“Getting Into Things I Should Not”

Okay, my better judgment is not to write this post…

 

Writing my books, promoting them, and inserting some hopefully helpful posts to other author comrades, these are the main reasons I’m at all involved in this magical world of cyberspace — this maddening social complex that includes Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Author Networks, widgets, tags, links, settings, you name it, it’s here! Maddening? Yes, because I cannot keep up with it all — I’m a few generations away, and you probably get tired of hearing me say ‘I’m an anachronism,’ and/or ‘I’m an old dog trying to learn new tricks,’ both statements true and should certainly inform you of my aging status. The writing is the main reason so I’m going to stick around as long as I can.

 

The ‘better judgment’ thing? Despite all the risks, I might as well spill my proverbial guts, lose some friends, win some friends, or just become boring. Here goes…

 

Last night, the CBS’ Sunday night prime time line-up began with ’60 Minutes’ and an interview with President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton. Longtime correspondent for ’60 Minutes,’ Steve Kroft, was the interviewer, a gentleman with superior investigative talent who has been honored with several Peabody Awards, many Emmy Awards, including a ‘Lifetime Achievement Award,’ a gentleman respected through the years for asking tough questions to get to the truth of any situation. It certainly does not matter, but I, too, have been a fan of Steve Kroft and was looking forward to this interview with much anticipation, hopeful that ‘we the people’ would finally get some answers to nagging questions about Benghazi, Libya. Mr. Kroft prefaced the interview by saying that the White House had allowed only thirty minutes for the time slot.

 

Some people I’m sure will consider this interview a wonderful piece of journalism. To those people, I extend my respect. My admiration and respect for Steve Kroft is still intact. I’m sure he had his very good reasons for turning the thirty minutes into a ‘love fest’ and long subtle verbal embraces between the President and Secretary. Perhaps Mr. Kroft’s format was determined for him by his network and/or the White House.

 

It simply took me by surprise. With only thirty minutes allowed, I expected Mr. Kroft to get right to the point and ask some vital questions about an attack that took an Ambassador’s life and the lives of three other heroic Americans. I expected at least the connection would be made to the significance of the date on which the Benghazi attack took place — a day, I should hope, would live in infamy of all Americans: September 11. The attack on our embassy in Benghazi, Libya took place on the eleventh anniversary of that awful day of September 11, 2001, when mindless terrorists commandeered four separate US commercial airline jets and brought their ‘holy war’ to our homeland. I expected some final truths to be rendered on that Benghazi attack, more than, “It’s a dangerous world out there…,” more than, “We’re working to solve the problems and make sure it doesn’t happen again…,” more than just a few seconds of meaningless rhetoric intended to make up for the inconsistencies (some might say, ‘lies’) we heard the days after the attack and all these weeks that have followed. Truth does matter, and people have the right to the truth.

 

What the eagerly awaited ‘interview’ became was simply another long ‘campaign’ delivery by two leading figures in the Obama Kingdom. (Can’t help but wonder how many friends I’ve lost up to this point?) In my simple mind, it was thirty minutes designed to broaden, strengthen, otherwise solidify the Obama political base of hungry feeders at the trough of tax payer money — otherwise known as the entitlement masses, those who have found it easier to take from other peoples’ labors than to perform their own… AND, I’m not writing here about the social security folks, the Medicare folks, the helpless and poor through no fault of their own… AND, I’m not writing here to be labeled a ‘racist’ because we have a black president. I believed him and his ‘change’ platform of ideas in 2008. I wanted him to have his chance to lead our country, his chance to guide us to some higher plateau of hope. No, I’m not a political activist and far-right loon. Yes, I’m conservative in most of my avenues of thought. Yes, I could see the eloquence, the intelligence, the ability to identify with all of a nation’s people, in this man called Barack Obama. No, the color of his skin did not bother me one iota. In fact, it pleased me to think we were finally bringing down once and for all an ugly barrier in our history.

 

What bothers me is that our president has not brought us to that plateau of hope, to a change that makes a positive difference. What bothers me is that our country’s business is not being administered, that we have people who need jobs, that our economy is trillions of dollars in debt, and we still reelect President Obama to a second term of office. Instead of a consensus gatherer, a problem solver, and one who unites, we have a ‘constant campaigner.’ That is likely not fair because the people have spoken, and Mr. Barack Obama is our President.

 

It just seems to me that our current government is going too far away from what our founding fathers intended in our great guiding document, the US Constitution. Someone sent me these five statements which counter what this current administration appear to be doing:

 

1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity. 2. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. 3. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. 4. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it. 5. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation.

 

Right about now you’re asking yourselves, “What the hell does this guy know about anything?” Well, you see, that’s my problem! Remember that ‘judgment’ statement in the first sentence of this post? There is a good likelihood that I don’t know about anything! I just do a little reading (some of it is political, if that counts), do a little writing, listen to television commentators, pundits, people I consider wise in their knowledge of history and government. I did divorce the liberal left years ago and became more conservative. I do not believe I’m too radical, really just want what’s best for our country. AND, darn it! That’s what some of my friends on the left say as well. So, either I’m looking at life and history through rose-colored glasses, not getting the true picture, or, this crazy old world just has to have its power struggles, these political rifts and quid pro quos. It’s crazy because those of you who might be liberal believe you’re correct in raising taxes and not cutting spending. You believe you’re right in giving the government ‘daddy and mommy’ status in our lives, controlling our engines of growth and prosperity. Me? I believe you’re wrong.

 

So, here’s the deal! I’ve had my little say here, have likely irritated a lot of folks, but, just try to understand, I had to get it off my mind and not let it stay there and fester. Those of you I’ve offended, you go ahead and do the same thing… write a post and get it off your mind. That way, we can keep this sometime uncivil war between left and right going on for more and more generations. We can let the kids handle the whole mess, or, ‘the Machines!’

 

Wonder if I’ll ever watch ’60 Minutes’ again? Ah, sure I will!

“The Snow Bench”

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“The Snow Bench”

     In viewing its cold bitter beauty, that could be my body buried under the snow on that lonely bench. In a warmer June I sat with a young nose-freckled, fresh-faced lass, held her hand, and told her that I loved her. Her smile that responded to my words is etched forever in my heart, along with a sweet silky blonde tress that fell across her left cheek. We embraced there on that bench for long moments, kissing as lovers do, not with a burning passion but with some mystical deep awareness of something that promised an eternal bonding.
     Our lunch hour over, we rose from the bench. Her blue eyes sparkled in the sunlight with her smile. She hurried away from me to return to her office. Standing there, I watched her gaily gait, her delightfully bouncy bottom, and thought myself the luckiest man in the world. My lips were fixed in sublime capitulation to our love. When she waved one last time, I turned, walked in the opposite direction, humming a love song from ‘My Fair Lady.’ It did not matter that I felt like a silly school boy. My heart was held by another. Another’s heart was held by me.
     This park with all the snow and particularly that bench is a place I now often visit. That could be my body buried under the snow on that bench. I was never to see Susannah again. Death took her from me soon after that June day of so much promise. I’m told to get on with my life… Words signifying nothing. My life is now the drear and the cold of this park scene. My memory can persuade the snow to leave momentarily for a June day of promise, but my heart cannot hold back its never-ending grief.
     Viewing the picture of the ‘the snow bench’ and the wintry park (much larger than seen here), there came a challenge to write a poem, a song, a story that could be no longer than three hundred words. For some inexplicable reason my mind settled quickly on a fanciful story, and, in fifteen minutes, the narrative was complete. Obviously, my poem, my song, my story (as was my choice) could have had a happier theme on which to focus. There was something about the bench, the way the snow had settled there, the rather dreary scene winter often brings, that brought me so quickly to this short poignant piece. Sadness comes all through the year but winter has come by its extreme nature to be the season for dying. All of us have lost loved ones. “The Snow Bench” somehow brought me to write about a fragile acknowledgement that some of us had need to accept.
Billy Ray           http://www.about.me/brchitwood

“The Sunshine Room”

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“The Sunshine Room”

     On consistently cloudy days outside, on dreary wintry days, on ‘bad news’ days, it would be nice to have a ‘sunshine room’. In our rapidly expanding digital and technological world, there is likely already a relatively simple mechanism of sorts that will illuminate a room, maybe an entire house, as though the sun was present … maybe a ceiling fixture, a wall addition, a window covering, et al. If not clear by now, I’m a sun worshiper. That’s one of the reasons I live at this latitude on the Sea of Cortez. There is sunshine every single day. Some clouds may drift in but sooner of later the sunshine is there in a beautiful blue sky.
     Sunshine is important to me because of my make-up. The older I get, the more I see in our growing world, there is this tendency to become gilded in my thinking. Those folks who lean toward the liberal side might not like me too much for my views. That’s okay because there are times when I don’t like them too much. However, I do respect my liberal friends and sometimes think I’m missing something in their political and social comments. In fact, in my younger years I was more inclined to hold liberal views. Somehow, I had a change of mind along the way. Perhaps my perceptions are too simple, just too bound in historical clashes and events to think in any other way. I think about the fall of the Roman Empire, its laxity on the social issues. I think about how one man could master a large segment of the human race and murder over six million people. I think about Stalin, Russia, the purges, and the slaughters of millions. I think, in some ways, I’m seeing history repeat itself. Not so much for me, an old dog not able or willing to learn new tricks, but for my kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids.
     Look, I’m no scholar who can spout off the words of the US Constitution, its Amendments, or the Declaration of Independence, but those important papers brought us to a grand place in the history of mankind. The idea that people can have liberty, are free to go out into the world and be all that they can be, based on their honest efforts and their brain power. I don’t have to be a scholar to know that most of the people in the world would like that scenario. Yes, we’re all created equal at birth but it doesn’t stay that way. Some of us don’t learn as fast as others. Some of us are ambitious. Some are lazy and try to figure easy ways to live off others’ toil. Some are handicapped, need and should get help from a caring nation… ‘Equality’ means different things to different people. How can a diverse nation (or, world) live up to the word, ‘equality,’ when the word was meant to convey our right at birth. Where is the fairness for someone who has an idea, grows that idea into a major business where he hires people, gives them work for their daily bread, only to be regulated by a government with a long list of do and don’t. Should it not be simple enough for a vigorous person with a business idea to pursue that idea without fear of what his government is going to take from him? Should not a tax code be simple enough for everyone to understand without having thousands of pages of regulations? Should not a person expect to die and leave his legacy to family without having the government take a large chunk of his estate? Should not ‘entitlements’ be the exception and not the rule? Was the government meant to be so intrusive in our lives? Did not those beautiful documents from our forefathers postulate what the essential roles of our government branches should be? It seems to this wary and weary old dog that, through the years, we have cleverly rearranged with our fancy legalized posturing the true meaning of those documents.
     So, many can justifiably counter my simple remarks here, but they are honest thoughts. There are at work in this nation and this world forces that are focused on undermining our religious and social freedoms. These forces are evil, treacherous, and they are here in large numbers. These ramblings of an old man will have no effect on this evil. These words are but a Sunday morning sermon on our times.
     In any event, I’ve clearly exposed myself. That’s okay! Most of you who have read some of my posts clearly know that I’m an anachronism, a conservative, a traditionalist, whatever the convenient word. Well, that’s all I can be! My DNA lines up that way. I’m a helpless, hopeless, wanderer in this land of ‘machines’ and madness. I’m not much of a debater, so those who lean the other way can punch all the holes you wish into my little dissertation here.
     Hopefully, I can sell people on the idea that I do try to adapt, to learn new tricks and new ways to please the newer order. There is clearly a newer order! Having lived this long, I see our new ‘machines of progress’ and I see new problems to go along with the old problems. In my vision it is natural for me to see old mistakes from my generation being repeated — you know, that ‘history repeating itself’ thing. It is natural for old fools like me to see new free-thinking people wanting a world community at any expense, at the expense perhaps of the freedom and liberty some forty old timers like George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, William Blount, and others all in harmony felt would connect a country’s people. That ‘Constitution’ these great people of history signed was to be the blueprint for not just our country but for any country who held dear the ideals that went into that document. Amendments were added, and the road was perilous then as it is now … But, wow! what a great blueprint for a country to have!
     The world changes. Knowledge explodes into rich new innovations and inventions. So, why can’t we all be on the same page in history? We know the answer, of course. The old fools collide with the new fools! It becomes more and more difficult to find consensus on this or on that. Different times? Different political persuasions? Different World views? Do any of us know who is who and what is what anymore? So much to absorb and so many machines!
     I no doubt spend too much time in the ruminating room — those ‘good old days’ cannot be retrieved or altered. At least, some of us think they were good old days. So, this old fool just might as well watch the world do its thing and make an idle comment here and there…
     While I’m at it, here are a few more of those idle comments:
     1) The music of today ‘sucks’ (to use the vernacular) — too damned loud and the lyrics are lost in the cacophonous screeching of brass, drums, strings, et al.
     2) We’re repeating some of the same mistakes today that brought much trouble in our history.
     3) Technology has created too many horrific gang and war games to fill kids minds — too much laxity of control on the part of parents; our kids today are not necessarily playing ‘Cowboys and Indians,’ tag, and hide and seek.
     4) We are an ‘over reaction’ nation: we have some beautiful children killed and we suddenly want to amend and/or make new laws; maybe we need to modify some of our gun laws; we have to care.,,
     5) Each side of the political spectrum uses tragedy for their agendas when we all must know we can never stop all the evil that lurks in our world.
     6) We should be sane and sensible, change things that can make a difference, and understand that there are some things that cannot be changed; ‘We’ and ‘sane’ and ‘sensible’ are the operative words.
     7) Guns do not kill people — people kill people and those who are evil will find ways to carry out their evil intents …
     There are many other idle comments and they are negative. People want positive, reassuring, words of promise. They want answers and problem solving. Our scientific and technological knowledge is exploding, doubling, tripling, in relatively short intervals. There is so much to absorb, of which to be aware, that we ordinary citizens stumble over it all. We are bewildered, confused, but, then, Google will help us find an answer. We go on with our lives because that is what we are to do.
     Sound political? Not intended. Just looking at serious minutia roaming around in my head… back in my day, we had a sniper killing off students at the University of Texas in Austin; we had the Kent State riots; we had Charlie Manson and his ‘helter-skelter’ crew; we had a socially prominent and politically active Ted Bundy killing pretty young women all around the country; there was the Los Angeles ‘Hillside Strangler’ and there was the Oregon ‘Green River’ serial killer… History from the dawn of time is dotted with evil acts — there in William Shakespeare’s time you will find evil. On and on I could go with the evil incidents of our lives… We react to these horrible events, particularly those that kill our children, because we can’t understand how such evil can exist. It staggers us, takes nips at our hearts and souls, and leaves us in a stupefied state of mind until — until we can go to our ‘sunshine room’ and start feeling better. The best invention in the world would be a machine that can determine without question the evil among us…then we could dump all the evil people on an isolated island far from civil land and let them find ways to annihilate each other.
     But, then, what the hell do I know? I’ll let the grandkids and great-grandkids handle the problems. I’m too old and too tired to be trying to figure it all out … Hey, how about a real humdinger of a pep pill, a smart pill? Oh, well, a highball might do it!
     I’m going to the ‘Sunshine Room.’ Guess I’ve given enough ‘pleasure’ and ‘displeasure’ for one day.

The World Of Routines

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I’m often struck by the relative robotic nature of my days. Some might call them ‘ruts.’ All along my life’s circuitous route there have been routines established, apparently somehow orchestrated by my exclusive DNA components.
Surely we all have our idiosyncratic ways of living. Some of us are slow in our movements, not eager to have a conversation so soon after rising from our slumber. Some of us begin talking at the breakfast table and don’t stop until sleep finally overtakes us in the dark of night. Some of us are hyper-active, have a need to go, to do, to accomplish. Some of us take on our days with a slower pace, stopping to muse, feeling no real pressure to speed up our movements. ‘ Different strokes, different folks.’ Now, of course, there are many factors that play into and affect our daily habits – jobs, children, any number of necessities – but I’m betting we stay close to some dictated rhythm within us throughout our lives.
There are workaholics among us. Some are the movers and shakers of our world. I’ve worked in life for and with workaholics, admired them, and it has been difficult to keep pace with these good people of accomplishments. There are the loafers among us. Some of these folks make schedules and timelines near impossible to keep and/or they provide ‘keystone kop’ periods in our days. There are day dreamers (not quite in the same category of ‘loafer’) who can come up occasionally with great ideas but have trouble with the nitty-gritty implementation process. There are the steady gophers who get the jobs done, do as they’re told, who make up the highest percentage of the employee ranks, and who will once in a while offer surprising insight into a particular function.
If you’re waiting for this to go to some ‘Eureka’ stage, it’s not going to happen. I’m just sitting here being my rather robotic self, doing my routine typing on the laptop, doing my routine maintenance on the social networks, and, right after lunch, maybe, just maybe, I will get some writing done on my tenth book. But here’s the thing, you can likely guess accurately to which group of robots I belong and you need to know that I’ve mingled in all the groups mentioned and I now use ‘age’ as an excuse for my slowdown in life. I’m up in the morning, not saying much to my good wife and George the cat, kind of sullen, you might say, and, after my donut and chamomile tea, I settle myself on the love seat with laptop on my lap, look out the big windows at the Sea of Cortez, and slowly decide how it is that I will interrupt someone’s day with a clever tweet utterance or handle some imagined HOA crisis or really get about the business of writing more in my tenth book. Sometime during the day the good wife and I might, might, take a walk along the beach and gather some sea glass and shells. We might have a drink before dinner, and we will definitely settle into the TV shows that have become our staples. Bedtime comes around 10:30 to 11:00 PM, and, tomorrow, I get to do it all over again – with likely some mild modifications.
So, with age and retirement, it seems to me the only good folks that are going to maybe suffer a bit in their routines will be those movers and shakers and the workaholics. Surely, they’re going to make miserable some of us in the aforementioned groups. We are who we are and there’s really room for all of us … just, no long conversations, please! I’ve got to write my posts, do my tweets, figure out this digital world, finish that tenth book, and figure out how to make my books go viral in 2013 …
We won’t get into the philosophical and metaphysical aspects of our daily occupations with time, the universe, what we might mean in the ‘big blast’ or ‘Intelligent Creation’ thing – ‘ours but to do …’ Of course, I would like to think it all means something, these wars we fight, these ugly tragedies of our lives, these politicians who make us so miserable with their sand-box silliness, our loves, our friendships  … our living.
Sometimes, maybe it’s just better to create our little routines and enjoy as much as we can until our time runs out: be creative, be boring, be active, be a couch potato, be whatever it is we are. We will likely end up at the ‘non-spiritual’ or ‘spiritual’ or ‘black void’ locations for which we were intended.

“The Booker Award”

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There is the ‘Liebster Award,’ the nomination for which I thank my friend and fellow author, John Dolan – a recipient himself of this highly prestigious little ‘stickum.’

It is my pleasure again to receive a nomination for the highly coveted ‘Booker Award,’ my great thanks going to another author and blog buddy, Jhobell Kristyl. These lovely ‘stickums’ undoubtedly console those of us who peck away at our laptops day after day without as yet having reached the pinnacle of writing stardom. These ‘stickums’ carry the mind momentarily to some hallowed place where the forfeiture of big royalty checks do not matter so much. It is not my wish to have rotten tomatoes thrown my way, so I’ll stop now and just give a hearty thanks to my buddy, Jhobell Kristyl, her intentions pure of heart and soul. I am very appreciative of her generosity and kindness and, hopefully, have followed her instructions precisely.

booker award

The {Booker}Award is a prize for literary and book-centered blogs.  It is for book blogs only! The deserving blogs must be at least 50% about books, reading, book-reviewing etc.  So here are the rules to receive this fantastic award:

  • On being awarded with The {Booker}Award, you must share with readers your top five favorite books you have read in your life so far.
  • On being awarded with The {Booker}Award, you must share with readers your most favorite author/writer. Possibly, also the reason why you like their literary work.
  • On being awarded with The {Booker}Award, you must share with readers your favorite genres.
  • You must give this award to five or ten or any number of other lucky book blogs that you adore.
  • And least importantly, show-off the award on your site and link it back to me.

So here are my top 5 favourite books in no particular order:

1. You Can’t Go Home Again by Thomas Wolfe;

2. Crime And Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky;

3. The General’s Daughter by Nelson DeMille;

4. There Are Men Too Gentle To Live Among Wolves by James Kavanaugh (‘America’s poet laureate’);

5. Everyone Burns by John Dolan (because I fear Digby!).

My most favorite author/writer is: JAMES KAVANAUGH. He is my most favorite author/writer because he spoke most beautifully to my soul, somehow understood me more than I could ever understand myself. and was an extraordinary wordsmith. James Kavanaugh left the Catholic priesthood to reach out and enrich the lives of the downtrodden and weary.

(Now, again, as my most favorite author, I thought about John Dolan of Galericulate fame but decided against him for these reasons: because I did not want to inflate the Brit’s already enlarged ego; because I fear Digby; and, because Dolan’s book, “Everyone Burns,” though simply an exquisite ‘romp,’ is so much better than any of my own books… I suspect the scars I carry from his recent interview of me at the Dubai Dungeon were the deciding factor to exclude him.)

My most favorite genres are:  Action  –  Adventure  –  Biography/Memoirs  – Mystery  –  Suspense  – True Crime  –  Romance

And finally, here are my 5 distinguished awardees.  Don’t forget to check out their awesome blogs:

1. John Dolan – http://johndolanwriter.blogspot.com/search/label/Home ;

2. Bottledworder – http://bottledworder.wordpress.com ;

3. Rich Weatherly – http://richweatherly.wordpress.com (‘Welcome To My Place’)

4.  http://waywardspirit.wordpress.com (@JessicaLeBaron)

5.  http://ruleofstupid.wordpress.com (@RuleOfStupid)

Finally, I want to thank Jhobell again from http://bookmavenpicks.wordpress.com/  (@JhobellKristyl)  for awarding me this Booker Award in the first place.  Thank you very much, .  That’s all, folks!