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July 25, 2014
9:04pm EDT

Rated: E | Book | Cultural | #1437803
My blog. I'm opionated and I just want to sound off.
  It's a collection of editorials or even mini-sermons. I know it's wrong to give unwanted advice if you want to have a few friends. But I can't fight the urge that I know better than they what they should or shouldn't do. I have all this wisdom and experience and it's such a shame not to share it!
Our culture needs some sound advice and I'm just the one to give it.
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July 25, 2014 at 12:06am
July 25, 2014 at 12:06am
Power Outage
         I was forced to have some down time tonight. The power went out for over 3 hours!
No light, no music, no TV. I had passed up a shopping trip, because I was going to boil eggs for a picnic. I planned to devil them tomorrow night after I get home from a play. I had just enough time to change the sheets in the guest room, for the weekend, and boil the eggs only. I had already done dishes and swept the floor. The computer was on.

         Well, at least the summer evenings are still long. I took a book, my bug lotion, and my iced tea on the back deck. I read until it got too dark to see the words well. Then I sang softly to myself outdoors. The neighbors were talking and playing radios. They wouldn't have noticed me. Finally, in the twilight the sun powered butterfly lights came on. They were the only lights I could see except for the gaslight in the driveway of the farm behind us.

         I even managed some exercise and stretching on the porch. Then I realized I had gotten cold. Yes, cold in the summer! I went in and started peeling eggs. My dad came in from his outing. He started a lantern, so that I could peel the eggs without ripping them apart in the dark. Then, we sat and talked by candle light. I guess that was kind of old-fashioned.

         Sometimes you have no option. No computer, no entertainment, no light, no power equipment or toys. It was nice. My brain danced around on its own. I enjoyed it.
July 23, 2014 at 10:44pm
July 23, 2014 at 10:44pm
         I heard a doctor making a speech this evening. He was talking about how busy we all are, how frantic our lives are. We can get a 3 minute egg in 20 seconds with the right devices. We have more time saving devices, energy saving devices, and work saving devices than ever, but we still don't have time for family or friends. We're living longer than people ever have, but there aren't enough hours in the day to do everything we try to do.

         And then there's multi-tasking. No one is allowed to do one thing at a time. You can't just drive, or just eat, or just cook dinner. You read mail or a magazine while you watch TV. You have to do multiple things. Employers don't want anyone who can't multi-task, even though studies have shown that the quality of work goes down with interruptions and multi-tasking.

         This doctor goes on to say that we have to take a day off once a week. Not the kind of day where you work yourself to death loading or unloading a boat, getting it out of the water, etc., or a day off to do yard work. He means a real sit down and chew the fat with relatives or friends day, or read a book day or meditate or whatever slows us down and lets us re-energize. Even God took day number 7 off to enjoy his work.

         Seize the moment. Stop and smell some flowers, watch some butterflies. Sit on the porch with a glass of iced tea for a few hours and do nothing. Don't use the time in the rocker to twitter or read email from work. Just relax and chat face to face. Life might be a little richer while we have it.
July 22, 2014 at 9:51pm
July 22, 2014 at 9:51pm
Pedestrians with Cell Phones
         Some people just don't think about personal safety. It scares me how many pedestrians will step off a sidewalk with a phone in hand to ear, and step right into a busy bicycle lane or into an intersection. How crazy is that? Maybe motorists are supposed to be on the lookout in some areas, like around a hospital, but they are only required to stop in a marked crosswalk. These pedestrians don't even look up just to be sure, but step out bravely like there are no cars or bikes in these parts. If they would at least look up, I'd feel better for them. People without phones generally look about before stepping out, but the phone seems to shut down self-preservation.

         I hate phone users in restaurants and stores. Would it hurt to excuse yourself to the one on the phone while you pay for your groceries? Or go to the lobby instead of shouting into the phone while people are trying to dine or converse? Does the person on the phone deserve more courtesy than the cashier in front of you?

         Texting while I'm talking to you means I don't need to talk to you. Cell phones are a vital part of our lives. We need them and are safer and can stay in touch better with them. But we still need to keep courtesy and safety at the forefront of our lives. The phone can wait a minute.

July 21, 2014 at 10:20pm
July 21, 2014 at 10:20pm
James Garner
         On a more serious note, I am sorry to hear of the passing of actor James Garner. I always thought he was a good looking man, even when I was very young. I remember the first role I saw him in other than Maverick was a black and white film called Mister Budwing. I was in college at the time, and they ran old movies free on campus on Saturday night. So we weren't upset that it wasn't in color. He was dashing, and I loved seeing him do something other than cowboy stuff.

         Even Maverick was different from other cowboy shows. He was charming and funny, and the audience loved him. But he wasn't a hero. He wasn't a good guy. He was a card shark, a trickster, slightly short of the law.He was a lovable bad guy. He was an "anti-hero".

         I loved him in Space Cowboys and in The Notebook. Even his commercials were entertaining, like the Polaroid ads with Mariette Hartley. He served in the military and received two purple hearts in Korea. He was part of the Greatest Generation.

         Maybe the most amazing thing is that he was married to the same woman for 58 years. In tinsel town, that is truly an amazing feat. Several actresses said he was always a family man, and had an excellent reputation when so many of their male co-stars did not.

         James Garner was never arrogant, or tough despite his size. His ego never got the best of him. His humility and comedic touch always made him seem at ground level. Average people could relate to him and love him. He will be missed.
July 21, 2014 at 1:23pm
July 21, 2014 at 1:23pm
National Ice Cream Day
         It was yesterday! I didn't find out until 10 pm. It was too late to observe it. I would have had an ice cream party and invited all the kids I know. We could have had ice cream until we got sick! Just that once.

         I would have had the canned whipped cream, because kids like to see it squirt out the enozzle. Sprinkles and chocolate syrup.
Just plain vanilla and chocolate. Darn. I missed it. Just my luck.We need more warning about special national holidays like this.
July 20, 2014 at 9:22pm
July 20, 2014 at 9:22pm
Country Purge
         I came across a new term while reading about television history. Yes, my life is so shallow that I read about and research television. The term was "Country Purge". It happened around 1970-1972. It was during that time that, according to Pat Buttram (Mr. Haney on Green Acres), anything with a tree had to come off the schedule. Beverly Hillbillies, Green Acres, Petticoat Junction were the silliest, but that also included their country cousins Hee Haw, The Glen Campbell Hour, and most cowboy shows.

         CBS had been guilty of overkill on the country bumpkin shows and had become jokingly known as Country Broadcasting System. So to clean up the image, those shows were dumped regardless of ratings. All of the networks went through a similar purge, maybe not as drastic, as they tried to become more urbane and worldly.

         Parent groups had protested the violence of cowboy and western shows. So they were replaced with police dramas, a different type of violence, but without trees. The big city and crime shows still prevail today. The major networks still avoid shows with rural themes or settings. Metropolitan police, hospital, espionage or big city stories rule the airwaves.

July 18, 2014 at 11:15pm
July 18, 2014 at 11:15pm
Lizard Point
         If you want to brush up on your geography, which is helpful if you watch Jeopardy, try to do the Lizard Point maps. Go to your search engine and type geography quiz, and several types will come up. I like Lizard Point the best.

         They're interactive and you get 3 chances at each question. Choose Africa or any other continent. You can break it down further like USA, Canada, or East Africa vs West Africa, Eastern Europe, etc. It's fun when you can do a whole section correctly. You can then choose capitals after you do states and territories, or countries, or you can choose rivers and lakes.

         It's a fun way to spend time with your kids in competition and learn something at the same time. And then you'll notice how often those names come up in books or the news, and you'll know where it is!
July 17, 2014 at 11:56pm
July 17, 2014 at 11:56pm
Shear Madness
         The local summer theater put on Shear Madness this week. It's a salon, not a barbershop, that does men mostly and one matron. The owner is a stereotypical gay man of small build. Two of the male customers are undercover cops, and one a business man. It's a comedy and murder mystery with audience interaction built-in. The other hairdresser is a single younger woman, ditzy, of course. The murdered party is an elderly musician upstairs and is never seen.

         Lots of local humor was thrown in. Places, street names, businesses, even a local radio personality were used. There were lots of simple, obvious jokes, double entendres, but we all laughed hysterically at even the dumbest jokes. So apparently, they were delivered well.

         What was different is that when the detective started replaying the days events to solve the mystery, like a mystery dinner set-up, suddenly the house lights went on, and over a hundred eye witnesses were called to help. When he recounted a story incorrectly, the audience would boo or call out, and the detective would ask someone what really happened. He gave the front row a hard time when they couldn't remember what went into the brief case at the edge of the stage right in front of them. (The stage was below us.) They couldn't predict what the audience would say or miss, but they played along great.

         Then during the intermission, they all carried on, the detective entertained questions in the lobby, the "gay" guy asked me for cooking advice. The younger woman dried the hair of the matron who had her hair washed in the first act. Then they resumed, by letting the audience ask questions of the actors. The young people got a charge out of that. One actually came up on stage and made a phone call to the phone number in the matron's purse and she relayed the answers to the rest of us. A vote was taken on who the audience thought was guilty.

         Then the lights went down, and the person we voted for proved guilty. There were 3 viable suspects, so they had 3 endings ready to go (like the dinner games, again), It was very funny throughout, only a few very risque things, so I wouldn't recommend it for under 12 years old. But 12 and up should find it very funny. A lot of white-haired people were there and enjoyed it tremendously.
July 16, 2014 at 6:12pm
July 16, 2014 at 6:12pm
Frontier Thesis
         I have come across a historical perspective that is new to me. In 1893, Frederick Jackson Turner presented a thesis on the western frontier. It's called both the Turner Thesis and Frontier Thesis. He claimed that western expansion, or the wild west as we know it, shaped America into what it became. His focus was on equality, democracy, optimism, individualism, and self-reliance.

         The folks back east had a more direct connection to Europe, old loyalties, church ties, etc. There was more "establishment" there and traditions. The Founding Fathers sought to break the old ties to the royalty and the old ways. The Revolution severed the ties and set forth new principles, but it was still civilized. They had begun anew, adapting old ways to the wild new environment. But as people began moving westward, it got wilder, and even less traditional.

         Western expansion actually began as soon as settlers began to move out of Yorktown and Plymouth to settle elsewhere. So pioneering began long before the revolt against England. As the borderline kept shifting further west, settling had to begin over and over. Lawlessness, no established church, no family or relatives watching from across town, This helped develop that self-made man concept, the self-reliance, and individualism that we know as American spirit. Turner claimed that without the westward expansion and all the wildness of its reputation, we wouldn't have as strong a democracy, where everyone is equal, and not just in theory.

         The critics say there was too much mythology (stories of gunmen) involved in it, that Hispanics and slaves weren't included in the Turner Thesis. Teddy Roosevelt didn't buy into it either. Yet a black filmmaker and novelist, named Oscar Micheaux, claimed in his projects that the West was a place where blacks could transcend racial issues through hard work and perseverance and experience success.

         Some historians support Turner's ideas in explaining the growth of Mormonism and Cumberland Presbyterians. They claim out of this pioneer spirit came itinerant preaching, revivals, and camp meetings, Others claim that writers and filmmakers, as well as popular history, fell under Turner's influence. These promote individualism, frontier violence, and "rough justice".

         FDR and the New Dealers espoused the Frontier Spirit in presenting their programs. The frontier for them was inward, want, need, hunger, jobs, fear. The concept gave them a way to communicate and sell their platform.

         Today we find the concept in the areas of science and medicine. JFK actually used the basis of Turner's Thesis for his platform The New Frontier. He pushed the frontier of space and technology.
Others use the concept to support or criticize our involvement in other countries, as in money given in foreign aid or police action to protect democracy in other nations.

         No other country going through expansion such as the USA has done it the same way. Studies have been done in Canada, Australia, South Africa, Argentina, and Brazil (all which raise cattle and have cowboys), but none developed like the US or had the same results. Only the US has taken one period from its past and iconized it like the US has done. Yet world over the cowboy is a symbol of America.

         According to Turner, it wasn't just a phase the country went through. It was a part of our very fabric. It's a part of who we still are.
July 15, 2014 at 9:41pm
July 15, 2014 at 9:41pm
         Not a word you hear a lot, I once thought I had the gift of exhortation. Maybe when I first started this blog, a little of that was still going on in my head. I had been through some situations where I did "exhort" someone, and it went well, and won the approval of others.

         So if you're not accustomed to hearing it, it means to use words to encourage someone. You can see the right and the wrong, and offer advice to help them make decisions or just to see the positive in a bad situation. You counsel so as to avoid self-pity or making decisions out of anger or despair that they'll regret later.

         There are weakness to this, like being an excuse to being cold-hearted or not letting someone grieve appropriately. You could disguise nagging or controlling as exhortation. If you see it as a spiritual gift, "exhortation" excuses your impatience and fault-finding. But it does have its strengths. People going through chemo need someone to push them to keep going, and not give up. When young parents are neglecting their children and being self-centered, the kind thing for everyone is to help them face their responsibilities.

         The opposite of exhortation is to sit and weep with someone who is crying. I think sometimes that is the best thing to do, depending on the circumstances. That's a gift, too--the gift of mercy. The person with mercy will hold your hand while you wait for the sentence for your guilty verdict, will sympathize with your black eye and never tell you to leave your abusive husband, or will give you a meal when you've spent your whole pay check on lottery tickets. Mercy is definitely good. Once you've committed a crime, it's too late for a lecture. If your spouse is abusive, your self esteem is so low you need to feel like someone still cares about you. If there's no food in your house, it might be your fault, but you can still use a peanut butter sandwich.

         Now, I think it's desirable to have a balance between the two. Maybe the real gift is the wisdom to know which to do when and how much. When do you stop the mercy and start the exhortation? These days, I think I'm more balanced. I want to encourage, but exhort with gentleness, tempered with mercy.

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