It’s Changing

For quite some time I have wanted to live on one of the islands. In particular, Puerto Rico. It is something about the islands that fascinate me, draws me to them, fills me with wonderment and joy every time I visit them. The clean air. The blue waters. Wonderful people. Great weather. I just love the islands. Maybe, in another life, I lived on one of the islands. I don’t know. I really don’t know if I truly believe in transforming from another life. Maybe yes, maybe no. It just feels that way.

However, I have changed my mind about living on an island, even The Outer Banks. What changed my mind? Hurricane Dorian have made me change my mind. Last year, Puerto Rico was hit hard, and they are still trying to recover. They had a bad infrastructure before the storm hit them. Now the island government (they are a possession of the United States, therefore we are their federal government) can’t fight over whether to spend the money to repair the infrastructure or not. It will have to be done. Hurricane Dorian only gave them a glancing blow. They were lucky this time.

Hurricane Dorian literally destroyed Bahamas. That beautiful island is gone. Nothing standing. Parts washed away. People dead or still missing. It will take many years to rebuild the island and that is if they are not hit with another big storm. Then there is another problem for the island.

Bahamas depend on tourist money (cruise ships mostly) which account for most of the money. Next, talking about its economy, is banking. Everything for them to survive is blown and washed away. It will be years before tourists return or are able to arrive and spend money. I don’t know what they will do about the world-wide banking system they had. As I see it, the beautiful island, for now, is no more. When I was last there, it was wonderful, I didn’t want to leave. All I see on the television is total destruction.

I changed my mind about living on one of the islands because of that. With the weather changing and getting worst, it will happen again and again. Some people do not believe the weather is changing but I do. I vividly remember what the weather was like when I was a child and I have watched and felt the changes. The weather is much different now and is becoming harsher. You can’t fight Mother Nature nor change her, not even by dropping a bomb on her (may make her get mad and become worst plus spread radiation into the winds).

At least, on the mainland, I have a chance to get out of the storm’s way and only lose possessions and not my life. On an island, where can I go? Yes, I change my mind now because I didn’t think about bad storms before. I even watched bad storms hitting this mainland and people staying because they don’t want to leave their possessions. Possessions can be replaced, lives cannot. Other lives are in danger trying to save those that refuse to leave and need help to keep from dying.

The islands near the USA are not the only places that have big changes. There are typhoons that are getting larger than ever before and European winters colder than before. So, where can I go? I’ll stay here because I know the area and I can’t hide from Mother Nature especially if I am on an island. Plus, I would be stupid knowing what I now Know and knowing there is a climate change.

 

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Marijuana

How should I write this blog when what I am writing about should have more space than what I am going to give it? I have just read the latest addition of National Geographic History magazine, entitled Marijuana. You should read it because it is an eye opener. I say that because for years, while in the military, I worked with a drug dog and later, while in the military, oversaw the dogs on my military base. I thought I knew a great deal about marijuana/hashish. By reading the entire magazine I have seen that I knew very little. What I mostly knew was government misinformation. It seems misinformation is everywhere which have been happening for hundreds of years and marijuana is only one example.

Mostly, this misinformation, coming from the various governments around the world, was for their benefit. They either wanted a certain situation to happen or for the benefit of getting more money. The use of marijuana has been going on for thousands of years. Prehistoric artifacts (jars) have been found with decorative twine around it which was hemp twine. Thousands of years ago (BC), people used hemp for clothing, rope, sails and medicine. Old Roman sandals have been made from hemp. Until the use of steamships, hemp ropes and sails were used because it was more durable. In some places, hemp was used as a form of money, accepted everywhere. It was used everywhere.

Here in America, the colonies were mandated to grow hemp in order to wean the British from Russia. Russia had a monopoly on the supply of hemp. It was found that Washington, Jefferson, Madison and others grew fields of hemp that were maintained by their slaves. Kentucky and Tennessee were states known to grow the most hemp. It was found that the warmer states (and countries) had plants with the greater amount of THC (the active drug found in the hemp plant). The warmer places produced the most THC from their plants for medicines and other beneficial uses. The cooler areas gave the most material for weaving into whatever was needed because THC was very small.

All governments wanted a high tax on the use of the plant. They all saw a monetary benefit for their treasury. Every time a government found that they were having difficulty getting the tax money due they tried to regulate the growing and usage as well as a penalty. That is exactly where the USA is today. Unless they can get money, then it is illegal.

Studies have been conducted for hundreds of years on the medicinal value of the plant. Time and time again it was found to have great value, because it is non-additive, is not a gateway drug, etc. States have made is noncriminal although the federal government still have it as a schedule 1 drug, along with heroin, cocaine, etc. The only time marijuana/hashish have been additive, with all the bad things that comes with that, is when amounts of heroin and/or cocaine is mixed with marijuana/hashish.

What I have written is a tiny amount of what I have read and, really, I don’t think I have given it the justice that is warranted. Get the magazine and read it for yourself. You will be surprised. Enlightened. When I was using drug dogs and, when I retired from the military (I became a city policeman) I was only doing a job. I never was for or against anything. I did the job I was hired to do. But I see that the information I was given was misinformation. I had to follow the law and do my job. Read the magazine and make up your own mind.

 

I Am Irritated

I am irritated. I get mad. I get very defensive, causing my wife’s angst. Why? Idiots behind the wheel. I know I am not the only one that hate traffic jams, slow movement especially when I must be somewhere at a certain time. I usually give myself more time than I really need but sometimes it is not enough. I just deal with it and I don’t fret over it because I know I’ll eventually get there, later rather than sooner. However, there are people that don’t think the way I do. I can’t fault them for that, nor do I expect them to think like me.

What am I talking about? I can give you a picture because I can’t forget it nor let my guard down. Picture this. I am sitting in a traffic slowdown and there are three lanes of traffic. Counting left to right I am in lane one. To my left there is a small vehicle breakdown lane and a concrete barrier. I get this urge to look into my left sideview mirror and see a vehicle speeding down the breakdown strip to get ahead of other vehicles. I feel the urge to open my driver’s door, but I never do. Maybe I should one day.

Another is when there is heavy rain, fog or snow but many people never turn on their headlights. The vehicle code, for most states, require headlights when there is any type of inclement weather. Not only can the person see better, I can see them without being surprised when I suddenly see them. They are usually weaving in and out of traffic as well as being over the speed limit.

That brings me to speed limits. No, I am not the person that only drive the exact speed the law require. I (keep this between us) am usually ten to fifteen miles per hour over the speed limit, if it is safe to do so. At this speed, many things can happen. I look in my rearview mirror and see only the grillwork of another vehicle. I find a space in the other lane and move over. The idiot speeds pass and starts weaving from one lane of traffic to the other, moving ahead one vehicle at a time. I get to the traffic signal and the idiot is there. He didn’t get far.

Then there is the one thing that really get to me. I’ll be driving along on a two or three lane road when, without a warning or turn signal a vehicle jumps in front of me and I must apply my brakes to avoid a collision. Again, vehicle code (I believe driver’s tests also) require the use of the turn signal when changing lanes or turning. That is not hard to remember, and the use of the turn signal is easy.

I guess I’m easily agitated but, really, I am not. I only get agitated with the idiots out there driving like they are on a racetrack and traffic laws do not apply to them. They act as though everyone must get out of their way and others are invading their domain. Yes, I am irritated, mad and drive defensively. I must drive defensively because I want to save my vehicle and life.

Rolling Dung Balls

What should I write about in this week’s blog? I look at a blank page and I have many thoughts going through my head. There is much in the news and you can read it for yourself. I do not need to rehash the thoughts and comments of those that are more qualified than me in doing so. I also have been away for a couple of weeks and there is a lot to comment about. But, do you want to read about that? I don’t think so. As I grow older, I let a lot of things go simply because either it doesn’t interest me, doesn’t concern me or both. I realize political things that seem as not concerning to me really does, eventually.

I’ll give an example. Here, in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, medical personnel on the military bases are losing their jobs because of the cuts to military cutback issues. I am enrolled with the Veteran Healthcare System and I wonder. I wonder what effect will the cuts have on me and people like me? How many other areas are affected? If I must seek medical care, will there be an overload because of cutbacks elsewhere? This is the dung ball rolling downhill.

Every entitlement I have, as well as others, is slowly being eroded and, someday, will amount to nothing. That dung ball is rolled along by the dung beetle in the White House. I am one of the grains of sand that is rolled up in the dung ball. I didn’t start the ball rolling and I don’t know where the dung ball come from. I just got caught up in it, along with so many others. There are other grains of sand laughing, thinking they will not be caught up in a dung ball, not realizing there are other dung balls. Look out because the path of the next dung ball may come your way.

There is a lot of dung out there and there are many dung beetles to push the dung your way. To the beetle, you are just a grain of sand the will either be pushed aside or run over. The beetle does not care about you and only want you out of the way so it can continue doing its job. Rolling dung. The saying is, ‘you are what you eat’. In this metaphor, “roll’. The person in the White House, and the people that are for him and work with him are all dung beetles and ‘we the people’ are all grains of sand.

How can the grains of sand be a force that stop the beetle? Simple. Work as one, band together and be the wall of resistance that the beetle cannot roll the dung ball over. He will either go around, if the wall is not too wide, or give up. That mean, either we, as a united front, be that wall that want a just democracy or perish from this democracy by being rolled up in the dung ball that is pushed by the dung beetles. The choice is ours. Not me. Not you. All of us. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like the taste and smell of the dung ball. I don’t eat dung and I don’t like the beetles that roll it.

 

Looking Back

It is difficult to understand the reasoning, exploited by some people, to wrap themselves in the past. They constantly talk about the past as if it was in the present tense, conduct themselves the way they acted in the past, and never realizing the present conversation is about the present. There are many people like this, and most are senile. Situations like this is fine if you are talking about past adventures, situations or studying history. But, to constantly seek the past, especially in conversation or mindfulness, is another. Counselling help is needed.

However, the other side of the coin is a little tougher for most to understand. In trying to understand this, most people take it too far and read into it more than is there. This is where you must know the past, understand it and attempt to not repeat it (unless it is good). People should take the past into consideration when attempting to do something new. In other words, tweak it a little bit so as not to make the same mistake again. Seems easy enough but some people cannot do it.

The President must think he is starting the 2016 campaign and he is running against Hillary  Clinton. Bringing up the e-mail situation, as if it is current, and the shouting about ‘lock her up’ is a campaign that is still in the past and he is running against an invisible person. That is someone that is in the past and will not appear again. He should be taking lessons learned and apply them to the present campaign. He should be taking lessons from past Presidents and apply them to his administration. He should be taking past policies and use them to accomplish a smooth-running administration. In this way, looking into the past can help.

Looking into the past is a good thing but to attempt to correct something that occurred many, many years ago is next to impossible. Reparation for Black slaves is another next to impossible. Looking back at the situation, learning from the situation and making sure it does not occur again is great but looking for a payment penalty should be unthinkable. There are many more important things the money can accomplish.

Think about the amount of money it would be to accomplish this. Then the problem is who will receive this money and how much? Then another agency will be formed to research this and dispense the money. In the meanwhile, the infrastructure, the economy, and a myriad of other things suffer from lack of attention and money. This is something that could have and should have been done in the 1800’s, not 200 years later.

Looking back is great and people can learn and progress from it. All that is needed is common sense, of which some people lack. Some people use looking back to gain attention while others jump onto the bandwagon hoping to gain some attention for themselves for selfish reasons. Let us all look back, learn from it, use it for purposeful things and then move on. Life is short. Wasting time on things that does not accomplish anything, but headlines, should be looked at harder.

Give Me The Old Days

I guess you can call me old, old timer, ancient, or all of it rolled into one. By this I mean, the way I think about children and the way they act (act out). There is not one shred of discipline to be found. I seem to be comparing children of today versus children of my growing days and before. Children of my day would never dream about acting out at any time. We were always on our best behavior, even at a very tender age, whether at home, in the neighborhood or out and about with our parents.

Everywhere I go I hear and see children acting out, having their way and not being mindful to adults (especially their parents). They get away with all sorts of things. Things I would never dream of doing in my childhood days. I would get that stare, or grunt, or a swift backhand. As a very young child, I learned all the signs that told me to settle down or suffer the consequences. I also learned that there were different levels of consequences. I did my best to avoid the worst of these. It would be painful, and I would always remember what I did and the punishment.

I was told that children should be seen and not heard. That was a rule that was enforced without my parents or another adult telling me twice. Another cardinal rule was that children should stay out of grown folks’ business. When adults were having a discussion, it was taboo to jump in and say what was on my mind (unless pacifically asked). If I was told to do something, it was paramount to do it without any hesitation or back-talk.

Corporal punishment was used, mostly, for extreme punishment, even in school. I am not talking about a swat or simple tap. I am talking about a slap, a beating that, most of the time, was well deserved for breaking one or more of the rules. These beating were well intentioned and today I remember some of them and I am a better person because of them. The beatings hurt, at the time, but all of them were good for me. I learned, respected the adults, showed respect, and gathered good manners.

Today’s children (and their parents) never learned these things. The children act out, scream and holler and will tell you ‘no’ at the drop of a hat. Call them, they will come if they want to or when they get around to it. They will run around a place, wild and unruly. I have talked to parents that will say their child don’t want this or that, or they must do this or that for the child because the child wants it. I have heard people say they can not or will not spank a child because it is not right (it’s now legally called child abuse).

I just wonder, who is rearing whom, the parents or the child? From what I see, the child is rearing itself, the parents just begot the child. This is one reason the child, as well as an adult, will become entangled with the justice system. They will become the adults that commit horrific crimes. These are the children that bully or commit horrific crimes as children and adults. These are the children that don’t display good manners, say whatever to whomever, don’t have any discipline, every other word they say is a cuss word, and is forever interacting with the justice system.

I could go on and on, but you can see what I am thinking about. Just hear around you (you don’t have to see them to know they are there) and know that your dinning out or shopping could be better with a little old school rearing of that child. The old days of child rearing are gone forever.

 

I’m Back

It’s been a few weeks since I last posted because this is the beginning of the warm season. I say ‘warm season’ because it starts a little later for some. If you are south of the equator, it is the beginning of the cool season. No matter, I was away on a cruise and had a good time. There was a couple of reasons my wife and I decided to take this early cruise, it left from Norfolk, Va. (twelve miles away) and it is just before the hurricane season. The other day, I saw on television that there is already one named storm in the Atlantic Ocean, but it will turn east and not strike the USA east coast.

This was our first time sailing with the Carnival Cruise Line. We normally travel with the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line and what a difference. We’ll stay with Royal Caribbean from now on. However, we went to Nassau, Half Moon Cay and Freeport. All three stops were great. We have been to Nassau and Freeport before. We love those areas, in fact, we love the islands and try to go as much as possible. The one island I love the most is Puerto Rico and would love to live there.

We returned to the USA, spent a few days taking care of business at home and, the following weekend, off again. That is what being retired is all about. Come and go at will. No clock to punch. No cares except where to go next. We have three major places to go to (that I am aware of. There may be others that have escaped my memory) this year. I just love being retired.

One of my old military outfits is having a get together in California next month. Unfortunately, unlike what I requested of them, they gave short notice on the date of the reunion and we have something in that time slot that we cannot undo. I was stationed in California; my daughter was born there but my present wife has never been there. I would love to show her my old base and other things. Maybe we’ll go on our own. I know everything have changed since I was last there and it would be a refresher for me.

Since I have been incommunicado for three weeks, I see the political scene is really heating up (or should I say, getting hotter). The most shocking thing is the abortion laws being put into place by the southern states (I don’t remember any northern states being listed. I may be mistaken). This make it seem like secession all over again only, this time, against women. It is not a civil war although it is a war waged by Trump and his loyalists. Being that it is a war against women will make it a bitter fight. There are also the people called to come to a congressional committee, but they are refusing to appear (ordered to do so by Trump). Now there is all three branches of government involved.

Well, I am back, and I will attempt to put out my weekly blogs, but with a few lapses here and there, it’s the warm season and we’re retired. We have places to go and fun to have. I’ll leave you with a half dozen pictures or so.