Branson's One God, One Nation, One President 

For six decades, I been accustomed to seeing the United States President's picture being displayed in public buildings supported by tax dollars.  Not so, here in Branson, the "God & Country Mecca" for America's emboldened fundamentalist.  Each year 9 million+ of the faithfully find their way to our celebrated Vacation MegaTown.  They bring their Visa Cards and their Extreme Christian Values.  We locals appreciate both, and in our own quiet way pay tribute to the politics that, "as best we reckon", produced our bounty. In tribute our new City Hall Complex offers but the one displayed "presidential likeness"........yes, it is  "W".     


Come To Branson and See If God Likes You!

The Fall Creek Extension has now been open a couple of weeks and there is some good news and some bad new to report.  The bad news is that virtually no drivers are using the multi-million dollar road.
 It has previously been reported that we locals who circumnavigate "the strip" everyday have yet to figure out what confused assumption led to building the road. Further,  there is no chance that tourists will over a three day stay  find this up/down or down/up connector useful.  The good news is that so far the few who have driven the road have seemingly met with God's favor, in that neither of the two "ROCK CACHES" has released yet.  Actually, I have driven the road several times just to assure myself that it's not yet "my time".  I TOOK THIS FROM THE PASSENGER WINDOWIf you seek verification that your still "good with God", come on down and drive the road with two caches of 10 ton boulders precariously perched 100 feet over the road.  If they don't release, you will feel good.  If they do, you'll never know it, but you "will" make the evening news.  (Click on the photos for a close-up).    


A "TeenChick" Bell Curve

All teenage boys, save a few really dorky ones, classify teenage girls into three catagories based exclusively on appearance.  The percentage numbers follow a bell curve distribution such that only about 15% are considered "hot", only about 15% are judged "untouchables", and of course the 70% majority populate the "normal" group.  At some point before age 30 these same boys will succeed in subcatagorizing each "teenchick"group such that everything will not come up roses for all "hot chicks" nor will life be but a sad little affair for all "untouchables".  A few in both catagories will migrate up or down based on unforseen physical changes and many will shift up/down the gradient based on personality which is to say, a combination of intelligence and values.  Throughout history, it's interesting to note that for every "teenchick" generation, as time passes, the shift from both "hot" and "untouchable" to "normal" is many times greater than the shift to "hot" and "untouchable".  The explanation is that very many "hot" teenchicks, from there high ego state, fail to develop mature personality traits, while very many "untouchables", utilize their more isolated teen status to build mature personalities.  Indeed, it is but a rare few of the "hot" teenchicks that are able to stay the course through their season of adoration and build attractive personalities.  Those forever "hot" few that do stay focused on intelligence/values become the model for the next generation.  Those who do not are destined to know the lifelong trials of "normal" or the anguish of "untouchable"               


Cosette, I Am Not!

When I was in grammar school, I took French for two years.  Yes, I can count to ten, know the word for water and know that Les Miserables is a famous French novel.  This is about all I knew until recently when I tried to read this very thick book by Victor Hugo.  I did read some and quite honestly supplemented my grasp by reading reviews, notes and wiki.  This did allowed me to remember that I did know one of the characters, Cosette.  I remembered that whenever the stage play by the same name is being advertised, they always show this little girl dressed in rags sweeping with a broom bigger than she.  Beyond this, I now know that the story is not about the French Revolution.  It was about the early 1800's in Paris, where an ex-convict, who was really I good guy, helped a young girl whose parents had died to escape slavery and grow up to be a caring person with strong moral values.

 It is very hard for me to relate to either of the two women in the story.  Cosette's mother, Fatime, was a very strong person who lived hard and died young and was always focused on her daughters well being.  I don't know if I would be so strong, never having been a mother.  I suspect that many young mothers in today's world would just forget about the child and try to find a little happiness.  Fatime was lucky.  She happen to find a strong man who cared more about doing the right thing than he did about his own fulfillment.  This man, Jean Valjan virtually gave his life so that this girl who wasn't even his daughter could be exposed to a life where she was cared for, appreciated and loved.  This personal story was, of course, taking place, during a time of war when Cosettes protector was being hunted down by a rigid government who cared only about the letter of the law.  While Jean Valjan was helping Cosette to become a responsible and compassionate adult, there we're other young people in Paris who were trying to transform France into a nation with higher values.  One, of these, Marius, fell in love with Cosette, and in the end, both France and Cosette turned out to be far better off than seemed likely in the beginning.

 I was more able to relate to Cosette, but only in part.  As Cosette grew up she had the advantage of Jean Valjan's wisdom, strength and resources.  I have had in my life this same advantage; even more so.  I have had great parents who have always made sure the I was cared for, loved and privileged.  What I did't have was Cosette's early life experience of being deprived, mistreated, humiliated and literally beaten.  I suspect that she may have in the end turned out to be such a good women because she really knew what it was like to not have anyone on her side.  I do not, and believe that I am addicted to being cared for.  It's going to be hard to digest the idea that I am not the very most important person that I know.  Maybe, if I have a baby that will change.          


At Risk On The River In Branson



After the torrential rains of this week, Table Rock Lake  is gorged and the Corp is releasing water full throttle. As such, Lake Taneycomo is today, Saturday October 9, not a lake but a surging river torrent pressuring everything in or near the channel.  Although the local media sources have hyped the floating debris, vehicles, docks, etc., it certainly hasn't stopped the mommies and daddies and children from renting small unfamiliar boats to navigate the treacherous water in search of the joy in catching a trout.  Unfortunately, I can imagine a dozen occurrences that might turn tackling into tragedy and am therefore closing my picture window view of this "naivety on parade".  I am sure that the Branson Tourist Interests don't want that little old couple and their grandchildren for Illinois going home without a "trout picture", but  for Christ's Sake, who is it that's in charge of making sure that they at least "get home".