Let’s Think About Things

I know there has to be an incredible number of bloggers out there hitting the keys over the happenings in DC yesterday. Many of them will be siding with one side or the other. To me, it is not about sides at all. I have been watching the national politics of our nation for years. I watched it yesterday.

Before I cracked my knuckles and dusted off my keyboard, I thought about what I would say. Nobody wants to hear an old man lecture them. Hell, they might not even want to listen to what I have to say at all.

But then I thought some more.

I need to speak. I have not been a silent watcher at living. I lived hard and got my licks for what I did. Have I done stupid shit? You bet. Right now, several people who know what kind of dumb stuff I’ve done are whooping and hollering — some laughing, some crying. Let me say I could not run for office. I did my idiot-self proud on many occasions. Dumbass was my unofficial nickname for decades.

I like to think I made most things right, eventually. I hang my head in contrition.

Let’s continue. I did some good too. I served in the Army for almost a decade in some of the most barren places on earth. I froze, I sweltered, and I basked in good weather too. At one time, I was one of the nation’s top athletes. I have done my share on the home front also. My wife and I didn’t just talk about taking care of children less fortunate — we adopted several. I will be raising kids until I am in my eighties. I have been a teacher and now have a lifetime license to teach. I’ve written several music pieces, including a symphony, several books (published both traditionally and self-published), and my website and blog have over a hundred visits a day.

So, what do I want to say? I’m sick of the polarization our country now has. When I was a kid, the adults behaved well enough to build a vast economy. My parent’s generation fought and won WWII. Every generation makes mistakes, and they made their share. They put us in an impossible war in Southeast Asia. But they didn’t pick sides enough to look like a live-fire exercise at the Capitol.

Now, if I look around, everything has a faction that wants their way, and they want it now. My two five-year-olds do the same thing, but they are five. It looks like we struck the word tolerance from the English language, almost. A large group demands tolerance, except for themselves when reffering to people who disagree with them. That makes no sense. We do not need tolerance if everyone agrees with us.

When I watched the goings-on yesterday, It looked more like a third world country trying to open their parliament than The United States Federal Government. Hell, we have enough to deal with fighting COVID 19. Come to that. How come other countries can deal with it and keep it under control? Are we as a nation too damn spoiled to behave when we’re out and about? I’m talking to everyone here.

A large group had tantrums for four years, and yesterday they tried to look like they never said any harsh words. Do I need to elaborate?
If things like this had happened in my house, there would have been some on the spot bare-butt spankings. Except it did happen at my house. That was my capital building, yours too.

I have a concealed carry license. I own a firearm, but I’ll go better than that. I am an expert in both long guns and sidearms. I am also branch qualified in Artillery. I learned all about it in the Army. But that doesn’t mean I will carry or tow an artillery piece to a protest with the possibility of storming the Capitol.

Third world, right?

Whatever happened to calmness under pressure? What do we need to tell our representatives? How about everybody needs to grow up a notch, maybe two, how about three. Are we going to behave like spoiled kids? I’m talking to everyone right now. (Don’t forget the four years of tantrums.) Everyone. We need to grow up, and if they can’t be adults, they need to go away.

This kind of situation already occurred in other venues, and in some of those other countries, they didn’t get a handle on it. Some of those regions led to armed conflict. It may be that quiet heads will not be enough. It has been years in the build-up to this. We are at the point where we either must lance the boil and take control (and I don’t mean more tantrums) or let the infection go everywhere.

Our choice.


How Deadly Is Covid-19?

I am glad to see my Newsletter works now and equally delighted to see people sign up for it. I wanted to take a moment to say welcome, and I want to invite you to my website. It is a work in progress and will change from time to time, and of course, my blog will make a regular appearance.

If you didn’t get the chance to see my last blog, yes, I think I have gotten the Newsletter feature fixed, and I deleted all of the previous names because they were not able to confirm their subscriptions. My fault, not yours. So, if you would take the time to sign up, again, it would benefit both you and me. There are subscription sites all over my website now, so it should not be too hard to drop your name and email and click subscribe. As always, your name and email will not ever get sold, and the only things I will bother you with are notifications that a new blog post and perhaps when I publish something new or I have a sale going.

Today I’m in quarantine.

Two of my children had to get tested for the dreaded COVID-19, and there are two more days until we find out what they have. They already ruled out Strep and Flu; all that’s left is a rogue stomach bug and COVID-19. So to lessen the possible spread, we have quarantined the house, two kids to a room. We don’t need the whole household to get sick.

The kids are busy working their homeschooling on various electronic devices. There are the occasional fights about shared chargers, space, etcetera. Then there is the ever said, “Daaad, I’m so bored. (Truthfully, that sentence bores me!) Why does every kid think it is the instinctual drive of parents to prevent boredom of their progeny?

My snappy repartee to their boredom statement question is usually said with a smile, “Room clean?”

That’s when the torrents of objections usually start—what a pain in the ass. But, looking back on it, I did the same things. I always wonder how I survived.

While I’m composing this, I have my hearing aids in (mementos from my Field Artillery days). Anyway, the upside of the hearing boosters is they Bluetooth right into my phone. What an incredible sound, and I am currently listening to Andrea Bocelli. Glorious music. He may not be for everyone, but I had a classical education in the arts, and his music relaxes me like a lazy day.

Back to COVID-19. Things are closing in; the disease flanked and encircled us. There have been many deaths and funerals that have affected us. One of our neighbors passed just the other day. I live in the hottest county of Arkansas. Hottest in this sense means COVID-19 is more prolific here than elsewhere in the state. The last count I heard was 26% of those tested here are positive.

I have known friends for fifty years who insist the death rate is just a little over 2.5%. I don’t think things have set in for them like it is apparent to me. The hospital death-rate is indeed 2.5%, but if you happen to beat the disease and go home, your chances of heart attack or stroke have increased exponentially because of the damage that COVID-19 did while it was tapdancing all over you in the hospital. The other thing that smacks me right in the nose is the fringe deaths. Every ICU in most of the state is full or doesn’t have the personnel. The three local hospitals have no room. So those of us, like me, who have cardiac issues and we have another “event,” there is no room. That is code for telling me that if I have another heart attack, I’m shit-out-a luck. The same is valid for stroke and any other health disaster.

I think the actual rate for COVID-19 and related death is closer to 20 to 25%. Big difference, huh.

But it doesn’t matter at all. People don’t think that way. How our human brains work is — the death rate is either 0 or 100%. It works like unemployment. If you have a job, unemployment is 0%. If you do not have a job, the rate is 100%. Ergo, If you live, the measurement is 0%, die, and the pace is 100%. The statistics tend to muddy the waters.

Now let me segue to something else.

In my upcoming book, I talk about … Eh. The book is a short one, but I loaded it with information that will stretch your belief system; at least it has mine. The good news about it is now I find myself relaxed yet alert. That is not a commercial at all. Neither am I saying it will make you calm.
You may think there are some things in there that tipped the scale of rationality. I don’t think they do, but as I said in the book, “My brain doesn’t think like everyone else’s.”

Why should I? I think like myself, as you should think like yourself.
Perhaps I should fill you in on the premise of the book. The purpose is to entice you to do some brain work. I know thinking can be difficult for some, but it is an excellent practice. I had a Drill Sergeant who made a phrase famous for us all: “Think! I know it’s hard, but you can do it.” What we are talking about here is not the same as some word problem with which you wrestled in your last math class thirty years ago. I want you to think and do it for yourself, not blindly shuffle along behind someone else even if you admire them. Make it your thought, not someone else’s.

If you haven’t already. Please sign up for my Newsletter. You can do it at the bottom of almost any page. The simplest way is to click on the newsletter page on the menu, and It takes you right to one, and then you can call this home. Welcome.


My Upcoming Book

School started last week, and all but one of the kids are doing virtual school. We are in the midst of quite an adventure. While trying with herculean efforts to make the long-distance learning work, it seems the school system may be upside down on the learning curve. I cannot blame the teachers, not one little bit. Let’s face it; virtual learning has not been done well before this.

Well, that’s not entirely true; there are whole companies that do it for their primary business model. The problem is our education system doesn’t like to take advice from the great unwashed. By that, I mean someone who has not been indoctrinated or been educated by the education system itself. I faced huge problems when I received my teaching license in the non-traditional track. What the non-traditional part means is I didn’t go to college to get a teaching certificate. I attended several seminars and classes presented by the State Board of Education itself so the board could ensure we had the right information.

Even though the big dog in the state taught me what they wanted me to know, that wasn’t good enough for many educators, whether they be teachers or administrators. It was much harder for me to find a job than the traditionally licensed teachers. It worked doubly, so when I moved to Texas. There, I had to take more tests and such to license. The thing was, the new tests covered the same information as the old ones did, but they were Texas tests.

The reason I brought this up was not to disparage the way things the system does. It was merely an example of how the education system works. They want to do things their way.

That brings us back to virtual learning. Several companies do virtual learning as their main product. They teach around the world, via the internet, and have great success at what they do. It would be easy for educators to check how those companies do things, but alas, our system’s canonization to mistrust anything from the outside is a hard thing to surmount.

This situation is not a new thing, either. For decades, our system has fallen further behind each year because of the same reluctance. We continue to push our students to be scientists and mathematicians and, at the same time, will cut funding for the arts. What is so strange about that is our system readily admits there are several ways our brains work. According to Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences, there are different ways our minds might function instead of dominated by science or mathematics.

That means some brains work better in music, others in spatial and visual things, still others lean toward linguistics, and yes, some are better at mathematics. These are only four mentioned in Gardner’s theory. There are more. My point is the rest of the world seems willing to guide their students into the fields they are most suited for instead of what we do, try to force all of the students to try to think with mathematics and science.

I think that is a significant reason the rest of the world has kicked our assess in education.

Okay, I have again acted as if I stood in the speaker’s corner Hyde Park, London. Hell, I don’t even know if that practice still exists. Hmm. A quick trip on the internet tells me that the British still love tradition. One can always give public speeches there.

Oh well, it doesn’t matter. I have terrific friends over the pond.

I will calm down. To facilitate, I just made some Irish coffee with a little Jameson and will be the better for it.

It is now time for me to write about what I intended to discuss when I sat down. — that being my first non-fiction book. It is now teetering on the final stages. It is out to beta readers right now and will be back when they are finished. I will look over the comments and decided what I need to do about them. Then, who knows, send it off traditionally to an agent or publisher, or perhaps self-publish.

Both possibilities have good points and bad.

What I need to discuss is the subject matter. Throughout the book, I detail how I view the universe. That is not to say, “I look up at the stars and see some twinkling over here, and some over there, etcetera.” No, it is the other kind of view, more like, “I imagine everything works like this …”

I want to tell you that I tried to write it with most people in mind. I did not target geniuses. I did not target simpletons, either. I tried to write in a way that won’t lose people with twenty-dollar words; simultaneously, I tried not to lose anyone out of sheer boredom.

Some surprising moments from the manuscript occur in my chapter discussing time, and another chapter devoted to music. Those two chapters happen to be where my theories start taking a little thought to process.

I wrote in one of the initial blogs that I studied music in college. For those who haven’t read those particular blogs, I worked as a music teacher when I taught school. During my studies of music, I ran into several theories and odd happenings that stood out. From that, I have developed an approach to how life, indeed, everything came about.

Now, before anyone drops off into the deep end and misconstrues what I just said, I was not talking about the massive debate of Creationism vs. Darwinism just now. I will say that I gave my slant on that subject in the book. I see no reason to go into it further right here.

Perhaps I should say right up front that if you want to read my book to try to trip me up or find out if I believe the same way as you, stop right now. I will save you the trouble. I am confident my belief system is not the same as yours. I will go even further; my thoughts don’t mirror any others. Everyone believes uniquely. The trick is to realize the disparity, accept it, and move on. We are all one of a kind.

But again, my brain works differently than most. Throughout my life, I have become increasingly different. That doesn’t mean I can’t function. I can and do. What it means is, my brain sometimes works in another direction. It is a big reason I am a novelist. If I present something in a slightly odd or canted way, it can be remarkably engaging.

What I want you to come away from this blog is this. Please don’t pick up the book and think my thoughts will mirror yours. Chances are, not so much. I think you will read right along, and then it might go in a completely different angle than what you anticipated.

Yes, I know that it could be pleasant; it could also be a Greek Tragedy in the making. What it should be is an intriguing change. Now, let’s see where it leads.