Monday, May 31, 2010

Don't Shoot the Messenger

Some recent news out of Washington DC -- the District of Corruption, Collusion and Complicity.

There will be no Social Security cost-of-living increases for 2010 and 2011, due to the fact that those who have been in charge of administering our country have driven the nation into a national debt exceeding $13 trillion. That’s $13,000,000,000,000.00 -- lucky number 13, followed by 12 zeros. Plus, there will be a two dollar increase on all Medicare drug benefit co-pays.

By the way, a stack of 13 trillion one-dollar bills would be 871 miles high, which is the same as the distance from Washington, DC to Memphis, Tennessee.

But not all is lost. Congress has appropriated $24 million for a new system for processing the medical records of all congressmen and senators. According to the Social Security website, these funds will be generated from the savings of withholding Social Security cost-of-living increases in 2010 and 2011, and the two dollar increase in Medicare drug benefit co-pay.

And to further exacerbate the thought process of anyone with a thought process, members of Congress, which has 237 millionaires within its ranks, have also voted themselves another three percent salary increase. Apparently, their cost of living is of higher priority than those on Social Security.

by Holly Avila

Hurricane scalar weather wars
Lying media corporate whores

A missile, no plane hits the Pentagon
And all video evidence quickly is gone

World Trade Center basement explosions
Covered by shocked, patriotic emotions

Burning jet fuel cannot melt steel
Silverstein’s billion dollar insurance deal

Box cutter phony hijack distraction
Blind war-mongering knee jerk reaction

Grieving mother’s sincere protestation
Royal Saudi business infestation

Bush living easy high on the hog
Like some ass-kissing Illuminati lap dog

Jeff Gannon’s frequent White House sleep-overs
CIA drug-running under the covers

Clinton’s lucky Bilderburg breakfast
Hillary’s new pearl choker necklace

Arkansas’ hidden covert air strips
Triangle-shaped flying space ships

MK Delta and Montauk boys
Bush Sr’s secret little boy toys

Microbiologist suicides
HSN1 genocide

Verichip mandatory national ID
Mind and mood control technology

Starvation and torture at Guantanamo Bay
For democracy and the American Way

Haliburton and Carlyle Group doing well
Liberty and justice going to hell

The truth can still set us free
I’m just the messenger, don’t shoot me

Quote for the Day -- “It’s a rich man’s sport this game called war, played with the lives and the blood of the poor… They’ll preach democracy and setting people free, when power and control is all it’s ever for.” Holly Avila (co-author of BROKEN DREAMS AND SHATTERED PROMISES)

Bret Burquest is an award-winning columnist and author of four novels. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a dog named Buddy Lee and where the cost of living includes postage and handling. His blogs appear on several websites, including

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Price of Freedom

In the spring of 1966, I was drafted into the U.S. Army during what was referred to as the Vietnam Conflict. They never did call it a war – apparently, they didn’t want to alarm the civilians.

I did my Basic Training at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri, then was permanently stationed at Third Army Headquarters at Ft. McPherson in Atlanta, Georgia.

Ft. McPherson was a small post, primarily a golf course and an Officer’s Club. The office complex was occupied by throngs of senior officers, including an assortment of generals, no doubt making key decisions like deciding what color to paint the new wing of the Officer’s Club and how many soldiers it should take to screw in a light bulb.

I had four years of college and had been a computer programmer when I was drafted, thus I was assigned to the Third Army Data Processing Company where I was issued two blue pencils, assigned to a desk and given the title of Data Processing Analyst. I also received a Top Secret security clearance because I would have access to sensitive information and spent the remainder of my two-year commitment working night shift, along with a few other analysts, for a civilian employee. My duties consisted of coding certain items on classified documents that were subsequently forwarded to another department for computer processing.

Basically, events in Vietnam had little effect on me or my fellow analysts. We just did our jobs and counted the days until we could go back into the civilian world. But every now and then, we were required to perform extra duties. One such duty was funeral detail. The family of every deceased soldier is entitled to a military funeral and requests were frequent in those days.

It takes 17 soldiers to perform a military funeral. Six soldiers carry the casket, two of whom fold the flag draped over the coffin and hand it to an officer who then passes it on to a family member. Seven soldiers stand at attention off in the distance, waiting to give a 21-gun salute, along with a sergeant to give the orders. Finally, a bugler lingers nearby to play Taps, often out of sight, while the driver usually waits at the bus. I participated in many funeral details, each one a supremely sad ordeal.

One was in a tiny family graveyard, in the middle of the woods outside of Sevierville, Tennessee, near the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. By the time the proceedings started, there must have been a thousand people crammed in the small clearing, all mourning the loss of one of their own. Whoever we were burying would certainly be missed.

Another Army funeral was performed in central Alabama. It was a rowdy white-redneck crowd where a few of the attendees took exception to that fact that the diseased was one of them (white) and there were a couple of black soldiers in the funeral ceremony. The 1960s in the Deep South were still highly racially divided. It became very tense and confrontational, to the point of attaching bayonets to our rifles. There are four stages of grief -- denial, anger, depression, acceptance. If you attend a few military funerals, you’ll get to see all four stages.

The most gut-wrenching experience took place on top of Lookout Mountain, outside of Chattanooga, in an old Civil War Cemetery. Several hundred people attended. It was an incredibly quiet day, not a breath of wind. The whole place seemed haunted.

The service was performed flawlessly, the flag folded and presented to the family. As usual, I was one of the seven soldiers standing in line, waiting to give the 21-gun salute. Even though we were at least fifty yards away, we could hear a tremendous sorrow overtaking the audience. Several women began to wail uncontrollably.

We went through our paces and fired off three volleys, a 21-gun salute, then stood at attention. After a couple of seconds of silence, the bugler started playing Taps. It was the most beautiful version I had ever heard, as if it came directly from heaven.

In the background, the sound of mass anguish became overwhelming. It seemed like the entire audience had burst out crying. When Taps ended, there wasn’t a dry eye on that mountaintop, including those of us putting on the show. To this day, I can’t listen to Taps without dwelling on that moment of grief and wondering how many others like it mankind must endure before we learn to live in harmony.

The following list reflects the number of Americans who gave their lives for their country.

American Revolution (1775-1783) – 4,435 dead
War of 1812 (1812-1815) – 2,260 dead
Mexican War (1846-1848) – 13,283 dead
American Civil War (1861-1865) – 558,052 dead
Spanish American War (1898) – 2,446 dead
World War I (1914-1918) – 116,708 dead
World War II (1939-1945) – 407,316 dead
Korean Police Action (1950-1953) – 33,651 dead
Vietnam Conflict (1957-1975) – 58,168 dead
Gulf War (1991) – 293 dead
War on Terrorism (2001-????) – in progress

May 31 is Memorial Day, when the USA pays tribute to those who sacrificed their lives for the ideals of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. We are deeply indebted for their valiant service.

Freedom is never free.

Quote for the Day -- “We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home.” Edward R. Murrow

Bret Burquest is an award-winning columnist and author of four novels. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a dog named Buddy Lee and where freedom is still worth dying for. His blogs appear on several websites, including

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Haunted Places

We live in a vast universe, within a vast number of universes existing side by side. All possibilities exist.

Author Andrea Lankford has written a book titled HAUNTED HIKES: SPINE-TINGLING TALES AND TRAILS FROM NORTH AMERICA’S NATIONAL PARK SYSTEM describing various National Parks that have a reputation for being haunted.

Yosemite National Park – The Miwok Indians claim an evil wind called "Po-ho-no" has the power to entice people to Yosemite's towering waterfall and push them over the side. Needless to say, the National Park Service has installed fortified safety railings overlooking the falls, reducing the mighty Po-ho-no to a puff-puff.

New Jersey Pinelands National Reserve – The New Jersey Devil, a yellow-eyed creature with bat wings and a dragon breath, lurks in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey. First encountered in 1735, this unidentified biological entity (UBE) has been seen by hundreds of people. Then again, lots of strange entities reside in New Jersey.

Virgin Islands National Park – Jumby Beach is an idyllic place, unless you're a man and wander too close to Annaberg Sugar Mills Ruin. The historic sugar plantation is reportedly haunted by a female jumby (spirit) looking for love. Other female jumbies are also patrolling the same area. Hell hath no fury like a jumby scorned.

Mammoth Cave National Park – Park rangers, using kerosene lanterns, have reported seeing apparitions on more than 150 occasions in this gigantic cave in Kentucky. Caves can be very spooky, especially on the inside.

Great Sand Dunes National Park – Since 1950, visitors to this giant sandbox in Colorado have claimed to have seen UFOs (cigar-shaped red orbs, multicolored lights and black triangles) hovering above the dunes. But don't fret -- if you're unable to identify a flying object, Men in Black will show up at your door and explain it to you.

Oregon Caves National Monument – In 2000, a psychologist spotted a Bigfoot watching his family. There is a substance within the cave called "moonmilk" which is said to be made by gnomes. And the Chateau is haunted by a jilted bride named Elizabeth. A Bigfoot, gnomes and a ghost – there's a little something for everyone here.

Grand Canyon National Park – A ghostly "Wailing Woman," in a white dress, often floats along the north rim, moaning about the husband and son she lost to the canyon. On weekends, she works the information booth.

Blue Ridge Parkway – In 1891, a 4-year-old boy vanished in the Virginia forest while fetching firewood and his body was found five months later. Hikers along the Appalachian Trail who spend the night inside a nearby shelter claim to have been "annoyed" by the boy's spirit. Indeed, spirits can be very annoying at times.

Big Bend National Park – Multiple apparitions roam the Chisos Mountains of south Texas (Chisos means "ghosts"), including a troop of Spanish warriors, a renegade Indian Chief and a steer seeking revenge on the cowboys who branded him. However, out of respect, ghosts never appear on John Wayne's birthday in Texas.

Chesapeake National Park – In 1906, a miner was killed in an explosion near Potomac, Md. Two years later, a ghost with eyes of fire and a long tail was spotted crawling out of a shaft. Spirits known as "Tommy Knockers," not to be confused with Tammy Knockers, a stripper from Baltimore, have haunted the place ever since.

Other places also have their share of things that go bump in the night, and I'm not referring to the mice in the walls.

Graceland -- In the home of Elvis Presley, a ghost wearing a shimmering cape covered in rhinestones appears in the kitchen shortly after midnight every evening, with the faint sound of “Heartbreak Hotel” in the background, and makes a peanut butter and banana sandwich.

Hollywood and Vine -- At the famous intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street, in Hollywood, the ghosts of Marilyn Monroe and Tommy Noonan meet on the street corner during full moons to swap pie recipes.

White House -- During President’s Day, the ghost of Richard Nixon wanders the halls of the White House mumbling, “I am not a crook.” The ghosts of Rutherford B. Hayes and Chester A. Arthur are usually in the parlor discussing the merits of the Taft-Hartley Act and the balk rule in baseball as Nixon floats by.

Crescent Hotel -- One of the world’s most famous haunted hotels is in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. An Irish stonemason fell from room 218 during construction. In room 419, a ghostly woman introduces herself to staff or guests as a cancer patient, then suddenly disappears. Rooms 202 and 424 are also haunted. The sum of the haunted room numbers (202, 218, 419, 424) is 1263 -- on December 15, 1263, King Haakon IV of Norway died. A very curious coincidence.

Ghosts are just like everyone else – some are good, some are bad and some are in dire need of a makeover.

In most cultures, people believe the soul moves on after death, from our earthly plane to another plane of existence. In some cultures, people believe thoughts or rituals can change the world, and that misfortune or illness can be caused or alleviated by disembodied spirits.

And some people keep their head buried in the sand so they don’t have to deal with Tommy Knockers, Elvis or the Ghost of Christmas Past.

Quote for the Day -- “I don't believe in death. In the multiverse, once you're possible, you exist. And once you exist, you exist forever one way or another.” Paul F. Eno

Bret Burquest is an award-winning columnist and author of four novels. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a dog named Buddy Lee and the ghosts of Shadow, BlueJean, Bummer, Pepper, Buster, Mascara, Scout, Clipper, Poco Loco (my past dogs -- R.I.P.). His blogs appear on several websites, including

Friday, May 14, 2010

Sedna -- Goddess of the Sea

The Inuit are the indigenous natives inhabiting the Arctic regions of Canada, Alaska, Greenland and coastal Labrador. In Alaska, they are also called Eskimo.

Arnapkapfaaluk is an Inuit word meaning Big Bad Woman. It is also a word for Sedna, the Inuit Goddess of the Deep Sea who dwells in the cold depths of the Arctic Ocean and protects the sea-creatures.

According to Inuit legend, Sedna was so huge and hungry that she ate everything in her parent’s house, then gnawed off one of her father’s arms while he was asleep. Big bad woman indeed -- not the sort of chick you want to meet on a blind date when Mercury is in retrograde.

Sedna is presented to many men but finds none of them to her liking, so she marries a dog. Her father becomes upset, takes Sedna out to sea in his kayak and tosses her over the side. Sedna clings to the side of the kayak whereupon her father chops off her fingers until Sedna sinks into the underworld and becomes immortal. Sedna’s huge fingers become the seals and walrus to be hunted by the Inuit.

It’s probably not a true story, but don’t argue about it in a barroom north of the Arctic Circle.

On November 14, 2003, an object was discovered in deep space by Mike Brown from Caltech, along with astronomers from Gemini Observatory and Yale University. It was designated 2003 VB12.

This object is about a thousand miles in diameter -- half the diameter of our moon, three-fourths the size of Pluto. It has a highly eliptical orbit of 10,500 years, is the reddest object in our solar system, after Mars, and resides in the coldest known region of our solar system where the temperature never exceeds 400 degrees below zero (Fahrenheit).

Since it is the coldest, most distant object known to orbit the sun, it has been named Sedna, after the Inuit Goddess of the cold, deep sea.

Sedna will be closer and brighter over the next 72 years than anytime during its 10,500 orbit to the edge of our solar system.

There has been debate in the astrology community as to whether or not Sedna is the 10th planet in our solar system.

Sedna is linked to the sign of Cancer, seemingly confirmed by its zodiacal location of early Cancer at “perihelion” (home sign). To astrologers, Sedna is very ancient and has a primordial influence. It has been in the zodiac sign of Aries from 1800s to 1960s and Taurus from 1960s to 2024.

For who reside in the Woo Woo World, an interesting set of synchronicities has taken place. It has been suggested (calculated) that Sedna has a much shorter orbit. It can be demonstrated that Sedna takes some 1,800 years to cross half the Zodiac -- from early Cancer (perihelion) to somewhere in early Capricorn (aphelion, opposite point). This would mean that Sedna has a 3,600 year orbit -- identical to Zecharia Sitchin’s interpretation of the ancient Sumerian texts as to the orbit of Nibiru (possibly Planet X), when Nibiru is in the sign of Cancer at the perihelion of its orbit, approaching Earth. Even if it is not Planet X, there is some speculation it may be one of its satellites.

Sedna will be at its perihelion (home plate) in 2075-76, in the Zodiac sign of Cancer.

I consulted my astrological friend, Holly Avila of Blue Planet band, about the phenomenon of Sedna, the Goddess who provides food from the sea for her people. Holly declared, “At the moment that the rig blew (April 20), the moon was at 21 Cancer, and Jupiter was at 21 Pisces, two of the three water signs, and Sedna was at the exact midpoint of these two planets as they hit their trine, at 21 Taurus. The Moon rules Cancer and Cancer rules the sea, Jupiter expands everything and is in Pisces, which is ruled by Neptune the god of the sea…. I think I'm right about Sedna’s influence on the oil gusher. It's as if she has gotten so disgusted with us that she is going to withhold all food from the sea for humanity forever.”

All of this may be irrelevant to much of the world, but anything involving a big bad woman always gets my attention.

Quote for the Day -- “I’ve got a Big Bad Woman, lord… She stands six foot two… She kicks just like a donkey… And rides like a mule.” lyrics by Dennis Victor Allen

Bret Burquest is an award-winning columnist and author of four novels. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a dog named Buddy Lee and where big bad women roam the countryside looking for men to gnaw upon. His blogs appear on several websites, including

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Feng Shui for Rednecks

Feng Shui is a Chinese term that means “the wind and the water.” Pronounced “fung shway,” it’s the ancient Chinese art and science of correct placement. Probably more art than science. Basically, it’s all about life force energy called “chi” and how it flows through a house or office. According to Chinese philosophy, when the wind is soft and the water calm, it brings harmony in your life.

Practitioners of Feng Shui believe that if you arrange your furnishings in a proper alignment with nature and decorate in a certain soft manner, it will attract harmony, prosperity and good health into your life.

Vera Marie Kostelnik, a Feng Shui consultant, gives the following dozen tips in a recent issue of Feng Shui News.

1) A bubbling water fountain near the front entrance sets a tone of tranquility for guests
2) Plants soften corners
3) The color red brings good luck
4) A tank of nine goldfish near the front door increases prosperity
5) Soft colors, candles and flowers create a peaceful state of relaxation
6) A crystal hung in a long hallway creates better energy flow
7) Objects in the bedroom should be placed in pairs to increase marital bliss
8) The bed should be in full view of the door, but not with the foot of the bed facing the door
9) In the kitchen, using all stove burners increases the flow of money
10) Placing a mirror behind the stove doubles the income
11) Bamboo flutes hung from exposed beams counteract oppressive energy
12) Mirrors expand the perception of space

In the Ozark Mountains of northern Arkansas, where all the beautiful people live, we have our own special way of aligning and decorating our dwellings. Instead of Feng Shui, we call it “Redneck Shui” -- the art and science of casual living.

Reba Clodhopper, a local Chi Master and taxidermist, has a dozen tips for the next issue of Redneck Shui News.

1) A straight path between dead cars near the front entrance sets a tone of tranquility for guests
2) Piles of trash in corners eliminates corners
3) Any color you can spell brings good luck -- all three of them
4) A tank of goldfish near the front door provides visitors with a handy snack
5) Flypaper hung in a long hallway creates a no-fly zone
6) Soft colors, candles and flowers keep the cats from multiplying
7) Objects in the bedroom should be placed downwind to increase marital bliss
8) The bed should be in full view of the door, but not blocking the chickens from coming in and out
9) In the kitchen, using all stove burners increases the flow of septic clogs
10) Placing a mirror behind the stove doubles the septic flow
11) Raccoon pelts hung from exposed beams prevents tooth decay
12) Fumes from dead rodents under the floorboards expand the perception of space

To live a long and fruitful life, Redneck Shui your abode -- the harmony of your surroundings will surely bring contentment to your being. Plus, it will minimize the flow of visitors.

Whenever I mingle with the public, I hang a clove of garlic around my neck and wear a hat made from road-kill. This has been very helpful in minimizing the flow of ex-wives.

Quote for the Day -- “If you hammer bottle caps into the frame of your front door to make it look nice, you might be a redneck.” Jeff Foxworthy

Bret Burquest is an award-winning columnist and author of four novels. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a dog named Buddy Lee and they both use the same tree. His blogs appear on several websites, including

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Great Tornado Ride

Due to various unforeseen circumstances about 18 years ago, I now reside in the state of Arkansas, up in the Ozark Mountains, a few miles from the Missouri border, where all the beautiful people live. Unfortunately, most of them have yet to arrive.

Every spring we have the added excitement of dodging tornadoes. This past weekend, at the end of April in 2010, was no exception -- plenty of damage in the region and a few deaths.

There are approximately 1,000 tornadoes in the United States each year. The 10 most deadliest were:

1) March 18, 1925 in Murphysboro, Mo. & Gorham, Ill. – 695 dead, 2,027 injured
2) May 7, 1840 in Nachez, Miss. – 317 dead, 109 injured
3) May 27, 1896 in St Louis, Mo. & East St. Louis, Ill. – 255 dead, 1,000 injured
4) April 5, 1936 in Tupelo, Miss. – 216 dead, 700 injured
5) April, 6 1936 in Gainseville, Ga. – 203 dead, 1,600 injured
6) April 9, 1947 in Glazier, Tex. & Higgins, Okla. – 181 dead, 970 injured
7) April 24, 1908 in Amite, La. & Purvis, Miss. – 143 dead, 770 injured
8) June 12, 1899 in New Richmond, Wis. – 117 dead, 200 injured
9) June 8, 1953 in Flint, Mich. – 115 dead, 884 injured
10) May 11, 1953 in Waco, Tex. – 114 dead, 597 injured

Tornadoes are extremely dangerous. If you see one coming, you should head directly for your storm shelter. Whenever my ex-wife rolls into town, I also rush to the storm shelter and hide until the danger has passed.

In 2006, Matt Suder was a 19-year-old high school senior in Fordland, Mo., 20 miles east of Springfield. He lived in a rural mobile home with his grandmother, Linda Kelly, and his uncle, Robert Dewhirst.

On March 12, 2006, Matt told his girlfriend that he always wanted to see a tornado.

Later that evening, dressed only in his boxer shorts, Matt was watching TV when he heard an awesome noise approaching the mobile home. His grandmother was in the kitchen and his uncle was in a bedroom. Matt got up to shut the window in the living room.

That's when the tornado hit.

Matt hollered at his grandmother; then was struck on the head by a large heavy lamp, rendering him unconscious. When his grandmother turned around toward Matt, that entire end of the mobile home was gone.

Apparently, the tornado tore the walls and roof off the mobile home, and sucked Matt up into the funnel.

As the old saying goes – be careful what you wish for; it may come true. When you tell your girlfriend you want to see a tornado, make sure to add a "from a safe distance" clause. It's not wise to fool with Mother Nature.

When he regained consciousness, Matt was about a quarter mile (later measured at 1,307 feet) from what was left of the mobile home, in an open pasture, near a barbed-wire fence and a gravel road.

He looked back toward the mobile home site but saw no lights in the darkness and feared his grandmother and uncle were badly hurt or dead. Instead of returning back to the site, he made his way out onto the gravel road and ran to a neighbor's house in his bare feet. The neighbor called 911 and help was soon on the way.

Matt's grandmother was found wedged between a table and kitchen cabinets. His uncle was pinned between two mattresses. Both recovered from their injuries at a relative's home.

Matt suffered a cut on his head that required five staples and his feet were all cut up from the gravel road.

Tom Grazulis, author of THE TORNADO: NATURE’S ULTIMATE WINDSTORM, is a meteorologist and expert on tornadoes. According to Grazulis, somewhere around 400 feet is the general limit of being lifted and dropped in a tornado and surviving. The previously known distance record was held by a 9-year-old girl who, in 1955, survived a 1,000-foot ride. Basically, those who were tossed a quarter mile or more were either killed in the air or dead when lifted.

The following Tuesday, March 21, ABC did a segment on "Good Morning America" about Matt's tornado ride. He had also been contacted by representatives of "The David Letterman Show" about a possible appearance.

The only thing worse than being plucked out of your home, wearing only boxer shorts, and dumped a quarter mile away is being plucked out of your home, without the boxer shorts, and dumped a quarter mile away.

Quote for the Day -- “Climate is what we expect -- weather is what we get.” Mark Twain

Bret Burquest is an award-winning columnist and author of four novels. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a dog named Buddy Lee and where mobile homes are magnets for tornadoes. His blogs appear on several websites, including