Friday, October 21, 2016

Who wants the good old days?

We have an amazing source of near constant free energy in our Sun, so why don’t every home have a solar panel array in place? It is 2016 after all.  Think about it.  The first internal combustion engine automobile became generally available to the public in 1908, just 22 years after its invention. It was made by ford and named the Model T.

The invention of solar panels predates automobiles by over 30 years. Although rudimentary and inefficient, it wasn’t until 1941 that the solar cell came along. That was 55 years ago and yet, I don’t have a solar array and a bank of batteries powering my house.  Why? It is still too expensive. Again I ask why. Why is it so expensive for us to get off fossil fuel generated electricity and onto solar energy cells?

We are risking a future nightmare if we lose power. Heckfire, if we lose juice for just 24 hours, most of us are utterly miserable and anxiously ready to revolt. (Get it?) Never mind. The idea of living off the grid for most of us is just a fantasy and the good old days of no electricity and outhouse toilets, is not something I don’t want to experience again.

John Wells, a New York photographer liquidated his assets and bought a plot of desert land near Terlingua, Texas about 10 years ago.  His homestead is called the Field Lab and he blogs about it daily. It is an experiment in off the grid living and yes, he has solar panels to provide electricity. He runs the Southwest Texas Alternative Energy and Sustainable Living Field Laboratory, a personal experiment in green living.

In his own words, he writes, “I was paying $1,000 a month in taxes. I decided I would try a debt-free lifestyle. I knew a couple, Abe and Josie Connally, who were practicing sustainable living in West Texas, so in October 2007 I packed up and moved. Now I own 40 acres in the desert, and my property taxes are $100 a year.”

He has a huge scientific following and I guess I can say my attention also, as I have followed him since the inception of the experiment. Don’t get me wrong, I want a simpler life as do most of us, if we think about it. I remember a time when things were not as complicated and yearn for them occasionally. One of my fantasies is sitting in front of a log cabin on the side of a mountain and drinking coffee over a small campfire. At the end of the day, I would turn on the lights inside and cook on my gas stove and get a beverage out of the refrigerator, just like I do here in Baytown.

“As soon as I got here, I built the basic box of my house in ten days and moved right in. I used four-by-eight-foot panels of oriented strand board, which is like plywood but cheaper. There are seven little windows and a big glass door.”

In my fantasy, I would have the best of both worlds.  Solitude, peace, great scenery and modern conveniences at my fingertips. With proper landscaping, I could have all of them right here in Baytown with a solar panel array and batteries with no need to buy propane, butane, or gasoline to run my house and vehicles. So why hasn’t the price and knowledge of solar energy become cheap and common? It works and is clean and I think everyone would switch to it if they could.  Can you imagine how quiet our world would be if we weren’t propelling ours vehicles with gasoline and diesel?

Back to the Field Lab, John writes, “I’m building a greenhouse out of shipping containers and cinder block, to create a garden that will be my little oasis of food and wean me from canned goods. I’m going to try hydroponics and aquaponics, which is when you grow fish and vegetables at the same time.” Do we have to be in starvation mode to plant a Victory Garden? Wouldn’t it be amazing if people all across this country took to planting their own crops in their yards, verandas, or patios? I imagine we would all be happier than we are now. Talk about a farmer’s market!

People would be friendlier too and guess what?  You could actually enjoy talking to people again. The good old days had a certain charm, I will grant you that, but we need electricity and the way to insure we keep it, is for solar panel technology to become affordable.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Outdoor Games for the Average Person

The old exhortation that there is nothing to do in Baytown is simply no longer true. There are interesting and fun alternatives for everyone and some of them require no set-up fees or additional expense to enjoy. On top of everything else, the four games I am going to describe will not only get you outside into the great outdoors, but enable you to interact with your friends and family including small children.

The four games are Pokémon Go, Ingress, Geocaching, and Baytown Rocks. The first three require a global positioning device or Smartphone and the fourth requires shoes of some kind, unless you like to walk around barefoot.

Pokémon Go and Ingress were originally developed for the gaming industry and now allow a person to play a form of virtual reality (using a free Ap) where they follow their missions outdoors and track whatever it is they are looking for with a Smartphone. Both games have great appeal to gamers, but not so much for the average person.

“Ingress is a location-based, augmented-reality, massively multiplayer online game (MMOG). The game has a science fiction back story with a continuous open narrative. Ingress is also considered to be a location-based exergame (video games that require physical activity to play), as is Pokémon Go. Mobile exergames for GPS (global positioning system)-enabled smartphones and mini-tablets take players outdoors, in the open air, unlike console exergames.”

In my experience, Ingress appeals more to hardcore gamers, whereas Pokémon Go is a simpler type MMOG with many more players. Both games have an international following and just might be what you are looking for in an outdoor game.

Geocaching is the mac daddy of hide and seek games and one that I regularly teach. It can take you to the most remote locations on earth and have the highest terrain and difficulty rating in comparison to the other 3 games. A short description of the complicated game is an outdoor recreational activity, in which participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or mobile device and other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers, called "geocaches" or "caches", at specific locations marked by coordinates all over the world.

Doing a simple search online will help anyone learn about these 3 games and it’s not my intention in this article to attempt to cover them in any real detail. You can however learn a great deal about geocaching here:

On the 4th game, it is the new kid on the block and by far the easiest: Baytown Rocks.  Baytown Rocks is a Facebook-based game where local families paint rocks and then “hide” them at businesses or parks and when you find one, you log it on their Facebook page located here:  Note, you will have to have a free Facebook account to post there.

“Baytown Rocks is a communal art project dedicated to spreading joy in our community. Simply decorate a rock however you want and "hide" it in a public space for others to find. Be sure to write "Keep or hide, but post to FB @BaytownRocks" on the back! Check the group to see if anyone found your rock, and don't forget to invite your friends to join us!”

The origin of the game only goes back a couple of years to April 2014 when an Oregon couple, grieving the loss of their 2 daughters started Love Rocks on Facebook. It has since spread like wildfire and Sunday Harper created the group to bring it to Baytown. Our iteration presently has almost 4000 people playing the game.

On a couple of my Blue Heron Trail litter abatement walks, I found two! I knew about this game when it launched and wrongly decided it was nothing more than fluff and a fad, but now I am seeing the light. Maybe I had rocks in my head, but guess what? Its fun! The first stone I found was painted like a minion and when I posted my find and selfie holding the colorful mineral, I learned that a 9 year old child painted it and they were very excited that I posted the photo.

The second rock was painted to advertise the Baytown Little Theater. I pretty much left both rocks for others to find so they can enjoy the game also. As a geocacher, used to looking for things that only a geocacher would find, this game is easy peasy in comparison, but the real motivation is the exercise I am getting and the joy the creators get when someone finds their custom rock.

I think these 4 games are wonderful and if people playing are careful when out and about, they can avoid injury. We’ve all heard stories about folks playing Pokémon Go getting ran over by a car or falling off a cliff while staring at their phone screen, but geocaching in remote areas is probably potentially more hazardous. Geocache containers may be in the top of a tree, in an alligator-infested bayou, or on the side of a mountain and like most things that are really fun, it has inherent dangers.

I urge you to get outdoors and try your hand at one of these 4 games. Who knows? You might just rock out!

Quoted text from various online research.

Friday, October 07, 2016

The New Stupid World Order

Is it just me or does it once again appear that the whole world is sinking into a state of chaos? From the simplest of tasks, like following the rules of the road to people dressing up like clowns and chasing people, the world has plainly gone nuts.

Just last week, within 3 days of each other I had  3 occasions where a car approached at a higher rate of speed than the neighborhood speed limit of 30mph, by coming over into my lane because their lane was blocked with cars – not mine. Common rules of the road dictate they wait as I pass, but no, they can’t wait. Their ignorance of the law and their impatience and entitlement would not let them. Not to mention, I perceived them to be idiotic and rude and that my friend is a dangerous combination.

A week or two before that, the same thing happened and I would not give up my lane. They were forced to slow down and were barely able to slip by my left side without a head-on collision. My speed was about 10mph and theirs was closer to 40mph, before they braked almost to a stop. My reaction was because it was happening with more frequency and my lifted Jeep would have climbed up and over the top of their racy little import sedan.

Prior to this, it was a rare occasion – just like clown sightings.

Now we have a couple of copycats, who are falling into the imbecilic and rude category and they showed up in Jenkins Park. Are people so stupid that they think something like wearing clown clothes and masks and chasing people is a good idea? I’m afraid that if I encounter one, I will hold them close to the ground with my foot on the side of their head until the cops arrive, fire ants and all.

I can see the headlines that would flash across the Internet:  “240 pound muscled, indoor cycling instructor, Vietnam Veteran, black belt man-handles Halloween-costumed unarmed teen boy in public park.  Charges being reviewed by a grand jury.”  Oh, you think that couldn’t happen in our new stupid world order?

We have people right here in this town that would go ballistic and want me lynched. “How dare someone discourage anyone from dressing like a clown in public?” they would cry. They would use social media because they consider themselves “progressives”. Geeze does this mean common sense should be ignored? Almost every cherished idea is under attack it seems. I am all for progress, it just has to come slowly, so we can feel out the repercussions and make reversals. Remember dropping the drinking age from 21 to 18?

In a society that requires law and order, we are turning into the Wild West, where anything we can get away with is the new rule. A society that takes more than it gives is doomed. I’ve said it so many times, but it needs repeating. When people put their agendas ahead of everyone and everything around them, there is going to be chaos. Speak up and “how dare you?” is screamed in your face.

I watched a goodly number of videos where marchers have attempted to block roads with their numbers and the drivers feel threatened enough to run people over. The crowd now screams foul and literally tries to kill the drivers. What? I’d drive over them too if I felt threatened. Heckfire, as far back as I can remember I knew better than to walk out on the road. Are they really that stupid? You walk in front of a moving car and you get what you deserve.

There are people posting videos of them driving around blowing train horns to scare people. Guess what? It is so loud it isn’t funny to anyone but the morons doing it. The so-called prank videos are the same.  They are not pranks by any stretch and hitting a stranger in the back with a ball bat is not a joke, it’s an attack. People racing through red lights so they don’t have to stop are not anything more than dangerous drivers breaking the law. They kill other people when it goes wrong and all you have to do to see an example is drive in Baytown.

It’s the stupid new world order of give it to me, its mine. I walk into the gym almost every day and as I do, I pick up energy drink cans and protein bar wrappers in the parking lot and put them in the trash can at the door. I shake my head every single time I do it too. The other day, someone threw a weighted rubber ball against the wall of the Group X room and caved in the sheet rock. They bugged out and didn’t say a word and I found it when I came in for Spin class. I guess they thought it would bounce back? More head shaking.

Sometimes I feel like a three-eyed man in the land of the blind, but I would wager that many of you reading this see it the same as I do. It’s enough to make you lose faith in mankind.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic

Ben Franklin, the original Benjamin guy.
I wish I could remember who it was that said you can get a basic education in three years, but let us take a look at Ben Franklin as an example of that. We have a family joke that the answer to almost any Jeopardy clue is almost always “Who was Ben Franklin?”

When I am asked who I would most likely enjoy an afternoon with, it is always Ol’ Ben, the only President of the United States, who was never the President of the United States. Did you know he was the master of self-promotion and a man I admire? Even as a young lad, if he spotted a person of higher station, he would grab a shovel or some tool and begin to work diligently. The person would see him and remark, “What a fine worker that young man is!”

I’ve read a couple of books on the man and it still amazes me that he did so much with so little organized education. “From 1714-1716, Franklin attended Boston Grammar School and George Brownell's English School (for one year each) but he was withdrawn due to the expense of formal schooling (Cambridge Companion). Franklin didn't let this bring him down. Nothing could ruin his eternal drive and passion! Franklin read books and taught himself foreign languages.”*

On his many trips to Europe, he conducted experiments on the tides and currents and that data is still used today. Mr. Franklin was such a learned man, that he is known as the greatest scientist of the 18th century. The bifocal glasses many of us wear were invented by him.  The lightning rods on buildings? Yup, Ben Franklin and he coined the words, battery, positive, negative, and charge in relation to electricity.

Ben’s secret to success was his curiosity and his love of learning. He didn’t waste time with redundant nonsense, like playing video games, texting thousands of unnecessary thumb taps, and watching idiotic reality television and wouldn’t have if they were available. Ben had more important things to think about. Stuff like inventing the US Postal System and starting the first lending library so others could gain access to knowledge.

Ben was an advocate of swimming in a time that only children and shipwrecked sailors did it and seeing a need to propel himself faster, fashioned the first swim fins and this earned him recognition in the International Swimming and the United States Swim Schools Association Hall of Fame. That odometer in your car? Ben, for the most part.

Boy, those 2 or 3 years of school he got sure paid dividends!

I enjoy those political cartoons as much as anyone else and the first one was attributed to our scientist. Even the modern selfie-stick is a descendant of Franklin’s reaching device, as are the clamp sticks used to pick up trash by highway crews. The Franklin Stove became a standard addition to most every home that could afford one and is still used today.

Malcolm X
Now Ben might be the exception, but I don’t think so. I believe an overhaul in our education system is needed. If you read the book Malcolm X, you will see how Detroit Red went from being a nearly illiterate 8th grade drop-out street hustler to an articulate and educated Malcolm X in a few short years in prison. He did this by reading books and like Ben Franklin, was mostly self educated, as was the great educator Frederick Douglass.

As I have written before, my real education began after I flunked the 9th grade. Because we moved constantly, my knowledge of math was disjointed and I became the class clown in my English class, going for the laugh above studies. My teacher flunked me by one point and it was the best thing that ever happened to me. Humiliated, I worked through summer and paid for my summer school with those earnings, as my mother simply told me I must, or repeat the grade. By today’s standards this would be considered child abuse.

Frederick Douglass
My teacher started me on the course that I’ve never left. She truly taught me to read, comprehend, and write. The arithmetic came later after I developed a love of learning. I truly believe our educational system is producing cookie-cutter educations that do little to prepare a young man or woman for the hardships of adult life, despite the well intentions of our teachers abilities. We need curriculum that challenges the minds of young people to excel instead of memorizing the same stuff over and over. Give them the proper tools and then make a path for exploration.

Paul Simon sums up my thinking perfectly in the song Kodachrome. "When I think back on all the crap I learned in high school, it's a wonder I can think at all. And though my lack of education hasn't hurt me none, I can read the writing on the wall." A real shame is most people under the age of 35 don’t even know what Kodachrome was and aren’t curious enough to find out.

Aught plus aught
After a few years of basics, a child should be aptitude tested and funneled toward their natural propensities.  Forget individual quotient testing and help them develop their real potential. We already have enough educated idiots with no common sense and proof of that is in Washington and many corporate offices. When a twenty-two year old “man” has no idea how to change a flat tire or check the oil level in their car motor, something is terribly wrong. Where are the Ben Franklin’s when we need them the most?


Friday, September 23, 2016

Quit Pussyfooting Around With Terrorism

For some time now, authorities have been reluctant to label anyone as a terrorist until it has definitively been proved that they are affiliated with a known terrorist group.  They would rather be as politically correct and simply label them as a deranged person acting alone. They feel safer doing this I guess. Safer for their reputation, safer for their voting base, safer in that it won’t offend any particular group, and thus causes division in the logical masses that know terror when they see it.

From serial killers to gang warfare to random acts of violence, all of them instill a sense of terror in law abiding citizens.  Terrorism is the old boogeyman reincarnated.  In case you are young enough to not remember who this character is, I’ll educate you.  The bogeyman was a mythical creature used by adults to frighten children into good behavior.  He or it could take on most any appearance and would get you if you went where you shouldn’t.

Bill de Blasio
Anyone who hides bombs or goes on a shooting/stabbing spree represents the kind of threat which disrupts the government’s ability to maintain law and order, and thus is terrorism by definition.  New York City’s mayor was so reluctant to call it what it was that he wiggled around the subject.  He has since safely announced that it was indeed an act of terror to his feeble credit.  Hillary Clinton took the same cautious approach and our President, although is quick to point out the smallest injustice to Muslims and people of his own race, was silent as a Texas oyster.  He was also silent and absent when Louisiana flooded, choosing golf and pleasure over domestic issues.

US Army Major Nidal Hasan
Remember when the militant Muslim US Army Major Nidal Hasan began shooting unarmed soldiers at Fort Hood and shouting Allahu Akbar?  Under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, he should have been shot and shot again until he looked like a colander.  But where is he now?  Investigators in the FBI and U.S. Army determined that Hasan acted alone and they have found no evidence of links to terrorist groups. They are satisfied that his communications with Awlaki posed no threat at the time.” Wiki

The traitor is incarcerated at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas on death row and will probably gain about 40 pounds of fat eating more than he can exercise off until he is eventually put to death, if ever.  “On August 28, 2014, his attorney said Hasan had written a letter to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (head of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). In the letter, Hasan requested to be made a citizen of the Islamic State and included his signature and the abbreviation SoA (Soldier of Allah)” wiki

It is sad that so many of us down here in blue collar America plainly see terrorism for what it is and our leaders are more interested in side-stepping the issue than making the call. It simply adds to the list of reasons we would like to clean house in Washington.  When the US Army cannot enforce the UCMJ on something as monstrous as Nidal Hasan, there is little hope for America as it was fifty years ago.  Under George Washington’s command, he would never have left that cafeteria alive and the 13 people he murdered would be at peace, as would their families. 

Terrorists are the ultimate proxy bullies and the apex of cowardice. They lurk in the shadows for the most part and then kill randomly and this scares law-abiding citizens and it should. The only way to stop them is to fight back and when they are caught red-handed, justice should be swift and brutal.  When they pull these acts in Russia, their punishment is immediate and it sends a very strong message to the next guy or gal who enlists in this aberrant and perverted behavior.

The list of Islamic terrorist acts around the world is staggering and growing every single day. One fellow on the forum noted that there is a deliberate attempt by our government to salve over these incidents as normal every day acts and nothing to worry about. What? Tell that to someone who lost a family member to a bomb or a knife. It all becomes real when someone you know is killed or maimed.

In the White House we apparently have a President who is hell bent on bringing in more Islamists than care for military Veterans or seniors on Social Security in this country. Almost every day we read where he is demanding we flood the country with more Muslims and yet, the huge bulk of terrorism around the world is being caused by people with that religious belief. He doesn’t make the connection or maybe he does.

We Texans don’t want a police state, we want freedom. We don’t want to fear for our lives at the hands of terrorists, as we already have that with criminals. We will continue to arm ourselves and go about our business with the same caution we’ve learned to accept as normal. In the meantime, our leaders need to call terrorism for what it is and quit pussyfooting around.

Monday, September 19, 2016

BB's take on bullying.

BB's take on bullying. Always resist, even if it means you will take a beating.

Sorry I ain't got no money
I'm not trying to be funny but I left it all at home today
You can call me what you wanna I ain't giving you a dollar
This time I ain't gonna run away
You might knock me down, you might knock me down
But I will get back up again
You can call it how you wanna, I ain't giving you a dollar
This time I ain't gonna run away, run away, run away
This time, this time
This time, this time I ain't gonna run, run, run, run, run
Not this time, not this time
Not this time
Not this time
Sorry I ain't got no money
I'm not trying to be funny but I left it all at home today
You can call me what you wanna I ain't giving you a dollar
This time I ain't gonna run away
You might knock me down, you might knock me down
But I will get back up again
You can call it how you wanna I ain't giving you a dollar
This time I ain't gonna run away, run away, run away
This time, this time
This time, this time I ain't gonna run, run, run, run, run, run
Not this time, not this time
This time I ain't gonna run, run, run, run
Not this time
Not this time
Not this time
Not this time
Not this time

Lyrics by Galantis  No money 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

"Who is Donald Trump?"

"Who is Donald Trump?"  The better question may be, "What is Donald Trump?"   
 An article from Don Fredrick.  

The answer? A giant middle finger from average Americans to the political and media establishment.

Some Trump supporters are like the 60s white girls who dated black guys just to annoy their parents.  But most Trump supporters have simply had it with the Demo-socialists and the "Republicans In Name Only."  They know there isn't a dime's worth of difference between Hillary Rodham and Jeb Bush, and only a few cents worth between Rodham and the other GOP candidates.

Ben Carson is not an "establishment" candidate, but the Clinton machine would pulverize Carson ; and the somewhat rebellious Ted Cruz will (justifiably so) be tied up with natural born citizen lawsuits (as might Marco Rubio).  The Trump supporters figure they may as well have some fun tossing Molotov cocktails at Wall Street and Georgetown while they watch the nation collapse.  Besides - lightning might strike, Trump might get elected, and he might actually fix a few things.  Stranger things have happened (the nation elected an[islamo-]Marxist in 2008 and Bruce Jenner now wears designer dresses.)

Millions of conservatives are justifiably furious.  They gave the Republicans control of the House in 2010 and control of the Senate in 2014, and have seen them govern no differently than Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.  Yet those same voters are supposed to trust the GOP in 2016?  Why?

Trump did not come from out of nowhere.  His candidacy was created by the last six years of Republican failures.

No reasonable person can believe that any of the establishment candidates [dems or reps] will slash federal spending, rein in the Federal Reserve, cut burdensome business regulations, reform the tax code, or eliminate useless federal departments (the Departments of Education, Housing and Urban Development, Energy, etc.).  Even Ronald Reagan was unable to eliminate the Department of Education.  (Of course, getting shot at tends to make a person less of a risk-taker.)  No reasonable person can believe that any of the nation's major problems will be solved by Rodham, Bush, and the other dishers of donkey fazoo now eagerly eating corn in Iowa and pancakes in New Hampshire .

Many Americans, and especially Trump supporters, have had it with:
·     Anyone named Bush
·     Anyone named Clinton
·     Anyone who's held political office
·     Political correctness
·     Illegal immigration
·     Massive unemployment
·     Phony "official" unemployment and inflation figures
·     Welfare waste and fraud
·     People faking disabilities to go on the dole
·     VA waiting lists
·     TSA airport groping
·     ObamaCare
·     The Federal Reserve's money-printing schemes
·     Wall Street crooks like Jon Corzine
·     Michelle Obama's vacations
·     Michelle Obama's food police
·     Barack Obama's golf
·     Barack Obama's arrogant and condescending lectures
·     Barack Obama's criticism/hatred of America
·     Valerie Jarrett
·     " Holiday trees"
·     Hollywood hypocrites
·     Global warming nonsense
·     Cop killers
·     Gun confiscation threats
·     Stagnant wages
·     Boys in girls' bathrooms
·     Whiny, spoiled college students who can't even place the Civil War in the correct century... and that's just the short list.

Trump supporters believe that no Democrat wants to address these issues, and that few Republicans have the courage to address these issues.  They certainly know that none of the establishment candidates are better than barely listening to them, and Trump is their way of saying, "Screw you, Hillary Rodham Rove Bush!"  The more the talking head political pundits insult the Trump supporters, the more supporters he gains.  (The only pundits who seem to understand what is going on are Democrats Doug Schoen and Pat Caddell and Republican John LeBoutillier.  All the others argue that the voters will eventually "come to their senses" and support an establishment candidate.)

But America does not need a tune-up at the same old garage.  It needs a new engine installed by experts - and neither Rodham nor Bush are mechanics with the skills or experience to install it.  Hillary Rodham is not a mechanic; she merely manages a garage her philandering husband abandoned.  Jeb Bush is not a mechanic; he merely inherited a garage.  Granted, Trump is also not a mechanic, but he knows where to find the best ones to work in his garage.  He won't hire his brother-in-law or someone to whom he owes a favor; he will hire someone who lives and breathes cars.

"How dare they revolt!" the "elites" are bellowing.  Well, the citizens are daring to revolt, and the RINOs had better get used to it.  "But Trump will hand the election to Clinton !"  That is what the Karl Rove-types want people to believe, just as the leftist media eagerly shoved "Maverick" McCain down GOP throats in 2008 - knowing he would lose to Obama.  But even if Trump loses and Rodham wins, she would not be dramatically different than Bush or most of his fellow candidates.  They would be nothing more than caretakers, not working to restore America 's greatness but merely presiding over the collapse of a massively in-debt nation.  A nation can perhaps survive open borders; a nation can perhaps survive a generous welfare system.  But no nation can survive both - and there is little evidence that the establishment candidates of either party understand that.  The United States cannot forever continue on the path it is on.  At some point it will be destroyed by its debt.

Yes, Trump speaks like a bull wander[ing] through a china shop, but the truth is that the borders do need to be sealed; we cannot afford to feed, house, and clothe 200,000 Syrian immigrants for decades (even if we get inordinately lucky and none of them are ISIS infiltrators or Syed Farook wannabes); the world is at war with radical Islamists; all the world's glaciers are not melting; and Rosie O'Donnell is a fat pig.

Is Trump the perfect candidate?  Of course not.  Neither was Ronald Reagan.  But unless we close our borders and restrict immigration, all the other issues are irrelevant.  One terrorist blowing up a bridge or a tunnel could kill thousands.  One jihadist poisoning a city's water supply could kill tens of thousands.  One electromagnetic pulse attack from a single Iranian nuclear device could kill tens of millions.  Faced with those possibilities, most Americans probably don't care that Trump relied on eminent domain to grab up a final quarter acre of property for a hotel, or that he boils the blood of the Muslim Brotherhood thugs running the Council on American-Islamic Relations.  While Attorney General Loretta Lynch's greatest fear is someone giving a Muslim a dirty look, most Americans are more worried about being gunned down at a shopping mall by a crazed [islamic] lunatic who treats his prayer mat better than his three wives and who thinks 72 virgins are waiting for him in paradise.

The establishment is frightened to death that Trump will win, but not because they believe he will harm the nation.  They are afraid he will upset their taxpayer-subsidized apple carts.  While Obama threatens to veto legislation that spends too little, they worry that Trump will veto legislation that spends too much.

You can be certain that if an establishment candidate wins in November 2016 €¦ [their] cabinet positions will be filled with the same people we've seen before.  The washed-up has-beens of the Clinton and Bush administrations will be back in charge.  The hacks from Goldman Sachs will continue to call the shots.  Whether it is Bush's Karl Rove or Clinton 's John Podesta, who makes the decisions in the White House will matter little. 

If the establishment wins, America loses


Friday, September 16, 2016

The American Privilege Issue

There is hardly a day that goes by that I don’t remember living in Southeast Asia for almost 2 years. According to my DD-214 (Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Military Duty) it was exactly 651 days. What sparks this reoccurring memory is usually the fact that I have clean sheets, air conditioning, security, or potable water coming out of my faucet.

The old proverb that you never know what you have until it’s gone is very true, but in my case, it was and still is just the opposite. After experiencing the culture shock of leaving modern American life and being dropped into Third World country conditions, I got an instant education into American privilege. Notice I didn’t say white privilege? What I experienced affected all of us military folks who have lived this.

“People say you don't know what you've got until it’s gone. Truth is, you knew what you had; you just never thought you'd lose it, or frankly, took it for granted.”

I remember carrying a half dozen canteens over to the Security Police Squadron to fill them from a hanging canvas bag, G.I.’s referred to as a water buffalo. If I wanted potable water, this is where I had to go. My hootch room had one hanging light bulb, for which I was thankful and eventually I procured not one, but 2 oscillating fans to keep the room temperature bearable. Being in Base Supply had its perks, as hardly anyone had more than one fan.

Being stationed in the dreaded Cobra Triangle of Central Thailand, walking to the communal shower at night meant that it was a “Do I rinse off before I try to sleep, or just lay sweating?” conundrum. One way or the other, I was going to begin sweating within 15 minutes anyway, even with the fans. This meant that all night or day, depending on my schedule, I was going to toss and turn rotisserie style in my sleep, or cook on the bottom side.

“Appreciate what you have before it becomes what you had.”

My hootch had wooden slats that were screened and kept most critters out and those first months were fraught with anxiety, but we humans can learn to adapt to almost any condition – if we are forced to that is. Roaches the size of a pack of gum would sometimes crawl over me when I slept, or a large lizard would find its way in my small room. Occasionally other crawling things would come in goodly numbers and at first it really shook me. One time I sprayed one of these hug roaches with official C-130 aircraft insecticide, which was supposed to kill any bug trying to get back to the States on a free ride.

After 30 minutes, I squashed it with my jungle boot and this was after it jumped, flew, and crawled all over the room, flicking its wings. It was an impressive display and one that was quite educational and I’ll be honest and say I never took my eyes off it.  Months into my double deployment, I would squash a crawling bug in my half sleep, toss it on the floor and rolling over, go back to sleep.

“Don't take things for granted because they might not be there tomorrow.”

I remember coming back to the States and marveling at how rich of a country we had. The year was 1974 and everywhere I looked were new cars and signs of prosperity. People owned a lot of stuff and guess what? None of that has changed. In fact, we own 2 and 3 times more now than then. Every car has air conditioning and automatic transmissions. People have so much food, they could literally live on half what they eat. Every person here is privileged, make no mistake about it and don’t let some rich athlete or entertainer try to convince you otherwise. They need to hop on a jet airplane and be dropped off in a stinking jungle like we were and have the same options we did and by golly, they will change their tune right quick.

Belly aching and whining is for wimpy over-paid elitists looking for a cause that most of us don’t want to hear about. They live the life of luxury and can afford to lose endorsements while they get by on their 19 or 30 million dollar salaries. They can’t be content to take their kids crabbing, or spend the night in a tent after sitting around a campfire in one of our beautiful State parks. They have to act up and regardless of their constitutional right; they appear to be what they are – overpaid elitists, using their status to draw attention to something they can’t really relate to.

They’ve lost sight of what they have and live in a fantasy world where they think they represent those of us who still appreciate the small conveniences and blessings. They don’t represent me. If they really want to make a difference, there are better ways than acting in such a manner as to divide this great country. Anyone can become a rock in a shoe, but it takes someone special to have the vision of an ambassador and act on it.

Friday, September 09, 2016

Old dogs and new tricks

My two little dogs are both smarter than I realize, easily manipulating my bride and I into getting whatever they want. She taught them both to high-five about 6 years ago and that was enough to get a treat every time and still works today. My 8 pound shih tzu will sit and stare at me until I look away and then for some reason, I’ll give her a treat. My Pomeranian/Pappillon mix will approach my chair and begin this chuffing and moaning sound, signaling she wants outside, simply so she can check the smells and I obediently open the door for her.

She rushes out barking and this causes my shih tzu to excitedly follow her, barking like they have a major announcement. Once outside a serious amount of sniffing goes on before they find that perfect spot to tinkle. The shih tzu at this time will sit down on the far side of the yard and stare at me.  The Pom/Pap goes into investigative mode for 5 minutes, finding nothing that I can see or smell and only the word “treat” gets them back inside.

Twice a day, Bella (Pom mix) takes anti-seizure medicine which I administer in a small blob of peanut butter.  I shake the pill bottle and wherever she is in the house, she comes running to this preconditioned sound.  Coca (shih tzu) will magically appear on the back of the couch 10 feet away and I have to bring her a sample of the magic goo. She swallows the blob quickly, so she can lick my finger. The finger remnant appears to be more important than the blob for some reason.

Come feeding time, the routine doesn’t vary or the shih tzu goes on a literal hunger strike. I mix a small amount of soft food with the high dollar dry food I buy at the Pet store. If I run out of the soft food, forget it. Bella will eat whatever and is never in a hurry. To me, she acts like a dog. Coco however is a curious mix of rabbit, cat, dog, and female something. She wants what she wants, when she wants it, or no dice buddy. No soft food? No problem. She won’t eat.
Their routine is important to them and Bella just turned 7 and Coco is a year older. I’m not sure they will learn or want to learn anything new. In so many ways, we are the same way. I know I have to fight the urge to stick with what I know, instead of thinking progressively. I imagine you feel the same way.

Now I repair computers, sweeping viruses, etc. off of them and that technological field changes constantly. I am forced to keep up with it and it amazes me how complicated it all has become. If I had to start right now learning what I know, the task would be overwhelming and “pert near” unattainable. This progressive technology has been good for me, as it carries over into other parts of my life and has kept me from falling into the rut of only knowing what I already know.

I have forced myself to read so many technical manuals that almost anything new, is just one more study to know it. Take for instance that new vehicle you bought with 400+ whiz-bang gizmo programmable dealies on the dashboard. How many of us will learn and actually use a quarter of those things? Most of us will not, but I know I will. I’ll fiddle with it until I am like a jet pilot, because I am that curious. I want to know how they work and then use them.

We recently bought a high-tech washing machine.  My bride stared at it like it was a copper-headed cobra moccasin. I was like “Cool!”. I am still discovering things it will do and when all else fails, I’ll read the manual to see where they screwed up.  Most likely none of us read the manual and utilize the product by trial and error. We figure we will read it later, but that is the epitome of “You can’t teach old dogs new tricks.”

The reason we can’t learn is because we don’t want to. Wow! What an epiphany! “Waa, I can’t get this to work, Bert! My PC is going crazy!”

“Did you do research and reboot and then run the anti-virus software I told you to run once a week?”  (Silence)

“Uh, I’ll get back with you.” The next day, I hear from them. “Hey, this is (insert name here) It is working! I don’t know what I did.” My answer is always the same and I tell them they are now computer repairmen. Note: This is not in reference to Royce Owens. LOL Progressive learning is like walking up hill. It is determination and work and that is why it is so easy to just stick with what we know.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Open Mouth, Insert Foot

I heard the other day that NFL Quarterback Colin Kaepernick was auditioning to replace Natalie Maines as the spokesperson for the band Dixie Chicks.  Seems the guy forgot who his demographic supporters are, which gives him a real shot at the job. At the rate he’s going, he needs to run for higher public office, as in my experience that is par for the course.  Get to the top, forget how you got there, and then do your own thing.  It helps to have a righteous cause to convince yourself it is worth the risk.

I have no problem with Colin or Natalie exercising their 1st Amendment rights, which are freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition. I do it all the time. I also know who I am talking to most of the time and if it offends them, I am pretty sure they are not paying me a salary, or expecting me to endorse a product for a fee or salary.

When Dixie Chick numero uno stood on that stage in England and declared she was embarrassed of the President of the United States, she made a couple very serious errors. One, she was in a foreign country and she’s an American Country and Western singer. Two, a whole bunch of people who buy her records supported GWB. Three, she forgot she was a singer and pulled the classic Smothers Brothers routine of using the entertainment stage to express her political views. Four, her remarks ultimately killed her band and income stream.

They are finally active again and guess where they are entertaining?  Small venues.  The top C&W band went from the mountain top to the valley low and like Jane Fonda’s legacy, many red-blooded patriots will turn the channel when their music plays, let alone attend a concert.

Now let’s a take a look at this NFL Quarterback for a second, who has a yearly salary of 19 million dollars. Like Ms. Maines, he has forgotten a couple of things, so he can push a cause which has nothing to do with football. His cause is so sensitive that the politically correct crowd have no option, but to back him and they will. The truth of the matter is no one wants an athlete to use their position in a sport to do anything other than play that sport. Next, he represents this franchise and as quarterback, the brains of the team. What he is doing is not team related and he’s doing it on the field. If it were not of the race card being played, I imagine they would set his butt down and probably fine him to boot.

Let’s take a simple traffic cop who decides to make a political statement right in the middle of an intersection as an example. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Let him do that on his own time. If Colin Kaepernick wants to make an impact, he should set up a fund to help black people out of poverty and the social punji stakes laid down by white people. He makes 19 Million dollars a year for goodness sake and has a palatial mansion that you can view on the Internet.

Sadly, by all accounts his talent is waning and he’s sort of engaged to the radical Islamic militant disc jockey Nessa Diab and has become “all riled up” mainly due to her perceived injustices and liberal Berkeley education. Never mind that she is also semi-famous and kind of successful and has a blooming career in TV and radio.

Why can’t people just be happy to be doing well? Why do so many privileged and financially blessed people feel the need to go on the warpath to expose the evil system that made them successful? Why does George Clooney (estimated personal wealth 180 million) support a party that wants to tax him more than it currently does?  Why would George Soros (24.9 billion) support a political candidate who wants to redistribute his wealth? It makes no sense to me at all.

The only distribution of my wealth I support is my own spending. I want the government to keep its stinking fingers out of my wallet and I have no trouble saying that to anyone. Football players need to support their teams and keep politics and personal biases and opinions off the playing field. The same goes for all sporting events, award shows, and entertainment venues. 

Friday, August 26, 2016

How do you eat an entire elephant?

Five days a week, Joe and Joan Blow scoot across the leather seat of their $62,000 luxury SUV ready to go to work. They pride themselves on their 5600 square foot home and their four vehicles. On the armrest next to them is their morning healthy breakfast, a pair of nutritious and carbs-enhanced protein bars which cost 4 dollars each.  Their appearance is very important to them, as is efficiency at work and this is why they will consume this healthy snack on the way to work instead of eating it when they should be working. They wouldn’t want their coworkers to think they are slackers.

The drive takes 11 minutes and exactly 6 minutes after they leave home, they toss the wrappers out the window of their lavish SUV, as they are quite serious about keeping the interior as clean as possible. After all, it did cost a lot of money.

10 minutes pass and along comes Mike and Martha Somebody out for their morning walk. They take their morning stroll very seriously, as they believe the key to longevity is not only a proper diet, but regular exercise. In hand are used grocery bags and each day they pick up plastic bottles thrown down by other jogger/walkers and 5 times a week, a pair of protein/granola bar wrappers. When they drop the bags into the park garbage can, they get a rewarding amount of satisfaction out of not only picking up trash, but reusing the garbage bag.

The trash picker-uppers cannot comprehend how other people driving by the park or out exercising, justify throwing plastic bottles along the road and trail, but continue to pick them up and dispose of other people’s trash. The thought comes to them that more people like themselves are not the solution. All this could be prevented by people stopping this socially unacceptable, aberrant, and criminal behavior.

Mike Doe has been smoking 2 packs of cigarettes a day for about 30 years and plans to quit. It’s just that driving a truck 5 days a week for a living leaves him with a lot of time on his hands and frankly, he likes smoking. The only time he smokes is when he is driving and this realization hits him, as he unrolls the window of his truck and flips the smoldering butt out. What he doesn’t realize is that over the course of his driving career, he has tossed out close to a half million cigarette butts, or that at the minimum, one of those butts will take a year and a half to decompose. He is also responsible for the burning of 112 acres on the edge of the Sam Houston National forest 6 years ago.
He has no clue that four houses were also destroyed by him flicking a burning butt out the window of his truck down close to Falfurrias in the late 90’s when everything was so dry. He may be shocked to find out he’s not the only one doing this and that each year 1.69 billion POUNDS of cigarette butts end up as toxic waste.

A long time ago, I came up with a saying I am fond of repeating to… me.  “You can’t save the world, Bert.” No, I cannot change anyone. I cannot force my beliefs about littering on a single soul. I can however pick up trash everywhere I go including parking lots when I’m walking from my Jeep to the door. I can attempt to influence other like-minded people to do likewise through conversation, social media, and this column, but the real answer is education and understanding by those people who continue to drop trash everywhere they go.

My saying helps me cope with people who seem oblivious to the obvious. Take for instance the walker who eats a protein bar or drinks an energy drink while exercising in Jenkins Park and then without so much as a care in the world, drops the empty bottle or wrapper along the wooded trail. Incomprehensible! They go there to enjoy the wooded trail and then they trash it?  I can sum my reaction with one word: huh? This is witnessed every single day by those of us who pick it up.

Like the elephant meal, it can be consumed one bite at a time, but only if the elephant doesn’t continue to revive itself along the way. Each parent, each peer, each casual acquaintance can do their part by either teaching their children, stopping this behavior, or by example and that my friend is the answer.


Friday, August 19, 2016

The Most Monstrous of Misleads

I was 14 when I began my work career and registered for my social security card. The year was 1965 and my family lived in Woodstock, Georgia. My younger brother was 13, and did likewise. This was before child labor laws changed, or heck, maybe not, as like I said, we loved in rural Georgia.

We were grocery sackers and worked Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for 3 five dollar bills. My Mom took one 5 from each of us every payday as room and board and this taught us there was no free ride in life.  It was a valuable lesson that I’ve written about before and only a reference point.

My next job was at the local Tastee Freeze and each day after school and weekends, my same brother and I toiled in the kitchen, mopped floors, chopped onions, and took out the trash just to name a few of our duties. My mom exacted the same recompense as before and we had no choice but to pay it. Back in those days, there was no such notion as resisting your parents and I can truthfully say, I did not resent the mandatory room and board. Dad turned over his paycheck in its entirety and we were allowed to keep two thirds.

The summer between the 10th and 11th grade, I lied about my age and said I was 16 and had a driver’s license and hired on with my friend with a subsidiary of the Georgia Power Company, as ground men. We were making about a buck an hour if I remember rightly and that was a lot of cash. I had no idea what a ground man was, but quickly learned anywhere the backhoe couldn’t dig, we could with shovels. It was back-breaking hard work tunneling through that Georgia red clay in the same kind of weather we experience here.

Within 10 minutes of arriving on the job, we found out we were moving the equipment 10 miles down the road. My buddy got the 6-wheel drive truck and I got the dodge pick-up with “3 on the tree”. I was already very familiar with the column shifter and we rolled down the freeway like pros. Side note: many of today’s Millennial’s not only can’t drive a stick shift, but also can’t change a flat tire or know where to add oil to their car’s motor.

My Dad had taken a job in St. Louis and we moved quite suddenly and I became a clerk at a milk and bread drive thru, called a Pop-In store. Along the way, I bought and paid for my first car (at 15), 4 new tires, rebuilt the two one-barrel carburetors, a 10-speed bike, a stereo, and my first television.

I cannot recall anyone helping me out along the way as a sponsor or a mentor. I worked and scraped for everything I got. It was the way it was. Many of my friends did not work and they only had what their parents provided. I wanted more and I went in the Air Force, rather than risk being drafted and upon exit after 2 tours in Southeast Asia, I got a job through interviews based on my work career and skills I had learned and have worked non-stop until retirement 2 years ago. The worldly goods I own were earned along the way through constant work and paydays.

A number of times I worked side jobs to make ends meet, or to have extra cash and again, I didn’t have a single soul hand me anything without working for it and this is why I think, in my case, white privilege has been a myth, a lie, and some politically correct fallacy that needs to be exposed for what it is – an excuse.

White privilege went out with the OJ Simpson verdict and Affirmative action and many of us qualified folks witnessed this, as we were pushed back behind less qualified applicants and if that isn’t discrimination, I am a monkey’s uncle. Dare I write it? Dang tootin’, I will. When all across this country, minorities fill top government offices including Fire Marshal and Police Chief positions, white privilege is non-existent. The demographics prove it.

As a person who worked up the ladder unassisted by the system, I refuse to take the tuck head due to the color of my skin. Some reading this will shake their head, thinking I have it so wrong, but I only know what I’ve witnessed over the last 60 years or so.  Sure there have been injustices, but there has been reoccurring behavior which perpetuates the negative responses. “Doc, it hurts when I do this!”  “Well, stop doing it!”

No, I don’t buy the politically correct brain-washing agenda many white people are accepting as fact. It also embarrasses me when they teach their kids this falsehood. In the words of the urbanites, I want them to “grow a pair” and quit making excuses for people who refuse to step up their game and get off the government dime. It is never too late to become a contributor to society, but you may have to start near the bottom sacking groceries.