Friday, September 30, 2016

"I love the feeling of the fresh air on my face and the wind blowing through my hair." ~ Evel Knievel

I promise to do my best. No politics today. My wife sent a note the other day saying she will be so glad when this vote is over and done with. It's Friday, September 30, 2016, and I bring greetings to one and all on this lovely morning. I say lovely because we are banging on the door marked 59 degrees and driving in this morning with my window down and the cool breeze blowing, well, it was just what the doctor ordered. They have been teasing this cooler weather for a couple of weeks now and finally a sample showed up. I was getting worried because I heard one report that seems always to show up. It said there was a possibility the front could stall out. They do that way too much if you ask me. I didn't go around to the back of the house this morning to check on the A/C unit, but, I bet he's got a huge smile as he gets to take a breather for a change. In our area, he pretty much has to work way too many of the 365 days of the year, therefore, when things cool off a bit, he can relax some. Maybe that electric meter will slow down a little too. When it's all cranked up it makes a whirring sound which leads to me thinking about that car payment sized bill coming at the end of the month and that causes me to make a whining sound. That reminds me. They recently upgraded the water meters in our neighborhood. The meters have been read manually ever since we have been there. Now they are digital and I guess they can capture the readings electronically. The end result? Are you ready for this? The water bills have gone up. Who would have ever guessed?

Since I'm not going to be writing anything about that subject I mentioned earlier, I thought I would share some facts that will help you get ready to face another day. ~ Many of the laugh tracks you hear on sitcoms were originally recorded in the 1950's. They have been digitally enhanced and are still in use today. Think about it. You are listening to dead people prompting you when to laugh. ~ Studies show that people tend to think of themselves at least 10% more attractive than how others see them. ~ There came a day when your parents picked you up and held you for the last time. ~ There's a particular whale that sings at a different frequency than all other whale species. It is referred to as the loneliest whale in the sea. ~ A small amount of stress has been proven to help recall. Too much stress hinders memory. ~ The colder the room is that you sleep in, the higher the odds that you will have a bad dream. ~ Two-thirds of the world's population have never seen real snow. ~ If you get bored you can always watch videos on YouTube. It is estimated that it would take more than 100 years to watch those already available. ~ While none of this will do that much for you, you have to agree it does help me to keep my promise.

I feel like I have covered a lot of ground this week. Let me rephrase that. I've put a huge number of keystrokes out of their misery this week. Without much fanfare, I might add. The brief change in the weather does trigger memories from my younger days. It reminds me of gathering wood for the winter with my grandfather. That's right. We used a crosscut saw to cut down trees and to then measure and cut wood for the fireplace. All manual labor. No. I'm not going to say that I walked five miles in the snow to school. That would be a stretch since the school was only a couple of blocks away from where we lived. It would have been also the time when we began to get ready for the hunting season. I can see Paw Paw and us boys getting our guns cleaned up. That was about it. We didn't have any hunting gear. I can also see Granny Mac smother frying up a mess of squirrel and making homemade biscuits. Fried squirrel with gravy, eggs, biscuits, big glass of milk, with butter and homemade cane syrup. Rest assured, that one will not be coming to an IHOP anytime soon. And, yes, I am well aware of the squirrel background. (Squirrels are members of the family Sciuridae, a family that includes small or medium-size rodents. The squirrel family includes tree squirrels, ground squirrels, chipmunks, marmots (including woodchucks), flying squirrels, and prairie dogs amongst other rodents.) Taking all of that into consideration I have this to say about that. Melt in your mouth delicious. And, I am unanimous in that opinion. Take care and have yourself a wonderful Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday. Lord willing, I'll do my best to show up next time with something to talk about. May God bless each one. Amen. ...More later.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

“The President and the Congress are all very well in their way. They can say what they think they think, but it rests with the Supreme Court to decide what they have really thought.” ― Theodore Roosevelt

I'm still ruminating, think: chewing the cud, about the debate last Monday evening. I am somewhat surprised the polls have indicated that Donald Trump was not hurt in a big way by his performance.  My assessment was that he was somewhat lackluster trending towards mediocrity. That makes me think that folks may be sick and tired of being sick and tired of lifetime politicians. Ms. Clinton cannot deny that moniker and people may have decided enough is enough. These people come into office promising to be a public servant but quickly they become entrenched and transformed into a member of the professional political class. She is a card carrying member of that class who perpetuates their own personal gain through public office. (All parties participate in this sham.) It's Thursday, September 29, 2016, and this is what I have on my front burner this morning. A friend on Facebook attempted to bring everyone back to the real issue in this election. The Supreme Court. Whoever wins will likely appoint at least 2 but it could be as many as 4 justices during their tenure. (If they serve 8 years.) These appointments will directly impact the future of our nation and the freedoms we all talk so much about. What kind of justices will a President Donald Trump appoint? What kind of justices will a President Hillary Clinton appoint? That's likely the most critical consideration and the one we should be most focused on as we all attempt to fulfill our civic duty. Think about it. In a divided nation where transformative rulings typically come down to a 5 to 4 vote, it is the President who will decide the judicial leanings of the 5 vote majority. Those appointments, my friend, will be colossal in terms of impact on our children, their children, and the generations that follow.

How do you like your sobering slap in the face to get the day started off? It does the same thing to me. However, now is a good time to reinforce the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. God is not in the least bit perplexed or confused about the political situation in our country. In the midst of all the turmoil and wailing and gnashing, we can lose our grip on this very sure and present truth. Present. Here's how the late tremendous expositor of God's Word, Dr. Adrian Rogers put it: "God isn’t pacing the floor in Heaven, fretting over what’s going to happen next! Everything is on His schedule." The other day a young mom in our local fellowship posted on Facebook about how, early one morning, her two boys, maybe 11 and 7, were talking about the end of the world. They were in deep conversation when their little four year old sister burst out with her rendition of 'He's God the Whole World in His Hands'. They don't know if her response came as a result of the subject at hand or just a random situation, but one thing is clear, she was singing the truth, period, end of story. Maybe when we see stuff going off the rails, the future looking shaky, and the problems seem insurmountable, well, perahps we could learn a lesson from this young child: "He's got a-you and me brother in His hands He's got a-you and me brother in His hands He's got a-you and me brother in His hands He's got the whole world in His hands  ... He's got a-you and me sister in His hands He's got a-you and me sister in His hands He's got a-you and me sister in His hands He's got the whole world in His hands." Amen.

That mom gave credit to her little girl's Sunday school teachers for helping her to learn that song. Most parents want what is best for their children. If that doesn't include teaching them the truth about God and His love, well, they might be well intentioned, but, in my opinion, they have missed completely giving them the 'best'. I'm often reminded of a very prominent businessman that I had dealings with many years ago. He was well educated and had risen through the ranks of his company quite rapidly. He had done his homework on me. One day at lunch he commented about me being a Church person. I told him I was. He asked if I went to mostly network. I told him that while fellowship was a part of why we participate, our main reason was based on our desire to honor and serve God. In response to that he said that he and his wife were not religious, therefore, they had decided not to influence the children one way or the other. This meant their kids could make up their own minds when they were at an appropriate age. I couldn't help myself. I told him that if he thought they were not influencing their children they were both mistaken and foolish. Based on my life experience I can tell you this. He, his wife, and their children along with every person breathing air on the planet will eventually face a day when they too will have needed to have known that God has the whole world in His hands. Don't you agree? I see those hands. Amen. May God continue to be with us all. Amen. ....More later.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

"If by chance some day you're not feeling well and you should remember some silly thing I've said or done and it brings back a smile to your face or a chuckle to your heart, then my purpose as your clown has been fulfilled." ~ Red Skelton

Good morning and welcome to where we will be observing Wednesday, at least until one second after midnight on this September 28, 2016. Clowns have always been the subject of vastly different opinions. Some think of a funny and loving Bozo or Ronald McDonald. Others see this macabre image of the Joker or some other demonic inspired figure. Frank Sinatra had a hit entitled 'Send In the Clowns' in 1973. The song, written by the prolific Stephen Sondheim, became his most popular tune. Judy Collins charted with it in 1975 and 1977. The lyrics give us this: "But where are the clowns? Send in the clowns, Well, maybe next year." I think perhaps we have found them. Recently, throughout our land, there has been a rash of reported sightings of menacing clowns. They have been frightening children of all ages. It may make for a good marketing tool for the upcoming Halloween celebration but it also has had a chilling effect on the good clown business. I heard on the evening news last night that happy clowns typically booked for birthday parties and other special celebrations have seen a dramatic drop in bookings. I know a number of professional Santa Clauses who work full time in the entertainment market. Many of them do magic and also perform as clowns. They too are lamenting the fall off in the clowning part of their business. I suppose they want us all to know that from a happy clown perspective, Clown Lives Matter too.

I didn't have my Facebook or Twitter in front of me during the debate. However, when I reviewed the postings on both of them on Tuesday morning, it was very interesting to see what those in my circle were saying. I think it is safe to say that most of the folks closest to me would be in the Never Hillary camp. Their comments on social media indicated that it was through that prism they evaluated all that she had to say. I did see some pro-Hillary comments in my feeds, but, they were few and far between. The debate did not change my opinion. I cannot see myself, under any circumstances, being able to cast a vote for Hillary Clinton. That I am sure of. Yet, what to do in response to that is still the dilemma I am facing. I know. To many if not most, that should be easy. There's only one alternative. I really do wish I could see it with that type of black or white clarity. I did hear one pundit say that he believes there is a sizeable block of voters who are still conflicted about what to do. He believes this to be good news for The Donald because he thinks that come election day these folks will hold their nose and pull the lever for the Republican nominee. I may have worn out all of my clothespins from using them on my nose during the past several election cycles. Not being negative, just giving it to you straight. For what it is worth. Adjusted for inflation, of course. Did I post anything? I did on my twitter feed. "Message from the debate: You are so ugly you make onions cry."

I know what many of you are thinking. If politics went away I would have to shut down my blog the next day. I get that. I'm not sure it is accurate but I do know we live in a world where government at all levels is, unfortunately, becoming more and more entangled in the 24 hour living out of each day. The other day I was watching RFDTV and they showed the results of a huge rain storm in one of the farming regions. No doubt many of the crops were harmed by the flooding they experienced. A comment caught my attention. The local farm bureau was already working with elected officials at the local, state, and national level to see what relief in terms of monetary recovery could be made available. While that might be a reasonable expectation under some catastrophic circumstances, it bothers me when the kneejerk makes it the first action sought. A huge technical training institute was recently shut down because of fraudulent operations. Congress wants to make sure the students do not suffer financially because of the failure of the institution. That may sound good but think about it. When big brother becomes the mom, dad, and every other supporting influence of record in the living out of the individual in everyday life, we will have reached a type of soft totalitarianism. (Totalitarianism is a political system where the state recognizes no limits to its authority and strives to regulate every aspect of public and private life wherever feasible.) I was being optimistic by using the word 'soft'. Okay. Enough of my view of Civics 101 for today. I observe, report, inflate, conflate, and maybe even irritate, but, at the end of the day, you decide for yourself. As God leads, of course. Take care and may He bless us, one and all. Amen. ....More later.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Influence Peddling: "The practice of using one's influence with persons in authority to obtain favors or preferential treatment for another, usually in return for payment." (

Whew! It's Tuesday morning, September 27, 2016, and we woke up, pinched ourselves, and figured out that we had survived what had been termed the debate of the century. My reading coming out of this debate confirms what we have known all along. This particular presidential contest has mostly been a race to the bottom since the get go, therefore, I'm not sure we should feel good about much that happens on the campaign trail. The coach at LSU doesn't have to wait to find out about his job. He, along with his offensive coordinator, were unceremoniously fired after starting the season 2-2. I mention this because I had read an article at the end of last season that pulled back the curtain on the role of money and politics in college football. There were a number of prominent LSU alumni who wanted Les Miles fired last year. How much did they want him to be fired? They pledged $10 million dollars of their own money to buy out his contract. It wouldn't have cost the school any out of pocket dollars. I'm going to make a leap here. This is how money and power works. In something as inconsequential as having a winning college football team, folks are willing to open their pocketbooks and use their influence to get their way. Take that as a microcosm of how influence is exercised throughout the workings of our day by day way of life. Think about the power of government in our modern society where trillions of dollars and how they are spent is at stake. Ten million dollars to get what you want would be less than a penny when one thinks of those vying to get a share at the United States feeding trough. Race to the bottom, unpopular candidates, and all of the above, however, the old saying still applies: Follow the money!

I know some of you are waiting with bated breath to hear my personal endorsement as to who I believe should be elected President. If the Lord tarries, I do know this. There are only 41 days left before we stand at that electronic voting device to cast our ballot. It's interesting to listen to the so-called prominent evangelical voices who dominate Christian media. At the start of this cycle, many stood on principle in stating their objections based on biblical grounds to the now current Republican nominee. Some, a much smaller number, continue to voice their opposition, while, the majority have moved to support him based on the alternative, that being, a President Hillary Clinton. They have gone to great lengths in stressing how that we are not electing a pastor, only a President. Before, many of them had what they considered to be strong biblical grounds for not supporting him. They somehow have been able to put those behind as they see compromise as the way forward. I can only tell you about the nagging conflict I still have in trying to make up my mind about what God would have me to do regarding the privilege we have. Yes. I did end up voting for Mitt Romney even though I stood then and continue to stand in opposition to his religious identity within an organization that claims to be Christian but their teachings prove they are not. In the end, I could not bring myself to vote for another term for the incumbent. Just so you know, I am still in the wait and see, praying phase. (A Christian cult is defined as a group, church or organization whose central teachings and/or practices are claimed to be biblical or representative of biblical Christianity, but which are in fact unbiblical and not Christian in nature.

That's enough of that for today. Most likely, for any day. I was looking for some more lighthearted things to share and I found a few quotes that appealed to me. They are not guffaw-worthy or even laugh out loud material but they did cause me to pause and smile. Maybe one will do the same for you. "The Pentagon announced that its fight against ISIS will be called Operation Inherent Resolve. They came up with that name using Operation Random Thesaurus." Jimmy Fallon, late night talk show host ~ The star of Cake Boss was arrested for DWI. Police interrogated him for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Comedian Joe Toplyn ~ Never be in a hurry to terminate a marriage. You may need this person to finish a sentence. Erma Bombeck ~ If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one? Abraham Lincoln ~ Give me a one-handed economist! All my economists say, “On the one hand …on the other.” Harry Truman ~ A sign outside read “The Great Debates Program, ‘Is American Politics Broken?’ has been relocated due to Government Shutdown.” ~  Okay. Now it is time for us all to get out there and see if we can make a differene for good in someone's life. God has promised to help us to do that very thing if we will be willing to make the effort. Take care. And, may God bless us all along with this nation we all love. Amen. ....More later.

Monday, September 26, 2016

“Government does not solve problems. It subsidizes them.” ― Ronald Reagan

Happy Monday and welcome to September 26, 2016. Before I broach a particular subject, let me give you some insight into my dated but still relevant experience. I understand a little about how our national government works. I have worked as a civil service employee for the United States Air Force, the Veterans Administration, and the United States Army. During my four-year tenure, I saw plenty of costly bureaucratic mishaps and mishandles. An Inspector General's report led to this most recent confession by Homeland Security. Some 858 immigrants scheduled for deportation proceedings were mistakenly granted US citizenship. These individuals had been flagged because of them being deemed a security risk, or some had previously been involved in immigration fraud. Homeland Security gets something north of $40 billion a year to accomplish its mission. The Secretary issued this new mission statement this past May: "With honor and integrity, we will safeguard the American people, our homeland, and our values." I think we all know this is a difficult task, however, there are a few things worth pointing out. This department along with the President wants the American people to stay calm and to have confidence in these agencies who are charged with protecting our homeland. I consider this report to reflect a colossal failure, but, just like when I worked for the government, no one really ever is held accountable. Homeland Security did not pursue a remedy in these cases because the Justice Department had not agreed to prosecute. What could happen? We do not have to guess. The Inspector General actually revealed this failure from an audit and added this fact as a cautionary note: "At least three of the immigrants-turned-citizens were able to acquire aviation or transportation worker credentials, granting them access to secure areas in airports or maritime facilities and vessels. Their credentials were revoked after they were identified as having been granted citizenship improperly." Let me ask the pregnant question here: How in the world could anyone look at this as an example of how this department functions and end up concluding we are safe?

I feel for those die hard fans who wanted so much to believe in this year's Houston Texans football team. I am not a naysayer. I do want all local teams to do well. However, I always find it somewhat amusing how people jump from two early but less than impressive wins to start the season and as a result, they think they should go ahead and get in line for a Superbowl ticket. I get it. That's part of being a fan. I suppose I've reached that age where I am more reserved and to some degree, more objective about it all. The first two wins did give everyone a good feeling. The third game was played in New England against the Patriots, well, that was like a bucket of ice cold water thrown directly into an unsuspecting face. They lost that third game last Thursday evening, 27 to zero. New England was playing with a third string quarterback. It doesn't get too much more humiliating than that. Don't get me wrong. I hope they win their division. I hope they make it into the playoffs. But, I look at their play and see a decent team, certainly not a great team, and we all know that going deep into the playoffs requires them to be able to beat New England. That, obviously, will take more work. Just a smidgen of reality for us local gridiron fans to help get our Monday up and going. On a positive note, the Texans players themselves were very forthcoming in their assessments, essentially agreeing they had played terribly and the other team played well. That's a good place to start.

I've been known to have a blind spot or two when emotional attachment is involved. Take my recently retired NASCAR driver, Jeff Gordon, as an example. Even my wife would tell me that I mostly always made excuses when Jeff didn't do well. That's how most of us roll. I most likely can see obvious flaws better in others than in my own neighborhood. You know. We, you, all of us, can testify. "Wow! Looks like they could do something with the rest of the marching band, our kid is the only one marching in step." Jesus gave an outrageously funny illustration concerning this out of proportion examination of others. "Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye." (Matthew 7:3-5) I suppose I have some logging work to see to, therefore, have yourself a good rest of the day, and may God add His blessings to it. Amen. ....More later.

Friday, September 23, 2016

“We have deemed all these words necessary in order to explain that we have been traveling more slowly than was predicted, concision is not a definitive virtue, on occasion one loses out by talking too much, it is true, but how much has also been gained by saying more than was strictly necessary.” ― José Saramago, The Stone Raft

Now it's on to number 2401 and we're off and running once again. Today is Friday, September 23, 2016. I do need to set the record straight about the Star Trek emphasis yesterday. I was/am a casual observer and/or fan of the Star Trek franchise. I couldn't make any claims whatsoever on being even a Trekkie with training wheels. The references I used yesterday were associated with the franchise but I believe not all of them came directly from the TV series. One or more may have come from one of the movies. What was relevant was the anniversary, therefore, that's why I used it as a hook, albeit, a somewhat tenuous one. Speaking of space, I thought one of the responses to this week's bombings by the mayor of New York City was about as spaced out as they come. He essentially said that in the wake of these attacks what the City needed to do was to seek more Muslim immigrants to make New York their home. Maybe he meant it to be a way of saying we will not shrink back in the face of threats. Maybe he meant it as a way of promoting the resilience of his constituents. I had my own thoughts about what he said. I don't think I've ever heard anything as stupid as that. I know. I'm not sophisticated and in-the-know like him and the other elites might be. But, I mentioned it to a co-worker here and he had an almost identical response as I had. Us deplorables just can't seem to get our heads screwed on right. (The use of the word deplorables does not indicate my support for any current presidential candidate. I was using it to associate myself with those described by then Candidate Obama's comment in 2008: "And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.")

Young champion beard growing competitor.
I respect that it may get a little tiresome when I am always attempting to clarify my clarifications. Sorry. That too is a part of the package. I often go back and look at things I've written and published and I think about how it might have been better stated or illustrated in a more informative manner. I realize that we are all different. Thinking about the total world population of nearly 7.5 billion people, most of us do fit, in one way or another, a fairly narrow specialty within that huge number. I am a real bearded Santa Claus. Need I say more? I saw the bearded fellow's photo, above, in a UK newspaper. It depicts a champion beard grower. I would guess there's not that many who qualify themselves as being competitors in beard growing championships. The fellow in the photo reports that doing what he does is not without its challenges. He reports that it does get tiresome having to apologize each time he kisses his girlfriend. We all have our own set of problems, in our own sphere of life. When the Christian comedian and singer says God has to have a sense of humor, if you don't believe it, look at the platypus. I like that but I think if you want to see the most amazing diversity, just look at the people that breathe air on the planet.

The other day I wrote about the preeminence of celebrity in our culture. I typically track breaking news on my Twitter feed with over 50 news sources from all over the world posting updates in real time. Last Tuesday there were more crises going on from all over the globe than one could keep up with. The New York, New Jersey bombings were front and center. The stabbing in Minneapolis was developing. The Syrian conflict was hot and heavy. The President was at the United Nations making a speech. The continuing Clinton, Trump election saga with all of its twists and turns was being widely covered. Add to that mix the local news, accidents, road closures, weather, and things of that nature. Suddenly, something happened, all the news sources were taken over completely by an earth shattering event, so much so, it nearly shut down Twitter. What was this drop everything now story that interrupted reporting on every other event? Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are divorcing. I'm not talking about tabloids or Hollywood gossip sites. I'm telling you that every major news source interrupted everything else and ran with this developing situation. I'm surprised they didn't interrupt the President's speech so that he could inform everyone at the UN as to this breaking news event. I'll let you try and figure out exactly what this means and I will only add my often stated conclusion, "I rest my case." Speaking of news, how about some good news? God is still God and He is in control. We have the opportunity to make that truth a part of our daily living. Amen. Have a great weekend and do your best to show up Sunday at the meeting place to learn more about and to offer up your worship of the Lord God of heaven. Amen.  ....More later.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

I'm saying this for the umpteenth time, hold on, make that the 2400th time!

Today. Yes. Today. It's Thursday, September 22, 2016. A momentous day for me. One that will no doubt live in atrophy.  As far as I know, there will not be any fireworks, confetti, or champagne to mark the occasion. However, it does give me some sense of accomplishment in posting today's episode, the 2400th time that I have hit the publish button and sent it hurling to the regions beyond. Since this is the 50th anniversary year celebrating the TV Series Star Trek, maybe a few of its most recognizable quotes would be appropriate, ... "To boldly go where no man has gone before" ... "I'm 'givin' her all she's got, Captain!" ... "Set phasers to stun" ... "Highly illogical" ... "Beam me up, Scotty" ... and finally, "Live long and prosper". Those have become integrated into everyday conversations and they might well be metaphors for this traversing of the blogosphere that I have been engaged in since my initial launch back on May 9, 2007.

I've actually shared that very first blog several times during this now into my ten-year journey, so I've decided not to copy and paste that first blog in today's edition. However, I did write a thank you when I hit 2000 blogs and having read it again, I thought it was exactly what I wanted to share. I have updated the stats mentioned to reflect the current numbers. Here it is: "I've met some really neat people along the way via their comments. I do have a loyal reader community and I appreciate each and everyone for your patronage and your encouragement. I've never added any advertising or connecting websites, yet, my little blog, spinning out there somewhere on the worldwide web has had nearly 177,000 web views since we started. I sure hope some of what I have shared about the Lord may have ended up in fertile ground because we know that's how He is able to bring forth a harvest. Thanks again for showing up each day and join me in thanking God that we have had this time together. We will see where it all goes from here but know in advance, regardless, I commend us all to God and His love, mercy, and grace. Until next time, may He bless us all. Amen." One last summarized mangled metaphor that might fit this daily effort going forward, "The Blogosphere: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the View From Here. Its continuing mission: to explore strange new stuff, to seek out new things to talk about and new words to communicate, to boldly go where no one has gone before." Or something like that. ...More later.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

“The truth has become an insult.” ― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, recognized Nigerian novelist, nonfiction writer and short story writer.

Good morning and welcome. We meet up again here at our little coffee shop blip of space in the vast blogosphere and we do so on this particular Wednesday, September 21, 2016. Drag up a chair and enjoy a hot cup of Community as we do our best to get this day started. I agree with the need for calm as our nation deals with the threats against our way of life, but, I cannot argue with those who show great concern in how we are dealing with them. The online Merriam-Webster gives this simple definition of politically correct: "agreeing with the idea that people should be careful to not use language or behave in a way that could offend a particular group of people." Today we live in a nation who is in tip-toe mode in nearly every facet of life. Our school system, our government, our police, our military, even our religious institutions, along with our workplaces are in a state of paralysis as we collectively attempt to never offend anyone at anytime for any reason. This is being force-fed into the very fabric of our existence under the guise of tolerance. I don't think people should be slandered or made fun of because of their religion, their ethnicity, or the color of their skin. That intrinsic value is also a tenant of the respect we should have one for another. However, for those who would plot and plan to kill, maim, and do their best to destroy the freedoms we hold dear, they do not, in my opinion, deserve any shred of protection, neither in our response nor in our description of their identity. While I'm at it, I can't help but mention the only consistent exception to this malaise being wrought on us all by the thought and speech police seems to be those who follow the Christian faith. Christians are not included in this broad politically correct umbrella of protection. Check it out. I see it every single day. I hope you do too. Yep. It's a last days scenario. How do I know that? The Bible tells me so! Amen. (A quote I saw after I had written this paragraph: "Political incorrectness is our great problem." – Former CIA Director James Woolsey)

Three of my all time favorites, Casey Stengel, Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra
I didn't mean to start out the day by making everyone feel down, but, most of you already know that my opinions make up a lot of the keystrokes that end up on my blogs. While there's some debate about the origin of this colloquialism, it does in large part reflect on what I do here each day, "I calls 'em as I sees 'em." Like I say, there's not broad agreement about the origin of this little ditty but here's my favorite guess at where it might have come from. ~ The correct answer comes from the great Casey Stengel when he charged home plate in a series game when he managed the Yankees. Stengel's batter, with 2 out and having a full count, did not swing on pitch number 7. The home plate umpire yelled "Strike 3!" Casey was furious, as were most of the Yankee fans. He charged the umpire and got in his face, screaming as only Casey could do. The umpire responded in a clearly Brooklyn accent of the period: "I calls 'em as I sees 'em." It was loud enough for a NY sports reporter to hear the words and write them down. Remember in those days before security, reporters, VIPs and such sat to the side of home plate or just a row or two up. The ump had to yell loud enough to drown out Casey. ~ This was submitted to an etymology message board. I could have said what you see is what you get but then I would have had to try and explain that one as well. I'll stick with the first one.

No. I am not going to tell the story about how I used to sleep with my Al Kaline baseball glove. I'm tempted but I think I will save it for another time, especially since I've likely shared it more than once in the past. Telling the same stories over and over is now more acceptable, for me. I say that because something significant took place when I crossed that threshold designated by a 70-year-old marker. Jokes become easier, like this one, "Three signs of old age: The first is memory loss ... I can't remember the other four." One fellow said he had no trouble with memory storage. But retrieval, now that is a problem. I heard this one the other evening on a rerun of the Marty Stuart show on RFDTV. Leroy Troy told the joke about the fellow who was told by the doctor he had only six months to live. The old fellow responded by saying he wasn't sure he would be able to pay his medical bill with only that time remaining. The doctor thought about it and gave him another six months. Everyone on stage and in the audience cracked up. They couldn't stop laughing. Really? I've heard that one for years, but, I think I laughed anyway, especially at how much laughing they were doing. I may not have remembered that exactly how it happened, but that was it, to the best of my recollection. To the 'best of my recollection' may become my theme moving forward. We will see. Take care, and may God bless each one, and may He intervene once again on behalf of our nation. Amen. ...More later.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

“A crust eaten in peace is better than a banquet partaken in anxiety.” - Aesop

Sometimes the timing on things just knocks my socks off. That's what I am thinking about this morning, here on this Tuesday, September 20, 2016. This past Sunday I was watching the NASCAR race and I was also flipping to the Texans game, trying to stay up to date. The NASCAR race was coming down to the wire. Literally. The young 20-year-old driver, Chase Elliot, who replaced my driver, Jeff Gordon, in the famed Number 24, was in the lead with five laps to go. I was cheering him on. Literally. We have a big screen TV but I was standing about 12 inches away from it, hollering at those who had no way of hearing me. Suddenly, a car fell apart on the track and a caution came out. My wife said she wasn't sure if the way I was acting was healthy or even in keeping with my Christian testimony. Then it happened. I was waiting for the race to restart. Bam! The power flickered. The satellite went out. The internet went down. The power came back on but the satellite and the internet had to go through a reset process. The wife hinted that maybe I had received a response to my behavior from up above. It finally came back on just as the race restarted. Chase was no longer in first which means he had to make a pit stop while we were away, stuck in no man's land. Bottom line, he didn't win his first race. He finished third. That's not bad for the first race of the playoffs but it sure had me stirred up. Literally. The Texans won. All and all a good day. As for the utility company, don't even get me started.

Just to set the record straight. I had no intention of becoming emotionally involved in the NASCAR race or the Texans game. Yes. I am aware of my grandfather's often used questioning admonition, "Well, what then, did you intend?" I suppose, based on my 70 plus years of hands-on experience, it should not have been a surprise. One of the early talk show hosts, Jack Paar, was well known for becoming emotional when dealing with stories and the people on his show. I suppose it is an outlet of sorts. I'm actually not nearly as entangled as I was many years ago. I well remember back in the day when I would have our main TV, one portable TV, and the radio, all going at the same time trying to keep up with the college bowl games. A few weeks ago when Tony Stewart finally won a race, even the wife was cheering. This is Tony's last year as a driver and we both were standing as he made the final pass on the final lap. See what I mean? It can happen to anyone. I do know there are tears when 'they' watch some of those Hallmark channel programs. Those shows are not played out live because they are not even real. Okay. You did remember. I think I said I cried as a kid when old Yeller died. I may have had a tear or two the first time I saw those people singing 'Nearer My God to Thee' as the Titanic went out of sight in the 1953 black and white movie. Oh well, I suppose I could do better. Maybe next time.

Some days it's harder to get the bones to quiet down long enough so they can be properly organized to march in step in a forward direction. I know it's hard to admit it, but there are days when I too would like to cover up my head with a pillow and do my best to continue the next episode of the dream sequence. There's a problem with that scenario. The thought alone, when it occurs, stirs up this powerful guilt response and it brings with it an echo effect. Instead of giving consideration to any other alternative, I have this loudspeaker compelling me to make sure I keep my schedule. Maybe that's why folks dream about a day when they have nowhere to go, nothing to do, and no longer any reason to be in a hurry. Until that time comes for me, I suppose I will be mostly like the White Rabbit from the 1951 movie 'Alice in Wonderland' where he sings, "I'm late / I'm late / For a very important date. / No time to say 'Hello, Goodbye'. / I'm late, I'm late, I'm late." You don't have that problem? Good for you. I'm not sure if it is a weakness or a strength but I do know it's my modus operandi. (It's a recognized manner of operating, called MO in the old detective radio programs.) I suppose I should hurry to finish. Therefore, in closing, I ask God to bless us all. See you next time. Lord willing. Amen. ....More later.

Monday, September 19, 2016

"The greatest thing is not to believe in Santa Claus; it is to be Santa Claus." ~ Pat Boone, American singer and actor.

I happen to know at least one job specialty where one can start soon. You do have to have some qualifications. I see ads being posted for openings all over our country and internationally as well. I'm talking about the upcoming season where it's time for all good Santas to come to the aid of the children. Believe it or not, there's a very active business out there in booking Santas. Many agencies are currently looking for people willing to sit in The Chair. Mrs. Claus is also in demand. Here's a recent example from one lady agent: ~ "I need 500 Santas for this year's Wal-Mart, strolling 'SELFIES WITH SANTA' 4 or 5 dates: Nov. 5. Dec. 10, 11, 17, 18, Noon to 4 pm." ~ Today is Monday, September 19, 2016, and as I write this, I believe there are 96 more days before the jolly old elf shows up on Christmas Day. Many of the countdown sites have dropped the shopping days nomenclature because most stores are open pretty much every day, all day long. I do get inquiries from individual Santa booking people but thus far we've stuck with the booking agency of Me, Myself, and I. Based on the dates we have already penciled in, we will have us another busy season, Lord willing, and we are able to honor all of them. I hate turning down invitations from really great folks but we've already had several that we have had to say, not this year. These are invites where they want us to come to a December birthday party or a family Christmas gathering. Many Santas do these but we've decided as long as I am still working full time those types of appearances will have to wait. We will be adding a new professional photography studio this year and a new event for us where we will be doing photos at a party at a local children's dance academy. Meanwhile, we know we have many requests we haven't seen yet, coming from those we have worked with in the past. My wife still wants me to consider one of those cooling vests. I'm still thinking about it. For me, it's still a hotly contested issue. Yes. Pun intended.

These hacked emails are getting out of hand. Those recently made public came from the private emails of former Army General and Secretary of State, Colin Powell. Bear in mind these emails were private communications between him and a variety of people. However, they have been leaked. Many think the Russians leaked them. Yet, there's some who believe the leaking was done much closer to home, as close as perhaps an insider that did the dirty deed. Maybe for money. We don't know the answer to that one. Interestingly enough, Mr. Powell really doesn't care for either of the main candidates running for President this year. He had harsh words for Donald Trump, saying he was a national joke and an international pariah. (Pariah: outcast. 2. any person or animal that is generally despised or avoided.) The mainstream press loved that one. The international mainstream press loved it as well. That was their lead in the reporting on these leaked emails. But, wait just a cotton picking minute! Mr. Powell had 100's of emails where he excoriated Hillary Clinton including one where he said she screws up everything she touches. Those were not the lead in the mainstream press. In fact, the NY Times played it by saying Mr. Powell has scorn for Trump and irritation with Clinton. Irritation? Essentially, if Mr. Powell's influence means anything, and that's debatable, it would seem that, he, more than anyone else to date, gives detailed reasons to question Clinton's ability to function effectively as the highest elected official in our land. After the so-called 'non-contagious' bout of pneumonia, Ms. Clinton wasted no time, not in answering to any of Mr. Powell's assessments of her, but, she said the more important issue was the Russians trying to mess with our electoral process and she implied that Donald Trump was perhaps somehow implicated because of some of his comments about Russia. If you are waiting for it to get ugly. You are not paying attention.

I am not alone in thinking this is the strangest election situation in my lifetime. I actually hear that one expressed by people of all walks. Weird. Crazy. Insane. Preposterous. Embarrassing. Sad. I actually can own every one of those without too much thought. Meanwhile, there are folks who see it differently. I know folks that I grew up with who are on the opposite side of the world from me in terms of their political leanings. They post stuff all the time to indicate that. I was surprised. They were raised up like me. They went to the same schools and churches. On a personal basis, I wonder what happened. But, that's just me. Don't get the wrong idea, I very much recognize and support their right to make their own choices based on their own reasoning. Maybe they fell and hit their head or was in a bad accident of some kind. You do know I'm joking about that. I would not even think about thinking about separating from them. Why? Maybe they will be hit by lightning and come to their senses. Another joke. The connection we have is not based on our politics. It's based on our shared upbringing and all the memories it implies. Okay. I know I finished a long time ago but my fingers just kept walking across the keyboard. They do that sometimes. Have yourself a wonderful day and remember to thank God for it. Amen.  .....More later.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Wishing our Alexander Benjamin a happy 11th birthday!

Good morning and welcome. It's Friday, or TGIF if you are into that acronym, and this one aligns itself as September 16, 2016. I've had people mention to me how that I sure share a lot about family member birthdays in my blog. That would be an accurate assessment. Today I'm thinking about our grandson, Alexander Benjamin or Alex, who will celebrate his 11th birthday this upcoming Sunday. Alex is a character. He does love his videos and his games. I remember helping to take care of this little guy when he was very young. He doesn't remember that per se but he sure remembers me reminding him about it. Oh well, that's what grandparents do. Or, at least that's one of the things I do. Happy Birthday buddy from your MiMi and Poppy. May God direct your way forward is our prayer. Amen.

I am now 70 years old. Donald Trump was born 2-1/2 months before me, in the same year. Hillary Clinton will be 69 in October of this year. I can't really think of any reason why my medical records would need to be kept secret if there was a national need for people to know. I am diabetic and taking medication as a non-insulin dependent patient. The report from my doctor indicates that my diabetes is well controlled. There are about a dozen pages of results from other tests that have been run on me. My point? These two are in my age bracket and would be expected to show some signs brought on by the aging process, but why in the world is the release of the medical records such a big deal? Unless. And, that's where the unless comes from. It's the appearance of a cover up when there might not even be one. I carry a few more pounds than I should. A cursory observation indicates that both of them most likely have the same issue. It just seems to be a whole lot of dodging about information that could be shared and then move on. I know about privacy, but, it might just be important to have a relatively healthy person as the highest elected official in our nation. You remember what happened to William Henry Harrison? You don't? Look it up. (Hint: He too had pneumonia.)

I feel like I've put in a full week. But, then again, self-evaluation does typically introduce the potential for blind spots. There's also the age factor to consider. Also, feelings can be a poor indicator of truth. Forget what I said. Let me try again. I've completed another week and I am thankful to have done so. Now it is time to move on to the upcoming weekend. We do hope to spend some time with our Alex to recognize his birthday. I typically spend considerable time preparing my Bible study handout on Saturday mornings. And, most importantly, we will, Lord willing, be meeting up with others on the first day of next week, Sunday, to learn more about and to offer our worship of our Great God. I know all of that reeks of routine. It does. It really does. It reminds me of that passage in the New Testament about the earthly family of Jesus of Nazareth. "His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast." (Luke 2:41-42) As it relates to their religious observance, it could be said they were habitually routine. Routine doesn't have to be a rut. Think about that one for a while and I will do my best to catch back up with you come next Monday, (the second day of next week), Lord willing, of course. May God bless each one. Amen. ....More later.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

"I got overwhelmed by the magnitude of the celebrity culture in America. My background is as a news journalist, and newsrooms in the US are shrinking - investigation teams are being terminated or shrunk on newspapers all around the country. The one aspect that's expanded is coverage of celebrity culture." ~ Carl Hiaasen, American journalist

I try to always look at the calendar to make sure I have the right date. I would look at my watch but its calendar has been off for some time now. Yes. I am aware that I could calculate the correct date based on the wrong date on my watch, plus or minus. My phone is typically correct. At any rate, I have every reason in the world to believe that it is Thursday, September 15, 2016. I do have a Twitter account. I typically post a quote of some kind on it each day. I have a total of 22 followers. A well-known celebrity is now closing in on 93 million followers. The President has nearly 78 million. The NFL has just over 20 million. I follow some 55 Twitter accounts. Nearly all of them are news or sports sources. I've never asked anyone to follow me. Looking at the list of the top 100 reinforces how we live in a celebrity-saturated world. This preoccupation with fame is not new. Mary Wollstonecraft, an English writer, (1759-1797), made this astute observation, "How can a rational being be ennobled by anything that is not obtained by its own exertions?" I don't think too many of us can say we are totally immune to this form of vicarious association. (Maybe not music, TV, or movies, but what about sports stars?) It is a part of the societal programming that exists in our world. Suzy Kassem, Author of the book, 'Rise Up and Salute the Sun', gave her thoughts from this excerpt,"Let's face it. We live in a command-based system, where we have been programmed since our earliest school years to become followers, not individuals. We have been conditioned to embrace teams, the herd, the masses, popular opinion -- and to reject what is different, eccentric or stands alone. We are so programmed that all it takes for any business or authority to condition our minds to follow or buy something is to simply repeat a statement more than three or four times until we repeat it ourselves and follow it as truth or the best trendiest thing. This is called "programming" -- the frequent repetition of words to condition us how to think, what to like or dislike, and who to follow." Sobering stuff to think about for a Thursday.

While this was a problem, it was Ike's 18 inches of rain that came into our house that really did us in.
Speaking of sobering stuff, this week is being recognized as the 8th anniversary of when Hurricane Ike came calling. That storm made a huge impact on the wife and me as it mostly ended up demolishing our home. It was a very trying time. Our rebuilding became almost secondary as we stopped everything to try and aid the wife's brother as he suffered a debilitating heart attack. He had come to help in the reconstruction. Many would later say God knew all about it and He put Bro. Milton in a place that had access to the very best medical response available. The storm itself made mincemeat out of our normal routines. The rebuilding effort was very taxing. However, we look back at it all, 8 years later, and we can only echo the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, as reflected in this sentiment from Psalm 124:2, "if the LORD had not been on our side...." From September 2008 - February 2009 we had to do a lot of living by faith and not by sight. However, there are enough testimonies to last a long time contained in that dash between those two dates. Testimonies of how God used people, situations, progress, setbacks, challenges, and help from places we never even thought about, to help us make it through. Thanks be to God. Amen.

Yesterday morning a beautiful red fox ran across my path on my way to the workplace. It's not that often around these parts that you actually see a red one. It reminded me of an old timer who used to visit us here at the Company from time to time. He would tell how that he has lived out in this rural area for many years and he remembers when it was known for the huge number of red foxes. Things have changed. Progress has been made. Houses now dot the roadway. There were houses on both sides of the road where the fox crossed. He did look like he was in a hurry. I don't know if the folks that live in those houses own chickens but I bet Mr. Fox does. Many years ago as a consultant, I evaluated a large information technology environment. They asked me to review the organization and its effectiveness and then write a report. I did. One of my opening comments was to state there was an obvious lack of oversight that was detrimental to their success. I told them they were operating much like the proverbial fox guarding the hen house. One of their executives took that metaphor and ran with it. They reorganized and refocused their program. Everyone lived happily ever after. Except for the handful who were demoted or transferred. But, that would be a story for another day. I suppose I should give a shout out to Mr. Fox for his well-earned reputation. Have a great rest of the day and may God bless one and all. Amen. ....More later.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

"If you look in the mirror and your see a big belly, a bald head, wrinkled face, a complexion like leather, well, look on the bright side, at least your eyesight is still okay." adapted from an unattributed graphic

Well, here we go again, we are not passing Go, and we do not get to collect an extra $200, but we do get to get hold of and do the best we can with this day, Wednesday, September 14, 2016. While I may not need to be informed as to signs that I am getting old, I thought I would share some thoughts that are flying around out on the world wide web, as a public service. Ways to know you are getting old: ~ You hear your favorite song. On an elevator. ~ You enjoy watching the weather channel. ~ Everything pretty much hurts and what doesn't hurt doesn't work. ~ You often feel like the morning after even though you haven't been anywhere. ~ You've climbed the ladder all your life only to find out it has been leaning on the wrong wall. ~ Your knees buckle more easily than your belt. ~ The little gray-haired lady who helped you across the street is your wife. ~ You have plenty of room in your house but not enough in the medicine cabinet. ~ You actually enjoy hearing about other people's surgeries. ~ You think often of going to the beach, with a metal detector. ~ If you happen to bend over, you look for something else to do while you are down there. ~ There are plenty more out there but those stood out to me, therefore, you now know what you have to look forward to. Good luck with that. You will need it.

I read this example of this particular word: "No need to get sore, I was just funning." I will admit that I don't hear that one used very often anymore. But, that word does reflect my purpose in sharing those signs in the opening paragraph. I was just funning. Folks have been talking about the aging process for a long time. I suppose since Adam. Here's a couple from many years ago: "Old age isn't so bad when you consider the alternatives." (Marcus Porcius Cato, 95-46 BC)  "I grow old learning something new every day." (Solon 636 BC~ 558 BC) Fast forward to Benjamin Franklin and here are some of his quips about aging, "All would live long, but none would be old." ~ "Beware of the young doctor and the old barber." ~ "By my rambling digressions I perceive myself to be growing old." Of course, the court of final authority and arbitration is none other than what God has to say on any subject, period, end of story. Proverbs 16:31 "A gray head is a crown of glory; It is found in the way of righteousness." ~ Leviticus 19:32 "You shall rise up before the gray headed and honor the aged, and you shall revere your God; I am the LORD." ~ Genesis 25:8 "Abraham breathed his last and died in a ripe old age, an old man and satisfied with life; and he was gathered to his people." ~ Psalm 90:12 "So teach us to number our days, That we may present to You a heart of wisdom." ~ Psalm 71:18 "And even when I am old and gray, O God, do not forsake me, Until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to all who are to come." ~ That should give us all something to think about for today. Don't expect to find those words of advice on the AARP website. Just sayin......

Yes. I am well aware that many people do develop challenges as they age. I don't get up every morning looking forward to sticking a sharp metal object into my finger just to find out if I have been naughty or nice. Much of these issues come with the territory. On the other hand, it's okay to find something to smile about. The other evening the wife was in the kitchen and I said something about what was on TV. She heard something entirely different. I just shook my head. We had a good laugh. Within ten minutes she said something to me from the kitchen and I heard something entirely different. She had her opportunity to just shake her head. We had another good laugh. It's like this little ditty, "A man was bragging about his new hearing aid and how great it was and how well he could hear with it. His friend asked what kind is it and the man responded 12:30." Or this one, "My wife doesn't think I listen to her, or I think that's what she said." Oh well, at least we can do our own funning as we grow old together. Have a great rest of the day and may God bless each one. Amen. ....More later.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

"Monday's child is fair of face, Tuesday's child is full of grace..." Mother Goose

Good morning and welcome to Tuesday, September 13, 2016. I read some Happy Tuesday quotes that are intended to get one ready for the day. Let's check out a few of them to see if they actually work. ~ "May you always do what you are afraid to do." ~ "Enjoy every single moment. The good, the bad, the beautiful, the ugly, the inspiring, the not-so-glamorous moments." (Meghann Matt) ~ "Be thankful you have been able to surpass all the trials . . . Thank God because He has helped you become what you are today." ~ "Anyone can make you happy by doing something special. But only someone special can make you happy without doing anything." ~ "A simple hello could lead to a million things." ~ "Don't wait for the perfect moment, take the moment and make it perfect." ~ "In the end we only regret the chances we didn't take." ~ "Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced." (Soren Kierkegaard) ~ Mercifully, I now share the last one for today. ~ "You can't start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one." ~ I know. We all pretty much have become immune to the sloganizing of slogans. If we really want true motivational input to start our day, then perhaps checking with our Creator would be a good place to start, "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." (The Word of Almighty God, found in the inspired text of Romans, Chapter 8, Verse 28, from the New American Standard Bible, (NASB)) Amen.

You would think those who know me well would get tired of watching me help football players, soccer competitors, NASCAR drivers and others on TV when I'm straining and leaning in attempting to assist. They still enjoy watching me. I know this to be true. They comment on it. That along with me missing some important play because of being hit with a sudden onset activation of my internal snooze mechanism, well, these antics obviously make for some pretty good entertainment. When I am watching, I am unaware that this happens, and I'm still trying to figure out why I respond that way. It's like it's some type of involuntary reaction. The wife is very coy when she asks, "Are you trying to help him gain an extra yard?" Me, "What in the world are you talking about?" Her, "I think you'll be okay but maybe you should just lean back and take another nap, that will at least help to keep your blood pressure down." She does know how to put the needle in. Her, "I'm so sorry you missed that play while you were snoozing, but, it will probably be replayed many times over the next few days." I suppose I should be glad I'm able to offer up such entertaining tidbits. One thing is certain. They really do get a kick out of it. They really do. I mean it.

My dad is something to behold. The other day they discovered a water leak from underneath the house. Dad got on his coveralls and crawled under there to see if he could fix it. He was under the house for over 2 hours. He is 86 years young. Mom was concerned about him being under the house. She could envision water mocassins or black widow spiders chewing on him. She went out to check on him. She called and called. She wasn't able to get down on the ground, but, he probably wouldn't have been able to hear her anyway. She is 92 years young. Finally, mom spotted a fellow next door and called out to him to come. He came and got down near where dad had gone under the house and began calling for him. Dad heard him and responded. He was okay. No snakes or spiders. And, he did get the leak fixed. They never cease to amaze me. Are they able to pay to have someone come and fix a leak? Abundantly so. However, that wouldn't be our dad. It's not the money. It's the principle and it's his identity at stake. I'm thankful they are still able to tell these kinds of stories. Now that, my friend, is a blessing. Have a great rest of the day and I'll see what pops out for tomorrow. May God bless. Amen.  ...More later. 

Monday, September 12, 2016

“We often use the Bible as a source for personal validation and defense, a sidekick and a shield, but these will prove ineffective without first the other part. We must also allow ourselves to be wounded by it. We tend to forget its authority - that it is a double-edged sword. Our decrepit, depraved hearts must be completely ripped out in order to welcome that of God.” ― Criss Jami, American poet, essayist, and philosopher.

Good morning and welcome. Good to see you as we begin another work week here on this Monday, September 12, 2016. I think the word inundated is appropriate. It has to do with being overwhelmed. Picture an avalanche or maybe a tsunami wave. I'm actually talking about all the political stuff being posted by my 423 Facebook friends and their friends and the friends of their friends. I'm not sure what any of us had to do before social media became our political lifeline. It's hard to categorize some of the stuff that ends up being posted. Some of it may be informative but much of it probably could use some fact checking before being disseminated. I know that everyone has a right to express their opinion. I support that with every fiber of my being. At the same time, I do get a queasy feeling when I see such virulent and hateful words and graphics being used. Folks who are typically God fearing examples of Christian love and respect, end up copying and pasting stuff that should have some type of explicit rating on it. Here again, I have no problems with people expressing their freedom of speech, but, those of us who are set apart by the Spirit of Almighty God have a calling to make sure we exercise our rights and privileges in a way that is God-honoring. Have I ever been guilty of posting stuff that in retrospect I wished I hadn't? You betcha. But, we live and we have the potential to learn. I'm not being critical, just making observations, and wondering out loud. I do a lot of that here on this page. You've noticed? Good.

I know that when I write about things like this some wonder who died and left me in charge. I'm very familiar with that response, perhaps, from using it myself. I have, at times, when something is so egregiously off the chart in terms of its lack of truthfulness, sent a note and gave the correct information to the person who posted it. Often, they get angry with me for pointing it out to them. They also let me know that they didn't do the original statement. Someone else did. They just posted it for their friends to see. The implication? Maybe I'm not their targeted friend(s). I don't always get my information stated correctly. Surprise! Surprise! (Picture Gomer Pyle.) Even in my blogs. While it may sting a little to have someone send me a note questioning the factual basis of something I have written, I am so thankful they took the time to do it. You may not have noticed since I saturate the page each day with so many words, but, I have attempted to acknowledge and correct something I put on the page that turned out to be wrong or wrongly portrayed. Not on every little detail. The other day I credited my youngest with some input that should have been credited to my eldest. I didn't do a formal correction because that's inside family business. No animals were injured in the writing of that particular blog. It's a joke. Lighten up a little. No animals are ever injured, that I know of, in the writing of my blog. Does that make you feel better? Now those that run out in front on me on the highway, well, I will do my best to avoid, but, it may not always be possible. Confused yet? Me too!

My wife does not use the words disjointed or discombobulated, however, she often lets me know when a daily episode seems to her to be a bridge to nowhere. She even gives me good advice about composition and subject separation, but, as the great Belgium detective, created by Agatha Christie, Hercule Poirot, would say it, "No, the little grey cells, I fear, they grow the rust." You know. My connections may not always function as they should. Like on a battery when its posts get corroded. Speaking of Agatha Christie, (1890-1976), I read the other day that her estate is one of the most aggressive in terms of protecting her literary and copyright entitlements. She was prolific. Here's a short note from Wikipedia: "The Guinness Book of World Records lists Christie as the best-selling novelist of all time. Her novels have sold roughly 2 billion copies, and her estate claims that her works come third in the rankings of the world's most-widely published books, behind only Shakespeare's works and the Bible. According to Index Translationum, she remains the most translated individual author – having been translated into at least 103 languages. 'And Then There Were None' is Christie's best-selling novel, with 100 million sales to date, making it the world's best-selling mystery ever, and one of the best-selling books of all time." I remember reading "And Then There Were None' as a teenager. The wife and I have feasted for years on the delightful antics of her characters in the Masterpiece series on PBS. We especially have enjoyed the 'Miss Marple' and the 'Hercule Poirot' characters. That would be our idea of 'must see TV'. Okay. That should be enough for today. Take care, enjoy the day, and may God bless us all is my prayer. Amen. ...More later.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Wishing mom and dad a happy 39th wedding anniversary!

"But we`ll travel along Singing a song Side by side."
Today is Friday, September 9, 2016, and I pause to recognize mom and dad on the occasion of the 39th observance of their wedding anniversary. What a blessing from God these two are to us all. God has given them both a long sojourn and they are now able to count a number of great-greats in their huge blended clan. I think of the word devoted when I think of mom and dad. Devoted to God. Devoted to each other. Devoted to their family. They have never stopped caring and they still can enjoy a good laugh as they continue the journey God has given to them, together. Happy Anniversary and thanks for being such wonderful parents to us all. Amen.

The Republican candidate for President visited an African American Church last week. The news media were there. He struck a conciliatory tone and was well received. That's right. He was well received. At the end of his talk, he received a standing ovation. The film crew was ordered by their network control bosses to cut out the response of the black audience to this candidate. I'm firmly an undecided voter. Let me update that a little. I am 100% firmly in the NEVER Hillary camp. After that, I have not determined what I will do. I mentioned the visit to the black church only to point out the media manipulation going on. Even those who showed the warm reception found ways to criticize him for even being there. I do hope you are aware of this blatant bias in coverage. If not, follow that crowd you see over on the edge of the cliff. I think they have their chosen leader and are looking for folks anxious to jump. Just me. My view, as in The View From Here.

This form of reporting is not new. You just have to learn to spot it. The other day I heard an interview of an author who has written a biographical depiction of one of America's earliest and most damaging international spies. This was from back in the 1930's and it continued through WWII. I'll not go into the details about how this spy along with his wife were responsible for the deaths of thousands because I want to share a little about how they introduced this man. He was brilliant. Harvard educated. He was idealistic. He joined the US State Department. As he continued his work he began to realize how unfair America was in that many of her citizens were not being treated equally. The interviewer and the author spent ten minutes talking about how America essentially caused this brilliant man to become disallusioned. It was as if it was our nation's fault that he turned to communism as an alternative. And, it was somewhat of a stroke of bad luck on his part that Joseph Stalin, the ruthless despot, ended up being the beneficiary of his spying. My point? In my opinion, we had all better pay attention. This blame America for any and all things is one of the ways the liberal media attempts to sell their brand of political thought. Just like the advertisers that buy time, the liberal media has something to sell as well. Okay. I know most probably don't have that much interest in this type of analysis, but, it was of interest to me, and now you get to exercise your right to skip or delete. In the meantime, I will continue to be on the alert, and I will also be ready to meet again, come next Monday morning. Lord willing. Until then, may God bless us all is my prayer. Amen. ....More later.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Facebook message sent to Kroger from an elderly gentleman: "Facebook was down for about five minutes so I went and visited my wife. She seems like such a nice person."

It's another day in the blogger neighborhood and I bring you greetings from my electronic block to wherever you happen to be. We are embracing the day the Lord has given to us here on this Thursday, September 8, 2016. I know my immediate family always thought of me as being out of touch when I was glued to something on TV. I can remember them saying some crazy things to see if I was hearing anything. You know, like, "Hey dad, me and some of my buddies want to go for a joyride and smoke a little weed. Can I use the New Yorker?" I made that up but it was stuff like that. I suppose my wife has finally figured out a way to give some payback. She now sits and watches our regular big screen TV while at the same time she watches Netflix on her tablet. I never really saw her as a multimedia multitasker, but there she is. Earbuds from her tablet blasting away while she also is trying to keep up with American Ninja Warrior. Sometimes I say something just to see if she notices. She's even perfected something I thought I had trademarked. The wide-eyed "Huh?" She would say it's because she doesn't hear as well as she used to. I get that. The other thing she will tell you is that it would be hard for me to communicate when I am passed out in the recliner. Her Grandma Rawles had the best answer for that one, "I wasn't asleep. I was just resting my eyes." I think I might just resemble that remark. A little.

I'm seventy years old so I have earned the right to talk about these things. I have, over time, developed a tremor of sorts that causes my head to shake. Only slightly. My wife doesn't care for it at all. I read where 10% of all seniors over 65 have some form of shaking. I'm actually not even aware of it when it happens. She typically asks me very politely, "Why are you doing that?" Me, "Doing what?" Her, "That head shaking thing." Me, "Oh, that." I suppose I could give her a little of my really bad Elvis, "I said come on over baby, a-whole lotta shakin' goin' on Yeah I said come on over baby, a-whole lotta shakin' goin' on Well we ain't fakin', a-whole lotta shakin' goin' on." Based on our nearly 55 years of association, I'm 99.99% certain that would not be a good idea. I looked up tremors on the internet and found nearly 6 million hits. I started at the top. There were many categories of tremors discussed in the Tremor Fact Sheet. The intermittent involuntary type of tremor seems to be experienced by most people but not always noticed. It can be brought on by different triggers. For most tremors, there is no known cure. Speaking of triggers, I did love me some Roy Rogers and Trigger when I was a kid. I don't think there's any connection but it might be a good place to start.

You do know that I am poking fun at myself. Not others. I am well aware that involuntary shaking is a side effect of many diseases and some of them are very serious. I'm just trying to give you the developing view of what it means to be a 70-year-old still beating and banging on the keyboard. Speaking of keyboarding, my daughter-in-law recently said she foud it hard to believe that most kids are no longer taught how to type. She said watching them at a personal computer makes her nearly pull her hair out. I suppose with today's smartphones, tablets, and other electronic gizmos available to these kids, well, they just don't need to know how to type. They can't write in cursive. I guess if they decided to write something they would need to do a voice to text conversion, or print it on a sheet of paper and scan it into the computer. Who knows? I told her that most of these kids think they have developed blinding speed in their hunt and peck techniques. I do see them going fast on their tiny little keyboards but I have no idea what might show up as an end result. Here's an example of a text message from a parent to their teenager. Mom, "Your great aunt just passed away. lol." Son, "Why is that funny mom?" Mom, "It's not funny David, why did you say that?" Son, "lol means laugh out loud mom." Mom, "oh my goodness, I thought it meant lots of love. I sent that message to everyone and now I have to call them all. Oh my!" Now you know why I don't use lol. Have a great day and watch out for us septuagenarians. Look it up. May God bless us all is my prayer. Amen. ....More later.