Friday, December 21, 2012

And So This Is Christmas

It certainly is a strange Christmas season. Scout decorated the house outside with lights but we haven't done a thing inside. Not anything. Scout has some little mice Moma helped him make pinned to a egg carton. Moma's the crafty one who has always encouraged my son's creative side. We haven't even gotten our little Christmas tree out to put them on. I've been sick for a couple of weeks and haven't felt like doing anything.

It's very hard to get into the spirit of Christmas and the joy of the season after the tragedy at Shady Hook in Newtown, Connecticut last week. It brings home the importance of loving your children and family, and holding them close, and telling them you love them because, for some people, it may be the last chance you get to tell them. It only takes one selfish person with a gun, or one driver who is out of control, to turn your life upside down. 

It has been so painful to hear about the lives of the women and children lost in this senseless tragedy that I have avoided listening to the news as much as possible. I still get plenty of information anyway. I am sick of the tragedies that happen across this country because of the lack of gun control. I am tired of the murders of innocent people who are gunned down because some deranged gunman decides to exact revenge against people who have done them no harm. 

We need to do more to make sure that mentally ill people have access to mental healthcare before they decide to do something awful. It's too late after the fact. I read that Ronald Reagan cut back mental health funding in the '80's and that is why there aren't enough programs in place for people to turn to when they have a friend or relative who is exhibiting antisocial behavior. 

It's ironic that Reagan would cut funding to mental health in light of the fact that in 1981 he was targeted by a mentally ill gunman who tried to kill him. He and James Brady, Reagan's press secretary, were shot during the attack, Brady critically. In 1993 President Clinton signed the Brady Handgun Violence Act which required a background check by the FBI before purchasing handguns. The Brady Act expired in 2004 and, because of strong lobbying of the National Rifle Association it has never been revised again. The lobbyists have too much control over Senators and Congressmen to ever allow it to see the light of day.

In light of the slaughter of 20 little kids, you'd think that everybody would be in favor of more control of assault weapons. Instead, I have read people defending the weapons, and all guns, since the terrorist attack at Sandy Hook School. 

I've decided to call them what they are, terrorists. They may be insane. They may be desperate. But they are still terrorists. The country is being terrorized by evil people with guns. When is it going to stop? How are we going to stop it? How many more lives are going to have to be lost in deadly rampages before the American people rise up and demand change?

The Mayan calendar predicted a new era. Many people predicted the end of the world. I enjoyed playing along with the fantasy but, like everything that is hyped, it proved to be a bust and the world is still here. Thank God. Maybe the new era can be a time for change and growth. Maybe the new era marked by the Mayan calendar will usher in a new age of peace and compassion for our fellow man. Maybe, just maybe, people will wake up and start caring more about people than their precious right to own a gun.

I'm not anti-gun. I don't believe the government needs to confiscate every weapon in the country. Someday I want to buy a titanium handgun. I saw one years ago and really liked it. But that still doesn't absolve the testosterone driven ego that thinks being a man means having a bigger and more powerful gun than everybody else. No man needs, or should have an assault weapon. If you want to get your kicks with high powered weapons why don't you man up and join the army? Or, if you can't handle that, why don't you apply to the police academy and become a police officer? Channel that he-man drive to wield a weapon in a productive way.

The Second Amendment states: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."    

I'd say the closest thing we have to "a well regulated Militia" is the National Guard which is supposed to protect America from within her borders. It implies that the Militia must be "well regulated". That, to me, sounds like they have to have regular meetings and exercises designed to respond to any threat the State may encounter. I've never seen a bunch of men get together and practice military skills in my neighborhood. Have you? I've never seen people get together as civilians and use their weapons to prepare for invaders. Have you?

The right to have a weapon has long been established in this country. When I was growing up boys would go squirrel hunting with shotguns. Nobody thought a thing about it. They had relatives who taught them gun safety and how to hunt, but there weren't any bloody attacks on people during that age.

It is a different world today. Most men have never touched a gun, much less own one. They wouldn't even dream of hunting. I'm not discounting the men who hunt. I'm just saying most men today don't hunt. They don't use guns. The world has changed. 

Hunting doesn't bother me. Hunting and killing people, does.

My father and grandfather used to hunt. They owned shotguns and rifles. Nobody I know owns an assault weapon though. There is a difference. If you are a real hunter, you don't need an AR15 or any other weapon that holds thirty rounds. You certainly don't belong in the woods with a weapon like that. 

I hope the tragedy in Sandy Hook was not in vain. I hope the people will demand the Brady Act be reinstated so that everyone has to go through personal background checks. I hope gun manufacturers feel the pressure of their customers and the government and they quit making and selling the macho-man guns that have turned up in so many tragic shootings. I hope we wake up before it is too late. Sadly, it is too late for too many people.

In closing I'd like to say, I have met many people in my life and honestly, I wouldn't want most of them to have a gun. People are not as bright as they think they are. They certainly don't need to be armed and dangerous.

Maybe God will give us reason this holiday season. I sure hope so.


Friday, December 14, 2012

I Feel Fine

No, really. I feel fine. 

I don't know what's going on with me. Maybe it's a bug I picked up somewhere. I've been drinking enough ginger ale to cause my kidneys to hurt. I may have been coming down with something for a few days because, at first, I had sharp pains in my right side. The next day, I was feeling pain in my left side. That finally passed and then the icky feeling started. You know, nausea, lethargy, and being unable to get comfortable. I'd go to bed and sleep for a while, then I'd get up and sit around for a while. Back and forth, back and forth. 

My tongue is coated in white. My mother says that's a sign of an upset stomach. She may be right. I think I have a temperature, too, but nobody agrees with me. Colt said I should take my temperature with the new thermometer Don bought, but I'd rather have a cool hand resting on my forehead and a loving touch, with somebody telling me, "Poor baby. You'll be okay." See, all I really want is a little sympathy and affection. It doesn't look like I'm going to get it around here. Don and the boys aren't very nurturing.

This morning I got up at 6:30 to make sure Scout was up. Don had let Buddy in the house last night and he had been in the washroom. Scout told me Buddy had crapped in the washroom again. The first time or two I gave him the benefit of the doubt because he's not used to staying in the house. After cleaning up after him way too many times I've become disillusioned. I used a huge pile of paper towels and then washed the floor with bleach water. Buddy can sleep outside from now on.

I told Don not to let Buddy come back inside at night any more because we have to keep him in the washroom so he won't get sick going in and out of a hot house. Typical Donny said, "I didn't let him in the house last night." 

Scout and I looked at each other because we both knew that Don had let Buddy back in last night. I started griping and telling Donny, "Oh yes, you did! That's why we left him inside." 

I cannot take it. For one thing, it's like picking up a giant steamy brown pudding, only it doesn't smell that way! Oy! Waking up the first thing in the morning and cleaning up a mess is not a good way to start the day, especially for me. It sets the whole day. Thankfully, Scout threw Buddy on the porch and we left him outside all day.

I can't stand pets in the house. I've never liked that. Well, one time I had a pet flying squirrel but he drowned in the toilet, so that's about the extent of it. The kids had pet birds one time but they were messy and I didn't like cleaning up after them. Another reason I don't like pet birds is because I feel it's a sin to keep a bird in a cage. Anything that was made to fly shouldn't be locked up. 

God forbid anybody has snakes or lizards for pets. What is it with people who want exotic species as pets? That's just as bad, and disgusting, as puppy mills that crank out pups until the dams die from exhaustion and neglect. 

Snakes and iguanas are being released in the everglades and depleting the wildlife that is indigenous to the area. We should have stricter laws that ban the ownership of exotic animals that do not belong on this continent.

I guess I must be feeling better because I'm griping again. That's always a good sign, I think.

I hope I start feeling better because I don't get enough done in the day, anyway. This is really slowing me down.

Well, I was wrong about that. I wrote this little diatribe a couple of days ago and didn't feel well enough to post it. I figured I wasn't going to come up with anything better for a while so take it as it is. 


Wednesday, December 5, 2012


This is another weird December. Temperatures have been in the 70's and it feels like early fall, or maybe springtime. I saw something on TV about plants breaking out in bloom that should be dried up and brown by now. Mother Nature is being fooled. The weather is definitely warmer. The whole world is in a flux. Don and I saw a couple of trees with pink blooms on them! I believe they were peach trees.

I keep thinking that the Mayan calendar may be predicting the polar shift and wonder what kind of catastrophic effects it could have on the earth. Talk about worrying about inconsequential things. I worried about Y2K like that, too. Do you remember that? Everybody thought, and predicted, that all electronic communications would go down at the millennium and we would revert back to the stone age or something. Boy, that turned out to be a big ta-do about nothing.

When I think about the Mayan calendar and their prediction, in my fevered mind I try to imagine what would happen if there was a swift polar shift. I can see cartoon images of everything flying into the air until the poles shift, and then everything comes tumbling down to earth again. Kind of like turning off gravity. Whoever survives will have to clean up all the damage and then start to rebuild again. We'd go back to the stone ages.

I blame my imagination on years of watching cartoons when I was a kid, and gleaning all the information that is 'out there' on the internet. It's a potent combination.

I get into conspiracy theories and doomsday scenarios. It's sort of thrilling to scare yourself with outrageous dangers that couldn't possibly happen. It's kind of the same thrill as telling ghost stories around a campfire. It's a lot more fun to scare the bejesus out of yourself about something you know isn't true than to worry about the things that can really hurt you.

I've been on earth long enough to have lived through several doomsday scenarios that haven't come to fruition so I don't put much stock in this scare. Chances are we will all wake up on December 21 this year and everything will look the same as it did the day before. Not one rock, or tree, or stream will have moved. Nobody will be hanging in mid-air in a comic imitation of a Wiley Coyote cartoon and the earth will be here for us all. More importantly, we will all still be here ... together. We should make the most of our life on earth and appreciate the things we have, and each other.

It's a lot more fun worrying about the Walking Dead, or becoming weightless, than it is to worry about stocks and the economy or government issues. Something much worse than the end of the Mayan calender may be in store for us as we head towards the 'fiscal cliff'. Our economy could spiral out of control again and plunge into another deep recession. Being the eternal optimist that I am, I have hope. Is anybody else worried about the fiscal cliff?

The country really is improving, whether you've noticed it or not. Work is picking up and companies are manufacturing again. I even heard that the housing market is picking up. It won't be long before America becomes a strong vital competitor in the world market again. This time I hope big business will invest in Americans. 

There's a whole new movement in American labor. Low wage earners who make at, or below, minimum wages are uniting seeking better pay. Small entrepreneurs won't voluntarily increase minimum wages so it is up to the legislators to enact laws increasing minimum wages and guaranteeing everyone a decent salary so they don't have to use food stamps or government funding to survive. There are too many people struggling out there trying to raise a family on an insufficient salary. When the economy improves, it is time to rebuild America's labor force and create a loyal, productive workforce that is competitive  in the world. We can do it, and by golly, we should!

That's what's on my mind right now. What's on yours?

Schylar, Scout, Amanda, Kiersten, Tony, Denise, Todd, Carmen, Andy, Noody, and Carole

Diane and Larry

Albert T. Silvers, Edwadene McAllister, Delbert Callahan

Merry Christmas
Happy Holidays Y'all!


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