The Gross National Debt

Thursday, May 31, 2012

A generation of stupid

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“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”
Albert Einstein

Rather than read our children fairy tales, we hand them smart phones, violate the terms of service on social media sites to let them have an account, fill their rooms with video games and go well out of our way to make sure they never have any reason to get up except to fulfill the basic necessities of life.

We are metaphorically beating the imagination out of our children with such force we might as well be doing it physically.

I give you this very real example:

Since school is out for summer, my Mom periodically collects my children and my extended family of children. When I went to collect the various chitlin's she was riding herd on yesterday, they were sprawled on furniture and the floor fairly glued to the idiot box. Admittedly, they'd spent several hours in her pool.
I'll be back in a few days...

I hauled them back. By the time the sun set, my house was temporary home to even more kids. All the girls holed up in Susan's room. They laughed, yelled, screamed made each other up as zombies and generally carried on in a highly boisterous manner until 3 a.m. The TV was ignored.

What is the difference?

Mom has cable. I do not. I do not have an antenna, a satellite dish or any way to receive a television signal. The kids can watch videos, but that's it.

Nor do I have internet access at home.

Despite the lack of modern electronic pacifiers, except on school nights my house is quite often occupied by kids not biologically related to me. I call all of them my children and I mean it.

Kids know when they come to my house, they will have to entertain themselves. And they do.

And they keep coming to my house. They would rather come to my house, despite my feeding them things like deer, wild hog, elk and squash casserole, than go to someone else's house.

At my house the kids must make their own entertainment. They must reach into their gray matter and find ways to eschew ennui. There is no passive entertainment at my house, except for the video collection which is well watched now.

I also demand, yes demand, intellectual excellence from all of them. I constantly challenge them to stretch their brains to encompass the concepts I hurl at them. I refuse to accept mediocrity. Only their best effort will be allowed.

And yet, they keep coming back.

Soon I think I shall break out the AD&D manuals, the 10 sider, 8 sider, 6 sider and 4 sider die. We shall enter the subterranean realms to do battle with green slime, skeletons and vampires which turn to dust when exposed to sunlight.

We shall not read fairy tales. We shall make our own.

We will not be a generation of stupid because we will make our brains do the hardest work of all.

My buddy Buck suggested this as read.


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Will you so shut up already!

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I remember asking my mother many years ago if there was anything she'd done which she regretted.

She said no. I forget the reason she gave, but it probably was something along the lines that everything she'd done made her into the person she was.

"Regret the wasting of precious time feeling guilty about past mistakes. Mistakes are a thread in the blanket of our character." This is swiped from a FB post. I have corrected typos and probably added some of my own.

Brilliance in a few words. Whatever you have done, whenever you did it has led to you this point.

"Without them (mistakes) we wouldn't learn."

Can I get a witness? The only people who do not make mistakes do nothing. They are dead. Or might as well be. I'd like to think I have learned far more from my mistakes than my success. That may not be true, but I have certainly learned much from my mistakes.
Passion. Get you some.

"We have all made decisions in our lives that are driven by passion. Whether it be love, anger or just excitement. We sometimes dive into the water without sticking our feet in to check the temperature. Looking back on past mistakes should done with a smile, if you look back at all. The lessons we learned from them and sometimes the fun we had while making them should make them mistakes that were worth making."

Testify! Complaining about a mistake will not change what happened. My late Grandpa was an expert at dealing with the here & now, planning for the future and not worrying about what happened. I wish I could be more like him. What happened, happened. In his eyes you learned from the mistake, decided to not repeat it and moved on. If something needed fixing, you took care of that and then moved on.

 "A person who tries every day to make no mistakes isn't living bit suffocating under the misery of an unreachable expectation."

I disagree. I set out every day with the intention of making no mistakes. I do screw up and do it often. But I do not intent to. I set forth daily to be a complete success. I am not unique when I tell you I have achieved a day without a single mistake. I happened to be flat on my back in a hospital bed at the time. That's not the way I want to achieve perfection though.

Set goals and set them high. You may fall short, but you will be on the way.

"To regret is to be the one who decides what is right and wrong. You are not qualified to determine this."

I again disagree. If not me, whom? I make decisions regarding what is right and wrong. I have to believe that I am qualified and I have the power to make this decision. Those who never decide never do anything.

Lead, follow or get the hell out of my way!
Yeah. That works.

It is better to attempt and fail than to never attempt.

"Everything you do is a pebble thrown into a lake. The ripples will spread outward and have an effect on other peoples lives."

Reminds me of the storm butterfly, a physics concept. Every action has a cascade effect. What I do affects one or more people, who in turn affect other people and so on down the line.

And you still think I am not qualified to decide what is right and what is wrong?

"Something you did in your past that may have seemed utterly wrong to you, may have been the cause of changing someone else's life for the good. You will never know how your actions have affected the world, only how your actions have affected you."

Ummm. Do two wrongs make a right? How many wrongs make a right? Is the sum of the parts greater than the whole? Do the ends justify the means? Too much to quantify in this statement. This must be a case-by-case matter.

"So, to regret is a selfish emotion."
Speaking of personal demons, can we get an exorcist over here?

Ayup. Get out of your pity party and move on. If you are not happy with who you are, there's one person to blame. We've all fought personal battles, exorcised personal demons and gone lance to snout with personal dragons.

So, learn your lesson, shut up already and move along.

S'called tough love.

"Do not regret the mistakes that make you whom you are today, but rather cherish them. And in the last minute of your life, feel sorrow for not having time to make more of them."

Eh. I can live with that.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Bravery is not the lack of fear


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Bravery is admitting fear exists and deciding it will not rule you.

The difference between the coward and the hero is the hero stands and the coward runs.

I have said before I do not understand why some people have a fear of public speaking, a fear so deep set that it is greater than the fear of death. I suppose this is one of those things - you have to be there. I'm not there. I like public speaking.

I admire people who can overcome their fear without chemical additives.

I found out just how much I admire these people on Saturday at the Forest City Gun Club in Savannah.

To splain, Clan Baker was there along with hundreds of other families and stack of people from my county for the annual 4-H Skeet and Trap State competition. I do not know how we placed overall because we headed home before the results were announced.

We were there because Susan is a member of the Junior 4-H team. As such, she earned a spot at the state tournament. I took my intense dislike of Savannah and shoved it into a steel coffin with garlic-impregnated sheets on the inside, nailed shut with silver nails, bedecked with crucifixes and sank the whole thing in a tank of sanctified gasoline with a dead man's switch on a torch hovering overhead.

Saturday morning at the Forest City Gun Club, our county was one of several to take the range for round one. Susan strode out, loaded her shooting pouch with shells, grabbed her shotgun and took the line. She shot last, a decision she's made since joining the shooting team two years ago.

Round 1 was skeet. Not her best event. She shot consistently, however. In three rounds she had the same score each time.

I did not know it at the time, but she was so nervous she could barely hold her shotgun. Literally. Afterward she told he how much she was shaking on the line. Prior to the Trap round at 12:30, she showed me how nervous she was. I have only seen people shake that much when in the grip of near hypothermia or some other medical malady.
A skeet field.

After morning skeet shoot was over when the scores were tallied, the coach extended congrats and the referee gave some parting advice, he told Susan "You need to be on Xanax."

I got that bit on film too. If it makes the cut, it'll be part of Real Outdoors with Team No Prisoners, which airs on Predator TV. Pretty sure it will make it to the blooper real on the DVDs.

At the range I told Susan how proud of her I was (and am.) On the ride home I thought it over more. I became increasingly proud of her.

Her she was, so nervous she could barely hold a shotgun and yet she went on to compete. She didn't come in first in the standings, but she came first for the sheer tenacity displayed. I've seen other people who would have collapsed under that kind of pressure.

Not Susan.

Too many people are ruled by their fears instead of ruling the fear. On Saturday my daughter showed she may have fears, but they will not stop her.

That's the attitude we all need to have.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday Funny - Summertime Christmas wishes


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Did you ever wonder what the estimated cost of all the presents for the 12 Days of Christmas is?

Now you gotta multiply it out to make it come out right. Day 1, one quail. Day 2, two doves and a quail. Day three, three chickens, 2 doves and a quail and so forth.

Thanks to a $5.7 billion dollar grant in the form of campaign contribution refunds to big money donors from President-elect Osama, I now know the answer. I will break 'em down for you.

12 Partridges in a pear tree. Nothing if you grow 'em from seeds from the pears at Grandma's house or take cuttings from her tree. As for the birds, a dozen quail will set you back about $8.50, what with the cost of a box of high-brass 12 gauge shells these days.

22 Turtle doves. Welll, if the Game Warden catches you, $150. If you don't get caught, $12.35 for a box and a piece of a box of 12 gauge shells.

30 French Hens. Hrmmm. Import fees, tariffs, duties and the whole "French" thing, it's just not worth it. 30 wild chickens from Fitzgerald, Ga. Whatever gas you spend driving there and back and wear & tear on your shoes from running down the chickens.

36 calling birds. Calling birds or bird calls? Some of the hand-made top end turkey calls can run $100 or more. If you opt for the birds, you can have as many geese as you can catch from the Veteran's Park golf course and they'll throw in another dozen for free.

40 Golden rings. Hrmmm. You can get a huge bag of onion rings from the Varsity in Etalanna for about $15.

48 Geese a laying. Remember the geese you chased down at the golf course? You got an extra dozen for free. And now you more and having 'em breed as well?

35 Swans a swimming. Look. You already have 84 birds running around and pooping on everything in sight. What do you really need with 35 more huge birds that are basically sewer plants and should be admired from a great distance because if you get too close, you'll find out what the expression "slicker than goose poop" really means. Besides which you have all those chickens too.

Your feed bill is what you really need to be worrying about, not what your true love spent on all these critters. 'Course if your pear trees produce fruit, you could open a produce stand to make some money.

40 Maids a Millking. Obviously these ladies are illegal immigrants because no American citizen is going to milk a cow, much less know how to get cow juice out of the critter. Figure a dollar each plus the cost of housing.

36 Ladies dancing. Run on down to the Radio Ranch any Friday night around 11:30 and you can get just as many ladies dancing as you want for the cost of one cold one each. Call it $72 for longnecks. The ladies will be dancing on the bar, but that should not be a problem.

30 Lords a leaping. Short of attending a track and field meeting where the team is all brothers sisters and first cousins, I dunno where you will get that many of the Lord family jumping up and down. Unless you put some extra hot hot sauce in the pepper sauce bottle for the greens at a Lord family reunion.

22 Pipers piping. What is a piper? I'm serious. Ah, The Countess reminded me of Rowdy Roddy Piper. So 22 fake Scottish Pro rasslers at today's rates, ummm, call it $2,200. That being $100 for each one.

12 Drummers drumming. What kind of drummer? Heavy metal? Jazz? Country? Heck it doesn't matter. How much talent does it take to beat on something with a stick and make noise. If Tommy Lee can do it for nearly 20 years, anyone can do it. A dozen drummers, free at any day care center 20 minutes before lunch time.

The cost of the 12 Days of Christmas, $2,307.85 without the cost of gas to Fitzgerald. Cost of housing illegal immigrant housekeeping staff, $10 a day. Cost of having the Environmental Protection Agency declare your house a hazardous waste site because of all the bird poop, priceless.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Of quotes, Frank Zappa, bats and anger


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“He who angers you conquers you.”
~ Elizabeth Kenny
(1880-1952)
An excellent way of looking at it.
As Paul Hodges posted on my FB page after seeing the above quote - Joseph Hunter: “My life is in the hands of any fool who makes me lose my temper.”

Alternately, any fool who makes me lose my temper puts his life in my hands.

Scary thought. 

At the risk of making some people spew whatever they are drinking across their computer, I state here I have a short fuse. I'd like to think otherwise, but reality says otherwise. At the same time, I don't stay that way long. Get mad. Get over it. Move on. I very rarely let the sun go down on my anger.

Speaking of bent out of shape, this is what nationalized health care does for people...
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1218927/Plumber-shattered-arm-left-horrifically-bent-shape-operation-cancelled-times.html
Anyway, I will get bent out of shape over things that surprise some people. I also let stuff slide when some people think I would get mad.

A broadcast media journalist hard at work
Someone recently commented to me privately that my blogs express a lot of anger. Looking back, I have to agree. I do use this forum to vent, which is a good thing. But this column also reflects a small amount of the writing I do daily and weekly. It accounts for a fraction of a percent of my week's total communication efforts.

I do not often give writing advice (correcting mistakes is not advice). But I do so now. This is some of the absolute BEST writing advice I have ever received and it was supplied by a person who is not a writer.

Writing is an excellent way to let off steam. A former front office worker here once penned an extensive letter, aimed at corp. HQ. I looked it over and suggested some corrections. She said she never intended to send it, just wanted to get some things said.  Having done so, she was satisfied.

Wow.

Noooo. Deadline is Noon Monday, not Tuesday.

What about you? Get mad often? What do you do about?

Anger is often generated by frustration. Most of the time, I'd say. It comes from a failure to adequately control something. What that something is varies, but most of the time it comes down to a failure to control another person or yourself.

Be honest about it and you'll agree. More often that we're willing to admit, anger comes from shortcomings within ourselves.

Uhn. If the truth hurts, you're living wrong.

What makes you mad?

Frank Zappa and his daughter recorded "Valley Girl" in the 1980s. This song made me mad back then and it continues to make me mad. The reasons behind this I shall not share.

It makes me want to grab a baseball bat and inflict damage. I realize this is not rational, but I also hate armadillos and that ain't rational either.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Some items of no partik'lar note


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Pork Brains is now over 100,000 views. BOOYAH!

Next step, TAKE OVER THE WORLD!

•••

Some people will deny empirical evidence even after you beat them to death with it.

Whatta ya do? No use in getting mad. Can't shoot 'em, at least in this country. Take over some third world and you can shoot people at will.

Or, become president of the United States and kill people with drone attacks.

•••

Every minute you are angry is 60 seconds when you could have been happy.

•••

Graduation is upon us. That sacred time of year when high school students around the nation prepare for the next phase of their life and most don't have a bleedin' clue what comes next. I certainly didn't.

I entered college with the idea of becoming a writer. Didn't know WTH I was doing. Lots of people will tell you I still don't have a freekin' clue what I'm doing.

They are probably correct.

•••
High School graduation requirements.

Because so many students are failing the Georgia High School Graduation test, it is being phased out. The new standard is students must pass the end of course test.

This immediately insures a sharp increase in the number of kids graduating, while also making sure the students leaving High School are no more prepared for the real world than they are now.

By putting the onus on individual teachers, the Georgia school system is making absolutely sure nearly 100 percent of High School seniors will meet Georgia's graduation requirements. Whether or not the students have actually learned what was taught is irrelevant.

Teachers will pass students. Period.

It doesn't matter if the student did well enough on the test or not. The teacher will assign a passing grade to the student. There will be no or extremely few failing grades.

Ergo, everyone graduates.

This may not be a written policy at Georgia's public schools, but it absolutely is the No. 1 unwritten mandate from on high. Teachers who let students actually earn their grades are fired because too many students fail.

School systems will deny this in public. Owning up to the reality of the situation is political and professional suicide.

The problem is: So long as teachers are not allowed to teach and bad teachers are protected by the system, our public schools will never achieve the kind of success our kids deserve.

But as I said above, you can beat some people to death with empirical evidence and they will still deny it.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Mo gets class

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“It’s missing something.”

So pronounced Larry “Hawgin’” Fishbreath while sitting at Mo’s Country Diner, Used Cars, Stump Removal, Friday Night Sushi Bar, Saturday Morning Fresh Cut Bait and Tanning.

The object of Hawgin’s observation was the sign out front of Mo’s, which he so indicated by pointing at the sign with a well-greased fork holding a fried chicken liver. Instantly wondering what a chicken had done to deserve the fate of having its innards used to point out a sign, I leaned over the table and looked out. The only thing the sign was missing, as best I could tell, was a condemnation order from local, state, federal and international authorities for being a hazard to the planet at large.

“What?” grunted Mo from behind the counter where he was rassling with a large bag of frozen fries which eventually would be dumped in nearly boiling peanut oil and from there going to grace a MoBurger platter which would eventually contribute to the hardening of the arteries of many of Ellenton’s residents.

“Yer missing the kind of business this place is,” Hawgin’ said. “The sign don’t explain it.”

Like you are now, I was stunned, shocked, perplexed and a whole bunch of other adjectives which mean my jaw dropped and was presently sliding around the barbecue sauce in my plate.

How could a sign of 18 words and miscellaneous punctuation fail to identify the business to which it was attached?

Understand this is also no ordinary sign. Over the years as Mo has added and removed various sidelines to his business, the sign has changed. Mostly gotten longer.

It is now so long it reaches well past the actual building. It is also a very cosmopolitan, democratic and integrated sign. The original sign “Mo’s Diner” was a tasteful done hand painted job on plywood. Additions were done, by Hawgin’, with whatever materials were at hand.

The extension is made from roofing tin, vinyl siding, the hood of a 1973 Chevy 3/4 ton pickup (that being the Used Cars part), more plywood, some nailed together 2x4s, a picnic table and what looks like parts form a UFO but Hawgin’ swears it is stuff he salvaged from the Tar Pit and painted with whatever paint the hardware store had on sale because it was incorrectly mixed. The whole thing sags more than an air conditioner in a second-story window.

On really windy days when the sign is moving good you can see part of former businesses Mo had. The “Video Rental” is one which the City Council really wishes would go away.

Before online rentals killed local video shops, Mo rented movies, including the kinds of movies he had to keep behind the counter and you had to ask for when no one else was in the store.

The City Council got wind of Mo’s under the counter rentals and threatened to pass an ordinance making those movies illegal. Mo went to the City Council’s next meeting.

“Y’all go ahead and make it illegal and I will publish the names of everyone who has rented one of these movies in the newspaper next week,” he said.

The movie ordinance was dropped so fast it cracked the floor at City Hall.

But none of this explains what Hawgin’ felt was missing from the sign.

“Emporium,” Hawgin’ said. “Them French words like that give it a touch of class. Yeah. Classy.”

That afternoon Hawgin’ attached “EMPORIUM” in bright green neon letters.

Class. Mo’s has it. A pre-kindergarten kind of class, but he’s got it.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A news story - Hunt of a lifetime for a Georgia teen


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This is a newspaper story about my son.
On the drums for the HS band




Hunt of a lifetime for a handicapped Georgia teen


A handicapped Georgia teenager is going to get the hunt of a lifetime in Washington State this fall, if his family manages to raise the money for airfare and to ship his moose or elk back home.

At 15 years old, Jesse Baker is a typical teenager in most ways. He doesn’t like to clean his room, loves the internet and occasionally adopts an attitude toward his parents. He also loves to hunt, especially wild hogs and deer.

What sets him apart is Down Syndome, a genetic condition that pervades every cell in his body. Down Syndrome, also known as Trisomy 21, brings with it mental retardation and physical defects. Jesse was born with a hole in his heart, which closed over the intervening years, but he remains under the care of a pediatric cardiologist. He also has an unusually large gap between the vertebrae in his neck, which means contact sports are out. A couple of years ago, he had a bone insert in both ankles to correct a joint disorder. That was mostly successful.

“This is Jesse’s hunt. He’ll carry the gun and do the shooting,” said dad Ben Baker. “I’m going because he can’t go by himself on a trip like this. But he’ll be the one in charge. He’ll decide what to shoot and when.”

MAKING IT HAPPEN
My favorite Jesse picture. He is "scaring" me.


The total cost of the trip is normally around $6,000. But Fourtrack Outfitters, www.fourtrackhunting.com/, in Colville, WA, has donated a 4-day hunt to Jesse. Fourtracks owner Chris van Kempen contacted the Team No Prisoners TV show and offered a hunt to a disabled youngster. TNP Executive Editor Scott Dawson and Producer Homer Guy immediately suggested Jesse.

That cut the cost back considerably. This left Jesse needed to raise air fare, money for food and to ship his moose or elk home. That’s estimated to be somewhere between $3,000 and $4,000.

“This is just a natural fit for us,” said Barry Barbee of Autowrangler.com , a company helping raise money for the trip. “We have a mission at Autowranglers.com to give back to the community and spread the word of Jesus. By helping Jesse, we make a dream of his come true and Jesse will also use the Washington trip as mission work. Jesse Baker loves God and tells everyone about that.”

Mr. Barbee said Autowranglers.com will buy a vehicle, any vehicle and anywhere in the nation, donated to Jesse’s hunt. The car will be picked up with a day and a check will be delivered to Jesse’s hunting fund the same day.

“It doesn’t matter what shape the vehicle is in. We’ll buy it. Guaranteed. You call me, I’ll buy it. I’ll donate the money to Jesse’s hunting trip,” Mr. Barbee said. “It’s a win-win-win. You get a junk car out of your yard, we all get to help a disabled young man enjoy an amazing hunting trip and Autowranglers.com makes a difference in someone’s life.”

ABOUT JESSE
Jesse and a wild hog he killed.

Active in his church’s youth group and a member of the adult Choir, Jesse is quick to tell anyone who will listen about Jesus, his sister and parents and how he’s going to Washington to shoot a big moose.

“Me shoot moose. Big moose,” he says, pantomiming holding a rifle up and pulling the trigger. “Cook it and eat it. Make hamburgers!”

Hamburgers are Jesse’s favorite food.

“Everyone who has ever met Jesse loves him,” Mr. Barbee. “Even if you just met him, Jesse is going to tell everyone you are his ‘old friend’ and he’ll treat you like you really are an old friend.”

Jesse has been hunting since he was three years old, according to Mr. Baker. He got his first gun, a BB rifle when he was five. He now has a .22 rifle which he uses to hunt hogs around South Georgia. He will borrow his father’s deer rifle for the Washington State hunt.

For more information about how to help Jesse achieve his goal of hunting in Washington State, call Mr. Barbee at 1 (877) 845-7378, barry.barbee@autowranglers.com or Mr. Baker at 229-567-3655, redneckgenius@gmail.com

Trip sponsors so far are:
Friends and family
Auto Wranglers - www.Autowranglers.com
Buckmasters - www.buckmasters.com
Fourtracks Outfitters - www.fourtrackhunting.com
Team No Prisoners - www.teamnoprisoners.com

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Graduation


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Remember, if you have made it that far, your High School graduation? I have conferred with some of my fellow graduates from that night in Moultrie many years agone.
This much I do remember. Well, some if it.

We all remember a few details. None of us remember the exact same thing. By piecing together the memories we have, we can come to some sort of an approximate idea of what graduation night was probably like.

Talk about an inexact science.

As we lay out the graduation section at the office (from which I am playing hooky in order to write this blog), I look over the seniors. I have known most of them ever since they started school. I have written about them and taken their pictures for 13-14 years now.

I have watched them laugh, cry, run, sit, complain, rejoice and run through many other emotions.

I wonder what I should tell them as they approach this singular day in their life. I confess I do not know.

Platitudes and aphorisms a plenty come to mind.

Mindless jabber.

I could discuss the state of the world, their future, etc. What can I tell them which they don't already know?
Say what?
As if they will listen to me anyway.

I speak from experience, having once been a teenager and ignoring advice and wisdom from those older than me.

I remember my Grandpa, upon seeing a 5th of whisky in my truck the summer before I hauled out to college, saying, "Don't think you can go off to college and get drunk all the time."

Ahem.

The one bit of advice I did take was from Dad. "Go to a liberal arts college. This will be the last time in your life you'll have so much." He was telling me to avoid the hard schools, like Georgia Tech, because after graduation the world was gonna pound on me. He bade me eschew major responsibilities, which I did.

Most of the advice I was given I forgot and ignored.

So in that spirit I tell the Class of 2012 the following:

Go ye forth. Make mistakes and learn from them. People who do not make mistakes are dead. People who do not learn from their mistakes are soon dead.

Friday, May 11, 2012

What's the difference between you and Westboro Church?


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Lemme state categorically: I do not understand everything in the Bible as it is written. I doubt anyone does. Those of you who only read English translations of the ancient work without commentary and exegesis are missing even more than I am.

Anyway, with all the furor surrounding same gender marriage, I’m taking a serious Biblical look at this and sex in general. So, you are warned. Some of the things I discuss here may be graphic, but they come straight from the Bible.

Read the Old Testament and you see major OT men who slept with “prostitutes” and were not held accountable for this. According to the best research on this, not all of these women were hookers as we know them today. They were women given in service to a deity and part of their religious duties was to have sex with other men. Men may have also done this.

The point is these mighty figures of the OT did not have this act charged to them as sin, at least from what we know from the Bible.

Some point to the story of Onan, who “spilled his seen upon the ground” as evidence that masturbation is wrong. This is the only such reference of this kind I can find. Reading the passage, I get the idea that Onan withdrew before orgasm.

However, there is a different proscription for women. Ezekiel 16:17 You also took the fine jewelry I gave you, the jewelry made of my gold and silver, and you made for yourself male idols and engaged in prostitution with them.

God is speaking in parables here, but He couches it in human terms. He refers to women who used gold and silver to make dildos. The inference here is that this is wrong. I could be wrong.

While I’m on the subject, size matters.

2 Chronicles 10:10 The young men who grew up with him spoke to him, saying, "Thus you shall say to the people who spoke to you, saying, 'Your father made our yoke heavy, but you make it lighter for us.' Thus you shall say to them, 'My little finger is thicker than my father's loins!

Some translations say “waist” instead of loins but the majority say loins.

Size does matters.

Ezekiel 23:20 “There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses.”

Ok, in this passage God is speaking in parables, but He uses the example of two human women to get his point across. One of these human women went charging after men who, well you can read it above.

Yes, the Bible speaks at length about marriage and the sanctity of it. Christians have that right. What all too many choose to ignore are the proscriptions for divorce.

Deuteronomy 24:1-4 1 “When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens 1that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out from his house,
2 and she leaves his house and goes and becomes another man’s wife,
3 and if the latter husband turns against her and writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, or if the latter husband dies who took her to be his wife,
4 then her former husband who sent her away is not allowed to take her again to be his wife, since she has been defiled; for that is an abomination before the Lord, and you shall not bring sin on the land which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance.

From this passage, a man in Old Testament times could find somethings wrong with his wife and divorce her. She was then allowed to find another husband. I also note men were allowed more than one wife. Can’t find anything about women having more than one husband.

In the New Testament, women apparently have the right to divorce. But getting remarried is not allowed.

Matthew 9:3-9 Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”
4 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
7 “Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?”
8 Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. 9 I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

Mark 10:2-10
2 Some Pharisees came and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?”
3 “What did Moses command you?” he replied.
4 They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.”
5 “It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law,” Jesus replied. 6 “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ 7 ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, 8 and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9 Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
10 When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. 11 He answered, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. 12 And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.”

So Christians who get divorced for reasons OTHER than adultery are committing adultery. These two passages are excused away, rationalized away and pretty much ignored when it comes to divorce.

An old independent preacher, probably gone now, gave me a phrase that I find handy here - Kangaroo Christians. They hop from passage to passage ignoring what they don’t like and embracing what they do like.

Adultery, as noted in the Old Testament, was a capital offense. When Jesus came along it no longer was a capital offense, but Jesus also told the accused women to “sin no more.” In the OT, God speaks of Israel’s unfaithfulness to Him in terms of human adultery. God is quite condemning of this all through the Old Testament. It’s a theme also found in the New Testament.

Christians who have divorced and remarried EXCEPT AS NOTED ABOVE are in the same boat as those who engage in same gender sexual activities. Condemned under the law

What about Christians who marry non believers? That’s nowhere near as clear.

1 Corinthians 7:12-13 To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. 13 And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him.

Here we have a conundrum. The very writer of this part of the Bible states he is the one speaking. Yet many Christians believe the Bible is the very Word of God and everything in it is directly from God.

So either the writer here was delusional or this passage of scripture must be considered optional.

The third alternative is: We don’t have enough understanding yet to get what God is trying to tell us.

A short few pages later, some discordant information is supplied.

2 Corinthians 6:14-16 14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said:

“The phrase "unequally yoked together" is the translation of just one Greek word, heterozugeo, which is a compound word that means, "to yoke up differently; to associate discordantly; unequally yoke together. The word "yoke" means a coupling as when two oxen are coupled or yoked together by a pulling beam to do work such as plowing a field or pulling a wagon." It is used but this one time in the Bible.” http://bible-truths.com/yoked.htm

If you’re still with me, here’s the absolute butt-kicker right out of the Bible.

2 Timothy 2:14 Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen.

Got that? Lemme put this another way.

Galatians 5:14 For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: "Love your neighbor as yourself."

In other words, when we argue over the details in the Bible we drive people away. My buddy Gus, what a guy, has this one pegged perfectly.

Grace.

That’s it. Period. Nothing more, nothing less for Christians. Nothing a Christian can ever do will make him good enough for God or bad enough to be rejected.

By focusing on MINOR matters in the Bible, Christians are actually driving people away from the faith. The major matter for Christians is to accept Jesus, what He did and who He is and introduce others to Him. Everything and I do mean EVERYTHING else is secondary.

If you rally against same gender marriage, I ask: What’s the difference between you and the people at Westboro Baptist Church in the eyes of God?

I do not judge you. I merely pose a question. G’head. Judge me if you must. Doesn’t matter. I’ve got grace.

What’s the difference between a homosexual couple and a congregation that puts on an after-church feed and everyone eats until they are uncomfortable WHILE CHILDREN LESS THAN A MILE AWAY GO TO BED WITHOUT SUPPER?

Reckon what Jesus would have done with all that fried chicken?

What are you gonna do? Judge not lest you be judged? Express “tough love?” Jesus, according to Christians, died to prevent Christians from being judged for their sins. Christians are also exhorted to be like Christ. Those of you who condemn same-gender marriage, what are you doing other than complaining and trying to prevent it from happening?

I point out to you, Jesus NEVER commanded. He only attempted to persuade. We have no records of Jesus lobbying, or demanding, Roman authorities to ban certain religious practices or make other practices codified into the law.

Romans 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

Got that? Jesus said He did not come to end the law, but to fulfill it. The law required death for sin. Jesus died, Christians believe, to save them from death.

Romans 8:1-4 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

Got Grace?

FRIDEE FUNEH

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Tired of paying ever-increasing prices of gasoline, one local family has traded in their fleet of OPEC supporting rides for a more traditional mode of transportation.

“We got hay burners,” said Jim Turk. “Horses. Got a horse for the wife, myself and Jim Jr. and a pony for little Sally Mae. Best decision we ever made.”
You're doing it wrong.
The Turk family traded in a Ford Explorer, a Volvo and an aging Crown Victoria for their stable of horses. Mr. Turk declined to say exactly how much they got on trade, only admitting “We got a good deal on this. Got enough money left over to take the whole family out to eat and buy a new saddle.”

Mr. Turk rides a roan gelding and his wife Mary Lou rides a dappled grey mare. Jim Jr., a lineman on the high school football team, rides a Morgan. Sally Mae’s pony is buckskin colored.

Mr. Turk said the decision, made about two months ago, is already paying off. By eliminating gasoline from their daily budget, he estimates the family has saved $500 a month alone. Additional savings come from not having to pay vehicle insurance and routine maintenance on the cars.
Reminds me of a gal I dated in college.

“All we have now are regular vet bills and a little bit of money for sweet feed,” Mr. Turk said. “A horse is about 10 percent of the cost of a car. A pony is a bit less.

“I tell you, have you checked the prices of veterinarians these days? Way cheaper than a doctor at the clinic. I’m looking at switching our health care to the vet as well. After all, the vet is a doctor and he can prescribe medicine. What more do you need from a doctor?”

Sweet feed is costing about $8 a bag at the feed store. One bag lasts a week, according to the Turks. The horses and ponies graze in neighborhood yards, providing an unexpected bonus for the Turk family. No more lawn maintenance costs.

COMMUNITY REACTION

Neighbors so far don’t seem to mind. All interviewed said they are glad to not have to pay illegal immigrants under the table for lawn maintenance. The only drawback is the horses are a bit indiscriminate when it comes to pruning and hedge maintenance.

“They either eat the whole thing right down to the ground or don’t eat at all,” said Turk family neighbor Junie Snodgrass. “While I really didn’t mind them eating the petunias my husband bought, I didn’t much care for them eating my rose blooms. They won’t even touch the hibiscus, which is fine. But the holly bushes really need to be cut back. They are getting so tall I can barely see into anyone else’s house.”

GOING GREEN
Horse apple? You're still doing it wrong.

The equine byproducts, horse apples, are gathered daily and dumped in the family’s compost bin the back yard. A ring of tomato plants surround the bin, supporting Big Boys bigger than a doubled fist.

The compost also feeds a nearby garden, which is fenced off.

“Had to,” Mr. Turk explained. “Horses will get in there and eat everything right to the ground. Not too good! So we put up the fence, horses stay out and we get fresh veggies.

The family describes the taste of the fresh vegetables as amazing and far superior to supermarket produce.

OTHER BENEFITS

16 year old Jim Jr. said riding a horse to school has so far been one of the best things to ever happen to him.

“Girls, girls, girls, Girls are just slap crazy about horses. The first day I rode up to school all my friends were like laughing and making fun of me. But when school was over and I spent the next three hours giving girls rides around the whole school, lemme tell you there were some jealous looks,” he said.
Well, maybe it will work. No. You're still doing it wrong.

Mrs. Turk said her only objection is going grocery shopping. A horse is not exactly conducive to bringing home two weeks worth of food for a family of four. But they have a solution in mind. Thanks to the money the family is saving, next week they plan to buy a wagon. Mrs. Turk will hitch her mare to the wagon, ride to the grocery store and shop without worrying about how to get everything home.

Mr. Turk has received a mixed reaction at work. While his boss doesn’t mind, some of his co workers have objected to the smell and the flies that have mysteriously appeared about the same time as his horse. Mr. Turk brushes it off.

“I’m thinking so far out of the box here, they can’t grasp what I’m doing. Radical, genius-level ideas have always met with strong resistance. This is no different.”

Little Sally Mae? She’s probably the happiest of the bunch.

“I GOT A PONY!” she loudly exclaims to everyone she sees.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Come and get it if you can




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Yes. Ask the experts.


In a FB thread a longtime friend asked me to explore the idea that the Second Amendment was repealed.
Gun control works. Ask China.

The Second Amendment as passed by the Congress:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
As ratified by the States and authenticated by Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of State:

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

That comma is important. Think not? Consider these two statements:

Anyway. Could the Second Amendment be repealed? Sure. When you consider the intellectual level of the United States taken as a whole is on par with a retarded flatworm, anything is possible.

And we shot them again in 1812.

However, it's is unlikely to happen any time soon. A repeal requires a vote of a majority of states' legislatures. 25 or so states now have a State Constitution guarantee that hunting and fishing is a right held by the people. 49 states now have laws in place allowing citizens to carry a firearm. Illinois is the holdout. These regs do vary with Alaska being the freest - You got it, tote it - to some states requiring training and limiting the places where a gun can be carried.

Which does not answer the question. If the Second Amendment is repealed by popular vote, this means a fundamental shift in American attitudes toward firearms. Somewhere around 80-90 percent of the populace agree people who be allowed to have a firearm.

An immediate shift is unlikely. A gradual erosion is far more likely.

Embrace truth.

If such a slow shift happens, gun owners will be in a very small minority, so small that any chance of insurrection will be slapped down in a hurry. People will die, yes. 

But people are already dying because of government control over lives. A f'r'instance. A majority of the people in the nation want marijuana decriminalized, but people are still sent to jail for possession.


See Randy Weaver and David Koresh among others. Weaver's wife was killed while she was holding a baby. Her crime? Refusing to surrender to federal authorities. Weaver's crime? Entrapped (according to the courts) into selling a Class III firearm to an undercover agent. The gun was a short barreled shotgun.

OK, posit a quick repeal of the Second Amendment WITHOUT a paradigm shift in thinking.

You will see mass defections from the military and law enforcement when they are told to go confiscate guns. Most of the people I know on the Thin Blue Line and in the military believe in the right to keep and bear arms.

We keep you free. You're welcome.


This will leave a handful of people charged with collecting guns and making arrests. They will now face a larger "enemy" for lack of a better word. They will also face some highly trained opposition. The guys who go into SWAT, SEALS, Rangers, etc are generally the guys and gals who are fervent Second Amendment supporters.

As gun ownership is highest in the South and West, and these legislatures will reject an Amendment repeal, I think a second rebellion is possible. How possible I do not know. Brief aside, if you closely study the history of this nation, a secession attempt was inevitable. If the South hadn't broken away, I believe the West eventually would have.

Anyway, there will be even more bloodshed along the lines of the War of Northern Aggression. I call it the War of Northern Aggression because the Declaration of Independence is either valid document or toilet paper. 



"When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation..."
 
 As for myself and people who think like me, we will not go gentle into that totalitarian night.

As for myself, if the government decides it wishes to take my guns, I hope the gun grabbing politicians come for them and me and not my friends in the military and law enforcement. 


I do not want to shoot anyone. But I will if I have to.

They can have my gun when they pry it from my cold dead fingers. I will take some out before I go.



Get more cool posters like the ones I posted here, here.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Where Idiotology doth lead, idiots shall follow


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Brace yerself.
"At a certain point, I've just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married," Obama said.
So said the current president of the United States.
This comes on the heels of North Carolina voters deciding the marriage is between a man and a woman.
It only took him 3.5 years as president to say something that makes sense. That's a better record than some presidents.

Several things need saying.
IDIOTOLOGY
Earning an advanced degree in Idiotology
The president is a damnocrat. Southern damnocrats are hard boiled on the issue of same gender marriage. They are against it.

Those who share one part of the president's recent ancestry are likewise hard set against same gender attraction.
Now if these voters are to remain true to their beliefs, they will vote against the president come election time. However, as they are more bound to Idiotology (a word I invented), they will support him. It matters not what the candidate says or does, only that he is a damnocrat.

You can just as easily insert the word reboobican in the place of damnocrat and come up with the exact same statements. It happened when Dubya was in office.
RELIGION
A personal relationship. Me and Him. NOT me, you and Him.
The idea that marriage is a union of one man and one woman is Biblical, but is specifically for a man who wishes to formally enter the ministry. The Bible does not specifically prevent a man from having more than one wife. Nor have I found any passage which prevents a wife from having more than one husband.

For that matter, I also ain't found anything that says group marriages are proscribed.
I have found a number of references in which divorce is prohibited by the Bible except in specified circumstances. Circumstances which I note are flouted regularly by the very same people who believe their interpretation of the Bible must apply to everyone.
Why is your interpretation of the Bible correct and mine is not?
STATECRAFT
GO RON PAUL!
A major issue yet to be decided is: Is marriage an institution of state or an institution of religion? Pick one. Under the terms of the Constitution of the United States it has to be one or the other. If religious, government must stay hands off. If state, religion has no place in it.
For myself, part of me continues to wonder why anyone wants independent sanctioning of a decision to spend time with another person and engage in the making of the beast with two backs. Shakespeare said that last bit first so go yell at him if you don't like it.
As an ordained minister I will officiate a marriage of two (or more) people of the same or different genders. I can appreciate the need to make a lasting vow before the Creator of the Universe and friends and family and sealed by a person invested with a smidgen of authority from the Creator. But I don't think it's necessary. If two, or more, people want to declare themselves to be married and they are of age and mental acumen to do so, they do not need my permission. Don't need your permission either. They only need to agree among themselves.

I understand the political ramifications behind a state-sanctioned union. I don't agree with the way the state goes about ordering such unions and affecting such joinings. But I also do not agree with a majority of things government does.

Hogs to the trough

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A brief story to set the stage for this discussion.

Hogs get a bit of a bad rap. They are accused of a variety of things they simply are not guilty of. To narrow this discussion, I point you to hogs overeating.
Mr. Creosote, prior to the wafer thin mint.

Given free range and the ability for forage for themselves and exercise, hogs will put on fat. Every animal will do so when given sufficient nutrition. Some animals intentionally put on fat to carry them through hibernation, but they are not maligned like hogs. Hogs will not overeat in one sitting though. Horses will. A horse will gorge itself until its insides are in danger of rupturing.

Human beings will do the same.

Humans are pretty much unique in that given unlimited food, they will eat themselves into an inability to move independently. Yes, such people do require enablers, but that's beside the point at the moment.

The fact is humans will gorge if given the opportunity.
I have been banned from this place, in case you wondered.

Restaurants have long known  this and have set the prices for All You Can Jam Down Your Piehole buffets accordingly. Cheap food, cheap ingredients and appropriate prices keep such joints in business.

In other words, restaurants crunched the numbers. At the same time, the All You Can Eat is a one-time thing. Come back later, you pay again. It's not a buy once, eat forever deal.

Other companies did not bother doing adequate research and are now paying the price. AT&T launched unlimited cell phones, a decision which is now costing the company some serious bucks according to today's Market Place report on National Public Radio. The AT&T guy who pushed this now massively regrets it.

Every cell phone company around, except mine of course, offers unlimited plans at what most people consider reasonable prices. My cell company does offer unlimited plans, but the price is more than twice that of its competitors. (I stay with my cell company for other reasons and a plan which no other company anywhere offers.)
One way to do it.

Once the cat is out of the bag, getting it back in the bag especially after it has spawned a litter of kittens is next to impossible short of lethal capture means.

American Airlines some time back offered a $350,000 fly first class the rest of your life program. The company is now losing more than $1 million a year thanks to this program.

A now defunct satellite TV company offered a lifetime subscription for $350 ($500?). They lasted a few years. Now the folks who had that service are SOL.

The problem is greed - hogs to the trough in other words, albeit a more correct metaphor is horses to the trough.

These All You Can Use companies certainly did plot their own corporate greed. They failed, epically failed, to take into account the greed of their customers. Anyone who could fork out $350K for unlimited first class flights has no problem in taking a weekend jaunt anywhere American Airlines flies. As little as I know about the airline industry, I can see that's a money loser.
Word to the bosses out there.

The cell phone companies can be excused a bit. When the All You Can Use plans were introduced, cell phone use was NOWHERE near the level it is now. While some predicted the current and rising levels of use, they were not taken very seriously. Gotta admit, I'da been one who didn't take them seriously.

You can bet, wager and but hedges on those gambles on anything and win some and lose some. The only guaranteed bet when it comes to humanity is greed, greed at the corporate level all the way down to the personal level. Bet on that to win and you'll be rolling in whatever return your bet pays off.

Companies offering All You Can Use plans will do well to remember humans are nothing more than horses standing in front of an unlimited supply corn.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Not what you wanted

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For some reason I thought about William Bruce Rose, Jr, also known as William Bruce Bailey today.
Mr. Rose or Mr. Bailey, depending.


The name may mean nothing to you right now, but it will by the time I'm done. Think of this as a Paul Harvey "The Rest of the Story" with my individual twist.


Mr. Rose had a goal, a dream, an ambition. There's little doubt in my mind he achieved this goal. Spectacularly achieved it in fact. His work, in one case, is listed in the worldwide top 10.

Mr. Rose, after achieving stellar heights of stardom, set about destroying the very thing he wanted most by being what he wanted to be.



Arg. Confusing.


Mr. Bailey asked for something. He received that something. No one can question that.

Having received it, Mr. Bailey then reveled in what he'd been given. As he partook of particularly twisted Gift of the Magi, he set about creating yet another near-world record of destruction, possibly only eclipsed by what happened to the Beatles.



What did Mr. Rose/Bailey ask for? Stardom? Quiet incredible heights of stardom. Having reached it, he became the ultimate prima donna star. Fans continue to demand his early work and discuss the amazing abilities he displayed with his partners.

Mr. Rose/Bailey achieved his goal and that goal sent him crashing and burning back to earth where he now rides on the laurels of his past, to pervert several different idioms at once.

The saga of Mr. Rose-Bailey reminded me of another oft turned phrase that is yet timeless.


Be careful what you ask for. You just might get it.

If you ask for strength, prepare to be burdened.



If you ask for patience, prepare to be tested and tried.


If you ask for wisdom, prepare for unimaginable experiences.


If you ask for money, prepare for repeated visits from the IRS and possibly law enforcement.


The easy way to look at this is: When you ask for something, think about what is the most painful and difficult way you can get it. Now ask, will it be worth it? NOW ask, can I really handle it when I get it?


Mr. Rose, Mr. Bailey could not handle it. As to whether it is worth it, only he can say. One thing is true, he certainly never will be the artist who had such a creative hand in the No. 9 rock album of all time.

Do you now know to whom I refer? One last hint.

 Considering the violent reception Chinese Democracy got, I seriously doubt he wants it any more. Mr. Rose, better known these days as Axl Rose, got what he asked for.

Monday, May 7, 2012

This matters too

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Ask me, these more than two decades later, what happened on a given day in school and chances 99.99 percent are I won't have a clue.
The most dangerous things on earth.

That I learned valuable things in school is a given. Without school, I'd not be able to pen this column, write the books I've authored and run the newspaper where I am hijacking the internet feed for personal purposes, i.e. these ramblings.

School was incredibly valuable and I do not in any way demean the value of a solid scholastic education when I tell you the following.

But everything you need to know, you will not learn in school.

I suggest to you, the majority of things you need to learn are not learned in a classroom setting. You do learn a number of these things at school, but not through direct teacher-to-student instruction.

I skipped school a few times in my life to go hunting or fishing. What'd I miss by not being in class those times?
Intellectual content of the average political party faithful.

Not a thing.

Nothing.

Zero.

Zip.

Nada.

What did I gain by giving school the brush off?

Memories that last to this day. Walking miles through fire breaks in Colquitt County with a loaded shotgun while Jerry Sumner and Dad panicked 'cause they couldn't find me.

Seeing my Mom write a note to school asking my absence be excused as I had come down with a case of "buck fever."

Hitting pond after pond after pond and catching bass after bass after bass.
One happy young'un!

Figuring out that if I skipped school to have a stereo installed in the truck and didn't bother to bring a boat, fishing gear or hunting gear with me, I had a whole day to kill and NOTHING to do cause I couldn't go home either. I was in class at 11 a.m that same day.

There's more, but you get the idea.

So I tell you I am proud of what I relate next.

I took my kids out of school Thursday and Friday of last week and hauled them to the Northeast Georgia mountains. Up yonder, they played on a beach, saw some giant rainbow, brook and brown trout, handled a leopard frog, leopard frog tadpoles and a leopard frog string of eggs. Jesse rafted a river. Susan caught striped bass, several, for the first time. They both got to see, for the first time, a fish cooked with the head still on.

They got to see mountains up close and personal.

They learned things that can only be learned in a classroom with trees for walls, rushing water for a floor and sky above for a roof. While their classmates pored over textbooks, my kids were getting wet and sun-dried. They were putting their hands on wild things, some of which strenuously objected to being handled.

Considering the activities we engaged in, you can even say my kids were in harm's way. People are injured and killed in river rafting. Striped bass have pulled people out of the boat they fished in, including our Nottely Lake guide Jeff Garrison, a combat-wounded veteran.
Coming later this month.

But crossing a street is also dangerous. Riding in a car is dangerous.

I absolutely do not want my kids to be hurt, but when the pain comes and come it must, I want my kids to be experiencing life to its fullest. That means rafting white water and rassling giant fish and handling toads.

As much as I and my kids love to read, books are only vicarious living. I say read what others have done and then go out and make your own adventures for your own stories.

I note here, both my kids are on honor roll and are respected by the faculty and staff at the school they attend. If that wasn't the case, I cannot be sure they would have made the trip to the north Georgia mountains.

But they went. They made memories that will last beyond the memory of missing those two days of school.

They learned the kind of lessons that we all need. This planet is what we have, all we have and it has treasures and wonders beyond anything our imaginations can generate.
Josh and a monster striper.

My kids are learning to look beyond.

If you are a parent, what are your kids learning?

Take your kids to tangle with some big stripers.

Josh Garrison
www.fishgarrison.com
404-308-1863
706-745-4802