Sunday, December 01, 2013

You can't take it with you.

It's Sunday morning and many people are heading out to church. I am sitting here thinking how I have wasted my life. If I just had a little less integrity, I could be a multimillionaire with

"...often-vacant homes in Texas and the former Conway Twitty estate in Tennessee, corporate jets valued at $8 million and $49 million each and thousand-dollar dinners with fine wines, paid with tax-exempt money." 
Paul Crouch of that fake television church that own our local Holy Land Experience, died this week. All those millions he sucked up from little old ladies will do him no good now.

But he lived the good life for a long time. No resemblance to Jesus, unfortunately.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving Thoughts

Yesterday was Thanksgiving. It was not an event like the one pictured at the right. Don't get me wrong, it was not the dysfunctional kind with the crazy uncle, it was just blah.

Part of the problem is that Thanksgiving is being forgotten as people focus on sales. Black Friday has crept into Thursday, and even if you manage yo stay home, Black Friday commercials are all over the TV interrupting football or holiday movies. The Thursday paper is larger than any Sunday edition, and it draws people away from family to peruse ads.

People gobble down the meal, and start cleaning so as t get someone else. No matter how good the food is, and mine was great as my partner does a great bird, the holiday atmosphere is just not there.

I have to take some responsibility for this and I am planning for a festive feast next year,

It's funny that we celebrate Thanksgiving with a focus on the Pilgrims/Puritans at Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1630. They did not even celebrate the first Thanksgiving, and retailers would be shocked to know that celebrating Christmas was against the law. That's right, no Black Friday as there is no Christmas.

Others competing for the title are residents of Plymouth in 1621, Jamestown, Virginia in 1610, and Maine in 1607.

However, they are all Johnny-come-latelys. El Paso, Texas lays a claim that dates to 1598, and Thanksgiving was celebrated 56 years before Plymouth Rock in Saint Augustine Florida after Spanish explorers arrived n September 8, 1565.

I suppose we would have to agree that Thanksgiving is really a Southern thing.

Whoever was first really doesn't matter. Just as Lincoln's proclamation establishing Thanksgiving in 1863 supplanted Evacuation Day, which was celebrated annually on November 25th, there will be a time in the future when Thanksgiving is forgotten. Probably when Black Friday becomes Black Wednesday.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Terrapins in Florida this week

I haven't written anything in a couple of months. I certainly haven't written about sports, but feel a real need to do so today.

While I look to a great season for the Maryland Terrapins, I really only hope for victory in one game. The 4-0 Terrapins travel to Tallahassee this weekend to meet the 4-0 Seminoles. I cannot think of a better game to be watching, and certainly the best match-up in years. Maryland has not been 4-0 in 12 years!

This week Florida State beat a team that won just two games last season and finished last in the conference's Atlantic Division. Maryland, on the other hand, is off a 37-0 victory over a team that just beat No.11 Oklahoma State. After the loss the Cowboys dropped to No. 21.

Maryland is currently a 17 point underdog in this match-up. They cracked the Top 25 at No. 25 for the first time since 2008. This is the first time since 2006 that they have faced a ranked team as a ranked team. A loss will drop them back into obscurity.

17-point underdog. Do I want to rack up 8 hours on the road to see the game, or just watch it on TV? The Gaylord Palms in Orlando has the biggest screen outside Cowboy Stadium - a two-story, 37-foot sports screen! And, I can catch the Orlando Pride Parade afterwards. I think that is a no-brainer.

I'm not a big NFL fan, but I do like the Dolphins. They take on New Orleans this Monday night. Unfortunately, I think their 3-0 streak is about to end. :-(

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Who's the real Iron Man?

It's not RGIII, as you may suspect, but inside linebacker London Fletcher. Why, you may ask? 240 straight games. That's right, despite being in contact with 2000 running backs, tight ends, and quarterbacks, he is like the Energizer Bunny - he takes a licking and keeps on ticking.

I started my working career in the United States Air Force. I spent 23 years there and never missed a day of work. Yes, I did get sick in those 23 years - three times to the best of my recollection - but I was still on the job.

My first illness occurred in Vietnam. I have no idea what it is called there, but in the rest of the world it is known as Delhi Belly or Montezuma's Revenge. I got it from unwashed salad. Despite frequent trips to the loo the next day, I was on the job. The Food Services Superintendent called me in and chewed me out for slacking. I just kept my mouth shut and let him rant and rave in stupidity. I am proud to say that when the day came for me to be Food Services Superintendent, I was a better man. I still got my butt chewed by the Commander, but it was because I would not come down like a ton of bricks on some poor Airman that was just trying to fit in.

Remember the time when President George H. W. Bush puked his guts out all over Japanese Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa's lap? They call that Bushu-suru. I didn't have a Prime Minister available, but I had the same ailment when I was in Tampa. I went to the hospital on Friday afternoon and was out Saturday morning. They told me to watch what I ate or drank, so I put milk in my scotch until I was better.

The third time I got sick was in Phoenix after a trip to the dentist to get my wisdom teeth out. It took four hours to remove two teeth. They had rounded tops and the instrument couldn't grasp them, so they had to be broken apart. Four hours in the chair with my jaw being stretched to the limit. Fortunately, the Novocaine held until that evening, and I was back to work the net day.

Take that Cal Ripken, Jr! I didn't have an off season to rest.

If you don't like the rules, then just change them to suit your prejudices. That is the policy of the Lake County School Board. The Christofascists on the board are moving heaven and earth to make sure that no LGBT students have an opportunity to meet and help each other in the face of constant bullying.

A Gay-Straight Alliance empowers students to advocate for safe schools policies, mobilize their peers to stand up for safety and equality, and train teachers to stop bullying.

Now, what could be wrong with that?


I finally got my room cleaned and I think it looks great.

I have currently lost 22 pounds, and am still working hard on losing more.

I have read 20 books in the first half of the year.

Those are completed goals. I still have a lot of goals that need work!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

I am not Trayvon's Grandfather...

But I could be. I have a grandson about Trayvon's age. He is black, and most likely wears a hoodie, and lives in Florida. So, he is a target just as Trayvon was. I have to worry that some yahoo with a concealed weapon permit may decide one day that he doesn't like the way he looks, just as Zimmerman did.

With the Stand Your Ground law in Florida, and many other states, racists have a license to kill on a whim. Let's not kid ourselves, carrying a concealed weapon marks you as a racist. You have no other reason to carry a weapon other than your fear of minorities.

I am smarter than you are. I am more educated than you are. I have probably lived longer than you have, and I certainly have more experiences than you could dream of. Yet, I do not carry a weapon, and will not have one in my house or car. Why is that? Am I missing something? I seriously doubt it.

I know how the world works. I was involved in a serious incident as a juvenile, and the police simply returned me to my parents and suggested they get counseling for me. That is the way of the world for middle and upper class whites. I have never had to live my life in fear. I have never worried that spitting on the sidewalk could get me arrested, and I certainly can wear a hoodie with impunity.

Yes, I did have to be subjected to police racism in Tampa some 40 years ago, but that was only because I was driving with two Black women in my car. I can drive through any neighborhood I want as long as I am alone. My grandson would do well to stay out of  Carrollwood, Brandon or South Tampa.

The statistics are there for anyone who takes the time to find them. The case for racism in stand your ground shootings is more than evident. 

I spent 23 years in the military trying to protect the country I live in. It is no longer the country I grew up in or the country I fought for. It is a country that is racist, women-hating, and only interested in preserving the status quo for those in power.

First Lady Michelle Obama once said, "for the first time in my adult life I am proud of my country because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback." I do not yet see hope for the Trayvon Martins of the world.

Maybe if I live to be 100...

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Good night, sweetheart, its time to go now.

It's 3:30 in the morning and I am having to make one of the hardest decisions of my life. I am searching blogs reading what others say (Slate and Whirlpool), but I know the decision rests with me.

It is not as if I hadn't been here before. The first time (Taco) really doesn't count as I believe I acted out of ignorance. If I had more information, I probably would have made a different decision. She is buried at our house in Ocean Springs.

The second time was easy, as May Lee was experiencing kidney failure. In that case, I probably hung on too long before making a decision. She died peacefully in my arms after getting a shot.  I do remember leaving her at the vet in Moron and walking down the street crying. I went to the NCO Club on base for medication.

It was several years later in Texas when we lost May Lee's daughter, Honey. She knew when it was time, and went in the night. I got up and found her, as I suspected I would, and I bawled like a baby. I buried her, crying all the time, and put a tree on top to mark her grave. I'll get back to Hereford one day and see if it is still there.

Bitsy was born in Hereford, and she went here in Florida. She must have been in a lot of pain, as she could hardly walk at the end. I definitely waited too long on her, and decided to relieve her pain and take her to the vet in the morning. She went on her own that very night, and I regret waiting so long.

Muffin is losing her sight. Pat said she couldn't even see her dinner last night. Her hearing is going, and she just lays in the kitchen or in a chair all day. There is no apparent "quality of life" remaining.

I have a friend who just spent several thousand dollars trying to save one of her cats. That is not an option for me, and the result would probably be the same. The cat didn't make it anyway, and how can you be sure that they are not in pain.

On the other hand, how do you know you are jumping the gun? Maybe I just don't like waking at 3:30 in the morning. Maybe I don't like the extra work it takes to get her to take care of business. Maybe I am being influenced by the fact that I have two very young dogs in addition to Muffin.

It's been 2 hours since she got me up and she is sleeping peacefully. Maybe it's not time after all.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Does Mother Nature do bailouts?

Tornado season is just about over, and it has certainly been exciting. I was on the phone with Mom during the last one as we watched to see if family was in the path - they were, but all are alright. Tornadoes can come any time, but the prime season is April - June. We still have some worrying to do, as most of my relatives live in Tornado Alley.

Yesterday was the start of hurricane season. For the next five months, we will be watch to see if the predicted storms occur. There are four major hurricanes expected, and there is a 50-50 chance that at least one will hit the East Coast (including us), and one will enter the Caribbean.

No one in the path of these storms can deny that we are getting many more that the historical norm, and that they are much more intense. Of course, there is an industry, funded by billionaires, that seeks to deny that climate change is occurring, much like the cigarette industry denied the dangers of tobacco. Climate Change deniers are just as ridiculous as Holocaust deniers. Sorry, but stupidity is stupidity, and there is no use being kind to idiots.

The are probably no get-rich-quick schemes that are legal, but there are ideas that have not been explored. You just have to find a niche and develop it. Case in point is the electric vehicle that is designed for people using wheelchairs. How this came to be is a fascinating story, and, hopefully, it will make some people wealthy as it helps those who use wheel chairs live a better life.

Also, you might want to check out the Disability Scoop on Facebook.

When you talk about the disabled, you cannot forget all the ex-military personnel who come home with
PTSD and other mental issues. Some of the problem is self-inflicted (It is estimated that 50% of the soldiers that were in Vietnam at the time I was there, used drugs.), but there is a real problem with those returning from war and ending up in prison when they need mental-heath  or substance-abuse services. Former service members make up and estimated 10% of the prison population. Medication and incarceration is a tool used by a justice system that is severely overworked. Buffalo, NY set up a program in 2008 that deals with this problem. They have a special veterans court that selects vets for treatment for substance-abuse or mental-health problems. Most of the cost is paid by the VA, and the recidivism rate is ZERO for those that complete the program. Now, isn't that a better way to treat veterans? It is also a better way to treat all who have substance-abuse and mental-health problems, but politicians have found that being "tough on crime" is better for them than solving problems.

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in a the final sense a theft from all those who hunger and who are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."
--Dwight D. Eisenhower