Monday, February 27, 2006

In Memory of Don Knotts

I was sorry to hear of the passing of Don Knotts. He was a great side kick actor, making his most memorable character as Barney Fife, Mayberry’s deputy who carried his lone bullet in his pocket. He played many other roles; Mr. Limpet, The Ghost and Mr. Chicken and possibly his shortest role in No Time For Sergeants.

I watched No Time For Sergeants tonight; looking forward to the administration of the coordination test scene. “But he did it all wrong.”, his high pitched voice reacting to the newly bent and destroyed testing materials, that familiar bungler that matched him up with Andy Griffith for the rest of his career.
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Thursday, February 23, 2006

An Interesting Call for Service

Yesterday afternoon I had a woman call me asking for prices; nothing strange about that, happens all the time. I generally like to know who I’m talking to, a social courtesy and just plain good business to start things off on the right foot.

“The car belongs to my sister; why do you need to know my name?” I use one of those old fashioned cell phones that doesn’t have a built in camera so she couldn’t see me shake my head and start to grin as I looked with my eyes rolled upwards.

“Okay, can you tell me what I’ll be making a key to?”

“It’s a 1998 Ford Ranger that belonged to her son.” There was a lengthy explanation as to the probability that the keys were in some relatives pocket because the woman was too old to be driving and they might have intentionally withheld the keys. “How much will it cost to make a key?”

I went on to explain that I would quote her two prices because on that particular year model some had a plain mechanical key that I could replace for $ 50 and that on others that had the transponder key systems I would have to charge an additional $ 100; two PATS keys at $ 25 each plus $ 50 to initialize the PATS system by hooking my computer up to the computer on board the truck.

“I’ll take the $ 50 key; we’re trying to save money”. I explained that I couldn’t say for sure which price would be in effect until I had a chance to examine the vehicle, turn the key in the ignition and see if it was equipped with the transponder system. When she hung up I wasn’t sure that she had any idea what I’d tried to explain about the newer key systems and why there was a price difference.

This morning she called back, still reluctant to tell me her name. “Remember me, I called about my sister’s Ford Ranger? You can come make that $ 50 dollar key now; she’s expecting you.” I went over the price, explaining the same thing as before.

“She can’t afford the other key so just make the $ 50 dollar key”. It was no use; just do it.

“Can I get an address and a phone number?” I took down the information and was familiar with the location that wasn’t far from the job I was almost finished with. “I can be there within the hour. It would be nice to have her name in case I have to call.” The woman then gave me all the requested information along with her own phone number, just in case I had to call back.

“Thank you, I’ll be there shortly.” I drove the short distance and upon pulling up in front of the house I called the number to let her know I was one of the “good guys”. I had dialed the back up phone number by accident and recognized the voice immediately as she answered the phone. “Just letting you know I arrived.”

I then walked up to the front door, the storm door permitted a view of the living room. A very old and feeble woman was charting a course for the front door; one labored and calculated step at a time as she made sure to catch a piece of an arm chair, a corner of a table and then the next chair until arriving at the front door. I quietly prayed for her safety as it was painfully clear that she should be using a walker; at the very least a cane.

“You’ll forgive my slowness, I just got out of the hospital with a broken hip.” I winced at the idea of her walking around at all.

“I have a cane in my truck, please, let me get it for you.” My back will pinch on me while working and so I keep the cane behind the front seat just in case. I’ve only had to use it a couple of times; even so, it’s worth having.

“No thank you, they gave me one of those walker things; can’t stand it, gets in the way all the time.” I could see her trying to figure out how to turn around; a hesitation and a look of exasperation on her face as she called out to her house keeper. “Did you unlock the garage?” I heard the garage door opening and let her know that I could take care of what ever needed to be done and to PLEASE sit and make herself comfortable.

I made the key in short order; but the battery on the truck was so weak that I had to jump it off. I keep a set of jumper cables handy for such occasions. The truck started right up with the simple key; they must be living under a special star. I backed my truck out of the garage and while I was putting up my tools I noticed that the woman had come out into the garage with a few bills folded up in her hand to pay me with.

“I’ll be right there, just making you a spare key; no charge, on the house.” I looked over and my stomach began to tighten; she was sprawled out on the floor, how she fell I have no idea. She hadn’t cried out in pain, in fact she had a silly grin on her face, still holding the rolled up bills up as if to pay me.

“Please, somebody going past will think I’m robbing you.” I forced a laugh as I went to help her up; all the while praying that she hadn’t broken her hip again, an ankle or something else.

“I’m fine, just tripped over that piece of wood; really, I’m okay.” I walked her back inside the house and accepted her payment. She wanted me to stay around; charge the battery, move the truck out of the garage and some other things.

“Sorry, I have another customer waiting on me; I have to go now.” Thinking to myself, “Please, God, let her live until I’m out of the driveway.”, knowing that her house keeper was there to tend to things.

Edited May 5, 2006: This article was published in the locksmith's national trade magazine, ALOA's Keynotes, April edition.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Spoiled American Locksmith

I bought a new file last week to replace one that I thought had been used to the point of being worn out. I don’t like to waste money on a tool I already own; so, buying one I think might be useful for another year or so runs contrary to my personality; blame it on my Scottish and German ancestry.

The file I replaced isn’t going to be found just anywhere; not at Sears or the local hardware store since it has very limited use, locksmiths or possibly someone who sharpens chain saws might use such a file except this particular file wouldn’t last long working with anything other than brass. It’s called a, “GROBET 6" #4 CUT ROUND SWISS FILE” (linked via title bar), and is used to make an impression key. It feels like velvet to the touch because its design is cut so finely. I can whittle a key blank to fit the shape of the original key by studying the way the metal reflects off the surface of a properly prepared key. The better the file, the better the surface to work from and the quicker I can finish and get paid.

I got to use my new file this afternoon and I was pleasantly reminded of how nice a new file can get the job done. I retired the old file to my back up tool box; several years as my favorite file, maybe I should have it framed and hang it on the wall. A lady at church asked me how I might describe what I do. I told her I was into Metal Sculpture and smiled a big grin back at her. My artwork pays very nicely and folks don’t have to travel to a museum to enjoy it.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Sometimes I just comment

Houston Chief Wants To Install Cameras In Your Home was the title of an article posted at a site called “1492”. The article was all about the right to privacy and a statement made, "if you are not doing anything wrong, why should you worry about it?" and the associated mentality which springs from such an attitude.

I had to comment:

I read the article in the Houston Chronicle by the Chief and he wanted to post 6 cameras in the downtown area. These cameras will be monitored by officers and the intent was to save tax dollars by increasing the viewable area while not having to use more officers. I don't recall anything being mentioned about placing cameras in homes, that sounds like fabrication on the fly.

The city of Houston is installing some 50 or so cameras at busy intersections to catch and ticket folks who run red lights, another issue since these will not be monitored by a police officer prior to sending out a ticket. I have written extensively on this subject, in fact it is one of the reasons I started my blog. My satire op-ed published by the Chronicle was so badly edited as to indicate that I was for camera enforcement when I am not.

There are cameras placed in locations around the freeway systems to monitor traffic flow; which information is passed along directly to the public via the internet, to help identify tie ups, wrecks and alternate routes.

In summary, cameras can be used to assist the everyday goings on in some instances. Their use as a traffic enforcement tool, however, violates basic rights by putting a machine in place of a human as a witness, be it a criminal proceeding or civil. I don't buy into the "right to privacy" arguement when these cameras are placed in public places, no different than having a police officer standing on a corner since the information is monitored by officers as a means of determining if immediate action is necessary and also to document activity that may have evidence that will aid in catching criminals. Store cameras installed behind the register help catch bad guys all the time.

Lastly, neither the city of Houston, nor its police chief are not in favor of installing these types of cameras in homes. (should have read “are in favor”)

Public Servants Indeed was the title of a piece written by DL over at TMH Bacon Bits about unions and the use of strikes by public employees to shut down cities and break the backs of those who pay their salaries. I think this article pointed out the same concerns that most folks have toward unionized workers forgetting who is in charge.

Here’s the comment I left:

I have some direct input regarding civil servants, unions and the threat to strike in order to obtain leverage. Back when I was an officer with the City of Houston we had two major groups, The Houston Police Officer’s Association and The Houston Police Officer’s Union. I was not a member of the Union. One time these brave union officers wanted to call for a sick out strike. Interestingly the sick out was scheduled to fall on the same night as their “honcho’s” regular night off so he could look like he was in full support of the sick out strike. I was called a “scab” by this fellow officer, something which he learned to regret within seconds of the words escaping his lips. I pointed out the fact that if he could step outside and discuss the point or apologize in front of his union members, which he did.

Civil servants sign up knowing that they have limited powers of appeal to those who pay their salary. The problem is that they forget after awhile, believing that they can rule those who hired them. My point of view is that if the situation becomes so bad that employment is no longer worth it; leave and find employment somewhere else. At that time you can gripe, grumble and stand on the soap box as long as you like to explain about how rotten things were. Unless you are willing to take that step, then bite your tongue and do the job you are being paid to do.

Why I love The Houston Livestock Show And Rodeo was posted by Greg at Rhymes With Right. Until you have experienced Go Texan week in Houston, well, it’s hard to explain in so many words. I have to enjoy a non-political blog once in a while.

I left this comment:

My daughter told me a funny story last year about a fellow visiting Houston over by the Post Oak Business park. He looked out the window on the Friday before the big Live Stock Show Parade and noticed all the traffic tied up because of the cowboys headed toward Memorial Park. Then the folks who worked there led him to believe it’s like that every afternoon.

(Not left in the comment section: Traffic around the Post Oak Business area is always a mess, "We don't need no stinking horses" to screw it up.


Monday, February 20, 2006

Clean Hands

To all my friends and those who read my articles I pass along this wise council. It is not my intention to point a finger accusingly, only to consider the paths which lie before us and to choose with great care knowing that all paths have a destination.

I heard one my local church leaders, Dennis Larsen of the Stake Presidency, explain how important it was to have clean hands. He used the example of an old television show, “What’s My Line”. Some of you may not be old enough to remember the black and white television game show.

“There was a regular panel of “star celebrities” who would each get to ask 10 questions of the person, one who had some unusual form of making a living while attempting to discern, “What’s My Line?”. One of them, Kitty Carlyle ( hope I got that right ), would always ask to have a good look at the person’s hands as one of her questions.” . (paraphrased)

I immediately gave my hands a quick perusal; being a locksmith, I have to work particularly hard to clean away oily dirt that gets embedded in the small cracks or fissures in my hands and under my fingernails. Yes, my hands were cracked and rough from being exposed to the elements; but they were clean.

“What would your hands say about your habits, your lifestyle; are they clean? In Psalms 23:3-4, David says, “Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart…”

President Larsen was talking about a different kind of “clean hands” as he directed most of his comments toward the youth attending the meeting. I’m still younger than my father so I must be one of the youth he was addressing.

“You young men are not only going to have to account to your fathers and Church leaders here but most importantly one day to Heavenly Father. None of us knows how long we are going to live. In the Book of Mormon, Alma asked the question, “Can ye look up to God at that day with a pure heart and clean hands?” (Alma 5:19)”

President Larsen then quoted from an address given to the Priesthood Session of General Conference in October 2000. Elder Jeffery R. Holland, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, gave the young men and even their fathers some wonderful counsel on keeping clean today and standing in holy places. I would like to share this with you:

“Now, we live in an age when that cleanliness is more and more difficult to preserve. With modern technology even your youngest brothers and sisters can be carried virtually around the world before they are old enough to ride a tricycle safely across the street. What were in my generation carefree moments of movie going, TV watching, and magazine reading have now, with the additional availability of VCRs, the Internet, and personal computers, become amusements fraught with genuine moral danger. I put the word amusements in italics. Did you know that the original Latin meaning of the word amusement is “a diversion of the mind intended to deceive”? Unfortunately that is largely what “amusements” in our day have again become in the hands of the arch deceiver."

"Recently I read an author who said: “Our leisure, even our play, is a matter of serious concern. [That is because] there is no neutral ground in the universe: every square inch, every split second, is claimed by God and counterclaimed by Satan.” I believe that to be absolutely true, and no such claiming and counterclaiming anywhere is more crucial and conspicuous than that being waged for the minds and morals, the personal purity of the young.”

Consider the information available in plain sight as you go about your daily information travels through the internet. I generally start with my local newspaper’s web site, then CNN and Fox to get an idea of what happened during the past several hours. How many of you would enjoy a field trip to visit the red light district in Amsterdam? At CNN they’re having an open house this week for curious tourists, complete with video of those brothels. All you have to do is click on the link provided, no parental controls because it’s a news story, right? If you’re looking for the link here; sorry, you’ll have to go over to CNN.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Listening to the Spirit

It’s Sunday, a day for contemplating my eternal soul. My friend Jack Mixa summed up quite a bit in one sentence today, forgive me if I misquote a bit, “A person who looks up into the heavens gains more understanding of them in five minutes than he could by reading from a book on astronomy all his life.” Jack went on to explain that you can learn quite a bit about the temporal and spiritual health of a family by entering their home and observing with all five of your senses, much more so than had you relied on a report.

We are about the work of our Father in Heaven as we take care of our neighbors, our brothers and sisters. It may not seem like much, dropping by to visit, saying a kind word while passing at the grocery store, sending a birthday card or any number of simple pleasantries as we go about life.

I noticed an act of kindness this morning at church; something that opened my eyes as to how the Spirit works. The talks had been given, the closing prayer offered and the chapel was clearing out as one of the sisters, an older woman who lives alone, approached the podium. She wanted a copy of the notes used by the speaker because the talk had meant so much to her. “No, problem, I have it on my computer”, handing over the printed version without a thought. I immediately saw a huge smile break over the older woman’s face, having been given a priceless gift, one that she could take home and read over and over again. I mentioned my observations to the speaker, catching up with her to let her know how important a gift she had given and how it had made the other sister’s day complete.

When I read my scriptures, I have to remind myself that the Prophets who wrote down the information were men, not so different than ourselves. They breathed air, swallowed water, ate meals and stubbed their toes while walking just as any other man. They did however, realize the eternal nature of man, the relationship with Father in Heaven and by doing so elevated the purpose of being mortal.

In the Book of Mormon, Ammon explained:

“. . . I am a man, and man in the beginning was created after the image of God, and I am called by his Holy Spirit to teach these things unto this people, that they may be brought to a knowledge of that which is just and true;

And a portion of that Spirit dwelleth in me, which giveth me knowledge, and also power according to my faith and desires which are in God.” (verse 34,35)

Jack Mixa was correct when he explained that looking into the heavens offers a glimpse of that eternal nature which we are a part of. Within each of us, being children of our Father in Heaven, is a portion of that Spirit, which giveth knowledge and power according to that faith and desire which are in God. The scriptures become more than words on a piece of paper, more than words spoken from a pulpit; they become a link with all that has been, all that is and all that will become. We gain a greater respect for life; more especially, we gain self respect. Our vision of the eternities need only start with a look in the mirror.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Oh My! Lindsey Jacobellis’ Lesson

Photo courtesy of Sports Illustrated’s Bob Martin as published on the CNN website.

Most everyone following the Winter Olympics has seen multiple reruns of Lindsey Lacobellis’ celebration for winning, correction, for almost winning the women's snowboardcross, the one she had in her back pocket just prior to the actual finish line. “Would of, should of and could of” are a poor substitute for a Gold medal that someone else got to take home. This is the kind of film footage that will haunt her the rest of her natural life as it will be shown at every Olympic competition as a lesson on how not to count your chickens before they hatch.

I’d go a step farther and explain that there is a difference between spontaneous jubilation for having won and poor sportsmanship. It happens in football games; the cocky in your face theatrics of rubbing the opponents noses in it for having scored a touchdown. In baseball it shows its ugly head when the star slugger smirks at the pitcher and stands at home plate watching the majestic arch as the baseball clears the upper deck railing in right center field prior to sauntering around the diamond.

What ever happened to winning graciously, acknowledging and respecting the competition? The spot light is on each of us as we shine or, in this case, tarnish the metal which we are made of.
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Thursday, February 16, 2006

Water Skiing, Snorkeling and Scuba Diving and the ACLU

Several weeks ago I attended a Sunday School lesson taught by a friend of mine, an excellent teacher. He used the analogy of someone water skiing to start a discussion of how some folks read their scriptures. They know that by reading the scriptures on a daily basis that their lives will be blessed, in some small degree, by virtue of the fact that they are being obedient to that council given. Then there are those who are compared to folks who go snorkeling, they get into their scriptures a little deeper and by doing so are able to see things that are below the surface. Finally my friend brought up the scuba divers, those who delve deeply into the meanings of each and every word, sentence and structure presented so that at the end of their reading session they come away enlightened and edified, having gleaned much more than their counter parts.

We spent the better part of an hour, we could have spent the whole afternoon, scuba diving one chapter in the Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 8, which is an accounting of the vision of the Tree of Life. ( ) We pondered what various words meant, how they referred to other scripture, the importance of the images presented until the chapter’s contents had been gleaned.

This morning I was reading in Ogre’s Politics and Views, an article which he called, ACLU Hates Good. (linked via title bar) Ogre went on to explain how we are up against an organization which has as part of its on going agenda, declared war on everything which makes America great.

“Our heritage is slowly being stripped away. Scouting is an embedded institution in this nation. It contributes to society by keeping good boys good and allows them to develop into good men. Why would anyone want to destroy that? Because they don't like our way of life.”

While you still have your scuba gear on, can you figure out why I thought that these two stories fit so well together? Has the mist overtaken our view of the straight and narrow path which leads to the Tree of Life, our ability to hold to the rod which runs so dangerously close to that river of filth?

Can you say Reasonable Doubt?

On the Fox news website this morning I read the following:

“HOUSTON — The former head of Enron Corp.'s bust of a broadband business acknowledged that former CEO Jeffrey Skilling may not have knowingly misled anyone about the venture's prospects of success.”

“Under cross-examination Wednesday, Kenneth Rice, a former top lieutenant and friend to Skilling, said his own cheerleading for the unit may have fueled his former boss' broadband optimism.”

The rest of the trial is a waste of time and effort because, unlike a civil proceeding, the state has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an offense occurred; that has now been flushed down the toilet. If you’re Jeff Skilling do you pay your attorney a bonus or does that go to Kenneth Rice?

There is a bonus of one Brooklyn Bridge to the first person to post a comment. Already have a bridge, how about some land in west Texas?

A Bitter Pill to Swallow.

Also from the Fox website:

“BOSTON — The state pharmacy board ordered
Wal-Mart on Tuesday to stock emergency contraception pills at its stores in Massachusetts.”

{…} Sam's Club stores in Massachusetts.”

I find it ironic that the “pro-choice” folks had the freedom to go down the street to a pharmacy which stocked the emergency contraception pills, something they freely admit that they knew. So, being pro choice means that they chose to go after one particular store to enforce a law based on the arbitrary opinions of the state board.

“The women had argued that state policy requires pharmacies to provide all "commonly prescribed medicines."

I can’t wait for the same mentality of intervention to inflict itself on other “free market” entities. I’m a locksmith; my specialty is automotive locksmith work. Once in a while I get calls from folks who have lost their keys to their house, a motorcycle, a tractor, and I even got a ship to shore call to make keys for a lock on an off shore drilling rig one time. All these folks expected that because I have the word “locksmith” in my title that I am set up to work on all kinds of locks. As a matter of preference, I don’t work on houses, motorcycles or tractors; and I don’t plan on renting a helicopter just so I can pick up the off shore platform locksmith work. It boils down to my decision to work on what I think is in my best interests, making a profit, working on things I enjoy and things which I’m proficient at. There are other locksmiths in town and I refer these types of calls to them; no different than Wal-mart sending women with pointed black hats to other pharmacies as long as it’s within a reasonable distance for them to achieve on their broomsticks.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

In Memoriam of W. Cleon Skousen

I never met the man; a great American, as Sean Hannity might say were he to be engaged in conversation regarding the author of many books, including The Naked Communist. A friend of mine sent me a synopsis of this true patriot’s life as written by Earl Taylor. Please take a moment to consider the efforts of one man who loved America by his word and by his deeds. (link via title bar)

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Valentine’s Day Thought

I enjoy the story telling talents of Garrison Kiellor , well known for his radio show, The Prairie Home Companion. He once told a story about the mind set being one of the unpopular kids in Grade School while all the other kids were exchanging Valentine cards. He reminded me of the tear a part pages that our parents bought at the local Woolworth’s or Five and Dime store, the kind that all the kids would give to their friends during class time; all except the two or three unpopular kids. Those kids would wait around for the card that wasn’t coming. The teacher would take some cards from the stacks of cards that the most popular kids had; they’d never miss a couple of cards, erasing the name of the one child and writing over with the name of the unpopular kid so he/she’d get in on the celebration. Garrison Kiellor may have been that awkward child sitting alone waiting, noticing the teacher’s hand writing over the erased smear and acknowledging his lonely state, resigned to such a fate that would likely last a life time. He did a wonderful job of explaining those feelings, why else would it have remained with me all these years.

I much preferred his story of the Cherry Picker going down the road leaving tracks in the snow, as if made by the Abominable Snow Man, to cover up the fact that they had accidentally hauled several miles of telephone cable down from the poles as they crawled to a halt in a snow storm. I’m so glad I live here in Houston where a little frost on the roof can be imagined as a harsh winter storm.
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What Pattern is Your Brain?

Tip of the Hat to Robert at Libertopia.

Your Brain's Pattern

You have a dreamy mind, full of fancy and fantasy.

You have the ability to stay forever entertained with your thoughts.

People may say you're hard to read, but that's because you're so internally focused.

But when you do share what you're thinking, people are impressed with your imagination.

Monday, February 13, 2006

A Trip to the Doctor’s Office

My friend Richard Sutton sends these out, with apologies for having done so. Thank you for sharing these, especially on a Monday. There were several others on the list; but I didn’t want to be responsible for injuries caused from falling over laughing.

A gorgeous young redhead goes into the doctor's office and said that her body hurt wherever she touched it.

"Impossible!" says the doctor. "Show me."

The redhead took her finger, pushed her elbow and screamed. She pushed her knee and screamed; likewise she pushed her ankle and screamed. Everywhere she touched made her scream.

The doctor said, "You're not really a redhead, are you?

"Well, no" she said, "I'm actually a blonde."

"I thought so," the doctor said. "Your finger is broken..."

Fun with the Scriptures

Original Sin, by Michelangelo (1475-1564)
Sistine Chapel, Vatican, Rome (link via title bar)

A tip of the hat goes out to Judy Eckerle for sending this out to all her friends via e-mail.

A new bishop was visiting the homes in the ward. At one house it seemed obvious that someone was at home, but no answer came to his repeated knocks at the door. Therefore, he took out a business card and wrote "Revelation 3:20" on the back of it and stuck it in the door.

The following Sunday he found that his card had been returned under his office door. Added to it was this cryptic message, "Genesis 3:10." Reaching for his Bible to check out the verse, he broke up in gales of laughter.

Revelation 3:20 begins "Behold, I stand at the door and knock." Genesis 3:10 reads, "I heard your voice in the garden and I was afraid for I was naked."

Remember when the funniest jokes were the clean ones? They still are! "A cheerful heart is good medicine" (Prov. 17:22) Now, pass it on!

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Peanut Butter Assignment is Done

Lucy can breathe a little easier, our Peanut Butter Assignment for the year is a done deal. One of her volunteer jobs at church has to do with the Bishop’s Cannery’s obligation to fill the pantry shelves with peanut butter; not just the Houston Bishop’s Storehouse, the entire United States with however many Bishop Storehouses are on that grid. Houston is where the peanut butter is made, some place up in the Northwest I imagine all the salmon is put into cans while California puts plums or something and so on around the country as each area contributes what they can (can, how’s that for an accidental pun?). It all ends up on a shelf where those in need are able to feed their families without having to go on the government’s food stamp program. Our Church Welfare program should be the model used by the government since it is by far the most efficient means of distributing what is needed without demeaning the human spirit.

One of the nice parts is that all the labor is supplied by volunteers from within the local church. A normal run starts off on a Friday morning in four hour shifts and runs through Saturday afternoon non stop until the needed number of jars are filled, labeled, put into cases and then onto pallets for distribution. Those who help get the option of purchasing some for personal use. Lucy is a major coordinator of this effort each year and I have sense enough to stay clear of her when she’s on the phone, filling in spread sheets and twisting arms. I’ve linked to her article via the title bar.

The picture is of a peanut butter run done back a couple of years ago, the faces may change but the job remains the same. The young man is one of our neighbors taking time from his normal business day and donating that time to those in need. Small things that when put together become a great work.

“And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.”
Mosiah 2:17) Posted by Picasa

Sunday, February 12, 2006

What Does a Mormon Believe?

I got a kick out of a conversation I had the other day with John, a fellow I do business with. He had need of my locksmith services and wasn’t near his office where he kept a list of phone numbers. He recalled that I had a web site so he looked me up on the internet to get hold of me. While he was there he noticed that I also had this thing called a blog.

He had a chance to skim through a couple of my articles, read my profile and learn a little more about the insane character who stops by on Saturdays to cut duplicate keys for their car lot. This past Saturday he started asking questions about the “Mormon Bible”, as he called it, the one written by some guy named “John what his name”. I smiled and filled in the blanks; “The Book of Mormon was translated by Joseph Smith from text written on plates of gold that were buried in the earth by the Prophet Moroni around the year 400AD.”

“I’ll bet those plates of gold would be worth something today”, or something close to that was the next thought, followed by, “What do you guys believe in, anyway?”

“We believe that Jesus is the Christ, the savior of the world”, was my answer. I suppose I could have quoted the Articles of Faith; but I don’t think he was ready for that much, at least not all at one time. We talked a little about the history of polygamy and how some splinter sects, no longer members of our church, continue the practice.

“I didn’t see much about your religion, at least not from what was posted there on your blog.” I explained that he could look in the archived articles and find some. Today while listening to the talks at church I heard a story about a young boy who, when asked by an adult visiting the Salt Lake valley what he believed, explained the most basic tenants as he’d learned them in Primary; we call them the Articles of Faith. (linked via title bar)

“A key document of the restoration of the gospel is a
letter the Prophet Joseph Smith wrote in reply to a request of John Wentworth, editor of a Chicago newspaper. In the Wentworth letter, the Prophet wrote a “sketch of the rise, progress, persecution, and faith of the Latter-day Saints.” (History of the Church, 4:535.) It apparently was the first published account of principal events that occurred in the 36-year-period after the Prophet’s birth. The last part of the letter, the Articles of Faith, is a concise statement of fundamental beliefs of the Church. The fact that one heaven-inspired person rather than a council of scholars produced this remarkable document is another evidence of Joseph Smith’s divine calling.” Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles wrote in his article, “Seeking the Good”, Ensign 1992.

John asked about that “Big Church” we had over on Cypresswood, and so I mentioned that he was referring to the Houston Temple and that it was a special building with a different purpose than the local meeting houses scattered around the city. I did mention that Lucy and I had been “sealed” in the temple; explaining how it added to the familiar wedding vows, “’till death do you part”, by creating the extension, “for time and all eternity” which makes such a union the beginning of an eternal family.

“In the words of Hugh Nibley, “The temple is a scale model of the universe. The mystique of the temple lies in its extension to other worlds; it is the reflection on earth of the heavenly order, and the power that fills it comes from above.” (“Nibley Considers the Temple in the Cosmos,” Insights, an Ancient Window, Mar. 1992, p. 1.)”

John wanted to know if anyone could go inside the Temple and I explained that it was reserved to members who were living their lives in accordance with the principles of the Church; but that regular meeting houses were open to everyone. I hope this information is helpful to anyone desiring to know a little more about what a Mormon believes.
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Thursday, February 09, 2006

Speaking of pranking…

I was reading in Cerberus (linked via title bar) about how some cops pass the time when they get bored, some of the pranks they pull on each other; in general, things that would not sit well if it were to be filmed and put on the news at 10pm.

One year the city decided to have all the new police units use the same exact key so that if an officer lost his key, locked it up inside the car or any number of reasons; any officer with that same year model car key would operate it. It sounded like a good idea until officers found that it was easier to take the first patrol car they came up on in the police parking lot rather than look for the one they were assigned to in roll call.

Officer _________’s patrol car broke down and rather than bother with going back to the office and checking out another unit, he took the first car he came to. He didn’t notice that the passenger side of the patrol car had new damage as he drove off and headed for his favorite lunch spot downtown. The officer who’d just been involved in a wreck was mildly bewildered when he brought his supervisor down to document the damage; the patrol car was missing. It didn’t take long to figure out what had happened and it was decided that officer ________ was to become the brunt of a very nasty prank.

The shift Lieutenant, his Sergeant and one IAD Sergeant drove to where officer _______ had called out to eat. They were very serious as they asked him why he’d left the scene of a major accident without identifying himself and without making a report or calling a supervisor. They had him walk outside where they showed him the damage; the first time he’d noticed it. The color ran from his cheeks as they grilled him for several minutes, filling in forms and doing a great job of putting his back to the wall. Eventually they explained to him that, “In the future he needed to follow the established policy of checking out a patrol car.”

When I first started with the Department the patrol cars had a piece of spring steel where the door frame and the headliner met. Anytime some officer said something bone headed on the radio his fellow officers would “twang” the piece of spring steel while holding the mike keyed open. That was about the mildest form of pranking.

I may have mentioned this next one before; but it’s worth repeating. Way back when, before we had a gazillion radio channels there were only a North of the Bayou, a South of the Bayou and a “back” channel. The back channel was for officers only, not having a relay through the dispatcher and so it kept the local news media from intercepting casual conversations between officers not intended for anyone else.

Somebody had the idea to prank with a rookie by changing the setting on his radio to the back channel while another officer pretended to be the dispatcher. The rookie was sent to one of the largest office buildings downtown, One Shell Plaza, to evacuate due to a bomb threat. The rookie did his best to alert the folks, starting at the top and working his way down floor by floor; but nobody took him too seriously. My guess is that the same officers who changed the setting to the back channel also let the folks over at One Shell in on the prank.

There used to be a couple of senior officers at one of the police substations on the south east side of the city with a rather strange way of initiating rookie officers. When it was time to go have dinner; at a predetermined time, each would turn on their emergency equipment and race toward the “hole”. It didn’t matter if they were on a freeway; these guys would exit where there wasn’t an exit at top speed, never letting their rookie partner in on the nature of the emergency.

These same two senior officers thought it was fun to ask their rookie officers for a look at their brand new Smith and Wesson police pistols. They would admire the brand new blue finish, then hold it out the window and fire off a few rounds before handing it back to the startled rookie. I had already been on my wild ride my first time to ride with these guys and had heard from a fellow rookie about the pistol prank so I was able to avoid that one. You have to wonder about the maturity level of some folks who wore the badge.

Thanks to Cerberus for reminding me of some of the silly stuff that went on at the PD.

I am Thankful

I got this in my e-mail from Uncle Jim, Thank You.

I am Thankful:

For the wife who says it’s hot dogs tonight because she is home with me, and not out with someone else.

For the Husband who is on the sofa being a couch potato, because he is home with me and not out at the bars.

For the teenager who is complaining about doing dishes because it means he is at home, not on the streets.

For the taxes I pay because it means I am employed.

For the mess to clean after a party because it means I have been surrounded by friends.

For the clothes that fit a little too snug because it means I have enough to eat.

For my shadow that watches me work because it means I am out in the sunshine.

For a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning, and gutters that need fixing because it means I have a home.

For all the complaining I hear about the government because it means we have freedom of speech.

For the parking spot I find at the far end of the parking lot because it means I am capable of walking and I have been blessed with transportation.

For my huge heating bill because it means I am warm.

For the lady behind me in church who sings off key because it means I can hear.

For the pile of laundry and ironing because it means I have clothes to wear.

For weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day because it means I have been capable of working hard.

For the alarm that goes off in the early morning hours because it means I am alive.

And finally, for too much e-mail because it means I have friends who are thinking of me.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Freedom Collection

All week long, and it’s been a long week two days into the week, I’ve been hearing about the inappropriate cartoon depicting Mohammed in a bad light. The militant factions of Islam have burned buildings and shown their colors. I listened to some Bush bashing at the funeral of Corretta Scott King; a sacred moment turned into a political hatchet job by Rev. Lowery and former President Carter, it was deplorable to say the least.

The idea occurred to me that it’s time to turn back the clock a little, take a look at what life is supposed to be about and elevate our spirits. So, what do we stand up for here in America, what’s important to us? I was reminded of the paintings done by Norman Rockwell, commonly referred to as the Four Freedoms; Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion, Freedom from Fear and Freedom from Want.

“Rockwell's Four Freedoms served to bolster the country's mood: In the midst of the 20th century's greatest challenge, one man helped a nation understand the four fundamental freedoms owed to citizens of the world. In 1943, the compelling power of The Four Freedoms galvanized a nation to action. Today, in the midst of similar trials, its enduring message still rings true. Hanging majestically in their own gallery in the Norman Rockwell Museum, the paintings comprising The Four Freedoms continue to remain part of our public consciousness and collective memory.”, taken from the Norman Rockwell website.

Please take a few moments to view these important reminders by clicking on the link provided in the title bar.
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Monday, February 06, 2006

We Respect Your Rights…

In the Houston Chronicle I read about hundreds of Muslims marching, many carrying signs protesting the recent “Cartoon-gate”. (Story linked via title bar)

“Several hundred Muslims dressed in black gathered downtown Sunday to remember martyr Imam Husain, the grandson of the prophet Muhammad, with prayer, speeches and a 10-block march down the streets.”

"This is a religious protest against a brutal crime that took place 1,400 years ago," said Azra Zaid, as she walked with the group of men, women and children. The Islamic calendar begins with the month of Muharram, during which Husain and his family were killed by the ruler of the Islamic world.”

These folks have been killing each other off for a long time it would appear. Now they want to share their thirst for blood with the rest of the world. It’s not enough to identify the radical process by which these barbarians achieve stasis in their own tribal struggles, they would inflict this same form of brutality on the entire world.

“Raza Zaidi, vice chairman of Anjuman Pasban-e-Aza, which organized the event, said it was their duty to protest the caricatures peacefully.”

"Freedom of speech doesn't mean you can disrespect other people's beliefs," Zaidi said.

I guess a peaceful beheading, a peaceful burning of an embassy and let’s not forget the peaceful suicide bombings that have become a part of their overall peaceful protest of the Infidels who share this planet with them are how the Muslims show respect for others. Just think what a mess the world would be in if these folks didn’t respect other’s rights.

Image borrowed from TMH Bacon Bits web site.

The Liberty Papers had a slew of great illustrations worth viewing

Ogre’s Politics and Views had a good article too.

I know that many have written on this subject and I apologize for not listing all those who have shown an interest.

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Sunday, February 05, 2006

Generally Good Advice

During my meetings before church the leaders of our auxiliary organizations get together for prayer and a scripture message prior to going over focus areas with our Bishop. This morning our Elder’s Quorum President gave one of the best 2 minute talks I may have ever heard. We could all have gone home and been well fed.

Brother Rucker started out by explaining that he’d been blessed with a good friend all through childhood baseball, through school and even now at work as they both work for the same company. He mentioned that they agree on most everything except the finer points of doctrine regarding the Gospel; each having strong feelings which don’t always agree. He then read out of the Book of Mormon, in Mosiah, a passage which should be palatable for anyone professing to be Christian or for that matter, anyone who desires to be connected with the civilized world. (linked via title bar)

“And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it.”

I have to wonder about those in the world, or even in our immediate society, who are constantly attempting to hide from view the most basic elements necessary for each and everyone of us to reap the blessings, both temporal and spiritual, that are available to those who keep the commandments. How simple and at the same time how difficult that appears to be for so many. Wouldn’t it be helpful to be reminded on a daily basis just what those commandments are, those 10 rules to happiness? It wouldn’t matter if you were Christian, Jew, Muslim or Buddhist because civilized society is built upon the same foundation, regardless of how you believe these basic laws came about or who authored them. Thank you Brother Rucker for some generally good advice.

Just Use the Tractor Beam

I read in the Los Angeles Times where the police department is going to start using new technology to thwart those who flee.

“…Chief William Bratton unveiled on Thursday a new and decidedly strange weapon in the Los Angeles Police Department's effort to halt high-speed pursuits.

It is an air-propelled miniature dart equipped with a Global Positioning System.

Once fired from a patrol car, it sticks to a fleeing motorist's vehicle and sends back a radio signal to police.”

That’s all well and good; but I can’t remember booking an SUV into the jail house for evading arrest; the driver is the one breaking the law, not the vehicle. Once the bad guy gets out on foot and disappears into the “hood” all you have left is a vehicle with a dart sticking out of the fender. I can see how that is going to help, oh yea, lots of help. Why not shoot the dart into the suspect instead, kill two birds with one…:, is that a bad analogy?

I can’t understand why a police department located so close to Hollywood wouldn’t tap into the vast amounts of technology there for the taking. For years Captain Kirk of the Star Ship Enterprise has had the tractor beam at his disposal. Of course the use of a tractor beam isn’t without risk when the fleeing suspect continues to engage full thrusters against all common sense causing his engines to over heat and eventually implode as witnessed by Harcourt Fenton Mudd.

I joke about this and yet when I was in the Army there was a Major ______, name omitted out of respect for the mentally insane, who read Dick Tracy every morning because he believed that it was true. Major _____ wanted to be on top of the new technology; constantly placing orders for two way wrist communicators for all his undercover troops and wondering why the requests always went unfilled. He came to the conclusion that he was in a back area, not in the heat of battle, that his unit lacked the necessary status for such technologically advanced crime fighting equipment. Major _____ believed there were also daily trips by Moon Maid in a special space vehicle to a city located on the Moon.

“Give me all you have Scotty.”

“She’s already over heating, Cap’in; if we keep this up much longer our television rating will fall through the floor and us along with it.”

“That’s okay, nobody’s watching us today anyway. Did you get my bet down on the Super Bowl game; Steelers by a touchdown?”

“Aye, Sir, and Tostitos for everyone with some of that Romulan Ale at half time?”

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Left to My Imagination

I had the house to myself this evening so I put on the movie, A Beautiful Mind, and had a chance to enjoy it without interruption. For lack of a better classification, I’d have to call it a love story first and a journey of the imagination as a secondary plot line. I loved the way the music was matched to the expansion of realities as John Nash visited the mathematical universe along his accompanying breaks from it.

I then put on my second choice, Bicentennial Man. The first thing I noticed as the movie went through the lead in footage showing the mechanical assembly line leading up to the completed android servants that would eventually be delivered to a waiting public; I noticed the music. In so many ways it was a carry over from the first movie, a magical combination of sounds that tempt the mind’s capacity, expand the boundaries of what is possible in order to achieve a level of acceptance with what is being presented. James Horner was credited for the music in each, I looked it up. I had to wonder; is that a form of plagiarism, to so closely match the compositions in two movies? I don’t mean that he stole something from another composer; but in the realm of copying one original work rather than start fresh; just a thought. In either case the music supplied a spatial environment conducive to enhancing the performances.
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The Commonly Confused Words Test

A tip of the hat to Davidandlara for the word test.

You scored 100% Beginner, 100% Intermediate, 86% Advanced, and 73% Expert!
You have an extremely good understanding of beginner, intermediate, and advanced level commonly confused English words, getting at least 75% of each of these three levels' questions correct. This is an exceptional score. Remember, these are commonly confused English words, which means most people don't use them properly. You got an extremely respectable score.

Thank you so much for taking my test. I hope you enjoyed it!

For the complete Answer Key, visit my blog:

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Link: shortredhead78 on The Commonly Confused Words Test written by Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

Friday, February 03, 2006

Professor Lupin at the Sandwich Shop

I stopped off at one of Houston’s best lunch time spots, Supreme Sandwich Shop on West T. C. Jester just north of the 610 Loop. They have one of my favorites, pastrami on rye and when ever I have a job in that area I stop in. I had parked and noticed a fellow getting out of his car and headed for the sandwich shop. His features were so familiar I thought for a moment I might know him. It dawned on me that he was a look a like for the actor David Thewlis, better known as Professor Lupin in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

I mentioned my thoughts to the fellow prior to entering the shop, or since it has to do with Harry Potter, prior to entering the “shoppe”, and asked if he had seen the movie with his likeness in a fairly important role. He hadn’t and so I remarked that he’d enjoy it much more, especially since he could pass as twin brother to the guy who turns into a werewolf.

“So you think I look like a werewolf?”, he asked.

“No doubt about it.”. Fortunately for us all the moon is waxing and won’t be full for several days. “Ahhoooooooooow!”

I was explaining the encounter to my daughter over dinner and she couldn’t believe that I walked up to a total stranger and told him he looked like the guy who turns into a werewolf. What better way to compliment someone you don’t know than to mistake him/her for a movie actor?

I looked up the acting history for David Thewlis and found a long list, most noticeable was a sizable role in the movie Seven Years in Tibet, playing the role of Peter Aufschnaiter along side Brad Pitt. You never know who you might meet at the sandwich shop, “Ahhoooooooooow! Make mine rare if you would.”
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Thursday, February 02, 2006

Hot Buttons

I finished watching A Few Good Men a while ago and it reminded me of something that happened in traffic court quite some time back. If you’ve seen the movie, near the end the Jack Nickelson character is on the witness stand, confident and cocky in the knowledge that he’s above being questioned. The Tom Cruise character hits a few hot buttons and Jack starts going ballistic; spilling the beans as he goes off on a tirade. It all kicked into gear with the line, “You want the truth, you can’t handle the truth!”, and went down hill from there.

I wrote a traffic ticket back in the early 70’s to an exchange student from the Middle East who was attending the University of St. Thomas. He was in the masters program to add to his degree in English. I wrote him a ticket for something minor and he tore the ticket up and threw it on the ground. I then wrote him a second ticket for littering and I reminded him, prior to throwing it on the ground, that it had an important date and time for him to either show up in court or pay the fine.

A month later he showed up in court, along with an interpreter. I pulled the prosecutor off to the side and explained that the defendant spoke better English than either of us and had to wonder about the need for an interpreter. The prosecutor made it a point to turn up the heat until a few hot buttons had been activated while the defendant was sitting in the witness chair pretending not to understand English. All of the sudden his ability to speak English came gushing out, ignoring the interpreter and delivering a few poorly chosen insults toward the “stupid traffic laws” and the worthless police department and on and on. It was then that he realized the hole he’d dug for himself as the judge took it all in. The prosecutor rested and we both smiled, a Cheshire Cat smile in the direction of the defendant as justice found his wallet and emptied it.
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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Traitors and Tyrants

Warning! Warning!

There are several references to God and religion in the following text which might be offensive to certain segments of our great society. Continue at your own risk.

Wednesday was a slow day business wise, the rains fell both on the believer and the non-believer equally, giving me a chance to read and reflect on some issues and ideas I’ve had in my mind; how to properly present my thoughts and not give away the fact that I’m not scholarly and waited until I had grey hair on my chin before digging into the history of our nation. I’ve read some significant ideas regarding the soul of our country through the words of Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and others as they explained the integrity necessary for the “great experiment” to work, this experiment in self government. I came away with an appreciation for what each individual citizen has been afforded as a direct result of the founding fathers and the council given to us by them.

Today I read over the State of the Union Address as given by President George W. Bush last night and printed in archived format in any number of locations on the internet. I came away with the feeling that “punches were pulled” to avoid saying anything of real importance that might further ruffle the feathers of the “loyal opposition”. It was not a great speech because it lacked commitment, a requirement that induces the general citizenry to accomplish difficult tasks with a healthy regard for hardships that are associated with overcoming great trials.

I then read the blogs of several individuals and found that I was not alone, that Tuesday’s was a milk toast speech at best, vague and without “spirit”, for lack of a better term. I was looking for electricity and found only static charges randomly placed so that those in the audience who wanted to appear supportive could applaud while those in opposition could exhale loudly in disgust.

It became apparent that what was missing was a “line drawn in the sand”, a means of identifying those who had the courage and the stamina to call themselves Americans and make it painfully clear who were traitors to our common cause. President Bush has nothing to loose by calling his adversaries cowards and traitors since he’s not eligible for a third term; why is he dancing around with those who are aiding the enemy by their actions? Who or what is the enemy; that might be important to know.

It’s time to offend and identify those who are intent on destroying America and all that it was intended to become by comparing today’s leaders with those of the past. I’ll start with some quotes you may or may not be familiar with.

Many are familiar with George Washington’s first inaugural address; more especially with his acknowledgement that God has his hand in our success as shown in the last paragraph:

“Having thus imparted to you my sentiments as they have been awakened by the occasion which brings us together, I shall take my present leave; but not without resorting once more to the benign Parent of the Human Race in humble supplication that, since He has been pleased to favor the American people with opportunities for deliberating in perfect tranquility, and dispositions for deciding with unparalleled unanimity on a form of government for the security of their union and the advancement of their happiness, so His divine blessing may be equally conspicuous in the enlarged
views, the temperate consultations, and the wise measures on which the success of this Government must depend.”
I have read many inaugural address speeches and State of the Union addresses and have come to realize that as the calendar moves forward over these many years that reference to God drops off considerably. I wonder why that is?

Ezra Taft Benson, former Secretary of Agriculture under President Eisenhower and a member of the Quorum of the Twelve for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints wrote, “A Witness and a Warning”, archived in the Ensign, Nov. 1979, and also “Our Divine Constitution,” Ensign, Nov. 1987.

“Isaiah foresaw the time when a marvelous work and a wonder would come forth among men. Isaiah also predicted there would be those who would “seek deep to hide their counsel from the Lord, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us?” He saw the time when the work shall say of him that made it, “He made me not” (Isa. 29:15–16).”

“It is well to ask, what system established secret works of darkness to overthrow nations by violent revolution? Who blasphemously proclaimed the atheistic doctrine that God made us not? Satan works through human agents. We need only look to some of the ignoble characters in human history who were contemporary to the restoration of the gospel to discover fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy. I refer to the infamous founders of Communism and others who follow in their tradition.”

“Communism introduced into the world a substitute for true religion. It is a counterfeit of the gospel plan. The false prophets of Communism predict a utopian society. This, they proclaim, will only be brought about as capitalism and free enterprise are overthrown, private property abolished, the family as a social unit eliminated, all classes abolished, all governments overthrown, and a communal ownership of property in a classless, stateless society established.”

I ask you to study the changes that have come about in our country over the past fifty or so years, those which have altered the intent of the founding fathers; specifically in the area of man’s relationship with the Creator and the workings of government as far as interfering with individual accomplishments. Are we to remain a country of strong individuals deeply rooted in our Christian faith and dependent on the blessings from Heaven or have we altered our course based on that point in time where the Supreme Court ruled the term “separation of church and state” as a means of removing our national dependence on God in order to bring to pass some other form of dependence? The current agenda leads us down the garden path toward pure Communism and is at the tip of nearly every court battle waged by the ACLU and yet we who are aware of this lack either the courage or the intestinal fortitude to stand up and be heard.

“Today, we are in a battle for the bodies and souls of man. It is a battle between two opposing systems: freedom and slavery, Christ and anti-Christ. The struggle is more momentous than a decade ago, yet today the conventional wisdom says, “You must learn to live with Communism and to give up your ideas about national sovereignty.” Tell that to the millions—yes, the scores of millions—who have met death or imprisonment under the tyranny of Communism! Such would be the death knell of freedom and all we hold dear. God must ever have a free people to prosper His work and bring about Zion.”

There is a wonderfully rich website, , which has quite a bit of historical data and references to individual cases brought before the Supreme Court, the purpose of the suits and explanations as to why the court ruled in such a way. Be prepared to read for several hours as the content is rather lengthy. Another website which has excellent information, (linked via the title bar), contains talks given by leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints specifically associated with the key words, “Land of the Free” which I inserted into the search engine on the Church’s official website, .

I haven’t brought up political parties, at least not yet. I have reservations about defining any large group such as Republicans or Democrats as either for or against Communism in its many varied forms; however, let me make one observation that might be useful. Government programs which force individuals to part with property through taxation in order to secure items for yet another individual are not, nor have they ever been a part of that plan instituted and fought for by our founding fathers or by the God mentioned in our most precious documents. The key word is “Force”, not to be confused with voluntary compliance or donations which are found in the heart of those who profess to be Christians. Ezra Taft Benson continued his warning by restating what had been said by earlier leaders of the Church:

“On 3 July 1936, the First Presidency published this warning to Church members:

“Communism is not a political party nor a political plan under the Constitution; it is a system of government that is the opposite of our Constitutional government.

{… }

“Since Communism, established, would destroy our American Constitutional government, to support Communism is treasonable to our free institutions, and no patriotic American citizen may become either a Communist or supporter of Communism”. (emphasis added)


“The truth is, we have to a great extent accommodated ourselves to Communism—and we have permitted ourselves to become encircled by its tentacles. Though we give lip service to the Monroe Doctrine, this has not prevented Cuba from becoming a Soviet military base, ninety miles off our coastline, nor has it prevented the takeover of Nicaragua in Central America, the surrender of the Panama Canal, or the infiltration by enemy agents within our American borders.”

One way to avoid being called a traitor by virtue of supporting Communism is to alter the language so that Communism is not recognized simply because it’s called something different; perhaps, Progressive Government? A rose by any other name is still a rose; isn’t that the line?

Originally taxes were intended to obtain monies for the support of national defense, to pay off outstanding debts, expansion into new territories and to provide a means of establishing the infrastructure necessary to accomplish the building of a strong nation. I read the second inaugural address given by Thomas Jefferson where he apologized and itemized the reasons for each and every tax imposed upon the electorate and promised to eliminate unnecessary offices and positions to reduce the tax burden. ( As an observation this is nearly 180 degrees from our present governmental policy of creating positions to be filled and paid with tax monies for social programs directed toward specially designed segments of society based on arbitrary or whimsical lunacy) Jefferson closed his comments as follows:

“Contemplating the union of sentiment now manifested so generally as auguring harmony and happiness to our future course, I offer to our country sincere congratulations. With those, too, not yet rallied to the same point the disposition to do so is gaining strength; facts are piercing through the veil drawn over them, and our doubting brethren will at length see that the mass of their fellow-citizens with whom they can not yet resolve to act as to principles and measures, think as they think and desire what they desire; that our wish as well as theirs is that the public efforts may be directed honestly to the public good, that peace be cultivated, civil and religious liberty unassailed, law and order preserved, equality of rights maintained, and that state of property, equal or unequal, which results to every man from his own industry or that of his father's. When satisfied of these views it is not in human nature that they should not approve and support them. In the meantime let us cherish them with patient affection, let us do them justice, and more than justice, in all competitions of interest; and we need not doubt that truth, reason, and their own interests will at length prevail, will gather them into the fold of their country, and will complete that entire union of opinion which gives to a nation the blessing of harmony and the benefit of all its strength.

I shall now enter on the duties to which my fellow-citizens have again called me, and shall proceed in the spirit of those principles which they have approved. I fear not that any motives of interest may lead me astray; I am sensible of no passion which could seduce me knowingly from the path of justice, but the weaknesses of human nature and the limits of my own understanding will produce errors of judgment sometimes injurious to your interests. I shall need, therefore, all the indulgence which I have heretofore experienced from my constituents; the want of it will certainly not lessen with increasing years. I shall need, too, the favor of that Being in whose hands we are, who led our fathers, as Israel of old, from their native land and planted them in a country flowing with all the necessaries and comforts of life; who has covered our infancy with His providence and our riper years with His wisdom and power, and to whose goodness I ask you to join in supplications with me that He will so enlighten the minds of your servants, guide their councils, and prosper their measures that whatsoever they do shall result in your good, and shall secure to you the peace, friendship, and approbation of all nations.” (emphasis added)

Thomas Jefferson acknowledged the importance of individual property rights without governmentally forced redistribution of wealth whereby other individuals would profit. He then provided his explanation as to the bounteous blessings bestowed by the hand of God, never once implying that our course as a nation can be anything other than by God’s guidance. The idea of acknowledging God’s hand in our affairs has become a thorn in the side of the agnostics or atheists among us; those who’s lack of faith has been tolerated because of our all inclusive Constitution have turned tolerance around to mean intolerance of those who profess faith; and it only took a couple of hundred years of judicial intervention to corrupt the original intent of the document.

Which of our current elected leaders conform to these beliefs? Are there any among us in positions of power, elected officials who would preach the advantages of wealth redistribution as a means of equaling out the necessary assets so that there be no poor among us? The plucking of heart strings covers a multitude of lies as long as such leveling process is carried out under the varied forms of forced payment through taxation; in other words, “Communism isn’t as bad as all that folks; you’re taxes are helping those in need.”

Who is it that is a traitor to all that is sacred to America, our God given inalienable rights of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Who are those who would have us believe that local governmental agencies have unrestricted powers of eminent domain, the power to declare which individuals have more rights to property ownership than others, to declare arbitrarily the common good, to declare as derelict in order to accomplish that which should be brought about through the free market place? Who among our elected and appointed leaders are pushing for entitlement programs based on previous ethnic or racial discrimination as a means of equaling the playing field rather than acknowledging individual efforts or accomplishments? These are the tyrants who would have us believe that they are more suited to determine who is deserving of entitlements or who should provide the funding for those entitlements. These are the supporters of Communism within our own borders, the wolves in sheep’s clothing if you will. Many have called it “progressive” government to avoid its true name, Communism. Without identifying those who would destroy a way of life, an experiment in self government with divine approval from on God Himself, then we are electing liars and thugs, traitors and tyrants intent on following Satan’s plan. Now that’s a line in the sand!

This will be my entry for the next Carnival of Liberty.

A few thoughts

I enjoyed my extended weekend away at my folks. One of their neighbors, Stewart, had gone to the movies and came away with an interesting small town thought. Apparently the movie had started and was interrupted because some folks arrived late. The manager of the theater announced that they would start the movie over so that the late comers could enjoy the entire movie. Stewart stood up and gave the manager a piece of his mind, something to the effect that everyone else took the effort to arrive on time and other reminders of simple logic. I can’t recall that ever happening, no, not once.

As a police officer my partner and I were called to one of the skin flick theaters downtown one evening. A rather large woman had suffered a heart attack and was too heavy for the medical response team to pick up. She had taken her children to the movies and may not have realized the type of movie being shown. The children were taking in the view as the rest of the patrons kept shouting, “down in front, we can’t see the movie” as we worked to free the woman from the grasp of the chair. We took the kids down to juvenile division.

The movie, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, is on as I write. Lucy remarked that it should be required viewing for all elected positions. I’d have to agree, but why stop there; it should be required viewing for all citizens. It gives us a chance to compare the dream of idealism with the reality of our form of government. I did get to read some wonderfully prepared thoughts as I turned the pages in, Great American Speeches, while sitting in the airport and while hanging in the sky. Again, reading the idealism and comparing it to reality gives the human spirit a chance to reflect and reassert the desire to obtain that greatness which our founding fathers had hoped for when this “experiment” was put into motion.

President Bush delivered the State of the Union Address, (linked via title bar). I sat here at my computer with the volume turned up. Our own government is still the biggest enemy we face; not ignoring the Islamic Fascists intent on blowing up those who stand in their way, there is the issue of a steadily devalued dollar which eventually will become worthless as the insanity of our unfunded system continues.

I’ve grown tired of watching the camera shots of Hillary rolling her eyes up in their sockets to amuse the liberal commentators as President Bush speaks. I saw an op-ed cartoon the other day which brought up the idea that Hillary shouldn’t be eligible to run for the office of president because she’d already served two terms; “We ARE the President!”, comes to mind. I grow tired of the antics of Cindy Sheepdip as her puppeteers pull on the strings to keep her in front of the cameras. Maybe if she’d worn a t-shirt that had something more appropriate, “Just Ignore Me – I’m an Idiot”, they would have let her remain seated.

In closing, somebody needs to purchase at least a hundred DVD copies of the movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and hand deliver one to each and every Senator; start with the two from Massachusetts. I can’t believe that any voter could keep sending these “men of honor” back to represent them; but I live in a dream world, what; I’ve missed my school bus and it’s still only 1955? “I’ll be late for Kindergarten”, “Coming Mom”.
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