May 28, 2015
Rather than write something myself, I ask that you view the following video. It is much more eloquent than I could be.
May 25, 2015
For those of you who are Christian, regardless of variety, Happy Birthday since Pentecost is the birthday of the Church.
Since today is also Memorial Day Sunday I carried the American flag at the 10 AM service today at Grace-St. Paul’s. Being both Pentecost and Memorial Day Sunday made things a bit confusing as I wanted to wear red in honor of Pentecost and my VFW gear for Memorial Day Sunday and there was a conflict. I wore my VFW gear as I would be carrying the American Flag.
I was sick a lot last week and I still have a low-grade cough. I am feeling better but still the cough is bothersome. I don’t like being sick, or rather I don’t like it when I have symptoms that affect me. I have diabetes and high blood pressure and neither of those have symptoms. I am sure that I share this attitude with millions of other people. If I hadn’t had to be out grocery shopping and doing a few other chores I wouldn’t have left my apartment last week, and perhaps not even my bed. But I live alone and thus have no one else to do these sorts of things when I am sick.
I find it hard to believe that the year is almost half over. I remember reading once that when you are young that the days go fast and the years drag and that when you are old the days drag and the years skip by. For me the days can skip past quickly or drag slowly but the months of the year always seem to get past me faster than I expect.
If you wish to do so, please pray for: Katharine the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Kirk the Bishop of Arizona, Steve and the other clergy of Grace-St. Paul’s Episcopal Church; for those in the military especially those in combat zones especially Ronald Berryhill, Christopher Gallo, Michael Hannan, Andrew Harris, Donna Heath, Frederick Jenning, Jordan S. Marks, Eric Osche, Mark Pundt, Terrence Robinson, Laramie Struble, Brian; for those in need especially Catherine Brown, Jill Clements, Walter Collins, Jay Elliston, Phyllis Garver, Oma “Sam” Guard, Sara Heitshu & Terry Friedman, Jean Keplinger, Phyllis Newberry, Danielle Phillips, Barbara Pritchard, Jane Pundt, Doree Ramey, Barbara & Sam Reynolds, Robert Rosenberg, Susan Southwick, Ed, Lee, Edna, Ed Bennett, William Brown, Francesca Jarvis, Jenny Jones, Jessica Jones, Tony Jones, Maribel Ortiz, Vivian Price, Judy Sedgwick, Richard Shumway, Peggy Southwick, Phyllis Ward, Amy, Charlie, Diane, Jerry & Rondy, Joel, Sister Joan, Karl, Kurt, Monica, Roman & Danitza, Marilyn, Nate, Nichole, Nick & Emily, Penny, Phil, Tina, Tommy, Tristan, Yvonne, Yong Ae; for animal companions in need especially Logan, Vienna; for those who have died; for animal companions who have died. I also ask that you pray for the millions of people around the world who have been murdered, driven from their homes and otherwise persecuted by Muslims around the world. I also ask that you pray for the approximately 2,800 veterans of SEA who died last week.
What I’m watching: Some Mythbusters and some Animaniacs.
What I’m reading: Magazines and religious books, with some Nero Wolfe.
What I’m writing: I got some of Imperial Investigator done in spite of not feeling well and having to do a lot of errands and shopping.
May 21, 2015
I just finished the first drafts of two essays I wrote in opposition to a bond request package that the voters will vote on next November. My essays will be placed in a pamphlet that will go out to voters prior to the election. How many will read my essays I do not know.
Pima County is quite poor, a statistic I recently saw claims that it is the 6th poorest of the over 33,000 counties in America. Given how many counties have basically little or no economy I doubt this statistic but I used it anyway as I wrote it before thinking a lot about it. I haven’t submitted my essays to the County Election Department yet so there is plenty of time to edit and remove the reference if I decide to do so.
But this got me thinking. Money is power as I mention in my title here. Governments always demand more money from the population and collect it in various ways, sometimes very sneaky. For example, did you pay attention to your total income tax payment when you filed your taxes this year? Instead of writing a check as you filed, you paid a small amount each pay period and you probably never noticed the absence. And when you did your taxes I doubt you paid a lot of attention, if any, to the total tax bill but instead paid attention to how much you were expecting to get back, you unpaid loan to the government. And if you look at a utility bill, notice all the fees and taxes applied to your bill? Do you pay attention to them?
Does your county or city or state have a lot of bond debt? What interest rate is being paid out on those bonds? And what productive use could have been done with that money? When governments borrow money it dries up what is available for expanding businesses, starting new businesses, improving products, etc. And we will never know how much better off we would have been except for government grabbing up available money for loan. And government taking money from you and preventing you from doing what you want or need to do.
By taxing you in various ways, including inflation, government is limiting your ability to live your life and improve your life. Inflation is too much money chasing too few goods. This is probably a bit simplistic but it is a good working explanation. It used to be that inflation was primarily local and general prices rose only slightly. Inflation happened when there was a sudden influx of money either from a sudden influx of gold or silver or other mineral, the introduction of cattle drives or other new product requiring local handling, the introduction of a work gang as in the transcontinental railroad or canals or whatever, or some other comparatively sudden and temporary influx of money. But the effect was local and temporary. After the sudden increase was converted to a long term situation the influx of goods and services wishing to take advantage of the new money would correct the situation. Such inflationary bursts almost never returned to pre-inflation norms but they usually came close. If you look at prices from, say, the 12th Century to right before fiat money, you will notice that prices were stable and rose slowly over the centuries.
Inflation steals you ability to buy what you want or need because since it costs more unless your income rises at the same or better rate the cost to you is greater than just what the price difference is. You will now have to select between good quality food or medicine or getting what your children need to improve their lives. By taking your money away from you in taxes and inflation the government is limiting your options, controlling you.
May 18, 2015
The Easter season is almost finished, Ascension Day is now past. A lot of people who are not part of a liturgical denomination believe the Easter and Christmas as one-day events each year but they are not. Christmas is twelve days long (remember the old carol) and Easter runs from Easter Sunday to Pentecost Sunday, which is next Sunday.
Armed Forces Day was yesterday here in America and today is the last day of Armed Forces Week. Something not well known nor often celebrated much. Yet it is the members of the Armed Forces that preserve our liberties and rights. Too many people of my generation still hold a grudge from the Viet Nam War and resented the fact that they might have had to serve on active duty. I can still remember the mistreatment I got when I returned from SEA. Some things are hard to forget. It is nice that people now thank me for my service but it would be nice if one of those who were so mean would apologize for their past actions. I doubt it will ever happen, that would require empathy on their part.
The Pima County Board of Supervisors are going through their annual budget process and I have been trying to remind them, and get them to really understand, where the money that they are spending comes from. Pima County is overburdened with property taxes and debt and yet this does not seem to matter to the politicians on the Board. They routinely spend money without care and remove land from the tax rolls. Politicians seem to live in another world.
As I have mentioned in the past, I am sure, I play table-top role-playing games with some friends. The current campaign is using the game system Legend of the 5 Rings (Lo5R) but over the last month or so we haven’t been able to play due people getting sick. I mention this because I think it might be my turn to get sick as I have the start of a sore throat and I am coughing, not a lot but some. I hope it isn’t true as I enjoy playing and there has been enough missed game time as it is. For those who do not know what table-top role-playing (TTRP) is, remember back to you childhood and the games of “lets pretend” that all children play. For boy in my youth and background it was “cops and robbers” or “cowboys and Indians” or some such. What is played now, I do not know. But table-top role-playing games are that sort of “lets pretend” but with the rules written down. Imagination at work helps keep one mentally healthy.
If you wish to do so, please pray for: Katharine the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Kirk the Bishop of Arizona, Steve and the other clergy of Grace-St. Paul’s Episcopal Church; for those in the military especially those in combat zones especially Ronald Berryhill, Christopher Gallo, Michael Hannan, Andrew Harris, Donna Heath, Frederick Jenning, Jordan S. Marks, Eric Osche, Mark Pundt, Terrence Robinson, Laramie Struble, Brian; for those in need especially Catherine Brown, Jill Clements, Walter Collins, Jay Elliston, Phyllis Garver, Oma “Sam” Guard, Sara Heitshu & Terry Friedman, Jean Keplinger, Phyllis Newberry, Danielle Phillips, Barbara Pritchard, Jane Pundt, Doree Ramey, Barbara & Sam Reynolds, Robert Rosenberg, Susan Southwick, Ed, Lee, Edna, Ed Bennett, William Brown, Francesca Jarvis, Jenny Jones, Jessica Jones, Tony Jones, Maribel Ortiz, Vivian Price, Judy Sedgwick, Peggy Southwick, Phyllis Ward, Amy, Charlie, Diane, Jerry & Rondy, Joel, Sister Joan, Karl, Kurt, Monica, Roman & Danitza, Marilyn, Nate, Nichole, Nick & Emily, Penny, Phil, Tina Tommy, Tristan, Yvonne, Yong Ae; for animal companions in need especially Logan, Vienna; for those who have died especially Sandy Mohr, Christine Nelson, Elizabeth Willot, Sally Shumway; for animal companions who have died. I also ask that you pray for the millions who have been killed, driven from their homelands or otherwise persecuted by Muslims throughout the world. I also ask that you pray for the approximately 2,800 veterans of the SEA conflict who died this last week.
What I am writing: Still plugging away on Imperial Investigator and getting some done on my upcoming RPG campaign.
What I am reading: Still working on A Conflict of Visions and if you are even slightly interested in modern American politics I suggest that you read this book.
What I am watching: Mythbusters and Animaniacs and far too many YouTube videos.
May 14, 2015
I am reading Thomas Sowell’s book A Conflict of Visions and although I have not finished it, barely started, what I have read so far impresses me. Basically Mr. Sowell says that there are two types of vision concerning the human nature: constrained and unconstrained. What he means by these is that constrained sees a limited human potential, by DNA probably, and unconstrained see human potential as limitless.
A constrained vision will see that not every human will be able to see, understand and properly act upon all of reality and an unconstrained vision will believe that such is possible. This is an oversimplification of course but it gives enough of the idea that you can follow along I hope. A constrained vision of human potential, since no one can see, understand and properly act upon everything in reality, accepts tradition and will seek to alleviate problems; whereas an unconstrained vision, since it sees every human as capable of seeing, understanding and properly acting upon all of reality, decries tradition and seeks to eliminate all problems, even those that cannot be eliminated (the unconstrained vision believes, I think, that what is impossible now will be possible in the future and therefore sees no problem that cannot be eliminated).
You can see this easily in racism. When the Republicans wrote the 1964 Civil Rights Act it was intended to alleviate individual problems: if you were discriminated against it gave you options to pursue to redress that specific discrimination; discrimination would never be eliminated but solutions to specific individual act could be taken. When the Democrats modified the meaning of the Act to make it a group redress, they were trying, as they stated and still state, to eliminate discrimination. Clearly this cannot ever be done as to discriminate is to choose. If I, for example, buy potato bread I thus discriminate against whole wheat bread. Trying to eliminate discrimination based upon factors such as skin color is impossible as it seems that fear of the stranger is built into our DNA. Modifying our DNA to eliminate such fear will cause unintended consequences of unknown magnitude.
I would be interested in finding out what percentage of psychologists and biologists have an unconstrained vision of humanity. I doubt that it would be a high percentage as those two fields are constantly faced with the limits of human potential. And if it is as low as I suspect, that might be strong evidence against an unconstrained vision of humanity.
May 7, 2015
I was once told, by a lawyer on a talk radio show, that I think like a lawyer. I responded that I was never so insulted in all my life. I was young then and hadn’t a lot of experience to guage that insult by, but I am much older now and it is still the worst insult I have ever had.
Like a lot of people I do not like lawyers, can you tell? I believe that they never make things better, only worse. As I mentioned in another post, lawyers are officers of the court and their presence in any legislative body or chief executive (such as governor or President) is a violation of the separation of powers. And having a lawyer in a legislative body or as a chief executive has caused a great deal of the problems we in America now have to deal with. I would suggest that any lawyer trying to enter any legislative body or who runs for a Governorship or the Presidency be disbarred but those lawyers would still have the trained mind of a lawyer and thus would still cause the sort of problems we now have. I would suggest that no lawyer be allowed to hold such an office but I disagree, in principle, with the idea of banning all those in a profession. Sounds too much like Nazi group-punishment too me.
So what solution do I propose? This is one of those times where I can make no suggestions but merely bring forth a problem and hope that a discussion starts, and that discussion ends with a solution that is workable.
May 4, 2015
I had a couple of people come up to me at church and thank me for speaking out the way I did when the Pima County Board of Supervisors voted to put the bond issues on the ballot come November. I spoke that the vat majority of the specific bonds in the over $800 million package were luxuries that Pima County could not afford, and that the only items that could be justified were the road and sewer bonds. The roads, both in the city of Tucson and the unincorporated areas of Pima County, are in such horrible condition that when companies – many with high-paying jobs – come to visit the roads kill any plans to move jobs here. Better to kill jobs than people, which might happen yet, but best to do neither.
Since there was no get-together for playing Saturday, I helped out with the funeral of a very popular woman at church. The total attendance was 257 people. The nave was almost as packed as an Easter or Christmas Eve service.
Memorial Day is coming up pretty soon, at least here in America, so I wish to suggest that you attend a service at a nearby cemetery where one of the Veterans’ Service Organizations will perform their annual ceremony. You, I hope, will find it moving and it will be a reminder of what the meaning of Memorial Day is all about – hint, it isn’t a sale at your favorite store. I will probably help out at the ceremony my post does or at least attend and show my support. Plus, since the two do not conflict in time, I will watch the Indianapolis 500. Years ago when I first returned to Tucson, I had a temporary job with a company called Airtronics manufacturing an upgrade part for the C-130. My supervisor was named Rahal and I asked him if he was related to Bobby Rahal, he wasn’t but knew of Bobby’s career. When the contract was over, I was asked to apply if Airtronics ever was hiring. A couple of years later they were and I went and applied, dropping Mr. Rahal’s name as he was no longer there. I met with the son of the owner and was not hired due to explicit, and admitted, age discrimination. I complained to the proper authorities and was told basically “tough nails” and they refused to investigate as I was drawing a military retirement check.
This coming Tuesday is Cinco de Mayo, the day when we celebrate that even Mexican peasants can beat the French Army. Now, having said that, being of Scottish descent (among a whole range of other ethnic groups) I wish to thank the French for the Auld Alliance. Tuesday is also the day when I will be speaking about a proposed increase in the county sewer fee – an increase of 3% for each of the next two years, modified from 3% over the next four years. This will be used, supposedly, to fund maintenance on the county sewer system. In the past the county has seriously underfunded, and for a few years completely ignored except for emergencies, the maintenance of the sewer system. Now they are trying to play catch-up. Unfortunately, due to the nonfeasance of the Board of Supervisors in the past, and the mismanagement of the county tax monies, this has become necessary and I cannot in good conscience speak against this increase. I can only speak that the Board manage this money better than they have done in the past with the taxpayers’ money.
If you wish to do so, please pray for: Katharine the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Kirk the Bishop of Arizona, Steve and the other clergy of Grace-St. Paul’s Episcopal Church; for those in the military especially those in combat zones, especially Ronald Berryhill, Christopher Gallo, Michael Hannan, Andrew Harris, Donna Heath, Frederick Jenning, Jordan S. Marks, Eric Osche, Mark Pundt, Terrence Robinson, Laramie Struble, Brian; for those in need especially Catherine Brown, Jill Clements, Walter Collins, Jay Elliston, Christopher Nelson, Phyllis Newberry, Danielle Phillips, Jane Pundt, Doree Ramey, Barbara & Sam Reynolds, Robert Rosenberg, Susan Southwick, Ed, Lee, Edna, William Brown, Francesca Jarvis, Tony Jones, Maribel Ortiz, Peggy Southwick, Amy, Jerry & Rondy, Joel, Sister Joan, Kurt, Monica, Roman & Danitza, Marilyn, Nate, Nichole, Nick & Emily, Penny, Tina, Tommy, Yvonne, Yong Ae; for animal companions in need especially Logan; for those who have died especially Julie LaRue, Suzanne Nystrom; for animal companions who have died. I also ask that you pray for the millions of people who have been killed, driven from their homes and otherwise persecuted by Muslims throughout the world including the young girls murdered by Boko Haram to prevent them from being rescued. I also akd that you remember the approximately 2,800 SEA veterans who died this last week in large part due to government refusing to take care of them.
What I am reading: Sister Fidelma and Nero Wolfe and various religious books.
What I am watching: An occasional DVD, I have been watching Mythbusters on a season by season basis. I can’t watch a lot in any kind of a short time as I get annoyed by the wordiness of the script. I enjoy the program, the experiments, but after a few shows I start shouting at the announcer or at Adam specifically to shut up and get on with it.
What I am writing: Still plowing along on Imperial Investigator. Since I don’t use an outline but start with an idea and just work on it as I go along, I spent most of my writing time last week changing some critical aspects of the story without changing the overall plot.
April 30, 2015
If there is no law then nothing is unlawful. If there is no law against wearing boxer shorts over a tuxedo then doing so is legal; stupid, but legal.
If there is no law then only social mores are a force to recon with in determining if doing something is proper. Wearing boxer shorts over a tuxedo probably would get you thrown out of a formal party because you offend the host and everyone else, but the police would have no basis to arrest you and the courts would have no basis for throwing you in jail or fining you.
Thus law is a more dangerous controlling force than social mores. The law can get you killed. The law is force; which is why it is called “enFORCEing” the law. As Mao is famous for saying: Political power comes out of the barrel of a gun. Of course, he specifically addressed that to Communists, but it applies to any government.
Without law then if you have something I want and I am capable of doing so, I just take it from you. This is the problem I have with the philosophy of anarchy. Human nature does not allow for people to practice anarchy without violence and chaos running rampant. Even in the most primitive societies there was some form of government even if it was just a “strong man” or “tribal elder” sort of government. Even wandering family groups would have one person in charge so that order was maintained. The problem with government, and law, comes when they get too powerful and become instruments of oppression.
Now a “strong man” or “tribal elder” can become oppressive but human nature allows for redress. If the group leaves the “strong man” or “tribal elder” under a new leader then the old leader has no power. If I feel that the Federal Government is oppressing me, what can I do? If I want to leave, that can be stopped by the laws requiring a passport to enter another country and the Federal Government can revoke my passport. Or I could just be arrested for the crime of disobeying the government – or whatever. The number of laws on the books, and the regulations on the books that act like laws, is so large that if the Federal Government wanted to do so, I could be arrested and convicted at any time for something. And the Federal Government can be as petty as it wishes in defining what constitutes a breakage of the law.
So, laws restrict liberty. To a small extant that is good as it prevents greater violence than the violence inherent in the law. However, the law quickly becomes a despotism. Just because you haven’t been arrested does not mean that you have not broken the law.
The US Code is several thick books in length and the pages are densely printed. If I had my way, the US Code would be about the size of a single volume, say 1,000 pages on standard 8.5×11 inch paper. And Federal agencies would not be allowed to create regulations that affected anyone not in their agency or on their property as for example the Park Service.
The law is the tool of those wishing to control. The law needs to be kept small so that the one controlling you is you not some bureaucrat.
April 27, 2015
So this last week I have been sleeping a lot more, as much as 14 hours a day. Maybe I’m trying to catch up on all the sleep I’ve missed with 1, 2, or 3 hour sleep periods. I know that “catching up” doesn’t work but I am sleeping a lot more this last week than the previous weeks. And today I slept through two alarms and missed church – I hate doing that.
I need to get busy and get things more organized around here, my apartment is a mess due to my not having any organization in how I keep things. This is a massive change from when I was on active duty, then I had to have everything in its place or else getting the job done could be problematic. However, no longer being on active duty has lessened that need, indeed another aspect that has been cut short is my ability to keep on the job. I have noticed that I rarely work over an hour or two at a time anymore whereas on active duty it was however many hours that were needed. Maybe my oddball sleeping habits are a function of this.
I spend a lot of time watching YouTube videos when I shouldn’t. That and other funny videos on the internet. The internet is great for a lot of things but it is too distracting as well. Maybe I need to start paying myself for the hours I actually write on one of my books or stories. That might get me motivated to actually get my stories done and sent off. Right now I have in the Space Series one book finished, one almost finished, one about halfway done, and two more intended. In Magic in the Monastery I am maybe a third done. In the Imperial Investigator series I have some doen on the first story. As you can see, I need to finish some of these.
However, tomorrow I need to do grocery shopping. Otherwise I have no food for the rest of this week. This is another time “user-upper” that I have to deal with. I never married so I have to do all the things both members of a marriage do and thus I get interrupted a lot. The rest of the week, until Friday when I have all the “first of the month” stuff to do is clear so I should get some writing done. I need to force myself, my sense of being a writer is fading perhaps and I don’t want that.
If you wish to do so, please pray for: Katharine the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Kirk the Bishop for Arizona, Steve and the other clergy of Grace-St. Paul’s Episcopal Church; for those in the military especially those in combat zones especially Ronald Berryhill, Christopher Gallo, Michael Hannan, Andrew Harris, Donna Heath, Frederick Jenning, Jordan S. Marks, Eric Osche, Mark Pundt, Terrence Robinson, Laramie Struble, Brian; for those in need especially: Catherine Brown, Jill Clements, Alysha Collins, Walter Collins, Jay Elliston, Phyllis Garver, Oma “Sam” Guard, Sara Heitshu & Terry Friedman, Janet Kells, Jean Keplinger, Gwen McCaffrey, Christine Nelson, Danielle Phillips, Barbara Pritchard, Jane Pundt, Doree Ramey, Barbara & Sam Reynolds, Robert Rosenberg, Susan Southwick, Ed, Lee, Edna, Cearea Axelrod, Eva Brown, William Brown, Francesca Jarvis, Tony Jones, Sandy Mohr, Maribel Ortiz, Cindy Osche, Brenda Pentland, Susan & Miguel Santa Cruz, Peggy Southwick, Amy, CJ, Cyrus & Stefano, Ian, Jerry & Rondy, Sister Joan, Joel, Kurt, Monica, Roman & Danitza, Marilyn, Nate, Nichole, Nick & Emily, Penny, Tina, W & T, Yvonne, Yong Ae; for animal companions in need especially Jelly Belly, Pepe, Shonee; for those who have died especially Julie LaRue, Jean Greer, Suzanne Nystrom, Kaye Bernard, Ray Hickey; for animal companions who have died especially Jasmine, MacKenzie. I also ask your prayers for the millions of people who have been murdered, driven from their homes or otherwise persecuted by Muslims throughout the world. I also ask that you pray for the approximately 2,800 SEA veterans who died this past week, many abandoned by the US Government.
What I’m reading: Various religious books and some Sister Fidelma.
What I’m watching: Right now Mythbusters.
What I’m writing: I am getting some work done on Imperial Investigator but not enough as I mentioned above.