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ramblings of a madman

Rewriting History

I see lots of stories on Facebook and elsewhere about renaming schools, getting rid of statues and memorials about Civil War Generals and events. For those who may forget, July 1 is the first day of the bloodiest battle in American history. July 1, 1863 marked the beginning of the Battle of Gettysburg. One Hundred and Fifty Six days ago the Army of Northern Virginia and Army of the Potomac met in the small community in south central Pennsylvania. After three days, there were a total of 51,112 casualties (dead, wounded, and missing from both sides).

Books, movies, a PBS series by Ken Burns, all cover the subject from different points of view. In school back in Central Pennsylvania, a class field trip to Gettysburg was the norm. I think I went there at least twice. The trip would tour the key points of the battlefield: Big and Little Round Top, Devil’s Den, Pickett’s Charge, a number of the monuments and the Gettysburg Cyclorama.

Last summer, I drove through the town of Gettysburg after I took Madison back to Pennsylvania for a two week riding camp. I had my son with me and after a short vacation for him at HersheyPark, I place I worked at during several summers in college, we drove to and through the town of Gettysburg. It has really changed over the 40 years that I was last there. He wasn’t too excited about the park, the cannons, or the history. I tried to trace part of Lee’s travels to Gettysburg, and then his retreat after the battle in our rental car. I really enjoy visiting such places. We were making our way back to the airport in Baltimore to return to New Mexico, so it was my way of trying to have an educational trip as part of the mini vacation. Not interesting to a 10 year old.

Yes, a long way to the airport. However, it was quality time with son. Of course, as he is in 5th grade, the only thing he knows about the Civil War, aside from the fact that it was a war between the North and the South, and that the slaves were freed, Abraham Lincoln and the Gettysburg Address, and the Battle of Glorieta Pass. Yes, there was a Civil War battle fought just east of Santa Fe in March of 1862. Today, parts of the battlefield are part of the Pecos National Historical Park. There are a couple of monuments and signs, but no cannons or cemetery, or things like you find in Gettysburg. You can get a gate code and a map to unlock a gate at the Pecos National Historical Park Visitors Center. This allows you to hike the Glorieta Pass Battlefield trail.

I loved learning history in high school and in college. Sadly, what I see today is lots of people trying to rewrite history, or trying to change things so that we forget it, or to feel like we must understand the feelings of others. We rewrite the textbooks, often without much change in the historical truths. As Orwell pointed out, history can be and often is rewritten to suit the needs of the present. Some say that we rewrite history because the prevailing opinions of the period have changed. I should not be surprised that we also need to rewrite or recreate or reimagine that places where the history was actually made.

Today we rename the elementary school from Robert E Lee Elementary to another Lee who may or may not have contributed anything. We remove statues because a group of people think that they are evil, or that we need to forget the past. To this I say bunk. Robert E Lee was an American general who fought for what he believed in (state’s rights). Arlington National Cemetery now stands on his former homestead. Yes slavery was wrong. We fought a war to end it; and to properly define elements of the rights of the state and the rights of the federal government. We need to understand history so that we do not forget the sins of the past. To forget history is to rewrite history. The fact that we had to fight a war is enough to understand that humanity suffers because of it. That alone should be enough of a reason to not rewrite history. We are seeing failings of remembering the past unfold today in many areas of our political spectrum.

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ramblings of a madman

Politics…take 2

Started writing an entry about politics three days ago. That is why I have titled this entry as take 2. Didn’t publish the original entry because it needs work.

Coming up are two days of Democratic Party debates. I won’t be watching. Frankly I am tired of all the talking heads and candidates. They have no values. Fox News is on in the background as I write this, and they are harping on the dark state and the crimes not being investigated by the House and Senate. Not really listening because they are equally disappointing. Instead we have an investigation on Russian collusion round 2. There was none. Get a grip and move on. People are literally dying because of all of the inaction by our elected officials focused on non-issues.

America was at one time a better place. Compromise was the norm and America was better off in solving issues. Nobody got everything they wanted and this is good. It is now going down the toilet rapidly. The press are no longer independent. They are letting their opinions become the news.

Understand that I am not a fan of Trump. He is a disgusting human being and fails to carry himself in the stature that the office deserves. In the last election, I voted for Gary Johnson. He was a great two-term governor for the state of New Mexico. That said, I can get behind a number of the policies that Trump tries to enact. I wish he would stop Tweeting. If he wants to get his point out, go to the Press Room daily and say it. Take the heat, be a man, and get on with it. That’s is leadership.

Conversely, the democrats have an understanding of the issues that concerns many Americans. They are so irresponsible in helping the average citizen because they don’t view it as important. However, their policy remedies will not fix the problems. Instead they will exasperate the problems. As the Federal Government has turned up the spigot to support education and health care, the costs continue to go up. The backstop of the Federal Government and the unlimited printing press will make sure this will continue. You doubt the connection? Just look at housing and those issues. Two NGO’s are essential in the ability of many to get a mortgage. They contributed to the Great Recession. People and families were ruined.

I’m sorry but allowing them to forgo paying back the money is wrong. Do they loose their degrees? I borrowed money for College. I paid my own way through school. I worked my way through school. I had student loans and paid them off over time when I had found a job. Yes I have health insurance and have seen how families struggle to solve those financial issues. The fix to healthcare costs is not a Medicare-for-all solution. It is to get away from treatment (drugs) and spend more on prevention. An annual physical, check up, tests are the way to reduce the costs when something is found early instead of when it is too late, or too expensive to cure. And it’s not just your physical health. Many of the tragedies we see on the news may have never happened if we expanded mental health care.

Sadly, I expect that next year will have a reversal followed by four more years of the same. Nothing will be accomplished, nothing will change. Our elected officials are unwilling (unable) to do what is necessary to help the American people. Stay tuned. More to follow.

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ramblings of a madman

Internet services

The internet has changed a great many things about everyday life. From how we do our jobs to research and communication, music, entertainment, and of course buying things. The buying of things has been a significant change. Directly or indirectly, Walmart stores have been blamed for the decimation of Main Street USA. Many of the brick-and-mortar stores that did not or could not embrace the internet have failed because they were already weakened by Walmart. I saw it first hand in my hometown in Pennsylvania. Walmart, and a few other stores have been able to survive the Amazon juggernaut by competing directly against them. They have had to figure out how to fold the internet into their stores. Main Street continues to survive, albeit in a very weekend condition.

Over the past several years, I have shopped less and less in a brick-and-mortar store, and it is easier to order something online. That said, it has not been without frustration. This subject is indirectly tied to my frustration. I find myself on business travel this week. Thus, I have to board my dog this week. The place that I have chosen allows me to access a webcam in their room. The problem is that you have to know which room, and what the camera password is. That said, I have tried the password, including multiple spellings, upper case versus lower case, across all 20 rooms. No luck. Of course, it is after hours and no one is there, or at least no one is answering the phone. I have to assume that there is someone there with the dogs. My dog has stayed at this place four times. I have seen a deterioration in the service in this area in my last two trips. Not happy with the service at this juncture. I do my best to support local small businesses, but the person-on-person interaction is key.

Conversely, I have had very good service from E-Bay, but Amazon has been hit or miss. It is difficult to gauge the quality of the product from Amazon. They provide information, but good luck trying to determine if it is “Made in the USA”. In some categories, Amazon offers the same quality as I have had with E-Bay, but that has been only in a few areas. With either website, I have yet had the experience to return a purchase.

Buying things on Facebook has been a completely frustrating. I have had three items that I have purchased from a Facebook ad never arrived and months in some instances to get a refund; and two items that were purchased and took months to be shipped. The one item has several websites devoted to the fraud associated with the product. Two years and no refund or shipment of the purchase. I have given up on it. It is clear to me that Facebook takes limited responsibility on the vendors, the quality of the ads, or trying to satisfy those who purchase from sites that advertise on their website.

I know lots of people who do not purchase stuff online. Others prefer going to a store and purchase items, often after researching the item on the internet. I like that approach as well. The great unknown in the internet is that people can get credit, purchase things, and the debt just continues to suck people in and have less and less for necessities. The internet fails to make a direct connection with people, who are necessary to create the service.

What do you think. I could go on and on about this. I am not an expert, but I know what I like and do not like.

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ramblings of a madman

Ramble On

I was thinking that today I could sleep in and have a relaxing weekend. Did not happen. Awake at my usual time. Start today off early and right. Ain’t going to happen. Son is sound asleep. Dog is typical crazy… ”where is my morning walk”? Daughter has a riding competition today and as usual, up late rushing to prepare, now tired and grumpy. “Do you have my show shirt”? “It was in my dirty clothes basket”. “ The white one that is stained and dirtied”? On and on. Ding goes the phone as she texts me from her mothers house.

Yesterday was flag day. I didn’t hang my flag. Why? Too busy running around? Work, school camp for son, old age, tired? Realized that yesterday was the first day in four weeks that I did not write. Not because I forgot, or didn’t have anything to write about. I guess it was the understanding that only one person visited my blog yesterday. Should I worry that only one person visited? Subjects boring? Maybe. Slow day? Better things on line to read? Probably. Not really advertising that it is out there, bearing my sole for all to read, to laugh, to comment on. Dammit I paid money for this site and the experience, and have made the commitment to see where it takes us.

Leaves are falling all around
It’s time I was on my way
Thanks to you I’m much obliged
For such a pleasant stay
But now it’s time for me to go
The autumn moon lights my way
For now I smell the rain
And with it pain
And it’s headed my way
Ah, sometimes I grow so tired
But I know I’ve got one thing I got to do
Ramble on
And now’s the time, the time is now
To sing my song
I’m goin’ ’round the world, I got to find my girl
On my way
I’ve been this way ten years to the day
Ramble on
Gotta find the queen of all my dreams...

from Ramble On by Led Zeppelin as determined from a Google search. It is important to acknowledge the words and ideas of others. In the internet age, I am not sure how this is best accomplished. Probably not as simple as a reference in a journal article. Add that to my list of things I need to learn to keep me out of trouble.

Yet as I sit here and type away, sounds of Led Zeppelin ‘s “Ramble On” are running through my head. Literally and figuratively. Maybe my blog is more of a journal and I am trying to capture my life’s experiences in it. The past, the present, the future? Something for posterity when I’m gone and my young kids have something to remember me by? Earlier this week in the morning coffee cabal, we were in fact talking about “here today, gone tomorrow”. However the subject included former managers at work, one hit wonders in the music industry, and other things. Including our own immortality, which quickly transitioned into “why are we here, what mark will we leave on the next generation of employees that we have hired”? Are we renaissance men or renegades? Probably more like geeks.

Sorry. Took a break to get clothes out of the washing machine. Wow! How many pants does my daughter need for riding? Why is the dog going crazy? Yes, I am composing this on real time, on the fly. Sun is up, dog still wants walk. Now going through my head is that image of putting the needle of a record player on a record, no not Led Zeppelin II, and the screech of the needle just going across the record. That sound of I just ruined the vinyl album.

Subject, subject, subject… for now, this is a blog. As time progresses, I expect it to morph into a website with a blog at its center. But that, I am sure is farther down the road. Opinion, commentary, the daily story, things rambling on in my head? Life as a single dad? Retirement? Investing? Hobbies? Kinda rehashing similar topics in my earlier post “My story, or is it?”.

I have given some thought about writing the Sunday post as a weekly wrap up of the past weeks writings, or a summary of what happened the past week. Could go on for hours about politics, news, world and local events. However, I think those topics turn most people off. I enjoy them and like talking about them. Like I could go on and on about the twenty four libtards running for President, or our current President who certainly has broken the mold but is really unpresidential in his behavior, and actions, and such. Government is suppose to help us solve our problems, not be the problem. Unfortunately, both sides of the aisle are the problem. The spirit of compromise that is necessary for democracy is dead. Is democracy dead in America?

Son bellows out his breakfast wishes. Dog wants in. The dog wants out. That’s my queue to end it here, edit and post. Until next time, “ramble on”.

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ramblings of a madman

kismet or karma

Two words that some may think mean the same thing. I looked both up using Google search on the internet for each word. Kismet means destiny or fate and has the synonyms include fortune, providence, predestination, luck, karma. Conversely, karma in Hinduism or Buddhism is the sum of a person’s actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as deciding their fate in future existences. In essence, what happens to a person is the result of their actions.

My belief system is structured around many ideals. One of these is that if one person wrongs another person, that the person who commits the wrong will someday suffer a fate because of their actions. I really truly believe that. What goes around comes around…That said, I wonder when their fate is determined and if they fall. Will they fall? Unfortunately, that has not been my experience. Bad actions cause more bad actions and the person does not fall. Rather, they continue to win, to do better, to achieve their goals. I see it around me a lot.

Is it because I am wishing bad things and I am disappointed? Is it wrong to wish ill-will onto others? Is that my character flaw? Am I just as bad because even though I was wronged, I should be the better person? Is it because I lack the religious convictions of turn the other cheek, do unto others as the would do unto you. WWJD?

Upon further reading, I came across something called the 12 laws of karma. Is this equivalent to Newton’s third law of motion ( for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction). The laws are meant to set you on a path of good karma and free yourself of bad karma. In some ways, it is like the force (in Star Wars).

If you are interested in the laws, I am not going to repeat them hear. Check out http://www.powerofpositivity.com/12-laws-of-karma/ for more information. Other sites had similar information. Suffice it to say, after a bad day at work, a simple idea worked out well for today’s blog entry. It’s short, original and enlightening. What do you think?

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ramblings of a madman

one bourbon, one scotch, and one beer…

Woke up this morning and in the shower I found myself singing the George Thorogood and the Destroyers tune “One Bourbon, one Scotch and one Beer”. Not sure why. Didn’t have a drink the night before. Whatever. It was just running through my head.

As I was reading early in the morning before getting the kids up, I looked up the lyrics and the history of the song. Often such studies start with Wikipedia. There I was able to read that the song was first written and recorded by Amos Milburn in 1953, and with some different lyrics by John Lee Hooker in 1966. Finally the George Thorogood version was comprised of two separate John Lee Hooker songs in 1977.

Anyway, the tie to the picture that I included is my list of summer drinks, which I think will help me pass my summer evenings home alone while reading.

Buffalo Trace is one of my favorite bourbon’s. I describe the taste as sweet with a hint of brown sugar, vanilla, and toffee. I really enjoyed my visit to their distillery in 2017 when my daughter was competing at the Kentucky Horse Park. The Macallan is a tie to Rush. Their great drummer, Neil Peart is a fan of Macallan and I agree with his taste. My first drink was from a bottle of the 15 year old that was a present from a coworker. The flavors include oak, honey, spicy and orange zest. And finally, the Samuel Adams Summer Ale has a bright citrus flavor comprised of orange, lime and lemon. It taste great after working outside for a few hours.

Anyway, I find periods of my life are defined by songs. I’m guessing this is the summer of one bourbon, one scotch and one beer. Of course, all in moderation.

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ramblings of a madman

Zombie Apocalypse

It’s Saturday and it is my weekend with the kids. The custody arrangement has me, as a divorced single parent with two kids, keeping them every other weekend. This starts Thursday night and ends Monday morning. An ok arrangement most weekends, but this weekend is different. Daughter has a weekend of riding planned between a horse clinic and working for free at a local stable. I don’t have a suitable truck or trailer to haul, so it’s up to mother to get daughter and horse to the desired location. Local in New Mexico is something within a hundred miles from where you live.

The zombie apocalypse is not the horse riding, but it is the fact that daughter spent all last night multitasking between her cell phone and her iPad. Preparation for today was part of the plan but never implemented. Both of my kids spend too many hours on their iPads and iPhones to the point where they are in a zone, unable to be bothered with their immediate surroundings, work to do, angry if you interrupt them. You ask them a question and it’s either a monosyllabic response, or the sound of silence. They are truly zombies in that regard. It is apocalyptic if you interrupt them when they get into that state trying to make eye contact. They have that relentless drive, much like the zombie attacking a non-zombie as depicted in TV and movies. They watch smart mouthed YouTube millionaires do truly stupid things and find it funny. Granted, some of the pet things can be funny, but really… Much of it is ridiculous. They become millionaires doing what? For me, YouTube is where I get to listen to my favorite musicians aside from an Apple tunes download.

Needless to say, we spent Saturday morning frantically trying to get daughter ready for the trip and horse riding clinic today. Of course, daughter was glued to her iPhone watching some videos and listening to music. To take it away would be withdrawal, much like some drugs. It was clear that the zombie state was starting to kick in. It’s easier to text then to try to speak.