Just Me

Just Me
Look,I'm just sayin'

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

greater risk

 How are we going to disarm the bad guys? That is the question that is really being asked these days. Despite all the talk of reinforcing the school houses to resemble fortresses and possibly just banning certain gun accessories, the real problem is disarming criminals. How do you get those folks to stop shooting? Well, we place blame on environment, culture and mental health. Those three do influence the decisions we all make there is no denying that. Were I born in a different place, under different circumstance I'm certain I would be a different person. That is just a no-brainer. But why do we only place blame on those factors when things go wrong? You don't hear anyone saying they were the causes of things going right! Oh, you hear, in spite of, again an acknowledgement of something being wrong, but not because of. Still, the question is, how to disarm the bad guys.
 The real answer is one no one likes or wants to hear, you can't. Those intent on doing harm to others will find a method to do so. This notion that guns just make it easier and more efficient is nonsense. There are plenty of other methods that can kill or maim just as quickly and just as easily. It doesn't take a genius to figure those other methods out either. We work and handle those devices and materials every day. Ever read warning labels? Many of us laugh about them but they are there for a reason. Mishandled those items can be deadly. Don't think so, read about something a large number of people use every day in the summer months. Chlorine. Yes, those same chlorine tablets we haphazardly use in our swimming pools can kill large numbers of people almost instantly if deployed for that reason. But, I'm not going down a list of ways to kill people, my point is simply that anyone can do that.
 I know we hear that there are more guns today than ever before in America. That may be true I won't argue that point. I certainly believe that as far as households go, far more households had guns in years past than do today. My point being a gun, rifle, shotgun or pistol was a necessary household tool. They were not locked up in a safety cabinet or had trigger guards and such on them either. They were in plain sight, ready to use at all times. For that reason I say it isn't the availability of a gun that is the root cause of this. The fact that modern guns can shoot faster or longer is not the point either. What is the point is the willingness of people to use these guns to kill other people. How do get them to stop doing that? I sure wish I had an answer. I don't.
 The only thing that I see that has changed is the morality of the people. Now you can say what you want about all of that as it relates to religious training but it is religious training that instills a sense of morality in people. We all know that we have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We all know about the golden rule as well. We know those things without anyone having to tell us! What we don't know, for a fact, is what happens to us if we violate those rules. That is what heaven and hell is all about, no matter what you call that. It is the same in all religious teachings, we obey the rules for a reward in the end. The reward has to be greater, more desirable, than whatever is being offered on this earth.
 It appears to me that has changed. The denial of that possibility is behind a great deal of this violence we are witnessing. The mental illness, I have thoughts on as well, but leave that for another discussion. If you start raising a generation to believe that this is all there is it shouldn't be a surprise that people will attempt to take it all. If this is it,  you have to do it now! If there is nothing more you can just go for it! And that is the attitude I'm seeing .Not only do I not have to be concerned with eternity, but punishment here on this earth is very slow to arrive as well. I can always get a second chance. They hand out Bibles in prison you know, there is a reason for that.
 Life is all about risk and reward. Every choice you make is a balance between the two. Is the potential reward worth the risk? We are guaranteed nothing in this world. We have those inalienable rights but there is no guarantee we can exercise them. That is dependent upon governments. But happiness, that thing we are in pursuit of, is controlled by ourselves. Only you can make you happy. Others can certainly influence you, provide you with comfort and emotional needs but they can't make you happy. And just where does the path to happiness lead us? For the Christian and many others of faith, it leads us to life everlasting. That is the reward. To those without a moral compass, for those without belief, there is no reward other than what life offers in the here and now. There is no " spirit. " What's the answer then? The material is overtaking the spiritual, the old bird in the hand mentality. We need to restore the balance. The risk needs to be greater than the reward. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Seeing hope

  My grandson Mark applied for and received an internship this summer. He will be working for the Caroline County States' attorney. I know that he is excited for this opportunity and so am I. He has expressed an interest in law and politics in general. This internship will definitely provide some insight into the workings of both. Mark is quite the observant young man and will be paying attention. He is also not afraid to state his opinions or views on a subject. Thing is, he is always well informed before he speaks. He has an excellent memory for facts and references. Last I knew he had most of the amendments committed to memory. It is a reflection of the times we live in. Mark does have conservative leanings but I wouldn't label him a strict conservative by any means. He does have some of that swagger of youth, he knows it all! I'm certain this experience will teach him a few lessons that will be hard to swallow. The way things should work and the way they do are often quite different. My hope is he doesn't become disillusioned with things. It will be an eye opener, I'm certain of that.
 It does make me proud to see him taking steps in the right direction. This will be a feather in his cap. He is aware of building a resume for the future. Mark has a level head and knows the importance of such. He is a member of the National Honor Society, an athlete and involved with the community. He serves with the teen court acting sometimes as Judge. It is my understanding all the teens take turns performing the various functions. This summer he will also be an assistant counselor at Church camp. He has attended this camp every year since he was old enough to go. He has been visiting various colleges and universities and planning for that. He is, of course, hoping for a scholarship of some type. I have no doubt that he will receive a few.
 I know it is only a part time position but it is a foot in the door. The importance of that can not be overlooked. Mark will not compromise however, he will stand his ground on matters of importance to him. He is a confident young man, not arrogant, just self confident. It is an exciting time watching him mature and grow. Sure you enjoy the grandkids when they are little, seeing their excitement at the littlest of things. The sheer joy of young children is a contagious thing. But, they don't stay young forever. I watched as my own children went out into the world, making their own paths. I struggled with that but took pride in their accomplishments. Now it is time for the grandchildren. Has it really been that long? Time has a way of sneaking by us all. It is satisfying to look back and admire a job well done. It is exciting to look forward and imagine the possibilities. With each succeeding generation making progress it gives us hope. With a grandson like Mark, I am confident in the future!
That's a great feeling.    

Monday, May 21, 2018

the season

We are headed toward Memorial day. For me that will always mean poppies and a parade. That is what happened on that day when I was a child. The boys from the VFW would be offering those poppies. I don't remember anyone ever complaining about that. Mom always gave them a dollar. That poppy was then displayed on your person somewhere. I think it was a signal that you had already purchased one and so wouldn't be asked again. People surely were more polite and subtle back in the day. We all went to the parade and saluted that flag as it passed in review. Along with Memorial Day observances came the arrival of the " season. " The season, of course, was when all the rich folks came on the weekends to spend their money. It was a time before their summer houses and cottages had heating systems, and so they waited until the warm weather to arrive.
 To those of us that lived there it was met with mixed reviews. It was a necessity but a big pain in the butt. They had the money and we needed that money. The season really did determine what kind of year you would have. During those summer months it was like living in an amusement park and you were just the hired hands. That was the feeling and the atmosphere. Keep the guests happy, keep them spending their money. Rules would be overlooked, exceptions made and smiles all around. Back then there were few that stayed for the weekend without owning a place of their own, or having a summer rental at least. There were a few hotels/motels around but generally speaking that wasn't the folks that had the real money, they were tolerated. Slowly a lower class of wealthy began to come for the weekends and the real wealthy stayed all week! I had left by the time that became the norm.
 I can't say what it must be like to live there today. It was the place of my birth and it is a place that holds a special spot in my memories. I think that has to be true of everyone, no matter where they were born. I'm certain the little neighborhoods must still exist. Surely there are pockets of resistance. I can say with certainty I was never overly receptive to those invaders. I realize, of course, that I wasn't dependent upon those invaders. I was dependent upon my parents. I expect had I remained those folks would have become very important to me. After all, money makes the world go round. And those folks are the well spring. Perhaps, had I stayed , I could have become a character in the park. I've heard of a few that make there living being just that these days. Just like a big amusement park you do need a few characters to stimulate trade, a little interaction with the money people. That began with the sport fisherman and it was the sport fisherman that basically ended a way of life for those same " characters. " Before that it was mostly just the artists that came to take in the beauty of the scenery and escape the summer heat of the city. Nothing like a cool ocean breeze and fresh salt air to do that.
 All of that is a memory now. Here in Greensboro there will be no parade, no poppies for sale. The VFW post closed its' doors a few years back, a lack on interest. People don't want to come to a parade celebrating the military. We don't have one for Veterans day either. There will be a little league parade however followed by the Lions club selling BBQ chicken. Or maybe it is the fire department, I get those confused. Now I'm not saying Greensboro is anti-military we are a small town, mostly agricultural and conservative. That is changing slowly. There is money to be made from passing tourists headed to the bigger playgrounds like Ocean City Maryland and Rehoboth Beach in Delaware. The main routes pass close by. All that is needed is an attraction. The housing developments have been cropping up, a sort of half way point between the money and the beaches. All that is missing is the entertainment. Farming is a slow, smelly process and so not many what to experience that. Goose hunting is in the fall and winter and is falling out of favor anyway. Greensboro is too far from the real water, like the bay or ocean. All we have is the choptank river and in Greensboro that ain't much.
 Well, I'll be sure to purchase a few small American flags and take them to the cemetery. I know a few vets in the Greensboro cemetery. That will be my ceremony. I don't really need a parade. Maybe I'll run across someone selling a poppy. If so, one will be purchased for sure. Memorial Day. Remember the purpose of that day and then, let the season begin. I've seen a few seasons and a few celebrations. In Greensboro it will be yard sale and farm stand season. That's the summer here, along with beach traffic.      

Sunday, May 20, 2018

belief is the vehicle

 When I was small I often heard sermons concerning victory. The victory of Christ, triumph over sin and beating the devil. I was told how imperfect and frail I was in this world. I needed a savior and salvation was at hand if I but believed. The only guarantee in life was the one given by Jesus, eternal life was granted to the faithful. I was taught it was the little everyday things that you did that gained  access to heaven. It was the next life that was the goal, not this one. I was here by the grace of God to do his will, without question.
 Without being aware I was being taught how to live life. Yes we are all Gods creatures, great and small, and we all have a purpose. We are not to question that purpose, just fulfill it. Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth. I heard that almost as a mantra. Humility was prized above all else. God is the master! That was contrasted with Onward Christian soldiers. There is a time to fight! A time for everything and everything in time.
 I was thinking about all of that this morning. I was thinking what has changed in the world that we find ourselves where we are. I was thinking it was this change in attitude toward our God and the teaching of those lessons. Many today preach of Gods promise to us, eternal life,  without preaching about the responsibilty that goes with that. All you have to do is ask forgiveness and it will be granted. We don't hear nearly as much about the judgment of God. I hear about sin, I hear about not committing it, but I don't hear much about the consequences. I hear beg forgiveness and it is granted. That is in line with what is being taught to our children in general. Setting aside the religious nature of the message,  many are being told they will get whatever they want just for the asking. The missing part is that promise of eternal life, a reward for doing what is right. The result being when they don't get what they want they just strike out against the world. They have no hope, no dreams beyond this material existence and the result is what you are seeing. With no path to victory they give up the fight!
 The overall message is different than when I was a child. I was taught that we each had a station in life. You were born into the world and it was your responsibilty to find your way. It was the choices you made that determined your path. God had given you free will to pick and choose, you and you alone are responsible for that. Be prepared. Do not assume you will be successful in everything you do. Do not lose sight of the goal. The goal is life everlasting! The big difference between what I was taught and what is being taught? I was taught that there was life everlasting and it could be good or bad! Eternal life in and of itself wasn't a guarantee of happiness and comfort. That was pretty much determined by those choices you made. God would judge you! If he just granted forgiveness every single time what was the point? That is the basis for faith. Without that, what is the point in any of this? Belief is the vehicle of change. Does death change anything? It does for those still living, but what about me? It could, and I had best be prepared. 

Saturday, May 19, 2018

frustrated

 Once again the country is experiencing a collective frustration. That is what follows these tragic events. Everyone knows there is little that can be done. No matter the cries for gun control, resource officers at schools, security measures, alarm systems and any number of proposals, we all know there is little that can be done. It is a frustration!
 My frustration stems from the fact that I will hear a bunch of proposals that I believe to be nothing more than knee jerk reactions. The whole gun control thing. Why anyone with any intelligence at all would believe that passing legislation to restrict the right of sane people to own guns will prevent insane people from using them totally escapes me. Pass all the legislation you like, those guns are not going to disappear and crazy people will still get them! Insane people don't care about the law! Even if you could magically make every single gun on earth disappear, the crazy people will still find a way to kill other people!
 What has led us to this point? I don't have an answer for that and neither does anyone else. It isn't something that happened overnight. All the great minds of today can study the problem and offer their opinions. None of that matters. You can not change the past. Even if you could identify the cause what can be done today? That is the frustration. We all want to stop this from happening and we all know we can't. I am one that acknowledges that reality. I will not try to hide from it, deny it, or pretend that I can somehow alter the course. I would agree to take every precaution, to make our society as safe as possible.
 I have nothing to offer that is of any real value, just opinions. In my opinion when you raise generations of people that believe they are entitled, those same generations begin to expect those entitlements. When people are taught that they deserve, or should receive the same as everyone else regardless of any effort they expended, or didn't expend, you get this reaction. Why do people strike out? Anger is the answer. Yes it can lead to madness, any really strong emotion can do that. The question is where does this anger come from?
 In my opinion it comes from those that feel they are not being treated fairly. Why do they feel this way? They have been taught that. They have been taught that they should always be happy, always get the trophy, always get the prize. They should be placated and compensated for every wrong that ever befalls them. When that doesn't happen, the anger builds. And now, in more recent years they are being taught to be vigilantes! Yes, they call it protest, exercising my first amendment rights and all of that. Just strike out and make a statement! The greater the civil unrest you can generate the better! There is even the chance of fame!
  I'm not one to do something, just to do something. A lot of folks want to take that path to somehow feel they have accomplished something. That is what I believe a lot of these proposals amount too. There are just feel good measures to say, I did this. The thinking being, doing something, anything, even if it is wrong or ineffective, is better than doing nothing at all. I understand that completely but punishing others for actions they have not taken is inherently wrong! That makes you no better than the ones doing the wrong you are trying to prevent! It's the same mindset, striking out in anger and frustration.
 The bottom line for me is a simple one. You can not legislate human behavior. The law can only delineate what is acceptable and unacceptable in a society. The law that regulates human behavior we call religion. It is our religious practices that control our morality. As that practice diminishes in a society so too the moral fabric of that society deteriorates. What can be done about that? That's the frustration?  

Friday, May 18, 2018

social priority

 Although I pay little attention to such things I can't help but hear about this royal wedding. Harry and Meghan Markle, whoever she is. Harry I have heard about since his Mom was killed in that accident. I don't have a clue about that woman. Seems like somebody said she was divorced and that she is half black. I guess the politically correct term is mixed race. Whatever, I really don't care. I don't see what the big deal is. Rich folks spending ridiculous  amounts of money. Yeah, I know it's their money. From what I hear about 45 million dollars. All of that just goes to show me one thing, we have plenty of money to spend on entertainment! That fine socialized medicine that the British citizens enjoy couldn't afford to treat those babies, pull the plug on them was the order, but the royal wedding! We have plenty to spend on that! Well okay it isn't government money right? Yes, the parents of the bride are footing the bill, or is it Harry? Whatever, my point is when it comes to being entertained the public will pay up big time. After all, there is money to be made from this extravaganza of decadence! It's like a three ring circus.
 I don't have anything against the royals, couldn't care less about them in fact. What they do and who they marry is no concern of mine whatsoever. I wish them good luck and a long life. Bottom line is they are just people to me, no different than anyone else, just born into wealth. I honestly don't understand the fascination with them. But, then again I'm not much of a fan boy by any measure. I'm not just very impressed by wealth. I admire people of talent, musicians and such that entertain me, but I certainly don't fawn over them. I'm as equally certain they are not concerned with me or what I think.
 Well, I hope all goes well and nobody gets hurt. Enjoy the wedding. I heard that dress cost 340,000 dollars. That's a lot for something to be worn once. Is it a waste of money? Depends upon your priorities I suppose. I just can't imagine having that much to spend for a dress. I don't know, maybe give that socialized medicine a few more dollars to spend on saving children's lives but then again, it's a royal wedding so we have to establish priorities. You might call it a social priority!         

Thursday, May 17, 2018

My right?

 A girl in the sixth grade took a knee during the pledge of allegiance. She says she was inspired by none other than Colin Kapernick. When the teacher confronted her about it, apparently they have rules about this, she became upset and left the room. She didn't go to the guidance counselor or principal. Another teacher noticed how upset she was and tried to calm her down. She wasn't able to do that and her mother was called. The end result was the ACLU is now involved and a law suit is being filed. The contention being this child had her first amendment rights violated. The Supreme court has ruled that you do not lose your rights when you go to school or your place of work. This young lady was merely exercising her right to free speech! The child is right, the school administration is wrong. That is the message this child is receiving.
 Now I can agree with the supreme court when it said you do not surrender your rights when in school or at your place of employment. I would add you also don't surrender the consequences of exercising those rights! In this particular case I believe that is what is being taught to that child. She is being lead to believe that just because you have a right you can exercise that right with impunity. She is being indoctrinated into civil disobiendence! That's right, she is being indoctrinated to just protest, file legal challenges and demand reparations when she doesn't get her way. Instead of being taught to act responsibly, by that I mean following the rules, she is being told she can just do as she likes and everyone else must accept that choice. It's her right! As I said she has a right, a right to accept the consequences of her actions. She is not being taught that however. It is that I object too. Responsibilty must be taught as an integral part of rights. There is an error in thought here regarding rights. I submit the supreme court itself is getting confused as to what is a right!
 A right is something that is inherent, it is inalienable. As the document noted, the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Those are rights, they are not granted by anyone or any document. Rights are not legislated. We make laws to organize society and delineate what are moral and ethical behaviors within that society. Laws do not give you a right to do anything! Laws define an action as right or wrong. Without law all you have is anarchy. That being understood you can see how this child has a right to free speech but that speech does come with a responsibilty. The responsibilty being to exercise that right within the framework of the law. Our laws do provide a means of filing a complaint, acting to change that law, and a means of redress for a grievance. That child did none of those things, no, she choose to emulate a sports figure and take a knee. In doing so she acted in defiance of the law. Civil Disobedience! And it is being encouraged in the sixth grade!
 What is being misunderstood in all of this is the difference between a right and a law. Rights are inherent, they are not granted by anyone. Laws concern moral and ethical behaviors and are subject to change. Rights never change! Exercising those rights without repercussions within a society is the function of government. What rights do that government allow to be exercised freely? Here in the good old USA we enjoy much freedom in the exercising of our rights. That doesn't mean we can exercise that right whenever and wherever we please! The classic example being I can't holler fire in a crowded movie theater. The Supreme court affirmed that many years ago. The thinking being it creates an unsafe situation where people may get hurt. In other words, common sense dictates we shouldn't do that. And what, you say, has that to do with this little girl taking a knee in a classroom during the pledge of allegiance? By taking that knee she is also creating a disturbance by acting contrary to convention and good order and discipline. To put it simply, wrong time and place to lodge a protest! Her right to challenge that law ( rule, regulation or whatever you wish to call it ) was never denied. Truth is, she never asked to be exempted or filed any documents delineating her objections, but rather just " exercised " her right without any consideration to the rights of others. As a result she was confronted and it upset her. She should have anticipated that and been prepared. Oh, but she is just a child. Yes, a child that saw a sports figure do the same thing and be glorified in the press for it. Her take away obviously being, civil disobiendence makes you famous. And that thought process is now being reinforced!
 We should be teaching our children that they have rights and responsibilities. I'd suggest teaching them to be responsible first! Those rights will always be there ! No one can take your rights away. The government however can tell you what is right and wrong. What is acceptable and what is not! That is the function of law. Laws affirm the ability to exercise a right! That doesn't mean you can do that anywhere, at any time and for any reason you feel is appropriate! You must act responsibly within the framework of the law. Rights are inherent, the ability to exercise them is not! Understand the difference? Just as all men are created equal means we are all given the same opportunity, equal opportunity does not mean equal results! 

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Nominating

 I can't help but chuckle. I saw where Trump nominated a man for the CDC. I've never heard of this guy and know nothing about him. There was a meme on Facebook claiming he said, aids was a punishment from God for homosexuality. As to the validity of that claim I don't know. It is possible he said that. But that isn't what I was laughing about. I get laughing when all these folks get all up in arms and concerned about who is being appointed to these positions. I mean, be honest here, who is the current director of the CDC? Who was previous to him/her? Do you know? I'm betting you do not, neither do I. I would have to Google that information. I was chuckling remembering when Betsy Devos was nominated as the Secretary of Education and a lot of folks going crazy. Well, she was nominated by Trump , so. If Donald Trump nominated the Pope for leader of the Catholic church there would be an uproar! The truth is the majority of us common folks don't really know what secretary is what. Quick, who is the secretary of the Interior? How many in total are there? And why are they kept in a cabinet? I find it all very amusing at times. So many feigning such knowledge of government and the importance of each nomination. C'mon people just who are you foolin'? I'll be the first in line to admit I don't know all this stuff. Without reading resumes and biographies on these nominees I have little to no clue about them. Truth is, I really am not that concerned with them. One thing I'm not going to do is judge them based on a Facebook meme. And I don't care if the Russians did pay for that meme!
 Now the previous director of the CDC was Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald. She resigned when it was discovered that she had invested between 1 and 15 thousand dollars in a Japanese tobacco company. This company does hold interests in the United States. It was determined she couldn't divest herself of such interests in time and it was a conflict of interest. I can understand the thinking but hardly believe she would have prevented any advances in the treatment or cure for anything tobacco related. In fact, it is a safe business bet that people will continue to use tobacco products. When investing your money it is best to invest in a sure thing! That doesn't necessarily mean you personally support that thing. I don't use illegal drugs would invest in a drug treatment center if I had the money to do so. There are going to people using that stuff! Anyway, she resigned and President Trump has nominated this guy. 
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/21/health/cdc-robert-redfield-aids...
Mar 21, 2018 · Dr. Redfield, a Baltimore AIDS researcher and advocate for medication-assisted therapies to treat addiction, will take over the public health agency.
This from the NYT. Whereas I don't really care for the Times it is a bit more reliable than a Facebook meme. You can read what they had to say. I'll just leave that here.
I do think we all need to lighten up just a bit and admit to the truth. We aren't all that informed. I know I spend a good deal of time looking stuff up, particularity things that don't concern my daily life in a direct fashion. I mean, I don't know who the Sec of Agriculture is because, I'm not a farmer. If you want my opinion on who should be the Director of the Center for Disease Control should be, I would be at a complete loss to answer that question intelligently. I'm certain Trump is the same way and someone or a bunch of someones provide him with suggestions. Do you really believe that Trump, or any other Chief Executive for that matter, personally chooses all the nominees? Or could it be he chooses from a prepared list of candidates? 

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

calling collect

 It has been said that everyone has a calling. If that is the case, mine has been has been calling collect! I have yet to accept the charges. I wonder can you still do that? But that is another train of thought, leaving a different station. It is something that happens to me all the time, I can't seem to decide just where it is I want to go. I want to go everywhere while staying at home. It is a bit of an issue at times. This morning however I was thinking about pursuing your passions, as we are advised to do. It would be great if all we had to do was what we really like to do. There is a little problem however, making a living. But, you say, you are retired and so that shouldn't be an issue anymore. Hasn't that obstacle been surmounted? Ah, no, no it hasn't. Oh, I'm retired alright collecting my pension and living without going to work every day, no more daily grind for me, but I still can't just do whatever I like.  Life, and the living of it comes with obligations. If nothing else, obligations to yourself. Even if those obligations are nothing more than distractions, they must be met.
 As to this notion of a calling I am skeptical of that. If everyone has a calling just who is calling? Do you know what I mean? Just where is this call supposed to come from? Oh I know it is supposed to be an internal thing, a sort of self satisfaction in expressing yourself. It is the reason painters paint and writers write. I have noticed the ones being compensated for that are far more passionate than us amateurs. Some become prolific at what they do. Think Stephen King. How many books has he written now? According to Google at least 65. Is he answering a calling? If he is,  it is the same caller every time. I think it fair to say the answer has been pretty much the same and I have read many of those books. That he is successful can't be disputed. He is a respected author and quite wealthy as a result. Was that his calling? I guess only Stephen King could answer that question. I have read where he says writing those books is hard work! It is his job. Can your job be your passion? The general consensus is, it isn't supposed to be. Well unless you get rich doing it, than its' alright.
 I wonder if somehow I haven't gotten disconnected. It isn't that I have been expecting this call but I was hoping. It is akin to playing the lottery. You are fairly certain you aren't going to win but you keep playing. You really don't believe you are going to win the jackpot, but there is always the chance. Maybe it is that way in life too. I'd say it has been so for me anyway. I have been lucky. I've managed to get this far without any major issues. I've had more winners than losers. The only question is how much have I invested? Isn't that the measure we use to determine success and failure. If you get more in return than you expended,  that's a success. In life we are told we must give it all! Put it all out there, as the saying goes. And what is the reward?
 You have to want the reward to assume the risk. That is a simple enough concept to understand. That reward has to be of primary importance to you. If you receive the reward what will you do with it? Is the reward solely for you to enjoy? I believe in its' essence it has to be. That is where the passion stems from, it is where the call originates; within you. If you can identify that, you will answer. I have learned that the hardest person to convince is yourself. We are seldom 100% certain until we receive confirmation from outside ourselves. It is that confirmation that gives us the confidence to continue. The one thing that we shouldn't be pursuing in our quest to answer the call is money. The number one thing that confirms our success is what? Money.
 That is the perception most of us have. The rich and famous have answered their calling and are rewarded. It doesn't matter if they are athletes, performers, painters or whatever. We hand over our cash to see, read or hear them. We admire them, we try to emulate them. Talented and rich they have it all and we dream of having that. There is nothing wrong with that. Those folks do serve as inspiration. They show us what is possible. We also know that not all of those folks are happy, contented folks living a dream. There is a risk associated with all of that. That is why we see substance abuse, social problems and in some cases suicide. It happens to the rich and famous and it happens to the poor and unknown. We answer to discover it is a collect call. Then we question ourselves. Was it worth the price? 

Monday, May 14, 2018

excuses and reason

 I had a rather busy weekend and that is a good thing. I haven't had much time to listen to the news or read all the postings on social media. As a consequence I really haven't much on my mind this morning. Nothing wrong with that I suppose. The writing of these blogs has become a habit. To not post something is a strange feeling, like I am forgetting something. I'm certain you know that feeling. It is that nagging feeling that will follow you all day. We are creatures of habit after all and some of us develop habits faster than others. It is a struggle we all face and should be aware of. Restraint and self control is what is required. Patience is a virtue as well. It does appear that a great deal of those old fashioned virtues are being lost in the shuffle of todays hectic world. That is simply because they are not being practiced on a regular basis, too many distractions.
 Anyone that knows me knows how much I like to talk. I think of it as being engaged. Isn't that what the mental health professionals call that? We do have to check with the professionals on everything these days. As I often like to point out the only difference between a professional and an amateur is getting paid for it.  I also like to point out that some of those " pros " aren't worth a dime. Seems like the more in debt those professionals put themselves, the more value they place on their time. Whereas I understand the economic principle, in reality it just doesn't work that way. Although I have noticed a proliferation of professionals that come in handy for legal reasons. If you mess up hire a professional to explain your behavior, IE: it really wasn't your fault you have a disorder of some type, a professional says so. Works really well for those " mental health " issues that can not be clinically proven or disproven. What we used to define as, nuts. I wasn't nearly as engaged this weekend as I would normally be. I was distracted by being productive! Well isn't that a turn of events. Could be there is something to this notion of too much social media, too much traveling on the information superhighway.
 I do like to know what's happening in the world around me. In school we called it current events and it was required information. You really were expected to be aware of what was happening in the world. I was expected to draw my own conclusions about the impact of those events. That was to be accomplished by looking to the past, reviewing those events and the results. It was a simpler time I suppose. We did learn to expect the same results from the same actions. As a result we did tend to temper our actions towards others, fully expecting the same action in return. If I called you names you more than likely would reciprocate. We called that learning to get along with one another. The expectation wasn't that the other person would change their behavior to suit you, so you made adjustments in your attitude accordingly. Of course back then you didn't call in the law or activist groups to support your actions. You were expected to defend your position, based on the merits of that position. Reason ruled over excuses. Seems to me that has changed lately. In current events that is what I hear the most, the excuses! I don't hear a lot of sound reasoning going on. Just roll on emotion! Pick an issue and think about it. Listen to the narrative and that's what you will hear, excuses.
 Well time to start the week. Places to go and things to do. I am glad for the improved weather conditions and I will be spending less time on this computer. It is true that too much social media isn't a benefit. Strange how I now have all the worlds information literally at my fingertips and I just get distracted by the minutia of everyday life. It really does say something about me. I'm not certain I like what it says! I'll have to give that more thought. There has to be an excuse for that, maybe I'll consult a professional. 

Sunday, May 13, 2018

a special day

 I posted a rather off hand comment yesterday to social media as I often do. I see that block that says what's on your mind and I am compelled to write something. Sometimes it is met with little response and at others I am overwhelmed. Amazing what can be inferred by others from a few words. Amazing too what can be implied by those same words. It can be a slippery slope to journey out upon. I've taken a few monumental falls in my time. I do enjoy reading the comments and different points of view. With folks that I feel I know better than others I can almost tell the mood they are in. I'm certain that must be evident to others concerning me as well.
 As to that remark yesterday I was saying I found it annoying that all our celebrations are now weekend deals. Today is Mothers Day and the ads on television are calling it Mothers Day weekend. I get annoyed when the sentiment of the occasion is manipulated for profits. That is the annoyance I was talking about. I also get annoyed when people want to celebrate their birthdays for a week at a time. My point is, why not celebrate the occasion , on the occasion and leave it at that. In response to one of my friends I explained that it is scarcity that makes something special. If we celebrate the occasion for days or weeks at a time how special is that? Not very is my feeling. All things in moderation. Mothers Day, your Birthday, Christmas Day, Memorial Day all have one thing in common, they are a day! You do see the theme there right? They are special days and therefore should be celebrated for the day. At least that is my thinking on the subject. I understand the sentiment about how special your Mom is, how special you are and all of that. Yes it would be fantastic to have the year of Ben! I really don't think we could maintain that level of excitement for a year though.
 I'm thinking a great deal of this began in 1968 when the government intervened. That's correct, it was Congress that decided to move holidays around to make them more convenient. They called it the Uniform Monday holiday act. There were certain holidays that were exempted however. Christmas was one of them. What was the reason for that? In my opinion it was simply because even Congress realized the importance of certain days, the significance of those days, and knew not to mess around with that. Those days are too important to move for simple convenience. The law was passed in 1968 but didn't take effect until 1971. Why was that? I'm thinking the Congress just wanted to give people time to get used to that idea, a cooling off period between signing the legislation and actual implementation. Now the government will tell you when to celebrate what! Holidays are a pragmatic thing right? Let's not go getting emotional about it unless that emotion involves spending more money. Long weekends are conducive to that. Far more convenient. And now, here in 2018 what do you hear more often than not? It's a three day weekend! Many don't know what we are celebrating just that it is a three day weekend. The actual purpose, the thing that made the day special, has been relegated to greeting cards and three day weekends. The actual event is the excuse, not the purpose.
 In all of this I was reminded of another day that used to be special. We call it Sunday. It stems from the Jewish Sabbath which begins Friday night and lasts until Saturday night. I have been told Christians worship on Sunday because that is the day Christ rose from the dead. A day to celebrate indeed. When I was young that day was special and honored by most business people. Stores were closed, in fact most business wasn't conducted on Sunday at all. It was a simple day of rest, a time to be with your family and enjoy the day together. Many chose to go to church. Church was the social event of the day. How many went for the social aspect and how many for genuine worship is known only to God. I always gave my fellow man the benefit of the doubt. I believe some folks acted in certain ways only to save face but that is a different topic. Yes there were the pious ones that much is certain, but I would rather have a pious man in church rather than none at all. And today, today Sunday is a day like any other, business as usual. That was a government choice as well. The so named Blue laws do vary by state but are slowly disappearing altogether. Only eight states retain Sunday blue laws today. They are being repealed. In my eye a direct reflection that the United States is abandoning that Christian foundation we were built upon. Setting the religious aside in favor of commerce can't be a good thing. Even those that professed no religious views or beliefs benefitted from a day off. Well that is until we decided the dollar was more important than anything else.
 I guess this is a lot to say about a simple subject. Life isn't as easy as we like to think. The things that make up our thoughts are cultivated over time. We pick and choose. Sometimes we wind up with a hybrid and sometimes what we wind up with is useless. I have to say so far in my lifetime I haven't seen much improvement in society as a whole. Civilized? Cultivated? I'm not so certain about all of that. I'm thinking a return to the simple things is in order. Celebrate the day! Keep that day special. Everyday isn't a day for you to profit personally, some days are to celebrate others. Like today, for example. And here is an interesting note. The founder of the holiday, the lady that started it all,     " Her Mother’s Day campaign was funded primarily by her inheritance, and she came to resent the fact that florists and candy makers were making lots of money from the idea without crediting her. Jarvis came to feel that the day was being used as “a means of profiteering,” as the New York Times reported on May 18, 1923. "  
So, I'd say not much new in the world is there? 

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Infinite

 As we age the world shrinks around us, drawing us ever closer to a singularity. This is as it should be, a natural course in nature. It is the completion of another cycle but it isn't the end. It will begin yet again with or without our awareness. I'm certain of the continuation, not necessarily my part in it. It is a driving question in my mind, will I know? Will I know when I have passed? I think the majority of us believe we will know. The majority of us also believe we rejoin old friends and family. Isn't that the picture we have? That has been so in most societies throughout history. It is something the ancients surely pondered, not just modern intelligent man. Do animals and other forms of life do the same? We can't know that. What does man know of intelligent life? I'd suggest it is a lot less than what we believe it to be. There are just too many mysteries yet unsolved to make many boasts. Too much we do not understand.
 Science tells us it all began with a singularity. Man has always known that. It is just a common sense thing really. Man has spent thousands of years attempting to define and prove this theory. Thing is, it isn't a theory at all, just a simple fact. Everything begins with a singularity. It is the chicken and the egg argument. It is the defining of that singularity that is the puzzle, not the fact of its' initial existence. God always was, and always will be. A fact beyond mans' comprehension. It's true, we aren't that smart. Will we ever understand that? I don't believe that we will. The struggle is to believe. Acceptance of truth is not always an easy process. This is especially true when truth become inconvenient. It is then we search for excuses to deny that truth. We try to alter the circumstance. We may even deny the truth altogether! The fact of the matter is, it all begins with a singularity. Faith begins with you, a single person. But then you may argue it takes two to make one. That's a valid observation as it does take the joining of two to create one. This is true in nature, in the majority of cases anyway. whether that joining is pollen in the air or mating. It does require two. The two forms one. So, you argue if it takes two to make one, how can it begin with a singularity?
 We don't know is the simple answer. While science is so busy offering proof and evidence of that singularity, there is no explanation forthcoming. Science will never explain the singular. We may alter the circumstance, we may alter biological processes, but we can't create the singular. What is that singular thing we can not create? Energy is the answer. Ask any scientists that question and the answer is always going to be the same. We can only change the form of energy. It is a conversion process! Energy is a singular entity! You can not combine two energies to create one new energy. All you can do is convert one form of energy into another form of energy, it remains energy! Energy is life and life is energy. It can not be created or destroyed only transformed from one form to another!
 In its' essence isn't that what man has always known? Even before man could explain why the sun rose in the morning man knew that. Isn't that why people believe in medicine men, shamans, prophets and philosophers? The belief being those folks can somehow alter energy, make that energy useful to their purposes? They can redirect energy in some fashion. Energy being defined as the ability to do work. Make that energy work for your personal benefit. Same reason we pray incidentally.
 We find ourselves questioning the singular. That is because it is something we don't understand, something we have no experience with. The nature of man is to fear what we don't understand. It is a built in survival tool, programed into our being. Death is a singularity! We are certain of that. That is why all the emotions surrounding that undeniable eventuality. It is true even with the knowledge that we will continue because you can not destroy energy. The mystery being where does that energy go and in what form? Will the next transformation arrive with an awareness? There are many reports that it does from those that stood on the doorstep. I believe that, and believe it will arrive in an instant. It will be a single moment in time, and time is infinite.  

Friday, May 11, 2018

a time to chill

 At what age are you too old to be cool? I asked myself that question after my wife made a smart remark. You see we were doing the laundry and I have this pair of jeans. Now these jeans were originally the darker blue shade, you know like the traditional ones from when we were kids. Having been subjected to numerous washings they have become faded. The wife says it is time to throw them out. I protest saying, they are just getting to the cool stage. That's when the smart remarks begin. You're a little old to worry about cool. Well, I admit I was never too young to be cool, but too old? I can remember being keen, maybe that is a measure. Still it seems I was always cool! Well then again I remember when I first joined the Navy the first question the guys asked was, are you cool? That meant, did you smoke reefer or mary jane. See, I know all the cool lingo. I was hip to the scene man. Fact was I didn't smoke any of that stuff and only heard about it. Still I assured them all I was cool, just a little burned out man, maybe later. Hey, it's cool. Keep on truckin'.
 I do believe there comes a time in your life when you just can't pull off the latest in fad and fashion. Even if you still have that rockin' body you always had, it just doesn't work. There is a point where it looks silly, like you are tryin' just a little too hard. A time to chill Dude. I would suppose it is all a matter of perception. I think a guy with long hair, a ponytail hanging down and bald on top just looks sad. Give it up man, it's not that long beautiful hair from the age of Aquarius, it's more like Grecian formula days. Remember when we said, act your age? What was the implication there? The idea is that you should mature. Maturity comes with age right? Are maturity and fashion related? I'd say, yes and no. Age is just a number? Fashion defines time and place. I admit there are some that can carry fashion with them over time but they are far and few between. Thing is they aren't cool they are ageless. Isn't that what we say. She is ageless in her beauty. Men are distinguished! I'm thinking it is difficult to be distinguished in faded jeans and an old tee shirt. At what age should a man become distinguished? And is that why old men wear the waist of their pants at or above their belly button? Is that a mark of distinction?
 The real question to be answered here is, what defines cool. Is cool wearing the latest in fad and fashion. Is cool following the latest trends? Is cool really just being current with social attitudes and sensibilities. Or is cool an awareness of self. Not a vanity, not that kind of awareness, but rather a confidence. The confidence to be self aware of just who and what you represent. That kind of cool. When you have that kind of cool you are not a follower. That stems from a sincerity of emotion. You are not trying to hide anything, you are not trying to fit into the mold. It's a freedom. Strangely it doesn't come off as cool at all, sometimes quite the opposite. It is a cool that requires, dare I say it, aging. Yes, that sort of cool takes years to develop. It is a style that demands sincerity of emotion and sincerity of action.
 When my wife tried to tell me you are too old to worry about being cool she was speaking the truth. Cool doesn't require thought. Cool is an acquired thing. You don't need to worry about that, it just comes along. As for the jeans, I'm keeping them for now. I like them not so much for the fashion as for the comfort. They are broke in and soft as a lamb. Am I cool? Yeah man, I'm cool. Always was and always will be. I don't need to worry about that, I've reached that age where I can just chill.   

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Only history

 Well now we are going to war with Iran. That's because Trump refused to sign the deal. That's the prediction I keep hearing. Last time I heard that North and South Korea met for the first time in sixty years and Americans were released from custody. It was quite the conflict! Seems like those on the left are wising for war, begging for it almost. They would much rather we go to war than admit that Clinton isn't the President! Let that sink in.
 The fact of the matter is this, the deal with Iran was stupid and ill-advised from the get-go.  We got no guarantees at all, not even fake promises. No, the agreement clearly states that they didn't have to let us inspect anything they didn't want us to. An agreement that says, you can inspect, when and where I allow it! Yeah, quite the deal I'd say. They said they wouldn't make any more weapons grade plutonium. They didn't say they wouldn't acquire that material elsewhere if at all possible. Of course that does require money, doesn't matter how close an ally is, they want the money. Honor among thieves you know, the code of the bad guys! That is why the UN froze a great deal of their assets. And by the way Trump not agreeing to this deal, abandoning the agreement, does not release those assets. So, if Iran is going to build a bomb as the left would have you believe, just where is that money coming from? Oh, I know it's the Russians! Yeah, right because Russian has so much wealth to spread around. Get real people.
 Now I understand change is unsettling. I understand how it can make you feel nervous. Refusing to be bullied and used is a different tact than the last administration that much is certain. Taking a stand and sticking to it takes nerve. Given all the backlash Trump faces every day, in every decision he makes, it is remarkable. You can label it ego or apply other names to it but it doesn't change the action. It doesn't make a difference if you like it or not, it is getting results. Things are changing in world politics! Whether it all turns out to be positive or not will be decided by history. I do know one fact ; the last administration got our ambassador and at least three good Americans killed! Watched the whole thing on television in fact. The Secretary of State responded with, at this point what difference does it make! This administration has brought three American citizens home, released from captivity. No one dragged through the streets and tortured. No embassy burned to the ground. no apologies necessary.
 Oh I know I'm just a Trumpster. I don't care what you call me, I just attempt to tell my truth as clearly and plainly as I can. I can't tell the future any better than anyone else. Maybe we should check with the Long Island medium, Caputo will give us the scoop. I said it before Trump was elected and I'll say it again. Donald Trump is not a politician or a diplomat. Donald Trump is a businessman. I will say that diplomacy is a requirement of the job , it helps to be a politician as well but bottom line is, government is business! Maybe a businessman is just what is needed at this point. Could be government has just gotten too big, too involved in the minutia of our lives. Could be it is time to get back to business! The party is over, no more party favors being handed out and people held accountable for their choices. Only history will reveal the truth. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

land of the free

Free-range parenting is the concept of raising children in the spirit of encouraging them to function independently in proper accordance of their age of development with a reasonable acceptance of realistic personal risks.
 I had to look up this definition this morning after hearing a news story saying Utah passed legislation regarding Free Range Parenting. I was forced to say, Huh? I have heard of free range chickens as a healthy alternative to caged up chickens, but free range children? Had I missed something here. So, I checked. A concept of raising children in the spirit of encouraging them to function independently! Wait a minute, wait a minute are you trying to say we have passed legislation actually encouraging children to adopt some conservative values? Just what is going on here, encouraging children to function independently? Next thing you know they are going to vote their own minds, then where we will be? Acting independently from government guidelines and directives? Oh my God. what's next? You really want children to accept reasonable personal risk? They may not get the trophy? You are trying to tell me you are going to allow children to go somewhere, on their own, without adult supervision and intervention! What if someone calls them a name? What if someone tries to cheat them? Just who is going to testify in court when their feelings have been hurt? Free range parenting, just let them roam? OMG! Is this 1956? 
 As you can tell by my sarcastic attitude I think this is the stupidest thing I've heard in a while. We have to pass laws to protect parents from parenting? Yes, it is my firm belief that parents should raise their children to act independently. Yes they should learn to assess and assume personal risks. I call it, growing up. And yes, I have raised children of my own. We all agree that we shouldn't abuse our children or any one else's child. That has to be stated and legislated for the liberals otherwise they will just do whatever feels good or makes the most profit. The liberals will think of every possible scenario and circumstance, no matter how remote the possibility, to invoke some government intervention. They are still working of a parenting tax! Maybe they could use this free range parenting legislation to tax parents that are actually parenting their children. A sort of, if you don't have insurance thing, we'll charge you because you can't afford insurance scenario. That's because children should be monitored at all times! If those kids want to go to the park you either go with them or hire a child monitor! Can't afford that, want to let them " free range? " You need to pay the tax. The government will then provide counseling, after the fact, when you child gets their feelings hurt because they weren't included in the pick up basketball game. Emotional scarring is serious business, mustn't risk that.
 And one more note on all this free range parenting stuff. The government is instituting legislation on how we can raise our children. They have labeled letting your children go to the playground unsupervised, or walking home from the school bus alone, as child neglect. Parents have been charged and persecuted. Spanking your child can be viewed as abuse. You are not even supposed to raise your voice at them. But, let's not forget this same government says , as long as they haven't been born yet you can kill them! Yes, think about that. As long as they are safely in the womb where they can't be harmed by other people it's a choice to just kill them. Now, once they are born, it is a crime to allow them to go unsupervised because someone, somewhere, may or may not harm them. Children don't get to decide, children shouldn't be allowed to function independently! Just what kind of parent would do that? 

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

rambling, just a little

  Now that the weather has changed the mornings sound different. I hear the birds chirping in the trees. It is just another nuance in life that may go unnoticed. It seems the older I get the more details I do see and hear. Is that a result of slowing down, stopping to smell the roses as they say, or is it just an increased awareness due to time constraints? I am, for various reasons, more aware of that reality as well. Well, I expect that is just a part of aging.
 I woke up in a bit of a depressive mood. I am aware of that and it doesn't cause me a great deal of consternation. It happens. You can't allow yourself to get immersed in that too deeply. You shouldn't allow yourself to get overly immersed in any of your emotions, truth be told. All things in moderation is the rule. When we allow that to happen, and begin to alter that mood by artificial means, that is when real trouble begins. That choice is the beginning of dependence and addiction. I've found a good days work, some physical exertion, does wonders for the psyche. Yes, it takes effort on your part, no one can do it for you. We have far too many that are turning to that outside " help. " It does make a lot of money, for a lot of people, that can't be denied, both legal and illegal! I can tell you this much, no one is getting rich off of me. I made my contributions in years past.
 I have never been one to go to the doctors. I'm more from the old school in that regard. If no bones are sticking out and you're not bleeding too bad, you're probably alright. Rub some dirt on it, get up and move on. In recent years I have had to go more often. That's that aging thing again, it's relentless. I have noticed that almost every time I go for a visit I am given this questionnaire. Several of the questions want to know if I feel like hurting myself. One asks if I feel like committing suicide. I wonder if those questions are something that is current, or did they always ask that stuff? Like I said I seldom went to a doctor and so really don't know. I wonder too, if these questions relate to the increased use of mood altering drugs. I hear they are giving kids this stuff all the time to make them behave. I can only assume many adults are gobbling them down as well. Better living through chemistry. I remember hearing that from Timothy Leary back in the day. I was skeptical then, I'm skeptical now.
 It is my thinking that we are teaching people to reach for artificial means and outside help all too quickly. We learn best when we make mistakes. We need to quit trying to fix everything. Somethings are just broken and always will be. There will be days when you don't feel so good, and days when you are on top of the world. The " cure " for both lies inside you, not in a bottle. It's alright to feel sad, that doesn't require therapy. No one complains about being too happy though. Things is, if you are, you should question that as well. Mania is as prevalent as depression. We used to call that being crazy, but we don't say that anymore. Now we just have episodes. Truth is, we have always had episodes, the normal person has several a day, we just didn't medicate those episodes as readily.
 Empathy is a term we hear used a lot these days. Empathy is understanding the feelings of another person. It is experiencing what they experience. The thing is that doesn't mean you should have the same response to that feeling as they do. That is the part that is getting confused here. All too often we are accused of lacking empathy because we don't agree with the response to whatever emotion is being felt. If you are sad, I'm supposed to be sad. That's the thinking, but that thinking is wrong. If you truly empathize with the person you attempt to resolve that issue, not just feel it with them. Empathy doesn't involve just going along with the feelings but requires action. Handing out drugs isn't the best answer to the problem, just a quick fix.
 Well I wandered off a bit as I'm prone to do. I started out hearing the birds singing in the trees. I ended up talking about drugs. I found the sounds of those birds a comfort this morning, they came as a surprise. It was like opening the door to find yourself already home, if that makes any sense. Now, I need to get up and get going. Places to go and things to do. 

Monday, May 7, 2018

Ironic

 There are times when we must walk alone. It is just a simple truth. A new path is never discovered by following the crowd. Yet it would seem there are many people that fail to see this. They join the crowd and go along with it no matter how obvious it becomes that the road leads nowhere. As long as they have the protection of the crowd they feel empowered. What these folks fail to understand is that empowerment is on a personal basis, it is not a communal thing. That form of empowerment goes by a different name, vigilante! The rules of the mob. It is also the founding principle in a simple democracy. There are many that fail to understand that as well.
 No one can grant you empowerment! It isn't a matter of regulation or legislation. I don't care what any political party may offer, it isn't personal empowerment. That party may offer you all manner of " free " stuff but not empowerment! Empowerment is a personal thing. The strength of conviction to walk alone, that's empowerment. When you know the direction you will take because it is the better path, that is empowerment. Empowerment doesn't mean shouting, but rather speaking your truth. Battles begin with a cry, truth begins as a whisper. To be empowered is to be unencumbered. The mob is dependent upon the mob for its' power, the independent soul is not. Another simple truth being lost on the masses.
 There are many that believe if they go along with the crowd,  that makes them intelligent. Hey, all these folks can't be wrong. That is the thinking. And we all know that we should challenge the status quo whenever and wherever possible. The status quo is always bad! Isn't that what is taught? Why is that taught? The answer is a simple one once again. I can't change my status without first changing yours! When you are a member of the crowd the struggle is to be recognized. But, the ones that walk alone are the ones easily seen. Ironic, isn't it?  

Sunday, May 6, 2018

outraged

 When you have nothing firm to stand on you keep shifting your feet. That is something I see more every day. There is a growing segment of the population that has lost their collective footing and just keep shuffling their stance. Unwilling to accept what is real they keep looking to the past for some sort of confirmation of the future. Perhaps that is why I see this proliferation of revisiting past tragedies and injustices and pretending they just happened. These folks are hoping to change the outcome. The cry is always, we must never forget. The truth is remembering that past will not change the present, or the future. You can't change what hasn't happened yet. 
 It is best to accept the past for what it was, with all the flaws, mistakes and skewed sensibilities. That is what should be remembered , not a reliving of it. Doesn't matter how many times you relive that past, the outcome will always be the same. Even when you do your best to revise, rewrite, and in some cases ignore history, it remains unchanged! It really makes little difference how many times you say, I'm sorry, it will not change the past. Our task is to learn from that past. It isn't enough to just remember and be outraged. The key to learning is to understand the same outrageous behaviors that lead to those past tragedies will do the same today, or tomorrow. Yet it seems a lot of folks these days wish to repeat those actions calling them progressive, enlightened even. Folks said that back then too.
 The current method is to rename actions. Guns are assault weapons! Well so is a baseball bat if I swing it at you.  Guns were invented primarily to kill things, other people first! Just a historical fact! People really don't want to be killed by other people and so have searched for ways to defend themselves. Guns work well as an equalizer. It has been said that God made men and Sam Colt made them equal. A great deal of truth in that statement. It was the sentiment behind the 2nd amendment before Sam Colt was alive. You can't erase that history. You can't rewrite it or change it. You had best find a way to live with it. If you don't, you will one day either be subjugated by it, or die from it. A simple fact. People are the assault weapons, everything else is just the tool employed to do the job. The reason we say, don't bring a knife to a gunfight.
 It isn't so much the rewriting and revision of history that troubles me, that has always taken place and will continue long after I am gone, but the abandonment of a solid moral and ethical foundation. That is the new progressive way that is so disconcerting. This cry of tolerance and inclusiveness.  Tolerance isn't the same as adoption and inclusiveness doesn't mean indiscriminate either! It is that redefining that needs to be called out. I can tolerate your behavior without adopting or embracing it! If it is wrong, it is wrong regardless of any notion to the contrary. No matter how much I may benefit from allowing that behavior, it is still wrong. Being inclusive does not include abandoning my values in favor of yours! Discrimination is the act of recognizing a difference or making a distinction. It is actually a survival tool. But we mustn't say these things anymore, we are supposed to remain silent. To do otherwise, to admit to truth, is somehow being viewed as archaic. Amazingly , at least one state has legislated that when a child is born the doctor can't distinguish the sex of that child and so the birth certificate can be gender neutral! Gender neutral? The premise here is that regardless of biological evidence we must not discriminate. You get to choose based solely on your feelings. No one will tell you what you are!
 When you have nothing firm to stand on you keep shifting your feet. That is exactly what is happening with these five minute philosophers that are so prolific today. Just go with the flow and say what people want to hear. Whenever I am met with opposition I will yield and defend that surrender. I didn't really capitulate, I experienced growth. Then having done so I will insist everyone else do the same. The philosophy, the guiding principle in all of this, is to escape accountability or responsibilty for anything I might say or do. That is why it is good to be a survivor or a victim. One should be rewarded, and the other compensated. Becoming either one requires no action on my part. Better still if I can show some connection to past injustices or injuries, no matter how tenuous, and express my outrage I will be admired for my courage!  If I can't make a connection to those events of the past I can apologize for them, profusely! Hey, don't blame me ! I accept responsibilty just don't hold me responsible for that. Can't you see I'm outraged? 

Saturday, May 5, 2018

being judged

You must be willing to share your thoughts without fear of judgment. This is one of the secrets to a successful life. Until you can give voice to those ideas, those ideas will never flourish, or die. They will just remain there, hidden, festering and unproductive.  It is true that you may be mocked, laughed at, or even scorned for doing so, but the reward is more than ample compensation for any uncomfortable emotions that may incite. You get to sleep at night and there are fewer tremors to shake your foundation. Not all your thoughts are brilliant ideas or even meaningful statements. Some are just fragments waiting for the other pieces to fall into place. That falling into place will happen in its own time, you can't anticipate it or rush the process. It takes time to grow. We must remember that all growth is not necessarily good, but all growth is beneficial. We do have to prune the tree of knowledge occasionally. That became true the moment we harvested that fruit! It was at that point we became aware, at that moment we knew judgment. Our conscience was formed.
 When I began writing these posts I began to share those thoughts. In the beginning, they were just memories. As time went on I began to open up a bit more about what I really thought. That didn't always go over very well. It was troubling for a while as I didn't understand the issue at hand. I didn't understand that my thoughts were in such contrast to what some others were thinking. It is difficult to imagine the color red may appear green to someone else. Eventually, some folks became so offended by my thoughts and opinions they began to complain. Some wanted me silenced. I couldn't comprehend why they listened if that was the case. I won't stay for a movie I don't enjoy, nor will I buy another ticket to the same show, insisting they rewrite the movie. I did eventually open my own " theater " of sorts.
 I would say it has been a learning experience. It has proven to be more of a proving ground for my thoughts than anything else. The good and bad in people has been confirmed. I tend to take people at their word until given reason to believe otherwise. Once trust has been broken I find it extremely difficult to mend. A repair is still the weakest point in any structure. It doesn't matter if that structure is a physical object or a trust. You do have to rely on the repair! I was surprised to find that some folks have more repairs that foundation! They seem to be in a constant state of revision and repair. They tend to grasp onto whatever the latest material is and go for that. I'm more the type to stick with what I know works. I have noticed that the more people display their wares the more likely they are to abandon them or sacrifice them for momentary gains. The more they profess the more they repudiate that confession in actual practice. That's because the show is more important than the action. That appears especially true in politics and religion.
 It is something I have known for more years than even I realized. The best thing is to share your thoughts honestly without fear of judgment. Once you begin to manipulate and machinate life gets complicated. You really do have to let the chips fall where they may. Walking alone is better than running from the truth. The truth is you can't hide your thoughts or fool yourself. In the end, when real success is not measured in profit and popularity, the peace that comes from having spoken your truth is the reward. It is then you may appear before your God unencumbered by deceit and receive that which you shouldn't fear, judgment.  
     

Friday, May 4, 2018

just a while longer

 I'm thinking it is time for a big clean out. I have been saying it for years now but this time I mean it! I have got to get rid of a bunch of this stuff that has collected over the years. I'm talking tools and other treasures. Yes, a thinning out of the " good " stuff. You know, we all have it and it is difficult to part with. The difficulty lies in having a yard sale is it is a lot of work and there is no way I'm just throwing it out. What to do, what to do? In case you didn't catch it, the work in having a yard sale is my latest excuse. Oh, and I don't really have a place for parking so it would be a public safety issue as well. I'll think about it some more and devise a plan.
 As I said I have been thinking about this for a good while now. It was brought to the forefront again by my Mom. She recently moved from Florida to Georgia. As a consequence, she had to downsize, as they say, and get rid of some of the good stuff. It was quite difficult for her and I can relate. I mean, we are related, but I'm talking about the good stuff. And now she is considering giving up her car. She will be 89 this year and not feeling too confident in her driving skills. The struggle is making that choice. Even though she doesn't come right out and say so I know it is a surrender. I'm not certain I would want to surrender that freedom. It has been 48 years since I earned the privilege to drive an automobile and remember the exhilaration of obtaining that freedom. It is a tough one to give up. Still, it is a part of aging I suppose and has to be dealt with. Mom was a bit of a rebel in her day as many women never learned to drive when she was young. Many others waited until after they were married to do that. There was the whole " homemaker " mentality still around back then. The ladies were still pretty much expected to get married, have babies, and take care of the house! No need to drive, you weren't going anywhere without your husband.
 And now I'm feeling like I have reached an age where I should begin that downsizing just a bit. I do have a bunch of stuff in the attic that I'm quite certain I will never use again. The wife is right, I really don't need one hundred screwdrivers and ten socket sets. All good stuff mind you! Old electronics and books. There is the miscellaneous good stuff too. Engine parts, specialty tools, and collectibles. I have a chest full of my old Navy uniforms, guess I won't be needing them anymore. Plenty of wood scraps that may come in handy one day, you just never know. It's time for them to go!
 There is an upside to all of this thining out. It will help in remembering exactly what I do have and where it is. Was a day when I remembered where I laid that screwdriver down, now not so much. It won't hurt to get organized. I have so much stuff to keep track off, and to be honest I use the bulk of it so infrequently it is getting to be a problem. But it is that thought of surrender that troubles me. I have already paid someone else to change the oil in my car. Yes, I have ramps and all the necessary tools but not the ambition. I surrendered. I did change the front wheel bearings so I'm not out of the game completely, just in for the bigger plays.
 I don't know, the more I write the more I'm second guessing this idea. Maybe I better hold off, I could still be called up to the majors as a sort of pinch hitter. Yes, I had best hold onto that good stuff for just a while longer. The old uniforms, ah, they can go I won't need them. One trip to the goodwill store ought to take care of that. Sounds like a plan.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

the future has arrived

 A couple of little items in the news caught my attention. First, the Boy Scouts of America are changing their name. Begining next year they will be The Scouts, BSA. I know, doesn't make any sense to me either. Everyone knows what BSA stands for unless you are from England then you might confuse it with a motorcycle. But they are changing the name to be more inclusive. That was because they included girls in the boy's scouts!  Yes, only in this liberal world of today could that even be a thing. If a girl joined the boy scouts wasn't that because she was identifying as a boy? That is what I heard and read regarding all of that. So, if that is the case changing the name to The Scouts would actually be an insult, offensive even, to the girl that thought she was a boy and joined the boy scouts! Wouldn't it? I realize some complained that boys could earn the title of Eagle Scout and the girl scouts only offered a Gold award as their top honor. Their complaint being Eagle Scout is more prestigious therefore sexist! The girls want what the boys got! I'll just leave that there.
 The other tidbit in the news was regarding the opioid epidemic in America. That is how they always refer to that illegal drug use. It's an epidemic! An epidemic is the widespread occurrence of a disease. When you have hundreds of people choosing to use illegal drugs is that an epidemic? It is in today's world. Drug addiction is a disease, not a mental health issue. It was designated such so the medical professionals could file insurance claims. That began in 1953 when alcoholism was labeled a disease. Medical insurance is available, whether it is private insurance or government funded, think free to those that don't contribute to the system in any way, and so we need a medical condition. Just like that, addiction becomes a disease! Mental health insurance isn't as readily available or as easy to justify. Remember in 1953 there were state-run mental health facilities were those with mental health issues were treated. You really didn't want to go there.
 The news item about that was regarding designating certain areas as safe spaces to use illegal drugs. That's right, in these spaces you can shoot up your drugs and if you begin to overdose an attendant will administer Narcan and save you. You're safe! Well because if you purchase illegal street drugs you can never be assured of quality and you shouldn't die because of that. The government will take care of you, no need to worry. Just head to the government flophouse! Just another way Uncle Sam is putting your tax dollars to work for you! Well, not really you,  but those that don't work or contribute to society in a positive way. That's aright they will be given pamphlets about the disease of addiction to read over. I'm certain counseling will follow. That ought to cure them alright! The rhetoric is, taking a stand against opioid addiction! I can only assume the thinking is we can't cure that so we will keep it from killing you as a stop gap measure. As long as we can shield you from the consequences of your actions you will eventually understand. Wait, what? If you are not held accountable you will assume accountability for your choices? And yes, regardless of any other circumstances that exist the illegal use of opioids is a choice on your part! I would argue that even if you became addicted to them after having used the prescribed dose it is your choice not to seek professional help in getting rid of that addiction! The addiction is not your choice, I'll concede that, but continuing it is! So now we will provide legal spaces to do illegal drugs! The as long as it doesn't affect me it is alright attitude. Just put the drug abusers out of sight, assign a monitor to them, to keep them from killing themselves and that is fine. Hey, it's commendable even. The bonus is I don't have to see these drug-ravaged people out in the streets. Why it's a public safety issue.
 When I was little the 21st century seemed like a long way off. It was somewhere in the future. I heard all the promises being made about better living through technology. We were supposed to have flying cars by now. Everyone would be wearing a sort of uniform. Was that a foretelling of an entirely socialist world. Everyone gets the same regardless? Seems to me the future is always portrayed that way in fashion. There are no poor people in the future. Well, here we are 18 years into the 21st century and things ain't looking too good from where I stand. The wheels are definitely falling off. The girls are joining the boy scouts, I guess the big bathroom issue is behind us, haven't heard much about that lately. Anyone can marry just about anyone and bakers have to bake the cake. Choosing to use illegal drugs is now an addiction, along with everything else if you have the money to support that claim in court, think sexting and sex addiction! It's not really your fault if you cheat, you're addicted! Counseling or in-house treatment should cure you, as long as you have the money and the insurance holds out. If not, we will provide a legal place to do illegal things. That way it's not illegal! Gotta love that 21st-century logic. Man, I wish I could live long enough to see the 22nd! It is gonna be a doozy! Well, if we make it that far.            

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Success and Money

 Success and money. The two are inexplicitly linked. We say we don't need money to be successful, yet money is used to measure that success. When others are willing to spend their money on whatever product you have to offer, you feel successful. Those spending their money will call you a success. I think that is a fair statement, don't you?  When the product is offered and nobody buys, the opposite is true. Yes, we may attempt to deceive ourselves into believing that it doesn't matter, that it isn't a measure of success, but it is. It is a discussion we will have with ourselves over and over again. For those that receive copious amounts of financial compensation/consideration the belief that they are successful is beyond question. Some will become arrogant and vain as a result of that.
 This link is nothing new. It has always been so. Today we talk about money and property. It is only what is of value that has changed, not the acquisition of those objects. What made one rich in the past may not have the same value today. Real estate has always been valuable. Ask any realtor what is the most important feature? The answer is location, location, location. In real estate, everything else can be changed. I have seen the value of land change from very little to ridiculously high. The only thing changing is the popularity of the location. Those with the money forcing the price to rise. Success is being displayed by the acquisition of that property. Can you put a price on popularity? Apparently, you can. How else to explain some of these so-called " artists " that gain such wealth? An awful lot of folks are willing to spend their money on them, so they are successful. Whether they are talented or not is a very subjective thing. Is it the money that validates their success or their popularity?
 I do think we all seek that validation whether we are conscious of that or not. Evidence of that is when we receive" likes " on Facebook or other social media. No, there is no financial gain but there is a validation of popularity. Money isn't everything but it does beat whatever is in second place! My Mom had a figurine of a hobo with that saying on a sign hung around his neck. It sat on the shelf next to the fireplace. It is difficult to dispute the validity of that statement. That may come from the fact that you can't hold popularity in your hand. Being popular really doesn't get you much in the way of material things. A free cup of coffee or a slap on the back. It isn't until your funeral that others will talk about what a great guy you were! If you are wealthy those same " friends " will heap praise on you every chance they get. I know it sounds cynical but there is some truth in that. Where I a rich person that would be a concern of mine, I think. I'm hoping for a chance to find out and either prove or disprove that theory.
 We need to measure success against our own standard, not the standard of society. That is the difficult part in all of this. If you can satisfy your own standards that should be all that is required to feel successful. And what is a success? Success is contentment and a feeling of accomplishment. It is at that point you have to decide whether it is other people you are attempting to satisfy, or yourself. If we want to satisfy the others we have to have something to show. That something has to have value to them, hence the need for money or property. It is a catch 22. If we set the standard is that standard valid? I mean, it's easy to pass the test when you write that test. That's the most difficult question for me to answer in all of this. I want to be successful, we all want to be successful. Just whom am I required to satisfy? The answer is me but the standard is being set by others. The thing is I am allowing them to set that standard then complaining about the standard. It's all very confusing.    

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

still living

 I have been fortunate enough to make it past a couple obstacles lately. It wasn't because of anything I did specifically rather I feel it is just fate unfolding before me. All you have to do is look beyond yourself to realize that. You can't change yesterday, yesterday is done and tomorrow isn't promised to anyone. All we have is hope and prayer. For that reason, I choose to be grateful for whatever time I am awarded. I make no claims to survival or having been victimized. Are we all victims of fate? If you go by the strict definition of the word the answer has to be yes. But we all know that victimization implies a negative action has occurred and affected us in some way. I refuse to think of my life as a series of victimizations! Would my God allow such a thing? I don't think so. Of course, I don't believe my God intervenes in my everyday choices and so place no blame upon him when I make a bad choice. I don't do that even when I am harmed in some way by that choice. I'm to blame, or fate, whichever way you wish to view that. Fate fulfills destiny is my belief. I wrote an entire blog posting concerning just that theme. I believe destiny and fate are different actions. Destiny is where I am going, determined by my god. Fate is the path I take to reach that destination. I do get to choose the path although it will not alter the destination. Circumstance and chance figure into the equation, there are random acts that affect our choices. The best we can do is pray and listen for the answers. I must assume some responsibility for my fate.
 I can pray for my destination, asking my God for that reward. Isn't that the purpose of prayer? Isn't that why we worship our God in the first place? Yes, I believe that is the case. We are asking for something! We ask in the belief that our God will hear our pleas and dispense mercy. It's a comfort to us. That is what it was designed to be by the very God we pray too. I don't believe God demands we praise him. God demands only one thing, obedience. We all know we are less than perfect and therefore we pray. It is really quite basic. I base all that on my thinking that we should attend church and pray to our God as a supplicant, not as a celebrant. Save the celebration till after the reward is received! There is a fundamental difference. I don't believe we should enter the house of God expecting to be entertained, rather we attend to be instructed. Listen to the instructions, follow them as closely as you can and pray. Live your fate and pray for your destination. That's my advice. I'm no victim, I'm no survivor, I'm just alive. Alive by the grace of God. If you require a ribbon or a pin to express that, try wearing a cross or whatever symbol of your religion is appropriate. All the others are just shows of vanity. That's my view anyway, yours may differ.