Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Baseball Hall of Fame and Sour Grapes



With winter comes the inevitable doldrums while awaiting Spring Training.  In only three short weeks pitchers and catchers from every team will report to get things going as the 2018 season promises to bring a smile back on our faces.  We can only watch so many repeats of The Natural, For Love of the Game, Major League, The Rookie and of course The Pride of the Yankees; couldn’t leave that one out, before we go stark raving mad.
(Image courtesy of MLB via Wikipedia)
I noticed on one of the social media forums an interest in who should or shouldn’t be considered as candidates for induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Everyone has a favorite ball player and reasons why each deserves that highest of honors; but then again there are just as many who would argue, some vehemently, that because of ‘this, that or the other’ certain players should never be considered (Sour Grapes?).
A few names come to mind on the ‘this, that or the other’ list of players; those who’ve done something unforgivable, an unpardonable sin against the game which banishes them into outer darkness; well, maybe not quite that far; but certainly keeps them out of Cooperstown.
Start with everyone’s favorite bad guy, Pete Rose, who committed the unpardonable sin of betting on baseball games.  Never mind that he might well be one of the best players to ever put on a uniform…that’s not to be considered; he violated a rule so that’s it, he’s out  (Sour Grapes?).
A couple of others stick out; Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds.  Their names are sullied due to the ‘alleged’ use of banned substances that may or may not have lifted their natural abilities to such an extent as to make their careers stand out.  In the case of Bonds there was also his use of a specially designed arm hinge which ‘may’ have assisted his ability to lift the ball at just the right trajectory to get it over the wall and out of almost any stadium.  So if you mix that with physical enhancement steroids you can become a home run junkie (Sour Grapes?).
Then there’s Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire; both could knock the cover off of a baseball; but was it their own strength or was it due to steroid use?  Sosa also got caught with a corked bat when it snapped in half during a game (Sour Grapes?).
I’m sure the list could be extended with lots of names; ball players who for one reason or another ‘fell from grace’ with a portion of the public.  These individuals will never get the 75% of votes required as they appear on the ballot form.
Here’s my solution; a way of honoring the dishonored if you will.
Create a special room at Cooperstown, call it the Asterisk Room (that’s a joke, I say, that’s a joke… in honor of the 61* attached to Roger Maris by those who couldn’t stand his hitting one more Home Run than Babe Ruth; …but of course he did have more games to do it in).
In this Asterisk Room (Sour Grapes Room) we could identify the great players who totally screwed themselves from being in with all the other truly great players.  Custodians responsible for cleaning and maintenance are going to love the new annex as they clean spit off the glass more often; some folks never forgive or forget.  That said; these players deserve a place in Cooperstown.
I got through the entire article and never once mentioned the hair brained idea of speeding up the game to keep fans interested…oh please; don’t get me started.

This article has been cross posted to The Self Educated American, a publication whose banner reads, “Standing Fast By the Judeo-Christian Heritage, Limited Government and the U.S. Constitution”.
 

Monday, January 22, 2018

Who is looking after our best interests?



This past weekend it was reported that a small news team attempted to “sneak a fake explosive device”  through a TSA checkpoint at Newark’s airport.  After reading several accounts of what may or may not have happened I came away wondering if the individuals arrested actually posed a threat to society or were they performing a service by testing security measures that are currently in place?
“The TSA said members of the group “attempted to intentionally carry through the security checkpoint an item in a carry-on bag that had all of the makings of an improvised explosive device.  At the same time, others in the group covertly filmed the encounter.”’
It got their attention, that much is sure; but what threat to security was there?  The information shared gives every indication that a small group of journalists were testing to see if the folks at TSA were doing a good job.  If that’s the case then wouldn’t TSA thank them for having provided some form of proof, a means of extended job security for the Jack Booted Thugs who routinely violate everyone’s Fourth Amendment right to be secure from unwarranted searches?
According to an  article by Jeff Goldman , this was all a big misunderstanding, “Left Hook Media and Endemol Shine North America issued the explanation and an apology for the disturbance it caused at the Transportation Security Administration checkpoint after nine people associated with the show were arrested Thursday.”
TSA begged to differ, “It said the item inside the roller bag included a motor, wires and PVC pipes, “which are all indicators of an improvised explosive device such as a pipe bomb.”’
The law these individuals violated,  U.S. Code Title 18 Part I Chapter 40 section 844 , states that merely going through the TSA checkpoint with a suspicious item that “…will be used to kill, injure, or intimidate any individual…” (emphasis added) is all that’s needed to file charges, which is exactly what happened.
If these folks had worn napkins on their heads and pretended to be insulted, implied that racism against Islam was involved in the arrest process, claimed it was only a Clock; perhaps they’d have been invited to visit with former president Obama…but, hey, that’s another day, another time…
Now, let’s try this same law enforcement principle on Hillary Clinton as pertain to her handling of official government email while she was Secretary of Defense.  Did I say ‘enforcement’; I meant to say lack of enforcement, my bad.
You might recall something about a handful of email, perhaps a small basket; okay it involved a few large dump truck’s worth of official government email that were sent via Hillary Clinton over an unsecured server .  This was done in direct conflict with procedures put in place to protect national security.  But; on top of that, her handling of email, some of which were clearly labeled Classified or Top Secret…her ‘sloppy or careless handling’ of them also constituted a violation of law.
“FBI director James Comey has stuck by his claim that declining to bring charges against Hillary Clinton for mishandling classified information was the right call because proof of intent was lacking.”
So, if you’re willing to accept that lame explanation, Hillary wasn’t charged with the crime she committed because the FBI claims they can’t prove intent.  Well, maybe they need to read the law which was violated, the one which doesn’t mention anything about needing to prove intent.
Here’s what Andrew MCCarthey wrote for National Review back in May of 2017:
“…this claim is specious on multiple levels. Subsection (f) of the pertinent statute (the Espionage Act, codified at Section 793 of Title 18, U.S. Code) makes it a felony to mishandle classified information “through gross negligence” — i.e., proving Clinton was sloppy or careless (or “extremely careless,” to use Comey’s own description) could have been sufficient.”
It’s okay to arrest and charge journalists for showing how TSA does it job by filming them as they identify a fake explosive device that was incapable of harming anyone but when a real threat to national security has been identified, a member of the untouchable elites who operates an extensive Shadow Government, that individual is above the law.   If I’m mistaken I apologize…but I’m not mistaken, am I…

This article has been cross posted to The Self Educated American, a publication whose banner reads, “Standing Fast By the Judeo-Christian Heritage, Limited Government and the U.S. Constitution”.
 

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Restoring Something Beautiful



We’re in the process of going through items left after my parents died.  They had an old Steeple Clock on their mantle over a fireplace that at one time had been in my grandparent’s apartment.  It didn’t work; but was too beautiful to toss in the trash and so it remained on their mantle over a fireplace that also wasn’t used.
It sat in our U-haul storage unit until this past November when we cleaned everything out to avoid having to pay anymore rent.  The clock didn’t work; but just looking at it took me on a time traveler’s trip back to when I was a young boy visiting my grandparents.
I’d spend the night on a small sofa listening and observing from my vantage point.  They’d leave the window of their small apartment open as they had no air conditioning and a gentle breeze keep the apartment moderately comfortable.
On the half hour their clock would let go a single chimed note while on the hour that same note would repeat until the indicated hour was matched.  It wasn’t a fancy chime; yet eloquent in its somber trembling.  My memory was doing its best to recall the tone that had been silenced when the inner workings had become worn.
I took the clock in for repairs and asked what it would cost to have it brought back to life.  The repairman carefully examined the old clock, admiring the craftsmanship while at the same time pointing out parts which needed replacement.
“Leave it with me any you can have it back in a few weeks.”  He went on to explain how this particular clock might be worth something to a collector.   I agreed to have it repaired in spite of realizing how much the bill would be.
Yesterday we picked the clock up and drove back to our house in the country where it was placed on the hutch, the very same hutch that had once been in my grandparent’s apartment.  Some things are worth repairing; this clock was one of them.
But that’s not why I’m writing today, at least not the main reason.
I look around and see what has happened to my country.  The thought occurred to me that it’s much like that old Steeple Clock that seemed to have outlived its usefulness.  At one time it was a beautiful instrument admired and adored; but over time and through neglect had stopped providing what it was designed to do.
This past week someone left a comment on a public forum, a comment which bothered me then; and still does.  It indicated a cancer has metastasized within our society to the point of destroying the very foundations.  Quoted as written:
“There is no such thing as “god-given” rights. Rights are those aspects of mutual respect and cooperation that the collective agrees to confer on each other, as codified in the Constitution. As for “socialist sh**holes”, socialism is the natural end result of the ongoing evolutionary imperative for humans to thrive collectively rather than attempting to do so individually. It’s just how people work.”
The magnificent workings of our nation no longer shine as brightly as they once did: worn to the point of becoming inoperable, at least that’s what some would say.  Our constitutional republic isn’t ticking strongly, if at all.  There are far too many who would be satisfied to toss it away in favor of one more to their liking, one that didn’t require as much upkeep.
The upkeep I refer to can be identified as self discipline, obedience to eternal laws and principle which shaped our nation from its infancy and at the top of that list, faith in God.  Our founders were aware of the need to be ever mindful of our Creator, the Hand of the Lord or, as often was recorded, Divine Providence as they expressed gratitude for what was given.
You aren’t foolish enough to think this nation just happened out of the blue are you? Well, apparently many of my fellow citizens haven’t got a clue.
Let’s remember, let us all remember… this land we call America was held in reserve for those who would serve Him and individual rights come from God.  The alternative is that rights are no different than entitlements dispensed from government.  If the latter is true then rights can be taken away as easily as they were given depending on who is in power.
Our constitutional republic is the prize sought after by the entire world.  For some it’s a goal worthy of anything to become part of or to emulate; for others it’s an obstacle to be destroyed, dealt with in order to bring about a totalitarian socialist Utopian collective which would remove individual liberty.
It would be difficult, even foolhardy to ignore the similarities between what the scriptures have to say…
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”—Jesus, from the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5:14-16.
… and a quote by Ronald Reagan.
“America is a shining city upon a hill whose beacon light guides freedom-loving people everywhere.”
America, the nation our founders helped bring about, that America will take quite a bit of effort to restore.  We’ve let it become run down, nearly silenced over the past several years.  But something that beautiful is worth restoring.

This article has been cross posted to The Self Educated American, a publication whose banner reads, “Standing Fast By the Judeo-Christian Heritage, Limited Government and the U.S. Constitution”.
 

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

51st State - New California Secession Possible



Folks who understand that self governance requires self discipline, those who’ve found themselves living on the ‘left coast’ while not being able to have a voice in that government have figured out a way to separate themselves from the fruits and nuts currently destroying the state of California. Secession; not from the United States, but the same way West Virginia distanced itself from Virginia, become a state unto itself.
(Image of proposed state boundaries courtesy of MSN’s linked article)
According to an article that showed up on msn.com, “The state of  New California  would incorporate most of the state’s rural counties, leaving the urban coastal counties to the current state of California.”
Interestingly, the folks who wish to secede and start out on their own have identified perhaps the single most important distinction that divides them from the progressives who currently are destroying that state.
“‘Yes. We have to demonstrate that we can govern ourselves before we are allowed to govern,” said founder Tom Reed.”
You see, progressives, socialists or communists; call them what you will, live on the premise that somebody else is always responsible to pay for the errors made while at the same time taking credit for any apparent advances created with other people’s money.
They refuse to consider that forcing others to go along with Social Justice schemes, redistribution of wealth or flat out corruption and tyranny have anything to do with the failures of the Utopian dream turned nightmare there in California.
I’m still waiting for Governor Brown to figure out a way to get the rest of the United States to bail California out of eminent bankruptcy.  It’s the rest of the country’s responsibility to make recompense for those who act irresponsibly; isn’t that how spoiled children view the world?
I read on one of the internet social forums where the United States might solve the on going craziness going on with the self proclaimed Sanctuary State that can’t pay for all the social programs intended to make everyone equally poor.  We could sell California to Mexico for a large sum of money, the figure was around twenty trillion dollars; but that number would be negotiable if the size of that sale were for a smaller piece of property.
Mother Nature might eventually have the deciding vote on any secession issue; but that wasn’t brought up in the discussions, at least not that anyone reported.  The San Andreas Fault runs pretty much along the lines drawn up and could deepen the divide, pun intended, between progressives and right wing conservatives struggling to achieve their goals.
The next highlighted article on the Explorer news page was about the tragic collapse of a bridge under construction down in Columbia that killed at least 10 workers.  Being a warped individual I put the two article together and considered how much easier it would be for a major earthquake to solve the problem, create a huge rift that clearly defined the borders of California and New California…it could happen.

This article has been cross posted to The Self Educated American, a publication whose banner reads, “Standing Fast By the Judeo-Christian Heritage, Limited Government and the U.S. Constitution”.
 

Monday, January 15, 2018

Tagging/Tracking Phone App ?



Some of the new cell phone Apps have me blown away; my being from an older generation where we put coins into a payphone to let our parents know we were on the way home and might be a few minutes late.  Take for instance the camera functions that let you take a snapshot of someone.  When you look at the image in your gallery the GPS program has automatically identified and marked the image as per the location where that photograph was taken via a GPS satellite synchronized with Google Maps.
No, I’m not making this up; it’s already a part of our everyday lives.  Now take that another step forward, maybe three or four days from now…
You take a picture and your fancy cell phone not only captures the image but latches onto the digital signature of the other person’s cell phone and combines this information so that the next time you view the photograph it gives you an update on where the holder of that cell phone is located in real time.  Sounds a little far fetched, doesn’t it?
I love the creativity presented by J.K. Rowling and the talented folks who’ve transformed her books into Harry Potter movies; the earlier ones being my favorites compared to the dark and ominous later movies.  Take for instance The Prisoner of Azkaban with the Marauder’s Footstep Map showing the real time location of anyone at Hogwarts Castle; Roaming the halls at night with only his magic wand and this magical map exposed lots of secrets, some of which are quite interesting if you’re a true Potterfan.
How interesting would it be if your cell phone camera could mimic the Marauder’s Map, showing the location of anyone you’d taken a picture of?
“Hey, ya’ll, Fred’s at the Texas Burger down in Madisonville.  Let’s drive on over and surprise him”.   Or perhaps, “I didn’t see John at church today.  Never mind”, pointing to a thumbnail image of him on Goggle Maps up in Dallas, “…he’s visiting his sister this weekend”.  The opportunities would be endless.
Could such an App be used as a tool for police to catch criminals, “Suspect is westbound on Main, just went behind the drug store and appears to be hiding in the alley”.  Then again… would it be another violation of privacy the NSA uses to compile information on citizens in their supposed quest to keep track of terrorist activity?  All they’d need is a snapshot taken with this new fangled technology…
My trip to the near future was a bit unsettling; maybe we should go back to using old fashioned film cameras…lucky for me I still have my old Kodak Brownie, somewhere.


This article has been cross posted to The Self Educated American, a publication whose banner reads, “Standing Fast By the Judeo-Christian Heritage, Limited Government and the U.S. Constitution”.
 

Friday, January 12, 2018

Respecting the rank without regard for the individual




In the movie, No Time For Sergeants, Private Stockdale, played by Andy Griffith, gives every indication he’d fallen off the proverbial turnip truck as a female officer approached. He’d never seen a female officer as his jaw dropped to indicate the stupor of thought.   The lecture by the Captain for not saluting an officer, regardless of gender, is taken to heart as Stockdale gathers himself, still holding the salute long after the Captain has walked off.

A very short while later he’s at the mess hall prior to having an eye exam, part of the processing tests to determine the next level of training and assignment.  When a rather nice looking female Captain walks in, one that has most everyone turning to admire her form, his sergeant asks him if he sees the attractive female Captain.
Squinting his eyes as he studies the situation over, “I don’t see no woman, I only sees a Captain”.  His sergeant rolls his eyes up in his head considering the necessity of having each and every new enlistee being processed out; his own job is threatened.  There’s no way this idiot’s going to pass any eye exam, there’s no way he’s going to process out.
Now apply this comical example of obligatory respect to the office of President of the United States.  At one time we had people who were referred to as the Loyal Opposition, folks who didn’t’ want Donald Trump, folks who thought Hillary Clinton should have won or folks who believe any and all the negative propaganda being shared on public forums or the large news media outlets; apply the same basic obligatory respect, not because you now have to respect Donald Trump; but because he is in fact the President.  It really is that simple.
Repeat in your mind, even if you don’t quite understand the principle just explained, “I don’t see Donald Trump, a man I can’t stand and who has no business being President.  I only see a President.”
Now act in a civil manner and wait for the next election; but stop the never ending whining and belittling of our President.  The rest of the world is watching and this childish behavior is embarrassing.


This article has been cross posted to The Self Educated American, a publication whose banner reads, “Standing Fast By the Judeo-Christian Heritage, Limited Government and the U.S. Constitution”.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Come Follow Me



In the movie, Always, there’s a scene where a mechanic is working on a service vehicle used at a small private air strip.  Somehow while the motor is running it jumps into gear and takes off without a driver.  On the back of the service vehicle is a sign, Follow Me, intended to guide pilots of small aircraft to the proper location. 

(Image, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo – Adoration of the Magi – Google Art Project courtesy of Wikipedia)
As often happens in movies intended to entertain, a borderline qualified pilot happens to be landing at this precise moment as he observes and follows the unmanned service vehicle down the taxi way, across a private road, all the while everyone around is yelling for him to stop.  Eventually the truck crashes into a house at the edge of the landing strip.
I suppose it really is important to identify and validate prior to following just anyone, or in this case, anything.
Such was and is the case with the Great War in Heaven.  Satan put forth his plan whereby every soul would be guaranteed to return to Father; but man would not have his Agency, the ability to choose.  That plan was not accepted by Father and a third of the host of Heaven who wanted to follow that plan were cast out with Satan.
In the other plan… the plan we all agreed to follow, mortality would be our proving ground, a probationary period to test our resolve in obeying God’s laws.  Knowing our shortcomings Father would provide a Savior, even His Only Begotten Son.  And so the War in Heaven began…and continues to this very day.
For our safe return to Father we must decide on a daily basis if we really do want to return to Father or is it worth the effort.  Nobody is going to force you back to Heaven; but there are plenty of opportunities to stray from the path.
We’ve been given lots of help; parents who love and guide us, the scriptures and living prophets all with the purpose of showing us the way home to Father.  Still, we must decide.
Being a convert to the Church I missed out on attending Primary in my youth; however, the Lord didn’t want me to miss out entirely so along the way I’ve been privileged to serve as an instructor while getting to learn all about Sharing Time, Children’s Hymns and how to deal with a wide variety of challenges.
I remember being impressed as Sharing Time began with a roomful of high energy children bouncing off the walls.  The Chorister didn’t seem phased at all as she stood in front of them, having nodded at the sister playing the piano; asked if one of the more energetic children would assist in singing, Do As I’m Doing.
Do as I’m doing;
Follow, follow me!
Do as I’m doing;
Follow, follow me!
If I do it high or low,
If I do it fast or slow,
Do as I’m doing;
Follow, follow me!
Do as I’m doing;
Follow, follow me…
Apparently the children love this tune as they also have a chance to get the ‘wiggle worms’ out of their system.  After a couple of imaginative operations are offered, a different child helping to carry out the exercise, the children are asked to fold their arms for an opening prayer and the children have achieved a much more teachable attitude.  Someone from the Primary Presidency would then present the spiritual lesson with far fewer interruptions.
Isn’t it much the same with adults?  Take for instance the setting for the birth of our Savior.  Wise Men followed the star, traveling far until it rested over the stable where He’d been sleeping in a crib of hay.  Shepherds watching their flocks by night were greeted by angels advising them of the fulfillment of ancient scripture.
Each of us is prepared according to the Lord’s time, His knowing when our hearts have been properly prepared to receive the message of the Gospel.  For some they are born into families where the Gospel is already a daily part of their lives.  Others, myself included, wait a little longer as experiences and testing work to soften our hearts and open our minds.
The tune in my head has been bouncing around all week, Do as I’m doing, Follow, Follow Me…Do as I’m doing, Follow, Follow Me.  Funny how things like that work to our advantage if we but listen to the Spirit as it guides us to the path leading to what’s best for us.
Lucy and I had been married about 7 years when we decided it was time to toss our world upside down and have children.  I knew at that moment that I needed to know more about spiritual life, much more than I’d gathered over the years.
I hadn’t been much on attending the Presbyterian church, at least not after I’d asked some important questions to the Youth Minister and was told, “You really don’t need to know that”.   Well, I did need to know which was why I’d asked so I came to the conclusion that the reason my request was turned away was simple…this Youth Minister didn’t know the answers and it was his way of telling me to get lost.
I was about 14 at the time and had no use for formal religion until we decided to start our family.
It was time to read the Bible, only this time with the intent of actually finding out what was in it.  The New Testament was my starting point.  I had a partner who attended the Lutheran Church at the time.  He thought it was great that I’d decided to read the Bible, offering me a copy, can’t remember exactly; but it sure wasn’t the King James Version.
I got to the part where God made a Deal with Abraham…yea, it came off like a popular television show… Monty Hall pointing to Curtain Number 3… “…and for you God has a Brand New Pontiac Grand Prix with Air Conditioning, Electric Windows and Italian Leather Bucket Seats.”
I thanked him for his genuine concern and shelved that version of the Bible in favor of the King James Version.  It took a little more effort to read the archaic use of language; but somehow the intent of those words made it into my soul as I continued searching for the pathway back to our Father in Heaven.
I actually took inventory, so to speak, an inventory of those I worked with on a daily basis.  Who seemed to be happier; not because they had more money or a better car as we all were police officers making about the same pay.  No, what I was looking for I’ve learned to call, Countenance, the subtle glow which presents itself when an individual is living his/her life in accordance with Gospel principles.
It’s as if that person had a sign on them saying, Follow Me, I know the way home.
Interestingly, those individuals I’d identified as ‘persons of interest’, they all happened to be members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
If I were prone to assigning things as coincidence, random alignment of details to fit a theory then perhaps it wouldn’t have made such an impression on me; but I don’t believe there is such a thing as coincidence…no, everything happens for a reason including the folks we meet in passing.  It’s up to us to take notice and act on what we have been given.
In short, I knew my insurance agent was a member of the Church so I asked him to send ‘those boys on bicycles’ over so they could tell me more.  The rest is history and we joined the Church.
The Lord sent his servants to assist us in finding the path, the Plan of Salvation.  Another Hymn has been rattling around in my thoughts, one you are familiar with, Come Follow Me.
“Come, follow me,” the Savior said.
Then let us in his footsteps tread,
For thus alone can we be one
With God’s own loved, begotten Son…
I’m grateful for the many opportunities the Lord has seen fit to bless me with all these years; an angel for a wife who puts up with my short comings and loves me in spite of them, the Gospel in my life which has permitted me to follow the Iron Rod which leads us back to our Father in Heaven.  The Temple Blessings which provide the necessary ordinances for eternal marriage and families, ordinances which include all those who have gone before us and tie them together with those who have yet to arrive.
Glad I followed the right path, could just have easily tore through that house on the edge of the run way had I not been paying attention.  In the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen.


This article has been cross posted to The Self Educated American, a publication whose banner reads, “Standing Fast By the Judeo-Christian Heritage, Limited Government and the U.S. Constitution”.