Do you plan it or wing it?

I have a Facebook friend who stimulates the conversation by asking a Question of the Day. Today the question was, “Are you a planner or a winger?” Considering my response got me to thinking about some family and friends.

planning bMy wife is a planner, Rarely does she engage in anything without considering all the details and weighing all the contingencies. I’m not really being critical because it frequently proves that her way saved the day . She makes a good balance to my almost total impulse to wing it. This is especially true when traveling.

One of my best friends retired about the same time as I did. We had discussed what we would do and we agreed to be spontaneous and impulsive. He once said to me, “If I pull in your driveway and say jump in, we’re going to Connecticut for a hot pastrami sandwich, grab your toothbrush and kiss your wife.” I agreed and on a couple of occasions we did things just like that. On one occasion, while fishing in the too early spring we came off the lake and decided to pack a bag and drive south until the thermometer hit 80 degrees. By the next day we were in Key West, Florida.

Continue reading Do you plan it or wing it?

Quick, write this before the next bullet flies!

gun map
Wayne LaPierre’s vision for America.

This is a horrible way to begin an essay but if I read, think and type fast enough I may get it competed before the next mass gun related killing spree takes place.

Gun violence statistics in America just keep getting worse. Following the most recent mass murder in Oregon the news sources have been flooded with gun violence statistics. Here’s but a small sample:

  • In the first ten months of 2015 we have witnessed forty-five school shootings. That’s more than one a week.
  • In the first ten months of 2015 there have been two hundred and sixty mass shootings.
  • So far this year 10,064 Americans have been killed by gun fire and 20,482 have been injured.
  • Since September 10, 2001 3,380 Americans have been killed by domestic terrorist attacks while 406,496 have died from non-terrorist related gun violence.

These numbers are horrible and far exceed those of any other developed nation. There are people in other countries who fear traveling to America just as Americans have feared traveling to places like Columbia in the midst of their drug wars.

Continue reading Quick, write this before the next bullet flies!

Stay away from clock towers

There was a time in America when deaths, other than for natural causes, could be more easily understood. Someone got killed during a crime, a domestic violence turned bad, a woman got tired of being beaten by a man, life became too much and a person ended theirs, a hunting accident, a misfire while cleaning a gun, and such. But I simply cannot remember any incident involving someone taking a firearm and setting out to kill as many people as possible before someone took theirs.

ut towerThat is, until 1966. That was the year when a twenty-five year old student and former Marine climbed atop the University of Texas’ clock tower and with multiple weapons for ninety-six minutes rained death and destruction to those below. When it was over thirteen people were dead and thirty more wounded.

That was forty-nine years ago and what so shocked us then is still shocking us today, even though it occurs today on an almost weekly basis. So far this year, 2015, we have experienced forty-five mass shootings in the United States and with each we collectively express our outrage, our disgust, and our lack of understanding.

What we don’t do is come to agreement over what we’re going to do about it. President Obama recently said that nothing will change until our political leaders decide it will change and that doesn’t seem too likely. The NRA and other pro gun right-wing groups have so radicalized the issue of Second Amendment rights that there is a vocal portion of the citizenry who are so totally entrenched in their “more guns are better” mentality that we can’t have a meaningful discussion. There is a much weaker and less financed element on the left that is maybe just as entrenched in ridding America of all guns.

The politicians don’t seem interested in pursuing solutions because the gun lobby and its NRA minions are so financially powerful the pols won’t risk taking them on. Even appearing to be against the arms industry is enough to cost one their career in politics.

In the meantime the killings go on, the gun nuts continue their “not from my dead fist” defense, and America continues to not question why we are so much worse off than other nations where people own guns. We refuse to look elsewhere and consider how the examples of Canada, Australia, Great Britain, and others could be adapted for our needs.

So what we have, and will continue to have, is a culture in which we will almost weekly collectively express our horror while as best we can, avoid walking past any college clock towers.

Trying to make sense of it

Every now and then I spend a little time on the New York Times opinion page. Earlier this week I read several editorials that just added to my inability to understand what attracts working-class Americans to the more conservative elements of the Republican trickleParty. I keep asking myself how working-class people can look at GOP goals and see how their best interested are being served.

While politicians in both parties are financed by and owe favors to big business, it is the GOP that has historically been the stronger supporter of the Captains of Industry. They are the party of business and for fifty years have argued that cutting taxes for the wealthy would trickle down and lift the working people’s boat just as it lifts their yacht.

Continue reading Trying to make sense of it

Philpot on Guns & Abortion

gunsabortionsI don’t know if there is a real person named Helen Philpot but whoever writes the Helen and Margaret blog is one of my favorites. For several years I have kept a link to their blog on my site but today Helen has things that need to be brought out from the shadows of just a link that may or may not get clicked. I’m going to post her entire piece and hope some of you might see fit to seriously consider the hypocrisy she discusses.


Margaret, within minutes of the President saying that he would be accused of politicizing this latest shooting, right on schedule Fox News accused him of politicizing it.  I swear the yahoos over at that network could start an argument all alone in an empty room.

How many times does our a President have to go on television to ask for our prayers and our thoughts  before our elected officials decide to pass sensible gun laws? Why in the world do we think it should be easier and less expensive  to get guns than it is to get mental health treatment?

Crazy people fire guns at will these days and politicians have nothing to say except our thoughts and prayers are with the victims.  But a women makes the private decision to end an unwanted or unhealthy pregnancy and those same politicians cry murder and pass laws faster than a hot knife through butter.

It occurs to me that if Planned Parenthood would just shoot the fetus with a gun maybe the Republicans would let women have control over their own bodies.   Now I know how awful that sounds, but it’s no crazier than all those NRA-card-carrying idiots who are now warning the government to keep their hands off our guns while just a few days ago they pulled Cecile  Richards into a hearing to talk about the government getting its hands on a women’s uterus.

The hypocrisy of their actions is as appalling as what I just wrote. Then again, I’m not an elected official.

If they cared so much about life, they’d work as hard to get rid of guns as they do to get rid of Planned Parenthood. But I fear the only life they care about is the one that will vote for them during the next election. Sadly, I mean that. Really.

My visit to MHS today

During the recent Centennial Re-dedication of McClain High School I ordered and paid for a t-shirt being sold by a student organization. I’d forgotten and yesterday received a phone call notifying me the shirt was ready to be picked up.

students notebooksSo, early this afternoon I visited the school and to my pleasure was immediately and politely question by a teacher about my presence. When I said I was headed for the office the teacher helpfully asked if I knew where it was. After spending most of my life in that building I got a little smile out of that.

Anyway, I got to the office, retrieved my shirt, and proceeded to the exist at the far end of the first floor hallway. In passing several classrooms I was impressed by a couple of things. First was how intently involved the students were and second, almost everyone had a laptop computer on their desk.

Continue reading My visit to MHS today

School Shootings

FACTOID: From 1/1/2015 through 10/1/2015 there have been 45 school shootings in America. One more aspect of American exceptionalism.

Addendum: This is the 274th day of 2015 and according to Rolling Stone magazine there have been 264 mass shootings since 1/1/2015. We just keep getting better at this gun violence stuff.


I liked Ike and I still do

PBS just ran a special on the history of Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. My family visited the park in the early 1990s and it’s one of those places that should be on every American’s Western vacation bucket list.

ike smallDuring the program it was mentioned that during and immediately following World War II our national parks had been neglected due to both the war effort and lack of visitors. The Civilian Conservation Corp who had done so much to improve the parks during the Great Depression had pretty much dissolved as its members were absorbed by the military and factories.

In the mid-1950s president Eisenhower decided something had to be done with these natural assets and began a program known as Mission 66, a ten-year program to restore and upgrade all national parks.

Continue reading I liked Ike and I still do

Mr. Peabody’s Coal Train

Got into a conversation with a couple of Facebook acquaintances who live in Eastern Kentucky. The subject centered on the issue of coal and the environmentally driven political pressure to phase it out as a major source of energy. It was coal that fueled America’s industrial revolution but it is also coal that became a major source of the gasses that are changing the world’s climate.

The problem in Kentucky is economic as well as environmental. In Eastern Kentucky coal has been and still is a major source of employment. Several times I’ve driven the length of US 52 that courses the border of West Virginia and Kentucky. It is coal country and if one doesn’t work for a mine, drive a truck coal truck, work for a railroad or a river barge hauling coal, teach school, work for government, or is in a medical profession, one is on welfare.

Continue reading Mr. Peabody’s Coal Train

Random thoughts about yesterday

random thoughtsYesterday Kentucky Clerk of Courts, Kim Davis, said she wouldn’t resign because she would no longer have a voice. Well Kim, to the perk of having a voice doesn’t come with being a tax paid public employee. The $80,000 a year you are paid is for doing your job and obeying the laws of the land and the orders of the courts. If you want a voice go buy yourself a small 500 watt radio station in Goober’s Knob, KY. Get yourself a Blogger account and ramble on. Or dumpster dive for an old box to stand on while making speeches in front of the Rowan County Courthouse. The one you just resigned from.

Continue reading Random thoughts about yesterday

It’s a desert, asshole!

sam kinnison screamI recently had reason to search for a quote from the comedian Sam Kinnison. When he was alive I didn’t much care for him because of his screaming delivery. He’s been dead since 1992 and now that we have the Internet and have access to his written words I’ve discovered that, damn he was funny.

Continue reading It’s a desert, asshole!

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