Just Me

Just Me
Look,I'm just sayin'

Sunday, January 21, 2018

something new

 I saw another change last evening. The wife and I were going out to dinner with my son and his family. My grandson Mark will celebrate his 17th birthday this coming Tuesday. Last night after dinner we were going to an " escape room " as a part of his birthday celebration. Mark was bringing his " girlfriend " if that is what the kids still say and we were sure it was going to be a good time. My wife says, be sure to bring the camera, I want a few pictures. It was at that moment I saw that change and answered with, just bring your phone.
 You would have to be a baby boomer to understand that I think. This technology has been around for a while now and the younger people take it for granted, not giving it a thought. I still don't think in terms that my phone is a camera. Or is it the camera that became a phone ?  We did have cameras before we had phones. Although the first consumer camera, the one for you and I to use wasn't available until 1901 when Kodak introduced the Brownie. Strangely I can remember my parents having a Brownie. Still, it wasn't until 1994 that digital cameras came on the market, Apple quick time being the first. But I have wandered off a bit. For whatever reason last night I realized that I could just take the phone and not worry about lugging a camera along. I have heard that the cameras in the new phones are quite capable of doing as good a job as regular ones. It has only been 24 years since digital photography was introduced but I'm already getting used to it. Who says an old dog can't learn new tricks.
 Anyway, so that was a sort of revelation to me, as funny as that sounds. I'm thinking in another twenty five years very few people will have a camera separate from their phones. We really are headed toward the Star Trek thing. I don't think their communicators could take pictures though, at least I never saw Kirk taking a selfie ! What was funny though was when we got to the " escape room " they had us place all our electronics in a locker. They don't want people taking pictures of their rooms. After, my daughter in law posts on Facebook how we went a whole hour without our phones. Obviously a rare thing for them to have happen to them. I thought I sensed some panic creeping in at the 45 minute mark. I thought it was because we hadn't solved the mystery yet, but maybe that wasn't it. It was fun working together to try to escape that room. And yes, we did it with about seven minutes to spare ! Don't tell but I kept my flip phone in my pocket, just in case of emergency. I think I can take a picture with it although I never have.
 The whole " escape room " thing was an interesting diversion from the real world. For almost an hour we all worked together trying to solve the clues that would allow us to escape before the serial killer got back. I admit I did more watching that searching for clues. I'd say that was something that comes with age and maturity, the delight in watching others have fun. I didn't want to spoil the fun by just solving the mystery right off. That's the way I'm telling the story and it is my story. I did help with a couple clues though. The family all agree, we will have to do that again one day. It makes for a good memory. I am grateful for the many memories I have with the " kids. " We've been to a lot of places and done a lot of things together. It was like a one hour " staycation ! "
  

Saturday, January 20, 2018

voting your conscience

 Woke up to find the government is shut down. Business as usual. I'm not going to discuss the merits or lack thereof in this posting. I'll just wait and see. All I will say is in the final analysis it'll be about money, not morality or justice. It is that that disappoints me. But I said I wouldn't talk about that. Should we really uphold the rule of law, or just ignore it when it proves of political value to do so ? But I said I wouldn't write about any of that. Did we elect our representatives to cast their votes in favor of feelings above constitutional law ? Are they to vote whatever they perceive the social conscience to be ? Is reelection more important than procedure ? But I said I wouldn't mention any of this. Should the Senate vote in favor of illegal aliens and disregard the actual citizens that put them in office ? Is that what their job is ? But, I said I wouldn't discuss this. An entire political party has hung its' hat on 800,000 illegal aliens. The DACA dreamers ! Did this same political party shut down the government when Rosa Parks sat on a bus ? Did this political party shut down the government in protest over conditions in Detroit ? Has this political party ever shut down the government in favor of any minorities in this country ? No, the answer is no. But this same political party has shut down the government in favor of illegal aliens. But I said I wouldn't mention any of this. And so I'll remain quiet.
 My hope is that this does serve as a sort of wake up call. I hope it forces some to take a hard look at reality. Unfortunately it won't happen until their pocketbooks are effected. Let Starbucks close or the fidget spinner factory go out of business and things will change quickly enough. No crayons for you ! Let the free handouts be withheld and attitudes will change. All of those that stand behind the great " socialist " movement of enlightenment will definitely adopt a new outlook. It's a wonderful to have dreams. It's a great thing to have dreamers. It's even better when you don't have to pay for those dreamers out of your own pocket ! We'll see, it's time to pay the piper ! But I'm not going to talk about any of this.
 I will say this, if you vote your conscience you must also be prepared to accept the cost of that decision. Government is run by rule of law. That is how civilized people do business. How can withholding lawful services from citizens in favor of illegals be made with good conscience. The oath of office every elected official is subject to plainly states their duty is to the United States of America. Their duty is to those citizens ! But, I'm not saying anything about that.   

Friday, January 19, 2018

a gift


Wealth without work.
Pleasure without conscience.
Knowledge without character.
Commerce without morality.
Science without humanity.
Worship without sacrifice.
Politics without principle.

 The above list, if you are not familiar with it is called " The Seven Social Sins " and was written by Frederick Lewis Donaldson, an Anglican priest. At first he called them the seven deadly social sins. He listed them in a sermon at Westminster Abbey in London on March 20, 1925. Gandhi, yes that Gandhi, is often given credit for them because he published them in his newspaper. I admit to not being real familiar with either of these gentlemen. Gandhi is certainly far more well known that Donaldson and perhaps that is why he gets credit. I haven't read the actual newspaper article Gandhi published and so can't say if he attributed Donaldson with the work or not. Whatever the case may be, the message remains the same. 
 Earlier this week we celebrated MLK day. He is best remembered for his dream speech. A speech where he speaks to the character of a man, not to the color of his skin. Gandhi was fighting against British rule and Dr. King for a measure of freedom as well. I was reminded of a previous blog of mine concerning these seven social sins. It is interesting that Donaldson was a priest, Dr. King a minister and Gandhi an activist, although most people think of him as some sort of religious leader. Many view him as a saint. My point being all were men of faith. All certainly agreed with Donaldson. 
 I have yet to publish a reprint. That is to say just repost an earlier blog. This morning however I was thinking about those seven social sins and how they relate to the current day situation in America, Each one is fairly self explanatory. Pick any one of them and you relate it easily enough. Take science without humanity as an example. It isn't hard for me to know what that means. Another on that list is Pleasure without Conscience ! Today we would rephrase that, if it feels good, just do it ! As long as it doesn't hurt someone else, it's alright. That is eliminating conscience from the equation entirely. The truth is you are hurting yourself when you go against your conscience and that should concern you. It is my belief that lack of concern will cost you in the end, one way or another. 
 When I started writing this piece it wasn't my intent to preach. I wanted to share, once again, that list that I find so applicable to us all. That was written by a man I would think the majority of us have never heard of. He was just an Anglican priest in London after all. He was successful in his chosen profession that can't be denied. He is buried at Westminster Abbey, a great honor. Gandhi read the sermon containing these seven sins and published them in his newspaper. Because of his widespread fame they became attributed to him. It is that,  my thoughts wandered too. Gandhi made that list known. Gandhi spread the word of Donaldson. If he hadn't published them in his newspaper how many of us would be aware of them today ? I'm speculating here but I think, not many. I also think that Donaldson wouldn't care. He was spreading his truth and that is what was of importance to him. The truth is the reward. That is what I think anyway. Will someone somewhere publish my thoughts ? Could be, and then they get the credit whether they want it or not. I'm thinking if that person already had a measure of fame that could happen quite easily. If a person is famous a lot of things they say are admired, even when perhaps they don't deserve it. Many ride fame having only created one wave ! 
 I guess what I'm trying to say here this morning is that I remain hopeful. One day someone may read what I have written and find some value in it. Just like Gandhi found the words of Donaldson to be so important to him. Was Donaldson rewarded for his words in his lifetime ? I can't answer that question but I question whether it mattered to Donaldson anyway. I admit I want acknowledgement, some validation for my thoughts, I am just a regular person. I wouldn't say I am driven, more like I'm along for the ride.  Your best " work " isn't done for reward. Calvin Coolidge perhaps expressed this best when he said, " No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave. "  

Thursday, January 18, 2018

plastic heirloom ?

 A heirloom is something of special value handed down from one generation to another. The item itself does not necessarily have any monetary value, the value lies in sentiment. I jokingly call many things I have heirlooms. I tease the wife and grandkids with that all the time. Yesterday my wife grabs her watering can and Mark, my grandson says, you still have that old thing ? I, of course, immediately tell him it's a family heirloom. He just gives me that look. Senile old man. He does say Grandma has had that thing forever. I have to smile because it is the truth. Well, that is obviously an exaggeration. I don't known when we bought it. It has been around a while, sixteen years maybe, that would be his forever. It's made out of plastic. Can an heirloom be made out of plastic ? Yes, of course it can I know that but it seems like a foreign idea. Heirlooms are old. Truth is I'm getting old and I have a few things made out of plastic that could very well become heirlooms, if they aren't already. Somehow it just doesn't seem right.
 Sentiment requires a host. If the sentiment doesn't have a host we call it a memory. Memories are rather frail things subject to being forgotten. Sentiment resides in an object of some type and is preserved by that object. The object can be a reminder.  As long as the story has been told or written down that object will hold the memory. Sentiment can be lost. That happens when the object no longer causes an emotional response in anyone. In much the same way a song can transport you to another time or place, so too an heirloom object. The amazing thing is how an heirloom can effect generations that had no direct contact with that treasure. All that is required is knowledge of a connection. My wife has a rolling pin that belonged to her grandmother. I never knew or met this lady. I made a display rack to hold it and identify where it came from. It is an heirloom to me despite never having known the owner. I have no memory of her, yet feel sentiment. 
 I've seen the show about people that are hoarders. They seem to form a sentimental connection to every object they come into contact with. We normal people just don't understand that at all. If I believed in the paranormal I would say they are channeling former owners through these objects. I don't believe that and figure these folks just have an aversion to throwing out good stuff. I understand the concept of good. One man's trash is indeed another's mans' treasure. I'm thinking those folks confuse sentiment with potential. Every object has the potential to become an heirloom to someone. All that is required is a memory. Each object does hold value. I'm thinking I could become a hoarder it I don't hold myself in check. 
 The thing about heirlooms is that they are not handed down, they are chosen. That is how an object gains that status. I may assign great value to an object and you reject that. Take that plastic watering can as an example. Mark may want that one day, saying that was Grandmas' thus assigning value. You just never know for sure what will be " saved " and what gets set aside. I may insist that certain things be kept, promises for their safekeeping extracted but it doesn't guarantee heirloom status. Having something and saying, this was of great value to someone else is not the same as it having great value to you. We all operate on our own value system. A plastic watering can ? Could be. Truth is I'll never know what things of mine obtain heirloom status, if any. For that reason I should just enjoy them for what they are. I chuckle when I see folks buying " collectibles " believing they will become valuable or an heirloom some day. You may see a monetary increase in a " collectable " item. Thing is, you can't buy an heirloom. Heirlooms are purchased by others and valued by you. Sentiment is the currency and memory the bank. Isn't that why we say, store it in your memory bank ? 

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Challenged

 I've heard about this Tide Pod challenge. I really don't get the challenge. Is it to eat the thing or what ? Okay, I admit it, I really haven't read much about it immediately dismissing it as stupid. It doesn't matter at all. I have teenage grandchildren and I am 100% confident that they will not try it. I still find it hard to believe that anyone would try it. What's the point ? What is it that they are trying to prove ?
 I was reminded of a challenge, we called it a dare, or a double dog dare if it was exceptionally dumb for you to try it. Well, what I did wasn't even a double dog care, it was a test ! Yes, it was called a punk test ! This tested your manhood ! You had to take a quarter and rub it back and forth on the back of your hand 100 times. If you could do that without crying about it, you were a man ! I still have a small scar on my hand from that test. Stupid, you bet, I got an infection from that and it wasn't a good thing. My Dad " cured " that infection and believe me the cure tested your manhood. Straight alcohol poured into that open wound got your attention. Then a scraping out of the bad stuff. Another alcohol bath and wrapping it up. After all of that I learned a lesson. I had been " punked. " I allowed other people to influence my decision making and the result wasn't good. I didn't take any more challenges after that. I was called names a few times for my lack of participation but learned that truth of names will never hurt me.
 I can remember doing a few other stupid things to fit in. I remember spinning around until you couldn't stand up, fun stuff. I tried smoking corn silk, I don't know why. Rumor said if you put aspirin in a Pepsi you would get drunk. I don't think I ever tried that one though. Hmm, now that I get thinking about it I guess I didn't do all that much stupid stuff after all. We did try to do adult stuff though, like smoking and drinking. Yeah, I thought that made you grown up. As for other " adult " activities all I can say is there was far more thinking about it than doing it. Even those girls with a reputation weren't all that cooperative. I just figured those girls were like the guys I knew, a lot of talk.
 This latest challenge just goes to show little changes in the world. Young people will do stupid things for stupid reasons. It is hard for us old folks to understand it. I'm laughing because I do understand it. It's a way to prove yourself, show that you are unafraid. You can be " cool " if only for a minute. I shake my head and mumble, idiots. Few will have any serious side effects from this latest challenge. Social media makes for a much larger audience for your bravery and that is dangerous. I do think most kids have to do this stuff though. It is a part of growing up, call it maturing. It's also true that some of us ripen faster than others. I try to learn the " code " words the kids are using today. It's fun to embarrass the grandkids when you use it in front of their friends. You know, like saying one of their other friends is like totally rachet ! Ah, to be young again. To be back when you knew it all, and were invincible. Little did we know the real challenge was just to face our own challenges. Once you learn that lesson, life gets easier. Then the challenge becomes, putting up with idiots. Sometimes I just feel like eating a Tide Pod myself ! #thatscooldudepodchallenge

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

A moral obligation

 I just read about a man that was deported after having been here for twenty five years. He was married to a citizen, had children and is retired from the Ford motor company. Very sad. The article didn't go into specifics as far as the legal aspects of the case went. I have always been under the impression if you married a citizen that you were automatically granted citizenship. Of course I realize that is the way it works in the movies but that doesn't mean there isn't more involved than that. I would expect there are forms to be filled out, applications filed, and a fee to be paid. We are, after all, talking about the government. Why this person doesn't have his citizenship papers I can't say and so won't speculate on that. Whatever the reason he was deported.
 I can certainly empathize with the family, what a terrible thing to have happen. I seriously doubt that it was completely unexpected, the government doesn't do anything that quickly. There must be more to the story. I'm not going to pretend to pick up his cause and fight government oppression. I don't believe our government is without compassion. Surely there is some avenue this man can take to regain entry into the country. Hopefully it is just a matter of paperwork.
 Immigration is the hot topic these days, along with legalizing pot. The big argument for both is based in compassion and morality. The problem with that is that government ( law ) can not define either. That is the reason behind the separation of church and state. The Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion , etc, etc. It was known, even in 1791, that morals and compassion stem from faith, or a lack of it. It is for that reason we can not govern based solely on compassion, or feelings as I like to call them. Compassion and morality are completely subjective things based on the current trends in a society. Laws are strict, defined parameters delineating acceptable actions or inaction's. It is true that our laws may come into conflict with current moral attitudes, but attitude does not change the law. You can not govern based on feelings ! You can only govern based on fact. The law is a fact. You may disagree with the fact, but the fact remains. There are no exceptions to fact. We may indeed change the fact , establishing a new fact, but then we are subject to that fact. A fact can't be sometimes. It either is or it isn't. A fact can never be overruled by a feeling. Fact, in this scenario, being the law. It is also the reason we have so many lawyers. In English law they are called solicitors. This being America we like to change the names of things to disguise what it really is. A solicitor pleads for compassion and leniency, or to get a fact  changed. Sounds better calling them lawyers. Like an undocumented immigrant and an illegal alien, same thing just a different name. One is the correct legal term, the other sounds better, showing compassion.
 There is a new morality for many. As long as I decry how compassionate and moral I am, or recognize you to be, I can pretty much justify anything. The law ( fact ) takes a back seat. I'm a crusader for justice. I will end the suffering of the entire human race ! What is justice ? I submit a major component in this thing we call justice is the administration of the law. That can only be accomplished by impartial application of the law. In short, you can't let your feelings interfere with fact. Governments deal with fact. Government may show compassion but they shouldn't rule by it. The truth is, a government has a moral obligation to act in this fashion. 

Monday, January 15, 2018

an emergency

  I keep hearing about the Salvadorians that are being impacted by the ending of the TPS program. I'll begin by saying this, the first word in that program is Temporary. Self explanatory ! The second word was protected. Being in a protected status they did receive help and support from the United States. That means, your tax dollars were given to these folks as an act of charity. I'm certain many of those refugees were quite thankful , at the time. That's all well and good and I wouldn't begrudge anyone in true need. These unfortunate people , fleeing their home country found refuge, Temporarily. Let's not forget that part of the bargain. I'm as equally certain these folks agreed they would love to return home as soon as it was safe. Well, it has been sixteen years and their home is safe for their return. Time to live up to their end of the bargain. That's right, they have an obligation to fill as well. There intent must have been to return to their home country one day because they did absolutely nothing to gain permanent legal status in our country ! And now it is a crisis ? When they were in crisis the United States acted, what have they done since ?
 I read that the average income for these folks today is between 45 and fifty thousand dollars. That is post tax. Yes, they are paying taxes and all that but they are still on that Temporary Protected Status. They needed to pay the taxes in order to work legally in the country. Their problem is now, they won't be in the country legally anymore. Whose fault is that ? The cost to file for naturalization is currently 725.00 dollars. But I hear that is too expensive, they can't afford it. I also read about 35% of these people own homes and have a mortgage. Strangely they can afford that. The majority of these folks own cars and trucks, they can afford them. Their children go to school and some are entering college now, they can afford that. Obviously they eat, drink and entertain themselves in some fashion. They can afford that. They couldn't afford 725 dollars over the last sixteen years to obtain legal status !
 So, the way I see this is simple. They were afforded refuge. They were given assistance in this new land. They found jobs, became successful people and contributed to our nation. That's wonderful except for what they didn't do. They did not make an effort to gain legal status. They just took the charity that was extended to them, prospered from that, and are now demanding more ! To extend permanent status to these folks would be a slap in the face to all legal immigrants. The vast majority of legal immigrants that come to this country do not get government assistance upon arrival, nor any sort of protected status. I can not imagine a valid reason for not having filed the proper paperwork to ensure I could stay in this country. Basically I bought a house on land I don't own !
 The bottom line here is, go back to home country, temporary protected status is over. You are welcome to apply for a visa from your country to come to America. You are free to file for naturalization or citizenship. Had you done that while you were here it would have been a lot easier. But you chose not to do a thing, your choice. As the old saying goes, you made your bed, you lie in it ! You had an obligation to act and did not. You accepted the charity, prospered, and have lived a good life here in America. If you wanted to stay you had to act. The failure to plan on your part,  does not constitute an emergency on my part. I, we, the United States of America did our part, be grateful for that much.        

Sunday, January 14, 2018

probability

" The author, Hampton Sides, said, " America is an archipelago of tribes, a land where people form national families of kindred spirits." I believe we travel from one land to another, questioning from whence we came, and in the end, praying for where we go. This has been true for every generation since the beginning of time. I can write little of what came before me, just speculation and facts gleaned from history. Did Christian Reichart, with his elderly mother, wife, and one young son come in pursuit of a dream ? I highly doubt that romantic notion. Was he a " dreamer ? " One has to place that in the context of time. Are possibilities and dreams the same thing ? I don't believe they are. Dreams may come true as a result of hard work or luck, but more often they do not. Dreams fuel our aspirations. When all our aspirations have been fulfilled, do we stop dreaming ? Without dreams, what point is there to life ? It seems more likely he came to improve his condition, willing to take a calculated risk. Success or failure rested upon his shoulders. Successful people work toward the probabilities and dream of the possibilities. "
That first paragraph is an excerpt from the book I have begun to write. It is just a work in process, a thought, not yet completed. The notion of a " national family of kindred spirits " appeals to me. I believe it to be a very apt description of just what America used to be. That was back before the internet and mass media. In the region of the country where I was born and raised we had a few scattered Indians, Native Americans they are called now, but no great tribes. No, our tribes were small non-descript ones that were overtaken and influenced by the first white men to come ashore in America. We " Americans " purchased the land off the natives. Whether the trade was fair of not is left to history. You can't really negotiate after the fact, If you do in each case it will seem unfair to one side or the other.
 In my neck of the woods there were no great Indian wars, no tremendous battles between the natives and an invading force of white men. No they were too busy fighting each other. They were a archipelago of tribes, quite literally, but never shared a kindred spirit. They never did form a " national family " like the white man did. Had they done that they could have easily beat back the invading white men, kept them some settling on their shores. At the very least they would have delayed it because I also believe it was destined to be. The Europeans were always about expansion. Since the first great migrations of the " cave man " crossing the land bridge it has been so. All the great explorers were Europeans. Yes, other cultures had their explorers, but name those that did not come from the European continent. Yes Scandinavia is in Europe, northern Europe to be more precise. Different groups living on Islands surely migrated from one island to another. No other way to explain how they got there, but apparently they quit exploring at some point.
 The notion of a nation of family kindred spirits did strike a chord within me. I have always had an awareness of a strong kindred spirit with the others in my town. But it was more than that really, that kindred spirit did form a " family " of sorts. We were related by blood and by tradition. It is with a sense of sadness and loss that I realize that " family " is nearing its' end. It is being overtaken by time, left in the past as a remembrance. Some years back a " tribe " was formed to remember this period in history. Many want to be in the " tribe " these days. It is a connection to that kindred spirit that prevailed before the tribe was overtaken. And that tribe of kindred spirits was overtaken in much the same way their ancestors overtook the Indians. The land was purchased, deals were made and it was gone. There was no stemming the tide, it was an inevitability. And so now, like a gathering of old Indian chiefs, this tribe gathers to remember. There has even been an effort to record and preserve the language. Soon all that will be left are artifacts and stories. There will be no tribal members that have first hand experience in the life of the tribe. It will be showing what was and saying: this is what I was told.
 I see this progression in the country as a whole. The " kindred " spirit that made us all Americans is being replaced. No longer are we concerned with America as a whole, now we are becoming an " archipelago of tribes " that Hampton Sides wrote about but without forming a national family. We are dividing and sub-dividing into " tribes " and ones that don't get along with each other. One tribe demanding goods from the others. Where will it all end ? It ends in collapse. Just as the Indians have faded into the past so will the Americans. And for the same reason, they failed to work together. 
 There has always been much talk of the American dream. Dreams are the fuel of aspiration. Dreams breathe life into our ambitions. I believe we should work toward the probabilities, not the possibilities. That was the reason my ancestor stepped ashore at Castle Garden New York in 1856, to pursue a possibility. Beyond that, he had dreams. We need to redirect our efforts as Americans, on America. For it is America that provides the possibilities. Dreams are best left to dreamers, success comes from work. Pursue what is possible ! What is the American dream ?  Fulfilling what is possible, that is the dream. Getting everything you want ? That's a fantasy. 

Saturday, January 13, 2018

being real

 “Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand.”
Margery Williams Bianco, The Velveteen Rabbit
 That passage is from the book The Velveteen Rabbit. It was required reading when I was a little guy and a story that stuck with me. I took the moral of the story to heart and hold it there still. It takes time to become real. First you have to overcome who you think you are supposed to be and accept who you are. Then, you have to battle what others think you should become. In the end, if you are lucky, you find someone that loves you, cares for you and accepts you just the way you are. You do become " real " and there is no going back from that. You discover that ultimate truth, it's not that people don't love you, it is that they don't understand. And so the final step is to forgive those that don't understand. It is perhaps the most difficult step of all. 
 “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept." That was the observation of the author back in 1922 when she wrote the book. How astute an observation ,and one right to the point of it. You do have to be tough, not getting injured easily. You can not be fragile in spirit, for it is your spirit that will become real one day. At least that is what I took from that book. It is that I woke up thinking about. 
 I think maybe these thoughts come to me in the night after a day of social media. Years back, it was books, then newspapers that stimulated our thoughts. Radio and television came along and added viewpoints. And now, now we have social media. It is a place where every manner of thought is openly discussed or argued over ! We are interacting with people on every step on their journeys. It is a reflection of our society and it can be a shock ! It does take a long time to " become. " Becoming is understanding. Understanding is empathy, the ability to experience what others feel. The tricky part is to understand that I can empathize with you, without agreeing with you. Having experienced whatever it is you are now feeling does not mean I should handle you with care. Remember it doesn't happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or have to be carefully kept. That isn't what loving and caring is all about. That isn't how understanding is gained. Understanding is gained through the trials and tribulations we all must endure in our lives. 
 But I am thinking about all of this in a larger sense. I'm thinking about the direction our country is taking. If all these folks on social media are to be believed, we are lost. Our country has been loved but its' time is over. It is old and some say getting shabby, it should be replaced. Just like the velveteen rabbit there are those that would trash it. Let's just grab for the newest toy, the progressive one with all the bells and whistles. All flash and glitter, pleasing to ourselves but with out any substantive qualities.
 When I see that, read about it and watch all these demonstrations and demands I feel like the velveteen rabbit.  “Of what use was it to be loved and lose one's beauty and become Real if it all ended like this? And a tear, a real tear, trickled down his little shabby velvet nose and fell to the ground.” That's the way I find myself feeling at times. I don't expect any " magic tear " to make a new flower bloom. No fairy will appear to make it all real again. No, the best I can hope for is to get at least one other person to understand. 
I don't know, maybe we should trash this social media, get rid of radio and television. Maybe, we should just stick to the books. The only distraction after reading a book is thinking about what it meant. 
"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt.”
That was is response to the Velveteen rabbit when he asked, Does it hurt ? 

Friday, January 12, 2018

Outraged by the obvious

 Has reality become so foreign that many are surprised by it ? What I mean is,  how can so many become so outraged by the obvious. Life isn't always fair ! OMG We need to do something about that, change it, how can we call ourselves civilized ? The world should be a huge commune by now, no one should have to work, or pay taxes, or pay for medical care, why, why isn't all of this free ? No borders, unrestricted access for everyone ! Homes, food and flat screen television with cable and free Wi-Fi for all !
 It is all so very silly. These liberal folks, once grasping reality, are in shock ! They just can't believe it. Yes, it's true that some people make more money than you do and live in bigger houses. Mostly the people you idolize as stars and role models. Yes, it's true that some people have better medical coverage than others ! Shocking isn't it ? And they are not making themselves poor by giving their money or houses away, how selfish is that ? Well, sip your Starbucks and consider this ; maybe they earned it. Whether the way they gained their wealth and success meets your approval or not, they earned what they have. I know, I know it isn't fair, I work too, but don't make as much money as they do. Yeah well, some people are just plain ugly too, that's life. You have to reach for the things you want, quit expecting everything to be handed to you ! Grow up.
 Sexual harassment is a bad thing ! Outraged, I'm outraged that it happens ! I'll wear a black dress and lecture the world about this because no one knows that it is a bad thing. I'm just outraged by the obvious. People harbor prejudices toward one another. Yes, it's true. Some people actually have prejudicial views. What a development, we will just make a law and that'll change ! If it is illegal to think that way, you won't ! It has been pointed out that there are two sexes ! Only two genders ? I don't think so, we'll change that and give you another choice. Why it's outrageous to believe just because I'm biologically a certain gender I have to feel that way. C'mon, feelings trump facts, everybody knows that. Mommy can't tell me I'm a boy ! I'll decide that for myself. And not only that, now the climate is changing ! Well how crazy is that. There are people on the earth and we are changing the climate ! Al Gore said so, it must be true. He did invent the Internet after all. Okay, at first we thought it was just getting warmer but now we know better, it's changing. We have to do something about that, right away. The planet has only been here 4.5 billion years or so and man will destroy it all in twenty five years with a spray can ! Well, that and cow farts ! Drinking Milk isn't such a good idea.
 I could go on with this but you get the idea by now, unless you're a liberal, then you are probably confused. Reality has that effect on liberals. The world doesn't really revolve around what I want ? You don't have to embrace me, give me an award, or even, gasp, agree with me ? Independent thought ? OMG that's so yesterday, so old fashioned. You have to follow the trend, be in style, get with the program ! The government will provide for my every need, all I need do is be a survivor ! Doesn't make any difference at all if I made bad choices, got myself into this situation, all that matters is that I survived ! Yes, I was a crackhead and a criminal but I survived. Yes, I took no action to correct my situation, but I survived. Abortion is legal, but I survived ! I faced a reality and I survived it !!! Now you should take care of me forever and nothing bad can ever happen to me again. Whenever I see reality, I will be outraged. Might even wear a pink hat to prove it. I just heard where the President said a bad word ! Now that's outrageous. Only Hollywood stars and rap singers can say that stuff. Geez, how uncivilized.
 The bottom line here is a simple truth. You can't fix fantasy. Fantasy, by its' very definition is not real ! If you want to fix what is wrong in the world you have to make " real " decisions and " real " choices. In order to do that you must first accept reality. Not just point it out, being outraged by the obvious, but accept it. Then having accepted the reality of the situation make an informed, rational choice based on known facts, not feelings. The world owes you nothing, absolutely nothing. Being a survivor means you get another chance to get it right, take it. It doesn't mean you are owed anything , it means you have been given a gift. 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Parade Ground Patroits

 I recently came under attack for having medical benefits as result of having retired from the service. Yes, I was told that it was akin to receiving welfare as I didn't pay for it. Hardworking minimum wage Americans and struggling refugees were footing the bill. I had to present a different opinion on that. I explained how I had entered into a contract between the United States government and myself. More specifically, the United States Navy. I agreed to follow all the orders of those appointed over me and they agreed to pay me for those services. That contract included a retirement clause. I fulfilled my end of the deal and so feel I have earned everything I am collecting. This person then continued to quote, to be truthful misquote, portions of the Constitution, Bill of Rights, the Federalist papers, poor Richard's almanac and the New York Times. It was then I realized I was talking to one of those " parade ground patriots. " There has been quite the proliferation of them lately. You know the type. They are the ones that will be first in line to obtain any VA benefit they feel entitled to because they finished basic training, or tell you they tried to join but wasn't allowed. Most of them petitioned congress to gain entry, to no avail.
 I realize not everyone wants to make a career of being in the military. I understand all Vets have a right to proud of their service. I also understand not everyone will qualify for service based on medical conditions and sometimes intelligence. I get all of that. But, having spent twenty years of my life in the service I feel qualified to share my observations. To begin with I have never met a single person that said, I joined to defend the constitution of the United States. No, not one. Yes, we all took an oath to do but that isn't why we joined. I will concede that perhaps there are some, it is just I never met any. Everyone I served with collected their paychecks, went on vacation whenever it was allowed and tried to get out of work whenever possible, just like civilians do. Yes, soldiers and sailors are people too ! Contrary to anything you may seen in Hollywood films or heard rousing speeches about everyone in the service are not of the mindset, For God and Country ! Nope, for the most part it is about getting through the day. It is about what do I want and what do I get. When they feel they are not getting what they want, they leave. That's just how it works.
 Having said all that I want to say something more. I get real annoyed with these Parade Ground Patriots. They are patriotic only when it suits them, when there is something to be gained. Oh, I'll drag out my uniform and be in the parade alright, yes I am a combat hardened veteran and fought for your freedoms ! That's why I did it ! It was for you ! Yeah, you know who you're talking to right ? I'm not buying that bucket of slop. Save it for the ladies at the bar, Bub. And then you have those that never served. Oh, I believe you, you tired so hard to join, it was practically your lives ambition, but they just wouldn't let you. You had to go to therapy to get over the heartbreak. You so wish you could have joined. And so now you stand watching the parade waving your flag and are oh so patriotic. That lasts about as long as the parade. Then I am told I didn't earn those benefits, you are paying for them. Hardly.
 Yes, it annoyed me. I am proud of my service and have even been in a parade. I felt a little foolish doing that I have to admit. I have been asked to say a few words at several Veterans ceremonies and am always happy to do so. I guess you could say I was just never one much for the parade ground. I prefer doing what I have to do and moving on. Not everyone in the service is a hero ! I'm no conquering hero or anywhere close to that. And that is a pet peeve of mine, all this hero business. Give me a break. Calling everyone that ever served in the armed forces a hero is like handing out a participation trophy ! It really doesn't mean a lot now does it ?
 As you probably surmised by now I don't hold these Parade Ground Patriots in very high esteem. A lot of talk and a big show mostly. It doesn't make any difference to me if you served two years or forty years you are a Veteran. Fact is you only have to serve 90 days of active duty to qualify for that designation. Some perform heroic acts of bravery in the course of doing their duty, most won't have to. Whatever the case may be I'm certain of one thing, no one ever jumped up on the battlefield and hollered, for the fourth amendment, charge ! Sounds good after the battle is won though. Looks good on the parade ground too.
 I feel better now. Thanks for reading.  

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Who knew ?

 I really enjoy Facebook and the social interaction it affords. I like reading other peoples thoughts and seeing their pictures. It's a wonderful thing to share with old friends, classmates and acquaintances. Distance and time may separate us but Facebook does bring us all closer.
 I was thinking about that and this thought came to mind. Most of us knew our Aunts and Uncles and our Grandparents when we were growing up. The reasons for that are many but I think it is an accurate statement. My mother was one of ten children. I knew some of the aunts, the ones Mom got along with anyway. I had cousins galore but knew few of them. That was because the aunts mom hung out with didn't have kids and the ones that did, she didn't. Sounds funny doesn't it but you get the drift ?  Anyway, my grandchildren all know Grandma and Grandpa. We are fortunate enough to interact with them frequently. That's a good thing. Now my sisters children have heard of me, and even met me a few times, but I am more legend than fact to them. What I mean is they have heard far more stories about me than they have had actual contact. My sister is married to an Air Force guy and I was in the Navy. We have been on different sides of the planet at times. The closet we have lived to each other since leaving home has been a thousand miles or so.
 Just yesterday I turn on the computer and get a notification. One of my sisters granddaughters is having a birthday. Lorrie-Ann turned six. Naturally I immediately extended my birthday wishes, telling her Mom to forward my message. That child is my grand-niece. That's correct, I'm wishing her a Happy Birthday from her Grand Uncle ! Funny how we don't give that much though isn't it ? Maybe it is just that I am interested in the family tree that it got my attention. We are aware of our grandchildren but many times not our grandnieces or nephews. At least we don't identify them in that manner. I guess it is the same thing as cousins. We may know our first cousins but seconds, or thirds ? Humm, probably not paying attention then.
 Well at least we have Facebook to close that gap. I do enjoy seeing their pictures and reading whatever stories their parents post for them. It is nice to know the family is moving forward. I love seeing the new faces. A look into the future. I also like the idea that those same faces may get to know mine, just a little bit anyway. I knew my Grand Aunt Mildred when I was young. Thing is, at the time, I was just told she was my aunt. I didn't realize she was sister to my Grandfather. Kids don't make those connections. I wish someone had told me that back then. I always make sure to use my full " title " so as to avoid confusion. Let Mom or Dad explain it to the kids. I imagine it going something like this.  Lorrie-Ann your grand uncle Ben says Happy Birthday. Who is Grand Uncle Ben ? He is your Grandmothers brother. What Grandmother has a brother ? Yes, of course she does. Lorrie-Ann is probably thinking at this point, people that old have brothers ? Well, who knew ? 

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

disinterested

 I didn't watch the Golden globes, whatever they are. I could care less about people giving awards to themselves. I have never seen the fascination others have with that whole deal. Why would I be interested in watching a bunch of rich, self centered folks tell each other how wonderful they are ? Oh, look at the fancy clothes ! Yeah, they spend more on a dress than the average working guy spends on his car, that's something to admire alright. These are the folks that when they " work " have their lunches catered, and twenty or thirty other people supporting them, doing their hair, makeup or whatever. Working so hard ! And they are only making, as a minimum, hundreds of thousands of dollars. The " stars " make millions for doing what ? Pretending to be someone they are not is the short answer. They entertain us. But money and fame isn't enough, they have to need to give themselves awards ! I do think there is one award where the ask the opinion of the people actually watching their films, how generous of them. But, whatever I don't watch any of those shows.
 I couldn't help but hear that Oprah made a big speech. Okay, jumping on the bandwagon about " me too " although I don't think she said, me too. I did find it strange that they decided to all wear a black dress. I thought the little black dress was something women wore to attract men, a sort of signal. I also thought that is why women wear those dresses that either accentuate their breasts or almost expose them. Isn't the intent to draw attention to yourself ? Just whose attention are you trying to attract ? Well if you put the bait out there, don't be surprised when you get a bite is all I can say. I know it isn't as simple as all that, but it is an observation. I would say this is doubly so in an industry where the main attribute is looks. We can all name more than one " actress " whose beauty far outweighed her " talent. " On a side note, with all this " coming out " stuff in the last several years this has never happened to a guy ? I mean, guys have never approached other guys and said something inappropriate or been touched ? Humm, that doesn't seem likely , yet I don't hear any " me toos " from that demographic. Whatever. From all accounts Oprah is now going to run for President on the " me too " platform. Good Luck Oprah, let the voters decide is all I can say about that.  I'd say she stands a good chance of gathering a lot of votes from the liberals of the land. She is African-American, a woman, a movie star and very successful. Now, if she would just come out as Gay, Bi, Lesbian, gender neutral or whatever she would have it all ! The perfect storm of a candidate.
 Well for those of you that enjoy this stuff, have fun. It is award season. That time of the year for all the actors and actresses to once again tell each other they are brilliant and oh so relevant. I'll watch them when it amuses me and ignore them when they don't. That is how much relevance they have in my life. A simple amusement. 

Monday, January 8, 2018

a good memory

 I have written a few stories from my youth, the good old days as we like to call them, but today I thought I would write something from a later era. If I'm honest about it this later era is also a portion of those good old days. I have come to understand that the good old days cover a larger span the older you get. The old days now extend into the late 1990's ! Well, time is comparative anyway. So, this short tale is from the late eighties or early nineties. I would have to think a lot harder than I want to be accurate with those dates. It would require research ! OMG, think about that for a minute, I'd have to research my own past to fill in the blanks. I guess the truth of the matter is I'm just not that interested. Maybe another time. But, on to the story.
 I was stationed in Louisiana, assigned to the Bell-Halter facility where they were building air cushioned vehicles for the Navy. These were fairly new things then, somewhat of a novelty really, as there were only seven of them in service at that time. I was an inspector for the Navy reporting my findings to Lt. Commander Rawley, the project manager. I lived in Slidell about a fifteen minute drive from the manufacturing facility. At that time I was the proud owner of a 1967 thunderbird I had purchased while stationed in Conn. A real steal at 800 dollars. A daily driver this car was all I had and so didn't get pampered at all. I will say this, it took me many a mile. But there came a day, not many days before I was to leave Louisiana ,  that my trusted T-Bird let me down. I pushed her just a little too hard on the interstate and threw a rod. That mighty 390 Cubic Inch Detroit muscle was done. I needed another vehicle and fast ! So, I went shopping for another car at my favorite place, the junk yard. I have to say I found a real gem, a 1964 Ford Thunderbird ! Oh, it was red with a black vinyl top and fender skirts where standard equipment. And yes, it had my beloved 390 under the hood. A set of jumper cables was brought out, the car started and I drove it home.
 Now, time was tight so I had no time to get a proper registration, plates or insurance for this car. I had a legal bill of sale and little else. I did change the oil and filter. Transferring the tag from my 67 to the 64 , I loaded her up and off we went. I had my wife, twin boys, a dog and a bird in that car. I was headed north, New Jersey to be exact. I was to report to the USS Nitro AE-23. With only a minor delay, needed a water pump in Georgia, we made it safely. It was quite the adventure. I look back and smile as the audacity of that decision. Car completely and utterly illegal, with just a few dollars in my pocket and off we went. It was that car that brought me to Maryland, to the town I live in to this day. It made many a trip to New Jersey and back over the years. There came a day when it needed repairs and I was being deployed. I was leaving for the Mediterranean sea for six months. Times were tight and I was offered a sum of money for her. I justified the sale by saying it needed work, would only sit outside under a tree for six months, and deteriorate further. I sold that car to a passing stranger, still with no actual title, just a bill of sale.
 Ah, the good old days. Young and foolish or bold and brave ? Whatever way you look at it, it was an adventure worth remembering. The twins were quite young and probably don't remember that much. They were just along for the ride. We had a good time and the journey was a pleasant one. A good memory.  

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Shakespeare and Friday

  Jeff Sessions has come under fire for the most grievous of things, upholding current law ! That's correct, the attorney general of the United States has decided to enforce the law. I know, I know, it's a terrible thing. Back in 2013 President Obama issued a memo saying he wouldn't have his justice department enforce current laws. He decided to just ignore it instead.
 The President does not have the to power to ignore or change law. He can not by memo, or any other device, except in time of war or extreme emergency, decide what laws to enforce or not enforce. That is the function of the Congress. The President heads up the Executive branch. If you think back to grade school days you understand the purpose of the  executive branch is to " enforce " the laws of Congress, the legislative branch. The legislative branch writes the laws. A third branch, the judicial branch, interprets those laws written by Congress and determines their Constitutional validity. We call it checks and balances, remember that ? The Supreme court has not ruled on the issue of legalized marijuana. That is just the straight up fact of the matter. Regardless of any feelings you have to the contrary, the law clearly lists marijuana as a controlled substance. You will find it listed on schedule one issued by the FDA. Schedule one drugs are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Along with pot you will find LSD, Peyote and heroin.
 The issue is whether pot should be listed on that schedule or not. That is the controversy here. That doesn't mean the individual states get to change federal law. That is why we have the Supremacy clause in the constitution. Federal law trumps all other laws. Yes, the buck stops there, with the president, whose job is to enforce federal law. President Truman had a sign on his desk that famously said, " the buck stops here. " The sentiment in that being, the president has to decide, for himself, what action, or inaction to adopt. That decision does not include what is law or not, just the means to enforce law. President Obama decided to ignore federal law ! That decision was beyond his scope of power. And it is for that reason that Jeff Sessions, attorney general of the United States of America, must enforce the law. It is his duty to do so. Until the legislative branch of our government changes that law, it remains enforceable ! Indeed it should be enforced because it is the will of the people. If the people, through their elected representatives wish to change that law, the people must petition congress to do so. You don't get to ignore the law because of popular sentiment !
 Does Marijuana have a legitimate medical use ? From all accounts, it does. Okay, no argument from this corner. Does it have a high risk for abuse ? Probably, but so does chocolate so we'll set that aside. Should marijuana be legal for legitimate medical purposes ? I'd vote yes. Is it currently ? No, it isn't. I wonder why I don't hear about a lot of lobbying going on to legalize this treatment ? Is it all a conspiracy of big pharma ? Is it a struggle between big pharma and the people over revenue ? That seems the most likely reason. Now, some states have decided the law takes a back seat to profits. It is the taxation of the product that interests the states, not its' medical benefits. Colorado has already seen over a billion dollars in tax revenue. And that is just on the sale of pot, not including whatever tourist revenue may have resulted from this " legalization. "
 The truth is , it is not legal ! It is the same concept as " sanctuary " cities where mayors decide to ignore the law. The bottom line in this whole discussion is people just want to smoke dope ! The want to grow it, buy it, smoke it and have it declared a perfectly normal and acceptable social convention. Everybody should get high. That's the bottom line. Should the people be able to do this ? Does government have any social responsibility at all ? That is the real question in this current narrative. Does the government have any social responsibility to its' citizens ? If we remove pot from the schedule one list of drugs what argument do we use to keep others on it ? Is one abuse worse than another ? Pot is no worse than alcohol. My response is, shouldn't we be striving for " better than " not it isn't any " worse " than ? Alcohol was prescribed for " medical " reasons during prohibition, was it really a medicine ? Depends on how you wish to define medicinal purposes. If it relieves anxiety or numbs physical pain does that make it medicinal ? If we use that criteria the door is wide open.
 Alright. my whole intent here is to point out a simple fact. Jeff Sessions is going to enforce the current law. I struggle to understand these folks that are so upset by that. It is the same bunch that are upset that Trump won the election. You may not like either fact but they are fact ! No matter how many ways you try to spin the story the facts remain. Marijuana is an illicit drug, listed on Schedule one of the Federal Drug Administration list of banned drugs. You don't have to like it, you don't have to agree with it, but you do have to understand it is the law. Just like Trump is the President. You don't have to like it, you don't have to agree with it, you can search for any and all reasons or collusions you wish for the changing of that, but the fact remains, Trump is the President of the United States of America.
 I'm just sick and tired of this whole, I don't like it, nonsense. Yeah, there are a lot of things I don't like either. If you don't like the law, change the law ! You do not get to ignore the law. The president  is charged with enforcing the law. Quit complaining when he does that. The congress is charged with making laws. If you want the law changed, petition congress ! Look this whole posting is not about whether Pot should or should not be legalized. Currently it is not ! Period, end of discussion. Shakespeare said, " brevity is the soul of wit. " And that is the long and short of it. Sgt Friday on Dragnet also summed it up nicely, " just the facts maam, just the facts. "
 Oh, and the fact is this. It is up to the FDA to add or remove drugs from this listing after following certain protocols. So, in reality it doesn't take an act of Congress at all. Pressure the FDA, not Jeff Sessions. Sessions can not add or remove anything from that list. His job is to enforce the law, not decide upon it.          
 




Saturday, January 6, 2018

repeating the past

 My Mom is getting on, as the saying goes, and I've begun to notice she repeats herself a lot. Well at 88 I suppose there is little new in the world, at least her little world. She lives in a retirement community in Florida, as all good New Yorker's do, and is rather isolated. Her husband Joe is 99 and sadly in a home suffering from dementia. Mom just recently got a cell phone, flip model, and knows nothing about computers or social networks. The truth is that stuff scares her to death. All she hears about it is how people are getting ripped off and their identity stolen. Well, it is most likely just as well that she doesn't see all the junk that is on there anyway, just make her mad. And you know old people when they get mad ! They never shut up about it.
 As I was thinking about this I realized I have begun to repeat myself somewhat as well. Oh, I'll make excuses for it, but it is true. The latest recurring theme of mine concerns principles and popularity. I can't help but believe that many are choosing the popular sentiment and setting principles aside. That and confusing principles with privilege. Dwight Eisenhower said, " a people that value its privileges above its principles soon lose both. " It is a sentiment I repeat often, I was repeating that, in different words, before I knew that Ike said it ! The confusion today is between what is principle, and what is privilege ?  The difference is,  principle is applied to all and privilege applies to a select few. That is why we are governed by principle, not privilege. Compulsory charity is not the defining principle of an effective government. Charity is a Christian principle. When we sacrifice that principle, labeling it as privilege, we are redefining the whole system.
 There is certainly nothing wrong with charity and a government should show compassion for its' citizens. The amount and extent of charity should be determined by the people, not by government. As Margaret Thatcher so eloquently pointed out, " the problem with socialism is you run out of others peoples money. " The author George Sands pointed out that " Charity degrades those who receive it and hardens those who dispense it. " In my observation both of those statements are true. I also believe over time those that receive this charity begin to regard it as a matter of principle, rather than as privilege. Privilege should be received with gratitude, not demands. Privilege is granted, extended by the charity of others. The imposition of your will either by wealth or influence is not privilege either. Those actions are abuses. Yet how many times are we told those folks have wealth and privilege ? We are ignoring the principle lesson when we do that. As Epictetus, the famous Greek philosopher advised, " be careful to leave your sons well instructed rather than rich, for the hopes of the instructed are better than the wealth of the ignorant. " I've known a few wealthy folks in my time that are quite ignorant. That's true even when those wealthy folks attempt to disguise their ignorance with charity ! Their hope being principle will be forgotten. The wealthy are always more concerned with interest than principle, for it is interest that increases wealth.
 The easiest way to gain your interest is to separate you from your principles. Emotions are transient things and are acted upon impulsively. Impulsive behaviors are often ill advised behaviors. Restraint is the mark of maturity and understanding, An adherence to principle. Emotion is not the language of reason. Yes, the easiest way to gain your interest is to separate you from your principles, in other words , get you to buy into whatever it is they are selling. And that is what I find myself repeating.
 I'd say we tend to repeat the things that are on our mind. We say them as they pop up. For Mom it is things she doesn't really understand, like the Internet and what music the kids are listening to. It is things like the cost of bread or milk. But for me it is the things that trouble me about the way I see our country headed. Oh, I'm well aware that every generation before me has said the same thing. I believe that is simply because every generation before me shared the same principles as I do. That isn't to say that they applied those principles fairly or consistently, just that the principles were understood.
 As for me, I have no wealth to pass to my sons and so I hope to instruct them well. I do not regret the lack of wealth, although I feel I could handle the burden associated with that condition, but I do wish to leave something behind. That is the reason I write these words down. If there is satisfaction to be found in death for me it would have to be, " I told you so " carved on my tombstone. 

Friday, January 5, 2018

meterology

  I have a hard time understanding how you could be a weather man. Surely you have to get tired of always talking about the same thing. And to keep doing it with such enthusiasm as some do is beyond my comprehension. Currently in my area the local weatherman ( meteorologist ) has been dispensing that common sense advice with such conviction as to be scary ! Dress in layers, it's cold outside. The cold is dangerous because it can make you cold ! The wind makes it feel colder than it actually is. You'll feel colder but the temperature isn't colder but you can still get frostbite. That's because it is cold outside. Back in 2014 they were calling this a polar vortex ! Before that it was called a circumpolar whirl. And even before that it was called, winter ! That's right and we all expected it to get cold outside. Ah, for the simpler days when we all understood how that stuff worked. Winter came, it got cold outside and then spring would arrive and warm things up. Yes, I remember looking out the window and determining that it was snowing. Fortunately we can just stay in bed now, check the " first warning Doppler radar " on our phones, and know what's happening. Yup, if it's cold outside you need to wear warm clothing, in layers. Why it is life threatening !
 I have the morning news on as I write. It has been a good fifteen minutes of non-stop reporting that it is cold outside. Yes, really it is cold and that means there could be ice too. And it isn't just outside your door, no, it is the surrounding area too. They have reporters stationed all over to report on that, checking in with the head meteorologist for confirmation. Now, they are reporting that some people even get stuck in this stuff ! Yes, ice and snow can disable your vehicle. It has been reported that extreme cold creates extreme conditions ! Oh, if I had only gone to meteorology school, I would have known that. Thank God for the weather man. And yes, the weather man checked with a respiratory therapist and guess what ? If you have asthma or copd you should cover your mouth when going outside, in the cold weather. Extreme cold is not good for your lungs ! Imagine that, sure is good to be informed isn't it ?
 Well, I guess if you really, really like the weather you would love to talk about it. It is just a subject , in my opinion, that has pretty much been covered before. My news station gives out weather and news every ten minutes. Nine minutes on the weather and one minute of news. I just caught, in the background, that it is going to be cold outside today. Now, we are worried about highs and lows. It's very cold today and in a few days it is going to get warmer. Are you surprised ? Well, the weather is an exciting topic isn't it ? Vortexes and cyclone bombs ! We went from Global warming, to climate change. Yeah, the climate is changing, happens every year.     

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Insight

  You can't gain insight without looking. Seems simple enough doesn't it ? Then why are so many turning a blind eye ? It is a question I scratch my head about daily. As I sit and read the postings of others I am forced to wonder about such things. How is that so many can remain in the dark for so long ? Oh, I know it is all a matter of perspective, but surely we can't all be staring in totally different directions.
 It is a big world although being made smaller by mass media and the Internet. I usually hang out in my little corner of the world, concerning myself with what is happening there. The people are familiar to me and I know what to expect from each one of them. There are pleasant surprises every now and again and that is as it should be. The postings that leave me wondering are the comments left by others, total strangers to me, regarding current events or other discussions. Their world view is so far removed from mine as to cause consternation. We really are in trouble as a society with some of the attitudes I'm seeing. I'm looking, trying to understand, to gain some insight into the thought process involved and am left baffled. So many views flying in the face of common sense.
 As an example I listened to a sermon by a Pastor concerning sin and the forgiveness of that sin. This Pastor was pretty much saying Jesus died for our sins so we don't need to worry about committing sin, we can pretty much do whatever we want. As long as we believe, we will be forgiven ! Big difference from what I was taught. I was taught you still had to obey, that it was obedience that may gain the forgiveness we all need. No, forgiveness isn't a guarantee ! That is why it is called judgement ! Seems plain enough to me. It is also why I pray for forgiveness, humbly beseeching God for his mercy. To put it plainly, I ask. That doesn't mean I get it ! But this isn't about a religious philosophy, this is the general philosophy I am seeing today. There is a notion of entitlement permeating our society and tearing it apart. So many feeling they should get whatever they want without having to work for it,  or even ask for it for that mater. They are making demands.
 Another example is all this is this gender identity stuff. I can certainly understand that you may feel one way, but you can not deny biology. It is common sense ! Regardless of any feelings or surgeries involved there are two genders. I fail to understand how anyone can deny that fact, demanding some fantasy third gender be recognized as a valid choice ? Yet, that exists today in California where you can list your newborn as Gender X on a birth certificate. The attending physician, after attending college, medical school, and serving an internship can not identify the sex of the child ? Think about that for a minute. Well, it's true they are not mind-readers and only base their conclusions on science.
 The only thing I can figure is that you can't see when your view is being obstructed. That is what is happening today. So many alternate views are being presented that the truth is hidden. It all comes down to having to make a decision. It's an old cliché but the truth of it is obvious, you can't have your cake and eat it too. You really need to recognize fact from fiction. It's true that in many cases the best we can do is to go with the majority of the peoples feelings. We call that voting ! The ideal situation is that the voters are informed, knowing the facts of the proposal. Problem being deciding upon the facts. When facts are based on feelings the results are always contentious. You have to look beyond your feelings to be informed. What I would like, is not always what is best ! Seems a number of folks need to be reminded of that lesson, to gain that one simple insight. It is then that progress can be made. 

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

apps and apt

 Anyone using a computer has to be aware of the hackers, spyware and malware floating around out there. You just don't know where it may be lurking. Some have labeled this area , the dark web. The dark web may contain all those things found on the black market, along with all the dangers associated with dealing in the dark. I understand the hackers and such that are just trying to access your information to steal from you, their has always been crooks. People have always found ways to benefit from your lose in some fashion. And yes, there are those that directly cause that lose. I get it, I really do. What I don't understand is doing something without getting the " enjoyment " of seeing the results, not receiving a gain. It has been said revenge is a dish best served cold but why serve a dish to a stranger ? What pleasure, what gain is there in that ?
 I am talking about these viruses and such that just destroy your computer. The ones that the sole designed purpose is to destroy someone else's property. You don't know this person and certainly can't see the result. It is like throwing a bomb into a crowd of strangers. Why would you do that ? It is something I find hard to fathom. I want to see the result of my action. Even though it is sick and wrong that is where the satisfaction stems from isn't it, seeing the destruction you have caused ? I want to see the result.
 I have posted and reposted many times about not sending me stuff in messenger. I have been told that messenger is the easiest gateway for these people to enter. I rarely use it for anything anymore as a result of this. I will send a message to a personal friend on it, script only. I have sent pictures that way but they were ones I took and so felt safe about. It is a shame when others have to resort to such nefarious behaviors to entertain themselves. Instead of using their programming skills and abilities for a good cause, they use that talent to destroy. I really just don't get it.
 I have an anti-virus program installed and it seems to do a pretty good job. Thing is, for the average user, how would you know anyway ? I have lost several computers to a virus or something similar. I've tried various " fix-it " programs with varying degrees of success. Not knowing that much about computers and their internal workings I am at a disadvantage. I'm told these virus and malware programs can be hidden almost anywhere and strike at any time. I admit to a degree of paranoia about all of this. The evidence of that is my unwillingness to use messenger. It does bother me as I am not one to be afraid, as a general rule. Cautious ? Absolutely, I am no dare devil, never have been, but this can cost you more than money, it can cost you memories ! I know, back everything up, make copies, store them on an external hard drive. I've done all of that and in so doing increased my paranoia. Then I throw my arms up and say, why can't these idiots just leave stuff alone ?
 Okay so I have had my rant for this morning and feel better for it. Back to the real world where you have to be aware of all this stuff. Fortunately I do not do a whole lot on the world wide web. There are a few websites I enjoy and visit every now and again. I don't know if I'm wandering around in the dark or not ! Maybe I should just take a flashlight along , just in case. Now there's an idea for an " app. " A flashlight for the dark web ! Hey, my wife's phone has an actual flashlight on it, surely one for the web can't be that difficult to make. Surely someone out there knows just how to illuminate the bad stuff. Make it so a buzzer or a flashing signal of some type appears in the presence of a virus or malware. Well, I suppose someone would hack that too. Yes, it is " apt " to happen.