Saturday, December 30, 2017

Looking Back at 2017 (and Ahead to Our Shared Future)

Is 2017 really becoming the past?  So soon?  So quickly?

It's an old custom to look back as each year passes.  -To ask one's self and one's friends "what kind of a year has it been?"

I'm pleased to report that for me 2017 was wonderful -- and that in so many ways!

The end of 2016 was for me and mine full of questions.  My wife Jan's health issues had forced a change. What would such portend?  Even our ability to stay in our beloved home, on our beloved property in the larger community that so suited us, was in question.

2017 saw happy "conclusions" to each of these questions and unknowns.

Jan's health has remarkably returned. Our home has become our home to an even greater extent -- with more of "us" in it. (And the part that the kindness of dear friends has played in this makes it all the more heart warming and wonderful.)

Jan and I both being in retirement has emphasized once again how much we love one another --and enjoy one-another's presence.  More joy. More smiles. More and more evidences of caring and, yes, "love."  What a meaningful word that is! Especially when applied to a home and a marriage.

And the world has turned too. For the better. For the much, much, better.


I am not in any formal sense a "religious" person. But how can I deny -- or not be warmed and encouraged -- by the obvious signs of kind providence our world and (especially) our nation has seen over the course of this past year?

An old Christian text says that "the wise have been shamed by the foolish things."  How true that has proven to be!  .

Or maybe it's just that our society's idea of what (and who) is "wise" and who or what is truly "foolish" has gotten a needed "update"? In any case it makes me smile. And laugh. Yes, and feel hopeful for humanity's shared future.

Put simply: Things are looking up again.  (And how many years has it been since it genuinely felt that way?)

So now, today,  2018's own hope is calling out like a distant voice -- to be heard only if one listens and concentrates.  "Look here! Watch what I do! Be prepared to me amazed!"

And I do watch.. With joy in my heart and love for life's endlessly wonderful possibilities. 

Happy New Year all!

Wishing you joy, and prosperity, and health and abundant peace.


Friday, October 20, 2017

"All Is Right With the World"

I'm smiling!

Yeah, I am. (No Facebook "selfie" though. My smile is too real for that.)

But *why* am I smiling?

Robert Browning sort'a captured it in his poem "Pippa's Song"...

"The year's at the spring,
And day's at the morn;
Morning's at seven;
The hill-side's dew-pearled;
The lark's on the wing;
The snail's on the thorn;
God's in his Heaven -
All's right with the world!"

Well, in truth all is not right. Of course not. (Browning, of course, knew that too) But so much is!

Here are just a few of those things. The things that are making me smile.

This may be the most beautiful Autumn I have ever experienced. Two "peaks" of color. (The 2nd going on now!)  Clear and cool mornings, followed by sunny 'warm kisses' afternoons.

Jan is home with me.

What's the biggie in that? Simple: She is my best friend. My dear one. My love. My truthful companion. The light of my life. -And for the almost fifty years she and I have been "together" most of our days were spent largely apart. Working and/or whatever.

Now we are home together. Not linked by any rough-hewn knot. Not 'Siamese twins' to use an old, outdated, phrase. No, not at all. But together. On our own terms. In our own beloved home. And that all day long.

The world is getting "right" too. The world outside.

Have you noticed that?

No, you'd not think so by what the media is every day telling us. But it is.

Okay, not *their* world. No. Because their world is broken beyond fixes. They have lost control. (They and those they serve) and that's what they're so god-awful pissed about.

But yet it is.

Even the flashes of ugliness -- the anger (largely created and canned for public consumption) -- shows this.

Look at the numbers. The "stats." Things are starting to go right. Not for "them." But for us. The regular people.

Look at the faces of almost anyone who is seeing and thinking for themselves, and not repeating the mantra from above. They, too, like me, are smiling.

The "threats" -- those big, ugly, threats that are supposed to make us cower -- they are largely phony.

And what's more, more and more people are seeing that. And in the people's eyes the little laugh lines reveal that even when and where its still unpolitic to say it. Look and see!

Isn't all that WONDERFUL?

So yes. I'm smiling. A big, BIG, smile.

I hope you are too.

(And if not, please think about all the above.)

* * * * *

Saturday, September 2, 2017

It's All in the Jeans

That our nation has become more divided in the last dozen or so years has been obvious to most of us. Painfully so.  What is the reason? Where is the dividing line? What can we do to pull it together?

The last weeks have been revealing. Answers to all those questions are becoming clear.

Bottom line, the fault line is culture.  American culture.

The 'coasties,' as some of us have come to call the NY/LA/Boston/DC crowd, simply do not like America.  At least not the America that the non-'coasties' know and love.

This is not a matter of "brains" or education (although some proudly claim it is while crying out "hurray for our side.")  No, there are "brains" and education on both sides of the divide.  It is a matter of in what people trust. What holds a person's faith.

"You can judge a tree by the fruit it bears." -So said a very wise man a couple of thousand years ago. And those words are proving to be a great guide today. They point us in the right direction.  At people's works.  Not what they say, but what they do.

The calamity caused by Hurricane Harvey has not only enabled us, but forced us, to see with our own eyes. Who is doing what? And to compare what our eyes see with words that have be for too long smugly spoken. Words about "values". Words about culture. Words about where goodness and truth actually lie.

Not just theoretical or philosophical goodness. -Words about such that look good in print or sound good when spoken over the airwaves or even in a college classroom lecture.

No. Real actions. Real works.

With our eyes open we are seeing just who actually does, and who merely talks. What people actually accomplish in comparison to what people claim.

Some actions are seen to be life affirming -- life saving even.  People being saved, not from figuratively drowning in words but from literally drowning in deep water.

And if we are willing to think about it seeing such tells us what we need to do. Whom we need to support.

America is the land of blues jeans. -Clothing originally designed to be worn not as a fashion statement, but as a tough outer layer that holds up while its wearer does tough work. Made of heavy fabric that has been riveted at its stress points.

Just look at the jeans people choose to wear.  That's all it'll take. Who wore out the knee? How heavy is its denim and how did it become faded?

Take sides based on that and you will be on safe grounds. As will our nation.

Yes, it's all in the jeans.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

That America We Knew and Loved? It's Still Here

It's kind of sad how many people find themselves asking "where did the America I knew and loved go to?"    And the reason so many are asking that is because what is put before our eyes every day: A nation without any but the most superficial values. -An America supposedly full of selfishness and small thinking. Of cheap laughter and an even cheaper culture. Of broken families and broken lives. And especially (it seems to me) a lack of real leadership. There is no one (we are repeatedly told) that we can trust.

But here is what I have realized -- I, and I know, many, many others -- some who realized this far more quickly than I did -- that the America we loved still exists.  Not just here and there -- mere smatterings -- holdouts -- but virtually everywhere.

People with values. People with depth. People that are quietly going about their lives in a way that reveals that the 'old' America is far from dead.  It is living. It is breathing. It is being passed along.

The reason we may not quickly or easily see this is because we have been taught to not look with our own eyes, but through the eyes of others.  The coastal media. The big mouths on TV and, yes, on the Internet.

And such people -- this is worth noting! -- rarely even pretend to be looking at the nation about us. Instead they spend their days quoting one-another.

If you listen to "news" or read opinion pages take note of this: How much time and space is being used by the same few people quoting and arguing with each other. As if their voices, and only their voices, mattered.

That is why some who actually think and speak for themselves talk and write about there being an "echo chamber."  It's almost like there is just one voice speaking. On and on and on. Endlessly. "He said he said that he said..."

Then take note how different the country they see is from the one that you and I see with our own eyes. Not just occasionally, but each and every day.

If you'll allow the semi-jest... how many little boys do you see that want to wear a dress?  ANY?

How many people that you know want to do any of the things that those voices repeatedly tell us that everyone is wanting to do?

I'll bet in many cases the answer is NONE.

On the other hand, how many people do you see with your own eyes that have real, "traditional" values about the goodness of hard work? That value accomplishment? That care for their families? That care about other people? -Yes, all other people, without the supposed distrusts and divisions and narrow-minded hate that those loud voices tell us are common amongst us?

America lives. It lives in us.

America has a future.  Because of us -- and the many, many millions more just like us in the ways that really matter.

We're not gone.  We're here.

They can't see us because they do not want to see us. Nor do they want us to see ourselves. -For who we are. For what we believe in.

And frankly that is exactly what has those loud few so frightened. US. You and me. And that is what makes them so desirous of making us turn inward so that we will not see one-another. And realize our power.

America is still here.
They can only kill it if we let them.

(And again frankly, I think that it is for them too late.)

Enough of us know.
Enough of us see.
Enough of us care about all this and are speaking out.

Welcome back America!  Yes, even if in fact you never really went away.

Posted to American Thinker
Aug 12, 2017

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Staying Put

For many years it was a growing 'tradition' for older people whose family had grown and moved away to, upon retirement, do the same themselves. To give up what had been their home for many years -- the place, often, where they had raised their families -- and to move elsewhere -- often to a "retirement community."  Frankly I was surprised to read that that trend seemed to be reversing. -That many older people are now choosing, instead, to stay put.

Bloomberg News posted an article whose title captured the change, and its effect on society: "Baby Boomers Who Refuse to Sell Are Dominating the Housing Market." From the point of view of younger people this change was hardly a positive one.  Housing for young families in some areas is getting increasingly short. Indeed the article focused on one younger man who has of late been spending his free time canvasing entire neighborhoods in search of somebody -- anybody! -- who is willing to sell. That so he can have a home to call his own. A foundation on which to build his future life.

Responses to his appeal have been vigorous and, in every case so far, negative.

Said one older house owner "“I wouldn’t sell even if you gave me $2 million — this is my retirement. If you gave me a bag of money, I wouldn’t sell.”

The reason, given by another such older home owner, was stark and clear. Said he: “This neighborhood still has the soul of the past. Everybody I know — people older than me — wouldn’t move from here for nothing unless they couldn’t afford it no more.”

I don't know that I'd personally say "no" to two million dollars, if offered that for my home and property, but the reasoning those two individuals expressed -- and those of several others mentioned in the article -- rang true to me.  I, as apparently have they, thought it through. I've evaluated a wide range of options. And decided to stay put.

Indeed my wife Jan and I did this together. With much care and focused purpose.  And, be it for similar reasons as others of our generation, or, perhaps, just our own, we have decided to stay.

The "whys" of this are many.  Here, from our personal perspective, are a few of them:

We are where we wish to be.

In the end that is the most salient reason.  Jan and my life together has not largely been an "oh, whatever..." affair.  We've from the start had goals and aspirations -- goals and aspirations we have lived for. Focused upon. Striven for. Sacrificed to reach.  Thus our living where we live did not come about by mere happenstance.  It is a location -- a home -- a community -- of our choosing. One based on what we are as people. -Upon our own shared, but also individual, needs.

Quietude, privacy and peace are to us essential elements of a happy and contented life. Being able to be ourselves, with little need to answer to others -- and to remain unaffected by other's equally genuine and equally personal choices and preferences.

In a sense this is not too different from the comment of one of the elderly home owners quoted above when they spoke of their neighborhood still having the "soul of the past." In their case there seemed to be an ethnic community aspect.  But underneath the specifics of what they personally valued their desire was not unlike our own: To live in a place where they/we feel comfortable.  Where one's own likes and dislikes -- and personal level of comfort -- remained paramount.

For Jan and I that "community" is in a certain sense a community of two.  But it is still a community -- one with deeply held values. -Values that in many respects differ from the greater world around us.

Another reason for staying put -- how mundane! -- is simple dollars and sense.

Yes, "sense."  Evaluated, not by commonly accepted "truths" such as "living is less expensive elsewhere," but a personal evaluation of where we'd be financially and otherwise if we should up and move.

We have for many years invested everything, or pretty close to everything, in our home and property.  That with the goal of making it exactly what we wished it to be.  And the fact is that much of that investment is non-transferable.

The large, gorgeous, porch. Rebuilt from the ground up at great cost. The home's Great Room with its large fireplace -- and room aplenty for Jan's baby grand piano, a billiard table and a bar. My personal sanctum -- a library loft with comfortable leather seating surrounded by my books and personal mementos. The home theater -- carefully designed, styled, and created with hours and hours of work -- and providing us the real theater experience in sound and picture, but without the sticky floors and endless whispering that makes the commercial movie house often less than a complete joy no matter how good "the picture."

And beauty.  Acres of it. Diverse and ever changing beauty. -There to be enjoyed outside, or through any of the house's many windows -- including the virtual glass wall that allows us to look out onto a small meadow full of life when first opening our eyes on each new day.

Then there's the larger "neighborhood."  A true "art town."  Not "arty" in the superficial, trendy, Hollywood sense, but a place of real, stable and mature creativity.  One built up many years ago on the three pillars of the MacDowell Colony, the Mariarden and the Laughton Camp/Out-Door Players -- the later of which property and main house is now what we call "home."

Could any of above be found anew?  And if so, at what cost? In money, yes, but even more in time, attention and expended energy?

Take the supposed (and in some ways real) "lower cost of living" in other areas -- and then add into the equation the cost of moving. -Of paying a real estate agent's seller's fees. Of again setting up a home, if not from scratch, then as close to that as neccasary to make the fittings "right" for the place. A new place. Likely a very different sort of place.

Add to that that such "lower cost of living" most often comes with a different price:  A less desirable location. One without such things as "the arts." One without a long standing (and still existent) culture of its own. A barren field without strong, tall, trees -- if not literally, than figuratively.

So for all these reason we are staying put.  As are, it seems, many others of our generation.

"Selfish"?  Perhaps.  But in the end isn't all life so?  Grasping for the sun. With the deep roots needed to grab up all the water needed to live and to thrive.

So, yes, we are staying put. For as long as possible. Be it as now, on our own, or later, if needed, perhaps with a little loving help.


Sunday, July 2, 2017

Just as They Misjudged Reagan They Misjudge Trump

"There is nothing new under the Sun"

That quote from the Bible book of Ecclesiastes, is credited to King Solomon.

Not quite so pithy -- but in proof -- I offer this brief historical reminder. That all the current anti-Trump talk has been heard before.

When, in March 1983, Reagan described the Soviet Union as "an evil empire," the liberal media and the professorial class's reaction was little short of hysterical. Writes William Rusher in July's Claremont Review of Books...

Henry Steele Commager, then a professor of history at Amherst, condemned Reagan's speech as "the worst presidential speech in American history, and I've read them all." Hendrik Hertzberg, later editor of The New Republic, protested that "words like that frighten the American public and antagonize the Soviets. What good is that?" Time's Strobe Talbott, later President Clinton's deputy secretary of state, made the same objection: "When a chief of state talks that way, he roils Soviet insecurities." George W. Ball, undersecretary of state in the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations, sounded a somber warning: "Mr. President, you have set us on a dark and ominous course. For God's sake, let us refix our compass before it is too late." 

They were wrong then. History -- including the testimony of the soon to be (alas, temporarily) liberated denizen's of Soviet system -- testified to that endlessly.

Read Solzhenitsyn's Gulag Archipeligo if you doubt it.

Reagan was "a fool,"  "an ignoramus," "a danger."  He was "senile." He was "mad." He needed to be removed from office.

But in fact he was none of those things. What he was, without doubt, was the most effective leader this nation had had since the end of WWII.

He was right. They -- the media and the 'always know betters' -- were wrong.

Yes, it was that clear.  History tells us so.

And the people were right too, because they -- the common man -- understood.  And thus Reagan aimed his thoughts to them. Spoke in a language they understood. Just as does President Trump today.


Friday, June 23, 2017

One More"Voice"

Most of my posts here are thought posts. Word posts. Comments on what I am seeing and thinking about. On conclusions reached -- or the path I am on (we are always growing, yes?) towards the same.

One previous post, though, entitled "My Other Voice" eschewed words almost entirely, and instead contained some of my imaging work, both from past years and the present.

This post, too, is not focused on words, or thoughts.  Well, at least not put forth as such. But upon as yet another "voice" of mine. The voice of music.

I gave up public performance as a musician many years ago. But my playing has continued. And in the last couple of years I have started again sharing some of that via a medium not even dreamed of during my youthful years: That of the self-posted, YouTube, video.

Here, then, are a few examples of such. Some entirely instrumental. Others of music with a vocal/lyric component as well.

* * * * *

First a couple of instrumental pieces. Ones that hearken back to my earliest days as a musician. During the days of "Surf" and what we guitarists of that period later came to call "pre-surf" music...

This first video is of a song that definitely qualifies as the prior.  Maybe the very first song I ever applied myself to learning.  The Ventures' 1959 hit "Walk Don't Run"

Here's another instrumental from that general period. But this one is truly "Surf" as shown by its very name: 1963's "Surf Rider."


And now something quite different.  First of because it is played, not on an electric guitar, but on an acoustic. And also because it is a vocal number.  My own arrangement for solo guitar and voice of Muddy Waters' great blues song "I Got My Mojo Working"...

And one more. Again a vocal number, but this time of an one of my own compositions. A song entitled "On and On (she keeps going)."

On this one I am 'backed up' by "The Black Box Band" -- an assortment of programmable electronic instrumental devices.

* * * * *

Put these three forms of communication together -- words, imaging and music -- and you pretty much have the whole of me. A reflection of most everything that goes on in my head.

Yes, and much that goes on in my life.

Especially now in retirement.  This is where my heart resides. My world. A largely peaceful place of beauty, thought and expression. The things that daily surround me -- along with a few very dear, carefully chosen, friends and my family.




Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Some Thoughts on Finding "Beauty"

We are surrounded by beauty.  Yes, just as we are surrounded by "goodness" and "love."

Why then do some of us see it?  Find it?  Experience it?

In truth there is no one, simple, answer to that question. Some places are less filled with beauty than others. Some lives less surrounded by goodness and love.

But that said, if we look about something else is to be observed:  And that is that what we each see is what we choose to see.

We as a rule find what, and only what, we are looking for.

We experience only what we allow ourselves to experience.

Like beauty, love and goodness can be seen -- or they can be passed over. -Left unseen. Ignored.

Choices over time, too, have an effect.  A beautiful home is generally the product of many months or years of planning and executing. A beautiful garden does not grow in a single season.  -It begins there, but that is only its beginning. Much work must follow.

Beautiful friendships, too, take time to create and grow. And this, too, takes labor.

I make it a daily goal to to create and post at least one share-worthy photograph a day. It pleases me when others take pleasure in viewing these.  But in truth the one who is best rewarded by the images is me -- and that is not in their posting, but in the creating.  In the seeing that follows the searching, and the work that follows that.

That assignment -- finding an image that is to me worth sharing -- forces me to look for the beauty that is all around me. To see, not just what is, but possibilities.  And then to extract those possibilities -- the things seen in my mind and imagination -- and make them real, clear, and focused. Obvious, hopefully, to even a casual looker on.

The real reward is in the looking. And in the work of creating. This is true for art, Yes. And for music. And for relationships. Indeed it is true for everything.

Seeing the possibilities is where the journey begins. Being satisfied with nothing less and working to create them is the road. All beyond that is merely the destination.

We either go there, or we do not.  That choice, too, is ours.

Yes beauty IS all around us. To be extracted from life. Squeezed out of it like juice from a piece of fruit. And very often only then is it available to be savored and enjoyed.

It can't be bought. It does not come pre-packaged.

Some may say "yeah, but you are lucky. I see your photos. You are surrounded by beauty. For you it is everywhere."

For such that think that way here is a little secret:  Even that very real beauty often has to be found, extracted, and created.  Yes, it is there, but often not obviously so.

Here, as an example, is my "sharable" photo from this morning. First what I shared, and next to it where it came from -- what the camera saw --  the actual photograph. The first -- the image I shared -- is what I sought and found within the later.

Both are in truth the same photo. The choice of what to see and what to share was mine. -To be extracted, modified, squeezed, made "other."

Just as with life itself.


Friday, June 9, 2017

WTF Just Happened in the UK?

Okay, I am no expert in UK politics. Far from it. But that never prevents the media from offering thoughts and opinions -- in their case as facts. So, what the hell -- I'll share a few.

Looking at the UK we see a similar pattern that we are seeing here in the USA. And that pattern represents the frustration of the citizens who may not follow every detail about the daily this-n-that -- and who may seem to be swinging every which way like a magnet that has forgotten how to point north. But the people there have basically come to see that they have been being led by people who themselves are completely lost.  What the people are experiencing is a continuing series of -- pardon my Gaelic -- WTF?s.

The PM thought she had things sown up. Enough to call for an early election to lock in her power. Then the latest examples of Islamic barbarism hit and it, for the moment at least, got the people's attention.

Here they -- the nations' voters -- had a supposedly "conservative"  government, led by a supposedly "conservative" Prime Minister, and yet they saw that even the most basic thing -- the safety of the nation -- was not be "conserved."  WTF?

The left pointed out that the PM, in her last major government assignment, had reduced the number of 'bobbies on the beat -- the perfect bleat! -- and effectively turned the people away from her.

Deservedly?  Who can say?

But in truth there was a "bobby" on the scene of the latest horror and he had in fact proved himself to be a heroic defender of public safety -- almost losing his life trying to bring down the miscreants. Alas, as is the case with most British policeman, he was unarmed.  (WTF2)

Adding to the public consternation is the fact that as it turns out the government knew the "bad guy" way before  he committed this particular horror -- he'd been photographed celebrating 'whatever' in a public park with an ISIS flag. And what exactly had the government done about it? Exactly nothing.  (WTF3)

So the votes in yesterday's election were cast willy-nilly -- no one getting enough support to authoritatively take charge.

In other words nothing is going to be done. Again. In other words two, nothing in fact has actually  changed -- except another do nothing pol has lost a bit of face.

So now the left -- claiming the very real failure of the PM to get the control she thought was hers (sound familiar?) was for them a great victory -- feel free to push their programs yet harder.  Programs the enlarge the, shall we say, "risk factors" the public will be in the future facing.  More "refugees." More restriction on what the British public can say about it. No restrictions that matter for those who have no belief in the fundamental principles that had once made Great Britain "great."

What they do not have there -- much to their loss -- is what we have here. A "don't give a damn for your freakin' niceties" leader intent on "Making Great Britain Great Again."

No, but they do have the same circus we have. -A media ready to scream bloody murder at everyone. (Well, apart from actual bloody murderers.)

Where is their Trump when they need him?

So I'll say it one more time...



Sunday, June 4, 2017

The Simple Non-Formula for a Safe, Peaceful and Prosperous Community

Since I was a teen I have been reading and hearing that the answer to our having safe, peaceful, prosperous communities was x, y, z and z+. And I've watched society as a whole strain to fulfill those supposed requirements.. And all the while things have been getting less safe, less peaceful and less prosperous. "No! No! You have to do it more. You have to do it better! You have failed." -So say those same people in voices ever more scolding.

Since I have been a full adult -- which has meant no longer having to listen to such "teachers" -- I have found that such safe, peaceful and prosperous communities already exist. And while what they have in common often includes at least a bit of x, y, z and z+, their success in reaching the goals of safety, peace and prosperity has largely depended on other, less complicated and formulaic, things.

Basically these:

Most everyone living in the community pays for their own housing.

Most everyone lives in a close and caring family. Moms, dads and kids.

Children and young adults exercise their minds, study their lessons, go as far through formal schooling as their abilities allow, all the while looking to do other things as well. Music. Sports. The arts. Church and/or community activities.

Moms love and teach their children.
Dads counsel, discipline and teach their children.
Moms and dads stay together -- often in deep and abiding love, in other cases "for the kids."

Babies come after marriage.

And that's about it. Nothing complex. Nothing out of reach of most anyone who aspires towards such things.

And it works. No excuses. No "if onlys."

The funny thing is that it always has. Generation after generation.

Now, why couldn't I have been taught that? Why did I need to discover it for myself?

Those questions aren't hard to answer either. But the answers make a lot of people very, very angry. So largely I just live all the above -- along side others that choose to do the same.. And let the losing battles be fought elsewhere.


Saturday, June 3, 2017

Trump vs. the Plutocrats

In turning away from the Paris Climate Accord Trump once again shows that he sees things that others either cannot, or will not, see: The pivot point in the central issue of our time -- the ongoing war between the interests of the 'common' people and those of the plutocrats. That is the reason why the attack on Trump for his stand on America's withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord has become a shrill and all-encompassing pile on. Trump knows where the fulcrum point is. He is skillfully applying pressure there. And, as usual, he is explaining what he is doing in words that the work-a-day crowd understands, and the elites do not. It is the continuation of what started in the Republican primaries and November election. A series of one "inexplicable" victory after another, accompanied by the confusion and anger of those who thought -- not without seemingly good reason -- that they held, and would continue to hold, complete control over the world of men. Idiot comedian Kathy Griffin so well represents this. She, like the coastal (and, now, international) elites, saw herself standing on the top of the world, smugly holding a fake severed head aloft. And then -- a mere nano-second later -- standing with her attorneys. Giving faux apologies. Making excuses. In tears. Thank you President Trump.
Posted on American Thinker, June 6, 2017

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Locals Vote "No"

I am, admittedly, surprised and pleased that my neighbors voted down a  'sanctuary city' proposal in yesterday's local election. This after much intense public debate.

But perhaps I should not feel surprised, because a town like Peterborough does not become what it is -- a true example of what an American community should be -- open, tolerant, caring, but also responsible and independent in spirit -- by mere chance.

No -- it has taken much wisdom, hard work, and keen thinking to make the town what is, and, equally, to preserve it as such.

The "sanctuary city" idea sounds fine, at least to some good hearted people. But things like kindness, generosity of spirit and even simple "goodness" are like delicate flowers. -Things that bloom, grow and prosper only when there is peace and joy and, yes, a measure of prosperity.

Peterborough has all those things. And (I am sorry to say -- but equally important), it has no "Section 8" housing. Anyone is welcome in Peterborough, but so far every taker of that "offer" has had to be a person who has been striving to make their own way, and with proven habits that they can succeed in doing so.

Peterborough is not 'hoity toity' -- not in the least -- but it is not an inexpensive place to live. You will find no subsidized -- i.e., paid for by others -- housing here. Thus most kids here have two parents. Most people here work, and not just at their "day job," but at life.

The "sanctuary city" proposal was pushed by an activist who also was running for town office. (She lost) And along with her desire to make our town a sanctuary for those here illegally was an expressed (some would say "harped upon") desire to see the town's property codes rewritten. That, to use her own words, "instead of asking people who have already made it" there should be "outreach to the people who are... struggling."

Nice sentiments for the sophomore class lyceum, perhaps. But an open-minded and clear look at where such would actually lead as to the community's quality of life regarding such things as peace, safety (the town has almost no crime), continued prosperity and such must be rejected. It simply must.

And this, apparently, even the "artists" realized.

Dreamers they may be, but they are dreamers who live in the real world. -A world that headlines show to be rapidly disappearing. One where a person is judged, and then accepted, by their actual doings. Yes, and demonstrated character. Not by slogans about "equality," "fairness" and rejecting "hate."

Thank you townspeople. Yesterday you demonstrated once again just why I love it here so.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Life Among the "Children"

I start every morning with two things:  Spending some time with my various 'arts' and catching up with the fast-increasing, world-wide, insanity of the day.

That the first of these is a source of total, spirit-lifting, joy and the second not too different from time under a dentist's drill, is itself revealing. Why can't looking at world news be as uplifting to the spirit as are the arts?

Maybe because one is personal -- and thus liberating. The other controlled.

Some, of course, lets their "arts," too, be controlled. Yes, and their entertainment.  And thus that too is for them "ugly."  The psychology of that is interesting, but frankly far from my focus.

Yet both of my morning "starters" are equally neccasary.  The first to assure my own mental health and joy in living. The second to, hopefully, help do the same for the future of our species.

Human social passion and anger are not without purpose.  Such are much like our instinctual response to pain. We pull back and cry out. Something far better that putting our hand into a fire and then thoughtfully questioning "what's that odd and unpleasant smell?"

Children cry instinctually. It is their way of getting others to care for their needs before they are capable of caring for such themselves. But when children are effectually parented such ends.. -That because they, the "child," has learned to care for his or herself and, equally, because such have learned that they must.

It is from such growth and learning that adulthood comes.

It is the lack of that -- be it on the part of a small child who can do no other, or the "spoiled" child that has not been taught to be other -- that makes time spent in some households less than a delight.

Well, to me anyway. Some I suppose must like it.  Or think that the discomfort such causes is "just the way things are" -Something one must tolerate. Or simply ignore. Or flee from to the TV. Or out of the house. Or to the bottle..

That is why I read. And it is in part the reason why I write. -Because I believe in humanity. Adult humanity. Thoughtful humanity.

The command "go forth and multiply" isn't really about producing "kids."  It is about producing adults.

Following that command -- that of producing the next generation of adults -- is, though, getting harder to do.  Society does not encourage it.  As is, I suppose, the taking on of parenting at all when all one has largely seen are ill-disciplined children.

So people -- more and more people -- just run and hide. Look to a life of play. Something that makes them, too, in a sense "children."

Am I free from that temptation?

No.  And that is in part why I live where I do.  In one of the seemingly few remaining parts of the nation (and, perhaps, the Western World) where the old values still hold. Where men and woman are just that -- where childhood is left behind.

Why anyone would choose to live among children past the age of sixteen I cannot imagine.  Tantrums then are so unnatural. So ugly.

But, again, I look at what today passes for "art" and entertainment.  And I flee that as well.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Bringing the Classroom to Order

I read with interest the many articles, columns and social media comments over the last several days that spoke with great regret, or in other cases unmitigated joy, about the "failure" of President Trump to quickly and easily nix Obamacare.  I personally saw and see this entire affair rather differently -- and for several reasons.

The first is how the unfolding of things illustrated how silly have been the charges and fears that Donald Trump is some sort of Attila the Hun -- a man looking to seize power and do away with our nation's democratic and republican ideals.  For in fact he demonstrated just the opposite qualities. -Flexibility and willingness to work with congress -- and a demonstrated understanding of where the responsibilities of the executive branch leave off and those of the legislative branch begin.  -Something the nation had almost forgotten about under the sorry reign of King Barack.

Secondly we saw -- and what a refreshing change! -- a president who once again saw himself as a representative of the people who elected him, not of a political party.  "Winning" for the Republican Party was not key. Standing by what he promised the people was.  (That the media somehow did not/do not see this -- or, as likely, do but wish to squelch it -- has been rather amazing.)

And by doing both the above something else was lit up in bright lights: The degree that the president's own amazing words at his inauguration are really true -- that we "are not merely transferring power from one administration to another or from one party to another, but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the people."

The Democrats to a man refused to support undoing Obamacare -- this despite almost universal recognition that it has hurt the American people, and hurt them badly. That it was built on falsehoods and outright lies.

The Republican party, on the other hand, demonstrated how empty their party promises have been. That after nearly eight years of complaining and fault finding they were not prepared to act on the people's behalf, only to talk and squabble among themselves.

Political pressure -- greatly added to by the snipping and sneering of the media and the various party elites -- did not deflect the president an iota. He was willing to bend, but not fold, on what he understood the people needed and/or from what he himself promised.

Instead he swallowed his pride -- something his critics told us he would never do -- and simply walked away.

Legislation responsibilities belong to the legislature. President Trump has placed it back in 'their court' -- just where such should be.

No, the story does not end here.  In a sense it just begins. And that is exactly as it should be.

If we blot out the noise and stand just a bit above the fray of the moment something becomes very clear:  We have a man -- a true leader -- standing above the boys. We will now see him, step-by-step, take control of the unruly classroom and bring it to order. And that for all our sake.

This piece appeared on American Thinker

Friday, March 10, 2017

They Do. I Do.

Yahoo News has headlined a story "Starbucks CEO's refugee comments sour customer views of chain." This is the third similarly themed article I have seen in recent days. The other two concern the cereal make Kellogg's and its sub companies including Keebler cookies and the Target chain of stores -- both of which, also, have seen huge losses in sales attributed in part to having taken strong stands on politically sensitive subjects of importance to many of the American people.

Personally I do not generally let another person's political POV affect my business dealings with them. No more than I do the private views of a performing artist.

But if a company itself chooses to make a public issue of a political stand that I personally find repugnant that changes things for me. -I.e., if they choose to make something an issue then I go along with their decision and do allow it to influence my shopping habits. Completely.

Starbucks has taken such a stand several times. Not quietly, but boldly. Even going as far as encouraging their shop personnel to start discussions with patrons and encourage such to share the company's internationalist perspective. No thank you Starbucks. I just wanted a cup of coffee.

If I am offered Starbucks coffee I am willing to drink it. (I much prefer Peet's) But I do not generally choose to go any longer into a Starbucks shop.

Target made a big thing a while back about their toilets and changing rooms being open to anyone based solely on their personal gender choice. Now if their concern for gender confused people moved them to make their facilities totally private so that any and all could feel comfortable using them that would to me be a fine thing. But when the company publicly stated that women who were not comfortable with physical males sharing the facilities were somehow morally deficient -- well that crossed a line in my eyes. Offensively so. I therefore choose to do my shopping elsewhere.

Kellogg's cereal went even further. When then candidate Donald Trump invited Breitbart dot com's editor, Stephen Bannon, to work for him, Kellogg's very publicly stated that they would no longer advertise on Breitbart dot com because such did not "reflect their values."

Okay. That, too, is their right. But Bannon and Breitbart and Donald Trump do largely reflect my personal values. If such offends Kellogg's then my business goes elsewhere. Bye-bye Kellogg's Shredded Wheat. Bye-bye Keebler Pecan Sandies cookies.

Frankly I think a business taking such a public stand on a private issue is stupid. But they have the right to do such, and be such. And I can only respect their expressing that right by myself acting in accordance with it.

Roughly 50% of the American people think roughly as I do. Why a company would want to turn such away is beyond me. But again... That's their right.

So bye-bye Kellogg's. Bye-bye Target. Bye-bye Starbucks.

To me it is as simple -- and as firm -- as that.


Sunday, February 19, 2017

Sea Legs -- Who Has Them?

Sometimes one wishes one could look into another person's brain. Well, not "brain" exactly. More their thought processes. Or, even, said more frankly, what in hell they are thinking.
Here in America -- and apparently also in Western Europe -- there is a growing divide. Some -- and yes, this includes me and, according to a few recent polls, a growing plurality (if not yet an actual majority) -- see a righting of the long listing ship that is the social structure. People -- normal, everyday, thinking feeling, living souls -- are beginning to be able to walk upright again. The deck of our shared ship is for the first time in years approaching at least some measure of level. No, not there yet, but seen as coming. Others are feeling the need to hold onto something -- anything! -- for dear life. They feel as if they are about to slip off the deck into a cold and inhospitably sea. What's with that? The answer is, yes, in the mind. In our our thought processes. In, as above, 'what the hell we, and they, are thinking.' It was the mainstream media the coined the phrase "fake news." Bet they now wish they hadn't! -That because once one realizes that news can indeed be "fake" (who knew?) one opens one's eyes and starts looking. And that we have. And, yes, we are seeing. Our new president has many gifts. Reading the moment being one of them. When others, as I do here, ask "what are people thinking?" he intuitively just knows. And then, knowing, he can frame his words and actions to that minute's need. Some -- including theoretical thinkers and doers on both the left and the right -- saw, and even now see, this rare gift as a fault. But it is hardly that. No more than it is a "fault" when a skilled seaman can intuitively compensate for the next motion of the ship's deck -- keeping his footing and continuing normal forward motion using what to someone looking on appears to be an unnatural gate. Such a gate on a ship in port might indeed be just that -- unnatural. But on a ship in a roiling sea being able to do that is a total advantage. And we -- our societies and people -- are today on such a sea. Pity those who don't know it. Who believe that our ship is in fact in a safe and still harbor. Who think that the motion they sense is simply other people moving, when they themselves are stable and still. And so they stand there, not "seeing," In denial. And think that the skilled seaman with his odd step is... what? Drunk? Crazy? I think that is exactly the error that is effecting some people's thought processes. It is a view into their brains. Those, especially, whose hair has been blown dry -- and then lacquered there -- the so-called "talking heads" on TV -- those who look -- and indeed are -- totally out of place on today's storm tossed seas. -They, sitting in front of a blue screen, with an artificial view of the world inserted behind them. Oh, how glad we should be that we have a captain who can read the waves. And steer us on our course. He who to them -- holding on to whatever they can grab, in fear -- or staying in their bunks -- is seen as the one who is unstable. And that is what is happening today. -Going on in people's minds. May they, too, some time find peace and rest. But now now. Not until a true safe harbor can be reached. Meanwhile lets be thankful for our captain as we struggle to get sea legs ourselves and follow him.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Donald Trump -- "My Man"?

I've been enjoying a private conversation that this morning sort of reached a critical point -- a point I thought worth sharing.

The friend -- and he is a friend, a person whom I respect. One who has made many choices different from my own and come to some rather different conclusions about what is good for the human family and where its future better lies. Anyway, the friend, who says he in fact agrees with many of my observations about mankind's common plight, still... well I'll just quote him...

     "I agree with much of what you say but think it ludicrous that you believe DT is your man."

To which I offered this (very slightly edited here) response...

"I don't think in terms of Donald Trump being "my man."  But I do see him as being two things: The single voice who was able to see what was important to the many -- that the no-borders Davos crowd was swamping their hopes and dreams.  And who has what to me are unfathomable skills -- and the balls! -- to fight against all the entrenched powers.

That such should not be needed is I think for both of us a given.

But... have you ever been bullied?

Think of the peaceful studious or arty kid being constantly ridden by the jocks.  Then imagine that the "authorities" no longer care about protecting such. -That all the rules are there to allow the bullies to hold sway -- that while hiding behind nice words.

Then another tough street fighter appears. And he for whatever reason stands with and for the bullied and not the bullies.

That is what so many movies of the `70s were about. Dirty Harry. The Charles Bronson films.

One watches those films and roots for Dirty Harry. Did you never do so?

Why?  Because he is "nice"? "Sweet"?  "Innocent"?

No. Because the bullied *finally* have one of their own.


And, no, they don't disown him and turn against him when he shows he is what he is. A rude, crude, tough street fighter.

You have been in with the bullies.  Maybe not even realizing it.  So are many, many of the Upper West Side set that thrive on The New Yorker.

Their kids don't go to the public schools.
Their building have a door man.
They travel in closed in, safe, protected and quiet limousines.
Their wealth comes from the upper reaches that rewards... what?  Think about it.
And it is all  comfortably hidden under polite conversation. Even their wrinkles are hidden by hours and fortunes spent to that end.

Live among such and you'd better agree with them on everything. They tolerate no brooking of accepted thought.  And their tongues are sharp.

And then there is Donald Trump. The Queens ruffian. He who for years and years beat those people over and over and over again at their own game.

And now he is fighting for the people.

And yes, he really is.

Why? Pure motive?

I actually think so, yes. To the extent that anyone does. He made his fortune and now wants to be something more.

But does it really matter?  The point is he is doing it."

And yes, to me that is the point.  He is DOING IT.