Archive for the ‘Things to Think About’ Category

My Mom’s Blog

May 14, 2017

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom, in remembrance of you on this day!

Just a photo or two or three and some music to honor my Mom, that’s all.

A few notes about the music and photos. My Mom was buried in Liberty, Texas. I was able to honor her with a visit in 2015. The bird is the Varied Thrush. It represents my beautiful Mom, because I couldn’t find a good picture of her to share with you. The music is totally random but music that I thought was appropriate to express my feelings about her. The Glen Miller piece was from her era. He died in 1944. She died in 1964. Listen at your leisure to the music as I did when I was putting this together.

It was good to visit Mom's grave.

It was good to visit Mom’s grave.

Glenn Miller: Big Band (swing)
Stevie Wonder: You are the Sunshine of My Life
Norman Greenbaum: Spirit in the Sky
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Varied Thrush

Lion King soundtrack: The Circle of Life
Vangelis: The Tao of Love

I miss you, Mom!

Adam & Eve in Love!

March 31, 2017

What’s Love Got to Do With It?

Tine Turner: What’s Love Got to Do with It?

The idea for this blog dawned on me in SoCal (southern California) on one of our many trips down to visit relatives and of course get away from the @#$%^&* rain for a few days – I do love that natural  vitamin D! One morning I was enjoying an early breakfast and reading the Wall Street Journal (provided by the hotel). In the “Review”, section was an essay written by Bruce Feiler. It was adapted from his forthcoming book (March 21), The First Love Story: Adam and Eve and Us.

By the way, my recommendation is that you read the article if you’re a WSJ subscriber, or just use this link and check out the video interview with Bruce Feiler. I think the essay is a very thought provoking piece, especially if you’re married and (hopefully) in love or perhaps recently fallen in love. Rather than get off on a side trail about my opinion of how important love is or what it means, I’ll just let Bruce Feiler’s ideas speak for themselves. I may summarize his ideas along the way. Also, if you have a Bible handy, it might help you to better understand if you read Genesis chapters 1 and 2 and for good measure 1 Corinthians 13 (the “love” chapter) in the New Testament. It’s a lot to digest, but I’ll provide some bullet points that might help.

Here’s a totally irrelevant (but wonderful) quote to get you started. I saw this on a napkin dispenser at MOD Pizza in Beaverton, Oregon on March 28th while I was eating my pizza, enjoying a beer, and making some notes in my blog notebook.

Bob Dylan, Poet Laureate and Nobel Prize in Literature in 2016:
“May you’re your heart be always joyful.
May your song always be sung.
And may you stay young forever.”
Karen O and the Kids: All is Love (from Where the Wild Things Are soundtrack)

Quoting from Bruce Feiler’s Essay

“In December 1867, Mark Twain was touring Jerusalem when he visited a room in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre identified as Adam’s tomb. He was overcome with emotion. ‘The fountain of my filial affection was stirred to its profoundest depths,’ he wrote. Twain became obsessed with his oldest ancestor, at one point urging planners in New York to replace the Statue of Liberty with a monument to Adam. He went on to write a half-dozen pieces about the first couple, including Extracts from Adam’s Diary and an Autobiography of Eve.”

“Adam, in Twain’s retelling, is initially uncomfortable with Eve. It used to be so pleasant and quiet here, he says, ‘I foresee trouble. Will emigrate.’ Eve is equally unimpressed with Adam. ‘He talks very little. Perhaps it is because he is not bright, and is sensitive about it.’ (who says Twain didn’t have a sense of humor!) But slowly the two come around. ‘I see I should be lonesome and depressed without her’, Adam says. Eve echoes his feelings: ‘I love him with all the strength of my passionate nature…It is my prayer, it is my longing, that we may pass from this life together.’”

Patti; Tuck & Patti: Love is the Key

Adam and Eve in love? Really? Who would think such a thing?”

Feiler goes on to say that several very famous people would agree that, yes, they were in love, and that, given the transitional state of the family for the last 30 centuries – major changes with high divorce rates, lifestyles in our hyperconnected world – maybe Adam and Eve could offer some guidance.

Some Bullet Points in Summary of Feiler’s Ideas

Obviously taken out of context (you really need to buy the book or get a copy of the WSJ essay), here are some more thoughts, quoted and/or paraphrased from the essay.

  • The first couple have been victims of a long campaign of character assassination. One reason is that we rarely read the opening chapters of Genesis with the idea that Adam and Eve might be in love. He goes on to explain this important point in detail.
  • Who is God’s chosen sex, man or woman? If you read and compare Genesis 1 and Genesis 2, the answer appears different. Feiler elaborates, then concludes by saying they are entirely equal.
  • In support of the equality idea, if you look at Michelangelo’s famous painting in the Sistine Chapel, it is Eve, not Adam and not God who occupies the exact center of the room. In the third panel, the two figures (Adam and Eve) reach together for the forbidden fruit. They are not estranged, they are partners.
  • Milton’s Paradise Lost was a step-by-step argument that Adam and Eve were equal.
  • In Shakespeare’s words, “Love is not avoiding conflict; it is about overcoming it”.
  • The most underappreciated aspect of Adam and Eve is how they continually return to each other after periods of separation. They start life united, then Eve goes off alone. She could remain apart but instead returns to Adam. Once out of Eden, they could split, but instead they stay together.
Beatles: And I Love Her

Some Final Thoughts

The Bible is the first to put a man and a woman at the start of the human line. God can’t procreate. He needs human partners – starting with Adam and Eve – for humanity to succeed.

Feiler concludes his essay by saying that the first couple struggled too, yet they found a way to heal their wounds and forgive their wrongs.

Some More Music

Eagles: Love Will Keep Us Alive (Hell Freezes Over album)
Del Shannon: Sea of Love (really old song)
Karen O and the Kids: Building All is Love (from Where the Wild Things Are soundtrack)

noah_loves_the_beach_cropped

Thanksgiving Day – Just Pictures and Some Words

November 25, 2016
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Dad and Son at the Beach

It’s good to step back from all the things going on in our lives and remember the important events, like Thanksgiving Day. Just some brief thoughts before I jump into a few pictures, some quotes, and maybe some music.

Huey Lewis and the News: The Power of Love

Giving Thanks

I am thankful for my family, because they have enriched my life beyond measure. Families should never be taken for granted.

Henry David Thoreau
“I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual.”
Read more Thanksgiving quotes.

I am thankful for my country and feel very fortunate to live in the United States of America. I was reading in the American Legion magazine about the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor. A man who had survived the attack, a sailor on the USS Tennessee, described what it was like to be there when it happened. We should all thank the many men and women who have made sacrifices to protect our way of life.

Coldplay: God Put a Smile on Your Face
Ronald Reagan
“If we love our country, we should also love our countrymen.” Read more Reagan quotes.
John F. Kennedy
“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” Read more Kennedy quotes.

I am thankful that I have the freedom to worship my God freely and express my beliefs freely.

Take a minute and express your own thanks, not just on Thanksgiving Day but every day.

Just Some Pictures

I like taking pictures. More of my pictures are here.

Music from the Lion King: The Circle of Life
Family

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Eagles: Spirit in the Sky

Birds

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J. S. Bach: Toccata in D

Scenic

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What Happened at Crystal City (Part III)

May 30, 2016

First Things First

In Part I, there is a picture with the caption, “What is It?”. Maybe you weren’t fooled ..

It was merely a garden ornament masquerading as a miniature planet (somewhat earth-like).

The Power of Love (from the Back to the Future soundtrack)

What’s the Big Deal?

OK, so what, the federal government decided to imprison a lot of people against their will because they might be a threat to America. That seems reasonable and justifiable, right? Obviously, not the power of love.

I had to think about what all of it meant to me after I started reading Jan Russell’s book, which as I said before, is really quite interesting and revealing. Note the following passage from her book. Go to Amazon if you want to snag a copy.

“By August 1945, the machinery of internment implemented during the run-up to the war in December 1941, was already being taken apart. Already many of the fifty-four internment camps  operated by the US military and the thirty camps operated by the Immigration and Naturalization Service had shut down. The camp at Crystal City, the only family camp, was still open, but with a reduced population That summer 2,548 Japanese, 756 Germans, and 12 Italian internees were left.”

The author estimated that there were approximately 6,000 internees incarcerated at Crystal City during its six years of operation. It was officially closed on February 27, 1948. I had just turned three at the time and was living in Texas.

In her preface to the book, the author talks about the 120,000 Japanese (62% of them American-born) who were forcibly evacuated from the Pacific coast after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. She also talks about the executive order signed by President Roosevelt, which permitted the secretary of war to arrest and incarcerate Japanese, Germans, and Italians who had been declared “enemy aliens”.

Just an aside, as you mull over the previous two paragraphs, I want to comment on the effort and methods used to write the book, which author Russell describes in detail in the sources and notes. As a writer, I thoroughly appreciate the effort it took to compile the information. Interestingly, another book, Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand, also involved internment during World War II and was very well-researched and written and also relied heavily on personal interviews.

It Is a Big Deal!

The answer of course is yes, it is a big deal. I may do more Crystal City installments, after going through the book in more detail and gaining more insights into how I feel about what happened and how I should respond. OK, it was just plain wrong, all of it – there, I’ve said it. Am I going to recommend to others how they should respond? No, it’s up to each individual to make up their mind how to respond.

Back to the Future Main Theme (City of Prague Philharmonic)
A Quick Tour of Washington and Yamhill Counties in Oregon

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What Happened at Crystal City? (Part II)

May 9, 2016
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Gospodor Monument

Note about the pictures and the music: One of the structures in the monument represents the Holocaust, which seemed to be an appropriate photo for this blog. Please Google Gospodor Monument for more information. The picture in Part I, if you’re still curious about it, will eventually be explained. I guess I’ve always had The Police song on my favorites list, and one day while I was swimming laps I decided it was a good choice for this blog. Did I hear someone say “what an understatement”!
The Police: Every Breath You Take

Introduction to Part II

Giving the appropriate credits and attributions is always a necessary part of what I write about in my blog. Without good sources for information and inspiration, the creation process would be much harder if not impossible. One of my sources is a book by Jan Jarboe Russell, The Train to Crystal City, published in 2015 by Scribners, A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc. I will annotate any direct quotes with her name in this and any succeeding installments. Other credits will be included as needed.

The Five W’s and the H

I highly recommend Jan Russell’s book. The following synopsis comes from Amazon where I bought my copy.

“During World War II, trains delivered thousands of civilians from the United States and Latin America to Crystal City, Texas. The trains carried Japanese, German, and Italian immigrants and their American-born children. The only family internment camp during the war, Crystal City was the center of a government prisoner exchange program called ‘quiet passage’. Hundreds of prisoners in Crystal City were exchanged for other more ostensibly important Americans—diplomats, businessmen, soldiers, and missionaries—behind enemy lines in Japan and Germany.”

Jan Jarboe Russell focuses on two American-born teenage girls, uncovering the details of their years spent in the camp; the struggles of their fathers; their families’ subsequent journeys to war-devastated Germany and Japan; and their years-long attempt to survive and return to the United States, transformed from incarcerated enemies to American loyalists. Their stories of day-to-day life at the camp, from the ten-foot high security fence to the armed guards, daily roll call, and censored mail, have never been told.

Combining big-picture World War II history with a little-known event in American history, The Train to Crystal City reveals the war-time hysteria against the Japanese and Germans in America, the secrets of FDR’s tactics to rescue high-profile POWs in Germany and Japan, and above all, ‘is about identity, allegiance, and home, and the difficulty of determining the loyalties that lie in individual human hearts’ (Texas Observer).”

Most of us older types and others, perhaps younger history buffs, know about the internment camps that existed during the war, on the west coast and other locations. Manzanar in California is the one that I remember. However, Crystal City was the only family internment camp during World War II. I’m including a Wikipedia link. Be sure to check it out. Wikipedia has included a very interesting map and photos. The number of locations is kind of mind-blowing.

Also, the following caption from a photo in the Wikipedia piece is interesting and ironic.

“The 442nd Regimental Combat Team, which was composed primarily of Japanese Americans, served with uncommon distinction in the European Theatre of World War II. Many of the U.S. soldiers serving in the unit had families who were held in concentration camp in the United States while they fought abroad.”

More to come in Part III. Read the book if you get a chance.

Two parting quotes

The first quote is off-topic but appropriate for the holiday (May 8), and the other quote is on-topic and also very good.

God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers. Rudyard Kipling
The vote is the most powerful instrument ever devised by man for breaking down injustice and destroying the terrible walls which imprison men because they are different from other men. Lyndon B. Johnson

 

What Happened at Crystal City? (Part I)

April 25, 2016
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What is It?

Journalism 101

  • What’s the hook?
  • Five W’s and the H
  • The Inverted Pyramid

As Journalism majors in college, we learned that these were the basic requirements of every good news story. The hook was what grabbed your reader’s attention and made them want to continue reading your story. The five W’s and the H were basic components of what happened – who (was involved), what (happened), where (it happened), when (it happened), why (it happened), and how (it happened). These elements weren’t always clearly defined, but they were a good starting point for a reporter who was gathering the facts. The inverted pyramid meant composing the story with the most important facts at the top, in case your reader lost interest before finishing the story.

Time Travel Back to World War II

Back in Time (from Back to the Future Soundtrack)

OK, so picture yourself as a reader of a newspaper story during World War II. Actually, as an aside, let me divert from the main point of this blog. Like many bloggers, I’m opportunistic – I see and hear something, and I get an idea for a blog. Beyond that, it’s a matter of putting it all together. Some ideas and projects obviously require more time to research and figure out, “America’s Social Ills” for example is one on my list. Also, I get ideas from people that I talk to, at the gym or other places – sometimes I think people who go to gyms (myself included) spend more time talking than working out. A classic example, is a conversation I had about Crystal City, Texas.

I was at the gym when I met Luis (not his real name), an older fellow like me. I noticed that he had a very unusual walking stick. I suppose that’s a sign of aging, my fascination with walking sticks. Anyway, I learned that he once lived in Crystal City, Texas.

Note:
Crystal City is a city in and the county seat of Zavala County, Texas. The population was 7,446 in 2013, and it has an area of about 3.6 square miles. It is 116 miles southwest of San Antonio.

Luis lived there during WWII when an internment camp was there. He was very young at the time, but the stories about the camp and the evidence of its existence remained long after it closed. He told me about it.

You’ve probably figured out the “hook” for this blog, but you’ll have to wait for the next installment to get more details about Crystal City. Trust me, you’ll find it very interesting and shocking.

Priorities – Are They Important?

April 16, 2016

In this blog I’ll be sharing some photos from recent memorable runs and hopefully some thought-provoking ideas about priorities.

First the runs – actually, let me rephrase that, first I’ll tell you about two of my recent runs with words and pictures.

You may have seen my piece about What is Serendipity? a while back.

Run 1 – Big Bird Lives

Interestingly enough, referring to one of the two run/walks I’ll tell you about in this blog and speaking of Great Blue Herons, a couple of my Tuesday running/walking group buddies and I saw one at Commonwealth Lake this week. Commonwealth Lake is in a local neighborhood near where I live. “It was amazing” to see this magnificent creature standing on the shore line of the lake not more than a dozen feet from the path where we were walking. The bird didn’t flinch, just stood there looking around. They’re actually very large birds. Unfortunately I didn’t have a camera.

By the way (just a quick note) about my walking/running – sometimes, due to various and sundry aches and pains, I walk rather than run. I enjoy both running and walking, the main thing is getting off the couch and going out to get some exercise.

The Allman Brothers – No One Left to Run With

Run 2 – Another Run in the Sun

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Mike & Jim along the Columbia River

On the second run on a Wednesday with a couple of other running buddies – be patient, I’ll get to the part about “priorities” eventually. Someone had suggested we run in a location where we hadn’t run in a while. We met in Vancouver across the river from Portland. It was a bright sunny day with a bit of a breeze, and we took off east toward Mount Hood and ended up on a paved trail that follows the river. I’m including pictures that I took. Afterwards we had a late lunch and drinks sitting in the sun. Everybody was out enjoying the weather. Eat your hearts out Californians, you take your sunny weather for granted, we Oregonians relish those wonderful sun-filled days.

The “Priorities” Part

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What would your ribbon say?

The topic presented in my church one Sunday this year was about priorities, mainly how to focus on worshipping God, loving people, and using things in that order. I guess the first two priorities are pretty obvious, although you can substitute another word for “God” if you prefer. On “using things”, that covers a broad area – spending time texting, etc. – I guess the point is that “using things” should be the lowest rung on the priority ladder. I think the pictures illustrate that choosing your priorities carefully is what’s important. If it’s a choice between going for a run or spending time with my family, which one do I choose? For me for years, running took priority over everything. One day I realized that there were other things that should have a higher priority.

Take a look at the pictures. I was walking along the trail in Vancouver when I saw “The Soul Tree”. At first I didn’t know what all the ribbons were about until I stopped and read the sign. I decided to add my own ribbon (“My Family”), and I took pictures with my phone.

I’ll end on that note, but hopefully your priorities are well chosen.

Just a few quotes to end with . . . check out Brainy Quotes for a lot more.

Tony Blair
It is not an arrogant government that chooses priorities, it’s an irresponsible government that fails to choose.
Whitney Houston
I have priorities. Maintaining my daughter is my first.
Myles Munroe
Our life is the sum total of all the decisions we make every day, and those decisions are determined by our priorities.

 

Birthday Blog – 2016

February 23, 2016
19447_divers at Poipu

Diving with my son and others off Kauai

A song, a quote, and some favorite photos

Joe Cocker: Feelin’ Alright (Live)

Just thought I’d jump in here and post something on my birthday. Lots of folks have sent me birthday greetings, which is very cool – thanks, ya’ll! Anyone else who happens to have a birthday today, Happy Birthday to you too!

I’m off to buy myself a new pair of running shoes and go to the gym this morning. After that, I may just goof off for the rest of the day.

The following quote, one of my favorites, is from a book, Up Country, by Nelson Demille.

“The journey home is never a direct route – it is in fact always circuitous, and somewhere along the way we discover that the journey is more significant than the destination and that the people we meet along the way will be the traveling companions of our lives forever.”

Bonus Quotes: Love What You Do

By the way, the “Donald” quote wasn’t intentional, so take it or leave it, but I like the messages presented in this collection of quotes.

Bonus Photos:
  1. Ducks on Creekside Marsh
  2. Man Feeding the Gulls at Cannon Beach
  3. Bernie taking a picture while driving (keep that a secret please)
  4. Gospodor’s Monument on I-5 south of Centralia, WA
  5. Tree of Life, mural on a building in Estacada, OR

 

It’s a New Year – 2016 (Woohoo!)

January 3, 2016

We made it through another one, eh! Just some thoughts to make you think about the year ahead.

Quote: Be kind to even unkind people; they need it the most. (Quoted from a friend I see at the gym)

Steely Dan – Do It Again (live version)
Picture: it’s just for shock value, yes, it is someone’s hand. (unknown source)

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One of my daily rituals is reading Daily Word (a Unity publication). The reading for January 1 in the January/February 2016 booklet is titled: “Fresh Start: I behold and delight in a fresh start.” The daily readings always have a Bible verse at the bottom of the page. For January 1, the verse was from Exodus 12:2, “This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year.” In this passage, the Lord is addressing Moses and Aaron in Egypt.

Quoting from the same January 1 reading, “The new year stretches before me like a blank canvas. What kind of life shall I paint this year?”

Anyway, here’s the link if you want to subscribe to the magazine. It’s a good way to start your day.

Daily Word web site

In parting, a few word pictures to describe a calendar, one of the many that nonprofits send to me because I’ve donated money to them, or they want me to donate money to them. The calendar I’m looking at is from the Nature Conservancy. The photos and layout are impressive.

Picture a zebra with those wonderful black and white stripes – is it a white animal with black stripes or a black animal with white stripes? The zebra is standing in a field surrounded by pink flowers that are in soft focus. There is a white bird perched on the animal’s back, a cattle egret. This is the photo for April. It was taken in South Africa.

March and September are photos taken in Oregon, my favorite state. Colors in the March photo are predominantly green with the tree foliage and the moss growing on the rocks in and around the waterfall which is bright white. It’s a very peaceful picture. The picture was taken in Silver Falls State Park not far from Portland. September’s photo was taken in central Oregon and shows a cliff mesa in the background with yellow wildflowers in the foreground. The pictures and descriptions in the calendar serve to remind us of how wonderful nature is and that we are a part of nature.

I’ll finish with a few Rufous pictures, not taken by me, but they’re good ones.

Next: Not sure yet, but I’m working on some things.

Celebrate Veterans Day – November 11, 2015

November 11, 2015

Is it an important holiday and how should we celebrate it?

I think most, if not all of us, would answer “yes” to the first part of  the question. It’s the second part that I want to focus on. I’ll explain what prompted me to do this blog today. Don’t miss the important web link at the bottom.

Supertramp – Take the Long Road Home
United States of America

United States of America

I was not shuffling around my house (doctor’s post-surgical instructions) but sitting in my lounger with my legs elevated and my cryo cuff with ice cold water firmly attached to my right knee joint, and I looked at my crutches that were propped up on the couch. Obviously, this being November 11, Veterans Day, I had been thinking about stuff – for example, my crutches are temporary (hopefully), but how about the vets who are permanently disabled.

Let me briefly interject a thought here. I’m hoping that my readers will be open-minded about war. Whether you are pro-war or anti-war is none of my business. All I’m asking of you in this modest, non-political piece is to respect and honor what others have done on our behalf.

How about some word pictures? A double amputee in a wheel chair rolls up the ramp and into the airport waiting area. He has a family there to greet him, which is a good thing. His young daughter bends down to give him a big hug. They both have tears in their eyes. On the same flight a young woman walks off the plane. One side of her face is disfigured. No one is there to greet her, and she is disappointed, but she manages a smile. She’s back in America and so glad to be here.

I’m a vet and proud of it. Ironically, I wasn’t always patriotic. However, I received my draft notice from the “BBQ King” (that’s what we called LBJ in those days). I’ll skip the details about how I failed my induction physical and ended up in the Navy Reserves. Those details are in another section of this blog.

What Did You Do in the War, Daddy?

And your point is?

It’s time to get to the point. Here’s what I would like to suggest. Make it your mission to honor a vet, any vet, not just today but often. It could be something as simple as saying hello, shaking their hand, or patting them on the back to acknowledge what they did. If you have time, buy them a cup of coffee or just spend a few minutes talking to them. Ask them about their service. If they don’t want to talk about, don’t push it. For some the memories are too painful. Remember, you’re recognizing the fact that they gave of themselves in serving this great country.

Ending Notes

I would like to end with music and a web link. The music is an old piece that brings back memories from my shipboard life in Vietnam. One of the pasttimes of the sailors on my ship was to record music (reel-to-reel tape in those days) to send back home. It was a nice diversion.

Blind Faith – Can’t Find My Way Home

Here is a link to a local charity that works with vets. I’ve done volunteer work for them and can vouch for their mission, which is to help our vets to survive (literally) and to be able to reassimilate into society after their service. Consider donating in whatever way you can to their very worthy cause.

Returning Veterans Project

Rufous-sided Towhee

Rufous-sided Towhee


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