Friday, October 13, 2017

Something to Ponder

We are almost a year from the election and 9 months since the inaugeral and I'm still perplexed why the media can't figure out Trump.  He seems to have their number.  They don't remotely recognize that he is unlike any other President, and really any other public figure.  He has figured out how to drive them crazy with Twitter.  He has figured out how to keep them off balance by the silliest little remark.  He has proven to be a huge enigma to them and they seem to be continually flumoxed by his actions.  They misunderstand and misinterpret the simplest of things.  They overblow stupid little issues and let things go by the wayside that could be big.  As I've said many, many times in this little blog, he wasn't my guy.  But I've got to admire how he plays the media like a tight drum.  It makes me wonder.  Are they really so caught up in how important they think they are?  Or are they just stupid?

Happy Birthday U.S. Navy

242 years old today.  Still doing extraordinary things and making them look easy!  Proud to have served for 25 years and would do it all again.




Wednesday, October 11, 2017

"Boy" Scouts

We hear today that the Boy Scouts are now going to admit girls to their ranks.  This will be true for Cub Scouts all the way to Eagle Scout.   There are a lot of crazy, upside down things happening in society today, but this is, at least for me, pretty close to the top of the list.  Um...to me Boy Scouts are by definition Boys.  And the ranks of Girl Scouts are made up of Girls.

The Boy Scouts have just come through a turbulent time while they grappled with their ban on homosexuals.  They were vilified for a few years until they decided to acquiesce to the pressure and agree to admit gay kids and leaders.  As they were going through it, I always thought that they would at some point to change their tune.  Because here's the deal.  In the last 20 or 30 years we've gone through what is perhaps the most rapid cultural shift in human history.  Across our culture, and this is only true in the Western world (and not even all of that), populations have come to accept gay people as just people who deserve equal rights.  Many, many organizations, including the Boy Scouts, came to the acceptance of that new paradigm at different times and in different ways.  They definitely studied the issue, had a conversation with their members and families, and came down on the side of equal rights.  Good for them.  

But I wonder what they are thinking here?  I checked their website and you can read the news release here

Personally, I thought it was sorta lame.  Upon reading their justification it comes down to there were a lot of requests, they studied the issue, recognized that families (especially minority families) are different and want to do things together, and they thought they could bring all the great qualities of Scouting to more people by doing this.  No mention of the dramatic changes and impacts this will have.

I wasn't a Boy Scout but my son was (and my daughter was a Girl Scout).  He started as a Cub, progressed to Webelo (where I was Den Leader), and went a few years into the Boy Scout world before giving it up for other things.  This seemed to be a natural progression as very few kids make it all the way to Eagle Scout, which is the pinnacle of Scouting.  But here's the thing about the Boy Scouts, no matter where you are in your progression through the program.  It provides a place for boys to come together and develop all the traits that boys need to become productive members of our society as men.  They see role models.  They interact with each other.  They learn life skills.  They can be goofy little boys.  They undergo (whether they know it or not) a metamorphosis in an environment that doesn't have the distractions or pressures of a mixed gender environment.   


And of course, the Girl Scouts are pissed.  They see this as poaching on their territory and I can't say that I blame them.  The Girl Scouts are a wonderful program for girls and, in a similar manner to the Boy Scouts, they get to learn and develop and grow in a safe environment that doesn't include boys.  Because the problem is that when boys and girls are mixed at a certain age, the boys will tend to dominate.  I don't say that as remotely any sort of discrimination against girls.  And in truth there would be some areas where the girls would be better.  But kids (and really all of us) can use places where they can be themselves, where they can be safe and silly and comfortable.   


So this decision isn't going to alter the global balance.  Life will go on.  But I don't think this is similar to the issue with homosexuality.  In that issue they were dealing with a difference among members.  In this one they are fundamentally changing the nature of the organization.   They say change is difficult and it is.  But in any change there is a fundamental question that must be asked.  Why?  I just don't think there's a good answer here and it's hard to see how this change is going to be positive.  The Scout's are a very entrenched part of our society and it's difficult to imagine them disappearing.  But...never say never.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Tattoos

 I don't have any tattoos.  Just never found them that interesting and the permanence was always sort of a reason not to go that way.  But I have to admit that there are some great tattoo artists out there and if I were to indulge I'd want to find one of them.  This one is an example.  I think this is sort of cool.  Of course, maybe not on my forearm, but still sort of cool.



Monday, October 9, 2017

Columbus Day

Today is Columbus Day.  When I was a kid I didn't think much about it.  I'm pretty sure it was never a holiday in California (where I grew up) so we marked the day and moved on.  I did go to school with a lot of Italian kids and remember them having celebrations.  As I progressed through life I don't remember much, if anything, about celebrating Columbus Day.  I know that some enclaves of Italians have parades and celebrate.  I know that my Son and Grand kids in Boston have the day off because it's a holiday there.  But like I said, not much awareness.

But with a lot of things in the digital age, information becomes magnified by access.  I've become aware today that Columbus was a low-life European scum who brought disease and exploited the natives.  He also didn't set foot on the North American continent so celebrating his discovery is just factually wrong.  He sold his services to the highest bidder.  He opened the door to slave trading and oppressed everyone he came in contact with.  Even though thousands of Italians celebrate their heritage through his adventures, they are misguided.  And the wisdom of Government has shown through as many local and State governments have bravely ripped Columbus off his pedestal and replaced the day with "Indigenous Peoples Day".  And for God's sake get rid of the statues.  They are offensive and oppressive and conjure up a hostile environment that so many just can't deal with.

Or maybe, just maybe, he was a brave man who set sail across the Atlantic a little over 500 YEARS AGO to discover what was on the other side of the ocean.  Maybe he was a visionary who believed that there was something out there.  Maybe he wanted to not only find new lands and discover new people, but also seek economic gain for his home through trade and expansion.  Maybe he didn't know he was bringing disease and maybe he brought just as many problems back.  There is no doubt that he faced extraordinary dangers and potentially hostile natives but maybe he was brave enough to discount the dangers in favor of seeking the unknown.

I don't know...I think that as we go deeper into the information age, I think it is sometimes too easy to judge history by today's standards.  We know something to be true today (or think it's true), and decide that it should have been true for all history.  As for me, I sort of like honoring some dude who was living 500 years ago (think about what life was like back then) and decided he would set out to discover an unknown land with unknown people on the other side of the world.  Seems to me that's something worth celebrating.  It's easy to get cynical if we have information that holds that achievement or that man in new light.  But you know what the definition of a cynic is?  Someone who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.  But I guess I can appreciate all the information that sheds new light on history and our brilliant public servants who spend their time working on the protection of the feelings of our indigenous people.  As for me...Happy Columbus Day!


"The Human Stain"

The Harvey Weinstein implosion just keeps getting worse.  I had a post about this yesterday and didn't really think I'd mention it again.  But it's like a lot of things...peel the onion and it just stinks more and more.  As I said in the other post, this guy is a world class jackass.  But the depth of his oppression of all those who want to curry favor in the entertainment industry is pretty breathtaking.

The Weekly Standard has a story out today called "The Human Stain: Why the Harvey Weinstein Story is Worse Than You Think".  You can read it here.  It's a pretty shocking portrayal of the abuse and cover up that was perpetrated by this guy.  Read it all to get a good picture.

But there was one particular part that caught my attention.  Here's the quote:  "That’s why the story about Harvey Weinstein finally broke now. It’s because the media industry that once protected him has collapsed. The magazines that used to publish the stories Miramax optioned can’t afford to pay for the kind of reporting and storytelling that translates into screenplays. They’re broke because Facebook and Google have swallowed all the digital advertising money that was supposed to save the press as print advertising continued to tank."  Digital (or whatever you want to call it) is having such a huge impact in so many industries and this is just another example.  In this case, the house of cards collapsed as the money dried up.  This is happening in so many industries.  And those that figure it out early and adapt will survive.  Those that don't, won't.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Game of Thrones

For the last several years like anyone else I've heard about this series called Game of Thrones.  Strange name.  I knew it was some sort of fantasy story and that's about it.  Since I didn't have HBO and that's the only place to watch it, well then no sweat.  Since I couldn't watch it I wouldn't miss it.


About 3 weeks ago I got a text from AT&T telling me they were adding HBO to our TV package for no charge.  Sweet.  Of course, after reviewing some of the programming I didn't think I'd been missing much.  But with the state of network TV these days, I figured that having more options couldn't be a bad thing.  And then I remembered that Game of Thrones is on HBO and maybe I could watch it.  But I don't want to just pick up since it's been going for a while, so I did an 'on demand' search and went back to the first episode in the first season.  Turns out that is 2011!  Yikes.  I've got 6 years of programming to catch up on.  But not to worry, I've got time.

So earlier this week I started watching.  It's not something my wife would sit still for so I'm on my own here.  So far I've watch 5 episodes and I've got to admit, it's pretty addictive.  The dialog is such is that it's sometimes difficult to figure out what the hell is going on, who the good guys are and who the bad guys are, and where the thing is going, but it does grip you.  I'm starting to get why so many are gaa gaa over this show.  Since I've got so far to go it's going to take a while, but like I said, I've got time.  And I hope that as I go along I'll start to figure out all the characters in more depth.  I'm also sorta surprised at the sex.  I mean, there's a lot of it.  And there's not much left to the imagination.  So good story, lots of sex, plenty of violence and blood and gore, and set decoration that is pretty impressive.  What's not to like?

Motivation Monday


Cool Pic


Our Outside Fireplace

Great afternoon yesterday sitting around the outdoor fireplace for the first time this Fall.  It really wasn't cold enough, but I was in the mood.  


Harvey Weinstein

I don't know this guy from Adam.  But I've seen a lot of people in my time and from the reports coming from people who knew him, the stories of his personality and demeanor, and the accusations regarding his behavior paint a pretty bad picture.  In short, this guy is an asshole.  Don't know any better way to say it.  Even if I hadn't heard and read some things, just by looking at him you can tell he's a jackass.  Simple as that.

But all of his antics, abuse, slimy activities, and law breaking sort of pales in comparison to the silence from the left and Hollywood.   I don't know what else to say.  They are complicit hypocrites.

Something To Ponder

Today being Sunday and the season is the Fall, the NFL comes to mind.  So what are headlines?  Colin Kaepernick has decided that if someone lets him play, he'll stand for the National Anthem.  The Vice President of the United States goes to see the Colts-49ers game and after some of the thugs, er...players kneel for the National Anthem he and his wife walk out stating that they won't attend an event in which our flag and National Anthem is disrespected.  And all around the country we have players kneeling.  The word from the league office is...crickets.  Nada.

Meanwhile around the country athletic events are consumed with honoring police and first responders in the wake of the horrific shootings in Las Vegas.  So which is it?  Are the police oppressive white supremacists who are bent on beating up and killing blacks and minorities at every chance they get?  Or are they heroes who run to the action to prevent injuries and loss of life?  Of course, that's a rhetorical question.

But here's the bottom line.  The NFL is losing viewers and sponsors.  They need to exert some leadership.  One of their employees disrespecting the flag and national anthem is bothersome and should have been dealt with up front.  But hundreds doing it will impact the league monetarily.  If they don't get a handle on this, they will continue to be hurt.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Friends

We all have acquaintances, neighbors, colleagues, workmates, golf buddy's, or myriad other categories of people we have relationships with.  But the familiar lament of so many people is that they don't have many good friends.  That it's really, really hard to know someone well enough and consistently enough to be true friends.  Someone who you can count on and they can count on you.  I think it's right that it's pretty rare.  And when it happens it's a great thing.


I was thinking about the nature of friendships when we went to dinner tonight with two couples that we've known for years and years and years.  We were all in the Navy together and we've all faced the trials and rewards that that life brings.  One are true and deep friends who we see regularly, know well, go to church with, know each other's kids and their trials and tribulations, socialize with, have traveled with, and can count on when things go down sideways.  They are vitally important to us as friends who we value tremendously!

The other is a couple who we go back with to our early days in the Navy.  We were in our first squadron together.  We were close then and developed a friendship based on a common lifestyle.  We both had kids, we both didn't have much money, and we both experienced all the hardships of the life that the Navy brings.  And all the great things.  As it happened this couple moved on.  And we moved on.  To other duty stations, to other locations, to other relationships.  We all lived our lives, raised our families, and progressed through careers.  And as it happens we came together again in our very last duty station as we worked just down the street from each other.  We were even in the same carpool.  And then we drifted again as they moved to another life as did we.  And then we all retired and socialized again, played golf again, remembered the good times again, and reconnected.  And once again they moved away to another life.  But a couple times a year they come back to SoCal and we get together.  And I swear to you...it's just like we were young Navy couples again.  We laugh, we have fun, we tell lies that we all believe and we revel in the familiarity of a long, well entrenched friendship.  It's different than a continuous and deep friendship, but nonetheless it's pretty sublime.  

So the nature of friendship is wide and varied, but they are all valuable. Our relationships are perhaps the most important part of our lives.  Whether they be family, work, social, professional, or some other category, they are all important.  But some are special.  And I think tonight we all experienced something special.  And for that I'm grateful.

Friday Funnies

Dilbert is always good for a laugh.  This may be pretty applicable to someone I know...


Dogs Are Cool


Cool Pic



Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Something To Ponder


It's all Las Vegas, all the time.  Which is okay.  If you want an update on injuries and/or fatalities you can get it within 30 minutes of turning on any cable station.  If you want to hear the latest theory about motive, tune in.  If you are interested in the latest human interest story, you can find it.  If you want confirmation that your views on gun control are correct, tune that dial to the station that will cater to your views.  


But there is an interesting phenomenon that I've noticed in watching the national news summaries on the major networks every night.  Maybe it's just me, I don't know.  But all of these talking heads seem so surprised that Americans of all types (everyone!) will do heroic things for each other.  They report on the people running into the action as if they are exhibiting characteristics that somehow they've never noticed.  They are shocked that people in extremis will look to help each other.  They can't believe the stories of the average American who will take risks and even sacrifice themselves for others.  For virtual strangers.  And they report this as if we, their viewers probably are shocked too.  That the average viewer will be amazed at these stories.  

And so this got me to thinking.  About them.  The talking heads.  The reporters.  The network executives.  You know, the people we listen to and are influenced by while we mindlessly sit and watch what is probably the most common information source that we all have.  They've been so busy making us all not like each other very much that I think they've really lost touch with the reality of who we are.  They have taken our environment, our society, our people and have segmented us all into stereotyped buckets so that we will all choose sides.  So that we will want to choose sides.  They want us to hunker down in our beliefs or thoughts and develop anger and distance and, yes hatred of those in other buckets.  They want us to forget our basic humanity.  And in doing this they've forgotten, or maybe they never knew, that people are basically good.  But they can't see it or don't want to see it.  They want us to keep fighting so they have stories to tell.  So they have ratings, advertisers, private jets, access, knowledge, power!  They absolutely don't want to give us facts and let us decide.  And in trying to influence us, they've forgotten who we are.  

I don't have any answers.  But I know one thing.  I'm not one bit surprised that when the chips are down, Americans will rally to help each other.  They will do what is required.  And they won't give up.  Ever.