READY ON THE LINE

I wrote the below after a friend of mine was “Gone from my sight” mid December 2013. My exposure to Henry Van Dyke’s emotionally provoking (at least for me) explanation of that with which we will all eventually become acquainted, was contained in a pamphlet provided by an attending Hospice nurse. The poem is self explanatory, however, what remains will likely take some time to sort out.

JBD was a friend of mine
Who assisted through a difficult time
My Father’s passing hit rather hard
But Jim brought me back to the line.

Crack of dawn breakfasts at Woods Creek Cafe
The weather dictated indoors or out
Target shooting for fun or a small bet
Companionship is what it was about.

Jim was a life member of the Mother Lode
Shot Cowboy Action for fun
Taught me to shoot the legendary Garand
And to load without “M1 thumb”

Just as he planned his membership now ends
No longer needing a gate card or key
Clear facts of life can’t be left to oversight
Because there’s a plan and a time we must leave.

We are clear down range -firing line ready
Nothing but perfect scores from now on
Say hello to my Dad for me
See you both for breakfast some dawn.

Thank you for sponsoring me Jim
Your friend, MLGC #074747617

*****

What I have recently observed/witnessed is going to profoundly affect me for the rest of my life. I confess to having serious questions about the circumstances surrounding my friend’s departure along with legitimate concerns for how a surviving family member was treated (unfortunately leaning more towards mistreated) in the wake of his journey. My limited involvement materialized from a request for assistance. I was merely a friend called upon to help in particular instances yet was, as a result of this request, permitted a rare first hand glimpse into the world of end of life care traditionally reserved for those intimately and immediately involved.

I witnessed many things, some alarming, some disturbing, some quite comforting but I was not a relative or holder of the sacred Power of Attorney and was therefore simply a powerless albeit concerned bystander at the scene.

Every one of us was dependent upon someone when we came into this world and it seems a truism to the equation of life that most will require someone to advocate, speak and act for them when they are no longer capable of independent choice during their time on the end of life stage. Choosing those who will represent your interests and desires is the single most important decision you will ever make concerning your own life, please do so wisely without reservation.

 

My best to you and yours, Lew

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GONE FROM MY SIGHT

I am standing upon the seashore.  A ship, at my side, spreads her white sails to the moving breeze and starts for the blue ocean.  She is an object of beauty and strength.  I stand and watch her until, at length, she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.

Then, someone at my side says, “There, she is gone”

Gone where?

Gone from my sight.  That is all.  She is just as large in mast, hull and spar as she was when she left my side.  And, she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.

Her diminished size is in me — not in her.  And, just at the moment when someone says, “There, she is gone,” there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout, “Here she comes!”

And that is dying…

 

Henry Van Dyke (November 10, 1852 – April 10, 1933)  American author, educator, poet, playwright and clergyman.

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FROM DUSTY HANGER TO PUBLIC DISPLAY

I am reasonably sure most people have suffered the “buyer’s remorse” syndrome at one time or another and will easily relate to this posting. Whether you approve of the material posted or not is another matter, so please excuse my exuberance in wishing to share something I believe might produce a laugh if you are actually a bit put-off.

You know the routine I’m talking about: the remorse, regret, second-guessing (as to the wisdom of purchase), the post purchase analysis of want/desire versus necessity, “why in the world would I buy something like that?”, etc., all this and more play a part in removing the initial enjoyment or pleasure out of making something “YOURS” that was “FOR SALE”.

Many years ago I purchased a number of T-Shirts that were often attempts at humor by making some sort of political, environmental, or societal statement (either verbally or with photographic/graphic images), which if nothing else, were thought provoking, assuming of course the viewer was not immediately overcome with revulsion, disapproval, or anger. Unfortunately, AFTER adding them to my collection of questionable acquisitions I was hesitant about wearing them in public due to the possibility of unintentionally offending more sensitive individuals who may not appreciate the intended point of the expression.

The T-shirts were either destined to remain forgotten packed away in boxes or collecting dust on the long abandoned end of the clothes rack with the occasional exception of when worn around my own property as nothing more that protection from the elements and “work shirts” often permanently stained with paint, oil, grease, etc., all relegated to nonpublic display.

Recently I discovered a cache of these T-shirts and a couple of them rekindled whatever appreciation I might have had for them at the time of purchase and for some reason I was encouraged to share one with you this morning. So again, please excuse me if you are in anyway offended as this was not my intention. Yep, sure hope I didn’t step in this particular subject matter this morning. LOL

THE RELIGIONS

TAOISM: Shit happens.

HINDUISM: This shit happened before.

CONFUCIANISM: Confucius say: Shit happens.

BUDDHISM: It is only an illusion of shit happening.

ZEN: What is the sound of shit happening?

ISLAM: If shit happens, it is the will of Allah.

JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES: Knock, knock: Shit happens.

ATHEISM: There is no such thing as shit.

AGNOSTICISM: Maybe shit happens, and maybe it doesn’t.

PROTESTANTISM: Shit won’t happen if I work hard.

CATHOLICISM: If shit happens, I deserve it.

JUDAISM: Why Does shit always happen to me?

TELEVANGELISM: Send money or shit will happen to you.

RASTAFARIAN: Smoke that shit.

My best to you and yours, Lew

A National Debt of over $17 TRILLION which routinely increases at a rate of BILLIONS OF DOLLARS EVERY DAY?

Politicians who pass legislation they did not read, much less understand, who are now more concerned with their re-election than the horrendous ramifications of their past irresponsible activity?

THAT SORT OF $HIT SHOULD NEVER HAPPEN.

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WE WERE THERE!

Vintage 1950's Revere 8mm Movie Camera

While speaking with my Mother on the telephone this morning the conversation turned to President Kennedy’s 1962 visit to Castle Air Force Base in Atwater California and Mom was curious as to the exact date. (The question probably arose due to recent reports on the anniversary of the President’s assassination and the timeline where only two months after the Castle visit [October 22nd] Kennedy announced to the American public that the Soviet Union had, and were, installing missiles in Cuba.  Dad had accumulated a lot of “alert time” during that period.)
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As most of us would expect, the information was easily obtained by simply typing in “President Kennedy Castle AFB”, yet since my Mom absolutely refuses to become involved with computers (that and getting aboard an aircraft are non-winnable conversations – strange since both my Father and Brother were pilot flight instructors in the Air Force.  Of course, in fairness to my Mom, during my Father’s 33 year career in the Air Force she did indeed fly many times – some halfway around the world), I usually obtain the answers to such questions. After a short wait the search revealed Kennedy had addressed the servicemen/women and civilian audience at Castle on August 17, 1962 the day before his dedication of the San Luis Reservoir outside Los Banos California on August 18th.
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LINK TO FJK’s speech at Castle AFB: JFKWHA-120-003-AUdctm_pm_15416996
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That experience (the Castle AFB visit) produced an infamous story of both thoughtfulness and misfortune to which generations of our family and relatives have laughed and commiserated over for decades.
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Initially it had been decided it would have been too difficult for my brother and me to be there but my Mother, having second thoughts about the historical significance and realizing the potential importance to her children, hurriedly changed plans, picked us up and delivered us in time to the air base tarmac where “on alert forces”, family members and other civilians, anxiously awaited the arrival of the President’s aircraft.
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Dad was observing the ceremony with other pilots in the flight tower while Mom, “Richie” and I stood on the hot tarmac with my Mom’s high heels slowly sinking into the hot gooey tar. But then, eventually, there he was, the President of the United States. Seems like a dream now when John Fitzgerald Kennedy actually passed only a few feet in front of us as he made his way along the front of the crowd shaking hands and quickly saying hello to the many onlookers. Mom has often commented how handsome the President was with his iconic wavy red hair and sharp brown suit. (Red hair runs in my Mom’s side of the family. -lol)
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Though only seven years old at the time I still remember him passing by right in front of us as Mom, carefully holding the movie camera so as not to shake or jitter the view, followed the President’s every movement as he proceeded down the tarmac.
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I was looking at that 1950’s vintage Revere 8mm Model 44 movie camera this morning (above photograph) while pondering that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity my Mother made sure we would experience and for that we will always be grateful. Seeing something like that first hand is unforgettable. While on the subject of unforgettable, I then thought about the potential value of such a home movie if there had only been film in the camera! Dad was not too amused with the outcome of the visit’s documentation but reluctantly accepted responsibility for not personally loading the camera himself.
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Gosh, I think I may have just discovered why Mom doesn’t care much for “technical stuff such as computers”.
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My best to you and yours, Lew
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ANOTHER $172 BILLION IN 20 DAYS!

In only 20 days our NATIONAL DEBT has INCREASED ANOTHER 172 BILLION DOLLARS OVER the 17 TRILLION DOLLAR MARK passed on November 1st ,2013.

That averages out to 8.6 BILLION DOLLARS A DAY!

Now remember, In STACKED ONE HUNDRED DOLLAR BILLS (laid one on top of another-not end to end), that is 16 TIMES GREATER THAN THE HEIGHT OF THE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING!

Seriously, does this sound even remotely sustainable to you?

Not that it helps but…..

My best to you and yours, Lew

PS: Things are going very well with your Lake Don Pedro Community Services District under the excellent leadership of General Manager Ralph Felix (he has one heck of a mess to clean up that was created decades before he arrived).  Due to the outrageous complaints by only a few who support returning to the MICRO-MANAGING PRACTICES OF THE PAST (which enabled pursuit of CONFLICTING INTERESTS with the intended design and functioning of our SURFACE WATER TREATMENT PLANT), along with the desire to not make our GM’s work more difficult with those traditional spurious complaints, I am obviously no longer posting verbatim transcripts of our meetings or expressing my opinion why such COUNTER PRODUCTIVE OBSTRUCTIONISM continues to exist.  [It really is quite simple though if you look at the undisputed facts.]

Rather humorous in a way because some of the same people who relentlessly complained about this website have quietly expressed to others how they miss not being able to read what happens at our meetings.  (Note: There were never any complaints or accusations regarding the correctness or authenticity of the transcripts, but rather, only extreme criticism as to my personal opinion as to why such wrongful activity occurred.)

Oh well, perhaps those involved with the continuing obstructionism will have to purchase a book later just to appreciate how ridiculous their activities are now?

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IF YOU ARE NOT OUTRAGED…..

evidently you are not paying attention.

Out of curiosity I checked the national debt clock again this morning only to discover we are now

$127.8 BILLION DOLLARS

over the

$17 TRILLION DOLLAR MARK!

Humm, yesterday it was $75B, today $127.8B (and constantly spinning forward), so that would be an additional  $52.8 Billion a day later.   wow.

You know, studying our national debt is rather like appreciating the vast distances between the planets and stars.  I mean, we use the same descriptive numbers; million, billion and trillion and only need to replace the standard unit of measurement of DOLLAR with MILES or LIGHT YEARS.

My best to you and yours, Lew
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SOME KIND OF DEBT RACE?

Just checked the national debt clock.  Unbelievable, already an additional

75 BILLION DOLLARS on top of the

existing 17 TRILLION !

Wonder how much was sent to more deserving nations than ours?

How long can such financial irresponsibility be sustained?

How long will the American public tolerate this?

Just curious.

Later – must pay some bills.

Too bad we [the American taxpayer] can’t print our own money also – that would show ‘em, huh?

My best to you and yours, Lew
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FINALLY CONTAINED (THANK YOU TO ALL INVOLVED)

 

Now begins the arduous journey of forest and wildlife recovery.  The scale of this disaster  provides a “silver lining” opportunity for environmental study into nature’s complex healing process.

 

My best to you and yours, Lew

 

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TOUTED DEBT REALIZED

The ”DEBT CLOCK” link has been posted on this website for many years because I believe it is extremely relevant to the health, future direction and perhaps even the survival of our country.   Others disagree and believe it should merely be acknowledged and accepted as the cost of doing business and continuing to increase it the only way to proceed.  What do you think?

How many times have  you heard comments concerning the “seventeen trillion dollar debt”?  Or  “17 trillion”, “almost 17 trillion”, “about 17 trillion”, “approximately 17 trillion”, etc….?

WELL, WE’VE ACHIEVED THE NUMBER…

17 TRILLION DOLLARS IN DEBT !

http://www.usdebtclock.org/

Yup, it’s a fact now.  Not just an approximate.  Now we will hear:  “over seventeen trillion dollars in debt”, “past 17 trillion”, “greater than 17 trillion”, etc.

What does this  number really mean to people?   News stories and reports throw around “millions”, “billions”, and “trillions” like there is no real difference.  We have become numb regarding numbers and their significance.

Check out the following graphically illustrated information using hundred dollar bills and the difference in these numbers from the book  “Ain’t Nobody’s Business If You Do”  The absurdity of consensual crimes in a free society by Peter McWilliams, Prelude Press 1993:

 

A million dollars in hundred dollar bills forms a single stack approximately three feet high.

A billion dollars is a single stack twice as high as the Empire State Building.

A trillion dollars is a single stack 570 miles high.  It reaches the threshold of outer space.

If a million dollars in hundred dollar bills were laid end to end, they would stretch approximately 97 miles – roughly the distance from New York to Philadelphia.

One billion dollars laid end to end would circle the globe at the equator nearly four times; alternatively, they could go two-fifths of the distance to the moon.

One trillion dollars in one hundred dollar bills, laid end to end, would circle the equator 3,900 times.  Or, if you don’t want to go around the world that many times, one trillion dollars in hundred dollar bills, laid end to end, would extend from the earth to the sun, and, once there, you would still have $41 billion to burn.

One last example:  if you had a million dollars, and spent $1,000 per day, it would take you 2,737 years, 10 months and 1 week to run out of money.  (That last week would probably be fairly stressful.)

If you had a trillion dollars and spent $1,000 a day, you would be destitute in 2,739,726 years (and some change, but, as with the national debt, who’s counting?).

[Inside book cover comment:

"Everything used in this book is from public sources.  The stuff that's available publicly is far more frightening than a lot of people realize."

TOM CLANCY]

 

My best to you and yours, Lew

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TEACHING CHILDREN THE ART OF BOOBY TRAPS?

Do you remember:

“YOU CAN TELL IT’S MATTEL …. IT’S SWELL”?

Yup, seems like a lifetime ago because it actually was.   I was thinking about all the violent messages being sent to kids back then, especially on television….invasion of malevolent outer space aliens, nuclear detonations and resulting mutant blood thirsty creatures scavenging the burned earth, Intercontinental and Submarine launched Ballistic Missiles, high altitude bombers, jet fighters, death ray satellites, massive aircraft carriers, tanks, grenades, machine guns, rifles, side arms, bayonets, knives, etc…..

Naturally, all available in various scaled model action toys.

Gosh, the world hasn’t really changed much when you stop and think about it for a bit.

Maybe the process in which violence is now presented and explained to children has changed and become more politically correct and all that, but it still exists. The availability and acceptance of toy weapons has been greatly reduced.    (Recall a while back when an elementary school student was suspended from classes for shaping food like a pistol? Evidently, in light of the horrendous school shootings that have occurred there has been little tolerance granted in some areas for anything “gun”). Still, the basic world situation has not changed since I was a child with the all too common threats and realities of war, nuclear detonations, sickness, some sort of invasion, diseases, how best to defend yourself in case of the “what ifs?”, etc.. (Remember hiding under your desk in case a nuclear attack occurred while you were at school? LOL!)

ANYWAY, I occasionally rummage through old boxes and re-discover things I had long ago forgotten.   You know, the internet is absolutely amazing.   I couldn’t remember some of the particulars of the “booby trap” toy but after only a few keystrokes - PRESTO!  A long misplaced childhood world of almost make believe brought back.

REMEMBER?

Remember what M.A.D. also stood for?  Mutually Assured Destruction (A SALT [Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty] term…..crap I’m old!)

One last thought:

 

Boys were encouraged to battle & fight

Girls EZ Baked cakes

Parents did the best that they could

While the media helped set the stakes

*****

 

 

My best to you and yours, Lew

 

 

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