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Family and Friends is my everyday journal. Captain's Log is where I pontificate on religion and politics.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

A proposito

In the ancient world some marvelous structures were built. Of the seven chosen at the wonders of the world only one is still standing: the pyramids of Egypt. There was a beautiful temple named one of these wonders. It was the temple of Artemis in Ephesus built in 550BC. In 356BC it was burned down. The arsonist was arrested and tried. He plead guilty explaining that he was a person who would never be remembered after his death and this was his way of having his name in the history books. He was naturally sentenced to death and the judge ruled his name to be stricken from all records so his name would not go down in history, thus depriving him of the one thing he committed the crime for.
Now no one died in this arson, and you might ask "So What?"
Well it seems to me that today's serial killers and mass murderers have a parallel motive. Serial killings and mass murders are done by nobodies. Nameless and faceless non-entities living lives of quiet desperation. With over 300 million people in this country the overall vast majority of our citizens fit into this catagory. A great many seem to derive some meaning vicariously by identifying with Royal families, athletes, actors, actresses, celebrities famous for being famous. The paparazzi make a fortune invading the privacy of the aforementioned to feed the appetite of nameless, faceless nobodies who look at and read in a frenzy everytime Kate Middleton or Kim Kardassian sneeze.
  • Add to this equation our high stress environment. This economic downturn is making the young adults work longer and harder for fewer rewards. The number of 20 somethings and 30 somethings unable to buy a decent car or afford an apartment, much less buy a house is very discouraging. Frustration breeds thoughts of violence.
  • The American dream has always been a white American fantasy sometimes achieved by minorities, but pretty much taken as for granted by WASPS. The dream is now a nightmare. Getting married, stay at home Mom, buying a house, two cars and having 2.5 kids with dogs, cats, goldfish and hampsters comprises less than 7% of the general population and shrinking fast. So much for Family Values.
  • Factor in a polarized political climate each of which demonize the other ramping up the nastiness like putting rifle scope crosshairs over the other party's candidate and speaking of 2nd ammendment solutions.
  • Include religious loudmouths blaming every bad thing happening on God's wrath changing the Love of Christ to the Hate of Christ.
  • Include the cheapness and ease of access to high powered firearms with mega magazines and their scare tactics blaming Democrats of wanting to ban guns in order to sell sell sell sell. Remember in 2009-11 the bullet shortage? This creates a perfect storm for a lone gunman or a few friends deciding to go out like Butch and Sundance or Thelma and Louise.
  • The deciding factor is that everytime a serial killer is caught comes fame and their names forever placed in the history books. The same for mass shooters. Does anyone remember outside of friends and family members the names of those killed at Columbine? At Fort Hood? The Murrah Building? But we all know or can read the names of the killers in the numerous books and articles written about them. Sure it all pseudo psychological or sociological analysis of why the did what they did, blah blah blah.
Alright what can be done?
  1. Sensible gun control, not the banning of guns, but good God regulate who buys and who can keep lethal force. Don't give me a silly argument that knives are just as deadly. Yes they are, but the magnitude of destruction is not the same as an assault rifle with a 30 round clip.
  2. Stop glorifying mad dog killers. The media's wringing every last drop of grief for the victims is appropriate, but even saying the killer's name or why he did what he did shoud face silence on airwaves and newspapers. There needs to be an agreement not to glorify or contribute to the notoriety of someone who would committ such an act to get 15 minutes of fame.
Will this stop the violence? No, but it might reduce the carnage if those living lives of quiet desperation know thy won't get what they seek this way.
Did it work in 356BC? No Herostratus is the arsonist, but it takes someone really wanting to dig deep to find that name.

That Season Again.

A merry Christmas or Winter Solstice, or or or...
May this time with family and friends be joyous and the memories last a lifetime.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Favorite Christmas Songs

So I was a little Scroogy in my last post. Yes, Virginia I do have some Christmas songs I dearly love.
So here are my top Christmas songs with some of my favorite performers who sing them.
Drum roll.....
1. O Holy Night -- Michael Crawford's version is spectacular.
2. What Child Is This -- Barbara Mandrell really belts this one out.
3. Snoopy's Christmas -- The Royal Guardsmen may be mostly remembered for Snoopy and the Red Baron, but this song, woefully underplayed on radio, goes past satire and explains the German Yule of giving gifts and celebrating Winter Soltice with their enemies. "Christmas bells those Christmas bells ringing through the land..."
4. Pas De Deux from The Nutcracker. Last year I recorded five different showings of this ballet off Ovation channel just to watch the five different ways this song was performed. I never tire of yearing this song or watching the dance. It's beautiful.
5. Blue Christmas -- Beach Boys version is best, wife love's Elvis.
6. O Tannenbaum -- Nat King Cole, makes your heart melt.
7. Carol of the Bells -- It's snappy

Monday, December 03, 2012

Christmas Music Overload

This is the time of year to hear carols everywhere you go. I do remember the day, many years ago when I too was one of those insufferable people walking through neighborhoods ringing doors with other of my kind singing to those who opened the door three or four songs written a hundred or more years before our births. A kinldy medical doctor joined us playing a saw like a violin. The fond memories of those times last a lot longer for the singers than for the poor souls scratching their heads wondering who the hell those idiots are.
On the radio whether XM or local they pull out the seasonal songs. All singers who want cheap royalties for life do a Christmas Album. Even well known Jews like Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond sang Ave Maria and O Holy Night then sing What A Friend We Have In Jesus while they cash their checks. Those albums have been out for over thirty years, but they're still played on the airwaves and downloaded from the internet. The estates of Gene Aurty, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Andy Williams, Perry Como, Elvis Presley, Beryl Ives and on and on cash in on it, or I one would think, maybe the recording companies clean up on the old singers whose roayalties have played out. Talk about pure gravy! Would anyone remember Jose Feliciano if it wasn't for Feliz Navidad? Poor Trini Lopez, why didn't he do a catching latin Christmas song? Lemon Tree is only remembered if you really like watching The Dirty Dozen over and over again.
It seems with so many channels to choose from on satelite and cable half of them are doing some country singer's Christmas special. Wife made me watch Scotty McCreary's. Problem is he had everyone else singing and only sang one song. Not sure about that as she didn't collar me and force the torture on me until the opening part of the show was over, so he may have started the show with a song and then finished it. I like his voice even if it is Randy Travis coming from Opie Taylor.
I really avoid stores as much as possible because they blare seasonal Muzak. Most of it generic like Frosty the Snowman or Let It Snow Let it Snow. Is the song Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire where the term "Chestnut" for a stale joke originated?
I guess I get my aversion for some of these songs because I worked in department stores while in high school and college. I remember standing in the lobby of a Skaggs drug store behind a counter with cigarettes (yes back then they were in the open so all the customer had to do was grab a carton or package or two, hand it to me so I could ring it up, sack it and give change) candy (sounds silly today to be selling those side by side, but that's how they got the kids hooked on both vices) meanwhile back to the original train of thought. Standing there with the music blaring overhead for eight hours of looped holiday music 1) takes away all meaning from the songs, 2) destroys your ability to listen to songs in 3/4 or 4/4 time (that's walz and fox trot to you dancers) 3) and years later when you hear them it brings back all the memories of hurried and short tempered customers and why I was so grateful to spend most of my life trying to educate ungrateful children on the importance of knowing the difference between an noun and verb as well as the three branches of our government and the need for ballance of power between them.
Not all of my aversion to some music is about Christmas Music. Working at Skaggs the summer before going off to college I was tortured by the looped songs of Melany's I Have A Brand New Set of Roller Skates and You Have a Brand New Key followed by Jeannie C Riely's Harper Valley PTA.
Now you know why out of the huge collection of .45's collected while growing up I took none of them with me to college. I only took one lone album (lp) and that was what I tortured my mother with my senior year in high school, Iron Butterfly's Inagodadavida.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Story slowly coming along

Up to 20,000 words on story so I'm a little behind. Still doing paying work is more important.
Wednesday I pick up our Thanksgiving turkey. Last year we bought 3 turkeys. We ate one for Thanks, ate another one between holidays and had the third for Christmas. We haven't wanted turkey for a long time. This year we're only getting one. We used to get a smoked turkey at Powdrell's barbeque and they are absolutely fabulous, but the price kept going up and finally out of our reach. I mean when you can buy a 25lb turkey for $13.00 paying fifty for a smoked one seems silly, but that's what we're doing this year. If we're going to eat turkey again we decided it needs to be memberable for something other than fatigue. BTW, Mom's fixing a roast for Christsmas.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Confrontation

As people get older they seem to lose inhibitions. Mainly they say things that when they were younger they thought but kept to themselves or said privately.
A few weeks ago my mother, wife and I had dinner at a restaraunt. There was a woman and a small child around three or four years old. The child was screaming, not crying, just screaming to scream. It was very annoying. We were trying to have a nice conversation after we were through with dinner, but were forced to leave. Walking past the woman my mother made the comment that in her day parents didn't allow children to scream like that and then walked on. I paid the bill and the lady came out, kid still screaming and left. I thought that was the end of it, but the woman came back in by herself and started screaming at my mother. I positioned myself between them and in my strongly projected "teacher voice" told her to back away. I repeated my request three or four times until she left. We waited about ten minutes and the manager walked us out to the car, he was very supportive of us in the matter. That didn't stop the woman from driving past us and yelling some obscenities.
Is it just me or are parents today so afraid of being charged with child abuse that they have given up on trying to discipline their children?
Mom never beat us, but she did have a wicked pinch that got our attention and let us know to stop whatever behavior we were doing. Dad was fond of saying when we were in public, "Children should be seen and not heard!" I've read many child psychologists and other writers demonizing that statement, but we learned there was a line not to cross when in company and to respect our parents and other adults.
Today you can't go into a store or mall without the crying and screaming of kids that didn't happen thirty or forty years ago, but let a parent give the child a reason to cry and the full force of the law will hit like a ton of bricks.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Back to normal

At least that's what I'm hopin for. Drove all over creation today and didn't get much writing done. Since this month started I've been running around doing this that and the other. Tomorrow I golf and I have my van back from my daughter at least until my Mom gets back from her trip and wants her car back.
Daughter is done with the Obama campaign and now we're hoping this experience will get her into a full time job. This is the frist time she's put in long hours and kept at it.

Friday, November 02, 2012

National Bullying

A bi-partisan report using actual numbers showing that giving the rich tax breaks does NOT and I repeat NOT add jobs. Guess what the Bully Party has supressed the report. Or should it be called the Temper Tantrum Party. Jobs reports come out showing that things are improving and look at the way they scream at the messenger and since they are masters at skepticism concerning science and all things factual that don't support their pre-conceived ideas their rhetorical questions bombard non stop.
I loved it when the head of GM (remember the good old days of "I Like Ike" when what's good for GM is good for America?) said Romney the son of an auto CEO, is living in a paralell universe.
I don't know what it is, but most retired golfers seem to be republicans and I've decided that politics is not something to talk about, but yesterday the pure hatred expressed towards Obama and the local Senatorial candidate by most of the guys while waiting to tee off has made me decide not to golf with them anymore and go to other golf courses. If Obama wins I don't want to be anywhere near them as they wail and gnash their teeth and if Romney wins I also don't want to be around them when they gloat.
When the fundamentalists took over the SBC anyone who disagreed with their dogma was shouted down in Sunday School Class and shunned making anyone who actually tried to know what they believe keep their opinions to themselves or leave. Now in one of the most enjoyable forms of exercise I participate in I'm forced to do the same.
Goddamn those mutherfucking bullies that stifle a free flow of ideas. I'm tired of being the only one who exercises discretion and avoid agrument when they feel like they can say anything they want. I'm no longer enabling their bullshit.
Is it any wonder that assholes like this find ways of justifying rape?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Working on the book

I've completely redone my opening to Bona Dea and the main idea of the story. I realized that what I had was fine for a short erotic story, but it needed to be toned down and have a different message for a novel. I'm happy with it so far. Up to 12,000 words so I'm kind of jumping the gun for NaNoWriMo, but the whole idea is to get to 50,000 words. I'll be happy to get to that milestone by the end of the month, but it'll take a bit more time to get it up to 100,000 by the time its ready for publication.
I still have The Fan Plan to work on and someday I'm going to write that novel on the life of Matthew Fontaine Maury, not to mention the sequel to Optimus. Wow so much to write!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Excerpt from Bona Dea


Bona Dea
Javan Tenebrae
(Pen Name)

“Skreee, Skreee.”

Steve hears the noise and looks up into the blue cloudless morning sky. An eagle rises on a thermal surveying the ground below. The man hears the bird’s screech again; stopping and like many of his kind over the centuries longs to be free from gravity and soar in the sky. More than that, he yearns for a simple way to find love. How easy it must be to fly up to a female eagle, flap your wings a few times and find a nest together. Of all the things he yearns for this most of all.

Earth Mother in the form of an eagle looks down on the man getting out of a car, she sees him looking at her and  feels his desire to join her. Something about the loneliness of the man touches her spirit. It is time? The bird screeches and circles over the apartment. The man stands like a statue shading his eyes watching as she flies out of sight.

Father Amun-Ra bestowed on her the power of love and happiness, but in his wisdom forbid her to have love and happiness in her own life;  knowing if she drank of her powers all would suffer being distracted by the one and forget the many. One of the creators she fights alongside Amun- Ra (Sun), and her brothers: Thoth (wisdom) and Horus (Pharoah) to build a peaceful world against the forces of Sekhmet (destruction) and his sons: Seth the desert, Ammit the destroyer and Apep the snake.

 The war between the forces of creation and destruction is eternal. Over the entire world they build thriving civilizations under different names where peace and prosperity reign on the foundation of love and happiness only to see the forces of destruction grip the hearts of men filled with lust and greed who fight wars for land, gold and slaves crushing all that the creators build. Amun-Ra and Thoth reassert their powers quickly through Horus, but the lust for gold and misery of slaves destroys love and happiness for many centuries and when the civilization is stable for her powers to once again hold sway for a brief moment there is harmony, then Sekhmet strikes again.

It grieves her that mortals are so easily led into destruction when all the creators wish is to touch the lives of mortals, see their love grow and the happiness of spending their lives together in peace and prosperity. Instead she watches them time and time again waste their lives marrying for titles, land or money and living miserable lives.

At times her despair becomes so great she assumes physical shape and joins with mortals to experience if only fleetingly what they feel hoping in this manner she can better know how to impart a lasting love and happiness. Amun-Ra warns her during these times that love and happiness is for mortals and when the one she loves dies her sorrow will wreak havoc for all time so she guards her heart and joins with men and women to feel their love, but somehow this isn’t enough to learn happiness.

One day Apep hears the warnaing and scoffs, “You aren't denied love and happiness because they will make you weak. Amun-Ra is afraid possessing the gifts you bestow will make you stronger than He and you will rule the heavens. He fears a Queen of Heaven and a world filled with mortals in love and happiness for then there would be no one to worship any god but you.”     

The snake’s words eats at her for millennia. She knows he's not to be trusted and is the father of all lies, but they wedge in her heart doubt and curiosity. Then she finds a man to love: Beautiful, smart and artistic she lives with him, loves him and is engulfed by passion. Not merely the physical feeling of oneness, but an all-consuming devotion to one man that makes him her god.  He paints a portrait of her earthly manifestation becoming his most famous work. She loves him with all her heart and when he dies as Amun-Ra warned her sorrow becomes a pit of such despair she loses the power of becoming corporeal and is condemned to remain spirit with limited powers to touch those she was created to influence. Her portrait lives on and her spirit watches hoping that someone who owns it would find a way to bring her back. Napoleon slept with it in his room, but being consumed with war and plunder he never knew she was near. Now it’s behind glass hanging on a wall for small minded mortals to gawk at it. Songs are written about her face and smile, but they miss know the spirit who longs to return.

She gains enough strength to become an eagle and enjoys the feeling of blood coursing through veins, breathing air, mating and giving birth. Ra’s rays are warming her again and evaporating the hold of Anubis. For a hundred years she searches and finds one small area of Earth with receptive minds to listen and share her message and slowly the chains on women begin to break. A woman writes a book showing the damage to the human spirit by slavery and other brave women working to end slavery begin taking the battle to Ammit and Apap letting them know their days of unbridled rule are ending. She continues to use women who will listen with their hearts to tell her message of love and happiness. It is a long struggle for women to vote, cast off pounds of clothing, and finally to demand the right to control their minds and bodies. My strength is being restored. There is still much to do. I need followers to spread love and happiness far and wide. Centuries of seeing love and happiness being cast aside causing wars more terrible than imagined when she grew weak and knowing when they are missing from most people’s lives while Sekhmet rules unchecked. Ra and Thoth can’t balance the conflict between creation and destruction without her, and she failed them. Women listen and respond, but I need men as worshippers too; maybe this man who is so lonely and desperate will call me forth and bring me back to power.

*

Smirking at his crazy thought about just flapping wings and nesting with a woman, How the hell will I ever find a woman? Taking out his keyes, I'm bushed.
Steve was friends with girls in high school, but never found one who was interested in anything other than saying hello, general chit-chat and goodbye. He wasn’t a top athlete or even an egghead; one of the many of average looks, height, intelligence and ability. No one notices the C student. Mom tried to get him to ask a girl out on a date, but his generation hangs out. He took Sandy Gentry to the prom, but he and two buddies chipped in for a limo and the six riding to and from didn’t give him much more of an opportunity than a good night kiss at her front door.

One semester of college ended when he didn’t make a high enough GPA to maintain a lottery scholarship. Working a graveyard shift as a night watchman leaves little time for socializing; he’s at work when women are at bars wanting to be picked up. Sometimes on his night off he’ll get lucky and spring for a motel room, but it’s like they’re both scratching an itch and there’s nothing more meaningful. The women with good jobs use him as a human dildo, but would never give someone with his low level of employment the time of day, and the women who are at his low level of employment want to trade up.

A few of his high school buddies meet at a nearby park where they play touch football and two on two basketball on Saturday mornings and Monday nights watch sports taking turns hosting beer and snacks. He was the embarrassment of the group living at home and always going to their place never his. Finally in an apartment it feels like a rite of passage and in two weeks they’ll be coming here.

At home he wasn’t alone. There was always Mom, Dad and his two younger sisters, but three days in his own place and the walls feel like their crashing in. Lowering his head to unlock the door something inside him yearns to find a woman to love and be happy with. There has to be more than mere existence.

Unpacked boxes; clothing and other items greet him on his couch, bed and chairs. Glare from the windows makes everything glow. Closing the blinds, I need to put up curtains. Tossing a bunch of stuff off the couch he plops down with his breakfast burrito and orange juice, unburying the remote he starts watching the idiot box to unwind enough for sleep.

Graveyard shifts are the pits. Heading to bed, throwing more stuff off and starting to lie down he sees a beautiful woman standing in the window: pale skin almost shimmering, straight reddish brown hair dropping down from her bent over position, high firm breasts, thin body and long legs.

“Well, hello,” he says. “Who are you?”
She disappears.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Busy Busy Busy

  • I posted some pictures with different views of Sandia Mountain taken from three different golf courses at Captain's Log.
  • Daughter is busy actually making money working in the campaign, too bad the pay check ends with the election, but hopefully this will give her enough experience to find meaningful employment. Keeping fingers crossed.
  • Trying to keep two vehicles that are over ten years old running is proving very expensive lately, but still much cheaper than buying newer. With four drivers in the family going in different directions and only three vehicles is a logistics problem in itself, but when one of them is down it turns into a  nightmare.
  • I'm turning a short story into a novel for National Novel Write Month (NaNoWriMo). I did this about six years ago and it resulted in Human Sacrifices. Now available at smashwords.com and on the provided link at Amazon for the very reasonable price of only 99 cents. Bona Dea, the one I'm working on is up to 10,000 words right now with half a month to reach 50,000. I'm not ready to post the opening yet, but will in a few days for my few loyal readers.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Math and Science

On last nights policital debate and the hype that this would be a game changer for Romeny. Come on, the only televised political debate that decided an election was in 1960 and that was because Nixon's face melted on TV, everyone who heard it on radio felt Nixon won. This election hinges not on debates but blind faith over reason and reality -- lies vs facts. Two thoughts to make my point:
  1. On the morning news they showed Obama repeating Clinton's point that the Republican plan of further reductions in Billionaire taxes plus closing loopholes will ballance the budget, and the arithmatic doesn't add up. (Paul Krugman's been saying this ever since it came out)
  2. Bruce has a post about Oklahoma Baptist University hiring as head of its religion department a guy who is a "Young Earth" theologian and the ongoing fight with religious right dunderheads who keep advocating Creation Science or Intellegent Design over Astronomy, Geology, Biology, Zoology, Antrhopology, Achaeology and a host of other ologies.
Christian fundamentalists have been fighting against science from the beginning. Charles Darwin's Origen of Species and Descent of Man and the theory of evolution started the war against science which is ongoing and will never cease as long as Christian fundamentalists continue in their idiotic insistence on a literal interpretation of books in the Bible like Genesis and Revelation that were purposely written metaphorically and symbolically.
Science is at its bedrock mathematics. All science is a numbers game, they simply add empiricism (scientific method) to their particular discipline. So why do so many Christian fundamentalists have a problem understanding that the Republican plan doesn't add up? They've been brainwashed by their preachers and professors and home schooled or private religious schools to be skeptical of math. They've been taught that Carbon 14 dating, which relies on the same math that produced the atomic bomb is wrong, so trust their preachers and what they say about the origens of the universe based on the Bible.  When Romney and the Republicans say "Trust me" they've been brainwashed to place their faith in God's political party instead of arithmatic. Their preachers said so.

The religious right does use math, and Blind Faith in their childish literal interpretation of the Bible to do great harm to education and our country. Why do these morons still insist that the universe is only 6,000 years old.  The basis for this is the computations of Bishop Ussher a17th century theologian who added up all the ages of the patriarchs listed in Genesis until Abraham. He then calculated back from the birth of Jesus and settled on creation happening in 4004 BC.
This theory of creation was refuted by many theologians but I like this one written in 1890 by Professor William Henry Green in his Biblioteca Sacra:
We conclude that the Scriptures furnish no data for a chronological computation prior to the life of Abraham; and that the Mosaic records do not fix and were not intended to fix the precise date either of the Flood or of the creation of the world.
For those who insist "God said, I believe it, that settles it" guess what, God never said he created the universe in 4004BC or that those ages added together meant anything; Bishop Ussher did. Do you believe God or Bishop Ussher?
There is no scriptural or common sense reasoning to support the mathematical calculations of Ussher that God created the universe only 6,000 years ago even if you believe as I do that He did. Many Christians believe both the Bible and science. To us evolution is how God did it and is continuing to work His creation. There is no conflict between faith and reality or between the Bible and science because we interpret the scriptures metaphorically and symbolically like the reasoning beings we are:
When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. I Corinthian 13:1 NASV.
Only children and the feeble minded interpret everything litterally. Think of Abbot and Costello's classic comedy routine "Who's on first" why is it so funny? Because Costello can't get past his literal interpretation of the word 'who' to figure out that it's the players name.

Ultimately this war on science is doing irreparable harm.
  • It weakens the message of Christ by limiting His power. Who are we to say He had to create the universe in only this way and at only this time?
  • It limits the Bible to only one possible way to read it limiting the power of the Bible for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness. II Timothy 3:16b NASV
  • It separates all Christians in the eyes of our culture and country and weakens our witness about the saving power of Jesus to change people lives, because the lost see us as out of touch with reality.
  • Insisting on adding creationism or intellegent design to public school curriculums paints all Christians as childish or stupid and anti-science, anti-education, and no sane person would believe a word any Christian says about salvation destroying our witness.
  • It is making generations of our children intellectually retarded and unable to think for themselves.
  • Fundamentalist Christians are being used by greedy preachers and politicians in an unholy alliance in the Republican party to squeeze more and more money out of our economy and because they have been brainwashed that evolution is evil and science is of the devil they have their minds made up so don't confuse them with facts.
Romney and Ryan can lie over and over again on the campaign trail, in their advertisements and in the debates and the Fundies will eat their words like cotton candy. Unfortunately if Romney gets elected all of us will get stuck with tooth decay.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Comment thought

From my friend in Oklahoma who works in the oil industry, his comment on the Cross of Gold Speaches:
I'm pretty conservative in a lot of things and really into free markets and call myself a Republican but I really don't recognize them anymore. They seem to be living in a fantasyland these days. The moderates and Democrats seem to be totally bumfoozled by the whole thing and totally don't seem to know how to respond.

Listen my children and you will get a history lesson:
The United States has never been a free market economy!
The first thing Congress did at the urging of then Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton after the constitution was ratified and the government in place was to pass a tarrif on foreign goods. So much for a free market.
Slavery was the smokescreen for the Civil War. The first call for secession in the South was the Tarrif of Abomination when Andrew Jackson was president. Northern industries liked their unfree market place and didn't care that the exporting South was retaliated against by the countries the tarrif harmed.
A major contributing factor for the world wide Great Depression was tarrif's passed under the Cooledge administration.
What was one of the first acts of President George W. Bush? He passed a tarrif on steel from China.
If you really want a free market our government would have to:
suspend all farm subsidies. Every small farmer who receives a subsidy check should thank the Democrats.
suspend all corporate subsidies and tax credits
Face it corporations are buying the best government money can buy so they can still get their corporate welfare and have no regulations limiting their ability to slash salaries and benefits, increase hours for workers, gouge the public, and steal from the public coffers.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Optimus Is Back

I've finished revising Optimus and it is now available for only .99 when Publish America priced it at 27.95. pmprescottenterprises.com will also take you to all my other novels, anthologies and stories.
You can get it at smashwords.com and amazon.com.
There are still some used print copies at Amazon.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Cross of Gold

 Absolutely amazing how the Republican Party has dragged us back in the last thirty years of their trickle down economics and now wanting a return to the gold standard. A speech given in 1896 is still relevant to answer all the of what is on the Republican economic platform.




Friday, August 24, 2012

Free Round of Golf

On the Eastern side of Sandia Mountain is a beautiful golf course: Paako Ridge. It's in a national forrest with breathtaking views of Sandia Mountain and the others around it. Ranked one of the top 25 golf courses in the country open to the public. It is a bit expensive compared to the local Municipals. I got to play there with the Albuquerque Seniors at our set price, even had a nice boxed lunch.
 If you go on their web site and sign in they'll send you a certificate for a free round the month of your birthday. So I got to play for free this month. It's not often I get to play here twice in one summer. It is closed from November to March due to being covered in snow.

 The course is long and rugged not many try to walk it. Even in a cart getting from the path to the greens is quite a hike and climb as most of them are elevated with two or three ridges.
The sky is much bluer than in Albuquerque. It's good to get out of the exhaust fumes.







I've found it best to go early in the morning on a weekday. Prices are better after 2pm, but thunderstorms that build up in the afternoons can ruin your round before you're finished.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Press Conference

Here's the video of Russ Sype's press conference last Saturday. It's well done.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fkvGgX30i18

Monday, August 13, 2012

Olympics, my thoughts

I watched quite a few hours of the Olympics this year. I'm not going to go into a lot of the different events because I never competed in any of them but two.
I ran the mile and three mile. (1500 meters and 3000 meters). Back in my day when I ran against Olympians like Eastern New Mexico's Kenyan Mike Boit (bronze medalist '72 in 800 and 4th in 1500) and Howard Pain's Ghanian Billy Forger (tripped Jim Ryan in '72) in college I naturally dreamed about peaking for the Montreal Olympics. Knee injury shattered the dream, not that it was within my reach. I remember while watching the Olympics in '76 a commentator mentioning that qualifying time for the mile was under 4 minutes and it was less than twenty years since the first sub 4 minute mile was run by Roger Banister. In 1974 Filbert Bayi broke Jim Ryan's world record of 3:51.1 with a time of 3:51.0 and later that year Scott Walker of New Zealand broke that record with a 3:49.08. Walker took gold in the '76 Olympics when Bayi was part of the African boycott.
I mention all this because while watching the 1500 meter race this year a commentator said something very similar to the one at Montreal. He said the average best time of the runners in the final was a 3:49 mile. Much was made of Sebastian Cole who set the world record for the mile three different times and Morroco's Hicham El Guerrouj 3:43.13 that has stood since 1999.
When it became the average for runners to break the 4 minute barrier much of the explaination was better training methods, equipment and running surfaces. Now what were times only one or two runners in the world could achieve is common place and average. I don't think training methods have improved that much. Diet is much better than it was then, but the real difference from the 1980's on is the age of the world record holders. In the '50's and '60's it was  college age runners or just past graduation. Sebastian Coe didn't reach world record times unitl he was 35. I haven't researched the ages of the other record holders, but the fact that top runners can continue to train and make a living till nearly 40 has to be a major contributing factor.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Sype for the General Welfare

The press conference at the Elegante motel was a resounding success. There were around 25 in attendence with a reporter from the Alibi. It was video taped and in a week or two I'll post the U-tube link.
Russell's main point is that government is charged with providing for the general welfare and if a high quality public eduaction isn't covered, What is? If quality health care for all citizens isn't, What is?
More to come.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Sype for President

 

William Russell Sype will announce his candidacy for President of the United States in the year of our Lord 2016 at the Elegante Hotel in Albuquerque, NM tomorrow August 9, 2012 at 10:30am. I've agreed to the honor of serving as his campaign manager. All who are in the neighborhood and wish to attend are more than welcome. We've been informed that the local media will attend.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Movie 1776

In November of 1971 Mom and Dad had season tickets to what was then the Civic Light Opera and they couldn't attend one of the preformances and gave the tickets to me and my girlfriend at the time. It was 1776. I was blown away at the performance and could remember so many witty lines. When I was in college during out nations bi-centennial the play was performed, but I couldn't attend as I was married, didn't have the money and needed to work that night.
The movie came out in 1972, but it didn't come to Plainview so I never saw it on the big screen. One of the first items I bought with my first Summer school money was a VCR and on the 4th of July 1983 the movie was aired and it was the very first movie I taped. The following summer I taught American History in Summer school in a portable. On the other side of the partition was a math class. I showed the movie and the teacher came over after class:
Math teacher: I thought you're teaching America History.
Me: I am.
Math teacher: What did you show?
Me: The movie 1776.
Math teacher: It had singing and dancing.
Me: Yes, it's a broadway musical turned into movie.
Math teacher: How is that history?
Me: It lets the students know the positions of all the colonies prior to the vote on independence and what it took to get a unanimous vote. It's also pretty good at giving them an idea of how parliamentary proceedure works.
He wasn't convenced and didn't have much of an artistic understanding.
All the years I taught U.S. or American history I showed this movie buying a copy as soon as it was on sale at Blockbuster.
After Grinnygranny and I were married it was performed at Popejoy Hall. Mom and Dad got tickets and we went with them. So I've seen it twice performed on stage and a million times on video. Try watching it six times a day over numerous years.
It was with weeping and gnashing of teeth that I took all my video players to Goodwill and converted to Blue Ray. I bought the Restored Director's cut. There are a number of lines left out in the theatrical version and one song. In this version you get a better sense of Judge Wilson and why he made the decision for independence. I knew from seeing the play they cut out Cool Cool Considerate Men  and learned that it was at the request of Richard Nixon because he thought it put conservatives ie Republicans in a negatative light. It's actually John Dickenson's and the others who opposed independence victory song thinking they've won. A shame it was cut because in the middle of the song a dispatch from Gen. Washington comes in describing the British navy's surrounding of New York and using it as a staging area for moving on Philidelphia. In the rest of the movie they talk about the Redcoats being at their door without a decent explaination. But the real crime of the cut was omitting these crucial lines:
Dickenson asks John Hancock why he isn't on their side since he hates John Adams and is a man of property. Hancock replies, "Fortunately there are not enough men of property in America to dictate polity."
Dickenson then says, "Perhaps not, but most men with nothing would rather defend the possibility of being rich than face the reality of being poor."
This in a nutshell explains why so many hundreds of thousands of Confederate soldiers died defending slavery when they didn't own slaves and why today so many with so little still vote for the party that consistently raises their taxes while cutting them for the rich and gives corporations subsidies for outsourcing their jobs. After all they may hit the lottery and be rich someday even if they are living under a bridge or in their car after having their homes forclosed and can't find a job.
I could have used that line all those years I showed this movie, but Tricky Dick didn't like it.

I looked up most of the actors in the movie, hard to imagine it's been out 40 years now. William Daniels (John Adams) Ken Howard (Thomas Jefferson) Blythe Danner (Martha Jefferson) and John Cullum (Edmund Rutlidge) are still working. Howard Da Silva (Benjamin Franklin) was a black listed actor during the McCarthy era and many of his credits are in the 1930's, 40's and 50's. The role of Franklin on Broadway and the movie restarted his career. He died in 1986. Virginia Vestoff (Abigail Adams) died of cancer at age 42 in 1982. Donald Madden (John Dickenson) died in the 80's. Quite a few of the actors were soap stars with most of them coming from Dark Shadows.
Some of my favorite lines:
John Adams:
 I have come to the conclusion that one useless man is called a disgrace, two become a law firm and three or more become a congress.
This is a revolution dammit we're going to have to offend somebody.

Benjamin Franklin:
Treason is the reason given by the winners in order to hang the losers.
Careful Mr. Dickenson those who give up their freedom for temporarty safety deserve neither freedom nor safety.
Revolutions come into the world like Bastard Children, half improvise and half compromise.
If we don't hang together we will most assuredly hang separately.

Stephen Hopkins (Old Grape and Guts from Rhode Island):
Well I tell you what, in all my born days I ain't ever seen, heard or smelled an issue that couldn't be talked about. Hell yes, I'm for debating anything.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Political Haiku

Fellow Blogger Ruined Chappel My Moonlight has some interesting poems concerning all political extremes. Worth a look and a laugh.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Going to see Les Miserables

Tonight I'm taking my wife, son and his wife to see Les Miserables at Popejoy Hall. I have had a fascination with the musical since I watched the 10th anniversary concert on PBS. The 25th Concert was even better and when I found out it was going to be performed here I vowed I'd see it come hell or highwater. The rest of the family run fleeing every time I watch the concerts so I didn't think they'd be all that interested, but given a chance to dress up and have a nice night out they decided to come along.
I'm looking forward to seeing the whole thing instead of just the concert.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Eight Weeks and counting

I've been on this diet now for eight weeks. I've lost twenty pounds and dropped suit coat size by four inches. I checked yesterday at the mall. I haven't been able to button a 48 regular in years. The last week I haven't lost a pound even though I played golf twice with the wife (9 holes) and walked a full 18 with the gaggle and trudged on a treadmill three times for an hour. It was good dropping the pounds quickly, but I guess that's over and the hard part of dropping them slowly has set in. I gave up on doing without prilosec. I had heartburn with every meal. It settled down so I could sleep through the night, but going two weeks with an acid attack with every bite sucked.
Wife started a mini-vacation this week which is why we've been out on the links. It's been two years since she's hit a ball. Last year she had surgery and it's taken a while for her to feel like it again.
Have tickets to see Les Miserables in two weeks. Wife wasn't too happy about me buying the tickets as they were rather pricey. I bought four thinking I'd treat my client and his wife to the performance, but they can't attend, taking son and his girlfriend which was a surprise since they all fuss at me when I listen to the 10th anniversary concert or play the cd in the car. I'm looking forward to seeing the whole performance.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Kung Fu Monkey

This quote makes a lot of sense in today's economic world:
-- There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.
Krugman used it today in his column,

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Detox and life without Prilosec

Wife and I started a six week detox program using the Blood Sugar Solution book and website. We joined a gym and started working out on treamill and stationary bike three times a week. Worked my way up to 3 miles in an hour yesterday. Wife is putting in an hour too. That with golfing one day a week and I'm losing weight, so is she just not as much but then she doesn't need to lose as much as I do.
The diet is to get completely off white starch (potatos, rice, bread, pasta) and dairy for six weeks, then add things back. If what you eat makes you feel worse don't take it, if it doesn't bother you it's okay. Regardless no sugar, HFCS or corn sugar and artifical sweeteners. That means no sodas of any kind. No kool-aide, crystal light etc. A diet of green tea and filtered water, salads with oil and vinegar, small portions of meat with no sauces other than mustard, and cooked vegetables and fresh fruit is filling, but gets rather old. You can have olives, avacados, pinto beans and other types of beans. Cracker Barrel has a good low carb menu, but most other places to eat don't. Shopping at Whole Foods and Sunflower is a lot more expensive, but since we're not eating out as much it's actually saving us a little. There are also gobs of supplements to take and they are expensive. If I bought them from Dr. Hyman it would run 800+ a month. Even at Whole foods they're not cheap. COQ10 is outrageous and so is PGX if you can find it. GNC didn't have it. Still if it gets me off the statins and my cholesteral, glucose and triglicerides come down I'll be much healthier.


Last week I stopped taking Prilosec. I've been using it for ten years and it has kept the acid reflux in check. I've always suffered from it, even when I weighed less that a 120lbs. I remember when I was in college and told Mom I was having trouble. She sent me a box full of gelusel packets. When the box arrived about six guys hovered around me at the front desk hoping for home made cookies. The looks on their faces when I opened the box was priceless. I grew up in an age where everytime you got a sniffle they gave you a shot of penicillin. Acid reflux is the byproduct.
For most of my life I lived on Tums or Rolaids and then it was pepsid when Prilosec came along I was in heaven and I've known a life without acid reflux for over ten years. Still the bad part of no acid is starting to outweigh the good part. I knew once the Prilosec wore off the flood gates would open and I'd have trouble. The Acid Refllux Solution had some nifty tricks to control the reflux. They include: Acidopholus pills of at least 2 billion -- these good bacteria feed on the acid and most people get reflux after they're all killed off with antibiotics. Dr. Hyman recommends 10 to 20 billion, but that gets expensive. Eat an apple-- works for about thirty minutes. Baking soda and water -- Regular doctor doesn't like the sodium content, but it works for about an hour. Apple Cider vinegar and honey -- hard to gag down at first, but it works best of all. Honey by itself -- not as affective without the vinegar, but it does sooth the esophagus. With this I am fudging a bit on the other diet. I've been able to sleep through the night without reflux as long as I don't try to go to sleep before three hours since eating. An empty stomach is also much better for your sleep anyway.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Not sure

Went to the doctor yesterday. After the usual review of my bloodwork I mentioned I wasn't hearing much out of my hearing aide and if he would  take a look. Right ear was completely clogged up. He got most of the stuff out, not all and I do hear better. Was my problem wax build-up and I don't need the hearing aide, or did the hearing aide cause the wax build up?

Milestone

Went over 10,000 visits to this blog. I know for some people they get that many in a day or week, but an accomplishment to me. Thanks Michael Manning as many of those hits came from you.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Doing my first post from my I-phone. It did lousy at the gym today as a music source will use my mp3 player from now on

Monday, March 19, 2012

Pay Pal Backs Down

Smashwords sent out an e-mail that Pay Pal has backed down and all is back to normal.

Hunger Games review

I saw one movie ad on TV and knew that there was a movie coming out, but it didn't tell me much. I signed on for Amazon's Prime where you can borrow books for your Kindle for free, so the first books I chose for free were The Hunger Games and Circle of Fire, only to pay for them since I ordered them on my Computer's ap. If you want to borrow for free you have to order on the Kindle and it shows up only on the Kindle not the computer or Iphone. I did it the right way for Mockingjay.
I figured it to be some kind of post apocalypse world on the vein of Rollerball, and it has elements of 1984 and Animal Farm in it as well. The two Rollerball films glorify the violence. This book lets the reader know that children dying for the entertainment of the populace is the ultimate horror. Since these books were written for Young Adults most of the deaths are out of sight and revealed more as box scores at the end of the day.
I don't want to get into the plot because just about everyone out there is telling it. I'm going to give my take on what it was like to read all three of the books.
Premise and violence: In the first fifty pages it was hard to read through the tears. I don't recall ever reading someone who could tug at your heart strings so quickly and hold you for so long without wanting to close the book and walk away. I was drawn into the world, the characters and their plight.
In the games there is a character named Rue that captures your heart completely and as a reader you knew she had to die for Katniss to win and go on to the second and third books, but her death is devastating.
This reminded me of something Harlan Ellison wrote in either his book The Glass Teat or The Other Glass Teat (not sure which and too lazy to find out). He was castigating Movies, Television and viewers on the mindless, numbing violence offered and viewed. He wrote the articles in The Rolling Stone later compiled into the books in the late 60's. Very tame by today's Friday the 13th, Saw type of movies or even the CSI's, Closer type of TV shows. (the escalation in violence to satisfy viewers and readers appetites proves his point ie. Spartacus on Showtime and many video games that glorify carnage) He said for violence to have effect it had to follow certain parameters. 1 for a protaganist to resort to violence it has to be the last resort. Think Quaker woman Eliza Birdwell picking up a broom and clobbring a rebel raider about to kill her pet goose Samantha in Friendly Persuasion. 2. A death has to happen to a character the audience identifies with. When a person dies on screen or in a book you want it to have an impact. You want the reader to scream "No" while it's happening and weep at the loss. Think the death of Mariko in Shogun by James Clavell. When it's done right it's unforgettable and Suzanne Collins hit a bullseye with Rue.
Theme: I've read many books describing the horrors of totalitarian rule. It's part and parcel with Science Fiction/Fantasy. Take the power mad Valdemorte out of Harry Potter and there's no conflict hence no story. Most of these books and movies deal either with filling the reader with dread the oppression or have a hero become superhero conquering the evil Ming or Captain Nemo saving humanity. In these books Katniss is the spark for revolution by subtle defiance and The Capital's over reaction causes the revolution. She's a teenage Rosa Parks thrown off the bus or Ghandi kicked off the train and the whole world says they've had enough of the bully. Ms Collins said the books follow a simple arc: book 1 defiance, book 2 revolt, book 3 war.
Timing: While reading the HG it made me think of the way Arab Spring started. The book was published in 2008 meaning Ms Collins was very precient and with the movie hitting movie screens Friday there couldn't be better timing for the message she wishes to convey to her audience.
Fast Read: All the books are told in first person and because you're not stumbling over needless description and backstory for every character it doesn't take long to polish off  300+ pages. With three books to get through this is a real positive.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Censorship Fight Back

E-mail received today from Smashwords.

THE PROBLEM:

PayPal is asking us to censor legal fiction. Regardless of how one views topics of rape, bestiality and incest, these topics are pervasive in mainstream fiction. We believe this crackdown is really targeting erotica writers. This is unfair, and it marks a slippery slope. We don't want credit card companies or financial institutions telling our authors what they can write and what readers can read.
Fiction is fantasy. It's not real. It's legal.
THE SOLUTION:
There's no easy solution. Legally, PayPal and the credit card companies probably have the right to decide how their services are used. Unfortunately, since they're the moneyrunners, they control the oxygen that feeds digital commerce. Many Smashwords authors have suggested we find a different payment processor. That's not a good long term solution, because if credit card companies are behind
this, they'll eventually force crackdowns elsewhere. PayPal works well for us. In addition to running all credit card processing at the Smashwords.com store, PayPal is how we pay all our authors outside the U.S. My conversations with PayPal are ongoing and have been productive, yet I have no illusion that the road ahead will be simple, or that the outcome will be favorable.
BUILDING A COALITION OF SUPPORT:
Independent advocacy groups are considering taking on the PayPal censorship case. I'm supporting the development of this loose-knit coalition of like-minded groups who believe that censorship of legal fiction should not be allowed. We will grow the coalition. Each group will have its own voice and tactics I'm working with them because we share a common cause to protect books from censorship. Earlier today I had conversations with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE) and the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC). I briefed them on the Smashwords/PayPal situation, explained the adverse affect this crackdown will have on some of our authors and customers, and shared my intention to continue working with PayPal in a positive manner to move the discussion forward.
The EFF blogged about the issue a few days ago: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2012/02/legal-censorship-paypal-makes-habit-deciding-what-users-can-read Today, ABFFE and NCAC issued a press release: http://www.scribd.com/doc/83549049/NCAC-ABFFE-Letter-To-PayPal-eBay-re-Ebook-Refusal-2012
I will not be on the streets with torch in hand calling for PayPal's head, but I will encourage interested parties to get involved and speak their piece. This is where you come in...
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
Although erotica authors are being targeted, this is an issue that should concern all indie authors. It affects indies disproportionately because indies are the ones pushing the boundaries of fiction. Indies are the ones out there publishing without the (fading) protective patina of a "traditional publisher" to lend them legitimacy. We indies only have each other.
everal Smashwords authors have contacted me to stress that this censorship affects women disproportionately. Women write a lot of the erotica, and they're also the primary consumers of erotica. They're also the primary consumers of mainstream romance, which could also come under threat if PayPal and the credit card companies were to overly enforce their too-broad and too-nebulous obsenity clauses (I think this is unlikely, but at the same time, why would dubious consent be okay in mainstream romance but not okay in erotica? If you write paranormal, can your were-creatures not get it on with one another, or is that bestiality? The insanity needs to stop here. These are not questions an author, publisher or distributor of legal fiction should have to answer.).
All writers and their readers should stand up and voice their opposition to financial services companies censoring books. Authors should have the freedom to publish legal fiction, and readers should have the freedom to read what they want. These corporations need to hear from you. Pick up the phone and call them. Email them. Start petitions. Sign petitions. Blog your opposition to censorship.
Encourage your readers to do the same. Pass the word among your social networks. Contact your favorite bloggers and encourage them to follow this story. Contact your local newspaper and offer to let them interview you so they can hear a local author's perspective on this story of international significance. If you have connections to mainstream media, encourage them to pick up on the story. Encourage them to call the credit card companies and pose this simple question, "PayPal says they're trying to enforce the policies of credit card companies. Why are you censoring legal fiction?"
Tell the credit card companies you want them to give PayPal permission to sell your ebooks without censorship or discrimination. Let them know that PayPal's policies are out of step with the major online ebook retailers who already accept your books as they are. Address your calls, emails (if you can find the email) and paper letters (yes paper!) to the executives. Post open letters to them on your blog, then tweet and Facebook hyperlinks to your letters. Force the credit card companies to join the discussion about censorship. And yes, express your feelings and opinions to PayPal as well. Don't scream at them. Ask them to work on your behalf to protect you and your readers from censorship. Tell them how their proposed censorship will harm you and your fellow writers.

Visa:
http://finance.yahoo.com/q/pr?s=V+Profile
American Express:
http://finance.yahoo.com/q/pr?s=AXP+Profile
MasterCard:
http://finance.yahoo.com/q/pr?s=MA+Profile
Discover:
http://finance.yahoo.com/q/pr?s=DFS+Profile
Ebay (owns PayPal):
http://finance.yahoo.com/q/pr?s=ebay+Profile












Saturday, February 25, 2012

Repression Started

Received an e-mail from Smashwords today. Pen Pal has given them a week to delete all stories in the erotica genre that have elements of children in sexual situations, bestiality, rape and incest.
Smashwords has no choice but to comply since Pay Pal handles all their payments even processing credit cards. Smashwords alread has a prohibition on minors involved in or being present in sexual situations. I removed one of my flash stories upon publication dealing with a 16 year old boy and an older woman. Can't write The Summer of 42 anymore.
Did anyone vote for Pay Pal to be the arbiter of public morals?
I know some of you are saying what's wrong with censoring these abominable items. And they are, but what's to now stop them from censoring political comments they don't like, anti-war stories, or a children's book that puts a bad light on lumberjacks (The Lorax- now a movie).
They've qualified the ban on rape as that which is tittilating, whatever the hell that means. This is the one item that affects me.
In my novel Human Sacrifices my heroine is raped by her husband the first time she says no to sex after they're married. Her husband quotes scripture saying that the woman's body belongs to her husband and she doesn't have the right to deny him. It is essential to my story to show the fundamentalist belief in women being subject to their husbands as explicitly stated in the Southern Baptist Conventions revision of the Faith and Message Statement in 2000. I don't believe the way I wrote the scene it would be of purient interest to most readers, but I can't vouch for every reader particularly one looking to be offended.
For my snarky take on this I'll post on my Captain's Log further steam.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Goodbye Old Friend

When I was 14 a friend started to lead me astray. Mike was a year behind me, but lived down the street. We became friends because all his life he had the ability to make good friends instantly. He got me smoking cigarettes which led to jumping a wall at the school into the backyard of an empty house and smoking during lunch. We were caught and suspended for three days. My parents went ballistic, but I was struggling with smoking before this. My brother the year before set the school record in the 600 yard dash and received a trophy at the awards ceremony. I vowed I'd break his record and I knew that there was no way I could do that if I smoked. Being suspended gave me the excuse to stop smoking. Mike and I hung around for a few weeks after that, but I refused to light up with him. When basketball season started I had practice after school and that was when we stopped hanging out together. I set the school record in the 660 yard dash winning the city championship the next year.
Two years ago we started attending a home church. At her work my wife made a friend whose husband pastors the church. Steve and I became friends and when I retired he asked if I would help in his law firm. It came as a surprise when Mike and his wife showed up to church. We hadn't seen each other in forty years. He spent time in the military, found the Lord, was baptised and ordained as a minister. Everyone who knew him before and after conversion witnessed first hand the transformation in his life. The one thing he couldn't shake from his old life was smoking and it killed him. Yesterday was his memorial service. It was the first time in over 40 years I said hello to his older brother and younger sister.
I've searched my heart for the past two years knowing how his health was failing what I could have done for more of a difference when we were younger, if my stopping smoking and moving away provided influence that later led to his conversion? On only one occasion we talked about God because he knew I went to church with my family every Sunday morning and night as well as Wednesdays. I'm afraid I wasn't very articulate in answering his questions.  I do know his conversion made a huge impact to those around him and many now know Jesus as their savior because of him.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Busy Busy Busy

  • Since buying back the publishing rights to Optimus I've been editing it. Easier to write than edit.
  •  We've reroofed the house and put on a nice new white door with oval window and storm door. It really brightens up the house both inside and out.
  • Tried to have a little getaway with the wife Friday, but got called in to work in the morning. It was still nice to spend two nights away from everything going on in the house.
  • Played first golf tournament yesterday a two man scramble, didn't do too well, but it was fun. Golfing tomorrow with a golfing buddy from a couple of years ago trying to get him in the Gaggle.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

What Church and Faith Should be About

I grew up in church. From my earliest memories church was always there. My parents helped start at least one if not more from our living room. My brother has a doctorate in theology and I went to a Baptist University and a year of seminary. My wife has worked at the state convention for 30 years. There's hardly a church in this city we haven't attended or been members. Faith has always been a part of our lives.
In 1978 a retired state supreme court judge from Texas and the associate pastor of the largest church in Texas mounted a political attack on the Southern Baptist Convention. It's called the "fundamentalist take over" and it disenfranchised my family spiritually to this day.
A couple of years ago we started meeting in a home church. A lady my wife works with, her husband pastors the church. I gave the pastor my book Optimus and he liked it so much he has been giving me legal assistance work supposedly to help him with his openings and closings, but so far every case where I could do that has settled before the trial.
He brought me in to work on a case after only one day of retirement from teaching. I don't technically work for him since I have my own business and bill him for my services, technically he's my client, just my only client. We have become very close working in the same office and worshiping. He's working on his doctorate of ministry and has me look over every paper before turning it in.
I keep telling him that his papers have many "whereas's", but no "therefore." He counters that in theology you don't have the right to an opinion until after you've earned your doctorate. He seems to be right as he gets nothing but praises for him papers.
Michael Manning's post today brought these thoughts up and made me realize just how much the fundamentalist take over robbed me of social contact with other of my faith. They drove a wedge of conformity on certain beliefs which had nothing to do with being Baptist, just fundamentalist.
My pastor and I disagree on a number of issues, but we recognize each other's faith and respect each other.
Last September at a conference we encountered a young couple who moved here on faith. They graduated from seminary and plan on setting up what are called cell churches. A connection of home churches. The SBC entity that is supposed to support them has lost their paper work 6 times. They didn't have jobs, but were in an apartment. She was about to deliver their first child. They were in desperate need of a support church for financial and tax reasons. Our church agreed to provide this support. Since then they had a little boy, have both found jobs and just this last week bought a house where they will begin their ministry. It has felt good to assist this young couple begin their ministry.
Michael's post about social networking to help those in need rang a bell and I pray our church can reach out and help out other couples in need as well.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Free At Last

I now have the publishing rights to Optimus: Praetorian Guard. PA over the last 4+ years has done a roller coaster ride on pricing that it was difficult to generate sales. They got me to buy over a hundred copies, most of them given to family and friends. I sold some at book signings and a few to blogger friends who gratefully wrote reviews.
I plan a complete re-edit and e-publish at Smashwords and Amazon for a reasonable price. The sequel "Stephanus" is in the works.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Grandparents

Michael Manning has a post about Airstream travel trailers that sparked a warm memory. My maternal grandfather was sad that his only children were daughters so Mom named me after him with my middle name. My son and grandson now share the same middle name.
My maternal grandmother was diagnosed with cancer in either 1958 or 59. She was given 6 months. Grandma and Grandpa owned a building in Pueblo, CO living upstairs and the bottom floor was the Record Music Company. One of my dear friends in my Writers2Writers groups that meets once a month is from Pueblo and remembers buying records there. "The shop" as Mom always referrs to it was the first store to sell color television sets.
When Grandma was diagnosed with cancer Grandpa sold the shop to my aunt and Mom. What happened to the shop after that is another story and why we moved to Albuquerque.
Grandpa bought a brand new pink Cadallac, the only car Grandma was comfortable riding in, and a Boll's Air travel trailer. It was beige and white and square, but about the same size as the Airstream. He felt that if they only had a little time left they'd spend it traveling around the country since they'd spent most of their lives working in the shop.
Grandma received radiation treatment for her type of cancer and lived thirty more years. They got to do alot of traveling in that trailer. Grandma liked riding in the Caddy, but resented the two or three times extra cost to get work done on it.
When they'd come home from their travels they'd set up in a trailer park and we'd go over to visit. They'd set up a screen and show us the slides they took in Florida, Texas, California and other states they traveled through.
A few years later Grandpa sold the trailer and car. They settled into a house in Pueblo and bought a GMC pickup with a KamperKing. It was a beast. We'd already moved to Albuquerque. Mom and Dad were both working so they offered to take my younger sister, who was a toddler and me for the summer. When we were in Pueblo I'd work at the shop selling records and my aunt feeling some guilt for shoving us out of the business let me keep as many 45's and LP's as I wanted. After converting the LP's and looking at the huge stack of 45's now I wish she hadn't been so generous. The shop also sold band instruments so my brother got his coronet and I got my clarinette.
It was in the GMC truck and camper that we went fishing. Colorado has great fishing lakes and three times over that summer we went out. I remember stopping between Coatapaxi and Salida to spend the night. It was still a little light out so we got our fishing poles to see if we could catch something in the Arkansas river. I had the reel that has the button you take your thumb off to let the line fly. I threw the whole thing into the river on the first cast. Grandpa had to get out his waders, grab a flashlight and in the rushing water retrieve my rod and reel. We didn't catch any fish that night. Dad would have exploded, but Grandpas, and now that I am one too I understand, have more patience.
In all I spent three summers with them working in the store and going out fishing. They are great memories. The last summer when I was thirteen they were living above the shop again and my bedroom window overlooked Colorado Avenue. They turned in early and that left me with a lot of time on my hands to read. I read the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy that summer, special thanks to Mrs. Mojica who read The Hobbit in my English class that school year gettin my head full of elves and goblins and dwarves and dragons.
The last time we went fishing was at John Martin Dam outside of La Junta on the plains not far from Kansas. Up in the mountains it gets cold at night; on the plains it stays hot. There you fish with minnows. Grandpa was fishing off a pier and I found a nice spot where I could sit on the metal minnow cage where they farmed the minnows they sold to the fishermen. I caught four fish fairly good sized rather quickly then nothing for about an hour. I'd put the fish I caught on a stringer and left them in the water by the cage. When I picked them up all that was left were their heads. A turtle got a free meal.
From then on Grandma and Grandpa would come down to visit, but our summers of fishing were over. I haven't been fishing since. I don't think it would be the same.

New Year, New Start

Guess that's the nice thing about a new year is that alot of the bad stuff that happened in the old year can be put in the dust bin and you start over.
Came down with a stomach flu New Year's Eve. If I'm going to feel that bad at least it should be for drinking!
Finally feeling human. Back at the office today, getting my mini-van fixed up and later this week getting the front part of the roof on the house reshingled.