Monday, February 19, 2018

The Second Amendment


In light of the most recent tragedy involving the slaughter of so many innocent children down in Florida, I decided to address this issue. There is probably little that I can add to the many conversations revolving around this, and what I've got to say most likely will do little to change anyone's mind. Depending on what side of the aisle you're on, you're either for or against stricter gun laws. For the extremists on the left, such as the New York Times reporter, Bret Stephens, the second amendment should be banned all together. What would that entail? Would congress pass a law requiring all gun owners to turn in their weapons?The second amendment states, A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. If congress could pass a law that would fundamentally change the constitution, why stop at the second amendment? Why not pass a law forbidding free speech? Something that apparently some liberal college campuses think would be just fine. They feel the need to protect their students from hearing anything that doesn't fit their agenda. If ideas are expressed that could inflame an individual or group and incite them to commit violent acts, let's not let them speak! How would that work? Why stop there? Any of the rights that are guaranteed by the constitution that we find offensive or outdated maybe we should do away with.  I'm not without feelings of sorrow for the family members and friends of the kids who were gunned down in Parkland. They were murdered in an act of senseless violence, and I hate that it happened. Their young lives were snuffed out before they ever got a chance to reach their potential. The fact is, we can't regulate evil. We can try. We can put more rules on the books regarding gun ownership or back round checks or bump stocks or automatic weapons, but unfortunately that won't stop those who have an agenda. They'll make a bomb or drive a truck into a crowd or swing a machete or something. Some years back I saw a bumper sticker, probably endorsed or even created by the NRA. It happens to be a slogan that I agree with. It said- When Guns Are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Have Guns. I believe that's true. Criminals don't care about the law. I've mentioned on more than few occasions on this blog about the law of sewing and reaping. Sometimes it takes a tragedy to bring home an idea- we're a hard headed people. I don't believe we have a gun problem in this country, we have a morals problem. We have a problem with a righteous God.I think if we would return to the foundation that was established with the passing down of the  ten commandments, we wouldn't be dealing with gun violence or terrorism, or spousal abuse, or poverty or corrupt politicians. The fact is, we can change the direction of this country if we want to, but it won't be through passing another gun law.

Monday, February 12, 2018

The Power of Music



 It's once again time for the Winter Olympics. Personally, they don't do much for me. I'm not much of a sports fan, although I did enjoy watching the Super Bowl this time. Usually I just tune in for the commercials, but this time the game was more interesting than the advertisements. For me, the best part of the Olympics is the theme song. I like it so well that I downloaded it last night. I was kind of hoping that it would be a little longer than it is. Unfortunately, the whole song only last 59 seconds- not even a full minute- what a bummer. It is quite stirring though. I think that businesses should adapt if for their employees. Can you imagine how it would make you feel to step through the door of your workplace and have the Olympic Theme play? It would convey the fact that the company you worked for felt like you were a super star, and it would make no difference  if you were the CEO or the janitor, all the employees would be given that same rock star treatment. It would be even better if when you punched in at the time clock, your arrival would be announced throughout the building, and then the song would start. Of course, if you're in the habit of being late, you probably wouldn't care to have your name blasted through the public address system, but at the same time, it could perhaps serve as a deterrent to tardiness. Music is really handy for all sorts of situations. Do you remember the music from the World War II movie, Bridge on the River Kwai? Perhaps not, unless you're from my generation. Anyway, it's called the Colonel Bogey March. Regardless of the name, the movie didn't star Humphrey Bogart. It's also a pretty stirring song. I was brushing my teeth this morning listening to it and discovered that my arm was moving like a drive piston on a steam locomotive at high speed. Needless to say, my teeth were highly polished after a few minutes of Colonel Bogey. I was listening to it while I was walking on the treadmill also, and almost walked the tread right off. I listened while I was out shoveling this morning and got done in record time; however, I did  discover that some situations are better handled at a slower pace. It's really not a good idea to go out and clean up after your dog while the adrenaline is flowing. I was flinging poop through the air like an acrobat at the Circ Du Soleil. I might add that listening to stimulating music shortly before you hit the sack probably isn't conducive to a good nights sleep. If you're anything like me, the song will play in a continuous loop in your mind for half the night, thus robbing you of the rest you may desperately desire. Not to worry though, no problemo. I have volumes  of Celtic music songs that are totally relaxing, as well as other soft sounds to lull a person to sleep. The problem with playing them when I'm in bed though is that I want to hear the songs and will force myself to stay awake so that I can, thus defeating the purpose. I suppose there is music to cover almost any situation that you find yourself in, from falling in love to digging ditches; from praising God to the end of life. Speaking of which, I'm somewhat undecided what kind of music I'd like at my memorial service, assuming I have one. I kind of like the sound of Amazing Grace done by bagpipes, but there's also the country song Amazing Grace (used to be her favorite song) by the Amazing Rythm Aces which is pretty bouncy and kind of funny. I think I'd like my memorial service to be both sad and happy. I don't think I'd like people to be crying through the whole thing, but I wouldn't mind a few tears, so I might include Yanni's song to his mother- Felitza. On the other hand I don't think I want them two-stepping through the funeral parlor, so there probably wouldn't be anything like Rodney Carrington's Dancing With A Man. Frankly, I do rather like the idea of everyone lining up at the end of the service and exiting smartly out of the building to the sound of Colonel Bogey's March. I think it would be a fitting end to a fine life. I guess I'll have to see what I can do to make that happen. Meanwhile, whether you're sitting at the bar and drowning your sorrows in a glass of beer or driving down the road with your sweetheart, I hope you turn on some music and enjoy.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Those Were the Days


  I was planning on doing a blog post about taxes. I have a picture of all the papers and files and envelopes scattered all over the table, with a calculator and yellow legal pad, but I thought- how entertaining would that be? No doubt it would be a nice challenge to see how I could make it interesting, and maybe before the month is out, I'll do a post on that, just not today. I was looking through some photographs the other day, and ran across this one. It's a picture of my wife Jan. She's standing on the White Street Pier down in Key West, back around 1973 or so. It looks like she's using a fiberglass rod with a Zebco 33 reel. Not exactly made for saltwater, which is what we were surrounded by. Even the golf course pond was saltwater. I caught a twelve pound tarpon in it on a live shrimp. I was fishing with my division petty officer, who was considered a golf pro, so they let us fish in it. Jan and I spent many an evening fishing off the pier. I don't believe we ever caught too much, a few small Grunts or the occasional Needlefish. There was a hole in the corner of the pier that a Morray Eel had decided to make his home. I spent more than a few hours trying to catch him. Lord knows what I would have done if I did. He probably would have latched on to me and I'd be missing some limb or another. We had a green Ford Pinto back then, the only new car we've ever owned. Actually,Jan bought it before we were married. Gas was about 29 cents a gallon at the time which was good, because we couldn't have afforded to buy any otherwise. Our entertainment was to go fishing almost every night. If it was payday we might splurge and buy ourselves a soft serve ice cream cone. We were living in an old Conch house that was divided into four apartments. An old lady by the name of Mrs. Segal owned it, and we rented it for $82.50 a month. It had a kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and living room, which was painted brilliant chartreuse with tan trim. When Jan first saw the apartment she started crying. I felt  terrible, but what could I do? I think part of it was because she was so far away from her family and part of it was moving into an old house that hippies had occupied previously. I guess there must have been a couch in there, though I don't recall. What I do remember is that there was an old wooden desk that had been painted white, and green I believe, and it was full of termites. Every morning when we came into the living room there was a neat little pile of sawdust by one of the legs. We'd sweep it up and by morning there would be a fresh pile. At night we'd watch shows on cable that the last tenants had installed. We never paid for it, and when a cable guy came down from Miami and asked Jan if it was hooked up she lied and said no, and he left. We used to lay in bed and  shut off the lights and could see the termites from the head board flying in front of the TV. We could hear them munching too. It was bothersome, but it wasn't our furniture, and there weren't too many other places to rent that we could afford so we put up with it. We ended up painting the kitchen yellow, and the living room a mint green, and added some sheet rock to the bathroom walls to keep the breeze from passing through the cracks. It could feel chilly when we were wet from the bath. The bathroom itself was an add on. Originally it had been part of a porch that ran the entire perimeter of the upstairs. The floor was slanted so that rain wouldn't settle on it.When you were in the tub, one side had eight or ten inches of water, and the other had two. We had a resident gecko that hung around the kitchen; a cute little green thing, kind of like the one from the Geico commercial.  Sometimes I'd see him climbing the screen or walking down the wall. I was always afraid our Siamese cat, Fred, would get it, but to the best of my knowledge, that never happened. Across the street was the Kleen Wash Laundry. It runs in my mind it was all open with just a roof covering everything, no walls that I recall. There was a pay phone under the awning and every Sunday night Jan would call her mom. One night some creep was walking around trying to expose himself to Jan while she was on the phone. She just kept walking in a circle and he followed her hoping she'd get a peek. I must have been on watch down at the ship, or out to sea, I don't recall. Isn't it funny the memories that a picture can stir up? I guess that's why we take pictures, so that some day forty some years later you can run across it and remember the way it used to be. I hope that the memories you have of days gone by are pleasant, and that the memories you're making now will be as well.