Just Me

Just Me
Look,I'm just sayin'

Sunday, March 18, 2018


 Not everything is right. Yes, it's true, not everything is right. There are things in this word that are just plain wrong and you have to understand that. Even when those things may bring pleasure, they may be wrong. Even when those things hurt no one but yourself that doesn't change a simple fact, they are wrong. No matter how many people may enjoy something, it can be wrong. In the Christian tradition we call it sin. There are as many definitions of sin as there are sins. To me sin is anything you do contrary to God's law and God's law is natural law. The same natural law our founding fathers spoke about. There has been much discussion about that, God and the Constitution. I often hear an argument that Jefferson and others identified themselves as Deists. My response to that is always the same, Okay, so what is wrong with that ? Deists recognize that there is a creator. They only reject the idea of revelation and authority, not that God doesn't  exist. They rely upon reason and observation of the natural world to draw the conclusion a single creator is responsible for the earth. In short they observed that in order to have intelligent order in the universe you would have to have had intelligent design. This world didn't happen by accident. They wrote life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as natural law, law that requires no one to write it down. It was understood and accepted that people knew this as an inherent part of their being. The best example is that a child loves by instinct and only rejects others when taught to do so. Children understand the natural order of things before they can even speak !
 When we start to "openly " practice behaviors that were previously kept hidden it is for a simple reason. That action is an attempt to gain acceptance for behaviors we know to be wrong. That is why we kept those behaviors hidden in the first place. Putting those behaviors on parade will not change the natural law from being violated even when a society accepts those behaviors. Consider the Inca's and human sacrifice. That was certainly practiced openly, accepted as a religious expression but it was never right. We look at it with horror today but then it was everyday stuff. In our religious texts we may read that a certain act is an abomination unto the lord.  What does that mean ? Some synonyms are, disgust, hatred, aversion, torment and atrocity. These abomination are always generated by their acceptance in society. They are allowed, accepted and taught. It is man that fails to follow the natural law, the natural order of the universe and acts in opposition. When man starts to write law in opposition to natural law, chaos will always be the end result.
 It is all connected to one word, Obiedenance. Christians call it original sin. When Adam ate the fruit of the tree of good and evil that first sin was committed. It is my thinking that what was learned from eating that fruit was evil. Adam and Eve were made aware of evil, as a choice. Before that they just acted in accordance with natural law. The Bible doesn't tell us how long that was though. But Eve was deceived by Satan. How was she deceived ? She was given false information and convinced of it's validity. A false promise and we hear a lot of those these days. In short she disobeyed the law of God. She did so believing it would be to her benefit, she herself would become as God if she knew all good and evil. What she learned was that she had sinned. And now mankind was saddled with that knowledge forever. Yes, we learned that we had a choice, whereas prior to that knowledge we just did what came naturally. We learned that we could choose in defiance of God and those natural laws for short term gain. And man is a weak creature, prone to taking those shortcuts. Man has attempted to justify that choice ever since.
 Central to the concept of Obiedenance is punishment and reward. If we are obedient will we be rewarded ? If we are disobedient will we be punished ? Yes and yes. I believe our reward will come in the afterlife and also our punishment. Man has been punished for that original sin since the beginning. We could have lived a life of simple existence having all our needs fulfilled by a loving God but for one simple choice, and we couldn't resist that temptation. As punishment we were made aware of good and evil. We were made aware of that choice. Now man must live with that knowledge as a burden. We can not overrule that " law " no matter how many laws we write. Man's punishment is the deception we practice. Man continues to deceive himself about the nature of sin, of wrongdoing and the consequences. There is right and wrong !
 There are those that wish to replace God with Government. A complete reversal of the natural order. It is God, the creator, that is the final judge off right and wrong. That is exactly why we are a government of the people, by the people. James Monroe, a professed deist incidentally, wrote, " to suppose any form of government will secure liberty and happiness without any virtue in the people is a chimerical idea. " What was he saying there ? He was saying it is up to man to make himself happy, that government can't fulfill that. There must be virtue in the people. Moral excellence is virtue. And I had to look up chimerical, a word I wasn't familiar with. It means something hoped for but impossible to achieve or an illusion. 
 It troubles me to see our moral foundation being chipped away. That is exactly what the Constitution and Bill of Rights established, our moral foundation. Both are under attack from all sides. Most troubling is the Christians that are joining in the fight to destroy natural morality and ethics, choosing to act in opposition for political gain or perceived superior values. The arrogance of man amazes me. I think that realization may have something to do with aging. I remember when I was 19 and knew it all ! Now, I see the arrogance of youth, the foolishness of it all. Troubling indeed to see the church in full support of what the Bible tells us is an abomination unto the lord. They are spelled out fairly clearly.  haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person that stirs up conflict in the community. Each one a contradiction to natural law. 
 Well that is my sermon for this Sunday morning. 

Saturday, March 17, 2018

writing out loud

  I have been thinking about something lately, that something is the writing of a book. You folks that read my stuff regular know I have been considering this possibility and that I even started it. I haven't done much with it lately, I have allowed it to just sit and simmer. Really what is simmering is my thoughts. I began with thinking it would just be a collection of my thoughts. I thought it might be an explanation of life more than anything else. A book filled with sage advice and wise sayings. A chronicle of sorts. At one time I even began to think it of it as an epistle ! But then to whom was I writing ? You can't write an epistle to the past, it has to be for the present or future generations. I can only speak of the past, sharing my observations and conclusions. And so I am left with a question, to what end ? I'm working on the answer to that one.
 When I began looking into the publication of this book, the one I haven't written, I discovered just how difficult a proposition that can be. So, I looked into self publishing. At first I balked at that idea. It just seems a bit self serving, bordering upon conceit. I questioned whether you could even call yourself an author if you paid to have it published. Wouldn't that be a bit of deceit ? If you see a book on a shelf, professionally bound, wouldn't you think it was published ? That is was written by a professional writer ? Then I began to think if you publish this book as a gift, expecting no monetary gain from it, it is really a benevolent act on your behalf. But, that sounded even more conceited than before. Still I like that idea, the idea my words are nothing more than a gift being shared. Sure, I'd be hoping someone would be interested enough to purchase a copy,  but then how can I rationalize you paying for your own gift ? It is a bit of a quandary. It is a lesson in ethics. My conclusion at this time is that any book I should pay to have published, or more properly,  printed, would be a vanity. The only question left is,  am I allowed such vanity ? John Calvin wrote, " the human heart has so many holes were falsehood lurks, it is so decked out with deceiving hypocrisy, that it often dupes itself. " Am I attempting to deceive myself ? These are some of my thoughts about all of this. Perhaps, I'm overthinking it. That is a habit of mine and at times, a fault.
 We have all heard the expression physician heal thyself. The general idea being a physician should be able to diagnosis and treat his own ailments. This proverb was used by Jesus in the Bible. His lesson was really, and why not me ? That was in response to those saying they knew Jesus since he was a child, his father was a carpenter and so how could he be the messiah ? I try to " heal " myself at times. That is what all this thinking is about. I'm no author, no writer, but should that preclude me from being one ? In the Bible story about Jesus using this proverb it ends with the crowd wanting to kill him ! Why did they want to kill him ? It was because of the words he spoke and he wouldn't perform miracles on demand, as proof of his legitimacy. That would have been the physician healing himself. It would also have been an act of vanity. And that is where those " holes in the human heart where falsehood lurks, that John Calvin wrote about live.
 What is all of this rambling on about ? It is a review of my motivations. I believe it isn't our actions we should review, but the motivation for that action. What is the motivation for writing this book ? Is it a genuine desire to share whatever insight and observations I have made ? Am I truly motivated by charity. Charity begins at home, isn't that what they say ? Is it a desire to give something to my family that motivates me ? Or is it really just a vanity ? Is it something I want to do to receive validation or reward of some kind ? I can't deny I would feel rejected if I received nothing. My feelings would be hurt, I can't fool myself about that. That is something I have to admit in broad daylight and before the world. Is my constitution strong enough for that ? The big question is am I willing to do the work and take the risk ? Only a thorough understanding of my motivation can answer that question. Should I allow myself such vanity ? I'm thinking it isn't so much the vanity of the idea as it turning out to be a vain attempt. Two sides to a coin. I'm still examining it carefully.      

Friday, March 16, 2018

back at the five and dime

 When I was small we went to the five and ten cent store. Living in a rural town we didn't have a Woolworth's but we had the 5&10 anyway. That is all I remember ever calling that store. I expect it had another name. But I remember well the little wooden bins all in lines on that creaky wooden floor. The best toys were hung on hooks from the ceiling to keep little hands off them I assume. About this time of year they would have chicks for sale. Yes, live chicks for Easter. The 5&10 was a magical place for a child. You just might find anything in there. And up front, by the cashier counter was the most amazing donut machine. You could watch those donuts travel on a chain into the hot grease and emerge on the other side. The smell alone was like a sweet breath of fresh air straight from heaven.
 But that store was also a place of great temptation. I once helped myself to something, a pack of baseball cards I think. When we got to the car Mom questioned me about those cards. Her glare of truth was an unstoppable force, stronger than any lie detector machine yet invented, and I confessed. I was taken right back into that store and made to explain to the owner just why I felt I had a right to take those cards. Saying sorry wasn't enough, no, I had to explain myself. I knew this man, he was a Jewish guy, Mom had told me that lots of times. I remembered from Sunday school that Jesus tried to explain himself to the Jews,  and what happened after that. I didn't think I would meet the same fate, that's illegal now isn't it , but I was sure scared. Scared straight as they say nowadays, as I never took another thing.
 I was thinking about that yesterday as I chatted with my wife. We had ridden past the dollar store and I remarked, remember when we went to the 5&10, now you go to the dollar store. Yes, that is where we have arrived, from nickels and dimes to dollars. We pay more in sales tax than we ever paid for the items themselves. When thinking about it in that context I do feel old. I remember well penny candy and packs of baseball cards for a quarter, including the gum. I could buy a 45RPM record of the latest hit for 95 cents. The album was for the richer kids at almost four dollars ! I didn't buy many of those. The dollar store just doesn't have the same atmosphere though. All the ones I have been in seem crowded and disorganized. The 5&10 I remember was kept nice and neat. There was obvious pride in ownership. Now it is all about sales. To be honest I suppose it was back then as well, after all, the man was in business to make money but it didn't seem that way. There was no signs saying no backpacks, course we didn't have backpacks then except for hiking, and no signs limiting the number of children permitted at any one time. The owner kept a sharp lookout most of the time, like a roving security camera ! And if he said he saw it, that was proof positive, you were guilty ! That's all that was needed back then, the word of an adult. Didn't matter what adult either, if an adult said it, it was the truth.
 Given everything I hear and see in the news lately I needed that little stroll down memory lane. We have a few stores around here that have those old wooden floors just like the five and dime of my youth. I've been known to walk in there just to walk on the floor. Seems silly doesn't it ? But, still it is a comfort at times if only for a moment. I can feel the floor give just a little and let out a creak. I'm back at the five and dime.      

Thursday, March 15, 2018

walking out

  I am opposed to this so called common core that the government imposed upon the schools. I say imposed because it was tied to funding. Teach this and get that, don't teach this and you don't get that. I believe it is the quality of the teachers that determine the quality of the education received. It is not dependent upon government guidance and intervention. It appear to me it is almost an indoctrination of sorts. Just a cursory review of what is being taught will expose that. History being rewritten, history being completely ignored and courses that teach life skills being eliminated altogether. The push is and has been for some time now for a college education. The value of that education, in real life terms, is mostly overlooked. The goal is to get the degree. It's like getting a real fancy car and then you can't afford the gas. It isn't doing you a whole lotta good.
 I'm not one to jump on the conspiracy wagon. I do have my own thoughts and ideas about things. And yes, of course, these thoughts and ideas are based in my own life experiences. I have been paying attention. First we had this common core stuff. Good intentions no doubt but misguided. Not every student is equal in scholastic ability. That is just a simple fact of life. As we say, some crackers are just crisper than others. Any expectation that all students could be taught the same ( in common ) is definitely wrong. We all know each of us learns in different ways. One child you only need to talk to,and the other responds to a more, shall we say, martial approach. Still the government tried to use the socialist approach, everyone gets the same thing. And now students are being indoctrinated to surrender their rights.
How can you not see that?Students are protesting, demanding change. But what change are they demanding ? The removal of their constitutional rights ! That's correct, that is what they are being taught. Like I said I'm not much of a conspiracy theorist sort of guy but I can plainly see who is supporting this agenda. If it isn't a socialist proposal I don't what else you would call it. Disarm the citizens ! Yes, we will start by imposing a few restrictions, you could argue that started in 1934 with the National Firearms Act. That act was partially in response to the criminals using Tommy guns ( fully automatic rifles ) and an attempt to restrict their sale to the general public. It worked in that regard, although the criminals kept on using them anyway. There is no reported incidence of an organized gang surrendering their automatic weapons to the authorities because, hey, they are illegal ! Now children are being taught that assault rifles need to be restricted. Assault rifle  is the present day version of a Tommy gun. The big difference is that an assault rifle is a semi-automatic rifle that has a certain distinctive appearance. Anyone from my generation knows what a Tommy gun looks like and now any child in America knows what an assault rifle looks like. So, we must restrict the sale of that semi-automatic weapon, another step closer to banning all guns. Another step closer to the removal of the second amendment. One brick in the wall of the Constitution that protects us all. And why impress this upon the children ? These children will soon be able to vote. And who will they vote for ? The party that supports all of this. One member of that party even identifies himself as a socialist ! What else does this party promise ? Free everything, no accountability for your " mistakes " and that the government will take care of you. Does forty acres and a mule should familiar ? Yeah, that's the government taking care of you. And to be truthful it was the Republicans that rescinded that mandate.
 I can't help but think of the comparison in history to another government. That government made all the grand promises of peace and prosperity. They began by disarming the citizens. Then they divided the citizens into " good " and " bad " based on their religious beliefs, there "heritage " and finally on their physical and mental well being. They even had children reporting their parents to the government for infractions ! Yes, the children were " empowered ! " We all know how that worked out.
 What are we teaching our children today ? To rely upon the government to solve all our issues in life. We are attempting to legislate human behaviors, instead of punishing those that fail to act within the law. Oh, we will tell what you can and can not do alright, as long as it benefits the state. By the state I do mean government. Regulations and restrictions galore, anything to increase your dependence upon the state. Hey, you have an unwanted pregnancy, no problem the government will take care of that. We'll call it choice or women's' health. Got yourself a worthless degree and are in debt for that ? No problem, we will forgive your debt, let some hard working uneducated person pay that for you. Vote for us and we will take care of you. That is the message of change. That was the message of change I listened to for eight years ! The change was to be from independence to dependence ! Everyone is same ! Right, isn't that what we hear every day now ?
 And so we are telling the children to just walk out ! Walk out and demand change. Demand that your rights are taken away because only the government can keep you safe. You bear no responsibilty whatsoever. You should just be able to go to school, enjoy your after school activities and be accepted by everyone. It's the law ! Never mind about reality, never mind about history, never mind about any of that. Just walk out ! You don't need to actually do anything, you can just walk out and demand the government do something. Demand the government strip you of your rights ! Rewrite the constitution, abolish the bill of rights.
 I find this disturbing. Children are impressionable creatures wouldn't you say ? And yes, they are children. Keep on telling them how smart and socially aware they are. Keep handing out the participation trophies. Keep on teaching them to allow the government to settle every issue. Encourage them to accept dependence as a right, an entitlement. Wealth and fame are the goals in life. We should be happy every day and just do whatever we like. If I am denied anything I will sue. It is obviously discrimination ! Everyone is equal right ? Well, the deal is this, all men are created equal, I agree whole heartedly. Results however, are not guaranteed. You have to earn your way, it is not guaranteed and is based upon personal effort. Independence is not being separate from responsibilty but accepting responsibilty. And you can't walk out on that ! 

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

entering a plea

 It was reported that the kid that shot and killed 17 people at Parkland High School says he'll plead guilty if the death penalty is removed from sentencing. Think about that, he'll plead guilty by pleading for his life ! Why aren't we just saying, you're guilty kid and you will die ! This trial is just a formality, a crossing of the T's and a dotting of the I's. To even entertain the idea that he would be spared the death penalty is beyond me. This kid is 17 years old and commits mass murder. The cost to imprison this criminal is currently about 70,000 dollars a year. A major portion of that cost is for health care ! Think about that. He gets free, top notch healthcare for life for killing 17 people ! How is that justice ? And then we have those folks saying we shouldn't kill him , it's wrong. The same people that are funding Planned Parenthood I might add. But it's the rifle's fault right ? We will restrict the rights of the law abiding citizen in response to a mass murderer that we house, feed, provide health care and educational opportunity too ! Oh, but he is just a kid. Makes me sick. If we allow this kid to go unpunished, withholding the ultimate punishment how can we expect our law to act as a deterrent ? Given time, there will be interviews, a made for TV movie, and royalties to fight about.
 It just irritates me to no end. Why does this kid even get to say, I'll plead guilty, like it is some sort of deal ? You are guilty ! I don't need your pleas ! All that is left to be decided is how and when in  my book. Are you afraid of dying kid ? Well, what a shame. You should be afraid. Be very afraid, I just might enter your cell and begin shooting at you ! I can see no reason you aren't dead right now. You're guilty, we know you're guilty, you have been given plenty of time to plead with your God, if you have one. And that should be the only plea allowed in this case, a plea for mercy from a benevolent God. You will get no mercy from me. Yes it is God that will make the final decision, but I'll be the one that sends you there to explain yourself. Tell it to God, I'm done with you. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

I'm ready

 Spring will arrive in just seven more days. I'm ready for it. I have seen the daffodils standing tall and a bud or two on the trees. The earth is reawakening and it's a wonderful thing. Time to start making plans for the warm weather activities. I haven't given that much thought just yet. I will plan a clamming trip to Assateauge island. I went just once last year and have to say it wasn't very productive, I got one clam. But, no matter, I really enjoyed the effort. I'll just have to scout out the area a little better and discover the hot spots. I need to befriend a local, that's how you can get that information. There will be cat fishing as well and crabbing. This summer I'll turn 65 and get my fishing license for five bucks ! I'm looking forward to that perk.
 I live in an apartment and so don't have a yard of my own. That is easily solved though because my son has one. I can do pretty much anything I want in his yard. I can plant a garden, swing in the hammock or build a fire. In turn I usually cut the grass and do the other yardwork. I'm not complaining about that, I do enjoy it. It is really the best of two worlds. If I don't feel like doing it  I'm under no obligation to do so. I'm thinking I may plant some cherry tomatoes or cukes.
 I am looking forward to that brief period in time when I can live with the windows open. Here in Greensboro I don't feel the need to keep my windows closed at night for security. Living on the second floor helps with that as well. I do like it when in the evening you can leave the windows open, feel a cool breeze and listen to the sounds of nature. That will only last a few weeks at best before heat and humidity take over. Then the a/c goes in the window and that's what you hear. I have become spoiled over the years in that regard. We had no a/c when I was growing up. It got hot and humid and you dealt with it. I remember well lying on the bed with no cover over me. Sleep was slow to come and uncomfortable. We have it pretty easy these days.
 Easter falls on April first this year. That is also great grandfather's Lester's birthday. He would be 140 years old. I always remember his birthday for the obvious reason, it's April's fool day. And yes, he was teased about that his whole life. Easter doesn't appear to be celebrated the same way it was in the old days. I do remember getting a new suit for Easter and my sister a dress, gloves, bonnet and matching purse. I remember when the church first had a sunrise service on the beach ! That was pretty radical in my thinking. Next came guitar playing in the church. Well, that was the bringing of a transition in worship in my opinion. I believe we have shifted from being supplicants to celebrants. Quite a different approach. It kind of ties in with an entitlement attitude that has also become so prevalent in today's world. Celebrating a little early in my opinion. Should we celebrate an expectation ? Well, that's another whole subject. And yes, I've written an entire blog about just that. As my wife says, what haven't you written about ? The answer is, not much.
 I do think we appreciated the change in seasons more back in the day. Now we can stay pretty much in a stable environment year round. The outdoors is a place we mostly go for recreation these days. Even outdoor workers are usually provided some shelter, like a truck cab or portable heaters. But back when there was no relief from the elements, other than the elements changing, we surely appreciated that. I read that was the main reason places like Nevada weren't really settled until the advent of air conditioning. Makes sense to me.
 Just one more week. I'm ready. 

Monday, March 12, 2018

a brief statement

 Today is one of those days I just don't have much to say. Surprising I know. But I heard a coffee shop in Oakland California has openly stated they don't serve uniformed Police Officers. Sounds like discrimination to me but we will have to check with the Supreme court on that. Of course this coffee shop is owned by members of the Latino community so it probably isn't discrimination at all, just a little misunderstanding about the law. After all, the civil rights act of 1964 doesn't specifically say you can't discriminate based on occupation ! But, I'm not going to get started about that. The Police have stated they will serve that establishment should the need arise. Personally I know what I would serve them, but I'm not a professional law enforcement officer.
 Yesterday, for some unknown reason the question of travelers checks came up. I googled it and yes you can still get travelers checks. Surprisingly some folks still use them ! Have you ever used one ? I seem to recall having them for some purpose although I really can't recall why. Other than the Navy I haven't traveled a lot where I would require them. Fact is I haven't ever had that much money to worry about having them either. Credit cards and ATM's have all but eliminated them. Shoot I hardly ever use a regular check these days, just debit it directly from checking. I have to admit, it's an improvement.
 Well that's about all I have to say this morning. I am wondering though just where common sense has gone ? Did someone forget to bring that into the 21st century ? All I know is it is scarcer than hen's teeth these days. We have a drug abuse problem and we blame the drug. We have a problem with gun violence and we blame the gun. We have an unwanted pregnancy and we kill the child ! Are you seeing a trend here ? Common sense can cure all of that. Don't take drugs, don't point a gun at anything you don't intend to shoot, and don't have sex unless you are ready to accept the possible result of that action. It's really not that hard people.   

Sunday, March 11, 2018

a transparent presence

 It has been said you could tell a lot about a man by the books in his library. Well, I wouldn't say I have a library but I do have some books. I admit they are mostly novels and not real scholarly in nature.  I do have a few historical novels and some reference materials. I'm not certain what a stranger would make out of my collection. Could they tell a lot ? I don't really think they could. At least not a very accurate compilation of my interests.
 I believe in todays world we would have to look at the persons online presence to determine the same thing. The Internet is slowly replacing books. You have to admit that. Who still has a set of encyclopedias in their home ? Up to date ? Who has a set of any books ? I did have sets when I was young. I'm sure you folks remember them, they came with the encyclopedias when Mom bought those. They were a collection of the classics and children's tales. Ours had a medical reference book and one that was all about science. All those books have long since gone to the landfill. Disposable books, who would have thought ? Books, good books, used to stay in families for generations. Now, they are more for decoration.
 I still enjoy reading a good book on a rainy day. Strange how it is a nostalgic feeling. It really should be an old familiar feeling more than a novelty. Some books are like an old movie to me, I read them again, and each time they are new. Even when you know the plot, you even know the next line, you read it with anticipation. Is it really the story or the holding of the book ? I do get lost in that world when I'm reading, almost to the exclusion of all else. Immersed, as they say, in the story.
 There is something about the printed word. It we read it, we tend to believe it. I wonder why that is. It is just as true online, as in a book. The big difference is the ease of finding a contradictory text online. I wonder why so many fail to search for that though ? Is it because when we read something that we already have formed an opinion on we readily accept supporting " evidence " without verifying that evidence ? Is the proliferation of this " fake " news a direct result of the ease of posting it ? What I mean is, it is so much easier to just post a text online and have it read by thousands of people than to print a book or pamphlet and distribute that. The proof of that is this blog. If it weren't for the internet how many would have even read one piece I have written ? Truth is, I probably wouldn't have written these in the first place. In my case it is of little consequence due to my social status. If I were extremely wealthy or famous in some fashion all that would change. Then, I would be quoted, cited as evidence of proof. Funny how that works isn't it ?
 That is being called out more frequently these days however and I think that is a good thing. You may be a great singer,  or an actor,  but that doesn't mean your political views are more or less valid than mine. Being rich and/or famous doesn't make you an expert on everything.
 I wonder too if the ease of availability of every type of literature and photograph is proving to be too much of a temptation for some. These sort of things can now be obtained in private and far more  discretely. Used to be the best you could hope for was a plain brown wrapper,  but everyone knew what that meant anyway.  Could this be a contributing factor to the decline in, how should I say this, a less pious approach to life ? It isn't without hazards though. Your online presence is always there and can be accessed and exposed at any time. Then your own words and choices can be used against you. Ask any politician about that. The internet is your permanent record ! A book may be burned, the internet not so much. It has been said the pen is mightier than the sword. I would say the Internet can be a dagger ! In Moby Dick Ahab says, from deaths door I stab at thee ! Yeah I know Khan said it in the movie the wrath of Khan, but Melville wrote it first. The internet can stab at thee even after your death. It just never goes away.
 Books have been lost. What knowledge did they contain ? When the great library at Alexandria was put to the torch much was destroyed. Shame it wasn't digitized back then. What more would we know about historical figures and events ? What secrets have been lost and await rediscovery ? The internet as we know it today started in the late 1960's but I'd say it wasn't until the late 70's that it really came online. Almost everything from then on is out there somewhere. If you know how to find it that is. Fortunately we have Google and not the Dewey Decimal System ! But, I suppose you could Google that if you wanted too. 

Saturday, March 10, 2018

War on Drugs

 The war on drugs is being lost. That is a headline I read recently. Last year alone there were 50,000 overdoses causing death. I thought to myself, war on drugs, what a load of crap that is. How can you wage war against an inanimate object. The war was lost when what was abandoned was a sense of morals and values in the hearts of people. Want to win the war on drugs ? Fight and win a victory for morality and decency ! The problem is not the drugs, the problem is people are abusing those drugs. And why are they abusing those drugs ? It is because they are trying to replace something they don't have in their lives. It is an attempt to gain a good feeling about themselves. The attempt will be made by artificial means when there is nothing of substance for these folks to grab on to. When you can find nothing to take pride in, inside yourself, you will reach outside. But happiness and contentment does not reside outside our souls, and that is where the war is being lost. The war on drugs can not be fought outside , it has to be won inside.
 Take a good look at the issues before us today. The war on drugs, gun violence and " human rights. " Gun violence stems from bad people. Much like drug abusers these folks are missing something inside of them. They choose to gain attention in this way. The guns aren't violent, the people are ! I'd say committing a mass shooting is a people problem, not a gun problem. And all this human rights talk these days mostly centers around perceived injustices. Take the wage gap. That was addressed by the civil rights act of 1964. Now folks are saying it wasn't specific enough, it needs to say this or that. No, what is needed is for that act to be applied and enforced in accordance with its' intent. A people problem, not a government problem. The act prohibited discrimination based on race, sex, national origin or religion. Looks like it has it all covered to me. Yet, now we have all sorts of groups protesting, claiming discrimination against them. And I say the majority of these groups claiming discrimination are basing these claims on their moral and ethical choices. Choices that are contrary to the accepted norm in American society ! Yes those behaviors have always existed, but that doesn't mean those behaviors are normal or acceptable. Something that is wrong, is wrong every time. Two wrongs don't make a right, and a million wrongs won't change the formula either. Historically they have been tolerated, but tolerance and acceptance are different circumstances.
 I haven't done any big study. I haven't spent millions of dollars on research. What I have seen is the absence of moral and virtuous behavior leading us to chaos. I have seen the more we tell our children that whatever they choose to do is fine, as long as it doesn't hurt anyone else, the more people are getting hurt. And you know why that is ? That is because by telling our children they can do whatever they want,  as long as it doesn't hurt anyone else,  we are giving them permission to hurt themselves ! When these children hurt themselves the eventual result is they will reach outside themselves to ease the pain. That pain will be eased by what the educated folks call transference. I call it acting out. How many times have we heard that term used ? Acting out, yes acting outside of themselves to satisfy a need within themselves. A need we allowed them to destroy because we were weak. We made excuses and placed the blame elsewhere. We blame the drug, we blame the gun, we blame everything and anything. There isn't enough law, there isn't enough money, there isn't enough charity. The fault always lies somewhere else. The truth is the fault lies in allowing unbridled passions to run our politics ! Legislation is being implemented in response to emotions, not logic.
 John Adams summed it up nicely :    
" We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution is designed only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for any other. " 

For some more interesting reading that may explain some of my own thinking try reading this : 

Friday, March 9, 2018

gettting better

 It does seem obvious, but the question to be answered is , what is the mutual goal ? I'm speaking of America. What, as a country , is our mutual goal ? Is the United States to be the stewards of the globe,  or should we just enjoy a peaceful co-existence with other nations ? Are we a nation or a collection of immigrants ? For me, if you are a citizen of this nation, you are not an immigrant. You were an immigrant, but you're not now. And if your ancestors came here generations ago, you never were an immigrant. It all seems fairly plain and obvious to me. Please note I am only speaking of those that arrived legally. I'm not talking about criminals. And please, don't start in with the Pilgrims came here illegally, just what sovereign nation did they invade ? What civilization did they impose their will upon ? The correct answer is none. On the North American continent there lived many small bands of people, each band independent of the other. Those folks gained and controlled their " lands " by conquest and continued aggression against the other bands. That's how it worked. The Pilgrims were nothing more than other " band " of folks that jumped into the fray. So, please spare me that lame scenario of the white man invading a foreign nation. Hey, the French and the Spanish did the same thing, it is just that the English dominated in the end. In fact, it was the English that formed the new nation. Eventually from sea to shining sea ! Remember that from grade school ?
 The obvious thing, as far as I am concerned, is that the nation ( government ) was formed as an organizational tool. The purpose of government was not to direct, but to restrain those that would do harm. Why we have a penal system, not a reward system. We were given the second amendment in the event that government attempted to take control of the people, in case the government started to do harm. What was the premise ? To live free of government intervention in our daily affairs. That was the dream. To live, work, build, and pursue your dreams unfettered from government control and restriction. Free from government demands of unreasonable taxes upon the people. That is what America was to be. The founding fathers knew a central government was necessary for this to function. They also knew the individual states should retain power as well. Just as a family requires a patriarch or matriarch to provide guidance, advice, and help when required, so too a nation requires these things. That doesn't mean the others always blindly follow that same advice, or guidance. In fact the object is to learn to survive on your own ! The object is not to live a life of dependence upon that patriarch or matriarch ! So, we should not be dependent upon the government either. Seems quite obvious to me. Government is a tool and it is up to us to use that tool. We the people, control the tool. 
 But back to the question I started with. What is the mutual goal here ? Is it to be independent or dependent ? Isn't that the left and the right ? You can't be independent by surrendering your rights ! I fail to see why certain members of our nation can not seem to grasp that simple concept. How can you be independent when the government is legislating the absence of morality ? And that is what the government is doing under the guise of " equality " and separation of church and state. What is at the core of every nation ? Belief, belief in an ideology. When the ideology changes, so will the nation. We are allowing our ideology to be contaminated and we are seeing the results. Just what is the mutual goal ? Until we all decide upon that, things aren't going to get any better.  

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Air bedding

 When I was in the navy our days were run by the Plan of the Day. This was nothing more than a schedule of events. It would list the time of the days activities. On the bottom there were notices and such. The Plan of the Day told you what clothes to wear, uniform of the day, and where to be , when. If you were friends with the ships' administration people you could get an advance copy of the plan and get a heads' up on others. That could prove useful information depending upon what was scheduled. The Plan of the Day was classified as " confidential " information and was not supposed to leave the ship. Funny how they were just thrown in the trash every day. Well, there were no big secrets in them anyway.
 This came to mind this morning because of a request by my wife. We just purchased a new memory foam/gel top mattress. It came vacuum packed and was delivered by UPS. After opening the packaging we read the instructions. It was recommended to " air " this mattress as it would have a " musty " smell from the manufacturing process. So, the wife says  let's put it out on the porch this morning. It was that request that inspired this writing. In the Navy, we called this process " air bedding. " It would appear in the plan of the day. At 0800 all hands are to " air bedding. " What that meant was to take your mattress topside and literally air it out ! As you can imagine that bedding could get quite odoriferous if left unaired. We didn't have any such thing as Frebreeze or Lysol in those days. You had to make sure your mattress was well marked so as not to have someone else walk off with it. No, all mattresses are not created equally ! There are not many personal things in the navy but your mattress is one of them. Well, at least the one you are assigned when you arrive on board. It's not a new one but you don't know who slept there before you, so it feels new. Should you change bunks you will switch mattresses as well. But that is all the normal stuff of life in the Navy.
 So today the Plan of the Day is to " air bedding. " It isn't something I ever expected to do again. I expect folks used to do that back in the old days after a long winter. I remember the spring cleanings of old. Throw open the windows, took the rugs outside for a good beating and those quilts were hung out as well. Air bedding on ship served the same purpose. Our mattress was nothing more than a slab of three inch foam rubber, officers get four inch foam. It had a covering made of bed ticking that zippered up the end. You could take it off and launder it but that seldom happened. Oh, that covering was affectionately called a " fart sack. " Sailor terms can be quite descriptive.
 I have to say the Plan of the Day was quite useful. Took the stress out of everything. It was listed right there what you were wearing and what you where doing today. Told you what time to get up and what time to go to bed. The best was when the Plan of the Day said, " holiday routine " will be observed. That was a day off. Reveille wasn't until 0700 and all you had to do was stand your watches for the day. Holiday routine was observed on Sunday and any other day designated by the Captain. I'm thinking tomorrow I'll grant myself holiday routine. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

keeping a log

  Writing it has been said is a journey of discovery. I've been sailing along for a while now. Occasionally I do change my tact, although I really have no idea of my destination. Makes me wonder about certain things. Do we all have a destination ? Or do some of us just sail around aimlessly, going from port to port ? Have I reached my final anchorage ? And just why am I writing in nautical terms this morning ? Have I tapped into the ancient mariner in me ?
 I think it may be in response to a post I saw yesterday. A Facebook friend posts beautiful pictures of the sea almost every day. I was inspired to post the opening stanza's from one of my favorite poems, Sea Fever by John Masefield. " I must go down to the seas again,  to the lonely seas and the sky, and all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by. " Those opening lines always touch me. I believe I'm envious of the poet's love for the sea. Like a Mistress he is being drawn to her, even though her beauty masks the danger. I have many seafarers in my past, whalers and baymen. My ancestors worked the waters and sailed the high seas. I too, sailed the high seas, although in far more comfort and security then any of them ever did. Still, a bit of seawater flows in my veins. I love the sound of the pounding surf as well as the gentle lapping of the waves at the edge of the bay. The sand beneath your feet and a breeze carrying that salt in the air, there just isn't much to compare. Something tells me the loneliness of the mountains must have a similar effect upon men, perhaps I will travel there one day and find out for myself. And what of the rolling plains in the Midwest ? Do they move men in such ways ?
 I've been writing and discovering . Mostly I have discovered stuff about myself. It isn't so much a learning experience as finding what was misplaced. I do believe the core of who we are is formed in our youth. That is the reason we become unsettled in our advancing years. We have a tendency to misplace things when grabbing for the new. There are times when we what we set aside is an integral part of who we are really are. We remember the actions taken,  but forget the motivation. It is our motivations that we should examine closely. There is comfort in knowing why. It could be that is why I have taken to writing, it is an attempt to explain, to know why. It is an exciting journey of adventure and grand tales ? As was said by the folks I grew up around, " not hardly Bub. "  I have no great tales of excitement. The journey has mostly been uneventful. I'm taking that as a blessing. I have been fortunate indeed. I have discovered something though, I like Poetry that Rhymes. I'm not so much inspired by other forms. I haven't listened much but isn't that the format for " rapping " too ? What little bit I have heard seems to incorporate a lot of " words " that are coarse, foul, or otherwise inappropriate. As I mentioned yesterday, an aggressive form of speech. Then we wonder why violence is on the rise ? Are they related ? I don't know about any of that.
 Yes, my writing is a way of expressing my discoveries. In a way I'm sailing around and the destination is to find myself. Strangely I don't feel lost. In fact I feel quite comfortable on this journey. I have trimmed the sails a bit, I'm not rushing ahead as I used to do. I'm keeping a sharper weather eye out these days, as I don't weather the storms as easily. Presently I am moored in Greensboro, Maryland. It could be I'm just filling out the log book, catching up so to speak. I rather like that thought. I'm no Captain, but I can keep a log nonetheless. A log of my journey sounds nice. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

a show of aggression

 This might ruffle a few feathers but I can't help but take note of this. I was browsing my Facebook page when a short video appears. It is a very small child and this child is saying the F-bomb. I noticed a lady,  of obviously senior years, saying how it started her day out with a smile and a good laugh. My immediate response, and I can be impulsive, was how is that funny ? I just have to say, it's wrong. On so many levels it is just wrong. Her response to me was, to each their own. I gave her response a " like " and moved on. But, this minor incident has stuck with me and has become a burr under my saddle. Now, I admit if this was some teenage kid I probably wouldn't have been so surprised. Have we really lost our sense of social conscious to the point where this sort of thing is a source of amusement ? I mean, how did this child learn this word and use it in " proper " context ? I italicized proper because it was being used as a noun, instead of the verb that it is. It is apparent this child is exposed to this sort of language. I would suggest on a regular basis.
 I have written about polite company in the past and think of Facebook as " being in polite company. " I started my own little group because I was apparently offending some others with my opinions. It wasn't the language I used, but the ideas I presented. And all of this is fine, that is the way it works in polite company. If you don't like what you are hearing, you just move on. Or, in my case, start your own group. I couldn't help but leave a remark on that posting. That isn't to say I will block this person or start an online battle but felt a social obligation to point out , what for me, was the obvious. If, as a society, in polite company we accept this sort of humor,  we just cheapen the relationship. I understand that between the parents, or perhaps with a very close friend one might chuckle at this outburst from a child that obviously isn't aware how inappropriate that word is. That will be followed by attempting to explain how that could happen, dare I say embarrassment by the parent ? That's one thing, to post it to social media and then have strangers laughing at it speaks volumes to me. Are you really that desperate for attention ? And what kind of person says, I think that was hilarious ?
 There will be those that say I'm offended . I say to them I am not offended just disappointed. Call it getting old, but I am seeing society degenerate right before my eyes. I'm aware that every generation says this. One day these millennials will be saying the same thing. The thing is that doesn't mean it shouldn't be said ! And that is what Polite Company really means. It was when people at least maintained a façade of civility ! Now that is being discarded as an outdated concept. No longer do we temper our thoughts, we just throw them out there. There are no boundaries, nothing is held in.
 Look I was in the Navy for twenty years. I seriously doubt there isn't a single foul mouthed, obscene or disgusting thing I haven't heard said. I can string together expletives with the best of them, and I admit,  on occasion,  I did so. You do have to adapt to the environment if you want to get along. In the case of the Navy, I didn't have a choice, I couldn't just storm off. Still I knew even then that doing so wouldn't make me any more relevant, or intelligent. No, it was more a show of aggression than anything else. That is what it is. Aggression must be countered with aggression, unless you are Gandhi or Mother Teresa.
 Standards. That is what I'm talking about here. Standards of conduct and the self implementation of those standards. Yes, to each their own. And some have poor standards ! I said this would probably ruffle some feathers but I am one that has to speak his mind. And I say that video and the response to it was substandard behavior. I feel better having said so and so will now move on. Self righteous you say ? I don't think so, I still believe there are many that would agree with me. When one uses foul and abusive language it is a sign of aggression. When you defend actions that you know to be inherently wrong, that is also a sign of aggression. It is done to avoid contrition. Contrition is good for the soul and shouldn't be avoided. Of course,  if you act right, you don't have to be concerned with that. 

Monday, March 5, 2018

Ever smooch a clam ?

Ever smooch a clam or have a bowl of graveyard stew ? I've had both and will most likely have them again some day.These are just two items I ate when growing up. Others, with not so colorful names included, Long Island hurry up, fritters ( clam and oyster ) and samp.
I had almost forgotten about the first two items. Been a good while since I had either. Graveyard stew, in case you are not familiar with that, is a food item for sick people. Got a sour stomache ? Make a batch of graveyard stew. Toast a big slice of bread ( preferably homemade) and then butter it liberally. Real butter please, none of this margarine stuff or substitutes. Place in a bowl and pour boiled milk over the toast. Bam ! Graveyard stew. As the old folks would say, " it's good for what ails you."  Does it work ? Absolutely. It'll cure just about anything given the chance, although the name may imply otherwise.
 Now smooching a clam is a different matter altogether. Clams are notoriously tight lipped. ( drum roll ). Seriously though, smooched clams are nothing more than fried clams. The thing that makes them smooched is frying them with salt pork.  Adds a little flavor and makes the meal more filling. One warning though, eat too many smooched clams and you will need graveyard stew !
 As for Long Island hurry up, that is just another name for a regular stew. Just throw some potatoes and whatever vegetables in a pot with some kind of meat, if you have it, then thicken with some flour. Fritters are just whatever fried in a batter. We mostly had clam or oyster fritters but you could make apple fritters too.  Samp is dried corn. Some folks call it hominy. Great Grandfather kept a pot of samp on the back of his coal stove from about October to March. Added a handful of corn every once in a while, or drop in a piece of meat. Salt pork was staple in every house back then. At least it was were I lived, below the bridge. You didn't eat that pork just used it for flavoring so to speak. And don't let that samp sit and get cold for too long or you will need the graveyard stew !   
 I love the regional names for different food items. For the uninitiated they can leave you wondering. The first time I went south the waitress asked me if I wanted hush puppies ? I thought the shoes I had on were just fine. Ya'll want grits ? Uh, I don't think so. Canadian bacon ? What's that, imported ? Are the pigs up there different ? Probably speak French and the French have to be different. Canadian bacon indeed.  
 The foods we grew up with are the comfort foods we love, by whatever name you call them. They may have medicinal powers or just taste good. It is true they never taste quite the way you remember them. This is especially true if a long time has passed since the last serving. I'm convinced it is the quality of the ingredients.  
Homemade bread, real butter ,milk that actually contains milk fat and some cream. I'm convinced we have homogenized, pasteurized and processed our food so much it no longer tastes the same. The nutritional value and healing properties have been taken out. Or it could be that no one can cook it the way Mom did. Not even you ! Let me tell you Mom made a mean blow fish salad. The poor mans lobster. And periwinkles are delicious in a salad as well. Ah, for the foods of our youth. I've got Mom's recipes but the execution of them is another matter altogether. Now I'm thinking about eels'. Dad called them skinables and I loved them fried. Haven't had any in quite some time.  

Sunday, March 4, 2018

where history goes

 I was talking with my sister last evening, a long remembrance really. She is only two years older than myself but our memories sure are different when talking about the early years. It is always fun when she is in the mood to talk about those times. We all have memories that we aren't too sure of. I think of them as memories in the mist. Do I remember them, seeing them in my minds eye, or am I remembering the stories I have been told ? Being the youngest I have taken on the unofficial role as family historian. There is much I do not know, as I discover each time I speak with my sister. My oldest brother has passed on, as the saying goes, and so much of his story is lost to me. I suppose that is what happens when you grow up and move away. It is something I often think about, the what if part of living. What if we had all stayed in our hometown, would we have stayed connected ? It's a nice thought but I know that it doesn't always happen that way. My Mom had brothers and sisters close by and seldom saw them. I had cousins galore that I knew nothing about. So, I'm well aware life isn't like the Waltons.
 When we were children we did share everything. We were not judgmental, we were just friends. Funny how when you grow up you start to hide certain things , even from your own brothers and sisters. But it isn't an intentional thing, you just don't want to share your mistakes or indiscretions with them. We haven't forgotten how such information can be used as a weapon ! I'm telling ! That was a common threat I heard growing up. I wonder sometimes if that is a part of our moral makeup. The things we are unwilling to openly share are the things we know to be wrong on some level. It doesn't have to be a major offense, quite the contrary, it can be the smallest of things. Things like taking the last piece of candy or telling a bit of a fib. Fibs aren't lies you know, just a reinvention of the truth.
 But now we are all reaching the age of maturity. Now we can discuss those things and laugh. I am aware that there are things best left unsaid, the proverbial let sleeping dogs lie thing. It is best to allow the other person to share whatever it is they want to share, don't be greedy. I do tend to be greedy in that regard, I want to know more. That is the historian in me. I do want to know why. The only way you can really know that is ask and get the answer from the individual that experienced the event. Even then, the best you can hope for is an unbiased view. Problem is we all have some inherent bias. We can't help that, it is human nature. It is all a matter of trust. Can you trust the other person with your secrets ? Trust and love are co-dependent. Each grows in response to the other.
 Well I have wandered off once again, I often do. I began thinking about my " memories in the mist " of time. I Googled that phrase and found it is the title to a book by Sherri Lynn, so I take no credit for the assemblage of those words. That is what authors do, assemble words into thoughts. I am interested to learn the history of my family. What will become of that history after my passing ? That is a subject I find preoccupying my thoughts when I stare at the pictures on my walls or my " artifacts " from the past. The shroud of time can obscure the picture making it difficult to discern. Just where does history go ?   

Saturday, March 3, 2018

forever unfriended

 Being a man of a curious nature I often stumble upon little facts and tidbits. Then I have to go read a little more about them until my curiosity is satisfied. Fortunately, or unfortunately depending upon your view, it normally takes little to satisfy that curiosity. I was on my favorite social media site, Facebook, and some were asking about being unfriended. I became curious about the origin of that word. I couldn't remember ever having heard it used before Facebook. So off I go to check that out. I was surprised to learn that one of the earliest uses was by Thomas Fuller in 1659 ! Hmm, that is before Facebook for sure. It seems Mr. Fuller was an author and English Church historian. I read where he is one of the first people to earn a living solely by writing. He was a puritan and in opposition to reformation.  Yes, that reformation we heard about in school, the protestant reformation. I don't think they mention such these days in school. But, whatever the case, one of his biggest adversaries was a man named John Heylyn. Heylen was an Anglican minister. He was a major influence in the church. He once called John Wesley a hypocrite ! Yes, that Wesley. There are many followers of the teaching of John Wesley and his brother, evangelical Christians associated with a number of Churches, most notable is the Wesleyan Methodist Church. It was in a letter to John Heylyn that Thomas Fuller wrote, " I, hope, sir, that we are not mutually unfriended by this difference that hath happened betwixt us. " And so there it is , the first use of the word unfriended, at least in writing, and yes it was a text !
 The difference was a matter of opinion. In his sermon the appeal of the injured innocents he does rather attack John Heylyn. John Heylyns' father was a tanner. I'll paraphrase what I read. Thomas Fuller had been arrested for carrying certain papers that were considered slanderous or some such thing. It was the Church of England that had him arrested. He was released three months later, innocent of all charges. Fuller being upset by this said that Heylyn's father was the worst sort of man because he used teams of horses to do his work,  and after those horses died, he tanned their hides, using them even after death ! I'm certain there is more to the story but that's what I got out of it.
 Now all of this interested me because of one word,"  Unfriended." Shakespeare used this word and others after him. It did make a big comeback in popular usage due to Facebook. To me it just proved something I have said before, there is little that you can say that hasn't been said before. I also found it ironic that two preachers would be the ones fighting and " being unfriended " although I noted he asked if it was a mutual thing ? A very clever way of saying, I'm not mad at you. Are we " mutually unfriended ? " Of course on Facebook we have removed that option altogether. It is solely my choice. I guess that is called progress. I didn't read long enough to find out what John Heylyn responded or if he responded at all. You would have to believe being a good Christian that he forgave Thomas Fuller and sat their differences aside. John Heylyn was buried at Westminster Abbey. Thomas Fuller was buried at Cranford Church in Middlesex, England. I don't think they were " unfriended " forever, but rather have settled the issue with God as the mediator. 

Friday, March 2, 2018

write it down

  I read somewhere that if you want to know what you believe, write. I have to agree. I've been writing these blogs and have learned what I believe. I have to admit it isn't always a comfortable experience. Fortunately I haven't discovered anything extreme. At least I'm no scrooge on Christmas Eve ! But, I'm still writing and still learning. And enlightenment comes in a flash, in an instant.
 Have I changed my thinking on some subjects ? Yes, I believe I have. No, that isn't exactly true, I have become more aware of what I believe, and gained an interest in some things I just took for granted. I have discovered there are reoccurring themes to my thoughts. Are those reoccurring themes growth ? I certainly hope that is the case and not that I'm just stuck.
 I think belief has little to do with fact. We can know the facts, but believe differently. If that were not the case we wouldn't change a thing. The challenge is we have to be careful about what we believe, what are facts, and what should be changed. Are there absolute truths ? Yes, I believe that there are. You can't change an absolute truth, but you can not believe it to be so. For me the strongest case in point for that is the issue of abortion. I believe it is an absolute fact that you should not kill an innocent child. I do not see that as a choice. Ever. It is wrong to put our needs above the needs of others. That is what I believe. In practice I fall short of that ideal, we all do, unless we are some kind of saint. I draw the line at killing another person to satisfy my wants. You could say I haven't set the bar very high, but that is the mark. I believe it is wrong ! More than that, I believe it to be an absolute truth. You can't change truth by belief. That is how it works.
 I believe in polite company. I'm thinking it is a concept that may be fading away. When interacting with those that are not close friends, acquaintances is the term, you should conduct yourself differently. I mean being a bit more formal in your manner of speech and opinions. One does not curse in polite company or in the presence of ladies. That's polite, a courtesy extended until you get to know the person and their beliefs. Courtesy in general has become rather lax in my opinion. Is it an absolute ? No, it is not. We progress in our relationships past the polite company phase. It is then we begin to exchange our beliefs and thoughts. It is also the time we either form a stronger bond or walk away.
 In modern jargon, we unfriend them. It is an action I do not take lightly. I have done that once on social media. I find it more of a courtesy to just remain silent. It is why I wrote, " Emotions are often great motivators but seldom good guides. " I have found that when our beliefs differ concerning the same facts, we just don't get along. Each person using fact to support belief. The trouble is in determining the absolute. For me there is black and white, right and wrong. Once having determined what I believe to be the case, it is what I cling to. I believe you really do have to decide, you can't sit on the proverbial fence. You also can't keep jumping over that fence every time someone challenges your belief.
 In regard to the observation that if you want to know what you believe, write, there is a part of me that hopes that isn't true. That part is in regard to what I'm reading other people write. If those folks are truly writing what they believe we are all in big trouble. From the naïve to the conspirators I read a lot of crazy stuff. From, if we ban guns no one will get shot anymore, to arm the teachers as a strike force, I'm reading a world of extremes. In fact I'm seeing a normalization of extremes ! Just look at some of the parades and protests currently active. Extreme, you better believe it. Grown mature women wearing vagina hats and screaming my body , my choice. A normal reaction ? Gay pride parades now expanded to LBGT&Q personalities ? Dressed in their " outfits " crawling on their hands and knees being lead on chains ? Normal behavior ? Being offended by a statue ? Nazi's parading in the streets and communists running for political office. What can these people believe ? Do they know what they believe ?
 Well, for me I'll just keep writing. I'll just keep saying what I believe. Sure I hope that others believe the same thing, don't we all ? There is some evidence that if you say the same thing long enough and hard enough some will believe. The challenge then becomes to turn that belief into fact. Thing is there are absolute facts that can't be changed, they must be learned. Strangely, they can't be taught. You just have to write them down.      

Thursday, March 1, 2018

heads up

 Just when you think you're heard it all, a new one pops up. I'm reading the posts on my timeline when I notice this meme. It says that NBC reported there were 6000 pedestrians deaths last year, the majority caused by people distracted by their cell phone. So, I'm reading the responses and chuckling until I read this one : the solution is simple, people are turning off the I'm driving feature of the GPS system. Make the phone so you can't turn that feature off . My immediate response was, or pay attention to what you are doing ! I turned to the wife, and explaining this remarked, we're doomed I tell you, we're doomed ! If we have people out there wandering around in the streets,  or walking on the pier and require their phone to tell them were they are, we're lost ! The sheep are walking off the cliff.  Big brother needs to herd them and the GPS system is going to be the shepherd. I can't help but shake my head in amazement and wonder. Yes, we all get distracted and do stupid stuff,  but to blame the phone for not warning us ? Now, that's stupid !
 I've heard other people my age saying, I'm getting too old for this world, people have gone crazy. Everyday I see more outlandish stuff in the news. Some of this stuff is just horrific in its' total disregard for humanity. Mass shootings, terrorists attacks and suffering all over the globe. Other things are just ridiculous nonsense. We have to choose our pronouns carefully and statues offend us. I understand exactly what they mean but me, I gotta hang around just to see how it all turns out ! I want to see what happens when the millennials are triggered by reality ! There will come a day of reckoning. Those safe spaces and fidget spinners ain't gonna save their butt. What are they gonna do when the criminals are armed to the teeth and all they have left is gummy bears and rhetoric ? Shall we call the crisis intervention team, or just have a group hug. Aren't there counselors for this ? Well never mind, we'll just smoke some medical marijuana and it'll be cool. We can just check our phone, google the answer, and be warned that we are crossing a street. That gives me an idea for a new app, can we install an idiot alert ! If you are about to walk into oncoming traffic or off the end of the pier, or the side of a mountain your phone alerts you with, HEY IDIOT look up. The heads up app ! Sounds like a winner.  

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

a sense of power

 Emboldened or empowered ? They really are different actions. I was thinking about that when having an online discussion the other day. I thought that perhaps the concept of polite company had been lost to generations subsequent to my own. If it has, we have only ourselves to blame. These thoughts came in response to the choice of words used by the other party I was speaking with. She started out polite enough, exchanging thoughts about a meme that had been displayed. To be honest I don't remember what it was about. As the conversation progressed and she felt threatened somehow, perhaps my stating of facts did that, her language became quite coarse. She then directed me to have intimate relations with myself ! She went on to say she was a lady and had been treated unfairly on account of that. I couldn't help but respond with, given your choice of vocabulary, your lady card has been revoked. She responded with some statement about being empowered and it is then I thought, no, you have become emboldened. I ended the discussion and went about my day. The thought went with me.
 As the day wore on I noticed others that seem to have empowered and emboldened confused. That is why we see so much anger, so much brashness in the world. These folks are emboldened by wielding their " rights " like a club. Having been fed a steady diet of " empowerment " and being starved of " humility"  they are bold. The problem is their is a very fine line between bold and bully. What is a bully ? One that wields his power over others, whether it is physical or mental. I'd say using your " rights "to harm others classifies. That is where the concept of polite company enters the picture. I will defer my opinion in deference to the elderly. I will temper my language in certain social situations, and most certainly in mixed company. Yes, I am certainly free to speak, choosing any noun or verb I choose, but I exercise that right with discretion. Interjecting terms and phrases simply for the shock value, what I call the Maury effect, is not an act of empowerment. To me it is nothing more than a lack of respect. I'm not offended so much as disappointed. It is always my hope to have a pleasant exchange of thoughts and ideas with others. I don't go looking for a fight. It is disappointing when all the other person offers is a tirade of expletives and says little of substance.
 Empowered ? Empowerment is a good thing. It's a term thrown around a lot these days. I'm empowered, you are empowered, we are all empowered. It's a verb, an action word. Being empowered gives you power or authority to do something. But as with all power there is a responsibilty. That responsibilty is to exercise that power, that authority, in a prudent fashion. If you just impose that power, that authority over others indiscriminately, you are not being empowered, you are just being a bully ! That other verb, embolden, gives you the courage, or confidence to act. Yes, the difference in meaning is quite a subtle thing. Why do we choose to say we are empowered when it is a good thing ? We don't say I've become emboldened. Empowerment implies what is right and just, embolden does not.
 As to what any of this means I'll leave up to you, the reader. I only try to express my thoughts as best as I can. I'm just not seeing people becoming empowered, What I'm seeing is defiance. I'm seeing a false sense of confidence, of self worth. I'm seeing people standing behind laws as a shield and proclaiming their rights ! They are simply exercising rights without any personal responsibilty. Not empowerment at all, just a sense of power. 

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Normal women

 It was 96 years ago today that eight members of the Supreme court agreed on landmark legislation. The judges declared the 19th amendment was constitutional. What is the 19th amendment ? Yes, it is women's suffrage. Interesting to note is that the amendment doesn't directly mention women at all. In fact it says, " The right of the citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of sex.  Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation." It was first proposed in 1868 but that bill went no where. In 1878 California Senator Aaron Sargent introduced his bill. It was rejected but proposed every year for the next 41 years. In 1919 it was approved by Congress and ratified with the required 2/3 vote in 1920.
 There were almost as many women's groups opposed to this amendment as there were those in favor. One of the reasons stated was " because in political activities there is constant strife, turmoil, contention and bitterness, producing conditions from which every normal woman naturally shrinks. " That is what the pamphlet said. The fairer sex should not be involved in such things, very unladylike. Women had been voting in state elections for many years by this time. There is nothing in the constitution that prevented women from voting, it was on a state by state basis. Women's suffrage was passed by a Republican congress. This was done during what has been called the " progressive " era in politics. The fight had begun in 1848. The state of Mississippi waited until 1948 to ratify that amendment. It was the last state to do so. Only took a hundred years.
 The constitution did not address who could vote at all. There is no mention of women or the word sex in there. The ability to vote was left to the power of the individual states. Many states allowed women to vote in local elections and state elections in general. It wasn't until the 19th amendment that all women could vote in all elections. The power was taken from the state and placed under the authority of the federal government by that amendment. And that was what the fight was all about.       I'm always surprised by how many people believe women couldn't vote at all before that. When asked about the 19th amendment and the women's right to vote that is the most common response. It is of interest , especially so today, that the original constitution of the United States is a " gender neutral " document ! Amazing isn't it ? Those founding fathers were a lot smarter than we like to give them credit for. Jefferson, Madison and Adams drafting the declaration of Independence, Hamilton and Franklin among others writing the constitution. And none of them addressed voting rights other than to mention the qualifications to become President. They did believe in the power of the states to govern and shied away from a powerful central government. They were very much aware of the dangers of that.
 There will mention of this in the news today, as it should be. The teachers in school will talk briefly about it. It'll be taught as the women's right to vote, like they didn't vote prior to that. Truth is, they did depending upon the state. We have all heard that term " suffrage " and instantly relate it to women. The term suffrage itself just means the right to vote in  political elections and is not gender specific. It doesn't mean that women were suffering. Denied, no doubt about that, but suffering, I don't think so. Suffrage can also be a series of intercessor prayers or petitions. Words and their meanings and usage. Semantics. Well I'm glad women no longer have to suffer ! Well, maybe they are,  being politically active as they are today. If those ladies 97 years ago had only read the pamphlet,
  " because in political activities there is constant strife, turmoil, contention and bitterness, producing conditions from which every normal woman naturally shrinks. " it could, have been avoided. 

Monday, February 26, 2018


 It's a common saying today. It is something I hear all the time. It is also something that grates on my nerves. I'm a survivor ! OMG, if you are still breathing you are a survivor that is pretty obvious ! If you didn't survive, you are a fatality. I can't put my finger on just why,  but that phrase just annoys me. If I get a cold, when its' over I don't go around saying, I survived. Survival implies you were in immediate danger of dying. at least that is what it means to me. The key being " immediate " as in on the edge.  Being a survivor doesn't mean I recovered from an illness. Recovery and survival are different things. I was granted recovery. Survival is dependent upon a degree of good fortune or luck. True, you can posses skills that enabled you to survive, you were prepared, but that wasn't your intent when you set out. Your intent was not to come as close to death as possible and survive. If it were you wouldn't have taken the time and effort to learn those survival skills in the first place. That's just common sense.
 I think what bothers me is the implication that you should be rewarded in some fashion for being a survivor. Hey, you survived, that is the reward. Surviving an illness isn't an accomplishment to be rewarded, still being alive is the reward. The attitude should be one of gratitude, thanking your God you survived. Anytime something bad happens within 800 yards of you and you don't get hurt that doesn't make you a survivor. You had good fortune or luck in you prefer that term. You don't get awarded the medal of valor ! And I think that may be at the core of all this " survivor " stuff these days. Everyone is so used to being rewarded just for living, they are beginning to believe it is an accomplishment ! Well, it's not. Life is a gift given by the grace of God and can be taken away just as quickly. Oh you can survive just about anything if you have good luck, or the way I see it the protection of a loving God. That explains the unexplained circumstance that allow us to make it through accidents, assaults, and other situations that should kill us. It wasn't your time is the quick answer. You didn't survive, you were saved !
 How did we get to this point ? That is what I often think about. It seems like so many are demanding, no expecting,  to be rewarded for every little thing they do. Participation awards for living. I was on the subway when the train stopped, it was stopped for half an hour but I'm a survivor ! I survived the subway shutdown. My phone lost it's charge but I survived ! My thinking is that it may be because we stopped teaching our children about the real reward for a life well lived. The things we accumulate here are mere trinkets, something to amuse until we receive the ultimate reward. When you learn to live your life expecting no reward for waking up in the morning, instead being grateful for that gift, your attitude changes. We have been promised a reward, life without end. That is the ultimate survival ! And you can't get that by lying, cheating, stabbing your fellow man in the back and making demands. Humility is the key that unlocks the gates of heaven. It isn't the garnering of accolades. Instead of saying look at me I'm a survivor, you should be thankful that you have been " saved. " It is salvation that grants eternal life. Earn that and you will have survived. 

Sunday, February 25, 2018

a time to start

 We started with, spare the rod and spoil the child. Well, we have and we did. We are just beginning to the see the results of that decision. We have tried to drug the children into submission and the results of that are telling. Depression, thoughts of suicide, uncontrollable anger and many others. But, we blame a gun ! Some of these kids are eating Tide pods as a " challenge " , yeah a mental challenge because they're idiots ! But, it's the gun causing them to attack other children at the schoolhouse.
 We started with other children will tease you and make fun of you. We taught our children how to cope with that. We taught sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me. We taught if you were attacked with sticks and stones,  you retaliated with sticks and stones ! It was a fair fight. Now we tell our children you are being bullied, some one else needs to deal with that. You are wrong to even try to do anything about that. You are defenseless, your only hope is the law. You are dependent upon the law for your safety and your well being. If you still feel upset and angry, even after the law has intervened, it's a failure of the system ! You will be given some more drugs or special considerations. It's not your fault after all, the system failed you. Protest, scream at the sky and boycott ! That is how to get results. Whatever you do always remember, it is never a failure on your part, never ! The system is failing you.
 We started with , "  When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another and assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which Laws of Nature and of Natures God entitles them , a decent respect to the opinion of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. " Beyond the explanation of why, we acknowledged the Law of Nature and Natures God ! Later in the Constitution, the law of the land, we separated God from Government. We didn't remove God from our lives and our thinking, quite the contrary, we kept God separate so as not to contaminate our God with the laws of men. But now, now we are eliminating God from the equation altogether. God is under attack. And, I would submit, we have begun to deny the laws of nature. Case in point, gender identity ! Another example is this concept of inanimate objects somehow assaulting school children ! It is not the fault of the person, it's the fault of the weapon ! Why, it's a failure of the system ! 
 Well I'd say we had a real good system for many years until we decided to change all of that. No need to discipline children, no we will reward instead. And we will reward everyone equally so as not to upset delicate egos. Even when the behaviors are terrible, we won't blame the children, we will just drug them into submission. We will teach or children that the world should revolve around them, any attempt to make them conform to societal standards must be stopped ! We will write legislation ! There will be no " decent respect to the opinion of mankind " there will only be the law.
 What will the future bring ? I don't know but have not lost hope. Surely there will come a time when people are reawakened. Will it take some tough times, trials and tribulations ? Yes, it will, it always does. It is like raising your children. It takes effort, determination, resolve, and a desire to give of yourself. If you are unwilling to do those things the results are always bad. The pendulum swings and I sure hope it reaches it's apex soon. I am sensing a groundswell of resentment and intolerance growing in our country. Enough of this nonsense. A time to return to common sense. A time to once again recognize the Laws of Nature and Natures God. 

Saturday, February 24, 2018

I don't always agree

  People have likes and dislikes. I know, it's an amazing thing to some that believe everyone should just love everything. I'm talking about personal likes and dislikes of course. It has gotten to be where you can't express those personal likes and dislikes without being labeled. We are defining our fellow man in that fashion. To say you dislike or disagree with someone else is akin to a declaration of war these days. And then we wonder why people can't have a reasonable, rational discussion. Emotions rule the day, logic be damned.
 I've always prescribed to the old way, live and let live. The problem these days is others want to live in my house ! The message is being misunderstood. I'm more than happy to let you live in any fashion you choose as long as you ain't hurting me or someone I love. That doesn't mean you can live in that manner in my house ! I don't like it, I will tell you I don't like it, and tell you to get out ! That doesn't mean I want to harm you in any fashion, what it does mean is,  I disagree with your choices.     Life,  and living of it is always about choice. This information seems to be a bit of a surprise to some these days. Well not exactly that they have a choice, but that their choices have consequences. Seems like a lot of folks can't think past the I have a choice part. They choose to study philosophy in college. It sounds all heady, so scholarly, an impressive degree. Then once they get it they realize they can't find a job, no body is hiring a philosopher ! Oh man, I've got to pay back all these loans and I can't get a job ! Then they make another choice, open a go fund me account and ask for loan forgiveness. Eventually they end up delivering pizza for dominos while philosophizing about the meaning of life.
 Well, like I said, live and let live. Just don't ask me to provide that life for you, you have to get that all by yourself. Also don't ask or expect me to always agree with your choices. It doesn't mean I hate you or want to kill you, it means I'm telling you what I think. I think a man sporting a man bun looks like a fool, my opinion and my choice to not wear one. If you choose to dress and act like a thug don't complain when people think you are a thug. If you choose to explain everything with a four letter vocabulary don't be surprised when you are not taken seriously. Maybe you should have gotten a degree in Communication. Oh wait, I can learn to communicate with others without having a degree in it. Look in the want ads and see how many job openings there are for a person with a communication degree. You can drive right ? At least you will know how to communicate with the customers.
 All I'm trying to say here is that it is our choices that rule the day. It isn't about getting others to agree with your choices. It isn't about liking or disliking one another. It is about reaching an understanding with each other. In reaching that understanding we can arrive at the best choice for each of us. It works that way on every level. Whether we are talking about personal choices or choices that effect the entire nation, we need to reach an understanding with one another. Emotions need to be tempered with knowledge. Emotions start wars ! We need to use knowledge to arrive at a logical decision, a reasonable choice. 

Friday, February 23, 2018

when facts offend

 I can't help but notice a growing trend among a certain group of people. Maybe it has something to do with all that bottled water they're drinking, maybe it is tied to their belief in global warming or that murdering the unborn is a choice, I just don't know, but the truth is offensive to them. Even when you agree with their view or stance on something, when you present facts, they're offended. The latest case in point concerned the speed of a bullet. This individual had read an article, written by a doctor, saying how the speed of the projectile from the muzzle of an AR-15 did massive tissue damage. He hadn't seen such damage done by rounds fired from any other weapon. Agreeing with the doctor I did point out  that the AR-15 uses a .223 round. I went on to explain I was no ballistic expert but that round would have about the same velocity when fired from a sporting rifle. I even looked it up and discovered the muzzle velocity of an AR-15 shooting a .223 round was 3125 feet per second. Then I looked and found that the muzzle velocity of a Remington .223 sporting rifle was 3500 feet per second ! I could only surmise the good doctor had never seen anyone shot with one of those. Well, the person I was talking with was offended ! I was quoting actual facts and she was having none of it ! The Doctor said it was those rounds from an AR-15 that did that damage and no other rifle did that. She even declared what I was saying was a " fixed opinion " which took some time for me to understand. Then I deciphered that phrase : a " fixed opinion " is liberal speak for " facts that offend you. " It's similar to calling an illegal alien an undocumented immigrant. So , I then wished her a good evening and left that discussion.
 I have had several folks claim the AR-15 was designed for nothing more than killing people. They have gone on to say it is solely an offensive weapon, that is why it is called an assault rifle. When I point out a simple fact like, all guns are designed to kill, that was their intended purpose from day one. Oh, over the centuries we have made guns for sport, for pleasure and as toys, but the original purpose was to kill. And contrary to what many believe there were semi-automatic rifles long before the second amendment was written. Expensive and rare yes, but available nonetheless. More than one have responded with , that's your opinion. Yes I guess it is, a fixed opinion. I call that a fact. I also point out that an AR-15 or any rifle for that matter is excellent for defense as well. In fact, I'd say the Army issues me one of those to defend myself against the enemy wishing to shoot me first ! That's exactly why the second amendment was written as a matter of fact. I may need to defend myself against my enemies foreign and domestic. The well armed militia we are all so familiar with in that amendment is now called the Army and it is that militia I may have to defend myself against ! If the population is unarmed and defenseless tyranny gains a foothold. A fixed opinion ? No, it's just the facts of the matter. Very offensive to some.
 I could go on with all of this but to what point ? All that happens is my " fixed opinions " upsets a certain group of people. Then I remind myself these same folks are of the opinion there are three genders and tide pods are a challenge ! These same folks hold parades to celebrate their sexual preferences. They don't have any " fixed opinions " on anything. They are libel to change their mind about anything at any time. Why in just the last few weeks I have seen these same folks marching in the streets with vagina hats on holding signs saying, my body, my choice ! In my " fixed opinion " that baby they are carrying has its' own body and is being denied a choice. The same bunch appeared last week holding signs saying, " save the children. " See what I mean about changing their mind, that's why they don't have any " fixed opinions. " Even the mention of fact infuriates them. They sure get mad when I mention any of this.
 I even started my own group on Facebook a while back because some folks were so offended by this blog. Why it is just filled with my " fixed opinions " and was very upsetting. I included a disclaimer in the groups description in the hopes no one would accidently get offended. I only do that on purpose ! It is my " fixed opinion " that guns were designed to kill. It is also my " fixed opinion " they only kill when aimed and fired by a person. Are there exceptions ? Yes, there are but none of those exceptions have attacked any churches, schools or shopping malls.