Just Me

Just Me
Look,I'm just sayin'

Friday, December 15, 2017

old friends, time and memories

 It is time for the mailing of the Christmas cards. Some of this has been replaced with e-mail and Facebook messenger. I predict there will come a day when the annual mailing will be no more, except for a few nostalgic old folks clinging to the past.  I admit I still haven't finished my mailings and here we are down to single digits. Yes I complain about the cost of a postage stamp but that isn't the reason for the lack of mailing. I have been procrastinating. I have received a few and so I'm thinking other folks have been dragging their feet on this also. Not that I'm expecting a certain number, but you know how it goes. I just got one from an old and dear friend that drew my attention to all of this. When I got the card there was an " inside joke " notated on the envelope. It is just a simple phrase, a moniker of sorts, that was used in jest between friends. It was that reminder of the past that sprouted this thought, some old friends are relationships stuck in time. Separated by time and distance the friendship remains as it was. It is a comforting thing.
 We call these folks old friends and that is because we have grown old. Strangely the relationship hasn't aged a bit. This is especially true with those old school chums. After we graduate from high school and go off into the world in pursuit of our dreams we leave many behind. If we don't see them, or stay in touch on a frequent basis, the relationship remains stagnant. Time and distance changes us all, that is the natural process of growth. I'll remember you as you were, not as you are. Relationships  develop and grow by shared experience. When experiences are no longer shared, growth stops. Those we choose to stay in touch with, those on those Christmas card list, are the ones were we feel the relationship hasn't reached a conclusion. The friendship remains in limbo, stuck in time.
  I do think, on a subconscious level, we leave these relationships untouched for selfish reasons. I would rather just remember you as you were. All those years ago you knew my hopes and dreams, I spoke of my expectations with the bravado of youth, All hasn't gone as I was convinced it would. I'm equally as certain that your life hasn't progressed as you imagined either. As I said earlier,  growth comes from shared experiences and I haven't shared my experiences with you. Oh, I may have shared some positive experiences with you, bragging about an accomplishment or some good fortune. I may even have shared something that hurt me deeply, like the loss of a loved one, something like that. Still, we didn't share that experience on a personal level, that can only be done in person.
 Memory and nostalgia are connected to the ethereal. I hesitate to handle such things preferring they remain as they were. As I said, a comfort. I am keenly aware that time changes us all. I am not the person I was in 1971. Those " old friends " are not the same people they were either. Our experiences have molded us, adapting us to our environments. Would I still fit into their world ? Would they fit into mine ? I wonder does the " glue " that first bound us together retain its' adhesion ? My hope is that it would. Could old memories sustain a new friendship ? I believe they could if those old memories were the foundation. If we have adhered to our core beliefs, remained true to ourselves, we really haven't changed all that much. If we were genuine then, and remain genuine today, that " glue " will still hold.  Still, I believe our memories can be a gift. You shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth. That is what I was told and perhaps I am just now beginning to understand the wisdom of that old idiom. There are some things best left alone, just enjoyed for what they were. 

Thursday, December 14, 2017

gender neutrality

 It is like something from a science fiction movie. It appears we are trying to form a gender neutral society. Mostly though it is the men that need to be neutralized. That's the agenda I'm seeing anyway. Oh I know I'm a chauvinist or possibly a migyonist. Since these feminists found the dictionary you can't be certain what you will be called these days. But I'm getting off the subject a bit. First we had all the gay parades and such, all the " coming out " parties and celebrations. The books were rewritten proclaiming that preference was a normal thing, whereas in the past it was considered aberrant behavior. Once that was established we decided you get to decide. Yes, you can just pick a gender and identify yourself with that, biology can just take a back seat. Never mind scientific facts, we will move forward on feelings alone. Medical expertise will make the necessary modifications to our outward appearance, a perfect deceit. I just wonder what it is they feel the need to hide ? If you don't like reality, just change it ? Umm, seems that way to me anyway. But that is mostly the men right ? They are changing themselves into women at an alarming rate. All men are oversexed animals with sex the only thought on their minds. If I'm a guy that wants to attract another guy what's the best way to do that ? Change into a woman !  Women have to be constantly on their guard. If it isn't a direct physical attack, it is one by innuendo. Men have even been known to stare at women and you just know what they are thinking ! It is the only thoughts men have ! Yes, men need to be neutralized. If we could form a gender neutral society there will be no more of this harassment stuff ! Not only that we wouldn't need to " identify " as any one gender, we can just be whatever, whenever the occasion suits.
 The cosmetic industry spends 15 to 16 billion dollars a year. The average women will spend 15,000 dollars in her lifetime on cosmetics. We are only talking about cosmetics and fragrances, Clothing is another area altogether. Why do women spend so much on cosmetics ? The answer is an obvious one, to look more attractive. Fragrances are intended to attract as well. Both industries constantly advertise and hint, not so subtly, that there products are intended to increase your sex appeal ! That's right, they are designed to make you more sexually desirable. Not one of those products advertise if you use it an intellectual conversation will break out ! None advertise a meaningful relationship will develop from the use of their lip gloss. Now I'm not saying using these products is an invitation to an assault but I wonder why are so many women surprised when the products works as intended ? When the use of those products attract the " male " of the species, just as they are designed to do ? Yes, men are hunters and will follow the scent. It is an inherent biological function of the male. Occurs throughout nature. Yet the mere mention that perhaps the lady bears some responsibility for fostering this attraction is met with extreme indignation ! Yes, I spent two hours doing my makeup and hair, I sprayed an attractive scent all over my body, but I didn't intend to attract you ! I just did all that for myself, to make myself feel good about me. You know when I feel good about me ? When others are attracted to me ! What a strange concept eh ? When humans are validated by others showing an interest in them they feel good about themselves. I know, I know it is very strange. But you say, I put on my makeup, do my hair, and dress nicely for myself, to feel good about me. If that is the case why is it the first thing you do when you get home is take off your bra, put on comfy clothes, wash your face and just relax ? You don't want to feel good about yourself at home ?
 It's all very confusing. If a lady attracts unwanted attention it is the guys fault. It is never her fault. Yet if a lady gets the reputation of being standoffish, she will be labeled " frigid. " No women I have ever known wants to be called frigid. No, they want to be desirable. Still, they want the decision to remain, by invitation only. Look it is all pretty simple to me. Keep your hands to yourself ! That's what I was taught and what I practice. I was also taught to watch my mouth. Probably the reason I still do not use " salty " language around the ladies. Some of that has become blurred with all this " equality " talk. If one wishes to be treated like a lady, one should act like a lady. If you wish to be treated like one of the guys, don't be shocked and appalled when you are. Seems the only answer would be Gender Neutrality.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

telling the story

 The elephant in the room this morning is the result of the Alabama special election for a Senate seat. An amazing thing if you really consider it. It wasn't too many years ago that such an election would have had little or no attention in the national news, now very are not aware of the results. The reason this election gained such attention ? I'd say because it was " influenced " by the main stream media. Yes, the American people have been influenced ! No, it isn't the Russians this time, it is the main stream media. The candidate they wanted has apparently gained the victory, albeit by a slim margin, and all is well. Moore hasn't conceded and there will be a recount. I'm not anticipating any change in the result. It is a very rare occurrence, although it has happened. Whatever the case, congratulations to Mr. Jones for a hard fought campaign.
 As far as the elephant in the room, that concerns the perception that Moore was defeated by accusation alone. I share that view with others. I haven't seen or heard any hard evidence that this guy was/is a pedophile. I should qualify that statement by saying if you were, you still are. There is no rehabilitation for that ! True, I have heard many accusing him of such and I believe everyone should be heard. I don't believe everyone should be believed ! Substantiated evidence is required to reach a conviction. At least that is the way it is supposed to work here in America. We can not judge people based solely on the perceived credibility of the witness. To do so would require the witness to be above reproach. Who among us could meet that standard ? That is especially true in todays digital world. The mother of that child that was bullied, you saw that on the news didn't you, has been shown with a confederate flag ! There are some saying she is exploiting her child for monetary gain. See how that works ?
 For every accuser of Moore I'm certain savvy lawyers, pundits, or politicians could find some " dirt. " Anything at all to discredit the person will do. Anything they have ever posted to social media, tweeted, and in any way made public, or not public would be fair game. I've written these blog postings for over seven years now, imagine what could be written about me ! If I were someone of some importance, someone that hampered anyone in any way, those posting could be gleaned and many conclusions drawn ! See, this is what he wrote ! I don't care though, as it makes no difference in my world. If I were to run for public office however, that would be a new ball game altogether. I'm not saying he would have won had not the media added their influence, I really don't follow the Senate races in the state of Alabama. Was all of this because the Democratic party felt they couldn't win that seat unless drastic measures were taken ? Was all this a political ploy ? I can't say one way or the other. I have heard that the Dems haven't won that seat in 25 years so that scenario seems plausible enough, even more so given the climate today. I understand this guy Moore has had issues in the past. Whatever the issues were he wasn't removed from his position. Amazingly there was at least one Senator, from the Republican party, that stated if Moore had won he would vote to expel him from the Senate. Was this Senator really saying, I'll decide you can be a Senator regardless of what the voters say ! That guy lost my vote for that. He needs to be reminded that it is the people that elect officials, not other politicians to suit their own agenda.
 Anyway congratulations to Mr. Jones I wish him success. I hope he had nothing to do with all this. I suspect he will be under close scrutiny for some time. The big question is, was the election influenced ? Yes of course it was and everybody knows that. We will spend much time and words denying it however. Will the persecution of Roy Moore continue ? Well, we will have to wait and see. If all those that accused him continue in their belief that he is guilty, I can't see why it would stop. If it stops, what will that then indicate ? Wouldn't that then say, it is alright to be a pedophile as long as you are not a Senator ? Of course I wonder were all these folks were when he ran for Judge, or got appointed Judge , whatever the case was. Was it alright for him then ? Sure didn't hear anything about that. And if I am Jones how do I feel ? Do I feel like I won the election fair and square ? Did I win because of my ideas, my platform or because so many were influenced to vote against my opponent ? What I mean is, did I get the votes because the people wanted me, or because they didn't want Moore ? It isn't the same thing you know. It is like taking the broken cookie because that is all that is left.
  If I lived in Alabama would I start carrying a sign, Not My Senator ? It'll be interesting to see. There will be a recount and the results will stand. Moore can complain all he wants and in one sense be justified in that complaint. He really was found guilty in the court of public opinion. The only question there being, who offered that opinion in the first place. Was it a political maneuver ? I'd like to believe it was not,but I don't. It is one the oldest tricks in the book. Politicians have been throwing mud at each other since the very beginning. It is to be expected when money and power is at stake. It's a real shame. I find it even more disturbing when it is an accepted behavior, endorsed by the media. I heard very little journalistic efforts to counter any of that. No, instead the media just kept adding fuel to flames in an attempt to retain readership or viewership. Facts had little to do with the reporting of the " story. " That's what is has all come to hasn't it ? The " STORY " is the most important thing in journalism today. Fiction sells, facts are boring. The reason is simple enough. Facts take time to gather, analyze, verify and demand integrity. Fiction on the other hand can just be made up as you go, unrestrained  the " story " can be developed into something sensational. Hey, if it is wrong we can always say, sorry, new facts came to light. Facts like, the truth. In this case the " story " is over. We will just move on to the next big " story. " Let's see, we currently have sexual harassment, bullying, and an accused pedophile to entertain us. When we get bored we can always fall back on race relations, the poor, or how the medical system is killing us all,or global warming. Then we can crusade for the national legislation of Pot. Get everyone stoned and they will just mellow out. It'll be a cool new America dude. Not a Republic but a commune. Groovy. 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Hope and expectation

 I am the youngest of four. That fact may explain why I don't remember certain things from my childhood. What I was thinking about this morning is I don't remember getting gifts for my brothers and sister at Christmas. I also don't remember if they gave me anything. Like I said maybe it's because I'm the youngest. Not that any of that matters, it is just a memory, or rather, a lack of  memory. I'm certain if I did give anything to them it would have been homemade. I certainly had no money to spend. We didn't get an allowance and money was not just handed out, you had to earn it. Whatever the case was, Christmas was all about hope, not expectations. I knew from an early age to not expect the " gift " but to be grateful for whatever you were given. And no, it wasn't a disappointment or a hardship ! That is the way life was lived back in the sixties. I hoped for many things, I'm certain of that, although I can honestly say I don't remember what. As I reminisce about that time I can also honestly say I was never disappointed. The excitement of the day always outweighed any " expectations " I may have had. I forgot about whatever it was I had to have, in favor of what I did ! Santa Claus never let me down. I can honestly say, even past Santa, I have never been disappointed.  And that is a real blessing.
 Christmas isn't about the gifts. That is what we are all taught and the truth of it undeniable. It is also undeniable that little children are more excited about Santa Claus than the birth of Christ. I do remember at the church I attended having a birthday party for Jesus and it was a highlight of the year. We had a tree in the community hall, Santa Claus arrived and every child there got a gift from him. Yes, Santa Claus handed out the gifts with your name written on it. Afterwards we all got a small box of hard candy and an orange to take home. I remember those birthday parties quite fondly and wonder if the church still does that. Oh, yes there was birthday cake too. Can't have a birthday party without cake. What a wonderful tradition and a teaching time as well.
 My oldest brother left us three years ago and so I can't ask him what he remembers. Sadly I can't remember the last Christmas we spent together. Truth is I can't recall the last time all of us kids spent Christmas morning together. I'm guessing it would have been 1963 or 64 maybe. Harold, the eldest joined the Navy when he was seventeen. That would have been in 1964. I was just eleven at the time. Brother Dan was married two years later and so no longer at home. My sister lived at home until about 1969. We were scattered to the wind as the saying goes and so never got together. Even today my sister is in Florida, my brother in Georgia and I'm in Maryland. Sure, in the movies everyone gets together and has that hallmark holiday. Reality is quite a bit different. Still I remember that Christmas is all about hope, not expectations. That is why we celebrated the birth of Jesus, his gift is hope. He gives hope to all mankind if they but believe and obey. Strange isn't it ? Santa Claus tells children to behave themselves ( obey ) all year and they will be rewarded with gifts. Jesus tells us to behave ( obey ) and we will be given eternal life. In both scenarios all we can do is our best and hope for a good result. 

Monday, December 11, 2017

Just offering

 Holiday letters, do you do them ? I have never done one, that but have received a couple.  A sort of year in review. Having never tried to do that I believe it would be a struggle. Would I have a years worth of news ? No, I think it would be fairly brief, hardly an anthology, more like a shopping list. Of course that does depend upon what the I am willing to share. It's not that I have secrets, it's just that I don't share what I think of as boring news. Do you really want to read about my health issues ? I don't think so. I consider myself fortunate when I don't have dramatic or traumatic news ! When life just goes along smoothly it is a blessing. Those everyday blessings do get shared however, it is just that I post to Facebook. Yes, I do enjoy that social media platform. I enjoy it when they post my " year in review " even though they want to sell me something. It's fun to look and be reminded of the experiences. That's why I like it though, because I lived it. If I were to share that with someone that wasn't involved it wouldn't be near as entertaining. I'm thinking it is the same with those holiday letters. They wouldn't be much fun to the recipients, unless of course you were to pack them full of gossip ! Everyone loves gossip. Yes, you do. I haven't done much worthy of gossip and the people I have the " dirt " on you wouldn't know anyway, so that's no fun.
 Do you have holiday friends and family ? You know, those that get a card and maybe a brief phone call. I have a few. It isn't that I don't think of them throughout the year but I wait for an occasion. I have no explanation for that other than laziness. Yes, there are times when I am too lazy to make the effort. What does that say about me ? I'll be the first to tell you we should all make time for our friends and family. I'm certain I have written more than one blog about that very thing. It is easier to write or talk about it than to actually do it. It's that way with a lot of things. Well, I'll consider myself admonished and promise to do better in the future. I should tell you I don't do new years resolutions either. Old dogs and new tricks ? Not very likely, but possible. I do have a habit of taking life for granted. I have awoken every day for 23,521 days in row, so can you blame me ? Yes one day that streak will end and I'll begin another. The next one will be for an eternity ! I wonder if I will become complacent about that ? Maybe that is what happened to the Devil ! Hmm, something more to consider.
 About those holiday letters though, I guess my year has been pretty boring. Same old thing almost every day. I really shouldn't complain about any of that. I don't believe we are supposed to be entertained all the time. The times we are not entertained we should be productive. I admit to wasting a great deal of time on entertaining myself. Yeah, think social media and watching television those sort of diversions. Are they accomplishing anything constructive ? The majority of the time I would have to say, no. In these modern times, with all the modern conveniences, we have become lazy, complacent in life and the living of it. That's why we have " outdoor " activities. We do subconsciously miss those activities that used to keep us alive and have created " sport " to replace them. Some of us hunt, fish, kayak, ski and all those type of things. There is an element of danger in those activities, and it is that element that we crave. Others among us center their efforts on " crafting . " Crafting doesn't necessarily hold the danger element, but gives us a sense of survival. Yes, we are making these things, whatever they may be, as a replacement for survival skills long since made unnecessary by modern technology.
  I find myself preoccupied with thought. What will be my contribution ? Is a contribution necessary ? Well I think my lot is to leave an offering, more so than a contribution. Offerings may or may not be accepted. Contributions are those things people create to the betterment of man. They are the practical things, accepted and utilized by all. Offerings are everything else. Offerings are those things that are either accepted or rejected on an individual basis. I'm thinking music, art, those things labeled the humanities. Some would argue that those type of things are contributions and I can understand that. It is true if you are the one " offering " that contribution. You would want everyone to acknowledge and accept that. That action is a validation. As for me, I am making an offering. I'll leave it to others to decide if it is a contribution. I do encourage others to " try it, you'll like " it. I wouldn't be normal if I didn't. I know, who told me I was normal.
 What has all of this to do with holiday letters ? Well a holiday letter is a year in review. Even in my most momentous year I would barely have more than a few paragraphs. Guess I could just jot down a few bullets. Holiday letters are supposed to be informative aren't they ? I just don't have much to tell you about on a personal level. I wouldn't feel right telling you about anyone else, shouldn't they do that ?  I tried to envision my highlight reel for 2017. Nothing comes to mind, nothing I would consider a highlight anyway. My greatest pleasures have come from seeing the accomplishments of others. Boy, that sounds self serving now doesn't it ? Getting " likes " on Facebook doesn't qualify as a highlight but I do enjoy them. I guess what I'm trying to say is, I didn't do anything in 2017 to brag about.   

Sunday, December 10, 2017

pro and con

 In the last few years I have discussed this issue of giving gift cards. I still remain, for the most part opposed to that method of gifting. It just seems like such a cop out to me. Certainly it is convenient  and requires little effort. It is also eminently practical. It also strikes me as completely impersonal, unless of course, you can place a monetary value on sentiment. What I mean by that is, how much is it worth ? Can our love or sentimental feelings be expressed in dollars and cents ? That is my issue with the whole concept of the gift card. That being said, my granddaughter has requested gift cards for Christmas ? A sign of the times ? I'm afraid it is just that and I'm not happy about the implications, still being Grandpa, I will fulfil her wishes as best I can, its' what I do. Yes, I know I spoil her, and all my grandchildren, and that can appear as a surrender of my principles. Look, even the Grandfather in Heidi had his soft side. I'm thinking it is just the gift card itself that bothers me, I didn't mind getting cash when I was a kid ! In fact I had one aunt in particular that always gave cash, in one of those envelopes from the bank that exposed the face of the president. I think the bank provided them free of charge back then. I don't know if they still do that, probably not. When was the last time you got a free toaster for opening a checking account ? But, I'm wandering a bit here. I don't have any of that money today but I do remember the aunt that gave it. Mission accomplished ? Yes, Aunt Minnie is memorable for her wealth, and little else, as I seldom saw her. Holiday relative, if you know what I mean. She was my fathers great aunt, but they traveled in different circles entirely. None of this is meant to disparage her in any way, it just the truth of the matter. I still hold a degree of affection for her, she was also generous and kind. She had no children of her own, whatever the reason was, and so had little experience. She gave myself and my siblings shrimp to eat and fancy crackers. She talked to us of current events and such. There were no toys at her house, all was neat and orderly. Aunt Minnie would have embraced gift cards, of that I am certain. Oh, by the way, my sister was named after her. Her real name was Mildred but she went by Minnie, perhaps a nod to her humble beginnings in life. Aunt Minnie married well as the saying goes.
 Now this idea of gift cards bothers me a bit simply because the monetary value is, of necessity, exposed.  That's not to say any gift I  purchase couldn't easily be researched ( googled ) and the price known instantly. I just don't think anyone would do that, I mean, to what end ? Selling it on ebay maybe ? Well, whatever, I just don't like that. I was talking about this with my sister, yes the one named after aunt Minnie, as she is contemplating gifts cards as well. As we chatted she asked what value amount I thought appropriate. I had to answer with, it depends upon the person. The reason isn't what you think though. The reason has nothing to do with how much or how little you value that person as a friend, relative or close family member. No, the value of the card has to be appropriate to the age of the person receiving it. Well that is, if you want to make an impression it does. You see value amounts are not what you see on the face of the bill or in this case, card. It really depends upon the generation you are talking about. Being a baby boomer a hundred bucks is still a good amount of money to me. If someone gave me a hundred I take that as very generous. If I were to give my granddaughter a hundred dollars she wouldn't be nearly as impressed. To her, that's a pair of shoes. She what I mean ? It is also dependent upon where the person was raised and their situation growing up. My brother only recently left Long Island, living in the Hamptons. When he moved to Florida he thought the housing was cheap, groceries were cheap and all of that. Then he applied for a job and found out the wages were equally as cheap ! It is all relative. Still to him, paying fifty dollars for lunch doesn't seem unusual but let me tell you in Greensboro Maryland that is extravagant ! All relative you see, by age, location and lifestyle. That is how you would have to buy gift cards. Might just as well buy the gift and put all that effort into selecting something yourself. I'd rather be thought of as giving terrible gifts than being cheap ! Yeah, I know it isn't how much the gift cost it is the thought that counts. I don't what to be thought of as cheap.
 I still haven't convinced myself it is alright to give gift cards. That is what this writing and discussing is all about. I keep trying to justify it. It is what they really want, I don't know what to buy them and all of the other arguments in the " pro " column. I just can't get past the " cons. " Fact is I think the whole thing is a con. I'm conning myself into doing something I oppose ! I am relenting to pressure. The pressure is, give'em what they want. The one item in the " con " column is that act of selecting the gift itself. You have to know the person, having been attentive to them throughout the year , to know what to buy. It requires thought. Yes, effort is required and it is through that effort that you can show your affection for that person. The proper gift will surprise and delight them because it is something that they either wanted or didn't know they needed. That is the magic in Christmas gifts. That is why the monetary value should be unimportant. That is why gift cards are just wrong. And so there it is, the cold hard truth. Excuse me while I go purchase those gift cards for the grandkids. 

Saturday, December 9, 2017

obviously

 The grasp of the obvious. It is something that I am continually amazed by. I listen to our politicians making speeches and they do nothing but state the obvious. I listen to these scholars, people of letters and advanced degrees, and they state the obvious. That amazement comes from their apparent surprise at the obvious ! Yes, people are different from each other. People do harbor prejudice dependent upon their station in this world. I know, it's a revelation. Imagine that if you can. I have listened as the conversation went from race to gender to sexual preferences to gender identity and we have arrived at harassment ! All those things are wrong ! There, now you know, the obvious has been stated, parades have been held to celebrate it, and legislative proceedings initiated to recognize it. That's what we do with all this progressive, liberal thinking and social growth. We state the obvious problems but never, ever, can we discuss the real underlining causes of these behaviors. Why that would just be rude and possibly ; offensive ! We mustn't offend at all costs. Being offensive is the worst thing you can do. The truth often offends so we will avoid that , instead we just state the obvious.
 It has been determined the best course of action is to assure whomever is offended that they are a victim. We will apologize, make sure they know we understand their pain, and state the obvious once again. Whatever has happened to these folks is not their fault. They bare no responsibility at all. In fact we should provide them with the " tools " they need to succeed. The " tools " of course must be provided free of charge. The " tools " will be specifically modified to ensure the desired result no matter how inept the user may be. Awards and accolades will follow. These folks will be held up as examples. The obvious will have been bourn out. If you give people whatever they want, they become compliant. Yes, it's true. Tell people they are victims, give them reparations and glorify their " success. " It's a wonderful formula, works every time. Well, it works for a little while. You do have to keep on giving. Just keep on bending reality, until reality is obscured by the obvious.
 Well I would like to point out the obvious . You can't please all the people all the time. Remember being told that ?  Still I watch as progress is being made, there are those that complain about that. The big problem ? Making a decision. Yes, we shouldn't actually decide upon a course of action and stick with that. Change is the only way ! It has become the battle cry of the liberal thinker.
 If you think anything differently consider this tidbit of news. There has been male and female throughout millennia , seems obvious enough doesn't it ? Not so fast there, gender " X " is now being proposed. It's true , check it out. Washington state is considering this as an option on a birth certificate. Don't want to go labeling someone. They can change it,  change it to whatever they identify as, who knows, by the age of majority there could be another choice. Sounds ridiculous doesn't it ? Not to some it doesn't and that is scary. Scarier still is our legislators are considering that option at all ! Something that should be obvious, is not. The reason for that is obvious though, wouldn't want to offend anyone. I'll go out on the limb here, there are males and females. There is no other choice. Never has been, never will be. It's just science folks !
 All these folks stating the obvious. It's very puzzling to me. How can you state the obvious, while ignoring it. Ignore whatever may offend others, legislate what does offend you. I find something offensive so you will legislate that offense so that it will no longer be offensive ? Huh ? Exactly. If its' the law, it can't be offensive ! If all of this doesn't make sense to you don't be surprised. I'm not sure I know what I am saying either. I'm just pointing out the obvious. Some people are just idiots ! Some of those idiots are politicians, scholars and entertainers.  

Friday, December 8, 2017

legislating biology

 It's an inquisition without the religion ! I'll probably be called a chauvinist, or a number of other names for this opinion, but that is exactly what it is starting to look like to me. Accusations are made, an investigation based on hearsay and innuendo is launched, and the person is found guilty. Only difference between the inquisition and what's happening right now is you can resign your position. If you resign and apologize you can avoid further persecution. Better still, you can check into a  rehabilitation center. Perhaps it is an addiction, addiction is never your fault so that's excusable. Kinda like receiving absolution. In both instances if you pay the fee, you're forgiven.
 Let's just calm down and take a good look at what the problem is. At this particular moment in time it's sexual harassment. Of course, only guys sexually harass anyone so guys are the root of the problem. Guys get power or fame and use that to intimidate, harass, and coerce the female workers around them. That's what they do !  The only solution is to get rid of the men. If they were all replaced with women none of this would happen. Well, I guess it is alright if they are gay guys, hey, they use the same bathroom as the girls and so are in the loop. Gay guys are alright, they're sensitive and caring. I'm not sure where the transsexual or gender neutral person would fit into all of this. But whatever the case, it's the guys that are the problem here. It doesn't matter how the women dress, what subtle messages they may send, no matter how coy they may act, none of that matters at all. Just putting bait on the hook shouldn't cause anyone to bite ! Even better is baiting the hook, getting a catch and waiting forty years or more to reel it in ! There is even a movement for that action, #me too.
 Now I'm not saying it doesn't happen. I'm not saying any of that is excusable. What I am saying is why, all at once, is it such a shock ! Why after all these years, and this interaction between men and women has been going on since, well, since people have had sexual urges, a biological function of all mammals, animals, plants and fish and fowl. Well, as Clarence Carter wrote in a song many years ago, " everything that has got life in it likes to make love." And now, in 2017, it's a big problem ! It's an assault ! Yes, just speaking in an inappropriate fashion is an assault. What I don't understand is how are we going to define a violation. During the inquisition it was easier, just interpret what was written in the Bible. If you didn't believe in the Bible you were guilty. If you believed in the Bible and begged for forgiveness, you were guilty. If you begged for forgiveness but could provide some information to bring down a bigger fish than yourself, absolution could be granted ! You went free, for a price. I hear quite a few people have been getting paid to remain silent, absolution was at hand.
 Yes and now Time magazine is placing four women on their cover declaring them " the silent ones. " They represent all the women that have suffered in silence as they were sexually harassed. Will all men have to pay reparations ? OMG, Women's lives Matter ! The women heading this movement up have been known to parade in the streets wearing a replica of their genitals as a hat ! They advocate for unbridled sex. I have to pay for their contraceptives, health screenings and abortions, if that is what they want. I should only agree to participate in this sex if I am first invited to do so, no advancement on my part is acceptable, no matter how slight. Soon a written agreement will be required to protect yourself from accusations.
 There is one thing that bothers me about this " silent ones " thing. Are they being recognized for not saying anything ? Are they the heroines of inaction ? Oh, I understand the rhetoric associated with this. Beaten, oppressed, and scared, these women suffered in silence. They were, after all, just women. But wait a minute, didn't you just tell me women were as strong as men. Didn't you just tell me women were equals ? Well, if all of that is so why didn't these " silent ones " speak up ? They were scared and so now we will give them a medal ! Yes, real heroines I'd say. Want a heroine, try Joan of Arc. There are many other examples of genuine heroines throughout history.
 Look what we are talking about here is human interaction. Males have pursued females since the beginning. Regardless of any social changes in that regard, the majority of males are attracted to females. Gasp, isn't that a revelation. There are guys that are, for lack of a better term, wolves. Yeah, some guys are like that, whereas the ladies were called promiscuous. In more modern terms, dogs and sluts ! Whatever the label, men are attracted to women. I know, I know, it is a shocker alright. This must be stopped ! Why it is just, immoral ! And there you have it, men are taking actions contrary to moral and ethical standards ! This requires an inquisition ! Only a cleansing by fire will do !  We will erase this vile, base, desire of men to say unwanted things to ladies, and in some cases actually touch them ! It is an assault on what ? Moral and virtuous behavior, that's what, but we can't base it on religious beliefs. It requires legislation.
 Could any of this have to do with getting the upper hand ? Call me cynical but it looks like the perfect timing for a power grab. If I can just fling accusations, without any proof at all, hoping they stick why shouldn't I ? It is what we do these days. Find an excuse, er, reason and level accusations, and then demand reparations. Pick your category. Are you a minority ? Maybe you're skin color is different, maybe you enjoy aberrant behaviors, maybe you just want to use the girls locker room ! If you are not allowed to do so you are being oppressed ! If you are a female and work for a male. He's a predator and guilty of assault. The proof ? Well he did say I looked good, or asked me for a date. I felt uncomfortable around him. He's guilty ! You know what the best role in our society today is ? Victim ! Yes that's it. If I can show how I have been the victim and someone survived that I am a hero ! I don't have to actually do a thing, just be the victim. The victim gets the reward !! 

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Laura Rose

 A little while back I had posted an old photograph to a group I belong to. I have since discovered that picture was taken about 1891. That would be 126 years ago. On the back in great grandmother Lucys' own hand are written the names and the place. You don't have to be a handwriting expert to tell that it was written with an old quill pen. The ink has dried to a dull brown color. One of the ladies pictured is Agnes Victoria Terry, formerly Agnes V King. She is mother to my Great Grandma Lucy.The others are friends of the family with one exception. On the far right stands a young lady identified as Laura Rose Terry. Laura Rose looks to be with child. I have known of her for some time while working on the family tree. Laura Rose is an older sister to my great grandmother Lucy. Laura Rose remained as a bit of a mystery. I had looked for her in the genealogical records with little result. I did find her on a census. Her exact age is still in question but I believe she was born in 1876. The census record says she was born in Bridgehampton New York. Her age is recorded as three and birth year about 1877. It is not recorded what month or day she was born and so that is left to speculation for now. Only fragments remain of the census taken in 1890 as a fire at the commerce department destroyed the rest. Laura Rose is lost to history in the official record. She passed away in 1891 at the age of 16 years, five months. That information came from a newspaper, The Corrector. The paper makes no mention of a child. Of course in 1891 such things were not discussed. I have never found any record of a marriage taking place. In fact, I have been unsuccessful in finding out anything further concerning Laura Rose. Family secrets left unspoken and unrecorded. There is no one left to testify to whatever events may have taken place. Were I to provide sufficient documentation of relationship to Laura Rose , New York state would provide a copy of her death certificate. Perhaps that certificate would provide some answers. It is something I have considered pursuing.
 I do wonder if I am judging Laura Rose fairly. Is she with child ? It sure looks that way but I don't know that for a fact. Her sister, my great grandmother Lucy would have been thirteen years old at that time. I'm certain she would have been well aware of all of that. Did Laura Rose die as a result of the pregnancy or perhaps in childbirth ? It wasn't an uncommon thing to have happen back then.  Great Grandmother Lucy would lose her own daughter, my grandmother Clara as a result of such. That was in 1924 following the birth of my father. Yes, Clara gave birth and passed as a result of complications. And so what of Laura Rose ? I wonder who the father was ? No shotgun wedding ? There are so many unanswered questions. I have yet to locate a grave for her. I suspect she may be interred at Green River cemetery in the Springs, or perhaps in a place called Lilly Hill. Lilly Hill would have been a short distance from the home of her mother and father.
 You may wonder why any of this matters at all. I say, it matters to me. As I attempt to chronicle the story of my family these little detail are important. It is in that statement that the importance lies. Are any of us a " little detail ? " I hope my existence proves to be more than that. Laura Rose isn't just a detail. She was a young lady with hopes and dreams like all of us. Was she in love and that love unrequited ?  Did Laura Rose have a purpose ? Yes, she did and that purpose was fulfilled. Perhaps one day I will know that purpose, perhaps one day I will understand. Until then, I'll keep on questioning.
  

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

waiting for Santa

 Something unusual has happened this year. I have nearly all my Christmas shopping done. Yes, I can't believe it myself, almost done before the tree has even been put up. This is the earliest I have ever been done. Thinking about it, I just can't explain it, there was no plan, it just happened. I have to say it gives me a bit of a nervous feeling. Something just doesn't seem right about it. What's happening to me ? Am I becoming ; responsible. I'm taking care of things instead of procrastinating ! Yikes, I am becoming an adult. The day is rushing at us though, only eighteen days to go. That's not much time when you are sixty four, when you are four that would be a lifetime. I think it all has to do with anticipation. When you are young you do anticipate, looking forward with hope and excitement for what lies ahead. Once you get older, the excitement fades away just a bit, you can anticipate what is going to happen with a degree of certainty. Well, knowing isn't as exciting is it ?
 The wife and I often remark to each other as we are shopping, we don't have little kids anymore. That usually happens after we see something especially cute or a nostalgic toy. First our own boys grew up, now the grandkids have done the same. No one is anticipating the arrival of Santa Claus ! That lack of anticipation does take a little bit of wind out of our sails. Oh, we all know the real meaning of Christmas and will enjoy the fellowship of family on that very special day. Gifts will be exchanged. The difference is that no one believes that Santa left any of those gifts. A few tags will be signed in that way, a nod to the jolly old elf that we all enjoyed at one time in our lives. Still, the excitement level is no where close to when you have little ones around.
  Only 18 days to go before Christmas morning. It will arrive and be gone quickly. The reason for that ? No one is waiting for Santa. Yes, that's it in a nutshell. Anticipation breeds anxiety. When you are waiting for something to happen, anxiety can be the result. Will Santa bring me the things I asked for ? Can Santa really come down the chimney ? What about the weather ? When I was a child I wrote Santa a letter. I never got an answer and had to wait and see. I expect that has changed a bit these days, maybe you can tweet Santa. Whatever the case is, the waiting can cause anxiety. Call me what you will but I always enjoyed watching the kids squirm, wondering if they would get those gifts. Yes, they suffered from anxiety and I enjoyed it ! It was just part of the magic. Probably not politically correct to do that these days. Using the Santa is watching admonishment gave me a certain satisfaction as well. It only works for a few weeks before Christmas but it is a great club. Ha Ha, or is it  Ho, Ho, Ho ? That is what Santa was always laughing about. Anticipation, anxiety and yes, just a little bit of fear. They do make for a Merry Christmas. Christmas just isn't the same when you are not waiting for Santa. I guess I should say, Christmas just isn't as much fun as when you BELIEVE that Santa will come. I'm hoping one day to have great grandchildren and wait for Santa with them. 

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

baking a cake

 The case of the baker and the cake goes to the supreme court this week. What a waste of judicial process. Well, we will get the courts opinion on this whole matter. As anyone of you that have read anything I have written in the past about this knows, I don't believe he has to bake that cake. My reasoning is quite basic, it's his business. He says he doesn't want to bake a cake to be used for a ceremony that is offensive to him and his religious beliefs. Is that prejudicial ? That's the question isn't it ? Initially one might think so, I can see that point of view. If I am the one wanting that cake it is certainly the way I feel, I didn't get what I wanted. Of course why the person doesn't just go to another baker I really don't understand, it is what I would do. You don't want to bake my cake, I don't want to give you my money ! Fact is, I'm not going to have much of anything good to say about you or your store. I'm going to do that because I'm an adult and know I can't always have it my way, hey, this ain't Burger King ! Kids used to be King there once, today not so much. But I digress.
 I have read many articles about accommodations being made in the workplace for those of the Muslim faith. Apparently their faith precludes them from handling pork or pork products. From all accounts they get very offended by that. I've read where they get reassigned at their jobs so they don't have to even be near it, let alone touch it. Some folks have been prosecuted for leaving bacon on their doorsteps ! It's a hate crime you know.  Hey, it's a religious thing right ? So, how is that different from a person not wanting to bake a cake for a gay wedding ? The baker is offended, the Muslim is offended, both cite religious reasons. What's the difference ? Look I'm just saying it has to be all or nothing in these situations. Either we are going to allow actions, or in this case, inaction, based on a religious belief, or we are not. If it is the courts' opinion that Jack has to bake that cake, a Muslim has to make me a BLT. It's as simple as that.
 So we have nine Justices, that's their title, that must issue an opinion. That opinion is supposed to be on the constitutionality of a law or whatever. What does the Constitution have to say about all of this ? It says there is to be a separation between church and state. That's what it says, so why is the Supreme court issuing an opinion on a religious matter ? The reason is also a simple one, there is a lot of money at stake here. How many thousands of dollars are being spent on what should be an easy decision. Hey, it's not about the cake, it's not about religion, it is about furthering an agenda of liberalism. I should get my way ! If I don't get my way, I'll sue you and call you names. I'll cry about the separation of church and state, all the while getting the state to rule on a religious conviction. I'll holler discrimination ! You don't like me !!
 Okay, you know how I feel. I'll finish up by saying this. If they rule that Jack has to bake a cake to satisfy these folks I had best see Muslims at the Bar-B- Q !  I want my pork ribs served up hot and tasty. I don't care how you feel about that. I had best not hear about any special diets being provided to prisoners because of their religious beliefs. No halal, no Kosher, nothing special. If they are serving pork chops, that's what you get. I don't care how the animal was killed either, eat it or not, your choice. I had better not see any Muslims stopping to pray either ! Do that on your own time. If that doesn't happen I'd have to sue for being discriminated against wouldn't  I ? That's the problem.
You know what, if a Muslim doesn't want to serve or handle pork fine, he or she can just get a job somewhere else. If a Muslim or a Jew only wants to eat the foods they choose fine, just don't get locked up ! If that baker doesn't want to bake your cake, go somewhere else ! It's not that difficult to understand. 

Monday, December 4, 2017

the influence theory

 Facebook and Google are being investigated for possibly manipulating the media. Australia has launched this in response to their election results. Yup, some in Australia are now blaming those two for " influencing " the voters. Can you imagine that ? I've written about all of this nonsense before, any one trying to win an election is attempting to influence your vote ! I fail to see any difference whether it is the candidate, a newspaper or another country, you are trying to be influenced in your decisions. When Facebook, Google or anyone else actually changes my ballot, in the ballot box, then I will be outraged, until then, they can do as they please. Let 's not forget that those two are a business. Yes, Google and Facebook are businesses ! They are not the social conscience of the world nor are they obligated to be so. These businesses operated solely off the advertising revenue that they generate. Do you pay a fee to use either one ? No, you do not. Should they be held accountable for the opinions of their advertisers ? What we are talking about is censorship here. Should Google or Facebook or any social media platform for that matter have the obligation to censor ? And if they do, what gets censored ? Have you read the " terms of use " for either of them ? I know I haven't. Should your opinions be censored ?
 Look if an individual, or an entire nation wants to pay Facebook or Google 100 million dollars to say they hate Trump or Hillary I just don't care. Good for Facebook. Fact is, for a fee, I will try to influence your decision. Yes, I will. Oh I know , you can't be bought right ? LOL, fact is for enough cash I can change your mind about a whole lot of stuff. That is why advertisers spend their money on advertising ! It is really quite simple isn't it. They are trying to influence my choices, getting me to purchase their product. Are those advertisers wrong for doing that ? Should those advertisers be censored ? Caveat Emptor ! That expression from the Latin has been around for a while. Yes, even the Romans advertised their wares and even then the buyer was on his own. Fool me once, well you know the deal.
 It is the same old deal. This is nothing more than a way to blame someone else for our own misfortunes or an unfavorable outcome. That is the trend these days. It's not my fault, I was influenced ! Well if little Billy influenced you to jump off the bridge would that be his fault ? Many today would say yes, sue little Billy, hold him accountable. I say, no, it was your choice. Unless little Billy pushed you off that bridge it was your own fault ! Many today will take " medication " to influence themselves ! Think about that for a minute. I can take mind altering substances as a form of influence. well, at least it keeps little Billy calmed down right ? If I start to feel things I don't like just pop a pill, I feel better now. All the drug companies influence us every day, why aren't they being censored ?
 What Google and Facebook are being investigated for is accepting money from advertisers to slant the " news " in their favor. Thing is, are Google and Facebook news agencies ? Last I knew Facebook was a social media site and Google a place to ask questions. Does anyone really believe that the evening news programs don't do the same ? Does anyone really believe that there is a single newspaper in this country that doesn't do the same thing ? Does anyone in this country actually believe that anyone person doesn't slant their opinions to fit their beliefs ? See my point ? The reporting of " news " is a business like any other. Google and Facebook are social media and do not  have a standard of integrity to uphold. What they deal with is opinion ! They are under no obligation to prove or disprove anything that is posted to there sites ! Caveat Emptor indeed.
 Look, if you are basing your decisions off of social media you deserve whatever you get ! Personally I find the whole concept insulting ! Yeah Vern, I done saw on Facebook that I should vote for Billy Bob and that's just what I'm a gonna do. Billy Bob is a gonna give me free possum for a month ! And he is a gonna do away with them revenuers too ! Yessiree Bob, that's my man. And to further insinuate that an entire nation of voters could be so influenced by " opinions " on social media says very little about what our politicians think of their constituency. Oh but I lost the election because the voters were influenced to vote for the other candidate ! Gee, what a theory. 

Sunday, December 3, 2017

debt and deficit

  The senate has passed a comprehensive new tax plan. That is what I hear on the news. As usual there is a great cry and hue from the politicians, the media and the public in general. Not one democrat cast a vote in favor of this legislative change. That's correct, not even one. Makes me wonder how much independent thought went into all of that. The party proposing the change had an internal struggle to get the votes necessary, guess they didn't huddle up and get the game plan ! Well however it came about, it was passed. It's not law yet, we'll have to wait and see what happens next.
 Elizabeth Warren has been vocal about not being able to read the bill. Yes, she admits that she hasn't even read the thing, yet she votes against it. Her big complaint is about penmanship ! She claims to be native American yet refuses any dna testing to substantiate that claim. Guess she doesn't want to read that either. In the not too distant past Nancy Pelosi explained to us " commoners " that they had to pass the bill before we could read it. They would explain it later, the politicians that is. Yeah, that's when they passed a bill saying if you can't afford health insurance you will be fined for not having health insurance ! Well, unless of course you are on welfare, then you get it free. Or was it, that the government would give you the money to pay the fine ? I don't remember all the details, just that it was a crazy plan to begin with. Being fined for not purchasing a government mandated product ! Well we can all see how that worked out. I wonder if Elizabeth Warren read that bill before voting yes.
 I think we should just do away with congress altogether and use Facebook instead. Facebook is jammed packed with tax experts. Hey Elizabeth Warren may not be able to read the proposed tax plan but thousands on Facebook have no trouble at all. Maybe Liz should check with her constituency. Those on the left seems to have a comprehensive understanding of that document. The current tax code is about 70,000 pages. I question if anyone has ever read every page of that. It makes War and Peace look like a dime novel. That manuscript is a mere 1440 pages long, nothing more than a footnote compared to our tax code. Yet, I sure hear a lot of folks claiming to know all about it. I admit I only know the basics. I make money, I have to pay tax on that money. The government collects that money and disburses it as they see fit. That includes giving it away to those that refuse to work and contribute. Then I get to complain about how my tax dollars are being spent. That's pretty much the long and short of it. The more money you make, the more tax lawyers you can hire and reduce your tax burden. An interesting fact to note is that the top 20% of earners still pay 84% of all the taxes collected. The bottom 20% get paid by the government. That means the rest of us pay 12% of the total tax collected. Yet, despite all that the left says the top 20% of earners should pay more, the bottom 20% should get more, and the rest of us should have to pay less. And that is what they think is a fair and balanced tax plan !
 I'm no economist that's for certain. I do understand some basic things however. Take the deficit and debt. Many seem to be confused about how that works. I read where the new tax plan being proposed will increase the deficit by a trillion dollars over the next ten years. Why is that ? It's because you can't keep spending more than you have. Yes, it is that simple really. Debt is increased by deficit spending ! If we spend more money than we take in with taxes, the deficit will increase. Learned that in ninth grade business math. So you see the tax plan will not increase the deficit at all. What it should do is reduce spending. Ah, but there's the rub with the left. You can't keep giving tax money away. Oh, it's a wonderful thing charity. Charity however is not a function of government ! Charity is a function of human compassion, dare I say a religious function. Government is separate from Church for a reason you know ! Government is business, Church is not.
 Look I'm not saying the government shouldn't provide assistance. I am saying that is what it should be, assistance. That assistance shouldn't be a lifestyle. I'm stating the obvious, which many seem to overlook, you can't spend more than you make ! When you read about the deficit and debt remember it is spending that causes the deficit. Control spending, control the deficit. Yes, it is true, you can't have your cake and eat it too. 

Saturday, December 2, 2017

forgetting

 Seventy six years ago the Japanese bombed Pearl harbor. It was an event that took place twelve years before my birth. A date that will live in infamy. That is what Roosevelt said and it was a deliberate choice of words. Often misquoted as a " day " that will live in infamy the word chosen was " date. " December the 7th , 1941. " For myself and most of us baby boomers, that date is ingrained into our consciousness. It is a date as familiar to us as 9/11. Sadly I think that date, December the 7th, 1941, is slowly fading into history. Our social conscious has changed over the last seventy six years. Is it forgiveness ? Or is it forgetfulness ?
 My father, all of my Uncles, and many of the fathers, brothers, uncles and acquaintances of the kids I went to school with went to war as a result of that dastardly attack ! Franklin Roosevelt stated unequivocally that, and I quote,  " No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory. " There was no doubt, no hesitation, no second guessing our response. We went to war and prevailed. We were righteous in our wrath, simple as that. Today I am reminded of that as I listen to the morning news. Hawaii is testing their air raid alarms because of a foreign threat ! Yes, think about that if you will for just a moment. Seventy six years later and we still need to test our air raid alarms ! No, it isn't the Japanese we need be concerned with at this time, but North Korea. Just who did we get involved with following WW2 ? Korea. We fought that conflict, later correctly labeled a war, to a draw. To this day there is no peace treaty, just a cease fire. The leader of that nation threatens us, almost daily, and yet we hesitate. We do so because of our righteous might, that is my belief.
 I was thinking about all of this as I went to retrieve a memento of that date. My wife's' Uncle George served in WW2 and had this banner saying, " Remember Pearl Harbor. " After his passing in 2015 I came into possession of it and have assumed responsibility of caretaker. I am honored to do so. I knew Uncle George well. Uncle George was a quiet man, steadfast and strong for many reasons. I have written of him in the past and so will not go into detail here today. Just know that he was a man that answered the call of his nation and was proud of his service. That pride was shown every year when he displayed that banner in the front window of his home. And now, it is my honor and privilege to carry on that tradition. I had to mount the piece to a backing of stiff canvas. I can't say with certainty how many years Uncle George displayed that banner but age was taking a toll on it. I'm certain Uncle George would be pleased. My own father served and I'm certain he is equally as pleased that I would display that reminder. We must never forget ! We must remain ever vigilant, standing ready to respond. Yes, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory !
 This posting is intended as a reminder of that date. Seventy six years is a long time. The third generation following that date has been born. Let us remind them of what it took to keep our nation free. May they never forget. Remembering what has transpired is not an invitation to hate, not an invitation to prejudice, none of that. Remembering is honoring those that paid that price, on both sides of the conflict. Yes, the United States of America was attacked and we defended ourselves. We can take pride in that accomplishment. In our benevolence we allowed those defeated nations to rebuild and regain the respect of the world. We did forgive but we must never forget.
 I'll leave you with this quote : 
“Most things are forgotten over time. Even the war itself, the life-and-death struggle people went through is now like something from the distant past. We’re so caught up in our everyday lives that events of the past are no longer in orbit around our minds. There are just too many things we have to think about everyday, too many new things we have to learn. But still, no matter how much time passes, no matter what takes place in the interim, there are some things we can never assign to oblivion, memories we can never rub away. They remain with us forever, like a touchstone.”
Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

  

Friday, December 1, 2017

empaths and victims

 As I read the comments on social media it has become clear to me. We are raising a generation of empaths and victims. Well, that's not a fair statement, it is not just a certain generation, but rather a trend. I see this being adopted across several generations. In the past we had the movers and shakers, the go-getters, those with their nose to the proverbial grindstone, hard working folks doing the best they could with whatever they had. But now, now I see those looking for a handout, using any excuse at hand to justify their lack luster performance in life. They search for every conceivable circumstance to explain this. If it isn't their race, religion, creed or educational level, it is something else. They have a medical excuse, they have a mental excuse, and use that excuse to excuse their excuses ! They are the victims ! Nothing is their fault, nothing at all, they are victims and therefore entitled to compensation. The only requirement to receiving this compensation is being a victim. No need to actually do anything to earn that compensation, nope, I'm a victim and should be compensated for that.
 On the other side we have the empaths. Being empathic is a wonderful trait. Being empathic is a sign of superior intelligence. Empathy is proof that you are a good and noble person. I can feel and understand the feelings of others. The empaths use this amazing ability to project themselves into other peoples situations and feel their pain. Yes, but the problem with todays empaths is they want everyone else to pay for it, but themselves. These folks will write long postings espousing the plight of the unfortunate folks in our society, the victims, and call for action. Not action of their part however, action from those of us that call for accountability rather than a handout. The empaths, remember, are the intelligent ones. Should others place blame on a victim, the empaths will attack saying you lack, you guessed it, empathy ! Obviously we are deficient ! And so the cycle continues.
 It is all a part of the liberal agenda being put forth in the country today. If you are going to allow all manner of aberrant behaviors you pretty much have to have this attitude. You have to be an empath or a victim. If you choose not to participate in these aberrant behaviors you still have to find a way to justify them. The easiest way is to say, I understand your feelings and as long as you are not hurting me, personally, it is alright. Along with that you have to say, I understand that you are a victim. If you don't get your way, you are a victim. The liberal agenda is all about personal feelings, the individual being placed before anything else. That is why the dismissal of God and country. Can't have either of those things guiding our thinking. Do not lose sight of want you want. The individual desire is top priority. Everything else takes a back seat.
 Yes empathy is the ability to place yourself in someone else's shoes. I can understand your situation. The part of empathy that a great number of people fail to understand is,  just because I can understand it, that doesn't make your actions or choices correct ! Look, I understand the cake tastes great, I love chocolate frosting too, but you weigh 400 lbs. , so stop eating the cake ! The empath of today however will blame the cake, the baker, your metabolism or social pressure for that ! They are empathic ! You are just a victim, not your fault. I should provide some form of compensation. Perhaps free health screenings, counseling or professional therapy. Now I understand you are the victim so I shouldn't have to pay, but those that don't agree with me should ! In fact, those others should be thanking me for enlightening them about your plight. They should consider a monthly donation to support the cause. Consider it a sort of penance for your lack of empathy. There are some that pay that penance as proof of their empathy.
 Yes the true empath today will not hold anyone accountable for anything they do, or don't do. I understand and it is alright. It's alright because I understand it. Isn't that the message, the lesson being taught today ? Do not place fault on the victim ! The victim is never wrong, ever. What ? You think you can be a victim of your own choices ? Obviously you lack empathy. You just don't get it. If you don't get to do, or not do, whatever you like, when you like it, in the manner that you like you are a victim ! We will identify the cause of this and label it plainly for everyone. As long as it can be identified, labeled and categorized, that is the reason. We will end whatever term we select with an " ism " If it is an " ism " that's a bad thing. Of course it could be worse, it could be an " ist. " You know feminist, chauvinist, racist, migyonist or any number of " ists. " Me, I like to think of myself as a realist. There is that " ist " again. I'm not a victim of anything. I deal with circumstance and consequence. That's how I view life but then I lack empathy, so what would I know.      

Thursday, November 30, 2017

my advice

 It is the hot topic this week, sexual assault. What I see is further attempts to legislate virtue and morality. For some they call it empowerment, at long last their voices are being heard. It is a change in the dynamics of society. Is it equality ? Yes it is, and long overdue. I was taught from an early age to keep my hands to myself. It was never acceptable to touch another person, of either sex, unless a  clear indication was received that it was okay. It is a policy I have adhered to my entire adult life. I may have misinterpreted some signals I received while under the influence of adult beverages but I was quickly corrected. At no time did I ever take no as anything but no ! I struggle to write about the obvious.
 Now sexual assault includes unwanted speech as well. Everything from the cat call to lewd comments can be construed as an assault. In speech I was taught one didn't use coarse or vulgar language in front of the ladies. The reason was simple, the use of such language was inherently wrong and we knew that. But men are men aren't they ? What does that mean you say ? It means that the alpha male needs to show his dominance. He can do that with either brute strength or cunning, strong language is an expression of dominance. The perception has always been that a woman desires a strong man. That is the long and short of it. That is the image. Is it the truth ? There are as many answers to that as there are people. Is any of that an excuse for an assault ? Absolutely not.
 I can offer no explanation for the actions of these men. Does power wealth and fame cause this ? Do they do these things because they feel they can get away with it ? I can only guess and say, yeah that's probably it. As to why, I just don't understand. Are signals being sent ? All these ladies reporting these assaults certainly don't believe they have signaled anything. In fact almost all say they didn't report anything because of fear. Whether that fear was of losing their jobs or social consequences isn't the point. They all felt helpless.
 I can't help but wonder if a portion of this stems from the society we are living in today. The dynamic interaction between the sexes has certainly changed a good bit in the last fifty years. I'm not defending anything here, just trying to point some things out. Morality and virtue are viewed differently today. When society accepts, indeed embraces, promiscuity and gender neutrality the message does change. When " things " are openly discussed and become familiar, barriers are torn down. Subjects that were once only discussed in an intimate setting are now on billboards ! Even something as seemingly innocuous as words can have an impact. Consider the language in common use today. The ladies may use those terms that men only whispered among themselves. By doing so they are expressing their equality with men. Isn't that the intent ? Yes, I'd say that it was.
 I'm not saying women are asking for it. That is not the thinking here at all. What I am saying is that making certain choices opens the door. Again, I'm not saying women are asking for it, and I'm not saying it is alright for any man to walk through that door, just that an unintended signal is being sent.   The real issue is that women are not guys. Seem obvious enough to me. I expect it has changed somewhat because of social attitudes but as a general rule a man doesn't make unwanted advances towards another man. The reason is simple, there is no attraction there and getting punched in the mouth isn't pleasant. So what can a woman do ? I don't have an answer for any of it. As I said I was taught to just keep my hands to myself and watch my language around the ladies. Yes, ladies are different and should be treated accordingly. I don't know, as a man, I just don't get it. Just what makes them think any of this is alright ? I can't say for certain as I haven't won the lottery or anything but I seriously doubt that wealth or fame would change my morals or alter my conception of virtue.
 Well how long before men start complaining about women assaulting them ? It can't be far off. A few men have claimed to be raped but you don't hear much about that. Occasionally you hear about school teachers abusing students. If any gay guys have complained about their bosses requesting favors from them I haven't heard about that. If you think about it we have been attempting to legislate behaviors that were once understood clearly. Those behaviors were delineated in our religious texts. Morality and virtuous actions. Now we have begun to dismiss all of that in favor of legislation. That was the foundation. The erosion of that foundation will bring the whole deal down. History has borne that out and I see no reason it won't continue. There are extremes in everything. Chauvinists and Feminists. Still the fact remains despite all else, there are boys and girls. They are fundamentally different because their strength comes from different positions.
 I don't know, keep your hands to your self and keep your mouth shut. That's my advice. 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

serendipity

 It is true that there are times when the simplest things give us pleasure. A while back I had my great grandfathers clock repaired and it sits there now marking the time once again. Every now and again I glance over and see that pendulum gliding back and forth and for some reason I find comfort there. It's nothing in particular , just an overall feeling of contentment. I remember that clock siting at my parents house but it was never running. It just sat on the shelf silently, the brass frame gathering tarnish. Even then I admired it for its' aesthetic beauty. The case was made by Tiffany and Company. The face of that clock is porcelain and hand painted with a delicate floral theme. My clock guy says that clock is over a hundred years old. All I know for sure is, I like it.
 The story behind that clock is uncertain. There were rumors that it was a wedding gift but that theory seems unlikely. That clock would have been a fairly expensive gift and my ancestors would not have had that amount to spend on a gift. They certainly weren't wealthy people and that would have been a wealthy person gift. There is also the fact that there is another clock, of similar value, that came from great grandfathers house. That clock is in the possession of my sister. It is close to the same age as the one I have. She tells me hers isn't running but is sitting on the mantle anyway. The mystery of where or how great grandfather came into possession of those clocks haunted me for some time. After some time Mom offers another theory. Why she never mentioned this before I'll never understand but for years all I got from her was, I don't know. But anyway, Mom says that great grandfather Lester worked for a wealthy lady whose name may have been Morris. Mrs. Morris I was told was quite fond of Floyd, as an employer to an employee. I have a picture of him raking leaves in this ladies yard. He was in his later years then, probably in his seventies. Even then, social security didn't pay much and you needed to supplement that. When Mrs. Morris either moved or passed away great grandfather was given those clocks. That is the theory Mom has and it seems plausible enough. Truth is I will never know the whole story but it doesn't matter much. The story of that clock begins with my great grandfather in my telling of it. I think of him every time I hear it strike the hour or half hour. It has become a piece of  home. It's like an old friend.
 I do find it comforting that it sits there marking the time. It just seems so serendipitous. I remember it sitting on that shelf at home unused and neglected. It wasn't something I ever asked for, there was no great longing on my part. I came to get it after my father passed away. Mom was getting remarried and cleaning out her house. For whatever reason she decided she didn't want this clock, or the other one for that matter, and gave the one to me. I had it for a good while before I got it repaired. It is my hope that clock remains in the family for generations to come. I'll certainly record the history of it as best as I know. I can't help but wonder where it will land a hundred years from now. Wherever that is I also hope it is still marking the time. Time, relentless and unchanging. Serendipity indeed.


   

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

just fragments

I am the youngest of four. I celebrated my 64th birthday this past July. I talk with mom at least once a week. Mom is 88. My question is then, why was I surprised to realize my brother is 68 ! Just how did that happen ? Well, I think I know the answer to that. You see, I haven't been around my brother all that much over the last forty years. Isn't that a strange thing ? It is just that he was busying living his life and I have been busy with mine. We don't live in the same town and so just lost touch. That's because in my world guys don't touch all that much, that's a girl thing. I live in the world of the sixties, the 1960's that is. It is from that era I received the majority of my customs, attitudes and thoughts. Not known for being a progressive sort of man, I stick with the tired and true for the most part. Guys don't write each other letters, or call much, unless we have something important to say. Guess I haven't had much I felt the need to report on all these years. Something how forty years can pass with barely a notice.
  This realization came about in a casual conversation. My wife asked, how old is your brother ? After counting it up, I answered 68 and that is when it hit me. Sixty eight ? Yup, no denying the math, he was born in 1949. My eldest brother, born in 1947, passed almost three years ago. I did spend some time with him before he passed, wishing now it had been more. He only lived twenty miles away from me the last twenty years or so, but we rarely connected. It's true that we only shared fragments in time when we did get together. Recently I have spoken with my brother, the living one, and that is the way it is with him also. We share fragments of our lives. The reason is because we do not know each other anymore, not really, we just share common memories. And yes, even those memories aren't exactly the same. These days we are more like old friends reconnecting after years apart. Our lives are a bit of mystery to each of us. It is quite a bit different if you were there, know what I mean ?
 Some of this thinking came later in the day as I was watching a Waltons special. It was about Thanksgiving and the Waltons had all grown older. The year was 1963. John Boy was an author and journalist, Jim Bob was flying airplanes, Ben was arguing with his Dad at the mill, and Grandma was still there. I know it is only a television story but all those brothers and sisters were still sharing their lives with one another. That made me realize what had happened in mine. For a long time my life wasn't shared with my brothers or my sister. We had " grown up " but grown apart. Instead of remaining brothers and sister we had become " adults " with adult secrets. Yeah, it sounds juicy doesn't it, adult secrets. The fact is those secrets are really just our mistakes and misfortunes. We try to keep those things secret. When you have brothers and a sister there isn't much kept secret that is certain. Once we become adults, move away, keeping secrets becomes a lot easier. But there is a price to pay for that secrecy, just like everything else. You get old and you begin to miss what you had all those years ago. Thing is, your siblings are the only ones. You can't replace your siblings. You can form new bonds, new friendships, and even new relatives, but not new siblings.
 I guess what I'm trying to say is this. When we grow up, leave the nest and strike out on our own, we can lose contact. Depending upon the situation that contact can become a complete separation. That is what has happened with me. Now I'm older, he's older, heck we are all older, and all we have are fragments. Is it possible to put those fragments back together again ? The truth is, we can not. I think the best we can hope for is sharing our stories. Ideally we could do that without judgment. But we are talking about siblings here : judgement ? Oh, you are going to be judged. Are you willing to be judged ? I think I am. At this point in my life, with my remaining siblings I am ready. The question is, are they ?        

Monday, November 27, 2017

just pondering

 My sister shared a quote with me from one of her favorite authors. " Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we're supposed to be, and embracing who we are. " ( Brene Brown.) This lady is the author of four New York times best sellers. For lack of a better description they are self help books. Ms. Brown is a social scholar. I haven't read any of those books though and likely never will. I do believe she would be an interesting person to have a discussion with, depending upon who she thinks she is. You can't know that until you meet face to face and have a chat. Public appearances and talks rarely expose the real person. I believe we all have two sides.  I say this knowing the way I write my thoughts isn't always the way I would say them. I do think I write better than I speak simply because writing takes longer. Something I find annoying are those that speak one word at a time. Do you know what I mean ? When they make a statement with a slight pause between each word, as though they are carefully selecting every syllable. Makes me question the sincerity of those words. But anyway, I wrote that quote on a notepad next to my computer and have been considering those words.
 Ms. Brown says to let go of who we think we are supposed to be and embrace who we are. After a few readings I began to question that advice. I believe you would have to qualify that statement quite a bit and that it doesn't stand alone. As I said, I haven't read any of her books and so I can't say if she qualifies that statement or not. It can be a bad thing to take quotes out of context. This is an example of that. To begin with, who are we supposed to be ? That a good question all by itself. I would say first and foremost we should be a good citizen of the world. We should be a good person. How that " goodness " is defined certainly varies from culture to culture. What is good ? Following that she adds, embracing who we are.  Well, what if we are a bad person ? Should we embrace that ? Is that the advice, be the best you can be, as long as you are authentic ? I don't think that is what she means though, as I said, context is important here.
 I'm thinking that Ms. Brown is really saying to be authentic you have to understand and admit to your limitations. Embracing who you are is accepting that. That isn't to say we shouldn't try to do the things that please us, just understand your limits. I mean, like writing for instance, I enjoy writing and so pursue that, all the while realizing I'm no Mark Twain, nor likely to become one. As I have gotten older I have learned to embrace that more, not being embarrassed to have my works read by others. That could be said about any number of things. We often label them hobbies. Hobbies are the things we do, not expecting others to take them seriously. If whatever we do is met with criticism, we can dismiss that with the statement, it's just a hobby.
 The big question in all of this is knowing who we are supposed to be. Do we even get to choose ? Well, we are a product of our choices right ? If we only make good choices only good things will happen, right ? Wrong, we all know that isn't the case. Bad things happen to good people. I'm thinking that Ms. Brown should have said, let go of what you feel is expected of you , rather than, letting go of who you think you are supposed to be. I say that because we often feel like we are expected to be one thing but feel we are another. Why do we feel this need to fill the expectations of others ? We do so because we want to be liked and/or loved. Friendships are measured in expectations. When others do not meet our expectations, or we fail to meet theirs, the friendship fades away. That is the truth of it, however harsh it may sound. That is authentic. That is letting go. There are friendships that reach a plateau where we no longer expect anything, those are the ones that last a lifetime, through distance and time. Love has no expectations and so is not measured against that standard.
 Do we have a right to expect anything ? Stephen Hawking said, " When one's expectations are reduced to zero, one really appreciates everything one does have. " I don't agree with everything that Hawking says, or thinks, but I do with this one. No doubt he is a smart guy. I think what is being said is letting go of expectations is the key to true happiness. It really is as Grandma said, expect nothing and you won't be disappointed. Amazing isn't it how we say the same things over and over again and yet they appear as an inspiration ?     

Sunday, November 26, 2017

getting ready

 It's that time of year again when I reminisce about gathering the pines for Christmas. It is also when I long for a piece of white birch to make a Yule log with. Among my childhood memories those are some of my favorites. Living on the edge of Northwest woods I, along with my brothers, would be dispatched to gather the greens. Princess pine and running pine were the primary targets. We knew exactly where to go for those items and so it was a fairly easy process. Getting some white pine for making wreaths and such wasn't that difficult just not as much fun to collect. After you cut fresh pine you will get sap on your hands and I hate that. Yes you can wear gloves, doesn't matter, you will get sap on your hands anyway. Still, gathering up some pine cones, holly, and maybe even a piece of mistletoe was a great tradition.
 Getting a piece of white birch suitable for making a yule log was the most difficult part. You didn't want to cut down the whole tree. The reason was simple, there weren't that many good trees to choose from. Not all white birch trees look like they do in pictures. Finding one with more white bark than black isn't easy. My brothers and I knew where to go to find some of those trees and you had to climb up them to cut a decent branch. If we could get one about four or five inches in diameter that is about right. You do need a smaller one to cut some feet for that log. We had the same pattern in mind for construction and didn't deviate from that. Thinking back I chuckle about that, we would fret about the construction so, like it was a law. Had to be three candles long with two cross pieces. Only red candles would do, and they had to be tapers ! When I was little I thought " tapers " were something special, just for Christmas. The decorations were always pine stapled to the log and embellished with pine cones, berries and a ribbon. Sometimes we even " sprayed " that fake snow on there.
 The Yule log was a tradition because Grandma came from Sweden. I somehow inferred that everyone in Sweden had a Yule log at Christmas. I also remember Grandma telling me about the girls wearing candles in their hair. They wore a crown like thing that held those candles. Since my childhood days I have read about this tradition and informed myself. As a kid all I knew and remembered was girls wearing candles in their hair and was amazed. Grandma also had a carousel for lack of a better term, that spun by lighting candles under  a fan. The fan would rotate and four angels would fly, hitting a bell as they went past. I loved that thing as a kid and have purchased one for myself. Funny, the one I bought for myself doesn't hold that same fascination. I guess it just doesn't hold that same sense of mystery that Grandma's had. After all, hers came from a foreign land ! I wonder what ever happened to that ?
 I can get lost in nostalgia at this time of year and I'm certain many others do too. It can lead to depression if you allow that. Yes, it can be a sadness, a longing for the things of the past, that put a damper on things. I miss when the kids were little and got so excited for Santa Claus and all of that. Personally I never told my kids anything different, rather I let them discover that themselves. I'm thinking they knew a number of years before they let on that they did. Then I had the grandkids and it was a repeat performance. Well maybe one day I will see that in great grandkids. I can't help but think it isn't as it used to be though. You know, when the first appearance of Santa was at the end of the Macy day parade instead of the 4th of July ! I do believe it removes a great deal of the mystery surrounding that. Ah well, I'm equally as certain that memories are being created today that will be just as important to the kids today, as mine are to me. That's because it isn't about objects really, it is about family, friends and indeed mankind in general. That is the message. That is what we are preparing for. We have good reason to celebrate and be happy ! 

Saturday, November 25, 2017

getting away

 It was nice to " get away " for a few days. I'm not sure what I am getting away from seeing as I am retired and not exactly committed to being in any one place at any one time, but I got away. It is more like a change of scenery than anything else. I went to my sons house and so the family, the characters in the play, were all the same. Something tells me getting away should be with strangers, like hiding out or something. I can't call it a mini-vacation , what would I be taking a vacation from ? Well, I'm sticking with , I got away. It was a pleasant time without any stress, like I have any stress in my life. I did worry about losing the cell phone signal driving through the mountains. Now that's stress ! Seriously though maybe that is why " old people " stress about such mundane things as a doctors appointment. I know, I am " old people " and make a conscious effort not to stress about such things. I am made aware of that tendency whenever I talk to my mother. Mom is 88 and stresses about everything. She needs to go to the store and plans for it like an expedition to Everest ! She can't " get away " because the getting would be too stressful.  Of course I often listen to her complain about not seeing anyone but when someone comes to visit she stresses out about that ! Well, old people problems is what I chalk that stuff up to. I've decided I will not stress out about these old people things. Yes, I will get older, sometimes I stress about that, thinking I might not get older, but I'm not going to think about that. I don't know, the older I get the more I'm thinking this being retired is just too stressful. I mean you have to decide what to do every day. Now I'm thinking I need to " get away " again.
 I see all those commercials about planning for retirement on television and think, I should have done that. It was just that I figured why plan for what was going to happen anyway ? Yeah I know they are talking about having enough money for retirement. Well, I'm retired and I didn't save up for it, it just happened. Should I be stressed out about that ? I guess I should because I can't afford to be on vacation every day like they are in those commercials. Those folks are busying filling their bucket lists. Hah, I fooled them all and never bought a bucket ! It's not that I wouldn't want to have a list, and work on filling it, but it isn't a priority in my life. My priority is making it to the next day. Then deciding what to do with it ? Do I have to do anything with it at all ? Waste not-want not is what I was always told. Some folks work to get the things they want, and some work to get the things they need. I've always been one to work for what I need, wants comes secondary to that. It has been my experience that as long as you get what you need, the wants will take care of themselves. I didn't plan on retiring knowing it would happen sooner or later. No need to stress about what you can't change.
 So now it is time to decorate for Christmas. This year I am anxious. In years past I have not always been so, thinking the kids are grown and all that, so why bother. But this year I have a different attitude. This year I'm Ho HO Ho . Maybe it is compensation for all the bad news I have received this past year. Some years do seem rougher than others. I can't put my finger on it, there is no one specific thing that happened, more like a string of them, that has caused this line of thought. 2017 just hasn't been a stellar year. I have to remind myself to remain grateful for all that I have received this year. I have gotten my needs filled. Yes, there are things I want, but I have what I need. And so, I will decorate for the season, giving thanks by doing so. I will celebrate and not " stress " about doing so. That would be an " old person thing ", stressing about celebrating ! Nothing like " getting away " to relieve some stress. Whew, who knew being retired was this stressful.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

blame Swanson

 I want to begin by thanking Edie, a friend and fellow author, among her many other talents, for inspiring todays blog. Edie was writing about using disposable dinnerware for her Thanksgiving table. She went on to relate how in the past she used the good china and all of that. Several other folks left comments on that subject and it got me thinking. I too remember Mom getting out the good dishes, putting the linen on the table and even candles ! Yes Thanksgiving dinner was a big event and a formal one. Proper attire was required and proper deportment while at the table, no elbows ! It was the only dinner I recall the family saying grace at. As much as I would like to paint a different picture, that just wasn't so. I have no explanation for that other than it didn't happen. Well, my point is, it happened at Thanksgiving dinner, that's how important that dinner was.
 The more I thought about it the more I realized just how formal an affair that dinner was. Monies were spent for all the frills, nothing was held back. The table was set with the best we had , we wore our Sunday clothes, on a Thursday, and civility was the order of the day. That old story of everyone arguing with each other at Thanksgiving didn't happen at my house. Step out of line and you would be quickly reprimanded. You didn't get off easy by being sent out of the room either ! You were corrected and then had to demonstrate you had learned your lesson, no matter how grudgingly you did so. I can remember staring into my mashed potatoes having been corrected on some fine point of etiquette, like elbows on the table, or reaching in front of someone else. Yes it was demanded, at least on this one day, at this one meal, that you would behave yourself as a proper young gentleman. May I please have the salt ? Even Dad took his hat off at the table ! You just knew it was special.
 I was born in 1953 and so the Thanksgivings from my childhood would have taken place in the 1960's. In the 1960's families were still eating at the kitchen table. Supper was a set time of the day. We ate around six. That was supper time, be there or have a good reason not to be. When the evening meal was over, it was over. No microwave to reheat stuff and very little snack foods. There might be a bag of chips or pretzels but little else. But something else happened in 1953 as well. The TV dinner was introduced ! Following that came those TV snack trays, I have a set in the closet to this day. You still had to heat those dinners in the oven but now dinner got moved to the living room ! I'm thinking it was the beginning of the decline in civility ! Families no longer gathered at the supper table, the formality of eating a meal together was fractured. In 1967 Amana introduced their first Radar range ( a microwave for you younger folks ) and the fate of supper was sealed. And today, today a meal can be unwrapped, zapped and consumed just about anywhere. No set time, whatever is convenient. I wonder if any of this has any relationship to the obesity epidemic we are seeing in America ? Well that's for another day.
 I was just wondering what if ? What if we hadn't invented TV dinners. What if they had been called TV suppers ? Supper was eaten in the kitchen, dinner was eaten in the dining room. We didn't have a formal dining room, but the living room was transformed for Thanksgiving dinner. I'm thinking that TV dinners destroyed the dining room, didn't need them anymore when you could eat diner in front of the television. The family room was born. We started eating TV dinners  for supper !
 What if we still had to cook our meals, with real pots and pans over real fires ? Would families stay more connected ? Sharing food and drink with our families and friends does create bonds, that is well known. No one likes washing the dishes that can't be denied. In the 1960's the automatic dishwasher came into being. Still we all know they need to be rinsed before going in there and if there are a lot the machine is never big enough. The solution is disposable dishes ! Yup, that is what the TV dinner started. Those aluminum foil pans were designed to be thrown away, no need to set the table, no need to dirty dishes, just throw them out.
 As a man, a hunter gatherer, I must say sitting at the head of the table, overlooking the food I have provided for my family I do get a sense of accomplishment. I have reason to give thanks ! Isn't that a part of the tradition ? Some will label me a chauvinist for saying so, but it is a primal instinct. I'm thinking we would be better off if more men felt that instinct today ! It does provide a time to talk over the day, share our experiences and accomplishments. Ah but that is so 60's. Just zap your dinner and head to the mall, that's how it is done in 2017 ! Shoot just buy a fried turkey leg at the mall and skip the whole deal. You are going to need your rest for black Friday after all. No time for cooking and cleaning ! And you can blame Swanson and their TV dinners for all of that.