Friday, May 28, 2010

I'm a Ketcham, you're a Ketchem, wouldn't you like to be a Ketchum too...

This is the continuation of the post below

Meanwhile, I've done something I never in a million years thought of doing. I'm helping plan a family reunion. A little background may be in order.

Some readers may know that my mother's family are Ketchams. It's a common name today, but back in the 1620s it wasn't. In fact, it belonged only to one man, a Puritan named Edward Ketcham who emigrated at that time. His name back in England had been Cheatham or something like that. From him are descended all the Ketchams, Ketchums and Ketchems in America. (Yes, even this one. In fact, he and I are about as distantly related as it's possible for two Ketchams to be. He comes from Edward's youngest son and I come from the oldest.)

My grandfather, Merritt Ketcham, came out west from Missouri in about 1921, a jump and a half ahead of the prohibition agents. See, his father had been a gandy-dancer until he lost a hand in a hunting accident, at which time he turned to moonshining. My grandfather and his older brother John made the deliveries. Well, this worked fine until Prohibition went into effect. (I'm extrapolating this part based on the dates.) All of a sudden, the moonshining business turned a lot more serious, and the boys' mother wanted them out of it. So she put them on a train to Wyoming with the clothes on their backs and a packet of sandwiches. John would have been 16 at this time and my grandfather was 14. They went to school with some relatives in Wyoming, then John went to work for the railroad and my grandfather went to punching cattle in Idaho, near the Oregon Slope. Eventually their parents and five younger siblings came out west behind them.

Fast-forward several generations, to last year when my wife finally lured me into getting set up on Facebook. It occurred to me to look up a couple of Ketcham cousins I hadn't seen in thirty years. (Response from the first one: "Wow! We always wondered what had happened to you!") Armed with a list from my mom of my grandfather's siblings and their kids, I sallied forth onto the internet in search of Ketchams.

When it was done, I had located a mess of children and grandchildren of the seven little Ketchams who had come out to the Northwest, most of whom I had never met. In fact, several of them had never even heard of any of us and were only vaguely aware that the family existed. It's been a very exciting process.

Well, to finish it up, I've been working with a cousin to set up the first-ever Northwest Ketchams Family Reunion. We're all getting together next month at Mossyrock, which coincidentally was where my grandfather first preached after his ordination. He officiated at his younger brother Oscar's wedding at Mossyrock, and Oscar's grandchildren will be there too. We're figuring on occupying some pews at that church on Sunday morning. (Note to self: call the current pastor and give him a heads-up.) Then a potlick and letting the kids run around while us geezers compare notes, photos and memories.

I've been really getting a feel for the exuberance Ken has for digging into the family history and finding relatives.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


I should really apologize that I've been going so long between posts. It's not just because Facebook sucks up all my computer time, either. (Although I now know a lot of you folks' real names that way.) There's been a whole lotta stuff happening around these parts.

First off, we finally got our house caught up. It's taken near 'bout three years to get to that point. Some of you might recall the financial difficulties we were faced with when our income dropped suddenly. (Many of you contributed, for which I thank you again.) Eventually we got behind by one payment too many and went into foreclosure, at which time the frimpin' [eliminatory orifices] refused to accept any payments at all! We tried to go through one of those relief programs, but the [person of irregular birth] who was handling our case kept deliberately misplacing the files we sent. No, I'm not just being paranoid. We wouid send him our forms and our pay stubs, he would acknowledge receipt verbally, and then a few weeks later we would get a letter that said we were going to be denied because we hadn't sent our paperwork in. This happened four times before we finally got a rejection letter because of the "missing" forms.

Finally God came through in the form of (a) a huge tax refund, more than twice as big as last year's, (b) a withdrawal from my already-battered 401)k) and (c) my Lovely and Brilliant Wife's financial aid for her Master's program. The boost came just as I was laid off from my side job, so the timing was perfect. It'll be tight, but I think we can keep up from here.

And the house has been as crowded as it's ever been. Not only are the grown kids not yet gone to college in distant places (Covarr heads off to Central in the fall), but Wharf Rat and the grandson came to stay with us for a while. (The circumstances were ugly and I probably oughtn't to get into it much.) Again God came through, and within a week and a half she had started a job and had an apartment lined up. We still have the grandson during the day - Drama Queen has been babysitting him to finance her cell phone habit - but as long as the apartment comes through, the job holds out and the restraining orders are kept in place, everything should be fine with them.

I'll have a second post up later on with some fun goings-on. I'll need a whole 'nother post for it as there's a lot of backstory.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Hidey-ho, neighbor!

Or rather, hide all you like, but you know I can see you anyway!

Ordinarily, moving in next door to someone you're looking for dirt on would be considered over the line, even for a soi-disant journalist. One might even go so far as to call it "stalking."

Unless the person has been so insolent as to run for public office against The One™. Then it's perfectly justified and her own fault. Stop being such a crybaby! Who wants to see your teenage daughters naked anyway? Get over yourself, lady!

Unfortunately, if he stays on his rented property and simply spies on them, she doesn't have any legal right to part his hair with a shotgun. And with guys like that, restraining orders just make them laugh and take twice as many photos. All we can hope for is that he tries to slip into the house.

And yet journalists insist on calling what they do a "profession."

Update: I like Darleen's idea:
Besides a fence, I would suggest the Palins set up a website with a live feed from a couple of cameras trained on McGinniss’s summer home.

Let the public watch the watcher.

Pour one for me!

I remember hearing this song on the radio on Captain LockJock's "Oceans of Beautiful Music" segment back in 1983 and '84, but it took me until the other day to find a copy. It's also a chance to test out this nifty self-contained audio player.

If you're not from the Northwest, or you're under a certain age, you'll need the background information here (scroll down).

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Of Aspies and normalcy

My Lovely and Brilliant Wife speaks for me in every particular.

No fair!

We boycotted you first! You don't get to do it back!
... Gary Pierce, a commissioner on the five-member Arizona Corporation Commission, wrote a letter to Villaraigosa slamming his City Council's decision to boycott the Grand Canyon State -- in protest of its immigration law -- by suspending official travel there and ending future contracts with state businesses.

Noting that a quarter of Los Angeles' electricity comes from Arizona power plants, Pierce threatened to pull the plug if the City Council does not reconsider.

"Doggone it -- if you're going to boycott this candy store ... then don't come in for any of it," Pierce told

In the letter, he ridiculed Villaraigosa for saying that the point of the boycott was to "send a message" by severing the "resources and ties" they share.

"I received your message; please receive mine. As a statewide elected member of the Arizona Corporation Commission overseeing Arizona's electric and water utilities, I too am keenly aware of the 'resources and ties' we share with the city of Los Angeles," Pierce wrote.

"If an economic boycott is truly what you desire, I will be happy to encourage Arizona utilities to renegotiate your power agreements so Los Angeles no longer receives any power from Arizona-based generation."


"I am confident that Arizona's utilities would be happy to take those electrons off your hands," Pierce wrote. "If, however, you find that the City Council lacks the strength of its convictions to turn off the lights in Los Angeles and boycott Arizona power, please reconsider the wisdom of attempting to harm Arizona's economy."

Moral of the story: Don't piss off the hicks. Your fancy cities will turn into post-apocalyptic nightmares without us.