Posts Tagged ‘Truth’

Is it 2019 Yet?

December 31, 2018

Is Portland, Oregon weirder than Austin, Texas?

I watched a program on public TV the other day about Vortex I, a documentary about a 1970 event, really interesting and historic as it relates to the state of Oregon. I may have to do a follow-up blog about the Portland vs Austin question.

Thanks to Portland State University and the Oregon Historical Society for the Vortex I web write-up.

It Is Still 2018?

Yes, as I put pen to paper (actually fingers to keyboard) drafting this post, probably my last post for the year, there is only a full day left in 2018 before the big ball drops in Times Square. No, I won’t be there, but I have a runner friend who lives in Oregon but really likes New York.

The first and only time I was in New York occurred when I was a teenager. I was with my oldest sister and her husband, and it was Christmas time. We did a lot of “tourist stuff”, went to Rockefeller Center with the big tree and the ice skaters. We also went to a supper club in mid-town Manhattan where Joan Rivers was performing. She was pregnant, and I thought her jokes were pregnant. Anyway, for a boy who had grown up in small-town Texas, New York was an amazing experience – from a town of less than 8,000 to New York City, walking down 5th Avenue where people were packed in practically elbow to elbow. The subway and Greenwich Village were fun too.

Was 2018 a Good Year for You?

For me, now winding down 2018. I can say that it has been a good year, possibly a great year, but I’m ready to move on to new challenges. When you get “older and wiser”, you tend to get philosophical (and more forgetful) about life. Hopefully, no matter what your age, if you look back and reflect on 2018, you will smile and say that it has been a hoot or an adventure or whatever, and you will look forward to 2019. There are two quotes, a Nelson Demille quote at the top of that page and a Hunter S. Thompson quote at the bottom in my Favorite Quotes post. In my opinion, those two quotes say it all.

What is the Meaning of Life?

If you are at all interested in the meaning of life or the purpose of life I’m suggesting that you read another Reader’s Digest article, to start you off on the right foot for 2019.

The excellent article, Maintain Your Purpose in Life, was written by David G. Allan.

If you’re old enough, you may remember that screensaver from many years ago, a weird red and green cartoon character, mouth open and tongue hanging out (captioned the “meaning of life”) that flitted around the computer screen daring you to click it with your mouse, and of course it always evaded you. Regardless of the implication suggested by the screensaver creator that it isn’t possible to figure it out, read Allan’s article and give it some thought, about your own purpose in life. For him it’s a yearly exercise, and he says that his answer changes over time. Don’t overthink it – the year he got engaged, Allan’s answer to the question was “Love”.

He also points out that this isn’t a theoretical exercise, you should turn your answer into action. If your answer is “love”, then you should love more.

Bottom line, there is no right answer, only what’s right for you at any given time. He talks about how studies have shown that people who have a specific purpose in life and can articulate it, live longer. He suggests that if you take the time to think about it and answer the question, it will in effect add meaning to your life.

Allan quotes some of the answers from famous people.

  • “Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.” (Albert Einstein)
  • “The sole meaning of life is to serve humanity.” (Leo Tolstoy)
  • “There is only the meaning we each give to our life, an individual meaning, an individual plot, like an individual novel, a book for each person.” (Anais Nin)

What’s Ahead – Foreshadowing my Blog for 2019

Stuff about good people and what they do. If you read my November blog, I included a link to Reader’s Digest stories. Every November Reader’s Digest publishes their America’s Nicest Places issue. A  couple of other interesting links for you:

Imprimis articles (of course)

Vietnam, my experiences and my observations about the war.

More about “Is Portland, Oregon weirder than Austin, Texas?”

Mindfulness, a continuation of my blog topic. A subject that keeps popping up in the media.

The Big Leap, a book by Gay Hendricks – I included the link in a November post, just boring “self-improvement” stuff. Kind of like meditation, it may require some effort on your part to realize the positive results.

Music and Pictures

Vivaldi, The Four Seasons (Winter)
Vivaldi, The Four Seasons (Spring)
Vivaldi, The Four Seasons (Summer)
Vivaldi, The Four Seasons (Autumn)

Some Parting Shots

I’ve mentioned my Daily Word readings – just a couple of recent ones to pass along that I thought were noteworthy.

December 29, 2018, “Love: It is my nature to extend love.”

“I recognize that forgiveness is easier than condemnation because forgiveness reflects the truth of who I am. God is perfect love and therefore so am I.”

A companion Bible verse, Ephesians 4:26: “Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger.”

December 30, 2018: “Power: I am a spiritual being, bestowed with great power.”

“I align my thoughts with my highest good, envisioning health, abundance, love, and success.”

If you have been reading The Big Leap, the last sentence should remind you of Hendrick’s “universal success mantra” that he discusses in the book.

That’s it for 2018, see you next year.

 

 

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November 2018 Reflections

December 1, 2018

Quotations and Books

“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.”  Marcus Aurelius
Books:  The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks (not an easy read but a good “self-improvement” book if you’re willing to make the effort, link to audible.com).

I really like Marcus Aurelius quotes, so here’s another one that Hendricks includes in his book toward the end of it. Keep in mind that Marcus Aurelius was a soldier who lived in first century Rome.

“I am part of the whole, all of which is governed by nature. I am intimately related to all of the parts which are of the same kind as myself. If I remember these two things, I cannot be discontented with anything that arises out of the whole because I am connected to the whole.” Marcus Aurelius
“There are times in our lives when we realize that our past is precisely what it is, we cannot change it, but we can change the story we tell ourselves about it, and by doing that we can change the future.” Eleanor Brown (from a Criminal Minds episode)

With the Eleanor Brown quote in mind, let’s dive in to the rest of this November blog.

Other Thoughts – Boomer or Not, Imprimis

It’s fun to reflect to get a different perspective. Obviously, since I’m older, I suppose I’m a “baby boomer”, but I’m right on the cusp. Tom Brokaw called another pre-WWII group “the greatest generation” (he wrote a book by that title). For “millennials”, it would be a shorter time period to reflect on their lives. They also would not be able to remember a time when you didn’t have to lock things – house, car, bike, etc. I was talking to someone at the gym about that, growing up in a time when that was true, at least in a small town like the one where I grew up. You walk out the front door leaving it unlocked and spend the whole day out, no worries. Not drawing conclusions on society in general, but obviously things are different in the 21st century.

As you already know if you read my blog, I’m an Imprimis fan. You might want to check out their publications online or better yet, get on their mailing list for a free printed copy of each publication. For example, here’s a different take on how things used to be, the piece that Amy Wax did for the Imprimis January 2018 publication, “Are We Free to Discuss America’s Real of Problems”. Pay special attention to the first 10 or 12 paragraphs, where she contrasts contemporary American society with our society between the end of World War II and the mid-1960s. You can draw your own conclusions, but I strongly recommend reading the last three paragraphs, especially the one that starts with “Disliking, avoiding, and shunning people who don’t share our politics is not good for our country.”

Back to November 2018 – A Few Snippets

You’ll notice the details that I’m able to remember from the entire month of November – admittedly, I do a daily journal, so it’s not all from memory.

On November 1, I tested some Nike shoes (testing gives me Nike Employee Store privileges, which saves me money on running shoes). November 1 is also my beautiful daughter’s birthday. In my family it’s a tradition to take the birthday honoree out to eat at a restaurant of their choosing. We celebrated her birthday on November 3 at the Old Spaghetti Factory, a great place for adults and kids, with good food and reasonable prices.

The rest of that first week of November, was our normal routine – for my wife, volunteer work at a local senior center, Bible study, pitching in with the grandkids, and cooking for our Monday night family dinner at our house. For me, it was gym workouts, running, and my running club had a banquet to reward volunteers who participated in 2018 events. Actually, on November 6 we went to SoCal to visit relatives. You may have seen my “On the Road, SoCal, November 2018” entry. Just a brief diversion from my November snippets to share my reactions to the SoCal trip.

What Did I Learn in SoCal?

Did I learn anything, or was it just another vacation trip, five days in the sun (no complaints), hanging out with friends and relatives, and total relaxation in a very nice setting. About learning, the question is rhetorical, we always learn things. On this trip I learned on a higher level:

  • People are tough and resilient. While we were there, the mass shooting at Thousand Oaks happened, and the Woolsey fire in SoCal and the fire in northern California, all happened in that week.
  • Most people (not all) are friendly and approachable, willing to share things about themselves. There were many people in the hotel who had evacuated their homes.
  • Most people will help others who are in a bind, sometimes going out of their way to help. There were hundreds of fire-fighting professionals from Oregon and Washington who volunteered two weeks of their time to help fight the fires and to help people in need. Another example, an Oregon man loaded up his business truck with food and supplies and drove to California.
  • More examples of people helping people, check out these Readers Digest stories – I was especially impressed with “Life Moves Yoga in Killeen, Texas”.
  • Relationships with people close to you are worth preserving but may require extra effort.

Back to November 2018 – A Few Snippets (continued)

On November 10, we returned to Portland, unpacked and did our laundry. It was good to be back.

On November 11, Veterans Day, I went to a local event honoring Vietnam veterans. It was a large turnout with people from other wars too. There were speeches and socializing, vets meeting other vets, and we received pins honoring our service. Just remember, not everyone who served had a choice, but that doesn’t matter, they served.

Interesting side-note – my Daily Word affirmation for that Sunday was “I am free through the freedom of Spirit.” The Bible verse, 2 Corinthians 3:17, for that day was: “. . . where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”

On November 15, one of our grandsons did a sleepover. We walked the dogs and hung out.

On November 17, I continued my annual battle of the leaves (we have lots of trees) for disposal. My daughter hosted an early Thanksgiving dinner at her house, which gave us all a chance to overeat. The food was delicious.

On November 20, we made a decision on which Medicare supplement insurance to go with, after weeks of researching and thinking about. More leaf accumulation, up to about 50 bags now. Met with my running club in the evening to run on the track at a local school, windy and cold but dry.

Thanksgiving Day, November 22, I ran a 5K race and won my age group, which felt really good. I ran my fastest 5K time of the year. We had already celebrated our Thanksgiving dinner.

On November 24, we got invited over to my brother-in-law’s house for another Thanksgiving dinner, very well prepared and delicious. I overate again.

On November 25, I hauled 54 bags of leaves over to a disposal site, multiple trips in my truck. Done for this year thank goodness.

The rest of the month, we played Top Golf a few times, and did the rest of our normal routine.

“Oscar Wilde: ‘Do you mind if I smoke?’ Sarah Bernhardt: ‘I don’t care if you burn.'” Sarah Bernhardt
Sarah Bernhardt quotes – You can pick one that YOU like.

Pictures and Music

 

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Randy Newman: Sigmund Freud’s Impersonation of Albert Einstein in America

The X-Files: 2018 (Part II)

April 17, 2018

 

Building All is Love: “Where the Wild Things Are” (movie soundtrack)
“The human voice can never reach the distance that is covered by the still, small voice of conscience.” Mahatma Gandhi

A Frame of Reference

Thinking about John 8:32 that I quoted in Part I – OK, admittedly I’ve taken a single verse from the Bible out of context, but I’m just trying to establish a frame of reference. The verse does make sense, right? Obviously, the misinformation, the subterfuge, the biased media reports, and, in my opinion, the indifference of the general public in wanting or caring about the truth have not served to establish an environment of trust in the good ole USA. When you go to the doctor, you want the truth, right – doc, what is the prognosis? I’ve had some very good doctors who were straight shooters and gave me good advice.

Does It Matter?

OK, you may ask, what’s the X-files connection? As Mr. They said in Part I, Does It Matter?” Hopefully, the issues I bring up and the points I try to make will help you connect the dots.

Imprimis Potpourri

Blogger’s Note: I give full editorial credit to the authors of the articles.

I’ll be including snippets from several Imprimis articles. Obviously, feel free to read each of the articles in their entirety, but as I said before, it’s thought-provoking but not light reading.

You Are Not Generation Z (Patrick L. Sajak, Host Wheel of Fortune)

Remember, this is an address to a graduating class in Texas in 2017.

“In short, I’m not sure there’s much need to inspire a group like this. So let me suggest  a pitfall to avoid going forward, a pitfall not only for this year’s graduating class, but for everyone in every corner of American society today. It has altered the way we talk to one another and perceive one another. It has perverted the notion of free speech and poisoned the academic environment. It has turned the American political system on its head, creating a situation where opposing views are not only unwelcome, they are deemed to be signs of evil intent. It has pitted friend against friend and has caused rifts within families. I’m talking about identity politics, the attempt to divide Americans and set us against each other. The attempt to classify and categorize us by all sorts of measurements and standards. To a great degree, those who are making these attempts are succeeding. And their efforts are changing our country in fundamental ways.” You really should read all of this one, especially on page 7, right column.

Next Up?

I’ve decided to continue the Imprimis material in a future blog.

I’ll be including:

  • Are We Free to Discuss America’s Problems by Amy L. Wax.
  • A More American Conservatism by Larry P. Arnn.
  • Immigration in the National Interest by Tom Cotton.
  • The 2016 Election and the Demise of Journalistic Standards by Michael Goodwin.

 

 

 

The X-Files: 2018 (Part I)

March 23, 2018
Vitamin String Quartet:  The Vitamin String Quartet Tribute to the Who – Tommy

 

What’s Up, Rufous Blog? (Blog of the Week: March 23, 2018)

What happened to the Rufous blog you may have asked – actually I did do a post on February 23, my birthday – but my so-called “blog of the week” has been more of a “blog of the month”. OK, multi-tasking doesn’t always work (some experts say that “single-tasking” is actually more efficient). Multi-tasking only works if you don’t forget to do the higher priority items on your list, which in my case is blogging.

Blogger’s note:  The following quote is not totally  in context with my topic, but it struck a chord with me so I wanted to include it.
Quote from Life in Oregon, February-March 2018:
“Think about how the conversation in America, in Oregon, would change if each of us assumed the best of the person who disagrees with us. Together, let’s think about and interact with people on the other side of the issues as if they are potential allies, not enemies.” (ORTL president Harmony Daws, January 14, 2018, Oregon Right to Life annual Roe v. Wade Memorial and March in Portland, Oregon)

Politics or TV?

Did I tell you about John le Carre’, who writes his books out in longhand, then gives the manuscripts to his wife who types and edits them. He’s 86 and just published a new novel. A would-be writer could get inspired by David Cornwell (his real name). I also write out my content longhand in my bright green composition book before transferring it to the blog. Always, I’ll have several blog ideas going, like something political (always a challenge to be “correct”) or like today I have a blog about TV. Maybe I’ll include some “politics” too in this blog (spoiler alert).  :}

The X-Files – The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat

I was never a big fan in the past, but the new season 11 caught my attention, in particular episode 4, which I found very interesting on many levels. If you’ve watched it, you may have noticed that the stars (in my opinion), David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, have aged fairly well. OK, enough small talk, here’s my rehash of episode 4. Kudos to the producer and writer, Chris Carter, Darin Morgan, staff writers Brad Follmer and Benjamin Van Allen, and (wait for it) David Duchovny. Episode 4 has some humorous moments, maybe satirical/tongue-in-cheek is a better description, compared to the paranormal or whatever you normally expect from X-files – like a more recent episode with the drones spying on and pursuing Fox and Scully.

OK, having mentioned the producer and writers I think I’m OK legally in quoting the dialog (yes, I paused the TV and wrote it down). If you’re a fan and missed it, you should watch episode 4.

As Long as the Truth Gets Out

Continuing . . . take this scene, about 44 minutes into the episode, Mulder and another character named “Mr. They” are in this wonderful sculpture garden with all these statues. Mulder is having a conversation with Mr. They.

Mulder:  “As long as the truth gets out.”

Mr. They:  “They don’t really care if the truth gets out because the public no longer knows what’s meant by the truth.”

Mulder:  “What do you mean?”

Mr. They:  “Well, I mean, no one can tell the difference anymore between what’s real and what’s fake.”

Oh, ouch, OK, is anyone picking up on the political angle here? I have no idea what Chris Carter and his staff of creative people were trying to accomplish with episode 4, but it’s kind of fun to speculate, eh.

Mulder:  “There’s still an objective truth, an objective reality.”

(Transition to main story line)

Mr. They:  “So what? I mean, you take this Mandela effect.”

Mr. They (quotes George Orwell):  “He who controls the past controls the future.” (More quotes later)

Mr. They:  “Well, believe what you want to believe, that’s what everybody does now anyway.” (Slight break in the dialog)

Mr. They:  “All you really need is a laptop.”

Mulder:  So that’s what this has been all about, the spread of online disinformation.”

Mr. They:  “Maybe?”

Mr. They:  “You know, our current president said something truly profound.” He said, “Nobody knows for sure.”

Mulder:  “What was he referring to?”

Mr. They:  “Does it matter?”

The previous scene lasts only about two minutes and ends with a great shot of Mulder standing in front of a statue with its arms outstretched, as if to say, what’s going on.

The scene shifts to a parking garage, with Mulder and Scully talking to another character, Reggie, who says, “We found the truth that’s out there.”

Rather than risk spoiling the rest of the episode, I highly recommend you watch episode 4 just to see the ending.

The Red Mustang

The next scene shows Mulder, Scully, and Reggie driving down the road in a red Mustang convertible and then the final scene . . .

Tip: Google “x-files season 11” to get more reviews and analysis.
Definition/primer on innuendo:
  • Veiled or equivocal reflection on character or reputation.
  • The use of such allusions resorting to innuendo.
Example:
His reputation has been damaged by innuendo.

One or Two (or Three) More Quotes

Voltaire: “To hold a pen is to be at war.”
Voltaire:  “What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other’s folly – that is the first law of nature.”
Read more at:  Voltaire Quotes.
John 8:32:  “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (NIV Bible)
Next Up:  “The X-Files 2018 (Part II)”. Just a hint, expect some content based on my favorite Imprimis readings. No surprise there. Feel free to peruse the Imprimis issues.
Definition of “Imprimis”:  In the first place used to introduce a list of items or consideration.
Antonio Vivaldi:  The Four Seasons, Summer (Presto)

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Blog of the Week: December 17, 2017

December 18, 2017
dadson_at-the-beach-2

Dad & Son

What’s the Hook?

For the answer, go back to my Crystal City, Part I blog to refresh your memory about journalism. Basically, rather than start out with some of the more routine things that happened this past week, I wanted to start with my morning meditation thoughts from this morning, which I thought were well-worth passing along, although the thoughts didn’t actually happen last week. Doesn’t matter really, try to be flexible. :}

As part of my morning routine, as I mentioned last week, I try to spend some time reading – I read different things, always the Bible, and some other things, just to get my day started on the right foot (or the left). Often, I’ll just open my Bible at a random location. This morning was in the book of Psalms, Psalm 15 to be exact. I recommend reading the Bible even if you aren’t “religious” (whatever that means), partly because of the way it was written, especially the Psalms, which are poems, songs of praise, or thankfulness verses, and they show a wide variety of emotions and feelings. My Bible is the New International Version. I quote part of Psalm 15, just a bit to get you started, then you can read all of it, it’s only five verses long.

Psalm 15 (part of it)

Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary?
Who may live on your holy hill?

He whose life is blameless and who does what is righteous,
who speaks the truth from his heart
and has no slander on his tongue,
who does his neighbor no wrong
and casts no slur on his fellowman,
who despises a vile man
but honors those who fear the Lord,
who keeps his oath
even when it hurts,
who lends his money
without usury
and does not accept a bribe against the innocent.

He who does these things
will never be shaken.

Actually, I got carried away, that’s all of Psalm 5.

Journal Recap

Just a few high points from my journal for the past week, that’s all.

My son-in-law came over to help install a new kitchen faucet after the other one stopped working. Actually, I don’t claim to have mechanical abilities sufficient for such a task, so I watched, and he installed the faucet. It would have taken me three times as long. Water is an amazing commodity in our daily lives, try washing your dishes in the shower.

My wife and I played golf at Killarney Golf Course. It was chilly, but dry, and the greens were as hard as a rock from the cold weather we’ve had. She won (again). We’ve recently started playing golf at a place called Top Golf, which is undercover and has food and drink, not a regular golf course, but still a lot of fun and at least it’s dry and warm.

Lots of soup and salads this week, fortunately I’m married to a creative cook, who creates wonderful soups that are especially good during the cold months. Otherwise, I did my usual routine going to the gym and running, but less distance this time of year. On Saturday we did a sleepover at my daughter’s house so she and her hubby could have a weekend night at the beach while we stayed with the kids. Lots of walks in their new neighborhood, with and without the dogs, just exploring to find the best places to go.

Closing in on Christmas, so maybe my next BOTW will be about Christmas. Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas in advance.

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Mt. Hood, Oregon

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Sunriver, Oregon

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Estacada, Oregon

Journalism 201: Part II

June 29, 2017

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See the note about the picture at the bottom.

Looking Back: What Happened at Crystal City? (Part I)

If you’re a reader of my blog, you may remember this Journalism 101 post from last year, a four-part series about Crystal City. If you missed it, you should check it out. A lot has happened in our world in the last year, and this blog has been stewing and simmering in the pot.

As a Journalism major in college I learned a few things about that whole process of gathering information. However, now I’m more concerned about how we as individuals interpret and react to information and the apparent trends that I see. I’ll try to focus on what’s been on my mind.

What’s the Point?

Without getting into a discussion about “fake news” and “real news” and all the different varieties of “media”, I’ll just throw some ideas and questions your way.

Would you say that social issues should be examined on a purely emotional basis or should rational and logical thought be involved?

It’s always good to vet your sources. As you know, because of the Internet, finding information is surprisingly easy.

Definition of “vet” (quoted from Merriam-Webster)
  1. To subject to usually expert appraisal or correction, e.g. vet a manuscript.
  2. To evaluate for possible approval or acceptance, e.g. vet the candidates for a position.

Randy Newman: Sigmund Freud’s Impersonation of Albert Einstein in America

Back on Track: Alternate Sources of Information

I’m throwing this blog installment out there as food for thought. Just a note about a web site that I found that (in my opinion) is a very good one, Hillsdale College. I receive and read the free monthly Imprimis digest. You also can sign up for the digest (and contribute to the college as I do). I included the Hillsdale College web site because the articles will give you a different perspective on some of the major issues – the questions about Syrian refugees, what is conservatism, the left’s war on free speech, etc.

Be forewarned that the Imprimis installments are well written but are not light reading and require some mental effort to absorb what the writer is saying. I’ll touch on and summarize some of their past topics.

Note that I don’t expect you to read all of these web articles, although you may find them very interesting, and even the sidebar articles are interesting if not controversial, e.g. the soapboxie site.

Another source: soapboxie.com

What Has Happened to Truth in Journalism?

A Real Need for the Real News

Before I get to some summaries of the Imprimis articles, I’ll throw in my “two cents worth”.

My Two Cents Worth – Some Things to Think About

Side note: In defining “media”, think of how we get our information, broadcast news, newspapers, social media (Facebook, etc.), TV shows, radio, and the Internet.
Don Henley: Dirty Laundry

Here are a few questions (rhetorical) to ask about using the media and becoming responsible users of the media.

  • Should we avoid all media sources?
  • Use mainstream media (Fox, CNN, and CBS) or try to find alternate sources of information?
  • Isn’t it more responsible to react to news by thinking rationally and logically rather than emotionally?
  • Should we be accountable for our own actions/reactions to the media?
  • Should we expect the media to be totally unbiased in their news reporting?

Imprimis Digest

As I said before the Imprimis Digest installments are not light reading, but I’ve made some notes, and I’ll try to give you the high points. Obviously, feel free to make your own interpretations and form your own opinions. I’m quoting the Imprimis summary statement next to the title on the web page for each Imprimis piece. Note the number of installments, all the way back to 1972.

Restoring America’s Economic Mobility (September 2016)

“Today the story of American politics is the story of class struggles. It wasn’t supposed to be that way.”

In Frank Buckley’s opening paragraph he talks about Marx and puts a historical frame around his subject. If you are a person interested in economics and like numbers and details, you’ll find this piece very interesting.

The author dives right into the meat of his article, discussing “economic mobility” in paragraph 4. There is a graph of the mobility rankings on page 2. Note that the U.S. and U.K. are rated low in mobility. He talks about education on page 3 and how we compare with Canada.

He touches on immigration briefly in one paragraph on page 3, “What abut immigration? Canada doesn’t have a problem with illegal aliens – it deports them”.

Who We Are as a People – The Syrian Refuge Question (October 2016)

“It is not beyond reason that a sovereign nation would be allowed to inquire whether the religious beliefs of an asylum seeker are compatible with the American constitutional order.”

A brief aside:
OK, take a break, inhale, deep breath, and ask yourself, “Why is the Rufous blog all of a sudden after all this time getting political, especially when I was so enjoying his pictures and music and his insights (nonpolitical) about life? Why am I now being asked to be accountable, to think about normal, every-day things in a different light and possibly make better decisions about issues that affect my life and the lives of others?”

More Imprimis

As I said above I’d try to give you the high points of the Imprimis pieces, and I do read them and use my highlighter and make notes sometimes, but to summarize all of that is very time consuming, so I’m leaving it up to you (isn’t there a song with those lyrics?). I.e. I won’t do the grunt work for you — if you’re interested in reading it, then the rest is up to you.

Thanksgiving and America (November 2016)

“The best expression of this aspect of Thanksgiving comes from Benjamin Franklin, who called it a day “of public Felicity,” a time to express gratitude to God for the “full Enjoyment of Liberty, civil and religious.”

A More American Conservatism (December 2016)

“If American conservatism means anything, then, it means the things found at the beginning of America, when it became a nation.”

I found this one very interesting because I know how we like our labels, “conservative”, “liberal”, etc., and this piece does a good job of explaining conservatism in its true sense.

The Left’s War on Free Speech (April 2017)

“In the weeks following the Citizens United ruling, the Left settled on a new strategy. If it could no longer use speech laws against its opponents, it would do the next best thing—it would threaten, harass, and intimidate its opponents out of participation.”

And last but not least and probably the most relevant piece to this blog . . . I love this one!

The 2016 Election and the Demise of Journalistic Standards (May/June 2017)

“Last year’s election gave us the gobsmacking revelation that most of the mainstream media puts both thumbs on the scale—that most of what you read, watch, and listen to is distorted by intentional bias and hostility.”

That’s it guys, for the Imprimis Digest, just a sampling. There may be a Part III for this topic (haven’t decided yet). I hope you found this information to be informative and enlightening.

BTO: Takin Care of Business
Picture credit: Schroders is a British multinational asset management company, founded in 1804. The inscription means “Evolve your investor nature.” Beyond that I don’t know the picture artist, but note that those are his hands in the picture. Very cool!

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

Is It Time to Vote Yet?

October 25, 2016

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Rob Dougan: Furious Angel (music from The Matrix)

Do the Right Thing

What could be more timely and apropos than a blog about the 2016 national election, eh! I’ve been reading (actually listening) to a Tom Robbins book titled Tibetan Peach Pie (2014). What a treat! Long time since I read Another Roadside Attraction or Even Cowgirls Get the Blues. Robbins is 84 and living in La Conner, Washington, more or less in my neck of the woods.I only mention him because he was a newspaperman for many years and talked a bit about how much fun journalists have with writing headlines for their articles.

I was thinking about what the title for this piece should be:

  • Election 2016: Anyone Have a Good Write-in Candidate
  • Synonyms for the Word “Circus”
  • My Namesake (Bernie) Dropped Out of the Race – Dammit!

As an aside, let’s look at the word “circus” as in political circus. According to Merriam-Webster (MW) online one of its definitions is: “a place of uproar or confusion”. Some of the synonyms are:

“Babel, bedlam, madhouse, scrum (British), and three-ring circus”.

The Related Words are even more interesting and nonetheless applicable to what we, as Americans, have been subjected to in this election year:

“Bustle, commotion, pandemonium, racket, ruckus, tumult, turmoil, brouhaha, clamor, clatter, din, hubbub, noise; chaos, confusion, disarrangement, disarray, disorder, havoc, hell, mess, muss, shambles.”

I hear a voice saying, what’s the point. Be patient.

What’s My Take On It?

In the days when I was working in an office – I’m more or less retired now – I felt that my political and religious beliefs were personal and therefore not up for discussion or debate. Besides, have you ever noticed that when you discuss politics or religion with anyone, close relative, friend, or total stranger, the discussion is usually one-sided or unidirectional? The other person talks, stops talking, and you talk, but they’re not really listening to what you say, they’re thinking about what they want to say next to reinforce or emphasize THEIR point.

However, having said that, I think we all have a moral obligation to examine the issues and stick to our own beliefs. You may alienate or disagree with a friend or relative by taking a stand, but that shouldn’t matter. As someone once said, “do the right thing”.

To restate my main point, should we vote our conscience regardless of any distracting and probably very biased information about the issues and the persons for whom we are casting our votes? (Anyone know of a good write-in candidate for president?) Spoiler alert – beyond that last question, I’m not telling you who I’m voting for, as I said, it’s personal.

How Does One Make an Intelligent Choice?

I could do an entire blog on information sources, can you trust the media, etc. etc., but I’ll do that one later. In the following short list, I’m including links to an Oregon site (voter’s guide) and some non-local sites, including one about media. There is so much out there (in the internet universe), but obviously, not all sources will be trustworthy and/or unbiased.

A Few Sources You Can Look At

Oregon Family Council Voter’s Guide

League of Women Voters Education Fund (very informative and user friendly source of national election information)

Independent Online News Sources (good information about independent news sources)

A Closing Poem

This poem was sent to me by a close relative, it has nothing to do with politics, but take it to heart. This poem is best read outside, in a loud voice, with your arms out-stretched. Lowercase letters and punctuation were intentional by the poet. Enjoy.

e.e. cummings (1894–1962)
i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday;this is the birth
day of life and love and wings:and of the gay
great happening inimitably earth)
how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any—lifted from the no
of all nothing—human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?
(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
Canned Heat: Let’s Work Together

What Happened at Crystal City? (Part II)

May 9, 2016
DSCN1364

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

 

The Blogger’s Dilemma: What’s the Hook?

July 22, 2014

The “hook” is a journalistic reference to the part of an article that grabs and holds the reader’s attention. Without a hook, the article may only get skimmed or not read at all. The hooks for any of my blog posts hopefully will get your attention long enough to have you benefit from what is written, to learn something, or perhaps be entertained. That’s a tall order, and admittedly, sometimes I just write for the pleasure of writing. I do like poetry too, and dabble in it just for the fun of it.

Ferns proliferate.
Ferns are cool and lush.
Ferns catch the rain.
Ferns catch the wind.
Ferns catch the light.
Ferns are a green carpet.
Ferns take root.
Ferns fill the void in the earth.

Did I mention that this is also an experiment for me or better said an audience survey? I have always approached social media hesitantly thinking that I may not want the world to read my writings, baring my soul. Perhaps if my subject matter is consistently informative, inspiring, and entertaining, then it will have served a purpose, and I should not worry about baring my soul. So, I’ll go with that. I suppose “Rule#11” was an introduction to my blog, and this post sets the tone for future blogs.

I will end with some thoughts from a Silent Unity publication that I read every day. The following is an excerpt from the Daily Word reading, July 20, 2014. Actually, I’ll give you their definition of “affirmations” first.

“Affirmations are positive statements of Truth. Each time we pray affirmatively, we are lifted into a consciousness of Oneness, calling forth the divine activity within us.”

Here’s the affirmation for July 20th:

“Divine Order: I joyously participate in the orderly unfoldment of good.

Divine order is always at work. It is the eternal and exquisite process by which all things come into existence. My very life is evidence of the graceful movement of God.

Each one of us is an essential participant in Spirits orderly creation. We each have a role to play in the creative process – the dynamic and continuing manifestation of God’s infinite good.

I surrender to divine order by aligning myself with Spirit. Through a regular practice of prayer and meditation, I intentionally open my life as a channel through which God’s order, love, and light radiate into the world.”

The Bible verse given is Romans 1:20. My fingers are tired, so you’ll have to look that up. This was all of the July 20th reading, not just an excerpt.


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