Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Easy Answer To Gun Homicides

First let me say, don’t be misled by a statistic that’s been quoted a lot in the news this past week which says that the average age of a MASS murderer who uses guns to kill is 35 and that it’s usually a white male. The problem with that stat is that it only represents a tiny number of gun homicides in this country. Most murderers are not mass murderers. It’s the mass murderers who get all the press though.

While one mass murder might happen a couple of times per year, there are thousands of other murders where only one or two people die. Here the statistics show a much younger trend. The vast majority of murders in the USA are perpetrated by people under the age of 30. And the vast majority of murders are committed with a gun, usually a handgun. I found some relative statistics by the Bureau of Justice. Most of their stats only go up to 2005, but I doubt that they’ve changed much.

Here you can see that it’s mostly guns which are used to murder:

And here we can see that it’s mostly young people who are doing the murdering:

We don’t allow anyone under the age of 35 to hold office as President in this country. Why? Because we don’t think anyone could possibly be mature enough for the job before then. (And those of us well over 35 understand this to be absolutely true.) So why is it that we think people under 35 will be mature enough to use a killing weapon responsibly?

Any time some senator or other legislature talks about gun control it’s always in such a wimpy way that people laugh at it. They want to ban certain kinds of guns or certain types of bullets, or make the registration process difficult etc. This does little or nothing to affect the murder rates. If you’re going to have gun control, then get aggressive and do it right. Ban anyone under 35 years of age from owning or shooting a gun of ANY kind and our murder rates will drop by at least 60% overnight.

Of course you’re aware that Bob Costas, for some reason that’s unfathomable to me, got into some trouble recently because he quoted a piece about gun control written by Jason Whitlock. The trouble with the media is that they’ve not been quoting the part of the Whitlock article that Mr. Costas was focussing on:

Our current gun culture," Whitlock wrote, "ensures that more and more domestic disputes will end in the ultimate tragedy, and that more convenience-store confrontations over loud music coming from a car will leave more teenage boys bloodied and dead."

"Handguns do not enhance our safety. They exacerbate our flaws, tempt us to escalate arguments, and bait us into embracing confrontation rather than avoiding it."

I’m sorry gun lovers, but this exactly hits the nail on the head for the crowd under 35, and especially the young blacks and Hispanics under 25, MANY of whom belong to gangs and live for confrontation. Put a gun in their hands and it’s a murder waiting to happen. There’s a feeling of power that comes with owning a gun when you’re young and angry and think you’re always right and everyone else is always wrong.

Some people are under the faulty assumption that, "If people want to kill somebody they can do it without a gun." That simply doesn’t wash. A gun is a fairly clean way of killing by putting a small hole in somebody from at least a short distance if not a long one. It’s easy to pull a trigger. Hell, it’s easy to push a button a drop a bomb on your enemies from so far above them that you don’t even see them. If those same murderers had to shove a knife between somebody’s ribs to kill them, or to actually place their hands around their victims necks to strangle them, the majority couldn’t do it. It becomes too personal. Killing someone in hand to hand combat is a very different thing from using a gun from a little way off.

If you REALLY want to stem the homicide rate in this country and make it a safer place, then by all means enact gun control legislature, but do it right or don’t bother. Ban guns of any kind from anyone under 35 and invoke a mandatory prison sentence of 20 years without parole for anyone breaking this law. If you do that, those over 35 will be the peace keepers.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

"If Jesus Was Like Me"

This is without a doubt the saddest song I know. It's by Pat Terry, who was one of the pioneers the music that spearheaded the Jesus Movement during the 1970s. (I saw him in concert around 1979.) This song is from a CD he came out with in 2009, his first in over 20-years. Boy he hasn't dropped a beat. He might be a little more country-ish these days because he's a Nashville songwriter now who's written dozens of hit songs for other people. But "Jesus Music" is still what he does best. From one of the greatest songwriters I ever heard:

If Jesus was like me, he'd seem like an alright guy
Till the first time he healed someone, or turned some water into wine
Then he'd talk too much, act way too proud
They'd say, "There goes that Jesus again running off his mouth."
How sad would that be, if Jesus was like me?

If Jesus was like me, he'd be all merciful and meek
Till the first time you made like Judas and kissed him on the cheek
Then he'd act all hurt, point out all your sins
When you ask, would if he forgive you, he'd say, "Well that all depends."
How hopeless would we all be, if Jesus was like me?

If Jesus was like me, he'd mean well but he might not follow through (when you needed him to)
If Jesus was like me, love might be the one thing he'd try but couldn't do

If Jesus was like me, he'd be your closest friend
Till the first time you nailed him to the cross for all your sins
Then he'd pull the shades, take your number off his phone
Let you pound all night on Heaven's gate while he pretends he isn't home
How lost would we all be, without one prayer or hope for anything
Imagine where you'd be, if Jesus was like me
You might as well just get up off your knees, if Jesus was like me

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Best Political Excerpt From a TV Drama Ever: "Newsroom"

Hard to believe this is on HBO, but there it is. I don't have HBO, so I have to settle for clips I can find on the internet, but this sure looks to be a great show.

Monday, November 12, 2012

My New Favorite Group

Carolina Chocolate Drops - "Country Girl" (Live)

Carolina Chocolate Drops - "Ruby Are You Mad At Your Man?"

Barefootin' To Some Drum And Fife Music

Rhiannon Giddens sings Mercedez Benz

Carolina Chocolate Drops "Jackson"

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Civil War Veterans Doing the Rebel Yell

I like this footage from the 1930s. It's almost like watching a home movie (it probably was just that). I enjoy watching the folks in the background more that the rebels really. You seldom see any footage from this era where people are just being themselves.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Man Who Saw Lincoln Get Shot

Okay, not exactly, but he was there and saw Booth break his leg jumping from the balcony. He was five years old at the time and it really scared him seeing a man break his leg. Apparently Booth must have broken it badly.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Tiny Houses For The Poor

Love him or hate him, everybody in St. Louis knows who Pastor Larry Rice is. He owns a couple of public access television stations and some large homeless shelters. Whether or not you agree with his message, his politics, or his methods, few would argue against the fact that he's done more for the poor and homeless than any human being in the state of Missouri, if not the country.

One of his TV stations, Channel 24.2, features 24-hour per day broadcasts that focus on alternative energy, getting people off the gas/electrical grid, and helping the homeless. We have a lot of homeless people in St. Louis. People tend to think of the homeless as degenerates, bums who don't want to work, drug addicts, schizophrenics, and general idiots too stupid to employ. All of these are true at times, but quite often it's just people down on their luck. Jobs are very hard to come by these days. We've had a government for the past 25-years that has encouraged banking and loan institutions to give credit to anyone no matter what their standard of living. Many people took out home loans for houses much too expensive for them (trying to keep up with the Jones) and applied for credit cards they thought they could pay off based on the rate of pay from a job that they no longer have. Now many of those same people have lost their jobs and their homes, and are caught in a compound credit card debt that they will never be able to pay off. It happens much more often than you think. And not everybody has a relative they can go and live with.

Near the Mississippi Riverfront there was an assemblage of homeless people living in tents communally known as Hopeville.

It existed for nearly a year and a half before the city finally made them leave and bulldozed their encampment earlier this year. After that they tried to rebuild in a different area, but it only lasted a day before they were again booted out. Here is footage of Larry rice and two other gentlemen being arrested at the event:

But of course it doesn't stop with St. Louis. There are 700,000 homeless people in the USA currently. That number goes up about 7% per year. Nearly every major city has a homeless village in tents and cardboard boxes. You'd think an island out in the Pacific where the rich and famous live would be immune to this epidemic. Not so. Hawaii in fact has the biggest segment of the homeless per capita. This tiny island state has more than 24,000 homeless people, half of them in Oahu. And it's mostly mainlanders who are the homeless there—not the indigenous peoples. The homeless flock there because it's always warm and because there are so many special provisions for the homeless. They receive free healthcare and a shelter to sleep in for $3 per day that includes three meals. They also get food stamps. There's no better place on Earth to live if you're homelss.

And here are some pics from a former tent city in New Jersey. Like the one in St. Louis, it was also torn down by city officials. Some of these people were very creative at doing the best they could with very little. You've got to take your hat off to them. To have it all just taken away seems incredibly cruel to me.


They even had an outdoor chapple area.

The most frustrating thing about helping the homeless is finding shelters that the city will approve of, and that's really the heart of this post. Nearly every major city has a ton of codes, regulations, and zoning laws that make it impossible for anyone who is NOT a professional contractor to build any kind of housing. It's one thing to throw up a shed, but quite another if you want to live in it. If you want a simple one or two room Daniel Boone style cabin with an outhouse and a wood stove, in most cities you're out of luck. This is one area where I side with the Libertarians. We have too darn many laws that prohibit what a person can and cannot do on his or her own property! How on earth did we ever get to this point?

There's a growing crusade in the world called the Tiny House Movement. They have websites, YouTube videos, and magazines that are meant to promote a more simple lifestyle that's realistic and affordable. Sure you have your "green" folks involved too, but I've found in my research that it isn't about environmental concerns with most folks in the movement. They're tired of wasting money on things they don't need and paying for boats and swimming pools for a bunch of fat cats running the cities and the utility companies. They're all about conserving resources, and living within reason. And they can be very creative in their lodgings. Take a look at a few of the tiny houses that are springing up in the USA, Canada, and Great Britain:


The following is a straw bale house. Lots of luck getting your city to allow one even though they make great houses with good insulation.

It houses a family of four quite well.

Some people try to skirt laws by putting their tiny houses on trailer beds. If your house is on wheels it isn't considered a permanent structure, so most of the building codes don't pertain to it in some cities.

And take a look at this house & movie by a guy named Jay. Okay, he's a weird environmentalist type, but dig the inside of his house.


A growing trend in this tiny house movement is to convert storage sheds into homes. You may have noticed the past couple of years that a lot of very cool looking storage sheds have come on the market, many of which already look quite a bit like a tiny house. Here are a few.

Some of the larger ones even have enough ceiling height to put in a sleeping loft.

All of these sheds sell for less than $5,000, and most are under $3,000. You'd have to add insulation and then cover it with drywall or paneling, but that's cheap to do. Put down some cinder or concrete blocks for a base, add an old fashioned wood stove that serves as both something to cook on and a fireplace to keep you warm, and you've got a cabin Daniel Boone would be proud to live in. You could run a water line in for a bathroom and sink, or if you live in the country you could also dig a well and put up an outhouse. For electricity you could go solar. Solar panels are very cheap right now.

TINY HOUSES FOR THE HOMELESS. We could build tiny homes for the homeless using these sheds for around $5,000 that would be permanent structures they could live in for life if necessary. I bet your church or other civic organization would be willing to build one or two. Doesn't every city have a little bit of land that isn't being used that could be donated as well? How about we house the homeless in these tiny houses and let them pay us back a little at a time? Even $50 per month would pay off one of these dwellings in just five years! Anybody with a part-time job could own one of these. But we've got to get the city(s) to ease up on these housing codes to do it. Having to put a house on wheels to skirt laws is ridiculous. Wouldn't this be better than the constant cycle of people throwing up tents and boxes just to be torn down and having to start over in another part of town? Plus this would give them a regular residence with a mailbox and possibly a phone (cell anyway), and that would go a long way toward helping them find a job.

Beyond that, aren't you just a little bit sick of the government telling you how to live and what you can or can't do on your own property?

Ideas anyone?

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Charles Laughton - I, Claudius (Must See)

You may have heard that back in 1937 Charles Laughton and Merle Oberon were to have the starring roles in a production of Robert Graves novel—I, Claudius. Claudius, the 4th emperor of Rome, suffered from a nervous condition that caused his head to shake, and he stuttered badly. He also was described as having weak knees that would sometimes buckle on him. Oh, and he drooled when he got excited or nervous. The royal family kept him out of the public eye as much as possible, so great was their embarrassment of him. While they considered Claudius to be a bit of a dolt because of his nervous habits, he was actually somewhat bright and ended up being one of the few halfway decent human beings Rome ever had as emperor. He built the aqueducts and canals that are still there today and wrote his own autobiography among other achievements.

The film halted production after only a few weeks due to Oberon having been injured in a car crash. There are those who claim that Laughton was happy to use this as an excuse to get out of the movie because he didn't like the way he played the role of Claudius, and no doubt it must have been difficult to get the stutter right. (Actually he stammered in it rather than stutter, though he still did a fine job.) Other sources say that he had finally gotten the characterization down correctly and was happy with it after the first couple of weeks.

All of the original footage is still around, and a documentary in 1962 called The Epic That Never Was shows most of the footage. Here's a scene from it where Caligula has been murdered and now the senate must decide whether to allow this buffoon, Claudius (the last adult survivor of the royal family), to become their emperor. As far as I'm concerned this is one of the greatest scenes ever filmed. Surely this would have been the role of Charles Laughton's life, even more so than that of Captain Bligh in Mutiny On The Bounty two years earlier

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Great Photos of Baseball's Greats

I think that some people have the idea that baseball a hundred years ago was very primitive and that the players wouldn't be great by today's standards. However, ask people from previous generations who really know the game and they'll generally tell you that baseball players were actually better the farther back you go. I know my dad always felt that way, but he was always quick to acknowledge a great modern day player too. He grew-up watching Enos Slaughter and Stan Musial with the Cardinals and would say unequivocally that the 40s Cards were considerably better than any team they've ever fielded since.

I think there's something about seeing really high quality photographs from the early days of baseball that makes you somehow appreciate the great calibre of play they had back then. I don't know why, it just does. So many of the photos you see from the turn of the 20th century are grainy and just plain poor overall, and I think this somehow causes people to believe this reflects on their play when this really couldn't be further from the truth. So here are some great photos from the golden days of baseball. You can click on most of them to enlarge them considerably.

Stan Musial as a roookie - 1941
Enos Slaughter - 1938
The Cardinals were a great team long before Musial ever joined them though. In fact, Stan came to the club as a regular in 1942, the year after the great Johnny Mize left for new York.
Johnny Mize - 1939

The Cardinals are known for big power hitting 1st basemen, and long before McGwire and Pujols was Johnny Mize. He and Slaughter were great together although the Card's never one a world series with them. (Slaughter did win several alongside of Musial later though.)

And of course before any of them was the old Gashouse Gang of 1934 with the likes of Dizzy Dean (probably the best pitcher of the decade and one of the best ever), Pepper Martin, Frankie Frisch, and of course Joe Medwick. That team had five starting players batting over 300 and won the world series that year. The Cards won five world championships between 1926 and 1934 with many of the players in that lineup. They may have been even better than the 1940s Cardinals. The Cardinals didn't win any championships before 1926, but they still had some great teams and terrific players like Jim Bottomley, Jack Fournier, and Rogers Hornsby.
Rogers Hornsby - 1925

Hornsby was almost certainly the greatest right-handed hitter who ever lived and maybe the best period. He was also one of the best 2nd basemen. He hit over 400 three times and once hit for a 401 average and 40 home runs in the same season—a feat that will likely never be repeated. You might recall that the 1926 world series between the Cardinals and the Yankees was among the best ever recorded. It went the full 7-games and the Cards took game seven by one run. Babe Ruth hit three home runs in one game and hit the longest fly ball ever recorded at the old park. Actually, he kind of blew the series though. He walked in the 9th inning and tried to steal second with two outs but didn't make it, and that was that. He hit two home runs recorded to be over 500 feet in the series though. I would have loved to have lived back then, but this was even before my dad was born.

I found some footage of that series. It's grainy, but it's very cool to see Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig play against (and lose to) Hornsby, Bottomley and the Cards in a world series.

Here are some other nice photos of some early ball players mostly from the dead ball era:

Babe Ruth in 1914 when he was still a pitcher.

Ty Cobb sliding into 3rd - 1914

Shoeless Joe Jackson -1920

Joe hit 408 as a rookie in 1911. Babe Ruth said he more or less copied Jackson's swing.

Tris Speaker - 1911

What a great stance Tris Speaker had! And what a great hitter. He would be in the top 10 or 20 at least on anybody's list.

Fielder Jones - 1904 with the White Sox

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Just How Old Is Uncle Martin?

In light of the recent Mars landing I thought it might be time to reveal something I'm sure everyone is dying to know. Just how old is Uncle Martin--Really?

If you grew-up watching My Favorite Martian then you already know that Uncle Martin is 450 years old since he cited his age several times on the show; however, what you may not realize is that this is his age in Martian years. During episode #19 during the first season he said that there were 300 weeks in a Martian year and 8672 days in each Martian week. So I did the math. (You won't learn this from NASA.)

Uncle Martin is 3,207,452 Earth years old! He was here visiting before the first humanoid. File under Cool Martian Facts.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Pope's Butler Is No Hero

Leaked documents, most of them confidential letters between various clergymen in the Catholic Church, and many to and from the Pope himself, have found their way into the media since last January. The biggest bombshells came by way of a book written by investigative journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi called Sua Santità. This is just one of six books Nuzzi has written since 2009 concerning the inner workings of the Vatican. Nuzzi refuses to name his sources. Nor do we know what, if anything, he paid for the leaked documents.

We learned a couple of weeks ago that the Pope's butler/personal assistant, Paolo Gabriele, admitted to leaking the documents. And we learned in the past couple of days that he had help by way of another Vatican employee—computer analyst Claudio Sciarpelletti. Gabriele claims that he leaked these documents as "an agent of the Holy Spirit" for the good of the Church and to "help" the Pope. He denies having been paid for the leaked documents.

However, after raiding Gabriele's apartment in May, not only were more stolen letters and other documents found, but also a stolen a check for 100,000 Euros ($124,000), a gold nugget and a valuable 16th century book all belonging to the Church.

Does this sound like a do-gooder? I'm sure there's plenty of corruption in the Catholic Church. After all, they've never denied the content of any of these letters. But I don't think this butler is any kind of a hero for a minute. He's now been indicted on aggravated theft and his co-conspirator, Sciarpelletti, will face charges for complicity. I believe that if Nuzzi and other media persons involved with the leaks are pressed by the Italian police to reveal their sources we'll find that, not only did they come from the Pope's butler, but that a good deal of money was paid for them.

The American media needs to quit portraying this thieving butler as a great servant of the people.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Heat Killing Fish by the Millions in the Midwest

This is something I don't think any of us counted on. The intense heat and drought has caused water temps in shallower lakes, ponds, and streams to reach as high as 100%. this is a photo of hundreds of dead fish at a pond in Rock Port, MO.

Possibly a million or more fish have recently been found floating dead in Illinois waters. Some 40,000 shovelnose sturgeon alone were found dead in Iowa last week. These sturgeon were valued at $10,000,000 because their eggs are prized for caviar.

Dan Stephenson, a biologist with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, said, "We're talking hundreds of thousands (killed), maybe millions by now," Stephenson said. "If you're only talking about game fish, it's probably in the thousands. But for all fish, it's probably in the millions if you look statewide."

High levels of bacteria have also been found in lakes lately. Carp at Lewis & Clark Lake in Missouri have been found with lesions on them indicated bacteria. This is typical when water gets hot. This includes flesh eating bacteria which is often found in water. There's also a brain eating bacteria that enters through the nose. Not a good time to be on the jet-ski.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Tommy Emmanuel — Live at the Sheldon Concert Hall (2001)

This is the entire 2-hour concert. I was really surprised to find it at YT. The first couple of minutes are in mono for some reason, but then the stereo kicks for the rest of the show. Tommy's a terible hotdog and general ham, but he sure can play. So hook your laptop up to your living room TV for a couple of hours and enjoy some great old tunes played by one of the best.

1. Luttrell (00:37)
2. Blue Moon (02:51)
3. Borsalino (05:44)
4. Mombasa (08:35)
5. That's The Spirit (11:54)
6. I've Always Thought of You (15:00)
7. Guitar Boogie (23:10)
8. Amazing Grace (30:56)
9. Classical Gas (35:11)
10. A Guitar Lesson With Tommy (39:07)
11. Windy and Warm (46:35)
12. Just an Old Fashioned Love Song (50:00)
13. Beatles - Medley / Day Tripper / Taste of Honey / Lady Madonna (52:50)
14. Those Who Wait (59:47)
15. Mona Lisa (01:04:34)
16. Initiation (01:09:46)
17. Biskie (01:17:24)
18. Michelle (01:19:06)
19. Dixie McGuire (01:22:04)
20. The Hunt (01:24:16)
21. Waltzing Mathilda (01:29:12)
22. Saltwater (01:33:53)
23. Imagine (01:36:58)
24. Train to Dusseldorf / To "B" or not to "B" / Mr. Guitar / Waltzing Mathilda (reprise) / Road to Gundaghi (01:41:03)
25. Tom's Drums (01:48:09)

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Religious Joke

I found this online somewhere a couple of months ago:

I was walking across a bridge one day and I saw a man standing on the
edge about to jump. I ran over and said, "Stop! Don't do it!"
"Why shouldn't I?" he asked.
"There's so much to live for."
"Yeah? Like what?"
"Are you religious?"
"Yes," he said.
"Me, too! What religion are you?"
"Unitarian Universalist."
"Me, too! Are you restorationist or ultra-universalist?"
"Me, too! New England Convention or Philadelphia Convention?"
"New England."
"Me, too! Transcendentalist or biblicist?"
"Me, too! Broad Street Group or Free Religious Association?"
"Free Religious Association."
"Me, too! Institutional Free Religious Association or Scientific Free
Religious Association?"
"Scientific Free Religious Association."
"Me, too! Are you theist or humanist?"
"Depends on what you mean by theist," he said.
"Me, too!" I said. "Are you oriented more toward supernatural theism
or process theism?"
"Process theism," he said.
"Me, too!"
"Do you prefer Charles Hartshorne's philosophical panentheism or Henry
Nelson Wieman's naturalistic theism?"
"Hartshorne's philosophical panentheism," he said.
I yelled, "Die, heretic scum!," and pushed him off.

Medley - A Dream in the Forest & The Minute March

The first half of this medley was written by the Paraguayan guitarist Agustin Barrios and in English is called A Dream in the Forest. The second part was written by myself and is called The Minute March, and if you can play it cleanly in under a minute, I'd say you're a pretty fair guitarist.

I struggled over whether to play this on steel string or nylon. It sounds fine to me either way. The tuning high to low is:

D# (1st String)





C# (6th String)

If you tune your guitar down a half step, and then tune the 5th and 6th string down another whole step lower yet, you'll be there.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Tony Rice - New Grass King

This looks to be be from around 1980 or so. And talk about an all-star lineup:

Tony Rice (guitar)
Bela Fleck (banjo)
Sam Bush (mandolin)
Jerry Douglas (dobro)
Mark O'Connor (fiddle)
Mark Schatz (Contrabass)

Monday, July 9, 2012

eBook Pioneers (My New Formatting Business)

Please spread the word about my new business venture. If you know a publisher or an author interested in self-publishing (which seems all the rage right now), I'd very much appreciate it if you'd send them the link to my website.

eBook Pioneers


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Get Your Walmart Casket Here!

Click here to see their marvellous inventory:

Walmart Sells Caskets

I couldn't believe it when I heard this, but it's not a joke. Walmart actually sells beds for the dead online as cheap as $995!!! But apparently you have to supply your own plot and vault, and let's face it, that takes all the fun out of casket shopping.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Finger Trick

This really does seem impossible to do. I've been sitting here trying like an idiot for the past five minutes.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Dixie Dregs Perform "The Bash" Live

I was shocked to find out a couple of years ago that this concert at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1978 was filmed. Like a lot of people, I had owned the live album that came from this show since it first came out but didn't realize that the audio was taken from a video feed. It sounded very good for a live concert, let alone an audio feed from video. Anyway, here is a country-ish tune they did back then called "The Bash" (although Andy introduces it as "The Wabash" for some reason). Boy these guys were good. The ultimate jazz-rock fusion band.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

How NOT To Garden

I’ve been wanting to write this post for ages! There are few things that peeve me more than gardening run amuck, and unfortunately, that describes nearly 8 out of 10 homes in America by my estimation. I blame Better Homes and Gardens for most of this train-wreck along with Frank Lloyd Wright, the dingbat who started this whole mixing of houses with nature to begin with.
Take a close look at this monstrosity he created:

I ask you, how could you possibly get to the backside of this house to do any major structural repairs if you had to? How would you even begin to clean that idiotic glass that goes all the way to the roof on the left side? There’s so much foliage that there’s no place to put a ladder or a lift. And those upper windows are at least 35’ high. What’s worse is that it’s completely pointless. There’s such a thing as too many windows, and this is a prime example of it.

The following is great example of bad planning. Look at all this silly foliage completely mucking up the yard and burying the house. What happens when you need to do tuckpointing and painting or clean the windows and gutters? How would you get a ladder up to those windows on the left if you’re goofy enough to plant a tree right where the ladder has to go?

The following is similar. First look at how slanted the roof is. Obviously you can’t walk on it to clean the gutters. You’d have to do it from a ladder. But just where are you supposed to put a ladder? And who would be silly enough to spend 6 or 7 hundred grand on a house just to hide it behind a forest?

Here’s one last bad example. Now there’s a nice shade tree in the yard at just about the right distance from the house. It shades the house well and isn’t close enough to do much damage. But those bushes are gonna create a nightmare to try and work around. They may not be very tall, but they extend out about ten feet and butt right up against the house. If you had to put up a ladder, it would be so slanted that you couldn’t use it without taking your life in your hands. How would you paint the siding down behind the bushes when they’re right up against the house? I’ll tell you something else; planting a forest against your home is gonna do nothing but bring a ton of bugs into the house and undesirable varmints into the yard.

Look at this next one. See how nice and clean the house looks without a ton of garbage up against it. It could stand to have a couple of shade trees though.

When I was a kid in the 60s almost everybody planted their gardens AWAY from the house OUT in the yard instead of UP in the yard. Here’s an example of what you could do with a little creative thinking. Plants and trees are out away from the house the way they ought to be.

Here’s another example of a halfway decent way of doing things. There’s some foliage up near the house, but not bunched right up against it, and the foliage is small with quite a bit of room between adjoining plant-life. And the big trees are out away from house where they help instead of hurting things.

I especially like this last one. It’s a much smaller, sensible home with small plants that aren’t doing any real harm. Everything looks clean, easy to maintain, and easy to get to. All it takes is the slightest bit of common sense. Anybody can be a good gardener. Always ask yourself before you plant a tree, bush, or flower, "If I put it here, can I still get to my house from top to bottom in case I need to work on it?," because you WILL need to work on it!