Funerals

I am attending a funeral of a friend who passed away far too soon. He was doing what he loved to do, helping people. Seems a neighbor asked him to look at their cloth dryer which was not work properly. Being the wonderful guy he was, while looking at the dryer, apparently his hand slipped and he received several hundred volts at high amperage. As I drifted through the room I heard many stories of his kindness and willingness to help other people. People talked about his smile and his pleasant nature and his desire to help. We weren’t close friends by any measure but I new him and actually helped him put a roof on his dads house several years ago. He was a good person and a friend to many.

As I listened to all the kind statements used to describe him, I wondered how many of these people expressed their feeling to him when he was with us. I have been to many funerals and listened to many wonderful things said about a person who has passed and it has always haunted me, wondering if these feeling were expressed to this person while they were alive. I believe in the hustle bustle of everyday life we tend to forget to tell those special people, just how special they are.

I have decided, whenever it is possible, to tell my friends just how special they are to me. I think this simple act could make the world a better place for all of us if we all join in.

No mater what happens in life, there is always some good.

Our nation was founded by a group of skeptics who designed a constitution in a way that would protect future Americans from seen and unforeseen forces. They were extremely skeptical in regards to producing a constitution that would protect the people from big government and big business in times to come. They were skeptics! Americans by their very nature are skeptics. This fact has helped keep us together as a nation from the beginning.

Now for the part many of you do not want to hear. Being a skeptic is hard work. Researching, listening and analyzing all information takes a serious amount of time. As our masses become less educated and more reliant on unsubstantiated sources of information, being an informed skeptic is even more difficult.

How does one determine if a source of information is accurate? This has proven to be difficult in a country of skeptics and the ever evolving social media. In the past, our information was limited to a relatively small amount of people who were generally academics. Our news sources were generally straight forward with very little commentary on the information. If you wanted opinions, you had to go to the editorial section of newspapers, that hired well trained individuals to pontificate on the news. Now we have many quasi-news sources that spend much time expressing ideas that are created by media companies. Media companies are owned by very rich large corporations that have a vested interest in what you and I believe. So, how does one determine what is biased news or what is unbiased news? Said quite simply, how does a skeptic find the truth?

Oftentimes the truth is somewhat convoluted. One man’s truth is sometimes another man’s untruth. Sometimes the information is wrapped in so much detail that the truth is hard to see. The word truth, which used to be simply defined, is now a complex maze that we must navigate. In a society where any one person, regardless of knowledge in an area, can state his own truth to the public through social media, we have a problem! In this blog, I do not pretend to know the truth but try to dig deeper into how we think about certain issues. There are many blogs out there that pretend to know the truth, and some do, but the difficulty arises determining which is true!

Personally, I question all my ideas, all the time. When someone proposes an idea to me, I generally spend some time mulling over it in my mind. If I determine that the person presenting it has spent some time researching or thinking about a particular topic, I give it my full attention. On the other hand, if they are quoting some nutball, Facebook page, or some off the wall blog, I do not give it as much thought. For example, I was sent a Facebook link the other day that claimed that the area around your Covid Vaccine attaches to a magnet. In other words, there was something metal in the vaccine (a microchip) that would attract a magnet. Although I laughed at the notion, I took off my shirt and gave it a try. I had just finished running so I was very sweaty, the magnet stuck to my skin. I was a little stunned at first until I dried my skin well and tried it again. Guess what, it did not stick! I laughed at myself for taking the time to try this little crazy experiment but, a true skeptic has to.

You should be asking by now, what good has come from the recent chaos we are witnessing? To me the answer is obvious. From chaos, comes order. From war comes rebuilding. From political unrest comes stability. This does not happen overnight and history tells us, it may take a while, but eventually it will come. Hopefully we are entering the rebuilding age and we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. As Americans, we have overcome adversity many times in our history, and we have to believe that this era of unrest will pass and we will become a beacon of light for the world to follow as we have in the past.

Covid 19 taught us that we can prevail, even when nature and our environmental madness dope slaps us. We can overcome all obstacles if we stick together. We can find our true bearing if we study the compass carefully. It is not going to be easy. Our boat has taken on substantial water but we can fix the leak and bail the water out…if we all stick together. The GOOD is there for us to see, if we only take the time to see it. We have learned a lot in the last several years, and now we must take that knowledge and move into a brighter future.

Let’s bring back the American family

While driving to work today, I was thinking about the modern American family. The first thing that came to mind was, what a mess! In today’s world, most families have two working parents. In addition to trying to do a job, keeping a family from fragmenting from a multitude of issues, maintaining a marital relationship, keeping the house somewhat clean, and a plethora of other tasks, a parent must maintain the family, the most fundamental gear of society. It is no wonder that the American family has fallen apart.

I have an idea! I may have a possible solution to our family problem. Most of the real problems began when women entered the work force during World War II. Because of the lack of male employees to hire, women jumped in and filled the void, quite adequately, which helped us win the war! With this new found freedom, came the desire by women to stay in the work force after the war. This trend has continued until the present, where women have forged their way into all forms of employment, this includes the vice-president of the United States! Pre 1940, women offered stability to the home with their undying devotion to the family. The war changed that narrative. Women now feel a need to be a integral part of a once male-dominated society.

If this country is going to survive much longer, we are going to have to revitalize the family. So, here is my idea. The concept is simple, make staying home financially attractive to one of the parents. This could be either of the parents and it would be their decision as to when and who. If a a parent stayed home full time to raise the kids, they would be compensated by the federal government at a rate comparable to their education and geographic location. In other words, they would be paid a comparable salary to what they could make where they live. The length of time would be up to five years per child with a cap of 10 years per family. This would allow them to have three children in five years and still be with every child until school starts. I can almost hear some of my conservative friends chanting, another social program, but before you go off half cocked, let me run through a few things.

First, you need realize how much money we spend on programs trying to educate a child who was brought up by a TV, not to mention the fact that many of them become a financial burden to society when they become adults. Can you imagine how many of these feral children end up in the criminal system because they were not raised by an adult? Many of my friends who are Libertarians should jump up and down with glee for this idea. This takes the children out of federal mandated programs and allows the real parent to raise the child, not the government!

Depending on the level of income and geographic location, the average amount needed to raise one child, including medical insurance, would be somewhere between $180,000- $600,000. There would be no increase for more kids and it would end in 10 years regardless of number of kids. If a parents chooses to have additional children, they must deal with the financial burdens that brings.

So there you have it, another idea to be ignored by the powers that be. There is little doubt that this idea has been brought forward in the past but as you can see we are still doing nothing to save the American family. Here is an analogy for you to consider: You are in a boat and it is sinking. You have a patch kit available and a water scoop. You choose to scoop water rather than fix the leak…The American way.

The age of conspiracies

In 1963 one of the most horrific acts of my existence occurred while I was watching an 8th grade flag football game at my junior high. It spread through the crowd like fire as students and teachers reeled in horror at what had been reported. Our president, The Honorable John F Kennedy had been shot and killed in Dallas Texas. That day is etched in stone in my memory. Even though I was a typical teenage moron engaged in self-satisfaction, drama and knew next to nothing about the political world I lived in, I remember feeling sick to my stomach.

That was the beginning of my first conspiracy story and it was a good one, still occuping to this day a major section of the public mind. I can remember being confused and hurt wondering why someone would shoot such an amazing man. He was the shinning star for many young people and probably was responsible for many careers and noble acts during and after his life.

Haunted and confused as to why anyone would kill such a great man, investigators around the world jumped into what would amount to, probably, one of the largest investigation of this type of event in human history. There were literally hundreds of books written and thousands of personal testimonials of the events of that solemn day. To this day we still wonder if he was just shot by Lee Harvey Oswald as a sole assassination or whether it was the huge conspiracy from the highest places in world government.

Because of the enormous emotional hole left in our society from the loss of John Kennedy, we as a society searched for an answer that would sooth our troubled souls. We searched, we blamed, we condemned, we argued, we cried, we researched until the years passed and it was left to the historians to decide what really happened. To this day, there are just as many questions and answers, and we still wonder what happened that sad day in Dallas.

In a world that is saturated with information and filled with people wondering what is going on in so many different venues. one can see the tendency to look for answers. As humans head into the information age, a time when many of us have unfettered access to immeasurable amounts of data and information, it is easy to understand that we may be on information overload. Humans have jumped into the information age much too quickly and now we are drowning in the proverbial waters of information. A society of individuals teeters on the edge of what is real and what is not. Our need to find answers that fill the gap in our personal voids drives us to search for the truth in places where the truth may be hidden in mountains of misinformation.

In todays world we do not have to deal with one conspiracy, every new idea, election or innovation are avalanched with numerous conspiracy theories. Here are a few;

Did you know the earth was actually flat?

Jet chem trails are a giant worldwide experiment

Deep water horizon was caused by environmentalist

Aliens from space are all around us and have infested our world

The clintons assassinated over 50 people

Obama was not born in the USA

Vaccines have a microchip in them to track the population

The moon landing was fake

The latest one, the election was rigged

Qanon dreams up new stuff everyday!

Just to be clear, all the above conspiracies are false!

The rich get richer, the poor get screwed

A hot topic in West Virginia is the reduction of the state income tax by the state legislature, prompted by Gov. Jim Justice The law makers are proposing to replace the WV income tax with increased sales tax on your everyday purchases.  This would include food, soda, cigarettes, beer, wine and liquor.  They also would like to tax services such as legal, computer, accounting, lottery tickets, advertising and gym memberships which many West Virginians use. 

The problem I see with this is that lower income West Virginians pay very little income tax each year.  If this law passes, the tax burden would be passed on to these folks through increased sales taxes, while being reduced for the more affluent.

Said simply, the main tax burden of the state will be moved from the folks who can afford to pay taxes to West Virginia citizens who cannot.  If you remember, several years ago our state legislature decided to remove the food tax because it was a regressive tax, hurting the poor and forcing people to shop out of state.  Now in 2021, the food tax is being reintroduced.  One has to wonder why we are going backwards on this issue.

According to our governor, the reduced income tax will encourage people to move to West Virginia.  This is a complex issue with many unknown possible outcomes and repercussions. Much time needs to be spent studying such an important and far-reaching change in our tax system

Now is the time to call, text or email your legislators and express your concerns.

Mother Earth is watching

Dear children of the earth, this is mother earth. I know that I have been a little too lenient on you over the past thousand years or so, but I felt it was necessary to remind you of the fragilness of your existence on earth. Because of your bold and sometimes ruthless use of your beautiful planet, sometimes there are consequences. What you are experiencing now with so many of your loved ones being lost is just a small sample of the horrors that could come your way. In your laws of science you mention the laws of action and reaction, which is what you are experiencing now. When you develop and exploit nature the way you do, there will be reactions.

I feel you believe you are superior to the laws of nature, but your arrogance is going to expose itself in the near future. Your existence is a mere blip in the universe and your species will disappear like so many before you.

Please do not take this as a threat but a warning. You have so much potential. It pains me to watch you destroy your world, but right now, at this time, it is your world to do as you please.

Love

Mother Earth

Please be patient

As I pass into my golden years, or in my case silver, I cannot help but notice the way folks treat us older citizens. Sure, I know we are not as quick or sharp as we once were, but I feel confident I still retain my complete faculties. When someone asks a question and the answer is not on the tip of my tongue, you might hear something like, don’t worry, I know that you are older and unable to remember some things. Well, you might be right, but I probably have forgotten more than you know. Have you ever considered the fact that the human brain remembers everything it sees, smells, hears, feels or thinks from the time it is born. Everyone likes to talk in terms of terabits and gigabits but can you imagine the amount of information stored in a senior brain? So, you can also imagine it may be a tad more difficult to locate information in such a large amount of data.

Ok, here is the deal. I want to be treated just like everyone else, yes I am older and yes, sometimes I get a little foggy on the details of an issue. I was born during the inception of black and white TV. Technology for me was turning on the TV, without a remote, or manually setting the thermostat on the furnace. Cars were very simple; a motor, steering wheel and mirrors to help you avoid running into other people. Commercials were dumb and not designed to creep into the inner working of your brain. Wars were fought with human soldiers, guns, tanks, big slow moving boats and very basic airplanes. The word computer was barely a known word! The fact that I can even turn a computer on should be commended, yet many of us seniors have become quite proficient with the new technology.

I think one of the advantages of being older is the wealth of mistakes one has made during one,s life. Yes, mistakes are what we learn from. I once heard a European laughing about all the guardrails on our roads. He said in his country there are very few guardrails because people know, many from experience, not to drive so fast in certain areas. Here in America we have learned to drive as fast as we want because the guardrails will save us from plummeting over a thousand foot cliff. Our schools do anything they can to force a student to pass a class, including dumbing down the curriculum and tests. Falling down, touching a hot stove or playing with sharp objects all generally have consequences which teach us not to do those things. If we take away the ability to make mistakes, we take away the essence of learning important techniques for staying alive.

I would like all my readers to send this to all their children and grandchildren to read. I would like to avoid hearing comments about my ability to remember. Chances are they heard something from their parents. Just remember, you will be old sooner than you think, and you will be the one who listens to little remarks about your abilities. The old GOLDEN RULE comes into play here, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Good rule to live by.

From the heart

Writing is a vehicle that allows me to go new places I have never been before. Often times I wake up in the morning with an idea or a place to visit in my thoughts that I have never been. Due to my meager writing skills, this is very difficult with many attempts ending up in the proverbial trashcan. Like all adventures, some are quite successful while others are full blown train wrecks. I feel that one of the main reasons to write is to promote thought.

In my last entry, I made a feeble attempt at reaching across the political barrier to many of my friends in hopes of bridging the massive divide that we have all been drawn into. As I expected, I received responses from many readers and friends, this is good. In this blog I used the word cult to describe how I envision what I do not understand. Let me rephrase that, I do understand the mistrust, resentment, anger and frustration that we all feel with our current and past system of government which, like us, is dealing with an ever increasing complex society. Let me be clear on this, sometimes we need to stand up to the powers and let them know what we are feeling and sometimes we may need to express emotion so that they take us seriously. But, if we are going to express our dislike of a current leadership, it is important that we fully understand what we are fighting for and against.

This is the part that pains me so deep. A large part of our population believes the elections were not fair. All elections have a winner and a loser. I am in no way an authority on many of the issues that are causing the turmoil, but I do believe in my heart that our elections are generally fair and honest representations of the people’s feelings. Is there a chance I am wrong, most certainly. Could my eyes be blinded from seeing some fact that disputes this feeling, most certainly. In my defense, having worked the polls for several years now, I doubt anyone who has worked a poll thinks our elections are not at least 99% accurate. The redundancy, the cross checks, the multi-party observation of every aspect of the process is approaching obsession. All these measures are taken to help insure that every vote is fair and counted. If you asked any person, regardless of political party, who has worked a poll, if the results are accurate, I feel resolute that the answers would be a resounding yes. In fact, I would seriously doubt if there were any poll workers attending the January 6 rally.

Folks, it is time to move on. If I wrote anything that prevents us from moving past this, I apologize. Most of us are weary of this hostile environment we live in. Of course we will never agree on all the issues, wouldn’t it be boring if we did, but we can agree to disagree and take one small step towards reconciliation. In math we have a principle called the butterfly effect. If a butterfly flaps its wings, it causes a change in its environment that causes an effect in a larger environment, which possibly could grow and grow until it alters the course of an oncoming storm. We must all be the butterflies to help make our world a better place.

Come on home my friend

The time has come to mend fences. For example, if you had a sibling who joined a cult and lived in the woods under the misguided leadership of some crazy guy who thought heaven was on a meteoroid and that if you died at a certain time, your spirit would travel to the meteoroid to live in harmony and peace for eternity, this is what we call a cult. Cults like this affect lives all over the world. When/if your child breaks away from one of these communities and finds their way back home, your job is to rehabilitate them back to society. You do not do this by insulting them or calling them crazy, you do it with love and it may take a while.

Over the last five years we have been exposed to one of the most successful cult leaders of all time, his name is Donald Trump. Before you get mad and walk away, please listen to what I am saying. First, in response to the line, YOU ARE BRAINWASHED, NOT ME, you may be right, but if you take the time to look at all the information available to you, you might come to a different conclusion.

I will try to present as much fact as I can muster.

  1. Yes, the media has been quit rough on old Donald, but remember he is the one that dubbed them fake news from the get go, not a good way to make friends. Yes, the media is relentless and yes, they often time harbor on the negative but many of them are honest reporters attempting to give you the information you need to make decisions. Fox news on the other hand was not allowed to broadcast in Canada because the Canadians decided that they distributed too much misinformation to be allowed to broadcast. Here in the states they have free reign to broadcast anything they wish, regardless of its validity.
  2. According to the Washington Post, which is considered a left leaning newspaper, but also world renown for their honest reporting and fact checking, Donald has lied to the American Public almost 20,000 times! I realize that some of these may be negligible lies but the fact that he lied to us that many times should be disturbing to most people. The only programing that supports these lies is the FOX channel, which by broadcast definition is an entertainment channel, not a news channel.
  3. Here is what a FOX lawyer said: By Scott D. Pierce  | June 21, 2020, 8:00 a.m.| Updated: June 19, 2020, 3:22 p.m. The drivel that Tucker Carlson spouts on Fox News isn’t factual, and the people who watch him not only know it’s false, but they don’t expect him to tell them the truth. Don’t get mad at me for that statement. It comes straight from lawyers who represent Fox News. What those lawyers made clear is that not only do Carlson and Fox News have contempt for the truth, they also have contempt for their own viewers. The Fox News legal team is defending against a slander lawsuit by claiming that (a) what Carlson says isn’t news; (b) he doesn’t necessarily do any research; and (c) what he says isn’t necessarily true. “Would a reasonable viewer be coming here [to ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight’] and thinking, ‘This is where I’m going to be hearing the news of the day’?” Fox News attorney Erin Murphy asked in a hearing-via-telephone on Wednesday, according to reporter Frank G. Runyeons’s story at Law360.com.https://94c6716a2c747741247ad48e402cbfd6.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html Did you get that? If you watch Carlson’s show and think it has anything to do with news, according to Murphy, you’re just not that bright. And in an earlier court filing, Murphy referred to “Tucker Carlson Tonight” as “hyperbolic opinion commentary,” not “sober factual reporting.” That’s not exactly a surprise — the only surprise is that Fox’s lawyers openly admitted that.
  4. Many of the people Donald hired to work for him are now in jail and many more may be in jail before this is all over. The state of New York is sharpening its teeth in anticipation of Donald being subject to regular laws.
  5. Donald told you over and over again that the election was laden with corruption. The state of Arizona is a republican state, why would they not want a republican president! This is one of the states that Donald swore was corrupt! Georgia is also a republican controlled state and he claimed that their election was not fair. I could understand if California were to be spotlighted because they are a democratic state. The two states that Donald planned on winning are the ones he targeted as being fraught with corruption.
  6. HE LOST THE ELECTION and every stone was turned and every court case was lost with absolutely no results! What would it take to help people see the truth? The fact that Donald told you again and again that the election was rigged does not make it true. Republicans and democrats confirmed that the election was valid.
  7. Look, I understand your distrust of our current political system. I’ve written much about the need for term limits and removing the money from politics and I believe that these two things could help us begin to turn the tide, but what we just experienced for the last five years is not the answer. No doubt, Mr. Biden is not the glowing light in the distance that we all want to lead the way, but he is a decent man with a service record that supports that. Mitch McConnel, your guy, says he is one of the most honest and decent men he knows!

So, where do we go from here? We must mend our wounds! No longer can we turn away from people because they are not of the same political party. Before Donald, we did not have this severe a divide. The left has not changed much over the last 20 years. Yes, we do want healthcare for all, that seems logical to me. We do believe that ALL people are created equal. A woman should be left alone, with restrictions, to decide if she wants to bring a child into the world. We do not want abortions any more than the conservative right. We should spend billions to help women not get pregnant and eliminate the whole problem.

These are the ideas that separate us and we must find a common ground if we wish to continue being the United States of America. I think many of us understand the frustration that many Americans have over the current state of the state, but we must heal. I feel many of my friends are a little lost right now and I do not mean this in any negative way, but we need to find our way home as a country of all nationalities, a mixing pot of the world. That is how we started and that is why we are so strong. We are white, brown, black, gay, male, female and all the wonderful diversities that make us Americans. The world needs to know that WE ARE AMERICA, THE LAND OF THE FREE!