Friday, December 1, 2017

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

     When I say "Merry Christmas" which I find myself doing a lot of this time of year, I mean it as a sharing of the overabundance of joy I find in the season. I am a Christian. This season marks the birth of my Savior, Jesus Christ. I am aware that all around me are people from different races and cultures. I am aware what their diversity adds to the great American melting pot. I do not wish for them to not celebrate whatever Holy season they celebrate. If they are Jewish, I certainly hope their Hanukkah is blessed. If they are Muslim, I hope Ramadan brings them wisdom and peace. If they are atheist, I wish them comfort. But I say "Merry Christmas" because that is where my joy arises from.That is the part of the melting pot that I add. My silly hat and off tone singing, My Christmas lights and sleigh bells ringing. I read Dickens every year and usually find something new to take away from the story of Scrooge. I vow to keep a Merry Christmas, not to forge my chains of greed nor hate. I will try to embrace and enhance the joy of those around me in the hopes that seeds of decency are planted and the fruits enjoyed the year round. 
  So I am asking each of you to go forth on your snow whitened streets or your sunny and warm path and smile at your neighbors, wish them joy, comfort, peace and prosperity. That is my wish for each of you as well as having a truly Merry Christmas.


Saturday, November 11, 2017

Ever hopeful for finishing the job at hand.

The lesson I learned from the Washington Monument

   I have driven past the iconic Washington Monument numerous times. I have been up inside, walked it grounds during kite festivals and cherry blossom festivals alike. It like no other monument epitomizes what is wrong and what is right with Washington D.C.
  When L'Enfant laid out the design for DC, he left a spot for a memorial to the founder of America, George Washington. In 1848, construction began on a six hundred foot tall Egyptian style obelisk that would be surrounded by thirty 100 ft columns. Funding and construction proved difficult. It became so difficult that all construction stopped by 1854 leaving a 154 ft tall stump. Now why would funding stop on something so important? Straight from the National Parks' web page: "In 1853, a new group aligned with the controversial Know-Nothing Party gained control of the Washington National Monument Society in the Society's periodic board election. Having always struggled to gather funding, the Society's change in administration alienated donors and drove the Society to bankruptcy by 1854"
   Stop me if this sounds familiar to you. A group of "Know-Nothings" getting in the way of respecting the founding fathers. Fortunately after over two decades of the nation's capitol living in the shadow of this monument to obstructionism, Congress stepped up on July 5, 1876 and resumed construction of the obelisk. What they found when trying to make it whole and right was that certain opportunities had passed. The Baltimore stone quarry for the first 156ft was no longer available. Stone was brought in from Massachusetts but, the color was not a good match and so they ended with a second Baltimore quarry. When you look at the monument you can see the three stripes of stone.
   Does having three different stones diminish the monument? Not to me. I see it as a monument to the inevitability of rational thought over "Know-Nothings" The stripes remind me daily that even after decades of inaction, Washington has the ability to make itself whole and right again.

Monday, October 2, 2017

The passing of a music hero, Tom Petty

   From the first time I heard "Breakdown"  way back in the late 70's I was a fan of this guy. He was a snarling punk who had a voice full of attitude. The album was self titled: "Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers" That album was so well received they had 3 charted hits including their first #1 with "Breakdown" 
   Sophomore jinx? Not here "Your going to get it" followed up with "I need to know" and "Listen to her heart" Ever the hero for the little guy and the strong willed girl. The writing kept improving and the touring paid off with the 1979 release of triple platinum "Damn the Torpedoes"  This album has three songs you know even if you think you don't know Tom Petty. "Don't Do me Like That", "Refugee" and "Here Comes My Girl" This album saw him take over his own publishing rights and receive widespread critical and monetary success. Ariel Swartley from"Rolling Stone" reviewed it claiming it was the  "album we've all been waiting for – that is, if we were all Tom Petty fans, which we would be if there were any justice in the world." 
 The songs kept coming and the band carved out a niche for itself making a sound no one else could make. I heard Tom talking about it on his Sirius station a year or so ago. He laughingly stated that neither he, nor any of the band members sounded like that on any of the solo projects. It was something they made together and that is why it was so special.
   The Albums came fast with hard tours following. "Hard Promises",followed by a collaboration with Stevie Nicks on "Stop Dragging my Heart Around" then "Long After Dark", "Southern Accents" followed one of my personal favorites "Let Me Up I've Had Enough" touring so hard took a toll on all of the members and the 90s saw the firing of the drummer Stan Lynch being replaced briefly by Dave Grohl. Yes music fans, THAT Dave Grohl. 
More albums, more fame, more tours followed in a near endless stream of albums with his group, solo recordings, guest spots and endless cities on tour. It seemed he couldn't share enough of who he was with the rest of us and it all seemed to hit a chord with his faithful audience.
    But this post isn't about "The Heartbreakers" it is about the heartbreak. Sometimes people enter our lives unexpectedly either in person or as celebrity. Some do good some do harm some like Tom just did his thing. I can't for a moment begin to suggest his lifestyle as an option but I can say this without question. Tom Petty knew who he was. I would like to think he liked what he did and that simple joy of being made him a hero of mine throughout the years.
 Thank you Tom, thanks for the memories, for the smiles every time I hear the words "Hello CD listeners" Thanks for the music and the way you made it. Rest In peace.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Monuments Matter

Monuments Matter


   I would like to share a personal story of how a rather obviously controversial monument made a difference for me. Being a bit of a Civil War fan, I have spent some time in and around Fredericksburg, VAThere is a sandstone blocks in old town, at the intersection of Charles and William streets it is a rather odd piece of stone. I had never given much thought to that stone or the area in general. Then on May 6, 2005 I read a paper saying the stone had been vandalized. 
that article is here:Slave Block Vandalized
   I had been on that intersection many times, even rested on that stone and not been aware of its past.After reading the story, I immediately felt dirty for having touched it. I clearly knew that Fredericksburg was part of the South, that the area had clearly held slaves and it follows that being a regional hub it would have been a natural place to have auctions. But, having been in the proximity of that stone made that more real and more "today" for me than anything I can imagine. That stone was a reminder of a stain on  America. It became my stain as I had leaned against it in such a cavalier fashion. I knew that those other souls that had been that close to it felt no comfort, no respite from their struggle by being there. They were sold as cattle to the highest bidder.
   We are erasing monuments and reminders to our history. In doing so, we lose opportunities for people to have these epiphany moments. America needs more connections to our past, not fewer. I find that when I am in Fredericksburg now, I avoid the square, choosing to walk around it instead of through it. That is a powerful reminder and a needed one. When we are ignorant of our past, we risk repeating it.
   If you hate a monument, perhaps that is the best reason to keep it. Let others feel that same visceral gut punch. Let others remember our shared past lest we chance to repeat it.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Tim Kaine said WHAT?

Tim Kaine continues to make stupid choices

The above link is the 08/20/2017 Breitbart story by Pam Key.

   I am shocked and dismayed. Even from a politician who has made as many bad choices as Kaine, this is a Duesey. Tim Kaine is now on record wanting to take down a statue of General Lee in an area that makes tourism dollars from history buffs and replacing it with a statue of Pocahontas.
    Pocahontas was a girl, 9 or 10 yrs old, kidnapped from her family like a scene from Boko Haram's playbook. This poor child was repeatedly raped and eventually impregnated by her captors. As a token symbol of an alliance,  John Rolfe married the child, still not 18 and converted her to Christianity and changed her name to Rebecca.  Despite her use to Rolfe, she was never allowed to see her family again. Rolfe got what he wanted in the bargain and was taught how to cure tobacco by her tribe.
   Because the cured tobacco was so valuable, her native nations lands were stolen and the tribe suffered greatly at the hands of the invading Europeans.So what happened to our poor child after the kidnapping, rape, and forced marriage? She was made into an English side show to keep money flowing to those conquering the  colonies. Once she realized she was being used to continue the persecution of her people it is widely believed she was murdered for speaking out. 
    Now Timmy, that is certainly a history to be proud of. Raise that monument to your personal ignorance and lack of sensitivity.
This image aside, the girl was 10 this was not a Disney moment folks she never got this old.
<updated to remove typos, I was a bit angry writing this>

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Natalia Veselnitskaya

This is a story Hollywood would pass on as unbelievable. Yet, it appears to have
   Polling is a fairly accurate science when done by professionals and examined by the same for error. So despite the "News" polls showing Hillary comfortably ahead, the Obama administration knew this was going to be close. We may never know who started what but, when Natalia Veselnitskaya applied for entry on an expired visa, the deep state saw an opportunity. Ms. Veselnitskaya was allowed an extraordinary circumstances entry to the USA by the Obama Justice Dept.
   We have seen Donald Trump Jr.'s emails he went there looking for dirt on Hillary. That motive was clear. What we were lacking was the motive for Ms. Veselnitskaya. That now appears to be her appearance before a House Foreign Affairs Committee meeting regarding the Magnitsky Act, a pet project of hers for years. She also attended a movie regarding the Russian viewpoint of the Magnitsky Act with at least five house staffers and State Department officials. This was then the motive for her to be willing to collude with Pro-Hillary forces to help smear Trump enough to get a FISA warrant allowing Obama and his minions to bug Trump Tower.
     What I still can't put into place is how John McCain, who ran a honorable and clean campaign, is seemingly one of the men behind the fake dossier on Trump that was shopped around and helped add temporary credibility for the wire tap. FusionGPS has history with Planned parenthood and Ms. Veselnitskaya so they fit into the puzzle neatly. McCain, not so much. I hear he has accepted donations from Soros but I have a hard time thinking he would sell out his nation. I'd like to think better of him.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Thoughts on immigration

Why a travel ban?

   Conservatives often get flagged as anti immigration on good days and racist xenophobes on most others. The reality is that every conservative can trace their ancestry to other nations. We are no different than any other Americans in that. We do however believe in legal immigration not open borders. This nation was always a beacon of freedom for oppressed and eager people from around the world and it always should be. One thing about those who came years ago was their desire to embrace America. They wanted to be free. They wanted the opportunity to make their way in this new world. They wanted the American dream.
   Edouard de Laboulaye, a French intellectual, set out to create a work to celebrate the American centennial and the recent abolishment of slavery after the civil war. He rased money and then turned to a young Auguste Bartholdi who created Lady Liberty. It is important to remember the words she uses to welcome those to our shores:

“The New Colossus" by Emma Lazarus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

   Leave what imprisoned and lorded over you behind, come here to seek freedom from all that kept you from being the free souls your Creator desires for you.Those are the souls that create Americans. Sadly those are not the souls that we rally against today. We have people who want not only to bring the oppression of their life with them but to rise up and usurp the freedom that we know and replace it with all the horrors and atrocities that this nation was created to stand against. The degradation and physical mutilation of women, the calls for ignoring the law of the land and replacing it with sharia law is at odds with the very basis for this nation. We are a free people. We agree on few things even back in the days the Constitution was penned but, we agree on our Bill of Rights. We cannot allow any citizen any soul living on our soil to be denied these God given rights or we stop being a nation and deserve to fail. 
     So I say to potential immigrants everywhere, Come, come seeking freedom. Come to breathe the rarefied air of freedom. But when you come, bring your yearning to be free and leave your storied pomp, your laws and habits of oppression behind you and make your way forward as Americans.