Thinkerfromiowa's Blog

Conversation about a variety of subjects

“The Devil Made Me Do It”

“The Devil Made Me Do It”

Hello, everyone.

Back in the early 70s, Black comedian Flip Wilson made the phrase “the devil made me do it” a byword in this country.  If anyone needed an alibi for something he said or something he did, he had the perfect one in Wilson’s phrase.  Only God knows how much and for what the devil received the blame.

This phrase crossed my mind the other day, thanks to a Facebook comment I received.  Here is the last sentence of the e-mail:  “With this message I am unfriending you on FaceBook and hope to never hear another word from you again.”

What prompted this outburst?  Did I say anything unkind to him?  Did I smear his family or his reputation?  Did I try to start a flame war with him?  No.  My sin was that in a couple of comments and statuses, I expressed unhappiness with Amtrak and a dissatisfaction with Barak Obama and the job he was doing.

Or consider this.  Back from February, 1972, until June, 1974, I taught at a private Christian boarding high school in Iowa.  Around 2 ½ years ago, I got reconnected with a former student of mine on Facebook.  I liked this girl very much and we were fairly close at the school.  She seemed quite happy that we got reconnected, and we used to do long back-and-forths on Facebook.  But now she has nothing to do with me.  My sin?  I am not a Barak Obama worshiper.  Indeed, we had a rather acrimonious exchange on FB the other day.

This has really eaten at me for the past few days.  No one wants to lose a friend or family member?  What happened to these people?

The answer is not all that difficult.  In September of last year, I took a month-long trip on Amtrak around the country.  I had experiences and saw things that changed my life and my thinking completely.   And I no longer bought the Liberal bill of goods.

I will contrast this with a couple of my cousins.  They are both fine women with fine families.  And they are all Conservatives.  Before my epiphany last September, I was a firebrand Liberal.  I devoured the Crooks & Liars and Daily Kos websites and flooded Facebook with statuses where I posted articles from the sites.  While I was enjoying the friendship of my former student, I was hurting a lot of people who were dear to me.  But my trip saved those relationships, and now I have a relationship with a dear cousin in Texas that I would never allow anything to harm.

Consider both situations – the people who want nothing to do with me because I am not an Obama worshiper, and the people whom I hurt deeply, but still love and accept me because I am family.  Were they acts of free will?  Or to quote Flip Wilson, did “the devil make them do it”?  I would say yes.

To be sure, there are reactions that we have no control over.  Someone who has been in combat will react to sounds like a balloon popping, a car backfiring, or Fourth of July fireworks.  He is reacting out of his experiences.  Some reactions are inborn and we cannot control them.  While some boys carry insects and worms in their pockets, I loathed and detested them and wanted nothing to do with them, and I still feel that way.  People hate alcohol because they know of the harm that it can do to people and families.  And still others hate loud noises and react accordingly.  I was that way as a child, and I still am.

But there are other reactions that we CAN control.  Those are the ones that “the devil makes us do.”  My cousins could have disowned me, and now I wouldn’t have blamed them if they had.  But my cousin Nikki in particular has been most gracious.  She has never held all of my “before” actions against me, so far as I know, and she has welcomed me into her home, and even introduced me to some wonderful people who accept me, warts and all.  This was an act of will on her part and “the devil” – in her case, God – “made” her do it.

As for the Obama worshipers who no longer want anything to do with me, that also is an act of will, and “the devil” is making them do it.  One of the lubricants that make the machine of human relationships run smoothly is that of agreeing to disagree.  This concept does not declare that someone is right and the other person is wrong; it simply means that two people can disagree on a particular point, but that that disagreement is not great enough to rupture the relationship.  Or it means that the relationship is so important to the two people involved that no disagreement or anything else is going to be allowed to destroy that relationship.

In my exchange with my former student yesterday, a couple of times I made the statement that Barak Obama is not worth destroying a friendship over.  She never responded to that, either time.  Thus, I am beginning to deal with the fact that the relationship and friendship are both gone.  If so, that is an act of will on her part, and she is to be pitied because her world does not allow any dissention from the party line.  All of us are like that, to a degree, but most of us think that there are other things that matter more, and we are able to exercise our will to not let something that is important to us be damaged or destroyed by inconsequentials.

So yes, “the devil made me do it.”  And that can work for both good and bad.

Have yourselves a great day today.

Bill

 

July 23, 2015 Posted by | Life, Miscellaneous, Politics, Religion | | Leave a comment

I Have Returned

I Have Returned

Hello, everyone.

In the course of my statuses on Facebook, I have shared about my attempts to have dialog with atheists, only to discover that they were incapable of sensible, rational, civil discourse.  I thought that I could throw out my belief in a supreme God and be just like them.  I found out just how wrong I was.

This morning, I read a tremendous article on my FB wall that was so tremendous, and described me so fully, that I archived that article and felt moved to do this diary.  Here is the URL to the article:

https://jamesbishopblog.wordpress.com/2015/05/30/former-atheist-a-n-wilson-returns-to-christianity/

Reading that article brought back to mind a song that I heard Kenneth Copeland sing many times.  It was the song “I Have Returned” by Marijohn Wilkin back in the early 70s.  Here is the URL for the song:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i4H4AL2NHVU

I have no idea what inspired Marijohn to write the song, but I think that it is possible that she passed through some dark night of the soul when she lost faith in everything, including faith itself.  But in any event, she recovered her faith and felt led to share her experience through her song.  Thank you VERY MUCH, Marijohn Wilkin.  More people have traveled your road than you realize.

This was actually my second such trip.  Back in the 80s, I made my first trip down this road when my first wife died.  At the time, I was filling my brain with stuff from Trinity Broadcasting Network, and that network drove me from my belief in God.  I was angry with God for taking my first wife, at the very same time that TBN was teaching me that I could have whatever I wanted, thanks to “Jesus.”  They quoted “Jesus’s” promises to give us whatever we ask for, with no conditions, no qualifiers, no if’s, and’s, or but’s.  I could not reconcile those verses, or TBN’s teachings, with my life experiences and my loss of my beloved wife.  That stupid network was destroying me.

But one night, on “The John Ankerberg Show,” I watched a man named Dave Hunt explaining how many Charismatic ministries had become corrupt through what was known at that time as “the New Age Movement, and he mentioned TBN specifically.  He had just written a book titled “The Seduction of Christianity,” and Ankenberg had him on to discuss his research.  Not long after that, Jimmy Swaggart had Hunt on a daily Bible study program that he had on TBN.  I of course ordered the book and marked it up royally with underlines and notes.  As a result, Dave Hunt showed me that I was blaming the wrong person.  God wasn’t at fault; the REAL problem was with TBN and the preposterous stuff that they were broadcasting.

My heart was so deeply touched and renewed, that I recalled Kenneth Copeland singing Marijohn’s song and saw how my experience paralleled that of Marijohn’s, and I typed up the lyrics the best that I could recall.  I went back home every year to visit my mother.  She attended the local Open Bible Church, and I would visit and play the piano for them.  One time, I sang “I Have Returned” for them, and ever since, I had to sing the song whenever I visited them when I was home.

That was then.  What about now?  Back in February, for no known reason other than cussed cockiness, I decided that I would try to engage atheists in discussion.  But they were incapable of intelligent, logical, civil discussion.  All they were capable of was beating up on and bullying me.  I pondered this behavior for several weeks, and then I came to the conclusion that they were not capable of civil behavior or friendly discussion because they had no belief in a Supreme Being.  They believed, and acted like, they were above obeying any set of rules.  I made this statement in a forum, and I won’t begin to describe the behavior that then ensued.  That was when I returned to being an unabashed worshiper of God.  I do not believe in “Jesus hrist” for a variety of reasons, but I DO believe in God, which makes me either a Deist, a Unitarian, or possibly both.

As I said, I pondered the uncivilized behaviors of the atheists, and I became totally convinced that it is impossible to behave in a civil manner, or to think in a logical manner, without a belief in a Supreme Being.  This Being, or “God,” if you will, gives us rules by which we are expected to conduct ourselves in thought, word, and deed.  When I joined the Masonic Lodge 50 years ago, I learned as an Entered apprentice and as a Fellowcraft how to conduct myself as a Mason and as a man.  Conducting ourselves in due form was demanded in the lodge, and thus it became a philosophy that I applied to my life – and is still a philosophy that I follow.

So do I regret my attempts of February and March?  Not in the least!  My efforts helped me to regain my sanity.  They also helped me to love and appreciate the good people I have in my life.  Would I do it again?  No, I wouldn’t, knowing what I know now.  I would far rather spend my time in conversation with my good people.  They all have functioning brains.

I have returned!  Thank God!!!

You all have a great day today.

Bill

 

 

July 7, 2015 Posted by | Life, Miscellaneous, Religion | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Love Thy Family

Love Thy Family

Hello, everyone.

I know I don’t blog as much as I should.  But when I started this blog, I determined that I would never blog for the sake of blogging.  I would instead blog when I feel that I have something to say.  And I DO have something to say in this diary.

I have always been up front with the fact that I have absolutely no use for the creature known as “Jesus Christ.”  One reason is the lies that he spoke or had attributed to him in Matthew 7:7-8, Luke 11:9-10, and in assorted other verses in the Gospels.  Those verses deal with the idea of asking “Jesus” for things and receiving them, no conditions, no qualifications, no ifs, ands, or buts.  But there is another reason why I feel contempt for “Jesus” and that is what I want to talk about.

The basic human organization is the family.  God himself said during the creation that it is not good for man to be alone.  Indeed, I believe that God built into us the craving and desire for companionship.  We can achieve that companionship in many ways – on Facebook, on athletic teams, in lodges like the Masons and the Elks, in clubs like book clubs or photography clubs, and so on.  But the primary organ for satisfying that need to belong and be with others is the family.

And “Jesus” had some rather sick ideas about the family.  For instance, in   Matt 10:34-37 he said:

 34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.  35 For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’;  36 and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’*   37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.

And in Luke 14:26, he says:

6 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.

In Matthew 12:46-50, there is an account of “Jesus” renouncing his own family.   This is also recounted in Mark 3:31-35 and Luke 8:19-21.  So out of his mouth, “Jesus” expressed some attitudes about the concept of “family” that were not healthy at best, and absolutely sick at worst.

I mention all this to set a point of reference.  A couple of weeks ago, I made a visit to Taylor, Texas, to visit a cousin of mine.  Her brother from Florida was coming to the area to visit his wife’s son.  Since Jimmy, Nikki, and I were extremely close as kids, and since we are in our 60s and 70s and have had health issues in the past, I made this trip to see them and so the three of us could be together again.

If any of you ever saw the show “Roseanne” starring Roseanne Barr from 20 years ago, you may remember that the opening for each episode featured a scene at the Dan and Roseanne Conner table.  They may be eating or playing a game, but there was always this scene of people sitting around a table talking, laughing, and loving.

Nikki has a table, and just like on “Roseanne,” a lot of socializing goes on around that table.  Nikki’s daughter Sarah and her son Grant and their families came around a lot while I was there, and it was just like when Roseanne’s sister Jackie came for a visit.  And, just like the Conners, there was a lot of eating, talking, game-playing, laughing, and loving going on around Nikki’s table.

While I was there, Sarah’s son Jacob decided to run off because of bullying at school.  But Jacob is a very sharp young boy, and he realized very quickly that he needed help, so he called the police and turned himself in.  A couple of days later, Jacob, his grandfather Jerry, and I were seated at the table talking.  There was no judgmental attitude or speech.  The incident was over, and that  was that.  Purely because that is the way it is in families.  And perhaps THAT is one of the problems that “Jesus” had with families.

I felt badly when Jacob ran off – not just for him, but also for his family.  I love Sarah deeply and I love her husband Clint and their daughter Emily as well, and I hurt for them.  I was so relieved when Jacob was found and returned to his family, not only for their sake, but for mine as well.  Because that is the way it is with families.  You all love each other, come rain or shine, and you are always in the same corner.  With love that deep, it is no wonder that “Jesus” was not cool with the idea of familial love.

So, everyone, please love your families.  Stand together in both good times and bad.  And if any outsider or family member should ever disparage your family or any member of it, rally behind that person or against the disparager and stand united.  Because that is just something that families do.

So to Hell with “Jesus” and his anti-family nonsense!  Embrace that thing which the Supreme God built into you when he created you, and embrace and hold dear those who are closest to you.  Love them for who and what they are, warts and all.  You could be unfortunate and marry into a family that is worse than they are.

Everyone have a great day today and tomorrow.

Bill

January 24, 2015 Posted by | Miscellaneous, Religion, Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Fair Weather Friends

Fair Weather Friends

Hello, everyone.

This is the holiday Season – the time when we celebrate Winter Solstice, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, and possibly some others that I am not aware of.  We think about our friends and loved ones and treasure our memories of our past holiday seasons.

Mark Twain, a very funny man and a very wise man as well, once said that there were three kinds of lies:  lies, damned lies, and statistics.  Statistics are lies when our opponents use them to shoot down our arguments.  And we all know what “lies and damned lies” are.

I believe that there are three kinds of friends as well, and I want to elaborate on that idea at this time.

The first kind of friend is the friend who is there when the sky is blue and the sun is shining.  They are there to share the good times and fun with you.  But when the sky clouds up and the sun no longer shines, they make themselves scarce pretty darned quick.

The second kind of friend is the friend who likes you as long as you buy into his bill of goods.  As long as you believe his ideas – the earth being flat, the Bible being absolute truth, and the perpetual sinlessness of the Negro race, for example – he will be your best friend.  But once you challenge any of his ideas and no longer believe as he does, he will be gone very quickly as well.

The third kind of a friend is the forever friend.  This friend not only knows all of your faults and quirks, he accepts them and you and is loyal to the death.

Now, if I may, I am going to apply these thoughts to my personal life.  I will not name names in discussing the first two kinds because these people do not deserve honor or mention.

I discovered the “sunshine friends” when my two wives died.  After my first wife died, I tried to maintain a friendship with one person who I thought was a true friend.  However, this woman had other ideas and threatened to report me to the police if I continued to try to contact her.  She was a rabid Evangelical Christian, so I attributed her behavior to her Christian nuttiness.

I had a second friend whom I had adopted as a little sister.  I did maintain this relationship until well into my second marriage.  Our relationship had its ups and downs; one year, when she asked me to come over for Christmas, she threatened to kill me if I tried to kiss her under the mistletoe.  However, she did change her attitude some time later, and she became a type-three friend.

When my second wife died, I again went through the loss of friends, only this time it was her family.  With Carol gone, I essentially did not amount to anything.  Those people were “sunshine friends” of the first order.

Last September, I took a month-long trip on Amtrak, except for a week or so I spent with a cousin in Texas.  During that trip, I saw and experienced much, and my thinking along certain lines changed.  As a result, I essentially lost a Facebook friendship with someone I had known for over 40 years.

I have not had very many of these “my way or the highway” friends because I avoid these friendships like the plague.  But what such friends I have had were Evangelical Christians or political liberals.  Mainline Christians and conservatives have been decent friends, in that I did not have to believe the same way they did in order to be their friend.

And then there are those loyal friends who are there for you through thick and thin and in between.  When I lost my Ginny – my first wife – I had four such friends whom I referred to as my “Four Catholic Champions.”  I referred to them as such because they were indeed practicing or lapsed Catholics, and also to distinguish them from the Evangelical Protestants who had abandoned me.  I actually took two of them out and had a wonderful evening each time we were together.  I was able to work through losing Ginny because they were comfortable with my calling them and just talking to them.  They took the time to listen.

When Carol and I lived in California, our best friends were Bruce and Barbara Boyles.  When we left and came to Colorado, that friendship continued.  After they moved to Boise, Idaho, that friendship still continued, and continues to this day, 25 years later.

I have two cousins whom I consider to be among my closest friends today.  Jimmy, Nikki, and I were very close when we were kids.  Indeed, Jimmy and I were essentially “Pete and Repeat.”  We never lost that closeness as we grew older, although we never were in real close touch.  Those two kids saw me at my best and worst, and yet they still chose to be good friends.

Back 50 years ago, the Beatles had a hit record with “Money Can’t Buy Me Love.”  Money CAN’T buy a person love, but it can buy “friends.”  If the money is flowing like an oil well gusher, a person can have a lot of friends, but when the money dries up and quits flowing, those “friends” dry up and blow away, like the seeds of a dandelion.  How true the old saying is:  When times are good, your friends know who you are; but when times are bad, you know who your friends are.

Back over 60 years ago, I used to listen to a radio program called “The Halls of Ivy,” which was about the trials and triumphs of the president of a small-town college.  It starred the wonderful Ronald Colman and his real-life wife Benita Hume.  On one of the radio episodes, (broadcast, I believe, on June 25, 1952) a group of people sang a song titled “Fair Weather Friends.”  I still remember the opening two phrases of that song.  I have googled to see if it was a legitimate song or something written for the radio program, but I have not been able to find anything on it.  As I remember, the song was about how worthless fair weather friends – Type 1 in my grouping above – really are.  It was a neat song, and it gave me the concept of friends who will abandon you when the going gets a little rough.

Everyone has at least a few of the “forever” friends.  Hang on to them!  Love them!  Nurture them! Treat them as the invaluable treasures that they are.  You will never regret it; I can guarantee you.

Everyone have a wonderful Holiday Season.  Happy Holidays to all.

Bill

 

December 15, 2014 Posted by | Miscellaneous, Religion | , , , | Leave a comment

RIP, Archie Andrews

RIP, Archie Andrews

Hello, everyone.

Archie Andrews is dead. After 73+ years, Archie’s life has come to an end.

Everybody who grew up during the 40s and 50s remembers Archie. He was the red-headed 17-year-old who attended Rivedrdale High School, who drove a Model T convertible, and who had two serious girlfriends, Veronica Lodge and Betty Cooper at the same time and would play them off against each other, and who had a slew of friends when in school. Wikipedia has an article about Archie, and here are a couple of paragraphs:

“His friends, Skinny Linehan and Arnold Daggett, were the basis for Jughead Jones and Moose Mason respectively. School librarian Elizabeth Tuck inspired Miss Grundy and principal Earl McLeod was the model for Mr. Weatherbee. Montana knew the Boston Brahmin political family the Lodges, because he had once painted a mural for them; he combined their family name with actress Veronica Lake to create Veronica Lodge. Betty Cooper was based on Montana’s girlfriend in New York. Pop Tate’s Chocklit Shoppe, a soda shop where Archie’s Gang hang out, was based on real-life locations frequented by Haverhill teenagers during the 1930s — Crown Confectionery and the Chocolate Shop on Merrimack Street and the Tuscarora on Winter Street.

“…

“On April 9, 2014, Archie Comics announced that the adult Archie Andrews will be killed (the manner not yet specified) in the July 2014 issue (#36) of Life with Archie as he tries to save one of his friends in what will be the final issue of that title, while the teenage Archie will continue in the other Archie comic series titles; on July 14, 2014, more details about Archie’s death were released, saying that Archie would be killed taking a bullet meant for his gay friend Kevin Keller.”

Jack Anderson may have been the “All-American Boy” on radio, but in actuality, Archie Andrews was THE all-American boy. Everyone who ever attended high school knows an Archie. And speaking as a former high-school English teacher, I can say that Riverdale High is not all that different from the high school in your town.

What made the Archie stories so real was the reality of the characters. Waldo Weatherbee was the typical high-school principal. Mr. Flutesnoot was the typical male teacher. Miss Grundy was the typical maiden-lady schoolmarm. Moose Mason was the typical jock. Veronica Lodge was the typical high-society high-school queen. Her dad, Hiram lodge, was the typical dad who never thinks that ANY boy is good enough for his daughter. Betty Cooper and Midge Klump (Moose Mason’s girlfriend) were typical high-school girls. Reggie Mantle was the combination friend and rival in his desire to win Veronica away from Archie. And Jughead Jones was the true friend who was always there for you in good times and bad.

I enjoyed listening to the “Archie” show on the radio over 60 years ago and reading the “Archie,” “Jughead,” and “Archie’s Girls” comics throughout that period of my life. They gave me pleasure and entertainment, but they gave me something else. They gave me a quasi-blueprint for the stages of life I was about to go through. As I went through life, I saw cases where people played one person against another, just as Veronica played Archie against Reggie, or Archie played Veronica against Betty. I knew teachers just like Mr. Flutesnoot and Miss Grundy. And as a person with a disability, I knew many – TOO MANY – dads just like Hiram Lodge.

Yes, a figment of my youth has died, just as many more have died. But the memories live on, and memories can never die.

So RIP, Archie Andrews. And thank you again for the pleasure and education you have given me.

Everyone take care, and have a great day tomorrow.

“It’s funny, they named/Mars after the God of War. Have a look at Earth.” – Benedict Smith:

August 3, 2014 Posted by | Miscellaneous | | Leave a comment

Good Luck, Jeb and Chris!

Good Luck, Jeb and Chris!

Hello, everyone.

Jeb Bush has said that he is going to consider a run for the Presidency in 2016. I hope that he decides to run.

I have considered the option of voting for Chris Christie in 2016, until “Bridgegate” arose. I have some thoughts on that later on.

It is no secret that the Democrats have all but anointed Hillary Rodham Clinton as the 2016 nominee. And that is why I am giving the Republicans a second – and third – look.

I can’t bring myself to support Hillary Clinton, much less vote for her. I do have my reasons. First, to be totally upfront, I have my issues with women as a whole. I have not been treated kindly by women during my lifetime, and I am wary and not trusting of them. I have had people tell me that “Women are not all alike,” but my life experience has been the opposite. So yes, I do not support Hillary because she is a woman.

But I have other reasons. First is the issue of leadership
experience. Bush and Christie bring something to the campaign that Clinton cannot, and that is gubernatorial experience. Yes, Clinton was Secretary of State, but is leading a cabinet department the same as leading a state? I don’t think so. In my opinion, a president should come from the ranks of state governors. There are exceptions, of course. Truman was a Missouri businessman who made it to the Oval Office when FDR died, and he handled the presidency quite well. JFK and LBJ went to the White House from the Senate, and they were both quite capable as President. But all in all, I don’t believe that a department secretary is as capable as a governor in leading the country.

Second is the matter of Clinton’s being Secretary of State. How large a role exactly will foreign affairs play in her presidency? Will she be focused on this country and its needs, or will she put her focus on foreign affairs? And in that light, how willing will she be to commit American forces to foreign conflicts, especially those conflicts in which the United States has no vested interest? And if she does so, will she make a unilateral decision to do so like Bush II did in Iraq and Afghanistan and Reagan did in a variety of areas, or will she go the route of the Constitution and seek a declaration of war from Congress?

The Democrats were hell-bent-for-leather to make history by
nominating and electing the first Black presidential candidate in 2008, and they are equally hell-bent-for-leather to make history again by nominating and electing the first female President in 2016. But in my opinion, seeking to make history is not a valid reason for putting a person in the Oval Office, especially when there is a chance that the country will be harmed by doing so.

And the country HAS been harmed by the Obama presidency, in my opinion. Exhibit One is Healthcare.gov. Sure, the website is functioning now, but at what cost in cash, plus the number of Americans who will have to wait until the next open enrollment this fall to get insurance? Exhibit Two is the job situation. Obama campaigned on creating jobs and keeping American jobs in America, but he has not succeeded. The infrastructure in this country is in woeful need of repair, and jobs programs to correct these situations could have been created, much like FDR did in 1933. But Obama did not do so. Exhibit Three is that infrastructure crisis I just mentioned. A lot of people still remember that bridge collapse in Minneapolis several years. Luckily, that bridge was over land and there was no loss of life by drowning. But I read the other day on the Net that there are over 80,000 at-risk bridges in this country, and some of them DO go over water. Clearly the infrastructure needs repair, but Obama isn’t doing it. Exhibit Four is Afghanistan. Obama was VERY quick to take credit for the murder of Osama bin Laden, but that murder has not really had any effect on the war in Afghanistan. Why was Obama incapable of creating a plan to bring the boys and girls home from there sooner? Can we afford to dump treasure and human lives down that sewer any more?

Many of the problems I mentioned above are state-oriented, and a governor would know how to approach these problems. I am not sure that a former Secretary of State would have such knowledge.

There is one person in the Democratic Party who I am convinced is capable of facing these problems and working to find solutions for them, and that person is Senator Bernie Sanders. It would be a joy to be able to vote for him. But the Democrats are determined to put Hillary Clinton in the Oval Office, come hell or high water, and I just cannot support that.

So that leaves Jeb Bush and Chris Christie. Christie, of course, is tainted by “Bridgegate.” But I can’t help wondering if that is a legitimate scandal. Numbers had been showing that Christie would have given Clinton a run for her money, and I have wondered if “Bridgegate” was a scheme by the Democrats to destroy, or at least neuter, Christie as a viable opponent. Only time will tell.

So right now, Jeb Bush is my only hope. And barring anything totally unpredictable now, he will have my vote in November, 2016.

Everyone have a great day.

Bill

April 27, 2014 Posted by | Miscellaneous, Politics | , , , | Leave a comment

RIP, JFKJ

RIP, JFK

Hello, everyone

If anyone studies history to any degree, they will find that in each generation, there is a signature event that identifies that generation. I was born in 1942. Therefore, the signature event for my grandparents was the murder of Archduke Francis Ferdinand; that was the incident that triggered World War I. For my parents, their event was the bombing of Pearl Harbor; that was the event that got this country involved in the Second Great Unpleasantness. For my children, it would likely be January 28, 1986, the day that the space shuttle Challenger exploded. For my grandchildren – and Republicans everywhere, regardless of age – it was September 11, 2001.

But for me, it was November 22, 1963. That was the day that Lee Harvey Oswald murdered President John Fitzgerald Kennedy in Dallas, Texas.

“Where were you on the night of January 16th?” A line from a classic movie. But it is also a line spoken in relation to these defining moments. Where was I on November 22, 1963? I was a senior at the former Parsons College in Fairfield, Iowa, carrying a double major of secondary education and Modern Languages. I was on my way to an Educational Psychology class. On the way, I met a buddy of mine who was one of my roommates during my freshman year. Tom Friel gave me the news. I proceeded to my class. The class was taught by Dr. Frank Tate, a large man who was almost as large as Rush Limbaough – but who had a far more pleasant personality and attitude about others. Dr. Tate always had a laugh lying just under the surface, and we laughed frequently in his class. But this day, when we assembled the class, he was crying profusely. He said that under the circumstances, the appropriate thing for us to do was to adjourn the class, and we did so. Dr. Frank Tate was the last person on earth that I thought I would ever see cry, but he cried that day, and we class members were crying right along with him.

A student’s senior year in college can be a heady thing, and mine definitely was. I was in the last stage of becoming a teacher. I was old enough to vote. A year from then, I would be taking my place in the world. And – most significant to me! – I had my first serious girl friend. She never would let me kiss her, but that is another story for another time.

We all took President Kennedy’s murder hard. We felt that he was one of us – someone young, with a vision for the future. We respected Truman and Eisenhower and other people of that generation, but to us, they were “old folks” who didn’t know us young whippersnappers, let alone understand us. They were of the generation of war, and they did not – or could not – understand why we younger people had a desire to live in a world of peace. Kennedy also fought in World War II, but he DID understand us; and for that reason, we all bought in to him. When the Bay of Pigs invasion crashed, many of us young freshman pups talked about going to Cuba and doing it over and getting it right this time.

We weren’t alone in our love and adoration of Kennedy. Most of the country took his murder very hardly, just as we young bucks did. Indeed, on this anniversary of the murder, the Washington post published a recap of that weekend, showing how the paper covered that weekend 50 years ago. Here is the URL: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2013/11/19/our-president-is-dead-how-the-post-reacted-to-john-f-kennedys-assassination/?Post+generic=%3Ftid%3Dsm_twitter_washingtonpost

But, to be sure, not all of America felt the same way about the martyred young president. There were people who absolutely despised him. Indeed, it is a matter of record that J. Edgar Hoover, head of the FBI, despised BOTH John AND Robert Kennedy, to the degree that people held opinions that the FBI was behind the assassination. And – Texas being Texas – there was a group of conservatives in the Dallas area who also despised Kennedy – to the degree that earlier on that fatal week, they had taken out an ad in the Dallas morning newspaper that reviled JFK. The ad was in the form of an FBI Wanted poster. Here is the URL for the ad and an article about it: http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_vault/2013/11/15/jfk_assassination_flyer_distributed_in_dallas_by_edwin_walker_s_group_before.html

That ad got the people responsible for it an examination from the Warren Commission. However, the Commission was sold on the idea that Lee Harvey Oswald had acted alone in killing the president, so the Conservatives and their ad disappeared either under a rock or into the ether.

So the weekend ground on until the climax of the interment in Arlington on Monday. Jack Ruby shot and killed Lee Harvey Oswald – an act that I honestly cheered – and the TV networks showed a black-framed picture of Kennedy with his name and dates on the screen while Beethoven’s “Eroica” Symphony and Tchaikovsky’s #6 in B Minor were played over and over. We all cried for the dead president and prayed avidly for the new president, that God would guide him and endow him with the same amount of wisdom that JFK had shown in his leading of this country.

There is an old standard titled “What a Difference a Day Makes.” So does a half-century really make a difference? Not really. Republicans despise the young black president as much in 2013 as they despised the young Catholic president in 1963. Obama champions the gays in 2013 just like Kennedy championed the blacks in 1963, and the Republicans hated and hate both men for those championings. And Texas is still Texas – just as full of loonies, crazies, and whackjobs in 2013 as it was in 1963. So in reality, very little has changed.

So eventually Kennedy was buried and the world moved on. LBJ coasted to a landslide victory in 1964, only to decide not to run for re-election in 1968 because of opposition to the Vietnam War. Richard Nixon won that election, only to be forced from office in August, 1974, because of the Watergate Scandal. In the 1990s, we had a little sip of Camelot with another young, vibrant, intellectual president named Bill Clinton, who was also as deeply hated an despised by the Republicans as were JFK and Barak obama.

And life goes on in the personal realm as well. I received my B. A. the following June and completed two years of graduate study after my second year of teaching. I pursued theological education in a later period of my life and essentially hold two Masters Degrees. I taught for 5 ½ years – three in the public schools and 2 ½ years in a misbegotten Christian high school. I have worked also as a tutor, a direct-care giver in a facility for the developmentally disabled, and as an office manager and database manager and data man for a non-profit literacy program in northwest Denver. Plus I had a long and happy career as a church musician. So I have known both good and bad times since the Kennedy assassination, just like the country has.

And oh yes! I have had ladies cross my path who were quite willing to let me kiss them. In fact, I had a wonderful life with two of them as my wives.

Yes, indeed, life does go on. Have yourselves a great day and wonderful holiday season.

Bill

November 24, 2013 Posted by | Politics | , , | Leave a comment

The Cost of Idiocy

The Cost of Idiocy

Hello, everyone.

Crooks & Liars has an item on its front page titled “ Ted Koppel Says the Terrorists Have Won.”

http://crooksandliars.com/nicole-belle/ted-koppel-says-terrorists-have-won

The concept comes from a op-ed that Ted Koppel wrote for the Wall Street Journal, which is dated this past August 6. Here is the URL<: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324653004578650462392053732.html

Koppel’s premise is one which countless liberals and progressives, myself included, have been saying for the pat 12 years: The so-called “Terrorist Attacks” and “War on Terror” could not have come without the Republicans being in power and a president of George W. Bush’s capability being in the White House.

I am not going to digest and then regurgitate Koppel’s article. I will, instead, quote from the Crooks & Liars comments and respond to those. Here we go.

Comment # 1: “The terrorists won when we got the Patriot Act and went to Iraq.”

Absolutely! Bush’s response to the attacks was worlds apart from FDR’s response to Pearl Harbor. First, FDR got a declaration of war against Japan from Congress, and THEN he took such action as he felt was needed to execute that war. Bush and the Republicans, on the other hand, enacted the Patriot Act WITHOUT the benefit of any Constitutional sanction of any kind. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were simply waged without declaration. By getting us to abandon the legitimate protocols for our actions, the “terrorists” won the war in fact.

Comment # 2: “…The attack on 9 11 was more successful than Bin Laden could have even imagined . Bush , Cheney and Republicons picked up right where he left off.

Absolutely again. In essence, this was my point in the paragraph above. It is said that Bush once referred to the Constitution as “a goddamned piece of paper.” Whether he actually said this or not is not certain. But the way that he responded to the “terrorist attacks” definitely confirms to such a philosophy that Bush is accused of holding.

Comment5 # 3: “…I have said exactly this since watching the towers go down; the US is going to become a police state and it will be 15 years before we start to recover.

“I knew at that moment the terrorists had won with the gang running the government.

Again, Absolutely! Lest we forget, Al Gore won the election by winning the popular vote. But as we all know, unfortunately this does not guarantee election because the “Founding Fathers” imposed on this country a mechanism that is older than the Middle Ages — the Electoral College. The electoral vote was so close that the Republicans were able to force an end to the vote count in Florida and persuaded the conservative Supreme Court to anoint their boy as president, rather than the actual winner, Al Gore. As the commenter said, this action by the Republicans was enough to guarantee that the “terrorists” had indeed won the “War on Terror.”

One other interesting fact: Dick Cheney did not permit any kind or contest to select Bush’s running mate. He anointed himself with that role and both Bushes — Elder and Younger — acquiesced to Cheney’s decision.

Comment # 4: “Well, they knew enough to wait until a weak-minded wingnut idiot got into the White House.

Who can argue with that? Certainly not me! For the record, there was an attempt to bomb the World Trade Center early in Bill Clinton’s presidency, but Clinton was more than up to the challenge. He did respond, and the “terrorists” learned that Bill Clinton was not a man to be messed with. The Republicans knew this as well, but they were nowhere close to the intellectual caliber of the “terrorists/” They continually jacked around with Clinton and his Administration, but they got nowhere. The “terrorists” knew far better, and as a result we had eight relatively peaceful years during the Clinton presidency.

Comment # 5: “…While I still have many questions regarding the events of 9/11, Ted has this right. By provoking the disproportionate spending on military measures, while at the same time passing knee-jerk legislation curtailing individuals rights, the terrorists have won.

“The objective of terrorism is to instill terror within the psyche of its target. Considering the fear evident in, and dividing our country, I’d say the objective has been achieved.

Nothing more needs to be said on this pointy. We above a certain age remember the Cuban Missile Crisis of October, 1962. At that time, the Republicans derided JFK and insisted that we needed “a man” in the White House. What actually happened was that JFK stood eyeball-to-eyeball with Nikita S. Khrouschev over Russian missiles that had been delivered to Fidel Castro in Cuba. JFK did not blink; Khrouschev did, and the end result was that the missiles left Cuba.

What would have happened if we had had A MAN in the White House on 9/11/01? We’ll never knows because we did not have one. And we did not have A MAN in the White House on 9/11/09, and we won’t have one on 9/11/13 either. And the “terrorists” are aware of these facts. But what has helped hold things together was the fact that Obama had and has extremely capable people like Hillary Clinton and John Kerry as Secretaries of State. And they, more than anyone else, have been responsible for the uneasy peace, in spite of the Republicans’ war-mongering, that we have enjoyed during the Obama years.

Comment # 6: “From the first moment, we’ve been dancing to the lunatics’ tune. It’s unbelievable how completely they control this country.

But don’t lose sight of the fact that the “terrorists” could never have called the tune that this country dances to without the overt, welcome help of the Republicans.

Comment # 7: “That creepy guy on the right side of the screen is an endless stream of ‘straw man’ arguments. No wonder he is so confused.

That creepy guy on the right is Representative Michael McCaul, Republican — naturally! — from Texas, who is chairman of the “Homeland Security Committee. I tried to follow the logic of his line of nonsense, but my brain is killing me big time.

Ted Koppel made a powerful statement when he said, “Terrorism is the weapon with which the weak engage the strong.” FDR. got that point. JFK got it. Both Clintons — Bill and Hillary — get it. Bush II and Cheney didn’t get it, and Obama hasn’t shown me anything that indicates that he gets it. But if we had a leader like FDR, JFK, and Bill Clinton who got it, then I believe the “terrorists” would get religion VERY quick.

Have yourselves a good day tomorrow.

Bill

 

August 12, 2013 Posted by | Miscellaneous, Politics | , , | Leave a comment

Stand Your Ground?

Stand Your Ground?

Hello, everyone.

Unless someone has been living in a universe far, far away, everyone knows by now that George Zimmerman has been exonerated of the killing of Trayvon Martin. In my personal opinion, “Not Guilty” was the only proper verdict that could have been rendered.

But I do not want to talk about the case per se. I wish to discuss the foundation on which the case was built – Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law.

The basic premise of the law is that everyone has the right to use deadly force if necessary to protect himself from physical assault or threat of same. For example, if someone found himself in a bad section of a city and was carrying a gun, he could use that gun to protect himself. And if he wounded or killed someone else in the course of doing just that, he would be exempt from prosecution for any crime due to the “Stand Your Ground” law.

Florida is not the only state with such a law. Texas has a similar law which goes further than the Florida law. In Texas, one can use deadly force to protect his property – both real and personal.

There have been two rather notorious cases involving the Texas law. The first one involved a guy who owned a pickup truck. He had fallen behind in his payments and the finance company was coming to seize the truck. The owner set up a stake-out on a public road and waited until the repo people had come for the truck. They came one night, in the middle of the night, and the guy was ready. As the truck passed him on the public road, the owner took a high-power rifle and shot the person behind the wheel. His defense at trial was that he was acting within the constraints of the law and was protecting his truck from being stolen. The jury agreed because they acquitted the truck owner of murder. The Property Protection Law saved the guy’s skin.

This was maybe 10 years ago. Earlier this year, another Texan was exonerated of murder under this same law. This time, a man had engaged a female escort from Craig’s List for whatever purpose. Now I know Craig’s List only by reputation, so I don’t know their policies or rules regarding situations like this particular one. But according to the media, the man apparently had asked the woman to engage in sex with him and she refused. The affair occurred in the parking lot of the apartment building where he lived. According to the media, when the woman refused his demands for sex, he hurried into his apartment for an assault rifle, and he pumped bullets into the car, killing the woman. He then apparently notified the police of what he did and informed them that he was acting under the “Protect Your Property” law by alleging that the woman had stolen his money. Again he was not punished for the killing.

Ever since Zimmerman shot Martin, Liberals have been braying about how awful the “Stand Your Ground” laws are and how then need desperately to be revoked. Not hardly! There is a good reason why the laws were passed in the first place, and I will discuss that shortly.

Adding spice to the stew are the comments of a couple of the jurors. A jury of six women, one of whom was not white, heard the case. Two of them have spoken up about the trial – those known a B37 and B29. B37 spoke first, and for all practical purposes, her comments have disappeared from the Internet. There is one brief 69-second video clip and that is about all there is of her. In my research, I found virtually no direct quotes from here. This sample from the Huffington Post is essentially how she is handled on the Net:

“Juror B37 said the actions of Zimmerman and 17-year-old Trayvon Martin both led to the teenager’s fatal shooting last year, but that Zimmerman didn’t actually break the law.

“…

“In the CNN interview, Juror B37 said she did not believe Zimmerman followed Martin because of his race. She said Zimmerman made some mistakes, but that she believed Martin struck Zimmerman first and that the neighborhood watch volunteer had a right to defend himself.

“Juror B37 said the jurors were initially divided on Zimmerman’s guilt, with three jurors believing he was guilty of either manslaughter or second-degree murder, but that the jury agreed to acquit the 29-year-old Zimmerman after more closely reviewing the law.”

In contrast, we have B29, known as Maddy, who is of Puerto Rican descent. Her comments are all over the Net. This clip from the New York Daily News will suffice:

“The only minority on the all-female jury in the Trayvon Martin case says George Zimmerman “got away with murder” when he fatally shot the black 17-year-old — the announcement “devastated” Martin’s mother.

“For myself, he’s guilty because the evidence shows he’s guilty,” the juror said.

“But the juror, a 36-year-old mother of eight who moved to Florida from Chicago five months before she was selected for the trial, says the panel had no choice but to acquit Zimmerman, based on the law and evidence.”

The key to all of this is the law. George Zimmerman acted within the constraints of the law, and because of this, acquittal was the only possible verdict.

Let’s consider the law. Why was it enacted? I believe personally that it arose out of the self-preservation instinct that God put into each of us. I have heard comments on TV nature shows that an animal which is caught in a trap will actually chew off one of its feet in order to survive. That self-preservation instinct is strong! It is also strong in us humans, and we will do whatever is necessary to protect ourselves and our property.

It is a know fact, established by piles of evidence, that non-white males have a proclivity to breaking the law, and sometimes doing so violently. Liberals love to carry on about people who are uncomfortable in the presence of non-whites, even going so far as to label such people as “racists.” Nothing could be further from the truth. People are afraid of such people because of the record of those people’s behavior. Watch any of the police shows on TruTV – “Cops,” “Bait Car,” “Most Daring ….,” etc. – and almost invariably the perpetrator of the crime is a Black male.

I have run into such behavior myself. I have had Black men eye me whenever I have pulled out my wallet to pay for something. I have worked with Black men whom I would not want to meet in a dark alley at midnight. A cousin of mine was visiting Chicago about 30 years ago. One night he was in the mood for some McDonald’s and he got on the el and went south. He got into a bad Black neighborhood, and two white cops who were eating at a McDonald’s escorted him to the el stop and got him on the right train to take him back downtown. I myself went into some bad Black Chicago neighborhoods as an encyclopedia salesman and wondered if I would walk out alive. Whether Liberals like it or not, non-white males DO have reputations that insist that one be alert in their presence.

One thing that the Liberals have never been able to explain satisfactorily are the wounds on Zimmerman’s head. They try to say that it is self-abuse, or that it is some other crazy thing, but they are located where it would have been hard – if not impossible – for Zimmerman to have inflicted those wounds on himself. Thus, one can presume that Martin did attack Zimmerman, and that Zimmerman responded by killing Martin. Such a killing would have been self-defense, and therefore within the constraints of the law.

There is one other possible reason that these laws are enacted, and it is what I would call the “Willie Horton Factor.” Here are segments from the Wikipedia article about Horton.

“Horton was born in Chesterfield, South Carolina. On October 26, 1974, in Lawrence, Massachusetts, Horton and two accomplices robbed Joseph Fournier, a 17-year-old gas station attendant, and then fatally stabbed him 19 times after he had cooperated by handing over all of the money in the cash register. His body was dumped in a trash can. Fournier died from blood loss. Horton was convicted of murder, sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, and incarcerated at the NortheasternCorrectionalCenter in Massachusetts.

“On June 6, 1986, he was released as part of a weekend furlough program but did not return. On April 3, 1987, in Oxon Hill, Maryland, Horton twice raped a local woman after pistol-whipping, knifing, binding, and gagging her fiancé. He then stole the car belonging to the man he had assaulted. He was later shot and captured by Corporal Yusuf Muhammad (formerly named Joseph Bell) of the Prince George’s County Police Department after a pursuit. On October 20, Horton was sentenced in Maryland to two consecutive life terms plus 85 years. The sentencing judge, Vincent J. Femia, refused to return Horton to Massachusetts, saying, “I’m not prepared to take the chance that Mr. Horton might again be furloughed or otherwise released. This man should never draw a breath of free air again.”

“On April 18, 1996, Horton was transferred to the Jessup Correctional Institution (then called the Maryland House of Correction Annex), a maximum security prison in Jessup, Maryland, where he remains.

“Democratic Presidential candidate Michael Dukakis was the governor of Massachusetts at the time of Horton’s release, and while he did not start the furlough program, he had supported it as a method of criminal rehabilitation. The State inmate furlough program was actually signed into law by Republican Governor Francis W. Sargent in 1972. However, under Sargent, convicted first-degree murderers were not eligible for furlough. After the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that this right extended to first-degree murderers, the Massachusetts legislature quickly passed a bill prohibiting furloughs for such inmates. However, in 1976, Dukakis vetoed this bill arguing it would ‘cut the heart out of efforts at inmate rehabilitation’….

[COMMENT: Now THAT is what I call being hard on crime! HAHAHAHAHA!  Thank God that Judge Femia was able to see what was going on in Massachusetts with Dukakis and Horton.]

“…

“Republicans picked up the Horton issue after Dukakis clinched the nomination. In June 1988, Republican candidate George H.W. Bush seized on the Horton case, bringing it up repeatedly in campaign speeches. Bush’s campaign manager, Lee Atwater, said “By the time we’re finished, they’re going to wonder whether Willie Horton is Dukakis’ running mate.””

In an article in the Baltimore Sun, dated November 11, 1990, Roger Simon had this to say:

“Whether you were white or black or red or yellow, Willie Horton was your worst nightmare.

“Decent people had no defense against him. That was the most terrifying thing of all. Capture him and take away his knife and sentence him and put him behind bars — we pay taxes for these things! — and what would happen?

“He would be given a weekend furlough. Ten times, Michael Dukakis opened up the prison doors in Massachusetts and said to Willie Horton: “Go and sin no more.”

”Nine times Horton followed instructions. But the tenth time, he went to Maryland and broke into a home and tied a man to a joist in the basement, slashed his chest and stomach with a knife, then beat and raped his fiancee while she screamed and screamed and screamed.”

Was Michael Dukakis really THAT obtuse? I’m afraid that the answer is a resounding “YES!!” Dukakis’s stupidity and his loyalty to and love of Willie Horton literally planted the seed for the “Stand Your Ground” laws.

And here essentially was the water that allowed that seed to sprout and grow. This is from the Wikipedia article about Michael Dukakis:

“The issue of capital punishment came up in the October 13, 1988, debate between the two presidential nominees. Because she knew the Willie Horton issue would be brought up, Dukakis’s campaign manager, Susan Estrich, had prepared with Michael Dukakis an answer highlighting the candidate’s empathy for victims of crime, noting the beating of his father in a robbery and the death of his brother in a hit-and-run car accident. However, when Bernard Shaw, the moderator of the debate, asked Dukakis, “Governor, if Kitty Dukakis [his wife] were raped and murdered, would you favor an irrevocable death penalty for the killer?” Dukakis replied, “No, I don’t, and I think you know that I’ve opposed the death penalty during all of my life”, and explained his stance. After the debate, many observers felt Dukakis’s answer lacked the passion one would expect of a person discussing a loved one’s rape and death. Many– including Dukakis himself– believe this, in part, cost him the election, as his poll numbers dropped from 49% to 42% nationally that night. Other commentators thought the question itself was unfair, in that it injected an irrelevant emotional element into the discussion of a policy issue and forced the candidate to make a difficult choice, while others believed that Dukakis dwelled too much on post-mortem reflections about this incident while the election was still in play in a way that was too self-effacing to the point of appearing self-pitying and defeatist, which only served to demoralize his campaign and reinforce the image of him as a weak leader.”

Since this will to live, or survival instinct, is so strong within a normal, rational person, Dukakis lost that election, losing to George H. W. Bush 426-111 in the electoral college. Dukakis’s siccing Willie Horton on American society just did not work for him.

If nothing else, Willie Horton reminds each of us that that instinct to survive is innate within each of us. And as the years have passed, that instinct has manifested itself in laws like the “Stand Your Ground” law. THAT INSTINCT was what drove George Zimmerman, NOT an innate racism. And the sooner that the liberal community realizes that and accepts it, the better off they will be. After all, the Willie Horton albatross is around their necks, NOT around the necks of the conservatives.

Everyone have a great day.

Bill

 

August 4, 2013 Posted by | Miscellaneous, Politics | , , , , , | Leave a comment

What a Wonderful World

What a Wonderful World

Hello, everyone.

Today (5/12/13) is Mother’s Day. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir celebrated the day with a special broadcast with a Welsh baritone who sang two songs. First he sang “How Great Thou Art” and did manage to make something out of a wretched dipstick song. But the song that caught me up was “What a Wonderful World,” a truly magnificent, excellent song. I first got acquainted with the song through the rendition done by the late wonderful Louis Armstrong. The lyrics to his rendition are below. The song was written by songwriters George David Weiss, George Douglas, and Bob Thiele. Here are the lyrics.

I see trees of green…….. red roses too
I see em bloom….. for me and for you

And I think to myself…. what a wonderful world.

I see skies of blue….. clouds of white
Bright blessed days….dark sacred nights

And I think to myself …..what a wonderful world.

The colors of a rainbow…..so pretty ..in the sky
Are also on the faces…..of people ..going by
I see friends shaking hands…..sayin.. how do you do
They’re really sayin……i love you.

I hear babies cry…… I watch them grow
They’ll learn much more…..than I’ll never know
And I think to myself …..what a wonderful world

(instrumental break)

The colors of a rainbow…..so pretty ..in the sky
Are there on the faces…..of people ..going by
I see friends shaking hands…..sayin.. how do you do
They’re really sayin…*spoken*(I ….love….you).

I hear babies cry…… I watch them grow
*spoken*(you know their gonna learn
A whole lot more than I’ll never know)
And I think to myself …..what a wonderful world
Yes I think to myself …….what a wonderful world.

Yes indeed. What a wonderful world!

I cannot listen to this song or read its lyrics without crying. It is indeed a wonderful world we live in.

Out of my window I see the San Juan Mountains to the south, with snow on them when it’s cold enough to snow. To the east are another range of mountains. To the west is the Uncompahgre Plateau. And to the north there is the Grand Mesa. When I see them all, I can’t help thinking, what a wonderful world I live in.

Last year, I made a trip back to Iowa on the train. As we went through the Colorado Rockies, we crossed the Continental Divide in the 7-mile-long Moffatt Tunnel. As I viewed the majesty of the mountains, I thought, what a truly majestic world this is.

Maybe 15 years ago, Carol and I rode the cog railway to the top of Pike’s Peak. It was cloudy that day, and it rained ice pellets at the summit. But when I saw and videoed the monument to Katherine Lee Bates and her poem “America the Beautiful,” I thought to myself, what a totally wonderful world she must have seen from the top of that mountain!

In December of 1972, I made a trip at Christmas time to visit my brother and his family in New Jersey. I went by train, of course, and was privileged to go around the great Horseshoe Curve in the daylight. As I looked at the scenery through the train window, I thought, what an incredible world to demand an engineering feat like the Horseshoe Curve to get train up and over that particular range of the Appalachians!

A little further, we crossed the Susquehanna River on the Rockville Bridge, the longest stone arch bridge in the world. I looked at the hillsides that went down to the riverbank and thought how, on that drab, dreary gray morning in December, what I was seeing reminded me of pictures I had seen of the fjords in Norway. I almost imagined that I could hear the music of Edvard Grieg being played! And I thought, what a wonderful world I am privileged to be allowed to see!

As I became fully awake, I noticed a black gentleman sleeping in the seat beside me. I remember his getting on in Pittsburgh and how I was not the most polite to him because I was awakened as we went through Pittsburgh. He soon woke up, and I apologized to him for my conduct during the night. He said that there wasn’t any problem, and we got to talking. It was some of the best conversation that I have been privileged to have, and he was also most helpful to me in describing Penn Station in New York City. He was going there too and explained to me how Penn Station operates and what to expect there. I have reflected over the years on what a fantastic world we live in, to allow wonderful people like this very nice black gentleman to cross my path.

In November, 1987, I started seeing an absolutely incredible woman. Over a period of time, we learned much about each other, and we decided that we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. Finally, a week before Christmas, 2007, she was taken from us. As I have recovered from her loss, I never ceased marveling at what a bright, beautiful world we have because it was illuminated by her presence.

In February,1972, I became a teacher at a very small boarding school in rural Iowa. That semester, I came to know a very bright, pretty young woman who went by the name of Roxy. I was her algebra teacher when she was a freshman and also had her in other classes over the next couple of years. She was one of the two smartest students I ever had. I was close to many students and became close to Roxy as well. Her teasing was an abomination, but I let her do it. In time, we both left the school and reconnected for a period of time. Earlier this year, Roxy – now Roxanne – and I reconnected on Facebook, and we both were very pleased to have those old bonds restored. What a wonderful world it is when I can have such an exceptional person as Roxanne as not only a student, but also a friend!

About the time that Carol and I were married, Carol’s sister had a baby girl named Hilary. Carol and I were able to actually watch Hilary grow up. In a sense, we were Hillie’s second set of parents because she spent a lot of time at our place with her Aunt Carol when she was too sick to go to school. Hillie became our pride and joy, and we were especially proud of her when she won the national Miss Teen USA pageant in August, 2007. She took the death of her Aunt Carol extremely hard, but she managed somehow to help her Uncle Bill get through that time. What a wonderful world it is when one can hear such a beautiful, accomplished young woman say, “I love you, Uncle Bill.”

I had, and still have, a tremendous mother. My grandmother raised me, but she gave me little except a ton of grief. My mother, on the other hand, had a portion of wisdom that was far beyond that that her mother owned. My mother taught us three boys the importance of truth and of always speaking the truth, even if it made the shoes pinch the toes to do so. My beloved mother took me on countless fruitless job interviews without ever complaining. When I would come home for a visit, I knew that a batch of Swiss steak and a batch of caramel dumplings awaited me. And my brothers and I weren’t sent to church – she took us! She was always there for all the church Christmas programs and all of the school programs that we were involved it. And I say to myself, what a wonderful world it is to have a mother as loving and devoted to her family as my mother was.

Back during my freshman year in college, the 60-61 school year, a singer named Ernie K. Doe had a hit song titled “Mother-In-Law.” Two of the lines were: “Satan should be her name / Because to me they’re about the same.” He sure wasn’t singing about my mother-in-law. Virginia is now launched on her 102nd year. She isn’t what she was when Carol and I got married, but thank God, she is still with us. Since I am legally blind, girls – and their parents – have not always been kind to me. So naturally I wondered about how Virginia felt about her daughter marrying a guy with a disability. If sh ever had a problem about it, I never knew about it. No man can ask for a better mother-in-law than what Virginia has been to me. Her love and wisdom have many times helped Carol and me over the rough shoals of life. What a wonderful world it is when a man can say things like this about his mother-in-law and mean them!

I now live in subsidized senior housing, and there are several people who live here who have dogs. This morning, when I went to the store to get a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread, a couple of ladies and their dogs were waiting on the first floor to take the elevator upstairs. One of the dogs was a little black and white bitch dog who looked like she had trouble walking. Either that, or her little mind was not on the same page as that of her owner / mother. I have cried several times over that little dog because it hurts me to see her in that condition. I have had dogs in the course of my life and I love them deeply. Indeed, it took me decades to get over the death of my little beagle mix, Sandy Dog. What a wonderful world it is when we are privileged to have these beloved selfless little critters enriching our lives!

My mother used to have some neighbors who owned horses. One time when I was home on vacation, I went out in our back yard and went over to the fence which housed the horses. Immediately when they saw me, they came over to greet me and make friends with me., Pretty soon, one of them had poked his nose over the fence, so I began to stroke him and talk to him. Immediately the other horses started to shove him aside to get THEIR noses over the fence and get their share of the loving I was giving out. Of course, I made them wait their turn, but they each got a full helping of my stroking and talking and loving. I love horses deeply, and think of what a wonderful world it is to have these beautiful majestic animals playing a part in our lives!

Carol loved the outdoors. When we lived in California, we made many trips to the ocean at Morro Bay because she loved watching the waves roll in and watching the surf crash against the rock jetty when the surf was high. Here in Colorado, she loved the second apartment complex we lived it because of the green grass, flowers, trees, and birds. There were squirrels, and one year, there was one who hung out on our patio. We more or less adopted him and named him “Jerome.” It was fun to watch Jerome and his little squirrel friends frolic and play. And though she is gone now, I know that Carol isn’t in some drab, barren locale with streets of gold. I know deep down that she is in a realm with trees, birds, grass, flowers, frisky little critters – and breakers rolling upon the beach, because the God we worshiped knew that that would be what heaven would be to Carol. A wonderful world, indeed!

George David Weiss, George Douglas, and Bob Thiele did such a glorious job of capturing my world in their lyrics. And you know, Old Satchmo’s gravelly voice somehow made this song even more beautiful than it was already. Yes indeed; we DO live in a wonderful world.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you moms who happen to read this. And everyone have a wonderful day today, tomorrow, and evermore.

Bill

 

May 12, 2013 Posted by | Miscellaneous, Uncategorized | | Leave a comment