Just Me

Just Me
Look,I'm just sayin'

Monday, February 19, 2018

consequence

 It is a recurring theme of mine in these postings. I often write about consequences. I do that because I believe it is something that is being lost on so many people these days. There are consequences for our choices. It is my belief that this lack of consequence is a major contributor to what we see going on in the world and in our country. The removal of consequence in the name of " empathy and understanding " has indeed spoiled the child. It really is just as written.
 Consider the latest headlines about the Parkland shooter. There is absolutely no doubt that he is guilty ! Absolutely no doubt, and yet we will hold a trial and debate his fate for many months to come. The big question is already being debated, death or life in prison ? We must consider his mental state. His mental state killed 17 and wounded how many ? The consequences of such action should be very clear, without doubt, and immediate. Yes, I'm calling for the death sentence. Will that stop the next person ? No, and it isn't intended to. The sole intent is to show the consequences for taking such an action. The seed of consequence must be planted early in the mind. It is that seed that grows into deterrence. Laws are not intended to be a deterrent but provide a consequence.
 I don't have much more to say. I'm thinking we need to start teaching our children to Pray not Protest ! The Women's' march organizers are getting involved in a protest holding signs about saving the lives of our children. Remember these are the same people that were holding those signs saying " my body, my choice " and abortion is a right ! Guess those children don't count ! What we have is a people problem, not a gun problem. What we have is an accountability problem. We are drugging our children from the age of four to make them " behave " in a fashion that is easy for us to handle. The mental health professionals just passing out Adderall and Ritalin like candy. The consequences of that is what is driving this narrative of " mental health. " The mental health problems are being caused by mental health professionals ! We are creating a society of dependence ! And when you have a society of dependence and the people don't get what they want, what happens ? Things like this nut job shooting up the schoolhouse is what happens. It isn't a gun problem ! It is a people problem. It is a moral and ethical problem.
 But before it is all over, some legislation will be written , passed and a great victory will have been won. Those on the left proclaiming it is landmark legislation and how this will solve everything. Then when the mass shooters continue they will make excuses like we didn't go far enough. For the left, far enough won't happen until all guns have been removed. The left won't be satisfied until the government legislates every aspect of our lives. One day the left will look in the mirror and only see what has been lost, and no way to regain it. Another favorite saying of mine is, you can't legislate morality ! It is morality alone that prevents one man from killing another. No law will do that, no absence of any weapon. Cain killed Abel with a rock !
 It may make you feel better to say, we outlawed assault rifles. What you would really be saying is we outlawed a "name " that was made up by the anti-gun lobby. You may feel better saying, we instituted gun control. The reality is, people control the gun ! The gun will not get up and assault the school without a person controlling it ! It is really not that difficult to understand. And part of controlling the people is to drug them into submission. You can see plainly how that is working out. Controlling the people requires their dependence. If anyone doesn't believe an air of dependence upon the government is being fostered in this nation right now I submit they are crazy ! What's the answer to everything ? We need to pass a law is the most common response. Isn't that the response we are hearing right this very minute ? A madman took a gun and killed 17 children and wounded many more. What is the response ? An absolutely positively beyond a shadow of a doubt killer is being debated. Should he live or die ? The discussion is about his mental state. The blame is being placed on the gun ! It was an " assault " by a gun that killed those students. No, it was an assault by a madman ! The response, we need to write a law ! Well let's just write a law that it is illegal to be a madman ! The result will be about the same.
 So what are we to do ? That is the big question here. There isn't much you can do in the short term. I sure wish I had an answer, a solution to all of this. How do you prevent people from killing one another ? When you find the answer to that, the problem will be solved. A beginning for me would be to quit teaching our children it is a viable choice to kill the unborn. Teaching our children that murder is an acceptable form of birth control, mistake control, or just because I don't want that responsibilty control, certainly changes the value of human life. I really don't see how you can not acknowledge that much, even if you agree with that process. Or are we trying to teach it is alright to kill sometimes, as long as it is only one at a time.  

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Generations

 Generations. This morning I find myself looking at generations. I turned on my computer to see a photograph, well technically a digital image but us old folks still call them pictures, of my sisters granddaughter going to the winter dance. She has dyed her hair a purple and is wearing slacks, a white shirt, vest and fedora. Very cute and very chic. My immediate thought was , she must be one of the cool kids. Contemporary to be sure.
 I have to admit I don't really know this young lady. As is the case with a lot of families these days we are spread out over the country. This branch is currently residing in Michigan. To be honest I struggle at times to keep track of all the generations these days. I do know her name is Haylie and her sister is Sabrina. Gee, I hope I got that right. They of course have cousins, a lot of cousins. There are at least ten at last count. We have four living generations and I'm thinking I will be around to see five although I'm not rushing anybody !
 Ideally I would know each and every one of those youngsters but that will never happen. We are all too far afield and the chances of us ever all getting together is slim. Too bad life isn't like a Hallmark movie. I've never really had a chance to get to know my sisters kids, let alone her grandkids. The same is true with my brothers, although I did get to have a very casual acquaintance with my older brothers daughters. And now there are all the little ones, and some not so little anymore. Time sure has a way of passing.
 To return to that picture, er digital image, I saw this morning it inspired this blog. As I said I thought she must be one of the cool kids. I thought that because of the way I was raised. I was not allowed to " express " myself in such " fashion " growing up. There would be no long haired hippie people in my fathers house ! Oh, I tried a bit and pushed the envelope as the saying goes, but only after I paid for those clothes. Still there was no long hair and that sorta thing. You could say we were raised in a more traditional way. Spare the rod and spoil the child was practiced, generously. I can't talk about what my sister and brothers did but I just adopted that attitude of, I don't care. Secretly I did think about being one of the " cool " kids at school. You know the ones, the popular kids that had all the latest stuff and went on all the school trips, were in the school play and that sort of thing. But now, now my sisters granddaughter is one of the cool kids. I'm related to one of the cool kids ! Truly it must be the circle of life I have so often read about. It made me smile and feel a little warmer inside. And it is those things in life that make it all worth it. Generations in the making. It's a wonderful thing.


Saturday, February 17, 2018

gatitude not attitude

 Do you think social attitude has anything to do with these mass shootings ? I do, and I think I can identify that change in social attitude. We have, as a society, gone from gratitude to attitude ! That's correct. Where we were once thankful for the things given to us by our creator, we now demand them. It has gone way beyond hopeful, beyond expectation, to demands. In the our founding documents there is the acknowledgement of a creator that endowed us with certain unalienable rights. We, as a nation , prayed to that creator, for guidance. We, as a nation, were grateful for that guidance and accepting of his grace. That, I fear, is no longer the case in America and the results are obvious.
 Now I'm not saying we all need to be evangelists, but we all need to be grateful. We are given the freedom to worship our god as we see fit.
 The key part of that statement is worshiping a God. John Adams stated that clearly enough when he said, " Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people, it is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. " The morality he was speaking of was understood to be the moral foundation taught in the Christian Bible and the religious people ? The religious people acknowledge the presence of God. In doing so the people worship that God. There are roughly 450,000 churches in the United States. That number has been on the decline in the last few decades. In 1990 86% of the population said they were Christians. In 2015 that number was down to 75 % with only 62% of those folks saying they belonged to a specific congregation. Today we are not supposed to say, we are a Christian nation ! Is there a correlation between this decline and the rise of mass shootings ? I'll leave that determination to the statisticians. In my mind I believe there is.     
 It has been commanded of us. Honor thy father and thy mother. Everyone knows that. What does the Bible say immediately following that ? The verse goes on to say, " that it may be well with thee and thou mayest live long on the earth. And ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the lord. " I'm thinking we could use more of that nurturing and admonition ! 
 Are we bringing up our children to wrath ? Are we provoking them  ? Under this false narrative of rights and entitlements are we causing this anger, this resentment we see manifested in these shootings ? What could cause such anger, such contempt for life ? When we fail to raise our children, giving them the attention and yes, nurturing they require we should expect bad results. Families seldom sit at the dinner table anymore, families seldom " play " together, and more and more every year families fail to acknowledge God or attend church together. Only 62% of those saying they are Christians say they belong to a church ! Think about that. Was a day in America when asked a person would identify with a particular church. Where we once taught our children to pray we now teach them to protest !  Are we provoking our children to wrath ! Yes, I think we are. 

Friday, February 16, 2018

being stoic

 I don't want to talk about guns. The topic has been beaten to death with little result. The real discussion needs to be about why so many choose this path. Why are people lashing out, killing others en masse ? They are throwing a temper tantrum on a large scale. These people are not considering the consequences of their actions , not figuring to change anything at all, it is a cry for attention. You will pay attention to me ! But where is this coming from ?
 In looking back at my own childhood I try to see what may have been different. Not just what was different for me, rather for the majority of us. To begin with we were held accountable, from a early age, for whatever choices we were allowed to make. And yes, the ability to make a choice was a reward for good behavior. When you show me you can, fill in the blank, then you can,  fill in the other blank. Choice was an earned thing, otherwise you just did as you were told ! We were taught to respect authority. We were also taught to not resent authority. We were taught it was acceptable to question it. Now that didn't mean you got to throw a fit when you didn't get your way. No, you followed authority and then petitioned that authority for redress if you felt wronged. In other words, you did what you were told and complained about it later. If you didn't do that in a reasonable fashion you would be corrected for that. You definitely didn't start cursing or raising your voice as a form of protest ! The adults would do that on occasion and it was always pointed out how inappropriate that was. Parliamentary rules were followed. A breach of those rules could get you ejected from the discussion.
 Really I do think we were taught more about expectations. There were few excuses. The first course of action was not to drug the child into compliance. I never heard of any such thing as ADHD. I'm not saying it didn't exist, I'm not saying it isn't a legitimate illness, just that I never heard of it before. So, the question has to be asked, where did it come from ? How have so many become so mentally weak ? It is a weakness of the mind that causes people to make these choices. Puzzling too is why is it almost exclusively men ? What were we, my generation, taught about being a man ? What has been taught since ? If you give that some thought you will realize that whole conversation has changed in a drastic fashion. In fact you're not even supposed to say things like, act like a man. Saying that is somehow wrong these days. Doing so will get you labeled a chauvinist !  And we have the whole campaign of " fight like a girl " that implies that girls can fight as hard as a man. What are they really saying ? They are talking about mental toughness. To even suggest that women are somehow different from a man will get you labeled a misogynist ! And the result is causing some confusion is my opinion. Of course I'm not a " mental health professional " and therefore unqualified to present a theory.
 I'm thinking we may be seeing these displays of " manliness " as a result of some of these changes. We are teaching our men to be far more emotional and far less stoic than in the past. I know, I know, emotional responses are associated with whom ? This is were I get called a misogynist. The ladies seldom lash out in a physical sense, just a truth evidenced throughout history. Yes, it is a generalization. Now we are making our men emotional and they are lashing out how males traditionally lash out, in a physical way. Could there be an inherent property to being male that causes this reaction ? Can we medicate the " male " out of our kids ? Maybe that medication should be teaching them to take a more stoic approach to life. 

Thursday, February 15, 2018

choosing a side

  Nothing was ever solved by running away. Ideas were never heard without being spoken. A book isn't read until you open the pages. I'm aware of all of those things and yet this morning I'm considering doing just that, just running away. Following the tragic actions of yet another crazy person with a gun that whole conversation will once again be held. Neither side will change their opinion. It is as I posted first thing, " and here we go again, blaming the gun " and that sums it up for me.  I will not discuss it further. There is no sense in having that conversation again simply because it will not be a conversation, no ideas will be exchanged, nothing constructive accomplished.
 I began years ago writing a blog. I have continued with that on almost a daily basis. Whereas I have enjoyed it for the most part, the reason I keep doing it, there are moments when I think about quitting. There is a fine line between voicing your opinion and being opinionated. Strange how that works really. If you state your opinion and then fail to respond when someone attacks that opinion it's okay. Defend your opinion, and you are labeled opinionated ! Opinionated is a bad thing. I am guilty of that,  I will defend my opinion. Except this morning, this morning I hesitate. I see the futility in it and grow weary. But there is part of me that realizes accomplishments only happen through persistence.
 This is where I find my thoughts this morning, sitting on the proverbial fence. In my experience when you find yourself wanting to distance yourself from something that's what you should do. Taking a break isn't usually the answer. Whatever it is you are distancing yourself from most likely won't change in your absence. Perhaps you will change. The thing is,  if you return you most likely will encounter whatever caused you to take a break in the first place. It's like an alcoholic, you can't just take a break from that. My problem is I'm not a quitter. I have no explanation for that it is just a part of who I am. Some call it being obstinate. Being obstinate is also a bad thing, like being opinionated. Both of those conditions are dependent upon the perceptions of others. I am aware of that and that causes this hesitation. I have to decide for myself which side of the fence to land on when getting down. All fences have two sides. The good side is supposed to face the neighbor, the other side, you. Is there a moral in there ? The good side is all pretty and nice, looks good with just a glance. The other side is what holds it up, joins it all together. It has a beauty to it as well, but one not immediately obvious.
 I'm not very comfortable sitting on the fence. It is a position I just don't occupy often. I can see a lot from up here that's true. I can hear what each side is saying. I do tend to go for substance rather than beauty. I won't stay long upon the fence, I never do. I've always been of the mind that you really do have to decide, make a choice. I repeated it yesterday, and I'll repeat it today, emotions are often ardent motivators but seldom good guides. This morning I'm emotional. 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

high standards

 It was an observation I made some time ago. " Emotion is often an ardent motivator but seldom a good guide. " Seeing things does not mean you always recognize them and so I have had my failures. I have let my emotions guide me and was led astray. " Emotion is not the language of reason. " That was another of my observations. It is really as Spock said, " it is only logical." I have argued some  cases based on emotions and not strictly facts. These are things seen in hindsight and there is no acting upon the past, we can only react. There is only the future and the future is uncertain. It is that uncertainty that stirs emotion and the cycle is repeated.
 Those thoughts returned to me this morning. I'm thinking it was in response to something I saw. Shaun White representing America in the Olympics wins the gold. What a proud moment and a great accomplishment. But then I watch him wrap the flag around him like a blanket of some kind and I cringe. Oh he is not the first or only one to ever do that, far from it. What bothers me is when I see him drag it on the ground and walk on it. For me, my generation, that is a sacrilege. The flag should never touch the ground. I was taught that since I could understand the words. No matter how proud, how jubilant I may become ( emotional ) I would never allow that flag to touch the ground ! I can only shake my head as emotions are conflicted. I'm proud that Shaun White has won the gold for America, for my country,  but at the same time ashamed at his display.
 The reason is a simple one, it is not just a flag, it is a representation of so much more. Also called the National Standard it so named for a very good reason. It does represent Standards ! My standards, my morality and my ethics. It is more than patriotism that drives my response.  For me that flag is so much more than cloth and thread. That flag is to be flown higher than any other flag and is only dipped to honor the dead. The flag does signify life and death. The life and death of a nation ! I will protect that life. I do get emotional, and emotion is not the language of reason.
 I believe there are things beyond reason. Often we call them dreams. Are they reasonable expectations ? In most cases they are not,  yet we are told to pursue them nonetheless. Those that love and support us become our ardent motivators, they become ,well, emotional in their support. Is respecting the flag beyond reason ? I don't believe that it is. In fact I am an ardent supporter of that action. For me that flag represents the dream that is America. And the same thoughts, feelings and motivations that fueled the founders of this nation fuel me to this day. It truly is a dream, the American dream. The flag represents a fundamental truth, " all men are created equal and endowed with certain unalienable rights." You may argue that that right includes dragging the flag on the ground and stepping upon it but I would argue that is just emotion speaking. Emotions are ardent motivators but seldom good guides. Emotion is not the language of reason. Is it reasonable to trample upon the very dream you are fighting for ? I would say hold high your standard as an example to the world. Do not drag your standard in the dirt and step upon it ! Exercise reasonable care and protect that standard. If you are not emotional about that, perhaps you need to review your standards altogether. It is obvious to me, you're missing the whole point.
  

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

civilty on edge

 Civilization is defined as that stage of human development that is most advanced and organized within a society. America is a civilized nation. Well, at least it is supposed to be, and I would argue it was, at one time, the most civilized place on earth. After spending just a few hours on the internet and listening to the news on television I'm not so sure of that anymore. Are we acting in a civilized fashion ? Certainly you can see a total lack of civility among the various groups. Whether it is the Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives or any other opposing ideologies present today they sure aren't civil ! Not in the way I was taught to be civil anyway. 
 I'm not saying civilization is lost, just that we are now on the edge. Many of us lean one way or the other depending upon the current topic or issue and that is the way it should be. In a civilized society this is embraced, indeed it is encouraged. I'd say it was maintaining a balance. What I'm seeing now is people giving others a push over that edge ! Instead of attempting to regain balance, they are just shoving. All the name calling, degrading comments and general bad feelings being openly displayed are eroding civility.
 I'm thinking this shift happened as we discovered we could use the rule of law as a weapon instead of a protection. The law is intended to shield us from those that would do wrong. That is the way I always thought about it. When someone committed an offense they were then subject to punishment. The object was to not commit the offense. But somewhere along the line that shield turned into a sword. I can cut you down standing behind the law, I can say whatever I want to, it's my right ! Sound familiar ? I'm thinking it is like pounding our plowshares into swords. In the Bible that was done to establish the law, symbolically at least. The Bible being prophecy is not to be taken literally in every instance, rather in the context it is presented. Just like people talking to one another. The Bible is God talking to us. But this is not a sermon or a discussion of the Bible. I am talking about the disappearance of civility. The whole concept is becoming antiquated.
 Chivalry is associated with the knights of the middle ages. That is a long gone practice for sure. Still I think that morphed into the concept of civility. George Washington himself wrote a book on civility. In it he wrote rules for decent behavior in company and conversation. Civility is central to civilization that should be obvious enough. And central to civilization is the citizen ! The citizens make up the civilization. If the citizens no longer act in a civilized fashion what do you have ? It all seems completely obvious doesn't it ? So have we lost sight of the forest by looking at the tree ?  That tree being our own wants, needs and desires. The whole concept of chivalry, civility and  citizenship is based on the idea of respect and service to others, to the whole. When that is no longer practiced the end grows closer. It is that way with individual relationships and with nations. I submit to you it is that way with the entire world. It is a cycle like so many other cycles. We are only seeing a very small piece of the picture.
 Eventually a new sense of civility will be established, a new world order that you hear mentioned so often these days. It is really nothing new at all but has occurred and reoccurred many times. Remember civilization is defined as being the most advanced. Don't we always believe we are advancing ? No one works to go backwards do they ? No they work to afford themselves more protections. That is the purpose of law. The law as a shield until that law is beaten into that sword and another order established. The defenders of the law are at a disadvantage, always. That is because the law is always subject to a new interpretation. We have reached a point in America where the law is under constant attack. We have reached a point where a great many now feel they have a legal right to break the law ! The new interpretation being we can change the law, simply by ignoring that law. A view 180 degrees from the premise of law in the first place. We began proclaiming ourselves as One Nation ! That isn't what I'm hearing these days. Civility lost can be regained and has been many times. The only question left is, will it this time ? One can only pray. 

Monday, February 12, 2018

same old thing

 So the grandson e-mails a paper he needs for school to me at ten last night. For some reason or another the printer at his house is unavailable. He asks me to print this document for him and I readily agree. Of course I didn't read this e-mail until five this morning, plenty of time before school right. I get up and turn on my old faithful desktop, yes I still use a desktop, and open my mailbox. There it is, an attachment to a blank. It is at this point I discover I do not have a program capable of opening this document. The computer asks, do you want to look for an app in the app store ? Sure why not. Like I know what I'm looking for. I did find a program I thought might work , Microsoft word. Seems I've heard a lot about that one. Oh boy, there is a free trial version available. Oh, wait a minute, with this free trial I can view but not print ! Well, that's not going to help. But I'm not defeated as I grab the wife's laptop !  Yes, she prefers a laptop and it does have a program that opens word documents. Hey, grandpa has got this. I'm feeling pretty confident at this point. Then I see a text message saying this document needs to be in Times- New Roman 12 pt font, double spaced, and the name and date centered. You want what ? I do manage to print this document as it was sent to me. It meets none of the requirements ! I have absolutely no clue how to manipulate the document, none. Don't you have to write it that way in the first place ? All the wind is now gone from my sail.
 It's early but I'm on the hot line waking up the grandson. He begins to tell me he will resend and all I have to do is copy/paste and something about yellow highlighters and I say, I'll come get you. I can hear the disgust in his voice as he realizes he is talking to an illiterate.  He's thinking OMG old people. After having spent the better part of an hour getting this thing to open and print Grandpa isn't very happy. Well, he says to pick him up about fifteen minutes earlier than planned. That is all the time it should take to fix the problems. That's what he says. I also had to wake up his sister. I'm betting there won't be a lot of sisterly love being shown on the ride to school this morning.
 And that is how this morning started. You gotta love it. Nothing like waiting till the evening before to prepare your stuff for school. Now you know I never did that ! I will give him the lecture about preparedness and how in my day we had to type, on a manual typewriter,  well unless you didn't own a typewriter, then you could print, double spaced in black ink. I can honestly say I don't recall the font ever being mentioned. The only Font I knew about was at the church, I got baptized in that. Well, if he gets it printed with the requirements he says he needs I could run off several copies on my mimeograph machine, it's around here somewhere. All this copying and pasting too, it's an amazing thing to us of a certain generation. Copying and pasting without paper and glue. I thought white out was a technological marvel. Now, the kids sniff that stuff. The more things change the more they stay the same.   

Sunday, February 11, 2018

action or intent

 I find it difficult at times to explain. I know what I want to say, just struggle with a way to say it. I suppose that is why it is difficult to be a writer or poet. I'm more of a builder or mechanic than anything else. I like to deal with hard facts and figures. Assembling words is a different thing altogether. That is simply because one word can mean so many things. It really is all about context. Getting the words together and having my context match yours is the goal. It is not about convincing you I am right, it is about you understanding the context. When that happens you already knew what I was saying. Does that make sense to you ? It's not easy.
 I was thinking about this as I listen to all the talk around me. We are all using the same words just in a different way. We use words to name things. Each generation begins to rename things based on that generations meaning of the word. Take the word Gay for instance. Was a time when it just meant happy. Gay implied that you were almost giddy with delight. Light and airy was the mood. Just how did gay become to mean what it does today ? I don't know, but first it was called being queer. Why queer ? Because it was a different behavior than what was expected. Was it a condemnation ? I don't think it was intended in that fashion, it was just a descriptor. No different really than referring to the color of one's skin as a description. Now we use ethnicity and that can be thought off as discriminatory. Fact is, it is. It is discriminating , refining what we see or know so as it give a more accurate description. Discriminating is a bad thing right ? Depends upon context doesn't it ?
 I've written about all this is the past and will most likely write about it again. I tend to have these reoccurring themes. This mornings was sparked by another meme. It is the one saying that Native Americans actually had five genders. My immediate response is, actually they had, and still do, just two genders.  I realize what they are talking about are personalities. Gender and personality are different things altogether, like apples and oranges. Whenever I see people attempting to use them interchangeably I bristle. You can say I support your choices, that you wish to dress as a woman, a man, or whatever. You can say I support your sexual preferences, your choice of partners. What you can't say is, there are more than two genders ! That is an incorrect statement. I bristle not so much at the choices those folks make, I bristle at the lie.
 The biggest issue I see today concerns this use of language. It is why everyone gets so upset. The context of our conversations are not being shared. This may be in part to the this mass communication we all use today. The descriptors I use within my circle of friends and acquaintances that are perfectly acceptable and understood may not be in yours. You are offended ! We are all aware of " funny sayings " and such that people in different regions of the country use. Was a time when we laughed about that, asking what does that mean ? Mostly we knew what was intended and just hadn't heard it put that way before. We understood context. Today folks tend to get offended.  When folks get offended they tend to get defensive. What it is they are defending ? They are defending their context ! They begin defending what they believe they said, not what you are hearing. And that is the root of the problem. It has always been the problem.
 In 1604 a man created the first dictionary of the English language. The purpose, of course, was to explain what each word meant. Two hundred years later Noah Webster makes his and it is the one most of us English speaking people are aware of. Today there are many different ones. We have ones for classic meanings and then we have the Urban dictionary.
 I wish we could all just stop changing the names. Just say what you mean, or what exactly you are talking about. Take this hot button issue on immigration. Calling these folks undocumented immigrants is just a renaming. They are, criminally trespassing upon sovereign soil, Illegal aliens. It is an accurate description of what they are, nothing more. What's wrong with that ?  Calling them anything else is just a lie. The description has nothing to do with their intentions. Actions and intentions are different things ! You can not make a lie truth by changing the name. In my experience we change the name of things in an effort to make it fit the conversation. What we once called " making a pass" can now be sexual assault ! What changed ? The action or the intention ? I'd say the way the action is perceived is the only thing having changed. Perception contains the context. Change the perception and you change intent ? Only from your point of view. It's a slippery slope indeed. 

Saturday, February 10, 2018

A grand parade

 Well all the talk is about Trump ordering a grand military parade. The last one was in 1991 following the Gulf war, which really wasn't a declared war, haven't had one of those since WW2, but we celebrated our victory. Now I'm not a big fan of this idea as I do think it is a waste of time, money and resources. I question the purpose of such a display of military might. What I mean is the  world is already well aware of our capabilities. Those on the left seem to think it is some kind of ego trip on the part of Trump. I even know one Freudian shrink that says he just wants to show the world the size of his member ! I have to chuckle about that, those Freudian shrinks crack me up. Well to be honest about it I don't place much stock in any of them. In truth they are just a bunch of bartenders that have learned some fancy words. To be fair, they do help in the prevention of alcoholism as you stay out of the bar. Another theory from the left is that Trump is Hitler reincarnated. His plan is to kill all the democrats in the night, with tide pods . Whatever the case may be I am amused by all of this.
 Not every issue is a life and death decision. I don't believe it will be of much consequence if we have the parade or we don't. As I said I think it is a waste of money. Being a retired member of the armed forces I can offer this opinion. For the majority of us a military parade is just a big pain in the butt ! It would not be honoring us to have us march in a parade. The majority off us, by far, would just rather have a day off. You want to honor us ? Give us a pay raise, fix the department of Veterans affairs and in general quit calling us baby killers and the stupid people that fight wars for the rich.
 I'm wondering if this idea of a grand parade has anything to do with an attempt to revive patriotism. Nothing like a parade to show your patriotic spirit. Hey we have the gays, the feminists and all these other groups parading down main street, why not the  Armed Forces ! Why not the United States of America . Can the military not display their pride as well ? Regardless of your personal feelings regarding President Trump he got elected by proud Americans. That is his base isn't it ? Sure, those that support him are called every name you can think of, stupid, ignorant hicks, uneducated white rednecks that carry the Rebel flag. Isn't that the perception the mainstream media is projecting ? Those that support anything that Trump proposes are only thinking of themselves. They lack compassion and empathy. Trump supporters are Nazis ! And here is a truth, Trump is the President, the commander in chief ! If the commander wants a parade, the commander gets a parade.
 I have said it many times I didn't vote for Trump. He was not my first choice. Doesn't matter, he won. He is the President and that is just a simple fact. Having been called a Troll on several occasion for pointing out the truth I have adopted the moniker, the Truth Troll. There are those on the left that seem to refuse to accept the truth and have been hollering " not my president " for the last year but the fact remains, he is. The biggest issue I see these folks having with Donald Trump is that he supports a platform of America first ! They don't view that as inclusive. I see it as you can be included if you are an American or are taking proper and legal steps to become one. Sorry if that offends anyone. I freely admit my family comes first and so it logically follows my country should come first as well. And that is a truth from the Truth Troll. Yes, it is my truth not necessarily yours.
 Okay so having cleared that up I want to talk about this idea of patriotism just a bit. I can only speak from my own experience. As a child I would watch the parade on Veterans day, Memorial Day and the Fourth of July. There were the contingents from the VFW and the American Legion. Those men marched in uniforms, heads held high, cadence was called and arms were presented ! It was an impressive sight to a young man. Those men marching were our fathers, uncles, teachers, shop keepers and from every walk of life. There was no division among them. They were truly a band of brothers long before that description was written down. These were men that had gone to war, fought and done whatever was necessary to defend America ! They didn't brag about it, they didn't plead for help or expect special treatment, these men where grateful. They were grateful they had survived the battle and returned home to their wives and children. Patriots ? Not in their mind they weren't, they were just doing their job.
  Later on the Vietnam war came along. It wasn't a declared war, just like Korea hadn't been a declared war. The United States had promised to help these nations if they needed it and we were just fulfilling that promise. Except now there were those that refused to honor that promise. They began burning their draft cards, they ran to Canada, these weren't men, they were cowards ! That is how I viewed it then, and how I view it now. I can understand not volunteering, but refusing to answer the call I do not understand. It has been said a man doesn't run to a fight but he doesn't run from it either. That is how I think about that. I don't want to fight but will if necessary to do so. As time went on our returning soldiers were called all sort of vile names by those that refused to fight. This was in response to their own cowardice. It was an attempt to justify their own shortcomings by transference. And now I can see the same pattern. Isn't that what the left is doing today ? Name calling and a refusal to face the facts. So maybe we need a grand parade. A grand parade of AMERICANS marching down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC. I can only imagine how many would be " triggered " and the sale of fidget spinners, coloring books and cafe' lattes would skyrocket !
 It could be that after 27 years of this anti-patriotic babbling and sentiment a grand parade is just what we need. A rekindling of the spirit of America. Yes, we are the biggest and the best in the world. It is a privilege and an honor to live here. That privilege, that honor must be earned, you don't get that by default.
 I will end by saying I have been called many names for my views and I really don't care. This morning I was informed that I'm just a self righteous **shole. I earned that description by telling the truth. I feel no obligation to argue with that description. I take no offense. You know, I learned during my military career a simple truth that I'll share here, " when you find your name on the bathroom wall that is an indication you are doing your job "
 I still think this parade is a waste of money and time. Those that oppose it aren't going to have their views changed one bit. They can't see through the hate. They are the same ones that left the fighting to everyone else. They claim the high ground,claiming moral supremacy, but the truth is they are cowards. All talk, no action. They hide behind the protections fought for and provided by the very ones they despise. Self centered and self righteous I see them as hollow shells. Those folks have no substance, no sand, just a false sense of themselves. The only thing that bothers them is when the Truth Troll comes out from under the bridge to confront them. Facing the truth they retreat looking for that safe space. Will a parade get their attention ? I doubt that. 

Friday, February 9, 2018

treatment or choice

 Seems I see more and more commercials on television for drug rehabilitation treatment centers. These ads usually begin with this statement, Addiction is a disease ! Well let's just back up a minute here. If addiction is a disease it is one that is self induced. Addiction begins with abuse ! Pretty simple to understand don't you think ? Addiction begins with abuse of the substance itself. You don't get addicted without first having used the substance. Oh, but you say, it was a prescription drug that I got addicted to. Yes, because you abused the prescription by taking more than the prescribed dosage. But I'll admit it isn't solely the fault of the user, after all a doctor has to write that prescription. Did you know with any of these addiction prone medicines a doctor is only supposed to prescribe a three day supply ? Yes, that's the law but 99% of doctors exceed that limit. So does that make it their fault ? I don't think so, you are supposed to act in an adult fashion, using reasonable judgement. It plainly states on every prescription bottle do not exceed recommended dosage. Beyond that I'd say that 100% of the people being prescribed these drugs would vehemently complain if they had to get a new prescription filled every three days. That doesn't excuse the doctor for not adhering to the law but it doesn't make him responsible for you abusing that prescription ! Yes, it is your fault ! No, it isn't a disease that you somehow magically get. So quit trying to tell me. Addiction is a disease.  
 Disease is a pathological condition of a body part, an organ, or a system resulting from various causes, such as genetic defect, or environmental stress, and characterized by an identifiable group of signs and symptoms. That's what the dictionary says it is. So okay you can say it is a disease. I get that. Still is it accurate to say addiction is a disease in the sense that just develops on its' own ? Isn't that the implication here ? You didn't do anything wrong, its' not your fault, you have a disease ! And what do we do for disease ? We treat it. How will we treat it ? We'll take it away from you, tell you how bad the disease is and give you a 12 step program. For the really expensive treatment we'll let you talk to a shrink. You know why ? Because addiction begins with abuse ! And you and you alone are responsible for abusing that drug ! It's really quite simple. It's a little thing we like to ignore these days, self accountability. But as with a lot of things in America we need a professional. We have a professional everything these days. We even have professionals to tell us what professional we need to see.
 How do you get this disease of addiction ?  You do that by consciously making a choice. When you choose to medicate yourself by either abusing the prescription you received, or just buying it off the street, that is a choice. If you continue in this choice until you can no longer function that is also your choice. You chose addiction. You couldn't help it right ?  And now we will treat a disease ? If treatment fails it is just a relapse, not the fault of treatment. Ask any rehabilitation center if they guarantee results. The answer will always be, no. If they have a successful result they tout that as a success on their part however. Accountability issues ? I'll only assume credit for the successes, not the failures. That's because you get addicted by the choices you make and they can't control that. They can take the credit though when you make the correct choices. See how that works ?  Sounds like a great way to do business, very profitable and they are assured of repeat customers. Fact is, they count on it. It's a sure thing. There is no cure for addiction. That is just a medical fact. There is no cure, only treatment. Like taking maintenance drugs to control blood pressure or cholesterol, there is no cure. Well that's not exactly true, there is a cure and it is called Choice. 

Thursday, February 8, 2018

either side of familiar

 We have all heard the saying familiarity breeds contempt. We learned that from Aeosp  with one of his fables. Have you ever thought about what he was saying there ? I mean, what is contempt. Other words come to mind like disdain, disrespect and unlawful. If you are contemptuous of others you disregard their opinions and feelings. I believe in examining these sayings we have taken at face value a little more deeply. Does familiarity really breed contempt ? I think it does when one feels they are in a position of superiority or safety. It also occurs when the opposite is true. The area we try to live in is somewhere in the middle.
 I was thinking about this after reading some postings on social media. There is certainly a lot of contempt and hate being shown there. We have also heard the expression it's a small world. All this social media has certainly made the world a much smaller place. With that " closeness " comes familiarity. We are becoming all too familiar with each other ! Contempt is rearing its' ugly head as a result. Where once learning about others, their traditions and heritage was exciting and new, now it is being questioned. It isn't new to us, it is all too familiar. On social media you can feel superior and safe. No one can physically attack you through an internet connection. Discretion truly is the better part of valor and on social media you don't need to use discretion at all, just type away. Well, the only discretion you need be concerned with is the law or maybe one of your close friends might read your posting. For those that have feelings of inferiority, or that they are somehow being marginalized in society,  social media is an outlet for their contempt. That is the primary source of anger today. Social media is becoming a breeding ground for hate. We are getting to feel like we know each other and that couldn't be farther from the truth. You can't really form a personal relationship without meeting someone, well, in person.
 We all say that we have formed friendships online. What we would have called a pen-pal back in the day when text messages where called letters. I know I have met a few and become somewhat familiar with them and their opinions. Those are the people we share similar experiences with. Those we have something in common with. We didn't have to search for those commonalities, they were right there on the surface. It is only later on, when we get below the surface that we determine the depth of that commonality. All that glitters ain't Gold ! Familiarity can breed contempt when we discover what we initially saw just wasn't the truth. I'm not saying the other person is fake, quite the contrary, you find what is real. It is at that point contempt may begin.
 It is for that reason I say that social media is the breeding ground for hate. Very few really know one another. At first we are interested in what others have to say. We want to see and share. But then we share something that " offends " another's' sensibilities. That person may react to that and the comments fly. Discretion is abandoned. The reason for that is a simple one, social media is not polite company. Isn't discretion what was exercised in polite conversation ? Yes, I believe it was. Personal interaction that may include a certain level of physicality. I'm not condoning the use of force just pointing out that possibility exists and is accounted for in those situations.
 In summary I think we have all become familiar with one another. The world is a small place and little is new or exciting anymore. What discoveries remain ? I think there are no discoveries to be made. The next big thing for humanity is accepting a moral absolute. Yes, I do believe in a moral absolute. That absolute has been taught in many ways, by many philosophers and scholars, practiced in many forms and gone by many names. It doesn't matter what you label it, it is an absolute.
 " Moral absolutism is the philosophy that mankind is subject to absolute standards of conduct that do not change with circumstances, the intent of the acting agent, or the result of the act. These standards are universal to all humanity despite culture or era, and they maintain their relevance whether or not an individual or a culture values them. It is never appropriate to break a law that is based on one of these absolutes. Moral absolutism does not dictate which acts are moral or immoral, however, merely that absolute morality does exist. "
 I took that explanation from an Internet source. I take no credit for the composition of that text. I just felt it was explained there a whole lot better than I am capable of. There are several forms of moral absolutism and I subscribe to one of them. I believe all humans are born with an intrinsic sense of right and wrong. Yes, they are those unalienable rights the founders spoke of as well. When all mankind accepts those moral absolutes as absolute truth peace on Earth will be achieved. My feeling is, we'll all kill each other first. Without actual human interaction, in person, on a personal level, we'll never get past being familiar with one another. On either side of familiar resides indifference and love. At first we were curious, then we became familiar, and what we strive for is acceptance. And that moral absolute,  Love




  

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

a couple things

 I'm browsing my news feed yesterday when I stumble across this little news article. The University of Maryland is installing " nap pods " in their library before exam time. This was the first I had heard of any such device. I immediately remarked with, let's see, we have fidget spinners, coloring books, safe spaces and now nap pods ! Sounds like a kindergarten to me. Those comments where met with a barrage of derision. I was called names, articles were shared showing how these things increased productivity and in general told that these nap pods are essential. Any suggestion on my part that perhaps this was a waste of money was shrugged off as an old white guy notion. I found the whole thing amusing. I believe I finished my comments with, wait till they wake up from their naps to discover they have to pay those student loans back ! Then they are " woke " to the fact that during their nap they failed to learn anything useful in the real world. They have to go to work, without naps, to pay those loans back. Well, you snooze, you loose. These millennials, you gotta love'em. I know it's a radical thought but I did suggest using the funds expended on nap pods to somehow lower the cost of going to the university. That idea was scoffed at. Nap pods and tide pods, it's becoming a fixation.
 In other news the city of Baltimore is considering erecting a statue of Harriett Tubman in Wyman park. It was a few months back when two statues were removed from their base in that same park. It was done in the middle of the night, by city workers, under the direction of the mayor. Those statues were, you guessed it, General Lee and Stonewall Jackson. Yes, those confederates that began offending everyone around them. The base sits there, in that park, unoccupied. There is a bit of a rush because Harriett Tubmans' birthday is March the 10th and the city would like it done by then. There is a little legal issue with the whole thing. The land that southern generals occupied is under the protection of a perpetual historic trust ! The removal of the statues may have been a violation of that trust and the outcome of that legal battle is yet to be determined. For that reason the base can not be removed or the ground around it disturbed. The proposed plan would remove that base, landscape the surrounding area and in general do everything that the historic trust was supposed to prevent.
 Setting aside all of that I read where they also want to rename that portion of the park. The article explained that the portion of the park where those statues stood for about 70 years or so has traditionally been called the southwestern plateau. The name is to be changed to Harriett Tubman Grove. I found that curious as I didn't realize that the words southwestern and/or plateau were offensive. What I mean is the statues were removed because they were offensive, if you buy into that argument, but the words southwestern or plateau ? If a statue of Harriett Tubman is erected there wouldn't it be identified as such ? And just what would be wrong with saying, the Harriett Tubman statue stands on the southwestern plateau of Wyman park ? I wonder what I missed in that.
 Now I am not opposed to erecting a statue of Harriett Tubman. She was a historical figure of considerable note. There is a trail that runs through the state of Maryland and into Delaware that was part of the underground railroad. A portion of that trail goes through Greensboro no more than half mile from my back door. It has a marker with an electronic device linking you to a website explaining what you are looking at. Ms. Tubman is well known to us on the Eastern shore of Maryland, a local hero. Should that statue be erected where those confederate generals once stood ? It would seem fitting to some but you can't replace history, or rewrite it. When those statues were removed the mayor stated her reasons. Those statues were offensive to many and had to be removed, in the middle of the night, to prevent unrest in the city. Using that logic, that some will be upset, doesn't the mayor believe putting a statue of Harriett Tubman in that location may cause unrest ? I'm not saying any of this unrest is justified by either side of the issue just that both sides are quite capable of unrest. Maybe we should leave that spot empty ! Empty space can't be offensive can it ? Yeah, I guess it can.   

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

recycled conversation

 They say when you get old you begin to repeat yourself. I have to agree as I do find myself having the same conversations over and over again. This is not restricted to family and friends but is evident on my Facebook page. I'm calling it a good thing, like recycling. They are just recycled conversations preserving thoughts and ideas for future generations. I think that maybe we do this just so we don't forget. It just could be we learn to live by rote ! There are things that serve as aids, like schools and universities that instruct us in academic challenges and then there is the school of hard knocks. In my experience we can forget a great deal of what we " learned " in school and be just fine. Forgetting the lessons learned in the school of hard knocks however can be painful, you get knocked all over again. And that is why we start repeating ourselves.
 Each generation moves a little away from the previous as far as ideology goes. That is the discomfort we all experience at some point in our lives. The reason we start saying, these kids today. Those kids either decide to adopt the teachings of their elders, teachings learned in that school of hard knocks, or they cling to the teachings of the academics. The problem arises when what the academics are teaching doesn't really exist in the real world. It really is the old, looks good on paper syndrome. That can be further complicated when this new teaching doesn't require any hard moral and ethical choices. You can set aside those choices in favor of your personal feelings.
 Remember the " ME " generation ? Yes, that is the baby boomers, we earned that label. Yes, I am one of them. Unfortunately too many of us baby boomers have stuck to the academic teachings and free wheeling spirit of those days. Remember when Timothy Leary was a cool guy and Abbie Hoffman was right on ! That contributes to some of the problems we are facing today. Many baby boomers have never learned the real lessons of life at all. Sheltered and tolerated following a war we were raised without making great personal sacrifices. That's why it was called a boom. It was a time of prosperity in America. It was also the first time in American history when it became acceptable to be unwilling to defend the nation. It was the first time burning draft cards, wearing the flag as clothing and total abandonment of moral behavior was " cool. " Yes, there were those that opposed all of that, that spoke out against the hippies but they were silenced by time. Mostly the hippies got a haircut and learned that you really did have to work for a living. Communes really didn't work, think socialism, and bucking the man got you nowhere fast. But many remain deniers. You can hear them denying it to this day. It is these folks that have taught their own children to be deniers, Now these children have no sense of reality and propose all this ridiculousness we see in the news. Gender identity tops the list in my book. Talk about denying ! But I'm not going into that conversation again.   I will continue to repeat the lessons I have learned in life. I will recycle those conversations with the hope that they are heard and learned by someone. They are the things I believe in, the things I believe to be truth. I am not concerned with being popular, or saying the popular thing. I can read a book and have all those answers easy enough. I can easily repeat what all the talking heads are saying. The challenge is to integrate what is being said today with what was learned yesterday. It is foolish to discard the past and adopt the future because the future is always unknown. If you once decide to do that it will become a lifetime pursuit. You have to change every day ! It should be obvious that standing on changing ground will not provide a stable future. And so I will continue to repeat myself. I have discarded all the fluff, the idle dreams and fantasies. It has taken almost 65 years but life has become very real for me. Time is of the essence. I am mortal after all and tomorrow is not promised. Reality rears its' head and there really is no escape. A lesson learned ? Perhaps one learned by rote ? Is that the enlightenment spoken of over the ages ? Is that the secret ? Now that is a conversation that has endured. A conversation repeated throughout the history of man and one that will continue.
 

Monday, February 5, 2018

no audience

 I didn't watch any super bowl so I have nothing to say about that. Did my not watching make a difference ? No, the reality is it did not. Still it was a positive thing as I did show my grandson what it means to stand fast. Whereas he didn't appreciate the whole kneeling thing and agreed, at least in principle that they shouldn't have done that during the national anthem, he continued to watch football. Now the Super bowl is a big deal and highly anticipated. I have never been what you would call an avid fan of the game but I have also been known to host Super bowl parties ! Yesterday when asked if I wanted to come over to watch the big game I told him once again I would not watch. I explained to him about self denial and sacrifice for the things you believe in. I explained that I would deny myself that entertainment as a form of protest whether a single player in the NFL or any owners or even popcorn salesman knew of it. That is called integrity ! Of course he was laughing, but I'm certain it is something he will remember. Life lessons are best taught by the example we set. I showed him that I am no parade ground patriot. If I must stand alone, I will stand alone.
 I'm glad the season is over. It is my hope that something was learned from all of this. I'm hoping some gained perspective that those " players " are there to entertain us. Yes they are entitled to protest and state their opinions on any subject they so choose. I have never denied that, but at the end of the day they are there to amuse me. When they no longer amuse me, I dismiss them as I would an old toy. There are there to make money for the owners and amuse the public in general. If either of those conditions are not met, their career is over. Some are hired to talk about the game after their playing days are through and some sell used cars. It's true that some have gone into politics and even been elected to Congress, at which point I would be interested in their views. Considering the compensation they receive for playing a game it is my opinion they should be respectful of the feelings of those buying the tickets if for no other reason than common sense. As I showed my Grandson I can survive without football.
 The lesson I hoped to teach my grandson and granddaughter by all of this is a simple one. It is the things you do when no one is watching, when no one is cheering you on that often make the difference in the world. Sticking to your principles and beliefs requires no audience. When you lie your head down at night with the knowledge you were true to yourself sleep comes easy. Listen to your conscience not the crowd and do not be deceived. Don't just stand with the crowd, stand out ! 

Sunday, February 4, 2018

still here

 I saw yesterday another person saying they were taking a break from Facebook. I understand the sentiment as Facebook can get you upset when you don't agree with others. The part I don't understand is why blame Facebook ? You really do control what you read, what you write and what you choose to react too. I guess it must be that mysterious " trigger " that so many liberal people talk about. Whatever it is it makes them " go off " and head for a safe space. I'm thinking it is what we called stimulating conversation back in the old days, you remember them don't you ? People behaved in a more or less civil fashion when interacting with friends and strangers. Much of the language used today is what we called fighting words ! Today we are told that fighting isn't a physical activity and should only be done with marches, ribbons and rhetoric. The only consequence that comes from this fighting is someone winds up buying a fidget spinner or talking to a therapist. The other person " gets their way. "
 In light of recent events I'm thinking this  " taking a break " will pick up in popularity among a certain crowd. Eating crow is bad for the digestion and will require a recovery period. The sale of coloring books and self help books will certainly be on the rise. You see that is the problem with this social media, it really doesn't go away. Once you make statements and arguments supporting certain things you can't just take it back. It's out there baby. You either learn to digest the truth or run away. Victory by attrition ! Last man standing ! Yup, this is getting interesting. You know following a great tempest a period of calm prevails. It is a time to assess what has happened , what damage was done, and what we need to do to repair that damage. Is it a bit of light shining through the dark clouds ? I can't speak for others, but I'm sticking around to find out.    

Saturday, February 3, 2018

common sense

 It's the age of activism ! At least that is the way I see it. The number and color of ribbons worn in support of some cause is staggering, I can't even begin to name them. Ribbons weren't enough so " pink " hats were next. Some ladies even took to wearing the full " costume " to support this cause of feminism/liberalism or some kind of ism. And all this is touted as activism, being active for a worthy cause, raising awareness or to put it plainly,  stir the pot ! That is what we called it back in the day. Stirring the pot is intended to mix the ingredients to form a homogeneous consistency. A fine idea and a good plan as long as we are using the proper ingredients. The problem we have right now is what we are trying to mix is contrary to the recipe. That recipe is America. An America that was formed by mixing together homogeneous ingredients. We even called it the great melting pot ! Why was it called the melting pot ? It was simply because we were trying to " melt " together to form one thing, America. All the " ingredients "  wanted to work together to form this recipe. It was about the whole, not the individual.
 In this age of activism we have another group advocating for sticking to the original recipe. Sounds like a common sense approach to me but this same group is being called " radical " by others. Common sense has been changed into radicalism ? That's what it looks like from where I'm standing. Common sense is being brushed aside as old fashioned, bigoted and prejudicial. The activists are fighting with everything they can muster to silence common sense. The evidence is plain if one just stops to look at it. Let's start with this whole concept of gender identity. There are two ! It's a simple biological fact, there are two. Yet the activists claim three at the moment, there is the gender neutral crowd. Take this notion of same sex marriage. Marriage is the union of one man and one woman. That's what it is. It is also the reason anything else has to be identified as such. The term " same sex "  quantifies that relationship. It is telling you that this " marriage " is different than the traditional common sense marriage that we all understand and assume unless told otherwise. People sneaking across our borders are illegal aliens. The activists call them, undocumented immigrants ! If I sneak in the bank and steal money that isn't an undocumented withdrawal. I may need the money for legitimate reasons, circumstances beyond my control, but that doesn't change the action taken. I will not be given amnesty and a monthly allowance with free medical benefits. Common sense tells us that doesn't it ? If I don't want to have a child is murder an acceptable alternative ? Common sense will tell you, absolutely not ! Regardless of anything the activists will tell you that option is not a common sense approach to birth control ! And you know what, having someone else pay for your choices is not either ! Common sense folks. You want to play, you have to pay.
 And now one of my favorites from the activists. Everything changes with time and everything needs to change. The truth is only peoples choices change, for there are moral absolutes. Those moral absolutes are generally considered, you guessed it, Common Sense, Consider the Golden Rule. Common Sense isn't it. I believe everyone from any culture would agree with that instruction.
 The scholars speak of moral relativism, yes it's another ism. The argument being that morals are dependent upon the society. That's why what is alright in one society isn't in another. But are morals really dependent upon society ? The answer for me is emphatically no ! The assault continues though. The activists insisting on changing everything and calling common sense a radical approach. Only in a world of mass media is this possible. Disguised as " education " the narrative is changed. Morals are being taught as too restrictive, too closed minded. By rejecting morality we will gain true freedom. What isn't being taught is the elimination of morality will pave the path to anarchy. A society without a moral compass will be lost. And that, to me, is just common sense.   

Friday, February 2, 2018

like it never happened

 I saw a short article yesterday about San Francisco. The city has decided to retroactively allow felonies to be reduced for Marijuana convictions. Prop 64 " legalized " Marijuana in the state, not really but that's another whole discussion in itself. So San Francisco has decided to review over 5000 felony convictions dating all the way back to 1975. You can get these conviction reduced or expunged from the record. Sounds great doesn't it ? I couldn't help but shake my head in wonderment. You mean to tell me that when we change a law, even though that change itself isn't legal, we are going to review all convictions on that law from the last 43 years !
 One of the reason given is it is harder to get a job following a felony conviction. Well, imagine that. The plan is to allow all those convicted felons to become proactive member of society. That's a quote from the article. Proactive members of society , really ? If they were charged and found guilty of a felony weren't they being proactive back then ? Of course they were it was just that the action taken was illegal ! The legal system was reactive, convictions were handed down. What is the message being sent ? Oh we're sorry, you broke the law, were punished for that choice but we forgive you, we'll act like it never happened.
 If I get a speeding ticket for doing 40 in a 25 but thirty years later they change that limit 40 do I get my money back ? Will I get those points removed from my license ? Can I sue to recoup the increase in my insurance ? Oh and it cost me a job as a driver for Dominos ! If something is illegal today, but made legal tomorrow, it was still illegal yesterday ! I guess that train of thought is far too long for Californians to understand, at least in San Francisco it is. I've heard of leaving your heart in San Francisco but common sense is in short supply. Explain this to me. You committed a crime, you were arrested, had a fair trial and was convicted. You were then sentenced. But, we change the law and all is forgiven ? Opps sorry we enforced the law thirty years ago.
 Over 5000 felony convictions and 3000 misdemeanor convictions could be dismissed and the records sealed. Well, they say as long as the person isn't a risk to public safety because, well you  know, safety first. It will give these fine citizens access to housing and employment thus fixing the drug problem. The District Attorney stated plainly, what they did wasn't really a crime ! Let that statement sink in. These people were charged and found guilty of a crime through due process of law.  Yet the D.A. says, well it isn't really a crime ? Just what law school did he go to ? The D.A. does not get to rule on what is law and what is not ! His or her personal feelings do not enter into that decision. The fact that this particular guy was involved in establishing the first Marijuana dispensary in San Francisco I'm certain had no influence on his decision. He points out that the African American and Latino communities are the most effected by this. Of course he doesn't mention that is those same communities that commit the majority of the crimes, that fact is just a little too inconvenient. Well, we all know they were unjustly targeted. It was just the bigoted justice system holding these proactive citizens from reaching their full potential. Could be the Democrats want to increase their voter base once again ! Forgiveness, soft on crime, promises of entitlements and empowering the people, all Hallmarks of the Democratic platform. And now we will make what was illegal, legal but we won't stop there ! No, we will declare that it was never illegal in the first place and so all the records should be sealed ! If I'm a convicted felon, I'll vote for that !    

Thursday, February 1, 2018

the tempest of time

 Here it is February. Many of you will think of Valentines day, that will be the association you make. For me, I think of my friend Richard J Pratt. I know that his birthday is this month, although I can't tell you the exact day. Call it male amnesia but the month is the best I can manage. Now old Rich and I have been friends for at least fifty years ! It is a fact that is on my mind. For over half a century if I was asked the question, who is your best friend, I have answered Richard J Pratt. It is true we haven't been in each others company for a good number of years now, at least ten , but that is the friend he is. 
 Yes, he is the one you read about on Facebook. The one that can go for years and pick up right were we left off. I can remember meeting him for the first time at a birthday party. This party was for a boy named Jimmie Poole and I believe we were in the sixth grade. Our friendship began then. That would have been 1964 so I guess 54 years is closer to the truth. All during our school years we were pretty much together every day. I stayed at his house almost as much as I stayed at my own. It is no exaggeration to say we grew up together. After high school we both joined the Navy, on the buddy system, as it was called back then. We were told we would go to basic training together. We didn't.      Richy can play the saxophone and auditioned for the band. He was accepted and assigned to that company during basic training. I did pass him once on the parade ground. I was admonished for making a gesture toward him. Following basic training we went to our respective service schools. He went on to become a Radar man and I a Machinist Mate. We did get to see each other often during that time. We went to different ships after our schooling was complete. I saw him once in Scotland and once in Germany. In 1975 we were both given our honorable discharges and returned " home. " We even worked at the same place for a while. We were quite the team ! Still my favorite job and filled with good memories. So many stories could be told from such a relatively short period of time. I left that job for personal reasons and rejoined the Navy. We were separated once again and would remain in touch, close friends to this very moment.
 So, it's February and I need to go buy a birthday card. I will write him a letter as well, I usually do. Richy doesn't do social media and catching him on the phone is a rare occurrence. Truly it makes little difference. Whether I am speaking to him in person or in a letter the conversation is a continuation. That is the way it is with us. In some ways we are still living in 1975. Shared memories form the strongest bonds. This friendship has stood the test of fifty some years although not always exposed to the realities of life. We have both suffered lose and had triumphs. Our friendship has withstood the tempest of time. I rest easy, confident that one day two old men will once again meet in 1975 and smile in shared memories. A friendship to last a lifetime. 

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

where once we prayed

 A picture I had taken appeared on my " on this day " feature on Facebook. I do enjoy seeing what I had posted in years past, what was on my mind. I have discovered there are a few recurring themes. One of them is religion, faith, belief and the conduct of the same. It is a subject I never tire of discussing and my views have changed little since I was a young man. I don't see that as a bad thing although many will say so. But that is a theme of the modern world, if you don't change your mind or views, you are probably wrong. Me, I call it commitment. I believe you do have to commit yourself if you wish to be successful in the long run. Yes you can make short term advances by making the popular choices but in the long run that strategy seldom works. Consistency in thought and action is what is required.
 Anyway this picture was of a old country church. I just happened to pass this church on my way somewhere. It caught my eye and I stopped to take a picture. I'm certain some photographer has taken a collection of such pictures depicting country churches. I have seen such books of barns and boats. I have stopped several times to take a snapshot when the church moves me to do so. The majority of these churches do not appear to be in active use. At least one is listed as a National Historic Landmark, according to the sign placed there by the state of Maryland. I am struck each time I see one of these churches by a sense of loneliness. The shell is there but nothing remains inside. The voices remain silent and the air is still. What words were spoken there, what joy and sorrow shared ? These are the things that travel through my thoughts when I see these places. A connection, almost a portal to the past.
 In yesterdays posting I wrote briefly of families and the role they used to play in society. These little churches were like small families. They sprouted up in neighborhoods across America. They were among the first buildings erected. The church and the schoolhouse. Both existed for the benefit of the families living there. As the town grew into cities more churches were built. The neighborhoods with greater wealth began building bigger churches. Was that a sign of their piety or their wealth ? I believe a little of both. With a larger church, a larger family, diversity becomes more prevalent. Along with diversity comes change. Change in the practices we keep and the views we adopt. We are now reaching a point were families no longer gather in these places. Perhaps more poignant to me is it appears they are gathering more for entertainment than enlightenment. A theme I wrote about some time back. I asked then, do you go to church as a celebrant or a supplicant ? It is the same division that exists in America today, only the parishioners are labeled liberals and conservatives.
 I see the little country churches as families disappearing. I see the family in America changing as well. How long before that institution fades into the past ? Will families become a source of curiosity ? Certainly we have seen some fundamental changes in the construction of our families. Is this because we can no longer decide upon a blueprint ? Have we changed our minds and methods so drastically that the original intent and purpose has been lost ? Where once we gathered to pray dust and cobwebs now reside. Some, like myself, stop to stare in the windows and wonder. Where has the family gone ? What has caused such a rift in humanity. This is only the tip as I have heard of a church where you are encouraged to bring your gun ! Let that sink in for a while. I have seen " churches " that have a sound stage and the whole service is a staged production. I went to church to be refreshed, not exhausted by jubilation.
 The church, the house of he Lord should be humble and plain. It just seems right. The great cathedrals of the world were constructed to show the power of the church they represented. They were intended to create awe ! Much like the wealthy build mansions to display that commodity the church does the same. I'm not saying God doesn't reside there, for he certainly does, my Bible tells me so.
 The connection to God is an intimate one. That is my belief. The new trend in religion and religious belief is to be born again. It is my belief I was born by the power of the Lord, it is he that places the soul into living flesh. I don't need to be born again. I do need to establish an intimate relationship with my creator. That is the free will I was given, that unconditional love. Those old country churches were certainly intimate settings for worship. Strangely, as a child I never attended a service in a little country church. My church is an imposing stone edifice. It is no where near a country church. So to be honest about all of this, it is just speculation on my part. Just a flight of fancy. Not a longing for what was, but an image of what may have been. A former life perhaps ?  

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Shadows cast

 I slept in a bit this morning and am running late. I'm only late by my own internal clock as I have nowhere to be, the benefit of being retired. I have always considered myself a fairly adaptive person and I have adapted to this idea of retirement without issue. There are times when I question why that should be. I listen to others say how much they miss their job, being productive and all of that. I don't miss working, at all. That is nothing new, I don't remember ever being excited about going to work. Even after twenty years in the Navy I didn't feel regret that it was time to retire and move on. I gave a little speech, as is the custom for retiring members, and I mentioned then they only thing I would miss were the people. Turns out, I'm not missing them all that much either. Truth is I have never kept a large circle of friends and question those that do. In my estimation I'm just a little too honest for that and it tends to turn people off.
 All of that has to do with identifying yourself. That's what I read and hear about a lot these days. I identify as this or that. In the past a man was identified by his job, his chosen vocation. It identified his station and status in society. The whole power and money thing. Women were identified in much the same way although it was usually a vicarious association. We are all familiar with the expression, " behind every successful man stands a woman pushing him forward." As with most analogies and anecdotes there is some truth behind it. That was true during a time when families were the predominant force in society. Think the Rockefellers, Kennedys', and that sort of thing. Their strength was dependent upon the family base. Independent wealth has all but destroyed that model. Today fame and/or fortune is the driving force. Think folks like BeyoncĂ©, Oprah, Bill Gates, and numerous sports figures. These folks are driving what society adopts as acceptable. It is the reason for all these " changes " in fundamental philosophy. Remove families from the equation and the motivation for loyalty, trust and cooperation is removed as well. It's every man or woman for themselves. Heck, we can even change that by saying you don't even need to decide what you are ! We'll call it " identifying.  "
 I do think about this stuff and wonder. I wonder why others find it so important to identify themselves to others ? I think I've always known who I am. I think I learned to accept that many years ago, somewhere in my youth. I can think of no one defining moment, no great revelation, just an acceptance. I also think that is why I am so adaptive. I can get along with just about anyone, for a while. I have learned that circumstance is a transient thing. Give it time, it'll change. I have always known that acceptance is what brings peace of mind. You don't have to like what is, just learn to accept it. That isn't to say you can't work to change it, just that you have to accept the reality first. Once you gain an understanding of the reality you can begin to define the possibilities. Are all things possible ? We can't say they aren't. So we say they are. What are the probabilities ? That is a far different question and not easily answered. Probability exists when some variables are known. We can't see the future and so there is uncertainty. I am one that proceeds on the possibilities. I try to do what is possible for me. Possibilities vary with each individual. Assess the  possible and act accordingly is my advice. You hear people say, don't sell yourself short, but I don't believe that is possible. What that person is saying is, I believe you can do more. It is a perception they have, not to be confused with your own. It is encouragement, not admonishment. We are told since birth to pursue our dreams. I would say, " Dreams are the shadows cast by possibilities. "  

Monday, January 29, 2018

liberty lost

 Okay, I admit it, I sometimes amuse myself by posting my opinion on websites like MSN. I did just that yesterday and went about my day knowing that some would react unfavorably to my comments. I wasn't disappointed. I'm thinking that is what a true troll would do and having been called such in the past I wouldn't want to disappoint. Really, I had some stuff I wanted to do and so didn't hang around long enough to see the results of my cast. When I returned the bait had been taken.
 My opinion was concerning whether convicted Felons should get their right to vote reinstated following their punishment. I remarked in the negative. I feel that once you forfeit that right in the commission of a felony, you forfeit that right forever. Time served, restitution or parole isn't enough in my estimation. That opinion was met with all the usual rancor, name calling and judgement I imagined it would be. I was immediately labeled a Trump supporter, a Republican. old, white, privileged and lacking in empathy. People that have never met me or even heard my name before began telling me about my whole life ! They even knew who I voted for ! My only response was to inform those folks that I found them amusing. I explained that is what I thought of their opinion, that they were an amusement only. I didn't hear anything further from any of them. Amazingly the majority of them seemed to be Constitutional scholars referencing the Tenth Amendment, or perhaps they were all defense lawyers, their knowledge of law was indeed extensive. Some obviously felt that serving your sentence included having an Epiphany.
 Is the later that I take exception too and the reason I say you should not get those voting rights back. The right to vote is a serious responsibilty. When that right is bestowed upon you by virtue of Citizenship and age a trust is placed in your hands. Committing a felonious act is a breach of that trust. By committing that act you are exposing your true character. When you choose you own self interest above the law there is a price to pay. Trust once broken can never be repaired, at least not for the most serious of offenses it can't. Yes, I'm talking about morality and ethics. Both of those qualities are called into question when you commit a crime.
 Why was that punishment instituted in the first place ? Why was the right to vote revoked ? The answer is a simple one. It is because you can not be trusted to exercise good sound moral and ethical judgement. It was intended to be a deterrent ! Now we all laugh and scoff at such a notion in the modern world. After all what criminal considers the punishment before committing the crime ? I understand that but does that change the crime ? No it certainly doesn't and that is why we have defense lawyers. Defense lawyers represent the guilty and the innocent. Their primary purpose is to do what ? They either prove innocence or attempt to lessen the severity of the crime. There are times when there are extenuating circumstances. I think in this day and age there are plenty of avenues open to everyone and resorting to crime is nothing more than a shortcut. No one needs to rob a store at gunpoint for a loaf of bread anymore.
 John Adams famously said, " Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. " Morality, ethics and responsibilty were central themes in the founding of this nation. There was much talk of liberty. What is liberty ? To those founders of the country, and that includes everyone, we call them patriots today,  a major portion of liberty was the right to vote. In fact it was a central premise. We have to remember before that, under English rule, you didn't get a vote, no say whatsoever. So yes those folks were very much aware of the responsibilty that came with liberty. Liberty did not make you free, liberty bestowed responsibilty upon you, an obligation to act in a moral fashion. Their morality was rooted in religion. It wasn't rooted in one particular manner of faith however, thus the separation of church and state, but the golden rule was central. To them the exercise of religion was acting in a moral and ethical fashion. Sadly many choose to act immorally and irresponsibly despite this obligation.
 That is why I say you do not get the right to vote back. You have shown me that you chose crime over responsibilty. You were willing to sacrifice your liberty for personal gain. After having a fair trial it was determined that you were guilty. Liberty was lost. Liberty lost can not be regained. It is that loss of Liberty that was so dear to those patriots and that is why they attached it to the most serious of crimes. I can forgive, I can't forget. None of us should ever forget the cost of liberty. When you can't pay up, its' lost.       

Sunday, January 28, 2018

same thing

 You know I'm thinking if your happiness depends on changes, you ain't never going to be happy. I think consistency brings happiness. Knowing what to expect is a rather comforting thing. It is that way with your daily routine and that way with the people you surround yourself with. You may let others in your circle only to find out they just are unsteady. Those folks I just let move down the road. I may run into them again but I might not. Thing is, it doesn't make a difference. And that is my point here, don't just make a change, make a difference. Just making changes, going along with the flow so to speak, isn't necessarily making a difference. It may indeed usher in some changes but that doesn't mean they're good ones. Yes, I believe that not all changes are for the better. I really am a stay the course sorta guy. Easy to figure me out if you know me. You can also count on me to respond in pretty much the same way every time. Never one for fad or fashion I prefer tried and true.
 The trend I'm seeing that I find troubling is this propensity to change everything. In doing so we are removing the norms, the things that comfort us and we are seeing the results of this daily. We changed the way we raise our children. Mom isn't home taking care of the children, families are often just a mis-match of parents, siblings, half-siblings, relatives and whoever. We send our children to structured " activities " these days. Everyone belongs to the club and everyone gets the prize. Children are free to call parents by their given names, teachers are not respected, authority in general is not respected, and fighting against authority is encouraged. It's all about rights, not responsibilities.
Indeed we are changing our entire society to one where traditional morality is frowned upon. Now we are changing to an attitude of, whatever feels good , just do it. Break the law until the law is broken is a common stratagem these days. If you don't agree with the law keep violating that law until it becomes too costly to enforce and then legalize whatever it is. That's how we make changes these days. Change isn't based on needs, change is based on wants.
 You could say this has been true of every generation and you wouldn't be wrong. It is a surprising thing to those of us that attain seniority. Is it a questioning of our methods that causes this concern ? Yes I believe that it is and that is a normal part of the process. We do have years of experience to draw upon. The only issue is there are those in the senior bracket that haven't learned a thing. They are the ones that concentrated on changing everything instead of concentrating on what was. Many will tell you they were being proactive. Fact is they should have been reactive. In short,  don't change things that are working and don't fix what ain't broke. They never saw what was right under their noses. 
 So today we are faced with all these changes. A good many of us are shaking our heads and wondering how this happened. Just how did we wind up where we are today ? We got here by wandering off course, making changes at every turn, until we lost our direction. That is my feeling anyway. It is my feeling that we don't need a change, we need a return. A return to common sense, a return to reality. Reality can be harsh, it can be unsettling and, gasp, it can be unfair. We need a return to structure. Standards need to set and standards recognized. No one knows the future that much is certain but that doesn't mean we should just guess either. It is this guessing that has gotten us to this point. Learn from the past, hold onto that knowledge and apply it. Just changing the answers doesn't change the questions. The questions have remained the same. Why are we here, what is our purpose and what should we do ? 
 I don't have the answers. I sure wish I did. I do know what has happened in the past. I know what results I can expect from certain actions. I also know that changing even the littlest thing can have a very profound effect further down the line. I don't think a change should be made with a hope that it is better later. Change has to be proven. And isn't that the dilemma we all face. The results don't always match the choices and changes we made. All that is left then is the assignment of blame or the acceptance of responsibilty. My thinking is it is the later that we need a lot more of. You can either accept the blame or accept the responsibilty. But then, aren't they the same thing ?