Category Archives: RETIREMENT

What Do You Think

Many years ago, I used to be in the military. I retired from the military almost forty years ago. And, forty years ago, I loved the military. I was not under any delusion about why I was in the military or even why I stayed as long as I did. But, one thing is sure, when I became dissatisfied, I got out.

I went into a specific branch of the military because I did not want to be drafted into the army like the majority of Black people. I beat them to the punch by a few days and while I was in basic training my mother received my draft notice. I was happy for eighteen years, my last two was hell.

As First Sergeant, my last two years saw the change in the military. As the top NCO in my outfit, I felt it more than the men on the outside because I had to deal with the hard change of regulations and ensure my men understood them and adhered to them.

Most of these changes were meant to ensure people had their equal rights applied. There could not be hollering (shouting) at them, grabbing them (assault), in other words, handle with the softest of gloves. It was time for me to go because any one of the people could bring charges against me for hollering at them, etc. which would put me in serious trouble, and twenty years goes down the drain.

Why am I remembering all of this? I was watching television and saw the news about the deployment of military personnel. I also heard some saying they had no notice and it was not right. My question is this, why did they come into the military? Opps…I answered my own question as I think back to when I was in the military. Before I retired to get away from the new military, I talked to a few men that summed it into a neat bow.

I was told that they were there to get an education, to get away from home for a while and to save a little money for later. They did not come into the military to go to war and anything close to that. They wanted to start a family and expected the government to protect and provide for their family. I had a couple of officers tell me almost the same thing.

In my day in the military, it was not like that. We got little pay, very slowly made rank, was roughed up until we got our mess together ( it was expected and no one died but became better because of it) and we never dreamed of having any equal rights except at the toe of the First Sergeant’s boot (just a love tap). I have deployed within a four-hour notice. It was expected and not a mumbling word was heard. Those that were married, and later I was also, schooled their family that at any time the horn would sound and they could be gone for a few days to three months (anything over that is considered a PCS (permanent change of station) except under extreme circumstances).

I still say, like I said when I left the military, the military have gone soft. Then there are echoes of days gone by. I heard somewhere that people are talking about the draft. Well, to dodge the draft you can’t run to Canada now. The President closed that door. What about Mexico? That door is closed also. So, I guess the military is stuck and so are the draft dodgers. Humm…

 

Just Thinking

Thinking about the future, especially the upcoming months, the upcoming years, I cringe. I know I will make it through, one way or another and I don’t have too many more years of life left but what about the family? The young ones. What will the future look like for them? I don’t know about your family, but my family is not thinking about anything in the future. They do not have any idea what may come, nor do they care. Most young people only think about the here and now. Never tomorrow. Let tomorrow take care of itself.

I am thinking about what is happening in politics. Anything and everything can happen in politics that will have an effect for many years to come. Then there is climate change. The earth has always been in some sort of change and now is no different. I care not that it is called climate warming, climate cooling or whatever the name experts can call it, the earth is and will change. I care not that the President or his people or anyone else say there is no climate change, that is their opinion and they are entitled to it. Then there are the forest fires. Too many to count and they are everywhere. The earthquakes and tornadoes and volcanoes and tsunamis and rising waters and…

I, for a long time, wanted to live on one of the Caribbean islands until storms started tearing them apart. I changed my mind and realized that when a storm hit there isn’t a place to go. Plus, the coral reefs are dying, and the oceans are rising. At least, on the mainland, I can attempt to run somewhere. The islands are beautiful now and most have weathered the storms well but what about five years from now, ten years, twenty years from now? I may not be here to see it but the young saying the earth is not changing will.

Weather during my childhood in Virginia is nothing like now. The first time I saw a tornado I was in a military school in the late ‘60s. Now, in Virginia, it is not unusual to have a few per year, something I have never heard of during my childhood. Earthquakes are on the rise in Virginia. That is another thing that I didn’t know about during my childhood. Yet, my government say nothing have changed. I guess they think I am stupid and will believe everything they tell me.

That was a little, very little, peek into what have been on my mind and I have not gotten into politics. This week I’ll leave it alone because to write what is on my mind will take a couple of pages. Politics is also one of the biggest things that is changing the world. I, personally, do not sway to one side or the other. I go for whom I believe is better than the other or who is the better of two evils. So, I will not go further except to say we may be in another war soon.

I won’t be here when the stuff hit the fan (unless it will be soon) and there isn’t a thing I can do for the family I leave behind. The world has been here a very long time but at many different stages of climate and solid earth conditions. Be prepared because it is coming, and you can’t stop it.

The Digital World

Most people have seen the commercials or news reports, read magazines, seen newspaper reports and have looked at YouTube videos on digital, that have speakers and cameras, can be hacked with information gathered on you and your family. Some people don’t believe it can happen to them or they disbelieve it as a ploy to get them to buy something different or more expensive. Then there are those that believe ‘Big Brother’ want to use them and they don’t want the police in their business.

Truth be told, digital snooping is everywhere, and it cannot be avoided. People are using digital everything every day. Every time a credit or debit card is used, information about the user is gathered. Normally it is where the card is used, time, amount of purchase, what was purchased, account number, address and account balance. Most of the time the information is not used but, when it is gathered, it can be sold for a profit and used lawfully or unlawfully. You’ll never know until you see a news report about it.

Then there are the home items that can be hacked and can make your life a living hell. The items I will list is only partial and will have to be connected to a wi-fi system. The wi-fi system let you control the item(s) with your computer, your phone, etc. The items could be your door bell, alarm system (cameras, motion detectors, speaker for the cameras/motion detectors/doorbell), the entire house (if you automatically turn your lights on and off, lock and unlock your doors, turn your oven on and off, etc.).

You may have seen the news report about a hacker that was watching a family’s kids’ room and was talking to the kids through the speaker on the camera in the room. I also know about baby monitors being hacked and the entire house is heard because baby monitors are very sensitive. Baby monitors, old style, are run on radio waves and, newer style, run on wi-fi. Beware of both because it can monitor your entire house.

Don’t forget your automobile. All newer vehicles have computers and some pair it with cameras, depending on whether you purchased the bare minimum or the top of the line. Vehicles can tell you everything that is going on with the vehicle. It can see things around the outside the vehicle. It can tell you about the interior of the vehicle. If you have a camera that watches the kids in the backseat, a hacker can also. It has been known for a hacker to take control of the vehicle. The computer tells where you have been, where you are, your fuel, road condition, traffic, weather, etc. If your computer knows, a hacker knows also.

I am telling you all of this just to say to be careful what you do with these electronic items. Where you place them, what you say around them may, one day, come back to haunt you. You will never know who or what is monitoring you nor will you know what is to be done with the information. It will only get worse, not better, because everything is electrical and have monitoring capabilities. Some are small, some are large, some are hidden, and some are in plain sight. Rest assured, they are there, and I have only mentioned very few gadgets. There are many more out there.

Vicissitude

Some time ago I promised to use common words when I put pen to paper because large, complicated words tend to confuse and/or mislead to the wrong conclusion. Almost daily I get an e-mail entitled ‘Word Genus’ which have, in my opinion, a difficult word plus its meaning(s). I will use one such word and give you what I think of it.

Vicissitude: Latin-early 17th century 1) A change of circumstances over time, especially in one’s life. 2) Mutability or change from one thing to another, or in a cycle.

To put that word into todays actionable terms, I would say that todays political scene has vicissitudes that I, for one, do not like. There is too much bickering, backbiting, name calling, foul language, slight-of-hand gamesmanship, outright lying, and an attempt to make this nation into a monarchy.

A true monarchy (England is one) is calmer than what is happening to this country. This country was formed to get away from a monarchy just like what is happening in the mid-east. Genocide. We took the land of the Native Americans. Wherever there was resistance, we wiped them out of the area until we had everything. We lied, stole, killed and eradicated into the nation we have today. Is that a part of the definition of vicissitude?

I do not want us to rapidly or slowly change to a monarchy or communism in any way. If I did, I would relocate to some such country. Other countries, just like we have been doing, are attempting to change peoples into what they believe. The radical Muslims and Russians are two such peoples and they are not trying to hide their intentions. Can’t really blame them because we have done and is still doing the same thing.  An old saying ‘the kettle calling the pot black’.

I just wanted to remind all of you why I seldom use large, confusing words in my writings. These words can be interpreted in ways I do not mean and/or they can confuse. I could use a word that give my thinking a different outlook on things that I didn’t mean.

Sometimes I listen to educators, news pundits and politicians speak. I later wonder about their true meaning of what they spoke about. While they are speaking, I wonder about a word they used because I can’t lookup the words as fast as they are speaking them. Those words are not part of my everyday word usage. I think they do it on purpose in order to either confuse people or make people think they are educated and smart.

I am not highly educated, smart or trying to confuse anyone. I shoot straight from the hip and attempt to speak clearly. I want people to understand me. No misunderstanding. Vicissitudes are here and have been for a while. In fact, there is a forever vicissitude of everything, like leaves on a tree. The best anyone can do is to go with the flow and make do the best that can be. Just be careful and have your eyes wide open. Now, did I get that word right? Let me know.

 

The Constitution

The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government. But the constitution which at any time exists, till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all.  George Washington

The first President of the United States had that to say about our constitution and that all people had an obligation to abide by its rules. He also said if something in it was not liked, the people could change it. Until it was changed, all people must adhere to its rules.  In other words, no person can disregard the constitution and do what they want to do.

Most people have not read the constitution, they only know a few key phrases. The key phrases that people know only pertain to what applies to them. The parts that pertain to them are only a few words of the entire clause. A few words versus the entire clause can, most of the time, give two completely different meanings. That is why legal interpretations go to The Supreme Court. Their word is final until overturned by later Supreme Court rulings.

If everyone did whatever they chose to do, there would not be a democracy and living conditions as we know it now. We would have either a king or dictator and complete lawlessness. I can not comprehend our Congressmen and women walking down the trail of being ruled by our enemies. To lose our democracy is to be ruled by whichever enemy get to us first.

Because of my age, my life has become short, it’s my grandkids and great grandkids that will live in the lawless society, if it happens. If what is happening to our executive, judicial and congressional officials do not change, our democracy is gone. The Romans went through it. Remember, The Fall of the Roman Empire? Looking back at all great ruling countries and they all fell at some point. Look at the British Empire and the Turkish, to name just two more. Our demise is coming but I don’t want to see it in my time on earth.

The founders of our constitution knew there will be people against it and people that attempt to tear it down or get around it. They gave us a starting point and left room for adding to it and to make changes. But what have not yet changed is that no one is above the law, it applies to everyone regardless their station in life. The stakes are high, and the time is now. We either accept what we get or legally fight for justice. That will ensure our future generations a strong democracy and only they can keep it and improve on it.

Currently, we have a very weak democracy and we are on the cusp of losing it. There is so much corruption and secret dealings that we will only know a fraction of the total. My only wish is that I could help, other than by voting, in some way. I must leave the fight for our democracy to the younger generation. I love my country but there are so many that only love themselves, country be damned. Remember, the constitution is for all of us.

 

I’m Gone Again

If you follow my blogs, you are wondering why this blog is early this week. Simple answer. This weekend is The Jazz Legacy in Hampton, Virginia. My wife and I attend every year and tickets must be gotten a year or close to a year in advance because tickets sellout quickly. It is held at The Hampton Convention Center and The Annual Christmas Bazaar is held at the same time in the same building.

I like the jazz legacy over The Hampton Jazz Festival, held at The Hampton Coliseum every summer, which is very close to the convention center, because the performers are close and most of the time they come into the audience while they perform. At the jazz legacy we have rubbed shoulders with, shook hands with or have been close enough to breathe on many, many highly renowned jazz players while they were at the Christmas Bazaar or in the selling booth areas or just simply walking around before or after their performance. Something like that cannot be done at the coliseum. Jazz, a potion for soothing the rabid soul.

I really don’t have much to say this time because of two things. First, I have the jazz legacy occupying most of my mind. I can hardly wait to get there, to take plenty of photos and to hear the beautiful music plus meet many interesting people. Second, while writing this, I am watching the voting results. I am happy to see so many areas and states turn ‘blue’. We can now begin to get the states back into some sort of legal order while working on getting the Presidency, and its administration, back from the edge of hell.

I do not dislike Republicans or people that vote Republican. I do not like the President and by association, I want every Democrat to win. I have voted both parties and will again. I do not vote the party; I vote for the person. However, this time I voted for the Democrat party because of the President of the United States of America and what his Republican party is saying and doing.

I will end this by saying follow me here by clicking the ‘follow’ button and don’t forget the ‘like’ button (I don’t get enough ‘like’). You can also follow my other blog at www.faithingodministries.net . I also write an article in The Albemarle Tradewinds Magazine at www.albemarletradewinds.blogspot.com (once there scroll down to ‘online edition click to read’ ). With my fingers crossed, I hope to have another writing spot for another organization. Wish me luck and I’ll write for you when I get back from The Jazz Legacy.

 

Ethnic Cleansing

We have had ethnic cleansing not too long ago and it is happening now. What is ethnic cleansing? It’s the elimination of an unwanted ethnic group or groups from a society, as by genocide or forced emigration. Those of you that remember ancient history, recent history and today’s history will agree ethnic cleansing has been happening forever. And, yes, America (the original colonies and beyond) have committed ethnic cleansing many times. Our hands are not clean, they have much blood on them.

The seed was planted with the settlements in New England and Jamestown, Virginia. The English settled here (they were not invited), in order to escape King George and to setup a government without a king. To have the land to do this, the Native Americans had to be moved from land that the settlers wanted and needed. If the Native Americans would not move, they were annihilated. Even after the first thanksgiving, thanking and loving the Native American for saving them from the winter and showing them how to survive, the settlers eventually turned on them.

The same thing has happened from the beginning of time until now and will happen somewhere in the future. It’s hard to swallow, however, it happens time and time again. It’s not right but it happens. It can be prevented and should be prevented anytime there is a chance of it happening.

Most of the time the reasoning behind it’s happening is the want of land, hatred of an ethnic group because of an ancient argument that is not remembered or want of a potential wealth that the other may have. Sometimes it’s a religious reason (their religion is not like ours, etc.). This is effectual all over the world, perpetrated by many key countries and some small entities (gangs such as MS-13 in South America). To really see this, a person does not need to look far. Just have open eyes and ears before denying it could not happen, forcing the mind to realize that it is happening. All that is needed to keep this from happening is a soul and a moral aptitude, something our present American administration don’t seem to have. Congress is not doing anything about this except giving it some lip service.

Say you do not like this and doing something about it is two different things. Anyone can say how much they dislike a situation and do nothing to correct it. But, actively working toward correcting the situation as fast as possible is completely different than what is happening now. I have a feeling that we are not aware of something that is going on behind the scene. I have this gnawing feeling that it is something that will make all of us cringe.

The deed is done, and the USA have failed once again. As a retired military person, I know the American contingent is holding their heads down and is mad as hell having to follow the orders given them. It is a hard pill to swallow to be part of ethnic cleansing. This is one more thing that I do not like, and I will remember it for the rest of my life. And, the thing that make this even worst is there are those that willingly go along with this. When and where is the last straw?