August 17, 2017

One last post

Forget anything I have attempted to pen in recent days.

Read THIS : it says it better, more succinctly and eloquently than I could ever manage.

August 16, 2017

The King is gone. That Burger King in Michigan probably has an opening.*

Elvis gave his last concert in Indianapolis Indiana. He died in ignominious circumstances on this date in 1977.  Elvis has provided me with countless hours of entertainment in my life.

I dig some Elvis movies. He is quite good in most of the films because he pretty much played the same character in all of the movies.. He got good at it.

How can you NOT enjoy this?

I guess this tune sums it up:

* for those of you way too young, rumors floated for years that The King was still alive and working various anonymous jobs.

I'm off to see the Wizard

...Not really a wizard, but a highly skilled surgeon. One year later and I am slated for another eye operation today. The procedure is not nearly so complicated nor invasive as those I had one year ago. This time it is a quick zap by a laser to remove scar tissue from the last surgeries. No lying on my back for weeks at a time I hope!

Do you know what we need? We need some good music to break up the tension. Not only is this one of my favorite tunes, I think it sums up the events of the past week pretty well:

Enjoy your Wednesday.

August 15, 2017

Asked and answered

I think many live in your America. The critical question is what does that America do in response to Charlottesville? Stay quiet? Stand up? Or it doesn't matter as long as it doesn't touch you?
Those are real questions. Not judging - honestly asking.
I was asked this question in a comment to a previous post.

That is the rub. What do we do about unpleasant thoughts in a free society. You see, I do not believe in the concept of "Hate Speech". As I have written repeatedly, the First Amendment exists to protect the speech we find most objectionable. There is no Right to Never Be Offended embedded in the Constitution.

There are some in this country who believe Donald Trump is the greatest threat to freedom in the history of the nation.  Curiously, many of those who hold that tenet are demanding the Government "do something" to regulate "Hate Speech". Do you people realize that it would be the Executive Branch -- in other words, The Donald -- who gets to enforce those regulations? The guy you claim is a closet bigot, a Nazi, a Fascist gets to decide who to jail for failing to think the right group-think. Be careful of what you wish for.

There is nothing you and I can argue that will change the mind of bigoted assholes. There are just some people who think skin color or religion is a reason to marginalize a person. I have never spend a nanosecond as a minority in this country. I have no doubt you see racism every day. That does not mean all white folks are racist bigots any more than all blacks are gangster rappers.

A vote against Clinton as a person, or the Democrat Party platform does not mean I want to don my wife's best bed sheet and demand a return to the good old days of the antebellum South. You know -- when the Democrats controlled the government and Supreme Court. See how easy it is to cast aspersions upon an entire group of people?

We are told that the actions of a tiny percentage of fanatics does not mean every follower of Islam is looking to blow us up. We were cautioned that one Bernie Bro shooting a bunch of Republicans does not mean all of Bernie Sanders socialist followers are set on murdering right-wingers. But somehow, according to Black Lives Matter leaders, the press and Mr. Any Mouse commentor, I have to answer for the actions of a tiny minority of racist, bigoted, misbegotten, white trash hate-filled asshole losers?

No thanks. I refuse to accept that responsibility. The concept of the "White Man's Burden" was an evil philosophy 150 years ago. Nothing has changed, no matter how you flip that coin. 

August 14, 2017

Not in my America

It may be that I live in a fantasy world. Perhaps I am truly blinded by my life and experience and my "privilege", whatever that really means. The hate and violence of the weekend in Virginia is not the America I know.

In my life there are bad black people, bad white people and bad Hispanics. There are even more black and brown and white people who worry about bills, love their kids and root for their favorite sports team. We wake up and get on with the business of living without focusing on race or religion or politics every minute of the day. We work. We live.

I will not pretend I am color blind. I do notice if a person has darker skin than I do. I also notice hair color and tattoos and how you are dressed. And yes, I occasionally make judgments. Sorry, if you are sporting a Hell's Angels vest I am going to steer clear. The same goes for tear drops inked on your face.  I will also form an opinion if you have a burned cross and rebel flag on your farm or are sporting a Black Lives Matter T-Shirt. 

In my America you go to your church or synagogue or not. It is none of my business. You vote how you do. Maybe we agree and maybe we don't. You are probably wrong, but that doesn't mean we can't sit together and enjoy our kids' Little League game. Amazingly, politics rarely is a topic of discussion in my America. I have never talked religion, or Trump, or how I vote with a single one of my neighbors. 

In my world the number of folks who actually "March" and protest and riot are, well, frankly non-existent; they are the fringe. 

Of course bigots live and breathe. They are our neighbors and co-workers.They take your money at he store, the bank, the restaurant. They manage to get through the day without letting hate consume them. I am not dragged into their petty world. 

Most of us just don't care what color your skin is. If you are surrounded by people who think of that aspect first, I suggest you find new friends.  

On the other hand, I just might not live in the real America.  

It is gonna be OK

Last evening I sat alone on the patio. Cicadas sang their lonely song, rising in crescendo before fading out in exhaustion only to again cry out their lust a few minutes later. Beneath the waves of insects chirping in the trees the eh-eh, eh-eh of tree frogs heralded the deepening twilight. The boy's dog scampered and rolled in the grass. I sat in silence. I thought I might cry.

My oldest boy had just crammed the last items into his over-stuffed car and pulled away from the curb headed west to a new life. He is not the first person to move from home and family. He won't be the last. But he is the first of my family to head far out into the wide world. He has not lived at home for more than a decade, but he has always been just an hour or so drive away; close enough we could have lunch or dinner whenever our work schedules permitted. We could always count on him for birthdays and holidays. He will be fine. That doesn't mean his leaving isn't sad. He will always be my little boy. On top of the impending death of my yet-unborn grandson it is a lot on my plate emotionally right now.

I sit here wondering why I cannot sleep at night.

This too shall pass. People have been moving "west" since the beginning of time. The old drive for manifest destiny, the pioneer spirit, still lives in the breast of the hardy. Horace Greeley's exhortation to "Go West young man" was not a new concept when he printed it in the New York Tribune. The spirit of seeking a better life is what brought my forefathers to this continent and led a branch of my family to this part of the heartland we now call home. I live a few dozen miles from where my ancestors ripped the trees from the soil to plant a farm some two hundred years ago. If anything, it is I who has failed to live up to the pioneer spirit.

The boy is off in his modern Conestoga wagon. Instead of oxen, his goods and person will be pulled by a hopefully dependable Ford engine. He will cross the Great Plains not in weeks and months, but in hours. The trip will be just as exciting. He will be filled with just as much trepidation. His mom will worry just as much as I am certain the early settlers' mothers worried.

It is gonna be OK.

August 13, 2017

The world is full of jerks

KKKers, Nazis, Skinheads, White Supremicists -- piss on you all, you bigoted assholes. Skin color is just like hair color, a result of genetics. You are ignorant dickheads.

Those who want to erase history, I fart in your general direction. Take a lesson from Germany. They preserved the Concentration Camps as museums for a reason.

And most of all, those who would use this disgusting rally in Virginia to paint all white people as fascist and racist and haters: you are bigoted assholes too.

Learn some damn history. The Fascists and the Nazis were left-leaning socialists.

Do you know what mostly killed off the KKK? Lack of attention. Nothing hurts a fringe movement like a lack of attention. Instead of the local TV news showing up to spotlight 16 bigoted assholes in dressed in their wife's good bed sheets , no one came to view their idiocy. That is the ultimate ridicule. When counter-protesters show up with mace and pepper spray, that is the best recruitment effort ever. Don't resort to violence, point and laugh. It is way more effective.

August 12, 2017

Dear Keith Ellison

Why do you hate America so much?

As always, counter arguments are welcome in the comment section.

Roy Orbison was a musical genius

Here I sit, pecking away with one finger on my electronic keyboard at 5:00 AM on a Saturday morning. I would rather be snoozing, huddled down in my cozy bed. It is not to be. I woke at 4:30 and couldn't get back to sleep. It is not like I went to bed early either. It was pushing midnight when I headed up to bed.  I dunno either.

The coffee is good this morning. I spied some bacon in the 'fridge yesterday. I may fry some of that up later. I don't need it. I do want it. Maybe I will wait until my granddaughter gets up and make some pancakes. She loves pancakes.

I really wish I had some better content for you. I have read some of my old scribblings. I will not claim they are great columns, but I have lost my blog mojo somewhere along the way. What started as a journal of my times has become a shell. I think that happens when our hobbies become habits.

Part of it is our times. I'm sick of politics. It has become impossible to have a reasoned discussion or even a polite argument. Perhaps there is no middle ground any more. Like the song says, "battle lines are being drawn. Nobody's right if everybody's wrong". We go through this political polarization every couple of generations: the Jacksonian years, the antebellum period, the 1890's, the 1930's, the Sixties. Maybe that nut in North Korea will bring us together. It is a sad fact that war can heal political wounds.

It is way too early for so much seriousness. Enjoy your day.

August 11, 2017

Life advice

I'm late posting to the old blog today. I would like to proudly proclaim that the wait was worthwhile; alas, I cannot lie to you. Not about content anyway.

Well, not in this case.I have little of value to write about today.

My customer visit earlier in the week has partially paid off. I received a decent-sized RFQ from that customer. In case you don't know "RFQ" stands for "request for quotation". I hate acronyms and I am sorry I used one here. If we get the business that would be great. It is out of my hands. The production cost is what it is.

You don't care about the mundane aspects of my work. Heck, you don't care about my work at all.

I would like to tell you my job is hard. Tens of thousands are spent every year on Sales Seminars and training. Pshah, I say. If you want to sell something or convince someone of something one only needs a three step process: Need Plan Benefit.

Discover the other guys needs. Offer a plan to meet those needs and describe the benefits of going with your plan. Need. Plan. Benefit. This will work for sales, for politicians, for convincing your husband to buy that new dining room set, for getting a little nookie.

Of course, the other party may not agree with your plan, or ascribe to the benefits you offer. That is the rub. Such is life. That is why sales is often no more than learning how to handle rejection.

I have become good at it.  My wife gives me plenty of opportunities for practice.

Enjoy your Friday.
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