.  And everyone is out for themselves.  Our grandchildren are bombarded with the belief through media outlets that they are entitled to instant gratification, self-indulgence, and unmerited privilege.   

            So Annette, we’re thankful that God has determined that your life’s work is complete; and that He delievered you from your pain and suffering.  Today, you rest in His eternal presence.  We can only hope that your enchanting smile, gracious personality, and affection for others will influence the hearts and minds of future generations – and help them rediscover and embrace the virtues which made American a better place to live.

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DELL – Customer Loyalty or When An Old Friend Lets You Down

After several months of “Maintenance Down Time”, the new (correct one) PC has arrived – and we’re ready to go.   Initially, the hard drive on the old DELL crashed.  After week of attempting to retrieve the precious data from the old drive, I decided to pursue that cause at a later date.  Purchasing a new PC was the only option.

Three things that I hate in life: Buying new furniture, buying a new car, and buying a new PC.   The problem with new furniture is that you know you’re going to get ripped off.   New car shopping isn’t nearly as bad as it used to be.   Internet price quotes place the buyer on even footing with the dealership.  The days of “haggling” over the price are long gone.  Today’s salesman -for the most part- have no product knowledge.   They merely run interference between the buyer and the mysterious sales manager.  And if a sale is made, they print out the countless  computer generated documents requiring your signature.

Buying a computer is a lot like life.   Before it’s even out of the box – there’s something better to replace it.   Buying a computer is like going to the self serve yogurt shop.   All those sweet and savory topping!   You don’t want to waste those valuable price driving ounces on useless toppings.  With your basic PC, you stack on the processor, OS, memory, graphics, hard drive, video, and on and on – before you even get to the software options.   And even at that first boot up, your new machine is already a “has been” in terms of advanced technology.

Until recently, I’ve always been a GMC guy when it comes to trucks.   And with computers, I’ve always been a DELL guy.  My last three home systems have been DELL products – throw in KK’S laptop and it’s four.  Most of my work PC’s have been DELL.   So while shopping around, it was hard to break away from DELL.   At one point, I was really lusting after the new DELL 27 inch all-in-one touch screen.  But decked out with all the latest and greatest toppings, the system came in at $2500+.   Then after reading the reviews, it was difficult to jump off that bridge.  The machines seemed to have issues with the new Windows 8 OS, customers complained about hardware glitches, incorrect order placement, and shoddy customer service.  Pushing the “place order” button wasn’t happening.

Finally, I convinced myself that the big 27 inch wasn’t what I needed to fulfill my PC need.  That machine was developed for video viewing.  My purpose was for a writing tool.   So after peddling over different options for the next few weeks, I finally decided on the DELL Inspiron One 2330 with Intel I7 processor.   Going to the AAFES (military shopping) website, I placed my order (02/12/13).   The new machine arrived on a Friday afternoon (02/15/13).   With a lot going on that weekend, I started setting it up in increments.   And was very pleased with my purchase – until I casually noticed that my processor was an I5.  Not the I7!    Slamming on the brakes in my mind, I stared at the system configuration screen.  Dialing DELL Customer Support brought no satisfaction, their office hours were M-F 8-5.  It was Saturday night!

Monday morning (02/18/13) was President’s Day – a Federal Holiday.   As a federal employee in my real job, I was of f – and on the phone to DELL Customer Support.   One hour later, I felt like Mick Jagger -   Can’t Get No Satisfaction!  During the hour which I held the phone to my ear, I heard at least 55 minutes of obnoxious, nerve racking elevator music.  Briefly speaking to four different English speaking customer service reps from four different departments, none understood why I was upset that my processor was not the one which I has ordered.  I don’t think any understood what AAFES was or that I purchased through AAFES’ online DELL service center.   In their mind, I went to a store, bought a PC, got home, decided that I wasn’t happy with my purchase, and wanted them to do something about it..  After giving the poor rep which I spoke with last, a solid piece of my mind and opinion an how low DELL had sunk, I hung up and vowed to never buy another DELL product.

So I packed up KK, Nannie, the Girl’s, and their Mother into the Yukon; and hauled that despicable DELL pc over to Robins AFB and left DELL’s mistake at the local AAFES facility.  Then I sat at the empty table with no pc, or not idea what would replace a DELL.    After a few days (5) of replacement research and a lot of simmering, I logged on to the AAFES website and reorder the original DELL Inspiron One 2330 with Intel I7 processor – and awaited its arrival.   When I arrived home on Feb 28th, the new DELL was waiting on me.

Opening the box and pulling out the unit, my heart sank.  The little INTEL stick on the front of the machine read “CORE I5″.     Immediately, I dialed and heard the music.   But this time, the result was better.   I was on the phone maybe 15 minutes.  Spoke with two people, one very briefly!  The second – Naveen Kumar – was very concerned with my dissatisfaction.    It took a bit of behind the scene action, but she delivered.   DELL CSR’s would ensure that the original requested PC – a DELL Inspiron One 2330 with Intel I7 processor - was processed and shipped, promptly.

Yesterday, the new machine arrived – and Naveen did a good job.  I have the DELL Inspiron One 2330 with Intel I7 processor for which I had longed.  Yes!  I’ve hit a few glitches with Windows 8 and the Cloud - but for the moment, I’m happy.  But I secretly  worry that an old friend may still let me down.



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A Walk Outside The White House

Please check out this awesome video reguarding the physical layout of our nation’s capitol -Thanks to Stoplight!

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