Wednesday, August 30, 2006

On Newstands Now: Vonnegut's Apocalypse

Check out the latest issue of Rolling Stone, the one with Christina Aguilera on the cover. In it there's an article about and interview with Indiana's favorite son, Kurt Vonnegut titled "Kurt Vonnegut Says This Is the End of the World" Here's an except from who didn't have the decency to print the whole thing:

"I'm Jeremiah, and I'm not talking about God being mad at us. I'm talking about us killing the planet as a life-support system with gasoline. What's going to happen is, very soon, we're going to run out of petroleum, and everything depends on petroleum. And there go the school buses. There go the fire engines. The food trucks will come to a halt. This is the end of the world. We've become far too dependent on hydrocarbons, and it's going to suddenly dry up. You talk about the gluttonous Roaring Twenties. That was nothing. We're crazy, going crazy, about petroleum. It's a drug like crack cocaine. Of course, the lunatic fringe of Christianity is welcoming the end of the world as the rapture. So I'm Jeremiah. It's going to have to stop. I'm sorry."

Guess I'll have to read the rest at the library. Still the best place for free literature.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Parker Update 2

Flickr Photo
Parker Reading 2,
Originally uploaded by chmcelwee.

This is another favorite book-"Five Little Monkeys"!

Parker Update

Parker Reading 1
Parker Reading 1,
Originally uploaded by chmcelwee.

Here is Parker during a rare moment on Sunday when he acutually slowed down. He loves to look at his books and have his books read to him! Every night after his bath, Jim reads to him. At first, it was a struggle-but now he loves it and wants to read books all the time! It is a great bonding time for him and daddy. His favorites are:
"Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see?", "Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?", "Blue Hat, Green Hat", "Snuggle Puppy", and "The Going to Bed Book."

Friday, August 18, 2006

Anchors Aweigh!

Our nephew Tim Herschell just recently graduated from US Navy boot camp. After some more training he'll eventually be deployed on theUSS Wasp, based out of Norfolk, Virginia. Congratulations, Tim!

USS Wasp, commissioned in 1987, is a 844 foot long, multipurpose amphibious assault ship and has as its primary mission the support of a Marine landing force. They support helicopters, Harrier II jets, amphibious vehicles, a full medical wing, 1,075 crew members and 1,600 embarked troops

The Wasp was named to honor nine previous US ships, dating to the American Revolution.

  • a schooner, 1775-1777
  • a sloop of war, 1806-1813
  • a schooner, 1810-1814
  • a tender sloop, 1813-1814
  • a ship-rigged sloop of war, 1814
  • an iron-hulled side wheel steamer, 1865-1876
  • a steam yacht, 1898-1921
  • a aircraft carrier CV-7, 1940-1942, which was sunk by the Japanese during the Battle of Guadalcanal
  • a aircraft carrier CV-18, 1943-1972
God speed Tim!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Naperville Sprint Triathlon 2006

My "little" brother George competed in the Naperville Sprint Triathlon this past weekend. It was a 400 meter swim, 20 kilometer bike race and 5 kilometer run. He finished and he said he'd even do it again next year. I think a race like that would have probably killed me. It's a great inspiration for me to continue to lose weight and hopefully get into shape. Way to go George!

Country roads, take me home

I haven't posted anything in a while. I feel like I've been neglecting the Roach Family Blog's faithful readers! Cathy, Parker and I have had a busy few weeks, starting with our trip to Harlan County Kentucky to my Grandma Parker's funeral. Harlan County is in far southeast Kentucky in the Appalachian Mountains. We were just a few miles from the state line with Virginia and Black Mountain, the highest point in Kentucky.

We stayed in Benham, Kentucky, which along with nearby Lynch, was founded as a company town for the coal companies. Benham was founded by International Harvester, a farm equipotent manufacturer, in the early 20th century. They owned the lots that the houses were built on and controlled almost every aspect of the miners' life. The hired and fired the school teachers and ministers, banned alcohol and limited free speach. My mom and grandparents never lived in Benham, but my Grandmother graduated from Benham High school and worked at the company store in town. While in Kentucky we stayed at the High School she graduated from which has been converted into a hotel, the Benham Schoolhouse Inn. The old company store is now a coal mining museum. The museum even has a replica of a working mine shaft.

It had been years since I'd been to Harlan County. My mom actually grew up just outside of Dione, Kentucky, a slow spot in the road that doesn't even show up on the maps. That was where the church was that the family attended and where my Grandmother's funeral took place. The scenery is breathtakingly beautiful with the mountains, shear rock cliffs along the roads, pine forests and kudzu. But the poverty is crushing. Most of the deep coal mines have closed and those that are open are strip mines that are much less labor intensive. We saw some remnants of the industry, including overhead conveyors from the mines to the railroad and stacks of coal on the side of the road, but not much.

It was great seeing all of my aunts, uncles and cousins that I don't get to see often. It's too bad it took my Grandmother's death to bring so much of the family together. It's not likely that the whole family will be together like this again. George and I, along with 7 of our cousins, were asked to be pall bearers, which was something I had never done before. At the cemetery, the gravesite services to place along the road because the grave site was at the top of a large hill. After the service, we saw that the cemetery employees were going to carry Grandma's casket to the grave in the back of a 4-wheel drive "gator." We all decided that this was an undignified last ride so we carried the casket up the steep 50 yards or so to her final resting place. I almost tripped into the open grave, but that's another story for another time.

It's unlikely I'll ever go back to Harlan County, but a part of our family will always be there.