“Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus…”

Virginia_O'Hanlon_(ca._1895)

Virginia O’Hanlon, circa 1895

From The Athens (Georgia) Banner-Herald – Tuesday December 24, 2013

In the fall of 1897, 8-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon sent a letter to the New York Sun asking, “Is there a Santa Claus?’’

She had been encouraged by her father, who had told her, “If you see it in the Sun, it’s so.”

On Sept. 21, 1897, the Sun answered Virginia’s letter in a piece penned by editorial writer Francis Church, which has become one of the most famous editorials ever written.

As has become a tradition at the Athens Banner-Herald, we’re again sharing Virginia’s letter, followed by Church’s and the Sun’s answer to her.

 

Dear Editor,

I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in The Sun it’s so.” Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except what they see. They think that nothing can be that is not comprehensible by their little minds.

All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love or generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy.

Alas! How dreary would be the world be if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias.

There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We would have no enjoyment, except in the sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys to catch Santa Claus on Christmas Eve, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus.

Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see.

You may tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart.

Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God, he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10 thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

Merry Christmas to all from the Swilley household.

FrancisPharcellusChurch

Francis Pharcellus Church – Author of editorial, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” (1897)

santa-claus-reindeer-sleigh-6139430

 

 

 

 

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A Christmas Cat Home Invasion.

Sego on the deck

Sago from the bedroom window

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Katie Mae is a short person and short persons often, like small children, can spot things those of us who are taller seem to overlook. I was not surprised then, when she opened the blinds to one of our bedroom windows that overlook the deck behind our house. She then questioned the presence there of a dark shadow against the far wall beneath a small potted Sago Palm.

The deck can be seen in the picture on the left. I took that picture on the same rainy day because I wanted you to see what Katie Mae saw when she opened those blinds. The picture does not show a dark shadow under the palm.

I also saw the shadow and told her it might be a cat. I went into the living room and opened blinds there so I could have a better look at the dark spot.

I then went back to the bedroom and told her it was not only a big black cat but it had more than one head and one set of ears. Even though it looked like a big black blob underneath the plant I could see a silhouette of more heads and ears than most cats usually carry around with them.

I carefully eased out the back door to the deck and the mama cat took off across the deck. As she ran down the deck steps she was followed by an agglomeration of little kitten ears, heads, tails and legs. Most astonishing of all is how thickly furred they were and all four of them were black as deep smut.

She led them through the thick woods behind the house and I guessed that was the last we would see of them. I was wrong. Later that night, I could hear a loud cry from a kitten coming from the back deck. Katie Mae said the cry was coming from the front porch and, once again, that short person’s perspective proved to be right.

I went to the front door and peeked through the panel windows on each side of the door and they were all there to greet me. Momma cat gave me what I would call “a warning smile” and a low guttural growl as she chased her brood from the porch. Her unpleasant greeting made me slightly hesitant to open the door so I didn’t.

I’ve seen her around the neighborhood before and I considered her a feral cat. It’s kind of odd to see any stray animals in our neighborhood but she has been around for a while. She is not completely black. She has orange markings on her side that look like a map of Tasmania. From the looks of her smile I suspect she could be a Tasmanian devil and apparently she has not been a totally single parent. So these kittens are not that kind of Christmas gift. I’m pretty sure she had help making them. If he’s anything like her I don’t want to meet him.

They stayed on the porch late into the night until they got caught up in a tangle that was more than they could handle. Katy Mae has tiny sentinel Christmas trees right outside the front door. They are lighted trees. You get my drift. That means they are electrified. They are about three feet tall and they have electric lights running all throughout their limbs or at least they did before those kittens Sego on the deck 2Order From Amazon.comgot to tussling, scuffling, tumbling and fighting amongst themselves and up under those little Christmas Trees.

I heard the loudest caterwauling I have heard in years coming from our front porch. The kittens were all wrapped up in the electric lights and they had taken to scratching and clawing and biting the wires. I jumped to get a remote control to turn off the lights before all those cats really got to smoking.

I turned off the lights and yanked open the front door just in time to see Mama Cat, kittens, trees, lights and all pass under a street light about a hundred yards down from our house.

I could still see dying flickers of colored lights going down the street and the smell of burning cat hair on the porch was strong enough to make me cough.

I’m sure it was the coughing that made me temporarily turn to strong drink.

The entire episode has been a “Bermuda Triangle” moment for me. I have seen no cats, no Christmas Trees and no lights since night before last.

They have completely and totally disappeared. That can’t all be bad. It makes me believe Santa Claus still loves me.

 

Another – “Better Class of Criminals” – Moment.

Muggers

This is just a reminder to older people out there. If you wander out, especially at night, be aware of your surroundings. It’s so much easier for muggers to rob us because we are unsteady to begin with and we tend to fall over before someone even hits us.

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When I read the crime reports and the police blotter in the Athens Banner-Herald each morning I am almost always drawn back to our past when I recall a comment that Lester Maddox made when he was Georgia’s governor. When asked what we could do to improve the abysmal living conditions in Georgia’s state prison system, Maddox was quoted as saying, “What we need is a better class of prisoner.”

I have paraphrased his remark here to read “A better class of criminal” and I could not agree with him more when I read the sheer stupidity of the criminal acts people indulge in right here in Clarke County, Georgia.

This is right out of the newspapers. I did not make this up.

A crook goes to buy some dope with a fist full of counterfeit bills. The two men who are supposed to supply the drugs rob this idiot of his bogus bills. Now this Einstein of a dope head calls the law to report the theft of his bad money and he also tells them he was trying to buy drugs with the money. His IQ and my belt size are about the same size. I’m pretty fat but that still puts him at the mental level of a moron.

The police are still looking for one of the robbers but if the combined intelligence quotient of the “so-called” victim and the crook that got caught is any kind of clue then I’m guessing they caught him right after they caught the first one.

It gets better. The first guy goes to a convenience store and buys a snack. He pays for the snack with a hundred dollar counterfeit bill. He leaves but upon checking the bill the store clerk finds it is not real. Guess what? The clerk calls the cops and tells them what happened. The same cops investigating the armed robbery of the dumb doper ride down to the store and “Lo and Behold!”

Guess what again? The police spot mister master-mind armed-robber chomping on his just-purchased-with-a-counterfeit-bill snacks while sitting on a bench.

I’ll bet you have guessed where this guy was having a snack. You’ve got it. He was sitting on a bench right in front of the Athens-Clarke County Court House.

When they shook him down and the funny-money hit the ground he immediately told the cops he found the money but then his last brain cell turned to jello and he also told them he knew the money was counterfeit. Why would he tell them that!!!! Because, we do not have a “Better class of criminal.”

Governor Deal is going to have to give the educational system in the state of Georgia a swift kick in the pants. We have absolutely got to have crooks smarter than this.

I can’t tell you what happens to a dummy who is going to buy dope with counterfeit money and then reports he was robbed of it to the police and he also tells them what he was going to do with the bad paper.

Joe Johnson who is an excellent police and crime reporter did not share the dope head’s fate with me. I thought that both acts on the part of the drug addict were illegal. I’m giving him some credit for his ignorant actions here by calling him a poor addict instead of saying he is extremely dim-witted.

Maybe you lose the stigma of being the person who started the whole debacle to begin with if the other guys become the perpetrators. At that point you are no longer culpable under the law because you have been rendered culpable as a mentally incompetent person.

The name of the convenience store is “The Lay-Z-Shopper.”

Another Can of Worms! USA – Virgin Births Near One Percent.

baby-in-blanket-1asleeping-baby-1aAlmost one percent of girls in the US who have become pregnant have done so all by themselves, or so they say. I did not make this up and these figures do not include in vitro fertilization or any kind of technology that assists in the pregnancy.

This came from the Britain’s BMJ medical journal and was researched at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The data is from 14 years of research by The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health.

In a group of 7,870 women 15 to 28 years old 5,340 of them became pregnant and 45 women in the pregnant group said there was no man involved in the conception. 31% of the pregnant virgins said they had signed chastity pledges in which a girl promises to refrain from sex until she is married. It’s interesting to note that only 15% of the non-virginal mothers-to-be had signed a chastity pledge.

The 45 virgins reported in the study that their parents never or rarely talked to them about sex and birth control. It was revealed that the parents of about 28% of those same 45 gals who experienced an immaculate conception had also been interviewed and the parents said in the report that they didn’t have enough knowledge to discuss contraception and sex with their daughters. These girls were also less likely to to know how to use condoms.

You might guess that 5% of girls who were born with more knowledgeable and informative parents learned some “birds and bees” stories at an early age and they admitted they had sex with a man before they became pregnant.

Babies born to the “virgins” were more likely to be boys and the boys were more likely to have been born in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Neither of these similarities to the Virgin Mary was given any statistical significance by the researchers.

So now the fun begins. Draw your own conclusions. I see it as further, greater and deeper proof that the “dumbing down of America” is rapidly encroaching on us and our own ignorance leaves us practically tongue tied.Can you believe there are any parents out there who are too stupid to explain to their daughters it is unwise to let some fumble-fingered fool take off your clothes are even begin to touch you inappropriately?

It’s so hard to believe there are young women out there who were actually indulging in a little lighthearted sex and when they discovered they were pregnant almost one percent of them do not know how they got pregnant. You mean you don’t even know when you’re “doing it?” You mean you don’t know where the baby came from?

And how is this child going to care for the new child? She doesn’t even know how the new child was conceived?

Boy have we got our work cut out for us. We have got dummies out there indulging in sex and they don’t even know the name for it. Where do we go from here? I’m like everybody else. I don’t want to teach them too much. I’m not in favor of having kids grow up too fast. Maybe we should require every young person to spend time on a farm. I think that’s where most of us began to learn about and to understand sex.

I tried to talk this over with Katie Mae. I wanted to know if we had a swarm of immaculate conceptions would we have a lot of little saviors walking around and would that mean I had a greater chance of being saved and she said I was making her really, really tired and not to talk to her again until the day after Christmas.

I also wanted to know if we might have Christmas Day one day each week of the year. but I was afraid to ask.

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How to Shop With the Whackos- Christmas 2013 – Athens, Georgia

Russian MadmanAre you in the “last minute shoppers’ mode?” Is it driving you totally bonkers that there is something you meant to buy for somebody but you can’t remember what it is or who that person might be? If you answer no to both questions and you don’t seem to care anymore you can join my new “Bah Humbug” Club.

My club is different because I am saying “Bah, Humbug” to any additional, “Did I or did I not get the right present,” worry and I am not going to worry any more. I ain’t gonna worry no-mo, no-mo! Bah and Humbug to worries!!!

But if, unfortunately, you still have to venture into the shoppers’ world of paradisiacal perdition be watchful and aware you are not alone. Our exposure to whackos increases this time of year. Be careful.

Today I made a tactical mistake you should understand. I walked out of Wal-Mart and I made eye contact with this guy who was walking in beside a woman. Being a gentlemanly old Southern guy I stepped to one side so the man and the woman could easily pass by me.

That was my mistake. I looked dead in his eyes and he was not with the woman. He just happened to be walking beside her. I nodded and spoke to him. It got worse. He thrust 15 or 20 odd looking and different sized currency bills toward me and muttered, “Would you be interested in buying some valuable, antique, foreign, currency?”

The guy looked slightly more presentable than your usual Athens panhandler so I was still a little bit off guard when I returned his mutter with my own babble, “No thanks man, no, no, no, uh, oh no thank you, I don’t think so, thanks but no thanks, uh, thanks but not today,” and then I actually made a clean break of it and escaped.

But I did not escape as cleanly as I thought. I got home and I told Katie Mae about this strange encounter. She was not surprised. It seems to happen to us frequently.

Since it happens a lot to me I could not escape all these questions popping up in my feeble mind. Did this guy see the clear, honest, bright gleam of intelligence in my eyes and immediately know that I am wise in the spending habits of people all over the world? Did he think I could unhesitatingly pick out valuable bills from totally worthless funny money? He couldn’t have been more mistaken. I’m not even sure what American bills are worth. I am not the smart, unfailing, go-to-guy when it comes to purchasing foreign currency. I have a lot of trouble counting my own pennies. Once I count my money I count it again and I always come up with less on the second count.

The reverse side of that strange coin (or valuable foreign currency), is: What if the guy simply picked me out because I look like a straight damned dummy? I think he instinctively knew he had an old red-necked country boy yokel in his clutches. I believe this scenario of looking senseless may be good for me. It got me off the hook with him. He recognized the same brand of crazy in my eyes that he sees when he looks at himself in a mirror. He thought it best to find somebody with a brain and he quickly put some distance between us. He ran off through Wal-Mart with his crazy-dough spread out in his hand like a little fan.

Some how looking common and average and suitably stupid has always worked for me and since I can’t change that situation I might as well embrace the look and keep on saving myself from real whackos with my own set of natural talents.

I hope you have a wonderful and Merry Christmas and I hope you find your niche in life as I have done by looking so adorably dumb………… That probably just works for me. I realize most of you are smart and beautiful.

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The Death of the Christmas Mouse

This is a pretty sad story in that I have almost killed my old worn-out body taking all those crazy Halloween pumpkins back downstairs to a store room and then, closely obeying wifely instructions, hauling crates of lovely Christmas paraphernalia back up those same killer stairs.

The sad end result has not been my own death but the demise of the famous Christmas Mouse. He was not only an old Christmas pal but he was our tiniest holiday celebrant who joined us each year as we toasted untold thousands of people we never met or knew. There was a time when any name would do in a toast to the health of all. We would make the toast and then we would all lock arms and dance to “Zorba the Greek.”

These are the ornaments and decorations of Katie Mae, my lovely bride of nearly 40 years and to whom I have dedicated this little ditty about Christmas decorations and how much men love them:         

DECEMBER

Resting Places for Tired Old Bones
Grow Scarce and Mighty Sparse.
No Place to Rest Your Elbows,
No Spot to Park Your Arse.

Santas Hang Out All Over
In Every Nanny and Crook
No Place to Put My Coffee Cup,
No Place to Hide My Book.

I’m Afraid I’ll Trip on a Reindeer,
Or Fall Out in the Hall.
I’m Afraid I’ll Rip Down Some Precious Thing
That is Taped to the Kitchen Wall.

So I keep a Very Low Profile
And I Head for My Favorite Chair.
But I’m Having Trouble Fitting In
Next to a Christmas Teddy Bear.

I Pray I Will Last Until January
When We Can Pack Them All Away.
And Move Them Deep Down in the Basement
Where They Will Stay and Stay and Stay.

P.S. – I lied about killing The Christmas Mouse. The truth is I have only dropped three books on him and he looked in pretty good shape until I spilled that hot cup of coffee down his back. He’s okay and I look forward to packing him up until next December

The "Plumbing Santa" or "The Santa of the Commode Tank Lid."

This one I call “Santa the Plumber” or “The Santa of the Commode Tank Top.” I have a feeling he would be worthless if we had a plumbing problem.

Snoopy in Sleigh

Once again we have a horseless sleigh. Snoopy really doesn’t care. He knows Santa has his own system of sleigh propellant.

Lamp Santa

This is the bodyless Santa. It’s just his head that hangs from a switch on the lamp. He doesn’t seem to mind.

Christmas Wreath on Pantry Door

The Pantry Door Wreath. The hanger for the wreath loves to do battle with you to see if you can get the door closed once you have been inside the pantry.

Fireplace Broom

This is the festive broom I’m forced to use as I perform charwoman duties about the old homestead. I cry a lot but no one listens.

Smorgasbord

Another angle of the fabulous sideboard smorgasbord.

Smorgasbord 1

And one more angle of the sideboard. I thought the small golden Christmas trees on the sideboard were interesting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Snowman Bookguard 2

This snowman also guards our books. His long legs come all the way up to his armpits.

The Snowman Teapot

The snowman teapot is custodian of the books. He has never had a cup of tea.

The Musical Bear

The musical bear plays ten carols. I can sing them all but I’ve been asked not to.

The Christmas Mouse

The famous Christmas Mouse. He has always been a snappy dresser even in the off season.

Santa in White - Best

The all-white (or cream colored) Santa is handsome but a little too stern for me.

Santa in Red Suit

This is my main man. He is the real deal. You can’t imagine all the gifts he has left me over the years.

The Candy Shoppe Teapot

This Candy Shoppe Teapot is one of many watching over our books. Very colorful isn’t it?

The Big Tree

This is the big tree. More to come about the decorations on this, the regulation sized tree.

Mantlepiece Snow Man

The Nutcracker is in charge but the Snowman spreads JOY. His bottom pieces seem to be from sea shells.

North End of Mantle

Another strange wide-eyed Nutcracker with one of our favorites, a clown on a horse.

The Snowman Teapot

Snowman Teapot. He  never has tea. Would hot tea melt him?

Another Reindeer on Katie Mae's Desk

A beautiful reindeer atop Katie Mae’s Desk. Her desk is covered in Christmas.

Christmas Sideboard Smorgasbord

The sideboard smorgasbord is no place for old men. It is a disaster waiting to happen when we get near.

 

Kay's Desktop

Kay’s desktop in its entirety. I never go near it for fear falling Christmas memorabilia will attack me.

 

The Backdoor Wreath

The Backdoor Wreath. There is also one on the front door and one on the pantry door?

Santa in Paul's Room

Paul’s bedroom Santa watches him Christmas Eve but Paul is not a peeper. He’s a sleeper.

Two Damsels in a Sleigh

These two damsels in bonnets and in a horseless sleigh seem to be covered up in holly and evergreens with no place to go.

Wise Men lost on Table Top

Not So Wise Men trapped on a tiny table between a bedroom and a bathroom.

 

Tree in North Bedroom

A lonesome pine on a dresser in a guest bedroom. Some nights I have to sing it to sleep.

Paul's Reindeer

Paul’s childhood rendition of Santa and his reindeer. I wonder if Paul is still fascinated with 40′ long whips?

Bathroom Santa With Bem in Mirror

I always thought this was a little Santa Claus. Now I see it’s a little girl and she’s been hanging out in Paul’s bathroom Christmas time for years.

Chrisatmas Clown and Pony

Kay’s Aunt, Mama Doris Poulos gave this to Paul when he was a baby. Probably our favorite the music box plays “Toyland.” The horse’s head and tail go up and down as does the arms and legs on the clown.

Dinette Table Wreath

This is Katie Mae’s center piece on the table in our kitchen breakfast nook. None of the contents taste very good. I have tried them all.

Santa and Norfolk Pine Christmas Tree

This is on an end table by our couch. Santa looks like he’s fleeing from the tiny Norfolk Pine Christmas Tree with the UGA pennant attached to it.

Santa Pillow

This Santa Pillow is one of two that decorates a bench in our breakfast area beside the kitchen.

Snowman Cookie Jar

This bad boy is a cookie jar that watches over the refrigerator and stove and keeps Bad Ben at bay. I guess I could turn up the stove heat and melt him down.

Christmas Reindeer

Another shot of Katie Mae’s watchful desktop reindeer. That’s an old antique (look-alike) lantern in the background.

Paul's Hand Prints

Not much guessing to know these are Paul’s hand prints back when he was so much fun. Now one of his hands will cover this entire cloth.

 

The Christmas Teddy Bear that guards the bench in the breakfast nook.

The other bench-warming pillow. The Christmas Teddy Bear that also guards the bench in the breakfast nook along with the Santa pillow..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

South Africa Gets Obama an Interpreter From the Funny Farm.

South Africa Mandela Interpreter

The guy to the right of the picture is not hand signing for the deaf. He is an imposter who is probably saying bad things about the USA but nobody is sure because he made up that sign language he is using in his own schizophrenic mind.

The pictures I used are obviously not mine and someone took them back. I’ll try to be a sneakier photo thief the next time. I did try pretty hard. I stole them twice but the owner must have a homing pigeon imbedded in their photos and if you take one home with you, it will escape and fly back to the owner.

I began writing this when it was a back page mention in most newspapers. Suddenly the news folks started reading their own papers and news releases and they realized this is a really weird story.

If you did not have the opportunity of hearing or seeing our President’s memorial to Nelson Mandela in its entirety I would like to take my own opportunity to give you my explanation of what I think was the strangest part of the entire service and I did not think it was the President shaking Raoul Castro’s hand in such a fawning manner or even him taking selfie pictures of himself with two other world leaders in such a silly and tasteless manner.

First of all, as you know, there were over 100 international leaders of state at the services. You can’t begin to imagine how much security was surrounding these exalted men and women. Cops and soldiers everywhere, RIGHT!

WRONG – WRONG – WRONG !! The guy standing to the right of President Obama in the picture above is an imposter. He is a self-declared hand-signer and nobody knows who the hell he is.They did not know who he was last year when he pulled the same stunt beside South African President Jacob Zuma.

After I began to write this, newspaper people started doing the job they are paid to do and they have now left us with more great material for making light of international security, if you can call it that.

First of all his name is Thamsanqa Jantjie. Don’t try to remember that because that’s just how he spells his name in the sign language he uses. Note that no one else in the land of the deaf and the mute uses the same sign language he uses.

He gets $85.00 for each performance. The Screen Actors’ Guild could probably get him more money (he is definitely underpaid). The Federation for the Deaf reported this guy as a phony to the African National Congress last year when he performed beside President Zuma but it takes them a while to react in Africa. It’s really hot there which automatically slows international security alerts.

I like this guy. He’s a hard worker and he’s really serious about his job. He’s schizophrenic and he skipped his six month checkup to perform at the Mandela Ceremony. He admittedly gets violent and hallucinates. He sometimes sees things chasing him (apparently not policemen or security forces or American Secret Service Agents) and he saw angels come to the stadium that day. I thought he possibly saw Barack and Michelle and thought he saw angels but let’s be honest here. If he had seen Barack Obama in a hallucination he would have know he was looking at God and not just an everyday angel.

I feel so much better reading the quote from U.S. Secret Service spokesman, Brian Leary who said, “The department is aware of the matter.”

My only fear is we never seem to understand the danger mentally unstable people present to others.

What if the mad interpreter became so delusional he believed he was a 96 year old white Southern woman and a stalwart member of the Tea Party and he began striking out at the President with his purse?

Mr. Leary and the ANC have not thought things out very well at all. You had a certifiable nut case standing and waving his arms frantically beside a number of world leaders…..and you still don’t know the message he was signing.

Obama_selfie

This was not the most embarrassing moment for the USA at the Nelson Mandela Funeral Ceremony.

 

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Vic and Ben Get An Exciting New Job.

I'm All Yours, Baby!I have come to believe that my old friend Vic Miller and I are not getting enough in the way of physical exercise and our mental attitudes are those of a couple of zombies. Our present means of communication requires only muffled and mumbled curses we learned in our youth.

Salvation may be at hand. I just read an article that might serve to save us both.

There are some guys out in Louisiana who are hunting feral pigs and hogs with a drone. That’s right. These guys have a drone equipped with a thermal camera. They claim they have killed over 600 pigs in the last six months. Feral porkers tear up over one and a half billion dollars in crops, farmland and and wildlife habitat each year.There is a huge need to control the feral pig problem.

These guys in Louisiana seek out the hogs with a camera-carrying drone and once they have spotted the pigs they chase them down and shoot them. They say they get paid tips because The Federal Aviation Administration prohibits them from charging a fee since they are using an airplane. I know it’s hard to believe but the FAA also controls drones. Since they can’t charge for the use of the drone the hunters will usually kill hogs for the highest tipper.

Vic Miller loves to stake out a likely pig wallow in the woods and to lie in wait for Franky the Feral Pig. He then pops Franky with a good dose of lead, steel, brick, limb, rock or other lethal weapon he has hidden in his deep pockets.

This new venture I have mapped out for Vic and myself involves much the same scenario as the one used by our Louisiana cousins. We are a little short on cash right now but my plan does not require as much money as you would need if you bought a drone and an thermal-imaging camera. Those things could run the cost over $10,000.00.

My plan will only cost us $3.14. I have taken a page from the Obamacare workbook and I have carefully plotted our strategy. Just like Obamacare it took me almost 37 minutes to complete the basic design.

I have been watching numerous buzzards fly over our house in Athens and I have discovered a buzzard roost at our friend Rose Hancock Kemp’s house that is perfect for the plan. There are several buzzards there at Rose’s place that must have at least an eight foot wing span.

Vic has successfully kept his weight down over the years and I think we could duct tape Vic to the legs of one of these big buzzards and arm him with a high powered rifle. We have to train the buzzard to skim the woods and swamps at the desired height of 400 feet. When Vic spots the hog he could shoot him instantly. He could sight the hog and shoot him at virtually the same time. I don’t think the FAA controls the use of buzzards in hog hunting.

This is a fool proof plan. I feel sure it takes little effort to train a buzzard. We could strap a stick to his back with a pig’s foot hanging from the end of the stick right in front of the big bird’s greedy eyes. We have to also train him not to be gun shy. If the gunshot scares the buzzard and he throws up on Vic they say it takes forever to get that odor out of your pores.

The $3.14 cost is for a few bullets and cheese, crackers and sardines for Vic and the buzzard when out on a hunt.

I think my job is to be the brains of the outfit and I will send out ATV’s to drag the hogs back into our base.

I haven’t seen Vic in a few weeks so if any of you happen to run into him please feel free to mention my plan to him. I might rather get the feedback from one of you guys than directly from O.V. in person. He’s still talking in those muffled and mumbled curses.

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