Ralph Higgins

Ralph Higgins
color pencil sketch by Gayle Higgins

Quotes I Like

"If you do not take an interest in the affairs of your government, then you are doomed to live under the rule of fools."

– Plato

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Monday, March 29, 2010

Who's In Control?

From subtle symbolism to outright brainwashing, the techniques used to control people have always fascinated me. Our last election proves that if we are not a nation of sheep, we’re well on our way. Marketing experts know this and they are experts at pulling money out of your wallet or pushing votes in the booth.

Ads on TV use symbols and images to elicit subliminal connections to sell products. Retailers even study the traffic patterns of shoppers; which way most people turn when entering a store and how to move you through aisles of temptation in your journey to the most popular products. Naturally the higher priced items are displayed at eye level. Books could and probably have been written on marketing techniques. Speaking of books, bookstores will turn a book so that the full cover is displayed if a favorable deal has been struck with the publisher while only the spine is displayed on others.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

One Infamous Fig

Mark Twain said that the source of all humor is sorrow. But sometimes humor is just the manifestation of a twisted mind. And sometimes it’s just fun.

It was my first day home after a prostatectomy (surgical removal of the prostate gland). I only spent one night in the hospital and I was home. I felt great. The surgeon used a technique that was new at that time called, the DaVinci Surgical System. It’s less invasive and can avoid damaging nerves. Anyway, my kids and grandkids came over to see me and have a barbeque.

They were all surprised at how spry and unaffected I was. I tried to explain that the operation was a snap and the whole thing was no big deal. In fact, I said, “The medical lab gave me permission to take my prostate home to show my family.”

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Call Me On My Cell Phone

When I was a kid, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, I remember a black wall phone with no dial. Operators would respond to an open line with, “Number please.” And with party lines, which were common, someone would usually interrupt a conversation asking, “Can I use the line? This is Millie down the street. By the way, it’s not true that I can walk with a glass of water balanced on my rear end without spilling a drop.”

As kids we would tie two tin cans together with a string and talk into the can while the other guy put the can up to his ear. It actually worked and Millie couldn’t hear our conversations.

Monday, March 15, 2010

"I Animal!"

For those without grandchildren, this piece might be meaningless. And even those with ‘normal’, mild mannered grandkids might not be able to relate to the exploits of my youngest grandson, referred to by his grandfather as ‘Animal.’ This kid is three years old, but could pass for a 30-year-old troll with an attitude.

I spent Saturday at my daughter’s home, so I can confirm the fact that Animal has yet to be incarcerated. He remains at home under supervision while wearing a tracking device. He is definitely a danger to himself and to others. It’s been suggested that he be sedated, put in a straight jacket and tossed into a padded cell with pastel colors and soft music. But nobody listens to me.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Tree Forts and Rubber Guns

I don’t see kids running through open fields anymore and I haven’t seen a kid build a fort in years. I guess there aren’t many open fields anymore and parents are afraid to let their kids out of their sight. What a sad commentary on our culture.

If a kid tried to build a fort today he’d be required to have a building permit, an environmental report, a variance of some sort, a union contract, liability insurance, workers comp, and about thirty additional permits and clearances. HUD, OSHA, EPA and County Planning are just a few of the folks who would be looking over the kids shoulders as he digs his foxhole and reinforces it with scrap plywood, covering it with branches for camouflage. That building project would be red tagged before the kid got the roof on and the little sucker would be fined or hauled off due to numerous code violations. I don’t think it’s much fun to be a kid nowadays.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

They Can Kill Us, But They Can't Eat Us!

“They can kill us, but they can’t eat us. It’s against the law.” Those words are attributed to Private Lattie Tipton as spoken to Audie Murphy in the heat of battle during the Second World War.

Audie Murphy was the most decorated soldier to come out of that war. Unfortunately, his buddy Tipton was killed shortly after making that famous statement. For some reason, those words offer a strange consolation during trials and tribulations and when things get bad, you may hear someone say, “Don’t worry…they can kill you, but they can’t eat you.”

Personally I don’t find much consolation in that expression. The fact is that they probably can eat us, but maybe not all at once. And it probably is against the law…at least while food prices stay below home prices. But food prices are moving up rapidly and real estate has plummeted, so we might not have much time.

Where Have All the Fields Gone?

There’s a lot of nostalgia for those good old days of the fifties. And for good reason. They were great days. Can you honestly think of a better time to be a kid than the 50’s? I can’t and I lived it.

I grew up in the town of Los Gatos in northern California. Nestle up against protective shield of the Santa Cruz Mountains, Los Gatos was small and friendly with what has been described as the best climate in the world. It’s a great place to live.

The railroad played a role in the development of the town and when I was a kid we used to run after the train and jump on a box car ladder for a wild ride to Santa Cruz and a day at the beach. We prayed that we’d be lucky enough to hop a train and get back before anyone missed us. And we also prayed that we wouldn’t get hurt when we jumped off as the train approached the station. We had to pick a soft spot to land.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Keep Your Wife Out of the Garage

(Warning: The following is based on a true story. It could happen in a garage near you.)

My Wife: “When are you going to clean out this garage? Look at this mess!”

Me: “I’ll get to it. I’m just looking for something out here.”

Wife: “It’s all junk. What’s this metal thing?

Me: “I don’t know, but I’m going to save it. I may need it sometime.”

Wife: “When was the last time you needed it? You don’t even know what it is.

Me: “It looks important and if I toss it I’ll probably wish I had it the day after I toss it.”

Wife: “When you die, the kids are just going to throw all this stuff out. You should do them a favor and get rid of it all now. The garage is supposed to be for cars.”