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September 16, 2014
7:23am 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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September 15, 2014 at 11:24pm
September 15, 2014 at 11:24pm
The Last Ride
         I recommend reading The Last Ride by Tom Eidson for anyone with any interest in Indian stories or westerns. Take with a grain of salt any reviews you find elsewhere. If like me, you are new to the genre, you will not find any of it predictable or routine. Although the "last ride" is made by an old man, the strongest character is actually his grown daughter. After the two of them, the strongest character is the granddaughter. Even the animals have engaging personalities and must be acknowledged.

         Many other characters are present, including one truly evil antagonist. Many of these characters die in the course of this journey, and at times I wondered how much more tragedy can this family endure? But that's part of the revisionist western: stark realism, tension between races, and the hardship of a lawless territory. At the same time it upholds the love and faithfulness of family and friends (of all races), personal honor, and the need for spirituality.

         This was made into a movie about ten years ago, starring Tommy Lee Jones. Now I have not seen the movie, but I can tell from the summary, it differs greatly in story from the book. I love Jones, and wouldn't mind seeing him dressed in a breech cloth, like the protagonist wore in most of the book, but that, too, differs in the movie. I can't see Tommy Lee pulling off what I envisioned in my head as I read the book. The summary of the movie indicates it does not carry out the themes of family, honor, or spiritual need.

         The book kept me on the edge of my seat, and I was very sad at the way it ended. The emotional battle between father and daughter seemed realistic. These are not matters that are solved quickly or easily as some critics think they should. They take time, and sometimes heartbreak, to resolve. The inner struggles here are well demonstrated.
September 13, 2014 at 11:40pm
September 13, 2014 at 11:40pm
No Rest in Hospitals
         Funny, peculiar, how in hospitals they encourage the sick or recuperating patient to eat, to walk when able, but don't include peaceful rest as part of the recovery program. I knew that as a patient I never slept through a whole night. You can nap in the day time when there are no appointments or x-rays, etc., but then they fuss at you for not getting up and moving around. No one is allowed to sleep in hospitals.

         Even if they don't have to do a lot for you, they still creep into your room, and adjust your IV. I suppose some people can sleep through that, but most don't. Then there's the noise, dropping things, and shouting in the hallway at least past midnight. And although you can go for hours unattended if you don't need much during the day, they don't leave you alone more than 25 minutes or so at night.

         My brother is currently staying in a big Texas hospital, recovering from chest surgery. He's had a rib removed, his diaphragm, and part of the lining of a lung. During the surgery, they applied a hot chemo bath. Chemo makes you sick even without surgery. He's been attached to a lot of machinery for a week, and is in a lot of pain. Now he's detached from most of the machinery, and they have to take him off the pain meds to avoid addiction. He's in agony. He has no appetite, he's in pain, he's weak and losing muscle. My other brother has stayed with him on a sofa in the room with him. He's been keeping a journal about times and pain level, etc. He's exhausted from lack of sleep and he hasn't had chemo or surgery. How much worse is it for the patient?

         He spoke to the doctor today about it, and begged to let him leave at night just to sleep and come back in the morning. Friday night, 25 minutes after waking him for something, a nurse was back in to make him take a potassium pill. Is it really necessary to wake a patient up for potassium? Can't that wait? I know they're from different departments just making their rounds, but can't they put the patient first and organize their systems a little better?

         Yes, hospitals have to be efficient to be cost effective, but when they lose sight of the patient's well-being, they're failing.
September 9, 2014 at 11:40pm
September 9, 2014 at 11:40pm
Michael McDonald
         A great concert tonight! Finally, one of the good ol' oldies who's actually still good. His voice is still good. His keyboards are excellent. Everyone one in his band is versatile and has performed with other major singers.The show is colorful and exciting. And the audience was wild. The packed house roared and danced and clapped. All but the infirm were on their feet.

         There was a lot of white and gray hair in the place. When McDonald introduced his female singer, she was not only "one of the best female voices in the business", but one of her jobs is to "take the edge off middle-age ugliness". The band is definitely on the upper border of middle age, but still doing a great job.

         The encore wasn't just one or two more songs, but an entire set. McDonald gave credit to his crew who work from early in the morning until the wee hours of the night. Of course, he did some Doobie Brothers, but also some Eric Clapton and Stevie Wonder. A great performance that I'd recommend to anyone.
September 8, 2014 at 10:32pm
September 8, 2014 at 10:32pm
E-Books Not Edited
         I've been reading a lot of books on my Kindle lately, and, frankly, I'm disappointed in the quality of the editing. Whether it's a classic or a current book, it seems no one is checking for typos or missed words. The modern novels and novelettes have bad grammar and punctuation. That's really bothersome.

         And it's just as annoying when the author uses words incorrectly and no one is editing. Words like "imply" and "infer" get confused and crossed. "Submitted" is used instead of "said" which isn't quite right, even if it weren't done at least once per page. Dangling participles appear all over.

         As we become more reliant on e-books, we could easily see the quality of writing go down. Good editing is important. It keeps our language consistent and keeps the story on track. It's necessary to keep the tone of a story. The lack of editing may just be the weakest point in self-publishing.
September 6, 2014 at 11:34pm
September 6, 2014 at 11:34pm
Movie Reviews
         Why do we rely so much on other people's opinions? I know it's human nature, but we'd rather take the opinion of a stranger than find out for ourselves.

         I see a movie or a play then, if I like it, I research it afterward. I'm shocked how different these critics see it from me. I can see a professional who has some theatrical training, who understands lighting, or cinematography making critiques. But too often what we see is some biased untrained person with no more skill than the average guy on the street writing ridiculous commentaries which tells more about the local writer than the movie.

         I appreciate reading a knowledgeable writer who knows earlier versions of the same story, or who can give some history on the director or actors. I don't appreciate writers who say things like this "trash should be banned" because they don't agree with the premise. I'm not talking about someone who thinks a film violates community standards or needs more restrictive ratings. Writers who don't agree politically or morally with the director or screen writer should be careful to keep his feelings separate from analyzing the technique of the film-making. Too frequently they let their prejudice cloud their judgment of performance and direction. They display their own form of narrow mindedness.

September 5, 2014 at 11:43pm
September 5, 2014 at 11:43pm
What We Eat
         I remember as a child watching my grandmother kill a chicken. She picked her up, swung her around breaking her neck, then laid her head down on the stump and chopped it off with an ax. The chicken ran around with blood running down for a little bit. Grandma took the chicken to pluck and prepare for dinner. I had nightmares.

         I got over it for a while and ate fried chicken about every 2 or 3 weeks when Mom cooked it for Sunday dinner. By the end of high school, I couldn't eat chicken. It looked to much like the chicken. I could envision which part of the bird it came from. Somehow beef didn't bother me so much. A hamburger didn't resemble a cow's rump.

         I don't know what my reasoning was or why the chicken was so much worse. I knew about pigs and cows and turkeys and they would suffer a similar fate. But the chicken just seemed unreasonable to me. Somehow after I got out of college, I had found peace with eating the chicken wing or thigh and went back to my finger-licking style.

         So many kids today have no idea where hamburger comes from, or steak, or ham, or turkey bacon. They don't know where milk or cheese come from for that matter. It's possible that some kids don't know where eggs come from. Farm like is very educational. It makes explaining birds and bees, and life and death a little easier. And when they understand where food comes from, or how much work it takes to produce it, they are a little less wasteful.

         I'm all for taking kids to the farm, the orchard, and the garden to experience real life. Especially inner city kids need to know about our food chain.
September 4, 2014 at 11:50pm
September 4, 2014 at 11:50pm
Writing Affects the Author
         I wrote a short story which originally had a happy ending. I changed it because of a comment I heard on TV and the ending turned sad. I know it was just a story. I made it up. But I feel so sad! I can't shake the disappointment. I got too involved with my characters. If only I got that on paper.

         Many writers feel that the characters take on a life of their own, and they can't direct how they will react. Andrew Greeley wrote a book called The God Game that deals with that very idea. He indicates that the author makes some choices, then the characters take over and run without interference, like a video game. Things happen beyond the author's control.

         That makes it more fun actually. Can't wait to do another one.
September 3, 2014 at 10:10pm
September 3, 2014 at 10:10pm
Myth of Indian Princess
         The hardest life in America has been that of the Indian woman. She accepted the hardship and has never complained about it. She never had any rights, was never treated with any respect. Her life was hard labor from sunup until sundown. She never had any authority, even over her own children. She was a slave unless she had an unusually kind or tender husband.While the men were off hunting or going to war or chewing peyote and having visions she worked hard and enjoyed no luxuries.

         And yet our culture idealizes the Indian woman as sexy and carefree. Victoria's Secrets decked her out in feathers and beads and skimpy lacy underwear, of course, on a body unaccustomed to hardship, over-tanning, and severe weather. Artwork everywhere makes the Indian woman something exotic and unreal, but always sexy and revealing and alluring. Somehow, we have ignored reality and painted some fantasy in our collective mind. This image of the pampered oversexed Indian girl is disrespectful as well as unrealistic. It somehow confuses the derogatory "savages" with "girls gone wild". It shows a lack of dignity towards the race and a gross misunderstanding of our culture.

         When I see those cute pictures or the scantily clad Indian maidens, I realize we are a lot more insensitive as a culture than we are willing to admit. And maybe the American Indian is one of the most misunderstood people groups.

September 2, 2014 at 10:11pm
September 2, 2014 at 10:11pm
A Future For Young Working Women
         The men have been doing a passable job, but more women need to take leadership roles in the building industry, particularly home building. If more women were architects, houses of all sizes would have more organized storage space, including broom closets. Houses and apartments would be functional as well as aesthetic. If women were builders, there would be more energy efficient, easy to clean spaces and products.

         So young women, this is your call to study architecture and engineering. Women are not limited to interior design. Why not do it all, electrical, plumbing, building products design and manufacture, heating and air, and landscaping. Women are capable of doing these things but have stayed away from these "manly" fields. Women can excel in math, drafting blueprints, electricity, and chemistry. Why not use these fields to improve the quality of American homes?

         Who knows better where electrical outlets should go, or where switches should be placed. Only a man would place a light switch two feet away from a door. Why are homes never designed with a place to store the vacuum, the mops, buckets, and chemicals? Why are cabinets designed with inaccessible corners? If you buy slide out components, you lose valuable space. And we want products in our homes that don't exude chemicals that are harmful to living things. That involves manufacturing those safe products. Women can run factories and design products, too.

         The bottom line is that girls don't have to plan on just being teachers, or nurses, or clerks, as necessary as those jobs are. They can pursue the many types of engineering, math, chemical, and mechanical studies out there. Women mastering these fields will only benefit all of us in the future.
September 1, 2014 at 3:01pm
September 1, 2014 at 3:01pm
Thoughts from Up From Slavery
         Up From Slavery by Booker T Washington was a great book. His speeches really came alive in it. I think when he envisioned an audience his thinking and his writing became more vibrant and clearer. But the rest of it was pretty good. One of the things he wrote about a freed slave he was visiting had a lasting impact on me.

         I do not descend from freed slaves, but his words still affect us all. This particular man wanted to learn French, but Mr. Washington told him that first he must sweep his floor and sew the button on his shirt. Education was a fine and desirable thing, but self respect was more important. Having orderly surroundings were a first step to an orderly mind. It hit me hard because I was not an orderly person then or now. I don't wear shirts that are missing buttons, but anyone who has read my ramblings knows that I hate housework, and it always torments me. I love to research things, read, write, and learn new things.So I always feel guilty.

         Today is a holiday. I told myself I can write because I'm off from work. I had to drive someone to the airport early today, and then stopped at the store on the way back. So it was late morning when I got home. I would not let myself sit down at the keyboard until the floors were swept and mopped, the dishes were done, and the toilet bowl cleaned, and laundry folded and put away. I even paid a bill and watered the plants on the back porch. So now I can sit and write.

         It's not so easy on work days. Most of us have to make a living. Writing with a clear conscience only 3 or 4 days a year is not very productive. Yet it's interesting how the words of a great teacher and writer can have such a lasting influence on us. That book is not outdated, but is full of practical wisdom that can still be applied today. It should be on every student's reading list.

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