Wednesday, January 30, 2019

What is wrong with this picture?

My grandson is 5 years old and over 4 feet tall. He weighs 76 pounds and is not fat. He’s a big boy with a 5 year old rapidly developing brain. He’s as tall as most kids 2-3 years older than him and at first glance; everyone thinks he acts like a “5 year old” instead of his supposed age. Many of the children in his kindergarten class are a year older and at this stage of development, that is considerable. Recognizing his future starting school, I advised him to explain to his teacher on the first day, “I am easily distracted, so I would like to be placed on the front row.”

I also explained that school can be a lot of fun if a student zips their mouth, opens their eyes and ears, and does their homework. All the actions and philosophy I described are repeated on a regular basis. On his first day of school he got a yellow mark for disrupting the class by talking. Now months into the school year, he battles with this same problem of talking or standing up or some such problem due mostly to his age and the fact that – gasp! He’s a boy and a hands-on child to boot. He likes to handle everything and this is not uncommon..

When he came in with the yellow mark after day one, I asked if he had explained to his teacher his issue of being distracted and he said he had. I asked what their reply was and he told me, “She said I was too tall and moved me to the back of the room.” Now months later he is still anywhere but where he asked to be seated and it is a 50-50 chance he will score below the acceptable green mark on behavior.

Now I am the oldest of 4 boys and there is nothing in his behavior that is outside of normality for a kid his age. He is active yes and will never be the kid that sits quietly for hours and does nothing to be noticed. The teacher did my grandson, herself, and every kid in the class a disservice by not listening to him on day one.

Now some may point out that a kid’s behavior is directly proportional to the teaching they get at home and years ago before experience taught me otherwise, I would agree with them. Ask any cop of preacher if their daughter or son is a bastion of righteous decisions and they’ll spew coffee, soda, or water all over you when they explode in laughter.

I’m not a doctor or therapist, but I think many of our boys are over-medicated to keep them from being boys and we refuse to think this child of ours needs help from pills. He has more energy than many and taking recess away from him because he won’t sit down in class is the direct opposite of what he needs.

Back in the day if a kid couldn’t sit still they would send them to the football coach and he would run the kid inside the gym for 10 minutes. The same went if fisticuffs broke out. The coach would have the boys put on boxing gloves and after that; they would become best of friends. These days the parents are fined a chunk of money and nothing is resolved. Its called zero tolerance and keeps liabilities at a minimum since no one is to blame for correcting the child.
When graduation from kindergarten finally arrives, my grandson will still be just 5 years old. Of course he will be 8 inches taller than the other kids when he begins 1st grade and it is my prayer that this teacher will listen to his request.

In the past I have made it clear that I am for empowering our educators and bringing back a certain amount of curriculum control aside from State and Federal dictates. I have not changed this one bit, but like the football coach of old, I would rather see these high activity kids do exercise than be herded like cats or some pat formula cover all students alike.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Is marijuana really the tool of the devil?

This letter appeared in the Baytown Sun, January 2019
I'm going to counter what this well-meaning fellow Charles Kelly submitted concerning marijuana being the tool of the devil.

(1) First off "after many years of medical research" is a serious deviation from the truth. There is ONE lab in the United States that gets a token (yeah, I know) amount of funds to give the appearance research is being conducted. One under-funded lab.

"Under the 1961 international Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and the 1970 Controlled Substances Act (CSA), the federal government is the single “agent” allowed to provide marijuana for research. As of now, the DEA has only authorized one grower, the University of Mississippi, which grows marijuana under contract with the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). As part of this contract, UM holds a DEA Schedule-I Bulk Manufacturer registration to cultivate plants for this purpose."

They openly admit that the strict Schedule 1 drug classification hobbles them to do research by purchasing other strains of the weed, while illegal independent labs are miles ahead of them in research. The classification makes research almost impossible.

(2) He claims that marijuana has caused "accidents, deaths, and murders!" I would like to see data on that one. I would be willing to wager that cell phones cause 100X more accidents and deaths than pot usage and I would like to see sources quoted on the murder part. In other words, this is false or at the very least a gross exaggeration.

(3) Anytime anyone introduces "God" into an argument, they automatically invoke righteousness on their part. It appears the man believes it is sinful to even live next door to someone who uses medical marijuana and as bizarre as his argument is, visiting a state where it is legal also makes you guilty by association.

In summary, a person with an argument is not in the same league as someone with experience. My suggestion for this fellow is to get more education on the subject and leave his personal religious fervor out of it.

Saturday, January 12, 2019


Through my grandson I’ve met a 10 year old boy in my neighborhood. His name is, well let’s call him Jimmy. He is one of the politest kids I’ve met and I’m talking over a lifetime of children. Over the last so many months I’ve observed this polite child and how considerate he is in almost extraordinary ways. Today he basically watched over my grandson for hours as he and the other kids played on the street. He looked me in the eye and assured me he would make sure my grandson was safe. I took him for his word.

My great friend and fellow Vietnam Veteran Ren Fitts gave me a VHS camera with all the accouterments and it was in my garage when Jimmy came up the driveway pushing his bike. I noted both tires were thread-bare and I commented on it. In the most adult manner, he politely explained to me that he “did indeed need new tires, but at this present time, my dad is not financially able to actually replace them… but, if you would just air up the tire, sir, it will be good for 3 days.” It’s important to note he is either an Academy Award nominee, or totally without guile.

In my heart I wanted to immediately replace those tubes and tires, well remembering how it was when I rode that iron horse and how many soda bottles I had to redeem to get the money for new rubber. Replacing a boy’s tires and tube in 2019 could be considered a pervert crime of some sorts and as bad as I want to help, I couldn’t. That’s his parent’s job… but I do have something I may can donate toward this young boys future. (Please excuse my Texan)

The day I met Jimmy he revealed that he had written a number of “stories” and did I want to read them? Of course I did and I explained that some regard me as a writer. He rode off on his bike only to return with an 8X11 binder with about 5 multi-sheet drawings with captions. It was his vision and he wanted to share it… with me. Heck yes I was interested. I gave him a very encouraging nerdish review of his work and he seemed pleased.

My first impression of the boy was he was so polite, he simply must be an abused child.

I was wrong.

It turns out he lost his mother 2 years ago and is damaged goods. He told me he still has nightmares but “has learned to handle it.”

“What is that Mr. Marshall?”

“It is out-dated technology, Jimmy, but is really cool. It’s a VHS camera and all the trappings. It’s yours if you want it…” The plastic box before him had a shoulder-mount large VHS Camera and I showed him how you mounted it up high by his head. His eyes were like saucers as his brain processed what was before him. With his interest in stories and writing, I felt like I was sowing a seed, much like handing a guitar to a 10 year old Jimi Hendrix.

Jimmy took possession of the camera and came back and asked permission to supervise my grandson on the next street over. They were going to stage a water-balloon fight and he promised me all would be okay. I gave him my blessing and the two boys rode off to do what kids on bikes do… much like my brothers and I did 50 years ago.

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Is Border Security really all that?

I am not going to interpret their response to what the president said about Border Security, but to me it sounded as if they wrote their rebuttal without hearing what he said.

 I have an alarm system on my house. I also have 8 cameras plus a motion detector at my driveway that sends a signal when anything crosses the beam including squirrels and birds. I’ve became very well acquainted with a black and white long-haired cat because of this. Yesterday it caught and killed a baby squirrel and all of it caught on the edge of one of my camera views.

I have 4 sets of solar lights that are tripped by motion. I have a lock on my back gate. I have 2 very bright high pressure sodium lights that shine on the trail behind my house and illuminate my large back yard. At any given time I have access to a number of loaded weapons inside my house and regularly carry a firearm that shoots a heavy hollow-tipped bullet specifically designed to kill military targets. My perpetually loaded 12 gauge shotgun fires 9 triple-aught buckshot shells before I have to reload from my 50 shell bandoleer and yet, I do not live in fear of being attacked.

Why all this security which sounds overboard and unnecessary? Is there a caravan of ruffians on Massey Tompkins headed my way? Has karate training turned me into a paranoid schizoid gun-licking wannabe shooter who cleans his guns with saliva? No. I rarely even look at my weapons, which include a good number of fighting knives I’ve trained with

Here’s the crux of the matter. I have made all these precautions because I don’t want to worry. It’s the same reason that my house and vehicles stayed locked even when I am inside. If trouble arrives, my first action will be to call Baytown Police. If I am working on my computer and my alarm systems tells me a door or window has opened, I don’t panic. My heart does not raise a beat. I simply arm myself and take a look and I can assure you, I will respond in a defensive way if it is an intruder. I’ve spent a great deal of my life preparing for that moment and yet, if possible, I will still call 911. I live in peace with my environment, but in the event that everything hits the proverbial fan, I am well prepared to deal with it. It sure beats pretending it can’t or won’t happen and just maybe I will survive until my Blue brothers arrive.

I set all of this in motion for my own peace of mind and my family’s safety. Am I anti-social and unfriendly to strangers? No, I feel safe because I have made every attempt to be safe. When I am in public or driving around, I keep my eyes and mind on task and because of that, I have never had an accident I caused.

My home stays secure because my family is there and I am protective. There were no politics involved in my decision. Securing our border literally means creating a barrier. Can you imagine securing your house if you had no doors or windows? How about your car or truck that you have enslaved yourself financially to? Can you imagine how crazy that sounds? Let’s see what it looks like. “I believe in border security, but I want everyone to be able to waltz in at their leisure and everything will be okay.” Crazy and foolish.

Border security with a physical barrier ultimately says there will be a price to pay if you try to sneak in with or without drugs and children and women for sale. The price someone pays for breaking and entering my house (the last time I checked) could well mean the criminal trespasser(s) eat big lead. My family and I decide who enters our homestead, not anyone else. I have legal right to physically stop this person from entering and if it means I kill them, then so be it. Why are our borders any different? If they want what we have earned, then by all means enter legally and I have no sympathy for man, woman, or child that comes across unwanted and uninvited.

Examine why you believe what you do about securing our borders and if you think it is unnecessary, then I humbly ask you to unlock everything you own from this day forward and toss away your keys.


Elvis has left the room

I want to set something on the table and anyone who bothers to read anything I write, please take a good hard look. We are living in a...