Tag Archives: PEOPLE

A Box, a String, & Four Wires

Jerome Graille is a French cigar box guitarist and if you have any doubts about the range of music that can come from a simple box, a stick, and four wires, check out this video. You can also find more of Graille’s work at his website. You might consider supporting him by becoming a patron.

Remembering Pearl Harbor and James Louis Wise

Originally published on December 7, 2011. Republished here in honor of the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

70 years ago today a young man from Greenfield, OH survived and suffered from a tragedy that would forever mark his life and end the lives of so many of his friends ans shipmates. James Louis Wise, Seaman First Class, of Greenfield, was serving aboard the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii when the air forces of the Japanese Empire began their early Sunday morning bomb runs on the just arising soldiers and sailors of America’s military establishment in the Pacific. It would mark the beginning of America’s entry into the Second World War and a personal war Wise would deal with the rest of his life.

No one of my generation doesn’t know the significance of December 7, 1941. I hope such is true of today’s generation. Have a discussion with your kids today.

USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

Heaven & Hell Revisited

Today I had lunch with two of my closest high school friends. All three of us are seventy-four years old, in pretty good health, and can mentally hold our own. The main differences between today and back then is we are all more gnarly and we move slower. Anyway, when we were saying goodbye one of us suggested we have lunch again, “before one of us dies!” For whatever reason the following story I wrote in 2004 came to mind so I decided to republish it. Enjoy!

A Few Thoughts On Heaven and Hell
Published June, 2004

As of this month, I am officially an old person. I recently turned age 62, filed for Social Security and within days should receive my first Social Security check. So, now that I’m old I’ve decided to spend a little time thinking about heaven and hell: since that’s what old people seem to do a lot.

We all know about the heaven and hell of the Bible but there are lots of others, especially hells, of a more worldly nature. For example, General William Tecumseh Sherman once uttered something about war being hell while General George Patton felt that war glorified the best in humanity.

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No More Memes, Please

political-memeA meme is a, “humorous image, video, piece of text, etc. that is copied (often with variations) and spread rapidly by Internet users,” that in today’s Internet world is almost impossible to avoid.

Memes are what substitutes for independent thought and the ability to openly express one’s thoughts. Memes are those never-ending pictures that show up on social media and frequently inaccurately express some political statement or make a false historical claim.

If you have twenty-five Facebook friends at least one of them does little other than post memes on their account page. They almost never write or express anything that came from their own thoughts and creativity.

Al Gore and Mark Zuckerberg gave us all the means to communicate with each other but failed to give us the communicative ability to do so. Recognizing that, Richard Dawkins gave us the meme. Dawkins was an evolutionary biologists and probably realized many of humankind had evolved as far as they were going to go and needed a lift. Thus the meme.

This is a Test!

There’s been no shortage of opinions expressed lately about Greenfield’s cheerleaders and their Trail of Tears banner. The majority, in my eye, seems to be supportive of the girls but somewhat critical of how they didn’t know about the historical episode or weren’t aware that their actions would be seen as hurtful.

Well, it so happens that this mess up took place right in the middle of a major confrontation between various government agents and our Native American population over the use of tribal lands. It’s also true that of the two teams playing in this year’s version of the World Series, one is named the Cleveland Indians and their mascot is a huge, bright red, buck toothed and happy, Indian named Chief Wahoo.

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I’m With The Knuckle Draggers

A year ago I found myself unfriending a former teaching colleague over his political beliefs. There was zero anything moderate about his views and after several years of trying to get him to back it down some I finally decided I was wasting my time and told him to get back on the U-Boat he rode ashore on and return to his native land.

One thing that wrongly rubbed my ego was his insistence that my degree in history, political science, and almost thirty years of teaching experience didn’t trump his often unfounded opinion. I would have never challenged his input regarding a music question but was seldom given credit for my specialty.

That happens a lot to those in my profession. We teach everyone that they have an opinion but they often never hear the second part of the lesson, that your opinion is worthless if not based on provable evidence.

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Trump’s Got Good Bait

In the past several days I have had several friends and relatives who have finally exited the closet and revealed what the world already expected, that they were voting for Trump.

True to form neither would provide any reasons. In one case the person strongly suggested the decision had to do with “Crooked Hillary.” I asked the person to specifically list any instances where Hillary had been charged with a crime, given a trial, found guilty, and sentenced. This is almost always the case. Trump supporters speak in talking points and if those approved points don’t provide any real answer, they just remain silent. They have been persuaded to accept a premise and never worry about the need to justify their decision.

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How To ID Kool-Aid Drinkers

All political parties have their Kool-Aid drinkers, those die hards who willingly ignore all the evidence against their beliefs and take one for the team.

I remember in the Johnson-Goldwater election in 1964 meeting an old Greenfield butcher who spent his day telling everyone he met that Barry Goldwater was mentally deranged and had spent time institutionalized. The claim originated with a totally unscientific poll a magazine had taken of psychologist and became accepted wisdom. After the election Goldwater sued and won.

So the question arises, how do you know if you’re one of the         Kool-Aid drinkers, that you would drink the cyanide laced beverage for the sake of your tribe? The answer was just made very easy. If when you look at the photo of Michelle Obama embracing George W. Bush and don’t see a high degree of tolerance and civility, you would reach for the paper cup.

michelle-george
Ex president George W. Bush enjoying the warm embrace of First Lady Michelle Obama. Photo was taken at the opening of the National African-American Museum of History and Culture.

Notes on Ageing, Volume 147

Our pepper mill broke so we went to a kitchen ware shop in Chillicothe to pickup a new one. Walking towards the door my wife commented on how much she enjoyed wandering around these kinds of places.

A little later I mentioned that if we were twenty years younger I’d like to have the kitchen remodeled with new cabinets, appliances, and the works. We both commented on how neither of us may live long enough to see it finished even if we did start such a project.

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Dayton & The Golden Boys

We celebrated our thirty-seventh anniversary back in July but weren’t able to do anything special. Then our daughter called with news about a rock ‘n roll show in Dayton featuring Frankie Avalon, Bobby Rydell, and Fabian. I asked Janet if she was interested and she was. So, I got decent tickets, made a motel reservation and on the 6th of August we headed north.

The concert was held at the Rose Music Center in Hubert Heights and it is a fantastic venue. It seats about 4200 people, all under a roof, plenty of parking, easy access, good amenities, etc. The only negative was sitting on the east side of the venue. This event began at 7 pm and half way through the setting sun dropped below the

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Words Have Consequences

People come in all stripes and when a leader stands before a crowd and addresses them with statements that have the potential to arouse, that leader has to remember that their words can result in consequences never intended.

When Donald Trump stands before a crowd of very passionate and emotionally driven followers and says, joke or not, that America’s gun owners may have a Second Amendment solution to who becomes the next president, he hasn’t a clue how one or more people in the crowd will deal with that.

In 2010 Sarah Palin issued a “target” list of those legislators she wanted unseated in the coming election. One name on that list was Rep, Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ). Within months Giffords lay on anArizona parking lot with a bullet in her brain, surrounded by six dead bodies. All in all her attacker shot nineteen people that day and we may never know what motivated him but Palin’s behaviors and words can’t be ruled out.

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Victory by Emotion

The New York Times released a collection of videos it had shot during the past year at Trump rallies. Watching it was both sickening and frightening. It was like watching a British football game where most of the people in the stands were just enjoying the game and rooting their team to victory. Then there was the hooligan section where, bleachers were being ripped from the floor, people where threatening death and destruction to the opposition, and the filthiest and most hateful and degrading language was being spewed forth.

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Cheerios & Scotch

glenlivetAn acquaintance of mine once said he only eats Cheerios for breakfast. I replied that I like Cheerios but I usually buy the generic versions. His response was, “Oh, I can’t eat those they don’t taste the same.” Yeah, they don’t taste the same but they both taste good. The nutritional and content labels read the same, they both taste good, they are both good for you, and one costs 33% less than the other. I taught consumer finance for several years and remain a firm believer in receiving value for the buck.

Okay, that takes care of the Cheerio part of the title, now let’s talk about the Scotch part. Scotch is a lot like wine, there are the  connoisseurs who make all kinds of snobbish claims and would never admit to drinking and enjoying an inexpensive table wine from an Ohio vineyard.

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Helen Philpot; the Voice of Sanity in America

Helen Philpot may be the voice of sane America! Here’s her latest:

“Margaret, I watched that jackass in Cleveland and lost my voice.  I saw a Presidential nominee paint a picture of an America I don’t know and have never known. I tried to respond but I couldn’t find the words. I watched his wife lie to a reporter saying that she had written every word of her speech.  When she hadn’t, I watched the media say it wasn’t her fault. I tried to respond but couldn’t find the words.  I listened to children who Margret_and_Helen_on_the_ship_400x400have known only life’s riches praise a father who had made his riches by cheating others.  I tried to respond but I couldn’t find the words.  I watched an audience shout down a Senator when he told them to vote their conscience.  I tried to respond but I couldn’t find the words.  I watched amazed as Trump got more popular rather than less and truly I couldn’t find the words.   But last night, I watched a battle-worn President who had been unjustly treated and unfairly maligned rise above it all.  I watched Barack Obama, my President, paint a different picture, a beautiful picture of hope, kindness, forgiveness and humility.  And now I am going to respond because I have indeed found my words.  Screw you, Mr. Trump.  You better give your heart to Jesus because your butt is mine and I plan to kick your ass from the bottom floor to the top floor of Trump Tower and then down again.   As I live and breathe, you will never be President.  Never.

I have always said that even when I watch my P’s and Q’s, I can still spell bullshit.  Eight years ago, Sarah Palin walked onto the world stage and American politics hit a new low.   I saw a bitch and I called her a bitch.  She spewed hatred, fear and ignorance better than any hillbilly I had ever known. I have no regrets for calling her a bitch.  Palin was a joke.  Trump, however, is no joke.  He is the real deal.  He is the bitch to rule all bitches.   Trump has an ego the size of my ass (and trust me when I tell you that is one yuuuuuuuuge ass).  Everything he does is for selfish reasons, fueled by greed and motivated by power.

Salty language and a strong opinion don’t bother me.  Saying what’s on your mind is usually a good thing.  Usually.  But what’s on Trumps mind isn’t fit for human consumption. It’s just hatred, fear and plain old racism.  He put together a carnival in Cleveland to make the case that America has become a horrible place that no longer has time for political correctness.  But I am here to tell you that speaking your mind and being politically correct are not mutually exclusive.  Political correctness is having the emotional intelligence and decency not to use language, evoke images or take actions that marginalize, offend or otherwise insult people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against.  Kind of sounds like something Jesus would support if you ask me.

The America he described is not the America I know.  In fact, it’s not the America anyone knows.  The rest of us know an America of hard-working, compassionate people who no longer have time to hate and who don’t aspire to harass and humiliate their fellow countrymen.  The America we know wants to end poverty, end war, educate our children and take care of our elderly. We welcome diversity because we are and always have been the world’s great melting pot. Our America has been and always will be great.  Trump sees America as some ugly girl just waiting for him to take her to the prom.  It’s bullshit and we all know it.

Trump takes offense that President Obama and Secretary Clinton don’t use the expression Extreme Islamic Terrorist,  suggesting, I guess, that all Islamic people are terrorist but some are just more extreme.  Funny.  Whenever another old, white man blows up an abortion clinic, I don’t hear anyone calling him an Extreme Christian Terrorist.  Why?  Because you don’t attribute the bad actions of a few Christians to the entire Christian faith any more than you should attribute terrorism to the entire religion of Islam.  You don’t, of course, unless you are trying to stir up a bunch of ignorant mouth breathers that have been drawn to the talk radio/Fox News/Sarah Palin/Michelle Bachman brand of Republicanism that is today’s Republican base. Trump’s America seems to be one filled with roaming bands of brown gypsies raping and pillaging at will.  I guess the view from Trump Towers is somewhat skewed when you watch Fox News and listen to talk radio all day.  To him, there is evil in anyone who doesn’t bow to his perceived greatness.

Trump is partly right.  Evil is indeed alive and well in America.   It’s just not as widespread as he would like to scare us into believing.   It seems to be alive and well in about 4% of the population –  roughly equal to the number of votes cast for Trump during the primaries.   Coincidence?  I think not.   And funny enough, the worst of them all decided to travel to Cleveland last week.

Donald.  You sir are no Reagan. You are no Kennedy. No Clinton. You are no Obama.  You aren’t even a Bush. You are a self-aggrandizing, hatred-spewing, lying sack of shit.  And yes, I realize that my name- calling is just as bad as yours.  But I am not running for President.  You are.   So be a man and act like it.  Sadly, I sincerely doubt you can.

The Republican Party, the party that likes to think it has a monopoly on god, family values and patriotism, owes America an enormous apology.  Palin was bad enough, but Trump is inexcusable.  I mean it.  Really.”