Just Me

Just Me
Look,I'm just sayin'

Sunday, April 22, 2018

one rule

 There are winners and losers. I know that isn't a popular statement these days, it being reality and all, but it needs to be understood. Oh, I know about victims and survivors, they are plentiful. I hear that all the time. You know why that is ? Victims don't have to assume responsibilty for anything and the survivors are the heroes. That's the premise behind all of that. It is far better to have been a victim than to admit you made a mistake. And having to face reality, having something happen to you, something  you didn't plan or don't like, well you just have to survive that ! You don't have to accept it, or deal with it, just survive it.  I'll fill you in on another reality,  you won't survive life, eventually you will die. It is best to get used to that reality.
 Now for some that seems like a harsh reality but it is a simple statement of fact. We are here for an indeterminate length of time. That is something we really have no control over. Oh sure there is suicide but that doesn't always work either. I don't believe you can force the hand of God. I also don't believe you should test that hand ! But all of that is a personal decision, one I surely hope I never face. It is a decision I surely can't understand and will no make pretense that I can. The best I can do is accept that for what it is. It is no way related to winners and losers. I don't mean to imply that is any way but needed to mentioned as a qualifier. There are those that will insist we have control over life and death, and I disagree with that.
 No, what I am thinking about are winners and losers. The question is how do you measure a winner ? A winner is somehow who, staying within the rules, plays the game and succeeds. A winner doesn't make exceptions, modify the rules, or blame others for cheating. In short winners aren't victims ! The moment you decide to accept the premise that you are being victimized that is when you begin to lose the game. In this case, the game of life. The object is not to survive being a victim. Being a survivor doesn't mean you won, it means you survived. When you make a gain, you are winning. That is the distinction being lost today. The primary thing that needs to be learned are the rules ! That's how you win, staying within the rules. What is the rule ?
 The Golden rule, it is that simple. It is also the rule we make more exceptions to than any other rule there is. We muddy the waters to avoid adhering to that rule. We attempt to modify that rule to say, do unto me as I want you to do, not as I do to you. You see, I'm a victim. I'm entitled to special consideration,  I survived, I earned that consideration. That's the reason you should just give me what I want. I am the exception to the rule.
 See how that is the liberal view of things ? See how that modifies the rules ? A reinterpretation of the rules, in some cases disregarding the rules altogether, and I suggest, as a whole, losing as a result. But now we are seeing a push to enforce those rules. An ever increasing portion of the population realizing that we need to play by the rules as originally written. Yes, the very nature of mankind has not changed over time. The things that give us true happiness, the things that make us successful have not changed. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is just as valid today as the day that phrase was penned. Even the ancients were aware of that, it hasn't changed.
 There is right and wrong. That's another rule the liberal folks like to change whenever it becomes inconvenient. That's why the argument that one thing is no worse than another. We won't necessarily come right out and say something is right, but it is no worse than. A slight change to the rule ? No, that action turns it into a wild card, it can be whatever, whenever. Pretty clever, eh.  Avoid having to say the truth of it and offending someone. A truth like I was born male but think I'm a girl. We'll call that identifying instead of just saying, you're wrong, you're a boy. Another clever trick to fool ourselves into believing some alternate reality. In that way if someone should tell that person they are wrong, that person will then become the victim ! If that person survives, they will be rewarded. Then everyone feels better about themselves. We are survivors !
 So what is a winner ? A winner in life is the one who can accept reality for what it is and not be dismayed by that. A winner realizes that happiness is the final reward. Happiness isn't given as a reward but is earned by the choices we make. If you play by the rules, avoid taking those shortcuts, you will reach the end. Well, you will reach the end of the game as we know it regardless, that's a simple truth. The winner reaches the end content with having been here and given the opportunity. Life is as difficult as you choose to make it. It's a lot easier if you just follow the rules. Really just the one rule will do fine.  

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Waiting on a breeze

 

 

 I have been known to use sailing metaphors. I guess it is because I grew up on an island and spent twenty years in the Navy. It somehow seems appropriate. Perhaps it is a bit cliché but I enjoy it,  so what the heck. If I could pull it if I would talk like a pirate ! Of course that speech is just stereotypical and mostly Hollywood. That doesn't matter to me though, I am not known to be politically correct. I have been accused of being " insensitive. "
 I mention all of this as an introduction to the following statement. I feel like I am in the doldrums. I have been in this area for some time now. A few days or a week is a long time to remain so. The thing about the doldrums is there is nothing to do but wait. Eventually the weather will change and a breeze blow up. When that happens you can move on. Until such time all one can do is wait and perhaps " paddle, "  In the days of sailing ships they would launch their rowing dories and attempt to tow the boat. That is how desperate you can become in the doldrums. You are willing to try anything, just to be doing something.There is nothing necessarily wrong with being in the doldrums, it's better than being in a storm. The thing is I am getting anxious to continue the journey. I'm not certain of the final destination but adventure awaits, I'm sure of that. There are places to go and things to do. The sails are up but no wind is forthcoming. I am not wishing for a gale, just a gentle breeze will do. A fair wind as the sailors of old would say, and a following sea.
 I realize that life isn't all smooth sailing and adventure. The journey has many legs and charting a course is not easily accomplished. One does have to change the course often due to varying conditions. Storms can be exciting but dangerous. Sometimes we run with the tide, fast, but that can also make it difficult to navigate. Other times we just sail along, oblivious to the horizon, watching the skies. Sailors look to the sky to foretell conditions. Red sky at night, sailors delight, red in the morning sailors take warning. Gathering clouds foretell a storm. It is said that sailors are superstitious souls and I would agree. That makes me wonder, what has caused this set of circumstances ?  That is what superstition is all about, an attempt  to explain the unexplainable. Is it something I have done ? Could just as easily be something I failed to do as well. I had best not whistle. Whistling was considered a bad thing in the days of sail. At least whistling on ship was. One could " whistle up a storm " and create a regular maelstrom ! Not worth the risk, in most cases. It could be as simple as leaving the house and reentering with the right foot. Sailors would never board or disembark a vessel with their left foot first, bad luck mate ! Always board ship right foot first, same leaving.
 When in the " doldrums " it is best to just do nothing . You have to wait it out. Patience is the key here, don't do anything foolish. Any move you make may bring disaster. Attempting to tow the boat is the last resort. It is best to use this time to repair and reflect. We all need a break now and again. I am growing impatient however and wish to sail on. This sailor isn't ready to set the anchor just yet. I am not " floundering " which a totally different thing, but becalmed. I'm just waiting on the breeze



Friday, April 20, 2018

standardized answers

   I just love a rousing discussion and yesterday I had several. I get amused when the only ideas coming from the other side are suggestions about what I might do, or where I may go. One has to be amused. Yes, call it a smug satisfaction if you will, but the truth is the truth and stands alone. I just shake my head in wonder at some comments directed my way. Some of these folks are obviously reading my profile and that amuses me. Do you read strangers profiles when interacting with them ? I can't say that I have ever done that myself, I don't see the point. I certainly place no faith in the accuracy of what may be written there. I'm not saying people are dishonest, but some are,  shall we say creative. Now I never attended a college or university and so I say I graduated from the university of life, I think that was a suggestion posted on a drop down list or something like that. I can't tell you how many have referenced that as evidence that I am surely unintelligent ! Yes it's true, if you went to college you are smarter than other people. Those college folks know that because they were taught that, you guessed it, in college ! They even took out loans to pay for that without realizing they had to pay those loans back, and then accuse me of ignorance. Very amusing. Even more amusing is when they want me to pay for their education because I have a job.
 Look I admire and respect the value of a good education as much as anyone else. I am also aware of the criteria for achieving that diploma. The requirement is to be able to answer the questions posed by the professors teaching your class. No different than high school really. Read the material, have the teacher explain what you read, and then test you on that material. Did you remember the correct answer ? If you did and repeated it like you were taught, you pass. That's how it works. Is that a measure of intelligence ? I'd say it was a measure of your ability to retain information presented to you. Is that intelligence ? No, no it isn't. Intelligence requires that not only can you acquire knowledge or information but apply that same knowledge in actual practice. I have to say I have certainly known a number of college graduates that had information but no idea how to apply it. Nowadays they call that critical thinking, it's a course you can take.  They will teach you how to do that. Think, common core. This how you are to think. Well, just remember this,  you are not to think for yourself.
 Well, whatever the case I had a good time. I left the discussions feeling pretty good. I had made my point and the responses just validated that. That's why the name calling, that's what you do when you can't respond with anything intelligent, you fall back to default mode, repeat the standard answer. You're an idiot, or some other disparaging remark. Very amusing. I even had one individual referencing my hygiene habits. I did assure that person I did indeed cleanse by rectal area after defecating as it seemed of importance to that person. Yup, I wipe. She must have learned that answer while in college or kindergarten, I can't be sure which. Of course the bottom line was the standard response. I enjoy white privilege, know nothing of the struggles of the minorities, and am surely a Trump supporter. Hah hah. And my biggest fault ? I believe that people are accountable for the choices they make. Imagine that it is your fault ! Well that fact combined with the nasty habit of telling the truth as I see it. I listen to what others are saying and then, gasp, state my own opinion. I apply what knowledge I have acquired in life and arrive at my own conclusion. Then I won't apologize for that. I get called names. That is supposed to influence my thinking I guess.
 I love my life and I'm not afraid to live it. It has to be terrible being afraid all the time. Afraid to have an opinion, afraid to admit the truth, afraid of everything. What if I'm not popular ? What if I don't say the expected answer ?  I don't understand how those folks live with all that insecurity. Is that why those same folks want the government to decide everything ? Independent thought is just too hard ! I have been told the answer, I'll just repeat that, no matter what. 

Thursday, April 19, 2018

evidence ?

 In listening to the reports of the incident in Philadelphia one thing struck me. Why is the media and everyone else automatically assuming it was racially motivated ? I mean, they are not just assuming that premise,  but reporting it as a fact ! But, let's examine the evidence. Two men are in the restaurant hanging out. Okay, that's cool. Then they are told they need to buy something in order to stay after requesting to use the rest room. I don't see anything unusual about that, They both refuse. The manager of the place, a woman calls the police. It is at this point where it is decided this is racially motivated ! Why ? Well it is because the men are black and she is white so therefore it has to be race. It couldn't be that she was afraid of two men refusing to leave, she certainly wouldn't have been afraid or reacted in that way if the guys were white, or if it were two women ! Muslims or Hispanics may have been an issue as well because, well, it was a white person that called the police. And whenever a white person calls the police on anyone besides another white person it is racist ! It just has to be. What bothers me is no one seems to question that at all. The chief executive officer of the corporation immediately apologizes, promises to close 8000 locations for two hours to have racial bias training and never once questions the motivations of either the patrons or the manager. GUILTY. That is what is being reported without a shred of evidence other than she is white and they are black. And this is supposed to improve race relations ?
 First off are all Starbucks employees white ? I don't think so, so will they require racial bias training as well, or are they already fully trained in that area ? In the 36 years of being in business has Starbucks never had a manager of color ? If they have, did that manager never ask a white person to buy something before using the restroom ? If they did why wasn't this training held then ? Surely there was racial bias 36 years ago. Why has it taken Starbucks this long to respond to that ?
 On another note it has been reported that this manager is to meet with those patrons in the hopes of reconciliation. The impression is that she did something wrong and has to apologize to them. What about their refusal to leave ? Why should this manager have to apologize for following the company policy ? Are we making exceptions to the policy based on race ? It sure seems that way to me.
 The bottom line for me is this. What evidence do you have to substantiate the idea that this was a racially motivated incident ?  Is it because those men are black ? Is that evidence ? Did this manager say anything that was racially biased ? Well, did she ? I don't believe so otherwise we should surely have heard those words a million times by now, the media surely wouldn't allow those words to go unspoken ! It would have been the headline ! So, there is no proof at all. We are all just supposed to accept that judgement as the absolute truth ! That is the narrative and there is to be no deviation from that. To even suggest otherwise will get you labeled ! I have been labeled already for my thoughts but I really don't care I'm just speaking the truth of it.
 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

it's complicated

 I'm not certain how to explain it. It seems the older I get the harder it gets to focus on some things. As an example I am considering buying a new camera. Oh, I have had a digital camera for a number of years now, almost from the first ones. My Nikon Coolpix has been a great camera but I thought I should upgrade a bit to a digital dslr. I was feeling fairly informed as I knew that a dslr meant digital single lens reflex. And I knew that is the type of camera that used film back in the day. The single lens reflex camera is superior to a regular digital camera for image quality and speed. Yes, I was feeling pretty good about my knowledge base. That ended the moment I googled a simple question, " what dslr camera should I buy to photograph my grandson playing soccer ? "
 After scrolling down the page past all the ads for cameras, the " opinion " pieces and sales pitches I began to read. It didn't take much reading for me to understand one thing. I didn't have a clue what these folks were talking about ! I didn't know the type of SD card made a difference, let alone the processor. There are ones with mirrors, ones without mirrors and interchangeable lenses. The more I read the more I became confused. I began just typing in more questions. All kinds of " can I " questions. All I know for sure is that if I spend enough money, I can. Eventually I became overwhelmed with knowledge and just closed the tab. Maybe I'll go to a camera store and just ask the guy or girl there. That's usually frustrating as well as I know they want to sell me something. So, I have to take whatever they tell me with a grain, as the saying goes.
 There was a day when I would have researched this question until I was satisfied I had a grasp on the subject. I don't know anything more about how to choose that camera today than I did yesterday. The thing is, I just can't stay that focused on the subject. I find myself saying, the pictures you have taken in the past are good enough, just stay with what you have. Hey, I had a Polaroid swinger back in the day and those pictures were just fine. The Brownie instamatic wasn't bad either ! The question I really wanted answered was, which camera has a battery that lasts a long time, you can zoom in quickly and take a picture every time you push the shutter button ? I have grown annoyed with having to push the button half way down, wait for the camera to focus and then take the picture. Can't I just point and shoot ! I had a 35MM camera with auto advance that did just that and that was thirty years ago. Now, from what I can figure out I need to spend over two thousand dollars for a camera that will do that. But, it does comes with Wi-Fi !
 Well I'll chalk this up to age and technology. I'm not going to say I can't figure it out, that I can't understand it,  but I feel like I just don't have the time. I'm not getting younger you know. Maybe it is time to just relax, enjoy the things I know and leave the rest to the young folks. I still enjoy my coffee from a percolator and I'll keep on driving the car by myself, I will never allow a car to drive me ! And I will never wear athletic shoes with support hose and Velcro closures ! Truth be told, I'd still be happy with waiting for my film to be developed, it was always exciting to see how they came out. Patience, it took patience. That's something lacking in todays world for sure. We aren't teaching our children or grandchildren the value of patience. Patience breeds appreciation. An appreciation of something often leads to that thing being cherished or highly regarded. It is valued. Valued objects aren't replaced.
 Yesterdays technology seems so simple to us today. The reason is obvious. It is because we understand it completely. It is the tech we grew up with and became comfortable using. I remember when you could put a piece of aluminum foil on your tv antenna to increase reception. Remember when you could replace a tube in your television ? Old technology, a thing of the past. I mistakenly believed I could just google a simple answer to a complex question. Seems everything is complicated these days. We even argue about whether someone is a boy or a girl ! It's complicated. My question is, does it have to be ? Not to my way of thinking it doesn't.  

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

searchable ?

 The judge orders a searchable database of documents, without examining those documents. My question is, just how do you do that ? If I want to create a database, don't I need the data ? I don't know, I'm confused here, but then again I didn't go to college and law school. Surely this has to be some liberal logic at work. I have the documents, I need to organize those documents into a searchable format, but I can't read the documents ? Is it that searching is different than reading,  or reading different from searching ? I suppose you could say searching is looking for something specific and you can't do that. That would be like reading a book but not following the plot or understanding the meaning the author was trying to convey. I can create a list of every subject in those documents, making the subjects searchable, but I can't search the subjects. To further complicate this logic the judge does say, a copy of this database will be provided later on.
 So, to review. The FBI raids an office confiscating documents that they haven't read. Then they are tasked with creating a searchable database of those documents, without searching the documents. After the database is created it will be shared with the owners of those documents. Then, I'm assuming everyone will be allowed to search the database for whatever it is they are looking for. Thing is, everyone already knows what they are looking for. They are looking for records relating to paying a porn star to keep silent about an alleged affair from 11 years ago. That's what the warrant was for.  Of course the Porn star has already broken her silence, an illegal act to go along with possible other illegal activities she has been involved with, but we won't mention that.
 The bottom line in all this is what we are really looking for is an excuse. The DOJ, FBI, CIA and other government agencies have been trying to find some excuse for Hillary Clintons loss in the election. That's all it is. We are all aware of all the Russian collusion theories, voter fraud, the electoral college,  and Cambridge analytical. Well, and Facebook, Facebook enabled the Russians in influencing who we voted for. Now, we will condemn the morality of the man. He had an affair ! Shocking ! Well now,  if that isn't grounds for impeachment I don't know what is. We'll search the database. A database that will be created by those that confiscated the documents in the first place but they won't search them while creating the database ! Hey, the judge ordered that so I'm certain they will comply !
 The thing is, in these documents we will find evidence of campaign finances. That's right, somehow a lawyer paying a porn star to not talk about her affair with a presidential candidate , an affair that took place eleven years ago, has influenced the election in his favor. That 130,000 dollar payment took it over the edge for sure. We don't know how that happened but it will be in that database, we just need to be able to search it ! Sounds more like we have  " documents " and now we need to make the documents fit the narrative. I know, create a database that is searchable because we already know what we want them to find. It's a kind of reverse engineering. Payoffs to porn stars are always documented in campaign records.   

Monday, April 16, 2018

that's cool

 It has been a few years since I was in high school. Forty seven years to be exact about it, but that's not important. Heck, it isn't really that long a time. Why it is less than half a century, just a tick in the tock of time. What I have observed in life since is how much society stays the same. What I mean is the social structure stays pretty much the same. You have all the little groups and cliques. You know what I mean, the nerds, the ones with money, the intellectuals, and last, but not least, the " cool " kids. It is the last group that amuses me the most, always did. I am amused because they may possess other traits, like intelligence, money, position in the community by virtue of their family name, even be a sports star, but they seldom think for themselves. No, they are the " cool " kids that adopt the latest fad and fashion without question. In fact, they will go to great lengths to support those choices no matter how silly those choices may be. If it is a new, progressive idea they're in ! In my day it was called being cool. I'm not sure what the kids say today, something like being " woke " or some such thing.
 I'm still amused to this day when I see those of my age group being the cool kids. It's like they just can't admit to the truth. They have this need to belong to current events that is like an addiction. They just have to adopt the current narrative no matter what, I'm cool ! Sure I'm in my sixties now but I'm still cool. I will support and defend the latest proposals regardless of rhyme, reason or logic. Right on brother, lit up that doobie ! It's free love all over again, I'll support that ! For me the whole thing just comes off as disingenuous. It appears to me they spend more of their time trying to convince themselves of their choices than anyone else. Just go with the flow. Just like high school they just call everyone else unflattering names, but use big words to do it. Well that has changed somewhat, it now being cool to use as foul and crude a language as possible. Yes, I'm an adult but will use whatever language I want, I really don't care about what society thinks ! You know why ? I'm cool. That's why. I'm current, in the moment. And well, everyone is doing that. That's the most important thing, do not speak out in opposition. What are you , a nerd ?
 I see the whole deal as an insecurity. I know that is what the therapists might say too, but I arrived at that conclusion all by myself. It is far easier to be popular than it is to be sincere. Your popularity is dependent upon you having something to offer to others. It's really as simple as that. The more you have to offer, the more popular you become. Couple that with a willingness to sacrifice you own thoughts and beliefs in order to foster that popularity and you have the cool kids. The cool kids live for that instant satisfaction. The whole thing is what do you offer ? Popularity or sincerity ?  It's possible to have both, but a rare combination. The formula has to be based in consistency. If you keep changing your beliefs based on current popular trends, that is impossible. You just have to sacrifice your beliefs at every turn. Security comes not from accepting everything that comes along, but security comes by discretion. I guess what I'm trying to say is this. Not every new idea that comes along is a good one. Everything doesn't have to change or be improved. Some things are just fine the way they are. For me, that's cool. 

Sunday, April 15, 2018

tunnel vision


 Last evening I attended my granddaughters dance recital. I have been watching her for years now and this may be the last one. I can't be certain but it's a possibility. Morgan has persevered like few others when it comes to dancing. I can't remember all the broken bones she has suffered and just one year ago a major surgery on her back. Undeterred and determined she once again graced the stage, not only with the company,  but in a duet and as a soloist ! That she displayed style and grace is unquestioned. Surely, all the girls that know and dance with her must be inspired by her sheer grit ! And , trust me, she has grit.
 As I watched the show I had a sort of tunnel vision. I would see her performing and at the same time see her shows from the past. It was like looking down a tunnel of time. From watching her do " I'm a little teapot " to " waves " by Dean Lewis, whoever that is, I watched her dance. To describe the time as bittersweet is surely a cliché. Still, I can't think of a better term to explain my emotion. My granddaughter, grown and dancing. I see the little girl in her every move, her every smile and grin, although her form denies that. A woman child for sure. Time can play tricks on your mind and sometimes your memory.
 I wonder what future challenges await her. I have no doubt she will overcome any obstacles put in her way. There are still a few years of high school, she has time. I do believe the dancing has become an amusement she no longer enjoys as much as she used to. It has to be painful at times, not to mention inconvenient. She has reached that age where the pursuits of a teenager may not include commitment to a dance company. You are obligated to be in certain places at certain times, not always enjoyable. She certainly has the right to choose her hobbies, and this dance is exactly that. Morgan has no delusions of grander, she is aware of her abilities and limitations. What is more important is that she is aware of that, accepting of reality, and is okay with that. Definitely a sign of maturity, she is growing up.
 Was this the last dance ? That will be up to Morgan. I am fine with whatever she choses. She has earned the right to decide for herself. She has earned my full support. Yes, she worked hard, persevered and returned to dance when most would have quit. Morgan has set all that aside, the surgeries, the rehabilitation, and yes, the naysayers. She strode out upon that stage and performed ! And now I can feel my eyes starting to leak a bit, must be the pollen in the air. Just as surely as Spring has arrived, Morgan danced her way across my heart once again.


Saturday, April 14, 2018

a strike

 It's early and I haven't listened to the news yet this morning. I did turn on my computer to hear we, along with England and France sent some missiles into Syria. My initial reaction was, this ain't good. It was news I read with some degree of trepidation. I believe anyone with a brain in their head should feel that way. But after the initial reaction I had to agree that it was necessary. All this talk and diplomacy has failed, it is time for action. I'll be watching and listening to see what develops from all this. The anti-Trumpers are going to be going ballistic is my feeling. That's no surprise. They go ballistic no matter what he says or does. I am pleased that our allies joined in. It's about time.
 Whereas I don't always feel like what other countries do is necessarily our business, I am a bit of an isolationist, we couldn't let that go unpunished. There are international laws and agreements that bind the world together. We can not allow nations to go rouge. They have been warned, repeatedly and continue in their actions. I'm not certain what the response from Russia will be. I'm hoping it is nothing more than strong words and posturing. Putin is no fool and doesn't want to engage in any major conflict. It's a battle of ego's and determination. Just who will blink first !
 I expect the Navy will make it's presence known in the area. A battlegroup will surely be deployed, if it isn't already. I can't see troops on the ground. At least not during an active strike against Assad. Perhaps after the major damage has been done, troops will be sent in to maintain order. But all of that is for the politicians to decide and figure out. Diplomats will settle the dust. As I said I haven't listened to the news yet. I can say this much, I'm betting there is oil, profits or some other resource as the underlining factor in this. We aren't doing it just because we are the " good " guys that want to help the Syrian people. That's the part the pundits will profess. I harbor no such illusions. That doesn't mean I don't agree with the action, only the motives for those actions.
 I'm anxious to see what happens next. What will be the Russian response ? That some group or groups will attempt to retaliate to some fashion is without question. Americans are in danger, no doubt. Still it had to be done and we must not be intimidated. It is time to stand firm, the first blow has been struck, we shouldn't hesitate or falter in our resolve to settle the question.
 

Friday, April 13, 2018

without exception

 The majority of us are raised in the Judeo/Christian tradition. It is true that an ever increasing population of Muslims has existed as well. There have been Native American traditions and Wiccans and a few others. I believe it is safe to say, all have taught their children the same basic tenets in life. Simply put, the golden rule. We teach our children right from wrong. We teach them the Bible stories and about forgiveness and understanding. We teach them about charity, compassion and caring. These are the behaviors that will gain entrance into heaven, or whatever your conception of the afterlife is to be.
 Concurrently we start teaching the " exceptions. "  We call that a denomination , a sect, or any number of different things, but what they are, are the exceptions. Exceptions to the rules that are  acceptable, justifiable,  for reasons having nothing to do with the spiritual instruction we have received. We may disguise these instructions as " life lessons " or simply being pragmatic. So, for those reasons I say we all live exceptional lives. I am no different than anyone else in that regard, I live a life of exceptions. I label those exceptions beliefs. They are my beliefs, my interpretation of the rules. When I was young I was instructed in those beliefs just as surely as I was instructed in the spiritual. As I grew and matured, a debatable statement, those beliefs were modified. They are modified to fit my current environment. I feel it is that way for us all. Face it, if you lived in a Monastery your beliefs and behaviors would certainly be different than what they are now.
 The balance we must strike is between the spiritual and the pragmatic. We know the rules, I would suggest those rules are an inherent property of being human, but we live by the exceptions. In my belief, only one man lived without exception, and he was crucified ! There have been some that lived with few exceptions, but they are exceptional people. Ideally we would all live that exceptional life. Those that strive to do so are often viewed as being pious. That is a cover for our own shortcomings, our list of exceptions. We believe that they are just keeping their list hidden. That is the struggle we all face daily. Some will choose to ignore the spiritual altogether, that I believe, is a temporary solution. I question the sincerity of that action. Denial first requires acceptance of a precept. You can't deny something that you don't believe exists in the first place ! Yes, you may doubt, but you have to acknowledge existence to deny it. The most difficult person to convince of anything is yourself ! That is simply because we will make an exception based on our current needs or wants. That's what people do. The person that denies themselves in favor of doing what is right is an exceptional person. They are exceptional for not making an exception ! That's how it works. The goal ? To live a life without exception ! I've fallen way short of that goal. I'm thinking I'm exceptional. Wait, is that a good thing or a bad thing ? 

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Permament

 You see them on Facebook, those meme's that ask if you remember or do you know what this is ? I enjoy seeing them and identifying the objects of the past. I have even subscribed to Reminisce magazine because of them. I guess advertising does work , I've been influenced ! Hey, isn't that a bad thing ? Well, no,  unless the Russians are doing it that is,  but that's another story for another day.
 Something that came to mind yesterday was permanent press clothing. Do you remember when that was a new thing ? I did a Google search and discovered it really began, in the retail market, about 1953, same year I was born. So, to be accurate I can't say I remember that innovation as a new thing. I do remember my Mom complaining that it didn't work and that those shirts and pants still required ironing. Fact is, Mom is still ironing those shirts and pants to this very day. In her opinion it still doesn't work. I know my clothes are only ironed for special occasions, permanent press works fine for everyday use. I wear blue jeans and either a polo style shirt or tee shirts so it really doesn't matter at all. I do recall when it was stylish to press creases into your blue jeans ! Yes, I even had a jean blazer at one time, very fashionable.
 My grandmother was a laundress. Now there's a term you don't hear often. She washed and ironed other peoples clothes for a living. The customers dropped their laundry off at her home. She washed them , by hand in large wash tubs in her kitchen. They were hung out to dry, then ironed, folded and wrapped in brown kraft paper tied with a string. An itemized bill was pinned to the bundle. Grandma didn't think much of scotch tape, that stuff was expensive and didn't work very well ! Just tie that bundle closed with string and use a straight pin to attach the bill. That is how it was to be done ! And her irons were those flat irons. She had a complete set warming on the coal stove most every day. Well, except for wash day, wouldn't need them on wash day. No electric steam irons for her. They didn't have sufficient weight to them and required you to press down too hard. She had larger ones that weighed a few pounds for doing sheets and such, all the way down to small ones for cuffs and collars. A sprinkler bottle was used to wet the clothes before pressing, that created steam enough. How well I remember the sound of her wetted finger striking the flat of those irons when she tested the temperature. She checked her oven temperature the same way. I never asked her about permanent press fabrics but I expect she would have just laughed about that.
 That is the purpose of those meme's to jog your memory. I remember this or that, the things from your childhood that you took for granted. They were just everyday things as common as a housefly. From Grandma's house I remember those irons and the smell of them on the fabric. I can hear the creak of the ironing board as Grandma pressed those clothes. Grandma used octagon soap and bluing on her laundry. I can remember helping set up those wash tubs and filling them. They sat on saw horses. Hot water was brought over from the stove in big kettles, added as needed. Draining those tubs was work too, had to be bailed out. One tub for washing, one for rinsing and sometimes the third one for bluing. That's when you were doing whites.
 All of that are just memories now. Permanent press ? Yes, I guess we are, when are we going to have permanent clean ? Now that would be an innovation ! I do remember Grandma doing that laundry in that fashion. Mom always had a regular washing machine and later on a dryer too. I didn't grow up at Grandma's house. We didn't have a coal stove and so an electric iron was in order at my house. Mom still used that sprinkle bottle though, it just worked better. That modern steam iron always leaked just a bit, an annoyance. A sprinkle bottle was better. Truth be told, a good solid flat iron works best too ! Permanent press still isn't all that permanent.  
  

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

I'm amused

 I have the news on as I write these blogs. Before I began this morning I heard this little news story that amused me. It seems the cheerleaders for the Baltimore Ravens have filed some complaints about their working conditions. They have been told to go to the tailgating section and mingle with the crowd. The issue ? While they are there they have been subjected to cat-calls, inappropriate comments and in some cases unwanted touching. I know, I know, who could have anticipated that happening. I got chuckling so hard about this that I didn't hear the end of the story. I quickly arrived at the solution, don't require those ladies to mingle with a crowd of men drinking alcohol !
 Listen, I'm not saying any of that is appropriate behavior. I am saying it is an inevitable as the sun coming up in the east. Groups of men, alcohol and females , the result is 100% predictable. What I found so amusing was reporting this as a news story. Just who was surprised by any of that ? And funnier still, what do you expect anyone to do about it. Are we going to post signs saying , act like gentlemen at all times ! Is there any expectation of changing that behavior, by any means ? That is what I find laughable. You are not going to change that, not ever.
 Now I realize that those ladies didn't sign up for any of that. They did however try out to become a cheerleader. I can't help but feel a certain level of vanity has to be involved with that decision. I mean, let's be honest here, the ladies selected are based on their appearance , as much as their cheering abilities. To try and deny that is just kidding yourself. Yes, a portion of the job is to look attractive ! The outfits chosen are not chosen for utility, but for a specific reason, to appeal in a visual sense. Now send these ladies into a crowd of drunken men. Well, there you go. If any of those ladies went in there expecting to be treated with complete and total respect just who is being foolish ? As I said, the solution is do not require them to enter that environment ! If they choose to do that, on their own,  they should expect to be a bit uncomfortable, or not, depending upon their own sensibilities. To expect to modify the behavior of every man in the crowd is just not realistic at all.
 The only legitimate complaint I feel those ladies have would be a requirement to enter that crowd. Is that a condition of employment ? I don't know for certain, but I expect it is in the contract somewhere. If they choose to sign that contract surely they have to anticipate a certain level of, shall we say, immature behaviors from the crowd. I do believe they should certainly be provided a degree of security at all times. No touching ! To do so should result in immediate expulsion from the event ! No ifs' ands' or buts' about that. Cat calls and inappropriate suggestions should just be ignored. It is going to happen !
 I guess I'm just deplorable, as I am not offended by the obvious, or reality. There are people that don't like me, don't agree with me and question my intelligence. I'm not offended, I expect as much. I understand that guns don't shoot people, people shoot people and that I am responsible for the choices I make. I accept the fact that there are some that will say inappropriate comments, directed at me ! I know, surprising isn't it. I wasn't surprised when I took a job at the sewer plant and there were foul odors involved. I'm not surprised when I state my opinion and others want to punch me ! I know, people should just listen politely and be considerate of others feelings. And I wasn't surprised or offended to hear that those cheerleaders had been subjected to the behaviors they had. I really didn't need a news team to inform me about that. It was an amusement though. Guess it is just me, but I find myself amused a lot by the news these days. The news is getting to be more like the National Enquirer than any serious journalism. The President is alleged to have had an affair ten years ago with a porn star ! It's headline news. Enquiring minds want to know. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

where you going ?

 Is where we go, where we have been ? I believe many of us pray for just that. The idea of heaven. Filled with our family and friends, free of sickness and certainly no drama, just a place of rest. It is a comfort to believe such. It doesn't have to reside in the empirical portion of our minds, that isn't where belief lives. Belief lives in the soul. We can certainly believe, but belief isn't a certainty. And for me, it doesn't have to be. Belief, for me arrived as a quiet acceptance. I accept that I can not understand it all and that I will never understand it all. My confirmation is in a simple statement, I believe. I'm thinking the certainty of death will reveal the final truth.
 That we will die is no mystery. The when and why of it uncertain but the act itself is not. I don't feel any particular trepidation about that, it is just a fact. I see no reason to become overly concerned about that eventuality. I'll do what I can to stay alive, that much is sure, but that to me is only prudent. Prudence is an action we should all exercise. In our youth we often ignore our better judgement and act with some preconceived idea of impunity. The impetuous reaction of the young. Strange how it is those actions that we remember the most. That is the time we wish to return to. It is the places we have been.
 I wonder why our advancing years are called the Golden years ? Is it because that is the time we sit and look back upon all the golden moments in our lives ? I rather like that thought and will stick with that. We are told to not store up treasures for ourselves here on earth,  but to store up treasure in heaven. But what is that treasure ? That treasure is your past. It is a paradox of sorts. When we are young we often act without regard for consequence. We fail to consider how our actions may affect ourselves or those around us. Life is filled with drama and excitement. The " treasure " we are collecting isn't always so golden ! We don't even recognize it as treasure most of the time. It all comes as a quiet acceptance. We are busy looking forward. Then when we reach those golden years, we spend a great deal of time looking back. That is the paradox !
 Looking back, we question where we are going. Does it end ? That is the big question isn't it ? I don't believe it does. I am rather hoping for a do-over of sorts. My past wasn't always golden. I could have done better. I not hoping for a reincarnation, just a continuation. You know how some folks have an old soul ? That's a continuation. Maybe some of us are just scrapped altogether, a sort of cosmic recycling takes place. I say that because the energy that is our soul can not be destroyed. Energy is always transformed from one state to another. Is where we go where we have been ? I hope so, the familiar is a comfort. and I want to be comfortable for an eternity. If you're praying for an invitation, you have to please the host.  

Monday, April 9, 2018

living by a code

 We have all heard and read about chivalry. Proud Knights fighting for the right and treating the maidens fair. A period in history romanticized in books and films. It was a code that really did exist. It was a loose collection of religious, moral and social codes or behaviors practiced by the knights. It was never formally codified but its' tenets were passed down by tradition. Still, the basic concept has existed since. In America it developed into the Code of the Old West. Where there actual practitioners of this code ? I suppose that depends upon who you ask and how you wish to define that code. That there were certain expectations back in those days can't be denied. In a land where actual law and order was scarce and a man had to defend himself,  I'd say it was a necessity. People weren't quite as trusting of others as they tend to be nowadays. There was good reason for that. There were bad people then and there are bad people now, that much hasn't changed a bit.
 Now when I was growing up we lived by a code as well. It wasn't anything so defined as the cowboy way or anything like that. It was a loose collection of accepted and expected behaviors. Yes, I'd say that is what it was. There has certainly been some revisions to that code in the last fifty years or so. What I think of as the " man " code is quickly disappearing altogether. Many of those behaviors are being thought of as misogynistic ! That's a word we never heard of back in those days. Now you have to be very careful about any of those behaviors. Just saying the wrong thing, at the wrong time,  can be labeled as an assault ! Even suggesting that women are somehow different than men is an offense. It seems the goal here is complete gender neutrality. That's a concept I will never grasp. I may not be highly educated, I may not be current, but I do know the difference between boys and girls. They are fundamentally different creatures designed for fundamentally different functions. It's just a fact of nature. Yet, many will take exception with my saying so. A battle of semantics will follow, along with a listing of exceptions to the rule. I won't deny there are exceptions, but stand by my general statement, boys and girls are different !
 You see all these codes over the centuries developed for the same reason. The purpose was to establish rules for people to get along with each other. At the most basic level there are boys and girls. So, it stands to reason that is where a social code should begin. Call it simplistic, label it black and white, day and night, whatever you choose,  but there are two distinct entities at play in this dynamic.
 All codes define how we should interact with one another. Even today,  with all this talk of equality,  a man striking a woman is considered especially vile. A man striking another man, ah, not so much as long as it was a fair fight. Why is that ? The answer is because that's different. Women being raped is a horrific thing, everyone agrees with that. If a man gets raped ? Well, now that is debated, ignored, or just not spoken about. Why ? A man should have been able to fight off the attacker, it was a failure on his part if he did not ! That's the general perception isn't it ? Yes, it is.
 Moral virtue is a part of this code. I don't think anyone can deny the definition of moral and virtuous behavior has drastically changed. For some, if you are to believe what they say, it has been abandoned altogether ! Morality has come to mean, I won't speak against your " choices. " The only moral choice is to keep my mouth shut, to tell you otherwise labels me as prejudiced. If it is profitable, I enjoy it, and it doesn't directly hurt anyone else, it is a moral choice ! That's the thinking now.
 I find this all very troubling. How are we supposed to function in a society without boundaries. Yes, those codes defined a boundary. They did establish an area in which you where expected to operate. Go outside the boundary and you would be corrected. None of those codes had the " rules " written down. There is a good explanation for that as well. All codes form in response to the society. The codes were enforced by the members of that society. But if a society once decides there should be no boundaries, no expectation of compliance , can we expect an ordered society ? I just don't see how that is possible.
 The thought I had this morning was, just what is the code today ? What are the expectations of society ? Are there any boundaries ? For an ever increasing number of folks the removal of boundaries appears to be the priority. Could it be that is because the removal of boundaries is the removal of self restraint ? With the removal of restraint comes the removal of responsibilty. I believe we do have a responsibilty to our fellow man. It isn't all about us, but about something much bigger. That something bigger, whatever you choose to call that, has been recognized since the beginning. Each time that has been denied or ignored the collapse of the society followed. It really does go back to a code. 

Sunday, April 8, 2018

the right word

 Occasionally I review what I have written in the past, sometimes on purpose, sometimes by accident. I ran across a posting from November of last year that struck a chord with me. The title is Forbearance. I had experienced a moment , misinterpreted that moment initially, and then came to realize what I had witnessed was forbearance. Forbearance being patient self control, restraint and tolerance. Resignation is synonymous with forbearance according to the thesaurus but I don't feel that way about it. I can feel a subtle difference between those actions. To resign is to quit in my thinking. Forbearance on the other hand is a patient and calculated response to a given situation. And after reading my previous posting about forbearance I thought that is what is lacking today from those on the left, forbearance. We are seeing emotional responses to situations that requires a stoic acceptance of reality. We are seeing that in a lot of areas these days. Everything from illegal immigration to gun control and illegal drug usage. These issues should be dealt with, with forbearance, not resignation. And the left is just throwing their hands up in the air and giving up. They rally and rail against reality,  invoking emotional responses that accomplish nothing but fostering further discord. They propose legislation as a knee jerk reaction to events no one can control. Violent people commit violent actions and the response is, remove the means of violence ? How can we accomplish that ? Cain slew Abel with a rock ! What can we remove ?
 I didn't always know this but have discovered I am a man that loves words. I do search for the exact word to describe whatever emotion I am feeling. I find semantics especially troubling. I know what I am saying but don't always understand others. Semantics is concerned with logic and concepts, although not limited by those. I'm thinking we have a lack of effective communication these days. We can't seem to agree on the meaning or intent of words. I don't believe you can redefine words written two hundred years ago to fit the current narrative. Those words have to be understood in the time period they were being used. Take for example the term " arms. " That is being heavily debated these days. Just what are " arms ? " The answer is armaments ! Items used to defend yourself against attack or used to attack an enemy. That is arms. Arguably the first armament was a rock and has certainly expanded from there. So, when the second amendment was written and ratified two hundred and twenty seven years ago what were they talking about ? Anything used to arm yourself is the answer, up to and including (fire)arms ! There were no restrictions placed upon that.
 The Constitution of the United States was written for what purpose ? The preamble clearly states that purpose. The intent was to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity. In short it was written for the people. Has that intent changed ? I don't think so. There intentions are the same intentions we have today. Has man changed since then ? No, we haven't changed all that much despite our claims of being civilized. Despite our claims of advanced knowledge and understanding the things that motivate men to act as they do, we have not changed. The original plan, the blueprint is just as valid today as the day it was written. It is for that reason I say we need to exercise forbearance. Yup, that's the word I was looking for. 

Saturday, April 7, 2018

good news

 Heard some encouraging news yesterday. Scientists discovered the human brain making new brain cells at age 72 ! That's right, before this it was believed that you didn't make any new ones after age thirteen. But scientist studied the brains of the deceased and saw new ones forming in us old folks too. I found that encouraging as there appears there is hope for humanity after all. Maybe some of these teenagers will get a few more brain cells and figure out common sense after all. I know it's a stretch but it could happen with the politicians as well.  Well, not Pelosi or Warren, there aren't that many brain cells there to begin with, but there is hope.
 In the article I read they only studied the hippocampus because that is where new neurons are known to exist. It is also the part of the brain associated with emotional control, resiliency and memory. Funny name hippocampus, a hippo on campus ? I'm no brain scientist but I think they picked the right section to study. It is associated with emotional control and there are a lot of folks that are emotionally unstable these days ! Think the entire liberal party in America, emotional wrecks ! They certainly can't seem to get their emotions under control. Hillary lost, Hillary lost. Where's my safe space ! We'll never recover from this devastating defeat. We're doomed and Trump will kill us all. Not what I would call a resilient attitude on their part.  And as to memory memory functions. These liberals sure have a different way of remembering history than what actually took place. Some parts of history they just ignore altogether and other parts they make up as they go along. Somehow whatever part of the brain has to do with fantasy and mind reading has gotten confused with the hippocampus section ! These liberal folks sure know exactly what the founding fathers had in mind when they wrote the constitution. At least one liberal judge believes the constitution talks about military arms ! Yes, he thinks the 2nd amendment only guaranteed the right to own civilian guns , not military guns. Well, because in 1791 they knew all about that stuff, you know M-16's, browning automatics, rocket launchers and such. The guns the military had in 1791 were so vastly different and superior than the civilian versions they had to include that amendment. They didn't make it illegal to own a canon though. Fact is, if you have a muzzle loading canon built prior to 1898 it is still legal to own ! Guess that military weapon is alright, wonder why there isn't an amendment about that.
 Well, besides all this it is encouraging to know we can get more brain cells as we age. I admit to having killed a number of them in my younger days. I was always told that alcohol killed brain cells. That turned out not to be true. It just disrupts the thinking process but I kinda figured that out by myself. Smoking pot or cigarettes for that matter can damage the brain from lack of oxygen but doesn't kill brain cells either. All that is good to know as well. But I do think there is something going on with this hippocampus in a portion of the population. Could liberalism be a genetic thing ? Has there DNA somehow been altered by hand sanitizer ?  

Friday, April 6, 2018

for the children

 The news has been rather silent about this You Tube shooter. A mentally unstable individual took a pistol and shot people. Just a passing news story apparently. No walk-outs, no cries for pistol control and no media frenzy.  Wonder why that is ? We all know the answer to that and it is obvious. It doesn't fit the current narrative about those deadly assault rifles. This isn't going to do anything to validate that story. It wasn't a white guy with a semi-automatic rifle ! I've heard the argument that it wasn't a mass shooting, like that makes a difference. It wasn't horrific enough to merit more than a mention. Ho hum, might as well have been Chicago or Detroit on a typical day. Just a few people shot with a pistol. I haven't even heard a single " survivor " tell their harrowing tale of near death ! 
 No, there has been none of that because we don't want to admit the truth. The truth is there are mentally unstable folks using weapons of all types to harm others. The truth is we can't legislate that ! The truth is many just will not admit to reality ! The reality being, people kill people ! And admitting that is not going to gain any votes ! Make no mistake about it, all of this is about gaining voters, not protecting our children. It is the same game plan as always. The final argument is always, it's for the children. Need to raise taxes ? It's for the children. Want to legalize gambling ? It's for the children. Got thousands of people living in your country illegally ? Well, we'll say it is best for the children that they all remain. It's for the children.
 In a population of 323 million people there are going to be bad seeds. It is just a fact. In a country with as much freedom as we enjoy, those bad seeds are free to act. The very people proposing restricting rights are the ones claiming it is their right ! I can't " profile " you or " judge " you or make any assumptions about you. That would be an infringement upon your rights ! I even have to be careful to not use the wrong pronoun, lest I be called homophobic or some other " ic " And so the solution is to take the rights away of those that are not breaking any laws or being socially disruptive. But should you do any of those things I have to be sure I didn't infringe upon any of your rights before arresting you. Then after arresting you, having a trial, and finding you guilty, I should rehabilitate you ! You just gained yourself a whole new set of rights. You now receive preferential treatment because of your " mistake. " Yes, you were a victim of social pressures, a victim of expectations, a victim of society, and that is why you lashed out ! But, you are a survivor ! We will applaud you, maybe make a television documentary about you. You deserve that much. It wasn't your fault and you shouldn't be held accountable for that. Well, you had ancestors that were treated badly too, so that's reason enough.
 In a time when we are redefining morality itself, we are surprised when people act immorally. In a time of shifting societal norms, we want people to act normally ? Normal people don't go shooting each other ! In a time when people are committing horrendous acts of violence we are blaming the object, not the person. If that person doesn't use the " right " weapon we will ignore that person, the event, and anything associated with it. We can't write legislation to prevent crazy ! Now that's unfortunate. If only we can convince the " children " that removing their freedom will empower them. Now, we don't want the Russians influencing anyone, that is solely the providence of left, it's for the children. If only we can convince these children, that are almost old enough to vote to agree, maybe, just maybe, we can win next time. We'll promise them free college, that ought to work.      

Thursday, April 5, 2018

saying something ?

 I'm beginning to think this blog may have run its' course. I have been writing, nearly every day for over seven years now. I guess there is a limit to what I have to say. Just how large a " file " is the human brain ? Does that file differ in size for each of us, or is it merely the ability to retrieve data that differs ? I know I have a hard time locating a file every now and again, lately, more now than again. I have made a conscious effort to not repeat myself, but realize I have not been completely successful in that. There are reoccurring themes in my life that form the basis of who I am.
 I have made some discoveries along the way, although I admit I wasn't surprised by many of them. The challenge has always been to fit my thoughts into the mosaic of life in general. I have always held a certain confidence in my conclusions even when faced with opposition. I've always felt that life was more of a mental challenge than a physical one. Perhaps that stems from a lack of any great physical prowess.
 Stephen Hawking is a prime example of that. Yes, he was a bit of a genius, but his physical challenges didn't deter him from his pursuits. You might say, it added some credence, invoking a bit of the sympathy factor. Not that he required that, just that perhaps it helped get him noticed. Talking like a computer couldn't hurt, especially when talking about stuff only other geniuses really understand. I don't necessarily agree with his conclusions, having my own understanding of the universe. I do think he has described some of what has taken place, this big bang theory. I don't think he understood what made the big bang in the first place. As brilliant as he was, he is no match for the mind of God. But then again I do not require an explanation for everything, some things I just take on faith. Reality is whatever I believe it to be. It may not be your reality,  but if I believe it, it is mine ! Can I convince you of my reality ? The truth is I have been trying to do that since my birth. It is what each of us do.
 Yet again I have wandered off in my thoughts. I do enjoy writing these essays, opinions, ramblings or whatever they are. I also struggle with the belief that they should serve a purpose of some sort, be of use. Am I wasting time when I do things to amuse myself, when I allow myself a vanity ? To put it another way, is that a productive use of my time ? I think in order to answer that question I would have to know why I am here in the first place. The age old question, to what purpose. Do we need to know our purpose in order to fulfill our purpose ? The paradox for me is, I believe when I have fulfilled that purpose I will be done, gone from the earth. We call it deceased. Ceasing to exist in a physical sense. Will I know when that happens ? And if I do, will I know what my purpose was and whether I was successful ? Is heaven success and hell failure ? Are they absolutes ? Is life as we know it a pass/fail situation ? Depends upon what you believe, or for some, what you have been convinced to believe. The easiest person to influence is you ! Holding onto our convictions is the greatest challenge we face.    

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

pick an answer

 You could say every question is multiple choice. Is the popular answer always the correct choice ? Well now that certainly depends on a number of factors, the least of which is truth. If you are going for popularity, the popular answer is a no-brainer. I find a whole lot of folks that choose this path. It is far easier to repeat the popular answer than to research your own response. This is especially true with social media and the availability of others opinions . You can grasp those opinions as evidence that is what other people are saying ! You may even imply that these thoughts are your own, and others are agreeing with you, when the opposite is true. A new word to describe that action has entered the lexicon of modern language, sheeple. A " sheeple " is a person that just follows along with the crowd. Their motivation is to belong. Having no desire to think for themselves they just go along with whatever the current narrative happens to be. It is the safety in numbers thing, a dependence upon the crowd for protection. Much like children their response is often, everyone else was doing it ! That's how you explain eating tide pods.
 This is really nothing new, people have always been this way. There is security and safety in numbers. Being popular is a far more pleasant experience than being different. People don't like having their thoughts challenged or routines disrupted. Maintaining the status quo, so to speak. But now, at this juncture in American history, the popular choice is for change. Change everything. Having grown tired of the " establishment " the popular choice is to rebel against it. But what has been established that requires not just revision, but total abandonment ? Where should we begin ?
 The hot topic at the moment is gun control. What has been established. The easy answer is the second amendment to the constitution is what has been established to define our rights in that regard. There are many in the country right now that want to make a revision to that established doctrine. A restriction placed upon the free exercise of a right, removes the right, is my opinion. Many will argue that in the context of time, this revision is a necessity. My response is, does time alter the motivations of men ? I believe you would have to answer, no. The same motivations existed a thousand years ago as exist today. Power and wealth. There are those that wish to control, the alpha male, and will exercise their strength to do so. Governments can do the same, the founding fathers that wrote our constitution and bill of rights knew this, and provided a check on that. That check is, the second amendment.
 A bigger question to be answered here is, just who is the shepherd leading the sheeple ? I see no leader, no one directing the show. The promised leader failed to win election. This has caused much confusion among the sheeple.  The sheeple are lost and wandering. The sheeple have turned to who ? To what ? MSN, CNN, celebrities and protests ! Lacking direction the sheep have made the popular choice. Really they just adopt causes that few can argue with. People shouldn't be shooting each other, everyone should live happily ever after, and children are our most precious resource. Everyone gets everything and everyone gets forgiven for any infraction, as long as they are a survivor and wear a ribbon to prove it ! Everyone is not only exceptional, everyone is an exception ! People are not to blame for anything, it is the lack of legislation that is to blame. Well, that and those rifles that keep assaulting people. That didn't happen with muskets ! That didn't happen with shotguns ! That doesn't happen with pistols ! No, it is just these modern assault rifles that do that stuff, restrict them ! Lock them up !
 Who is leading the sheep ? Pelosi ? Warren ? Who among them has an intelligible platform ? It appears to me that the sheep have lost little bo peep ! Somebody needs to make a decision. If not the sheeple will just keep circling around and around. Make a choice. Funny how the very people that are encouraging these sheep are the ones fleecing them. Power and wealth.  

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

it matters people

  What two words don't go together ? Pragmatic and Liberal. I keep shaking my head when I hear liberals talking about sensible gun control, and how that isn't an infringement on the second amendment. To infringe is an attempt to control. Not a difficult concept to understand really. Why aren't these liberal folks just saying we want to restrict access to guns ? Well, because restrict is too harsh a word. Too explicit in its' intent.
 You could argue that the first infringement to the 2nd amendment took place in 1936 when the government restricted the sale of " machine " guns to the general public. They didn't ban the sale, just made it extremely difficult to obtain legally. The argument was the same back then. No civilian needs a machine gun. It was in response to the police being outgunned by the outlaws. Seemed reasonable enough and has remained in force ever since. It remains in force for a simple reason, rights once surrendered are seldom regained ! " Lost rights are never regained by appeals to the conscience of the usurpers, but by relentless struggles " Some doctor said that , it is not mine and take no credit for it. In this case who is the usurper ? The government is the answer. What is a usurper ? Someone who takes power either illegally or by force. The government is usurping the power of the people ! 
 The question becomes how can this be when we are a government of the people. Are the people usurping their own power ? And if so, to whom are we transferring that power ? The government ! Is government independent of the people ? It is when it is being run by an elitist group of people posing as our representatives. But, you say, we elected them. Yes, yes we did. And what did we base our vote upon ? Was it the promises they made, or a commitment on their part to uphold the constitution of the United States of America ? Therein lies the heart of the matter. 
 The United States was formed by a group of usurpers. We call them the founding fathers, the leaders of a revolution. The current government was overbearing and oppressive. What was the major complaint ? Taxes ! Yup, money to be paid to a government when receiving little in return. Profits were being impacted. Why is was just tyrannical ! And so armed folks fought for and obtained freedom from an oppressive government. We formed our own country, wrote a constitution to define our founding principles and said our government is " for the people. "
 In 1791 the second amendment, along with nine others collectively known to us as the Bill of Rights, was ratified. The second amendment was written as a constitutional check on Congressional power given to them under article 1 section 8. That article gave congress the power to organize, arm and discipline the " federal " militia. We would call that an army. The second amendment countered that power with the absolute right of the people to bear arms ! It was a defense against the government assuming sole military strength. It has been described as the " true palladium of liberty " by scholars. In addition it gave the states the final " coup de grace " to oppose the general government. It makes every citizen a soldier and every soldier a citizen.
 It is for those reasons that I say pragmatic and liberal just don't go together. All you have to do is read the words of the second amendment to understand its' meaning. The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. Can't be any clearer in my opinion. Gun control ? Just a small infringement upon the rights of the people ? Those folks that had fought for our liberty recognized the danger inherent in Article 1 section 8 and provided that amendment. The danger had nothing to do with the type of weapons but everything to do with the government having sole control over those weapons ! These folks were the government at the time and knew better than to trust themselves with that power ! Think about that. I don't think we should relinquish that protection. That would not be the pragmatic choice. In the liberal sense we should trust the government right ? The government is making promises, should we just trust our representatives to do the right thing ? Or, is it wiser to hold an insurance policy ? Call it a hedge against tyranny !
 I hear folks that wonder if any of this matters ? Some just shrug their shoulders at the debate. My opinion is that it does matter, it matters a lot. Presently I don't even own a gun as I have no immediate need for one. It is my sincere desire I never need to own a gun for self defense. Still, I will not advocate for the infringement on that right. I will not vote to revoke that right from my fellow citizens and soldiers. It may seem far fetched.
 Remember Hitler was never elected by the German people. He seized control in 1933. He had run for president in 1932 but lost the election. Then , his party ( the Nazis ) took control and appointed him Furer. He began by disarming the people, consolidating all military strength within the government. He made lots of promises and was even Time magazines " man of the year. " That was in 1938. In their defense they did explain their choice by saying, " Hitler is the greatest threatening force that the democratic, freedom loving world faces today. " Why ? Because he was taking his enemies means to defend themselves, their guns and their money ! Our government is already taking enough of our money, don't let them take our guns too.

Monday, April 2, 2018

subject to revision

My great grandfather was born on 1April 1878. Yesterday would have been his 140th birthday. I consider myself blessed to have known him quite well. He lived a long life. He was ninety when he passed. Although as a young man I didn't ask nearly the amount of questions as I wish I now had, he did tell me a lot of things. It is really quite an amazing thing if you give thought to it, all the things he saw come into common usage that we take as always being there. Consider this, Great Grandfather Lester was the owner of the Maidstone Taxi service. What's unusual about that ? It was a horse and buggy operation ! That's correct,  I have a newspaper clipping showing him driving that " taxi " down the main street. Yes, Gramp, as I called him, was around before automobiles. He saw the first ones all the way up to the '68 Camaro. Radio, television, all manner of technology he saw ushered in. Ah, the history he lived. But, being a child I just never asked much about that stuff.
 I did post a photo of him yesterday. It was a photo taken for his " chauffer " license. Back in the day in New York state, if you drove a vehicle for hire you had to have a chauffer license. That license included a photograph. All other drivers' licenses had no such requirement. It was that way when I was young.  My first drivers license didn't have my picture on it. New York didn't make that requirement until 1976 when the drinking age was raised to 21. Great Grandfather Floyd would have read about the wright brothers at Kittyhawk in the weekly newspaper. He would have been 25 years old at the time. HIs grandson, my father, would fly B-24 Bombers over Europe. Yes, Gramp saw some changes take place in the world.
 Growing up in the town where he was born he lived there his whole life. I can find no record of him ever having travelled farther than 25 miles from home. In fact I have a postcard, sent by his daughter, my grandmother Clara, to him while he was away. He was in a place called Montauk, a distance of 18 miles from his home, for what reason I don't know. On the post card she writes, Dear Papa, when are you coming home ? We all miss you and will have a surprise for you. Love Clara. It was, after all, a days travel to Montauk in those days. Great Grandfather is buried at Cedar lawn, along with his family where they will rest eternally. He has been in East Hampton for 140 years now. That was my thought yesterday after posting that photograph.
 As I said, being young I didn't ask him much about the old days. I expect he was no different than you or I taking everyday life for granted. I wonder how much he was paying attention. What I mean by that is, how much did he pay attention to current events outside his little world ? Oh, the big things, like the invention of an airplane or a war I'm certain was of interest but what of other less significant events ? Things like music, or moving pictures ? All the technology going on around him ? Was he paying attention ? I have to say there is a lot I'm probably missing. I don't pay attention to everything happening in the world, although just by virtue of mass communication and social networking I'm certainly more aware than great grandfather would have been. That is no slight on him just the availability of information is so much easier now. The newspaper he would have been reading was a local publication. The news, and the reporting of it certainly had to be slanted in favor of local sensibilities. I'm certain The New York Times was available a few days after its' publication as East Hampton is only about 100 miles from New York city. East Hampton has always been an attraction to the wealthier folks seeking refuge from the city as well. So, I'm guessing he would read that every now and again.
 I sure wish I could sit and talk with him today. I wonder what his take on current events would be. What would he think of all this ? What pieces of history would he recall ? What policies and practices would he advocate for ? During his lifetime he surely read about the Indian wars. Indians wouldn't have been given any favorable press. He would have read about WW1, WW2, and the Korean war. What was his take on all of that ? Living history is certainly different than reviewing it ! In my limited experience I have discovered that history is pretty much what you remember it to be.  Will my history be the same as what is written down ? Depends upon on who's doing the writing and upon current sentiments. We are constantly told , not to judge ! Well, it's alright to judge the past, just not the present is what the real message is. The past, is subject to revision.     

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Easter

 When I was small Easter meant, new clothes, the Easter bunny and ham for dinner. The bunny came first, of course, as that basket was there and waiting when I got up. I could eat a few pieces of candy before breakfast and church. Mostly,  I think we had the hard boiled eggs. I don't recall getting toys at all, just that basket full of goodies.
 All us kids got new church clothes. Oh, it varied year to year depending on current fortune I suppose but at a minimum new shoes and pants and a shirt. Yes, we jokingly called them, our Sunday go to meetins'. On Easter day all the girls had their bonnets and little white gloves. The boys would have a suit. It was an exciting time. After the service everyone stood around outside the church taking pictures. That was back in the day when taking a pictures was reserved for special occasions. I am fortunate to have a few from back then. I have one with my sister and I all dressed and ready for Easter Sunday services. Easter is picture worthy !
 Ham would be for dinner. Some years we had company and others not. Easter dinner was sorta a big deal, not like Thanksgiving, but an important meal. We ate that dinner in the early afternoon if I remember right. We would still be in our Easter outfits. After dinner, Easter was over. We could eat our candy at will. And that is pretty much how Easter went at my house.
 Some years back I bought the grandkids Easter outfits, the traditional ones, but it didn't go over too well. I did get a picture of my granddaughter with an Easter bonnet on and the white gloves, the only time I think she wore them. I remember not being able to find a suit for my grandson and had to settle for just a vest. Now that I think about it, it took a few stores to find a Easter bonnet. It was something the wife and I did more for ourselves than anything else. I guess we tried to capture a bit of our youth. The kids were " amused " that is how I would put it, amused. New clothes wasn't anything new or especially exciting to them and having their picture taken was a everyday thing. Time marches on as the saying goes and so traditions march along with it, sometimes those traditions fall by the wayside.
 Happy Easter everyone. He is risen, he is risen indeed !  
 

Saturday, March 31, 2018

artistic expression

  I posted an image of a Jackson Pollock drip painting yesterday and was surprised by the conversation it generated. You see, Jackson Pollock lived in my hometown and is much admired in the art world. I can't say I ever met the man but heard lots of stories about him. They tell me his house/studio is a museum these days. LOl, I guess so, no different than any other famous persons house I suppose. The big attraction I am told is the paint splattered on the floor.
 My comment was, explain how this is art ? I did have one person say you have to have an open mind, to which I responded , or an empty head. I make no excuses for that, I can't see where dripping paint on a canvas in big swirls and crooked lines represents a thing other than dripping paint ! I chuckle at the notion that I need to have some form of advanced intelligence to understand it. The Emperor was pretty smart with his clothes too. I just feel like if you have to explain what it is, you didn't do a very good job. Remember when your kids brought home those drawings to put on the refrigerator door ? I always saw exactly what they were, right after you told me. I believe it is the same thing with these Jackson Pollock paintings and others in that category.
 My Dad told a story about this Pollock guy. Dad was working with John Collins plumbing at the time. He was my Uncle John, nicknamed Grandpa Jelly Beans.  He had married my Mom's sister. Anyway, they were at Jackson Pollock's place doing some plumbing repairs. Dad said he went into the studio to ask the man a question. He stood there for a minute and watched as Jackson Pollock put a brush in a can of paint and began just slinging it around. He was laughing and talking to himself unintelligibly. Dad interrupted him and when he looked Dad knew immediately the man was drunk ! He staggered around a little bit laughing and said to Dad, here's another 100,000 ! Dad got his answer and left the room. Dad loved to tell that story as he thought it was the funniest thing ever. He would always say, damn fools spending there money on that  and the man didn't even know what room he was in. No, Dad wasn't very complimentary to great Jackson Pollock.
 I got thinking about that yesterday and putting a time line together. I just can't remember when all this took place. But Pollock died in 1956 when I was just three. It could be that Dad had him confused with De Kooning who also lived in East Hampton. That Pollock drank heavily was well known, I'm not sure about De Kooning. Well, whatever the case was I had a bedroom floor possibly inspired by one of those guys ! Yes, it's true. When I was young Dad added an upstairs to our home. The " boys' bedroom " which ran the full width of the house was up there. The floor was made of tongue and groove pine. A very common material in those days, cheaper I expect than sheets of plywood. The floor was first painted grey with some deck paint that Dad got at the boatyard. It was a true Navy grey and very durable paint. To add a little color and spark to the room Dad had a plan. He gave each of us kids a small can of paint. Yellow, red, blue and green is what I remember. We each had a stick and dripped it into the can and swirled that paint around to our hearts content. We had a great time as you can imagine. Kids with paint and permission to just drip it all over the floor. That floor was that way in 1971 when I left. Was it inspired by Dad seeing Pollock do the same ? I'd say it was a good possibility. The real shame is that Dad didn't invite Pollock over to help ! How much would that floor be worth today ?
 I posted that picture yesterday because I was thinking about that. How do these people gain fame and fortune from doing strange things. I wonder how they convince other people that this stuff is so great and important. With Pollock the story is that he was very unhappy that people didn't like his regular paintings and portraits. Then started giving them this drip painting stuff, a new breakthrough in artistic expression ! The rich folks thought it was wonderful and spent millions on it. Oh, I have a Pollock ! I'm thinking that is the only reason they buy those crazy things, to impress others. I gotta tell ya, I'm not impressed. Warhol painted a soup can and they bought that too ! I'm still laughing about that one.
 I make no apologies for any of this. If I want a piece of art I want to know exactly what it is just by looking at it. What's important to me is that you will also know, immediately, what it is. I'm not going to have to explain it to you or just say " it's a Pollock " so you can pretend you think it is magnificent too. You will never convince me that I couldn't sling some paint around on a canvas, give it a name and call it art. I'm also convinced if I got Pollock or De Kooning to sign it it would be worth a fortune and no one the wiser. That's my feeling anyway. Yours may differ. I've just never been one to have folks tell me what to like or dislike. One of my favorite pictures is a print I bought at a yard sale. Cost me two dollars with the frame. Better than any drip painting Pollock or De Kooning ever did.
 The bottom line for me is this; just because it cost a lot of money that doesn't make it good. I don't like chamber music either but at least it is music.
      

Friday, March 30, 2018

Good Friday

Today is Good Friday. When I was very small I can remember some businesses closing at 3 O'clock and the church bells ringing. Many people stopped whatever they were doing to observe a moment in history that changed the world. I don't recall anyone complaining or being offended, just a quiet respect. Yes, it only lasted a short while, but the acknowledgement was there. It seems like that was such a long time ago but it wasn't really. Sixty years ain't that much. But, it is three generations.
 You can't eat meat on Good Friday. That's a rule. I have never been Catholic but know that stipulation. My wife is a Methodist and insists we not eat meat. I don't know why she feels that way but I certainly honor it. With the meat thing, I can recall there was an alternate choice on the school lunch menu every Friday. That was until the Pope said it was okay. I think that happened back in 1965. I believe there has been more changes since then. If for no other reason it did serve as a reminder. We had a lot of reminders back in those days, today we tend to forget. It is a shift in society in a general way. Yes, back then there was no question we were a Christian nation, the only question was, which kind ? Today there are many that profess no Christian ties at all, and there are many new " kinds " as well. Seems like if you don't like what this Church is preaching, start your own. And please, don't get me started with these Mega-Churches.
 This is all tied into my thinking about religion in general. I've written about it before and likely will again. The question for me is do you go to church as a celebrant or a supplicant ? Me, I tend to be on the supplicant side of the aisle. I've saving the celebration for when I get the reward. In the meantime I think I had best be humble, ask for forgiveness and understanding, and behave myself ! You see I do believe your choice of denomination doesn't really matter as long as you hold the belief. The way you choose to express that belief is an individual thing. So, I'm not saying one way is better than another, just noticing the differences. You see I was taught to address him as God the Father. I was also taught how to address my father. Hey, there is even a commandment about that. Now I wouldn't go to my father, calling him by his first name and making demands. I also wouldn't go to him full of expectations. I really am at his mercy. I was a child then and remain a child of God. I never got very far telling my Father how much I loved him, or telling him how great he was. No, my father had a tendency to judge me based on the actions I took.
 That may be the reason we are seeing some of the things taking place today, Perhaps the children aren't being taught the proper respect for the father. Well, we know many today don't have a father !I was taught to fear God and my father ! A fear born out of respect. I'm thinking we need to bring back some of those reminders we have abandoned in favor of convenience and profits. All I hear these days is , don't judge. Well the deal is you will be judged and you had best be prepared for that. I was taught that lesson. I was judged on my words and my actions. Back then we called it parenting. Mom and Dad let you know if you were right or wrong, and judgement was immediate and, for the most part, final. To have a conviction overturned required some pretty substantial evidence.
 But today is Good Friday and I will pause at three. I'm betting Walmart won't close there doors, even for a minute. Will any business ? What is sadder still is so many will close their hearts to the message. A solemn day indeed. I have always wondered why it was called Good Friday. Good for us ! That's the only reason I can think of.
 

Thursday, March 29, 2018

progress

 I was sitting with the wife watching the morning news and just enjoying the morning. A bit of a change in routine. The news stories were running in the background. One catches my attention about a person dying from using a consumer product. A family member is on the television being interviewed and is naturally distraught. This family member is questioning why this product, that can kill you, is even being sold. Now I can empathize with the way he is feeling and it is a tragic thing. The thing is, the product was clearly marked with all the appropriate warnings and directions for usage. The person failed to follow the directions and the worst case scenario happened. The issue being discussed is , is it the fault of the product or the user ?
 I know I lack empathy and understanding but I can't fault the manufacturer. If all the appropriate warnings are clearly printed on the product it is incumbent upon the user to read and follow the directions. I can understand the family member feeling otherwise. To me all this speaks to accountability, something we seem to be trying to eliminate from society except on a corporate level. Individuals are not accountable, it is someone else's fault. The manufacturer shouldn't have made the product. The retailer shouldn't have sold the product. The product itself was responsible ! Everything but a failure of the user to read and follow the directions ! This is followed by a call for more regulations ! The government needs to do more to protect the consumers because the consumers are failing to protect themselves.
 That story was followed by a study conducted by Harvard professors that Facebook is manipulating me ! That's right, Facebook is using my profile data to determine my likes and dislikes. I'm being profiled from my profile ! Imagine that. I fill in the blanks, you read what I wrote and then decide this is what I like or don't like based on that profile ! Then postings show up on my timeline attempting to influence me. Well just how outrageous is that ? You are using information I provided to further your cause or sell your product. Facebook is responsible for that. Facebook created the profile page, what was I supposed to do, lie ? C'mon no one would post false information on their profile page. Funny thing though, at least with me, all you would have to do is ask. If I don't want you to know my opinion I won't tell you. The solution offered by the Harvard professor : educate yourself ! That's right, educate yourself that a profile page reveals your profile ! But, keep in mind that profiling people is illegal ! Having a profile page isn't, but don't profile anyone from it. If you do though it won't be your fault,  Facebook is manipulating you ! Sue Facebook, drag Zuckerberg before congress and demand an explanation !
 In the last story I listened to, it was Trumps fault. All of this is Trumps fault. He probably won't do anything about the sale of that product or something to prevent you from being manipulated. In fact, Trump is manipulating the entire country ! Someone, not you or I, needs to be held accountable. Government intervention is obviously the only way to solve these issues. What do you expect, people to read and follow directions, obey the law when it is inconvenient to do so ? Do you really expect me to accept no as an answer ? Do you really expect me to say, it's my own fault ? How ridiculous is that ? You know I knew someone that just went right out and bought a car. Drove that car into a tree and went flying through the windshield. Whose fault was that ? The car manufacturer. They didn't put a seat belt in there. Luckily the government intervened and had them install seat belts and a five mile per our impact front bumper ! That helped for a while, then we got air bags. Now, the cars are driving themselves and only running other people over, but I'm safe. Ah, progress. When you can just blame everything on someone else, that's progress.