I can’t believe I’m that old

I though of the a news broadcast I had just watched on the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963.  Like most people I can remember exactly where I was on the day the president was assassinated.  While still in my early teens, I heard the news and watched the adults and teachers around me crying, and so I along with all my classmates started crying.  It is hard for me to believe that this was 50 years ago.  Which brings me to the title of this piece; I can’t believe I’m that old. I can barely remember my youth other than to say I grew up in a family that had; a mom and dad, brother and sisters We all live together in a small house in a small town almost like the family we watched on TV.  I grew up both on a farm and in a small town that had no cultural diversity.  My world was simple and what seemed to be direct with defined goals and high expectations.

This morning while sitting on the porch, I fond it hard to believe that I’m 67 years old.  While in my teens I thought that I would not live to be 30 years old. It was an age that seemed to be in the distant future.  With the threat of the Russians sending nuclear bombs to descend upon my school and family, it seemed hard think past the age of 30.  I can still remember the drills then, the hiding under a desk on next to a brick wall.  As if these movements would save me from an atomic bomb.

Then in my late teens have found myself trying to go to college and waiting each year to see what my number would be in the draft.  It was during my sophomore year at Indiana university I decided to join the army.  From the age of 19 to the age of 21 my life, my hopes, my fears and my expectations of life severly changed.  I received a crash course in cultural diversity while going through basic training.  I met many young men from different cultures, different backgrounds and different languages.  Like many men, I was sent to fight in Vietnam.  I had not even heard of Vietnam in school. And after completing officer candidate school, I was only told that as a second lieutenant in the infantry my life expectancy in Vietnam was three days.  After a period of time in that hell hole I became hardened and distant with all the people in my life.  I was thrilled when I got the orders to go home (back to the USA) and I jumped on a plane without changing out of my battle fatigues.  I landed in San Francisco and while getting off the plane and  walking to the terminal, people called out to me calling me a baby killer while many tried to spit on me and as I walk to get my bag.  In shock I collected my belongings and tried to get my head around where just happened.  When I got home I followed what I thought was the American dream of finding a girl, getting married, having children and buying a house.

My twenties and thirties seemed to go by in a flash.  I spent my time and energies trying to be a good dad, I good husband and a good cop.  I work for the city of Los Angeles as a police officer and then a detective.  With all the many adventures and cases that I was involved in the year seem to fly by.  I did not have time to think of how old I was and that I was reaching 40 years old when I felt like I was 21.  Like most people the 40th birthday was the first time I looked at my age has being old.  It was at this time I started to prepare for retirement.  Retirement was always something that was talked about from the first days on the job until the actual event.  But, no matter how I talked about it, i was not prepared for it.

I went into retirement with some preconceived ideas, one of which was to move away from the big city and live on a lake.  Somehow, I thought I would fish my life away.  As it turned out I went back to work.  I worked for another 20 years.  I felt most comfortable while having the purpose of going to work.  Before I knew it I was 60 years old.  I had a large party with my friends, my family and my coworkers.  I felt good, not like what I thought a 60 year old man would feel like, so I kept on working.  A few years later I was diagnosed with prostrate cancer.  And even though I knew that it was a very treatable and survivable cancer I went into a form of shock and decided to retire.  This time I move far away from anyone that I knew and I bought a house in the middle of the woods seemingly in the middle of nowhere.

Today, I am as busy as I have ever been, not with a job but with enjoying life.  I feel blessed to be alive and living with my wife.  I do not think I would be so happy if it were not for her in my life.  But I still do not believe I am 67 years old.  I do not feel old rather I feel alive with energy and hoped for the future.  I do not feel like it’s time to slow down but rather I want to live through and experiments new adventures.  I am fortunate that any medical problems I have do not stop me from getting around.  I am reminded of the story of the young man an old man.  During a conversation the young man asked how old the old man was.  He answered -84.  The young man boldly stated I hope that I am dead befor I am 84.  The old man stated you won’t say that when your 83.  Again I think of that age is being old, but I hope that when I reach that age I will again write down-I can’t believe that I am that old.

Pops

Why Harley Davidson

As I was sitting on my porch last night I could hear, in the distance, the sound of motorcycles driving on the nearby highway.  The throaty roar of the exhaust pipes made me think that the bikes were Harley Davidson.  It made me think of my Harley Davidson and the many Harleys that I owned my life.  With all the different Brands and styles of motorcycles I had to ask why Harley Davidson. I did not start off riding a Harley Davidson motorcycle.  As soon as I had a driving license my wonderful dad bought me a Vespa scooter.  The scooter’s engine was not working when it was purchased.  My dad worked long and hard to get the scooter to run.  I felt the rush of freedom and excitement when riding the scooter.  Then a company called Honda came out with the Honda 50.  I worked summer jobs and after school to buy my new black Honda 50.  As I got older I kept increasing the size of the engine and the style of riding, to include on road and off road.  Eventually, I progressed into large bikes and big engines.  During that time I lived in Los Angeles and would ride my motorcycles to work, some 45 miles one way.  I ended up with a new BMW motorcycle, a 900 CC sport model.  I drove it for many years to work, enjoying the shaft driven, quiet and opposing head engine.  I took it on long drives just to enjoy the feeling of freedom and excitement and the California Mountains.

After moving and living closer to another city I usually drove a car to work and slowly got away from riding a motorcycle.  Although from time to time I would test ride all the different models and makes of what is called a cruiser bike.  I rode all domestic and foreign brands.  During this time Honda bikes began growing in size and I looked at an interstate Honda and all the comfort and quiet they contained.

Then one day my wife came home from the market and out of nowhere stated “you need of a Harley”.  I looked at her in amazement and said “why”.  She stated that while driving back from the store a group of Harley Davidson motorcycles passed by her and when they drove under the overpass and she heard the roar of the engines she knew I needed a Harley Davidson.  I started smiling and it’s at this time my brother in-law walked up to my wife and I and ask, “what is going on”?  I repeated to him what my wife just said.  Well, since my brother in-law already had a Harley Davidson, he thought was a good idea and he offered to go to the dealership with us.

 

So we got into our car and drove down to the Harley Davidson dealership.  As we entered the building I ran across a friend that I work with who was there to buy some items for his Harley Davidson.  When I told him why we were there he got excited and said he thought it was a good idea and asked if I he could help me select the bike.  Now we are a group of four and when the sales manager arrived my brother in-law and my friend both, knew him well.  I told him why we were there and I was a little doubtful about buying a motorcycle.  He smiled and said, let me get this straight, your wife wants you buy a Harley Davidson your brother in-law want you to buy a  Harley Davidson and your friend is here to help you buy a Harley Davidson. And you are not sure if you want to buy a Harley Davidson.  The sales manager said he usually hears the complete opposite. The wife, family and friends advise you against buying Harley Davidson.  I smiled and quit questioning my good fortune and began the process of selecting my new ultra classic Harley Davidson motorcycle.  I bought it fully loaded and without protest. My wife, my brother in law and my friends bless the purchase and off I drove on my new Harley Davidson that day.

 

Of course when you buy a new Harley Davidson you change out the exhaust pipes for a louder deeper sound (expensive) and then you start looking at all that bling that you can put on the bike.  It seems that the HD in Harley Davidson stands for, hundred dollars.  As time went on and I bought riding gear and additional accessories, I had collected a lot of Harley Davidson products over the years.

As my wife and I’m would go on vacation or on a cruise I would find a Harley Davidson store at every port, in every city and in every country.  We usually bought Harley Davidson shirts with the location we were at on the shirt.  Eventually, I owned over 100 Harley Davidson T shirts.  I bought jackets, hats, coffee mugs, banners and signs, anything with a Harley Davidson name on.

Along with a new bike I found myself fitting in with the culture of the Harley Davidson family.  I was a middle aged man with my hair starting to turn gray and my stomach was starting to grow.  I would tell people; where else can an old man with a beer belly to feel like he is cool.  While riding on the roads of this country I found thousands of guys just like me. Riding a Harley Davidson with either a rider on the back riding solo.  Of course most the destinations of my rides were to a place to eat.  Usually it was a hamburger joint that accommodated outdoor eating.  At each one of these locations there was a variety of motorcycles and there seem to be more people my age than not, at the location.  Sometimes, I would ride my Harley Davidson to work dressed and my suit and tie and of course a helmet.  Many times people would ask me, why I bought a Harley Davidson.  I like the Harley because it is big, loud and obnoxious.  I want people to see me and hear me coming down the road and hopefully not turn into my path or hit me.  I would ride with my radio loud and my pipes even louder.  Eventually, like most riders, I joined a group, not a gang, of fellow writers and showed off  my colors proudly when riding.  But I found I did not like riding with a group and all the rules that go with it. So I rode solo, no colors, no group riding rules, Just me, my Harley and the road.

 

I will say that while riding in a group of the Harley Davidson you feel the power of the presence of the Harley.  And so that is why I think all law enforcement and military should ride a Harley Davidson.  There is nothing more impressive than the arrival of a group of police officers riding a Harley Davidson.  I’ve seen them used in situations such as a riot.  They immediately gain the respect and the attention of the crowd who usually moves out of their way.  While the Harley Davidson has been used as a police motorcycle for many years, I’ve noticed some city police riding BMWs and a Honda.  Their presence is not nearly as dynamic as when Harley Davidson It is like driving a small Honda Prius with” Police” on the side of it. It is official but does not bring the respect of a full size car.

 

So, why a Harley Davidson?  This American icon has survived for over 100 years.  From its start as a motorized bicycle through the ownership of AMF (which almost killed the Harley) to today’s Harley Davidson, it has survived and grown. Todays Harley owner is less likely to be a thug in an outlaw motorcycle gang, but rather a middle or upper class working man or woman who can afford the expense of owning a Harley Davidson.  These new riders continue to dress in a fashion be used by riders of both outlaw gangs and motorcycle clubs.  They wear leather vest sporting a gang or club colors.  Some wear helmets, some wear dew rags, and all wear a smile.  When a group of riders pull into a location it is hard to tell the good guys and the bad guys at first.  But then as the rider dismounts their bike, you will recognize the difference.  It seems that all bikers have tattoos and especially when on the Harley Davidson they want people to see their tattoos.  Many times while at the eating location I would recognize people I know as businessmen and women, moms and dads, grandma’s and granddad’s.  Harley Davidson has swept up several generations of riders.  I’m one of those and a truly enjoying the feel of riding Harley Davidson on the roads of America and probably anywhere else.  Why Harley Davidson, because it fits me and I hope future generations of motorcycle riders will continue to enjoy Harley Davidson.

Pops

Dangerous jobs

As I was standing on my porch today with both hands around a cup of coffee trying to stay warm I thought about a news story I saw earlier on the television talking about the dangerous job in places like Water world  and how the courts could rule to shut those companies down because of the danger to its employees. If the courts can rule to stop people from working in dangerous jobs there a lot of jobs stake.  For example, police work or fire fighters who are working dangerous jobs, Many people choosethis jobs as their professions. Will the courts shut them down?  There are people who work with large animals in zoos and on private lands who have been hurt or killed as a part of their jobs working with these animals.  Should the courts shut down these people’s companies?  I know companies that specialize in raising snakes and capturing alligators; these jobs have danger will their companies be rule on to shut down?.  Will the courts stop people from climbing mountains because that is too dangerous and shut down the companies that cater to this danger.

 

I had to ask myself, are so many people being killed by killer whales in water park environment than people playing football.  Organized sports regularly experience serious injuries for the participants.  Whether you are; a profession downhill skier, a surfer or a hockey player,  each of those jobs are dangers and can lead to death or serious injury.  Will the court shut those businesses down?

 

It seems to me as there are much more serious issues and rights that would demand the attention of the courts.  I think if you willingly work a job that you know is dangerous the court should accept that choice as part of our freedoms of choice and they should not be involved.

I am sure someone will tell me that there is more to this than my simple view. Well then education me and the general public on this issue. But until then, let the public enjoy the right to choose dangerous jobs and let the companies who employ them to exist.

Just a thought

Pops

Some like it hot some not.

As I was sitting on the porch this morning I can feel the cold front coming in from the north.  For me I prefer the warm or hot weather.  For my wife she prefers the cooler, cold weather.  It seems to me that many couples have opposite temperatures that they enjoy.  For example, how many of you used blankets even in the summertime while your significant other is always too hot and uses just a sheet.  Are there the occasional arguments or discussions about the thermostat?  It seems almost natural that couples are divided on the temperature, some like it hot some not. I am also interested and the choice of where we live, as to the temperature there, and where we vacation.  I was born in the north and as a rule most families went south for vacation.  Most retirees moved to the south, in my neighborhood it was Florida.  And now living in the south I find many people moving to a cooler area, like Colorado.  Many seem excited to take vacations to Alaska.  I prefer going to the Caribbean islands and enjoying the warm breezes and Clearwater.  My wife would love to go to Alaska to see the snow covered mountains and the glaciers hoping to catch a glimpse of a well on the way.

 

This brings me to the changing of the season which is occurring now.  I already miss the warm weather even if it does mean I sweat a lot.  My wife is thrilled at the drop in temperatures and is hoping for a glimpse of snow this year.  Each season of the year has its own joys.  The fall brings cooler temperatures, thanksgiving and the color falling leaves; to me it means it’s time to break out the jackets.  Winter brings cold temperatures with a holiday spirit of Christmas and New Year’s.  This spring brings new green to the forest, the birth of new creatures and to me the opportunity to fish for largemouth bass.  This summer brings a warm temperatures and for many no school and vacations.  To me it rings travel to relatives are vacation and the ability to ride on my tractor all day along.

 

So enjoy the competition other controls the thermostat in the house.  Enjoying the changing of the color of the leaves, and break out the big jackets.  I’ll be on my porch looking at life and enjoying my freedom of speech.

 

Pops

Certification

As I was sitting on my porch last night resting from cutting down three dead pine trees who have been killed by pine beetles.  I found them by listening to him that trees being devoured by redheaded woodpeckers. I thought about all the certifications I’ve had my life.  The latest certification came yesterday from the state of Texas.  My property now is a certified tree farm. Why is it that many of us work so hard to become certified.  In the workplace many different professions have some sort of certification.  Weather you’re a doctor who certified in a specialty or a certified administrative assistant, it is important that you have that certification.  There are many levels of certification including Federal, state, local, profession or occupational.  I get to my meat from a certified butcher (a union certification ) and my wife get your hair done by certified beautician.  It seems to me that I had been working most my life to obtain some sort of certification whether through education or experience.

 

There is another type of certification that I have achieved if you talk to him my family or some of my old workmates.  Certifiable crazy, is that bad or is it good.  In my younger years it was sort of a back handed compliment.  Later in life in the workplace it seemed to become an insult.  Now has a senior citizen it seems to be both a compliment and an insult.  I, like many veterans, have been diagnosed with PTSD.  I have wondered, does that make me certifiable crazy.

 

It is just a thought.  For those of you who read this blog you may have noticed some spelling errors.  I had been writing these blog by using voice recognition on my computer.  In doing so I have missed a lot of grammar and spelling errors.  I am working on it but I am more excited about using new technology ( newer than a color TV) in effort to keep up with my grandchildren.  Who knows maybe a tweet is next.

Pops

People at Wal=Mart

As I was sitting on my porch this morning, drinking my coffee, I felt the cold air and realized it is time for new winter jacket.  In the past I would go into town or the city and browse the many stores and search for the jacket.  Now that I live in the country, a rural area, my choices are very small.  So usually I will go to Wal-Mart. I always find interesting sights when going to Wal-Mart.  First of all, it does not matter how you dress.  I am always amazed at the variety or the stages of dress of the many shoppers and of the employees.  Living in the south if you go on a Sunday at about noon, you’re bound to see what I call church people shopping  in their Sunday finest.  Men in business suits or starched jeans and shirts and women in long dresses wearing heels and the children dressed in well coordinated colorful clothing, they are so cute.  And pushing a cart next to them is bubba semi dressed in camo attire sometimes in a sleeveless shirt, tattoos a blazing looking like a duck dynasty character.  Next to him as a woman missing two front teeth, her hair tied up in stages of multiple color, wearing a tank top and wearing what looks to be like pajama bottoms and some or well worn slippers.  Also in the aisle and has a very large woman sitting in one of the motorized shopping carts, her cane sticking out of one side the rest of her sticking out on both sides. She is with a very skinny old man who she calls ‘hun’as she directs him to the different items on the shelf to be put into the small basket of the cart.  There always seems to being a young family with their three kids pushing a shopping cart in which two of the children want to ride inside while the other keeps grabbing things off the shelf and mom or dad keeps putting them back on the shelf. All of these people shopping side by side without incident.

 

These shoppers seem to float in and out of the aisles in what seems to be practiced dance with a background of music from Wal-Mart.  Most the time the shoppers pushing a cart follow the rules of the road, driving to the right side, and are very polite when two cart reach the same location one of the shoppers gladly gives away to the other.  Due to the wide selection of various items in Wal-Mart I am always amazed at what some shoppers have in their cart.  Many senior shoppers who only shop once a month for food, like I do, use two carts while shopping.  Both will be filled up but without any dangerous overhang or obvious crashing of the bread.  It is always interesting to see the look on the face of the shopper who starts to get in line behind my two carts, usually they make a quick uturn to another cashier.

 

Shopping at Wal-Mart is to experience the freedom in America and the acceptance of all people.  It does not matter how you are dressed her how well you look.  There seems to be no prejudice against any race or religion.  The wealthy shop next to the poor. All in the interest of saving money and the experience of one stop shopping. Weather you are looking for a bag of deer feed, a pillow, a set of tires or a TV, you’ll find shoppers floating through the aisles putting the items in their carts and checking out in a peaceful manner.

 

The other adventure at Wal-Mart is in the parking lot.  Usually all the handicapped parking spots are full.  Not all the people parking there are handicapped and so you’re observing handicapped people walking ( very slowly) up and down the parking aisles.  Many drivers, no matter what size of vehicle they drive, will wait in line for a close parking spot.  Sometimes you wonder how they got out of the vehicle without banging into the car next to them.  Shopping carts are staggered all over the lot and if there is a wind it seems like an unorganized shopping cart race to see how many cars can be hit.

 

Shopping should be a peaceful relaxing experience.  However when shopping in a department store or a mall setting it always seems uncomfortable.  Some stores will not recognize you if you are not dressed properly.  Others will profile you and make a decision whether to approach you are just let you walk around. But if you go to the Wal-Mart in the same area you’ll find the same style of shopping as the country.

 

My thought was not to be an endorsement for Wal-Mart.  But rather for that style of shopping.  I would hope that the experience of shopping would be focused more on serving the shopper rather than profiling.

Just a thought.

 

POPS

ITS LIKE FALLING BACK IN TIME

As I was sitting on my porch last night and realize I needed to go to the store in the morning, I thought of the two stores that I’ve been impressed with since moving to a rule area.  So this is a tale of two stores. The first store is a grocery store which is in the center of a small town and it seems that the same store chain is in many small and rural areas.  It is not a superstore, a club storre or warehouse.  IT has its own meat market and features fresh vegetables every day.  Although the selection is not that of the superstore it seems they have a good selection of products that I would normally need.  The checkout stands are small but they use the code reader to process my groceries.  The shopping baskets are smaller than most stores I’ve gone to in the city.  What really stands out is that after they bag the  groceries they take the groceries out to your vehicle and load the groceries into the  vehicle for you.   During  my first visits I tried to tell the young man or woman bagging my groceries that they do not have to help me to my car.  Then I was informed by those young people that its store policy that’s they take the groceries to my car and they would get into trouble if they do not do so.  Once that I got comfortable to that idea I tried tip the young man or woman.  Once again I was informed that they were not allowed to take tips.  In the beginning I found it awkward to have help to my car and have my groceries place in my car by store personnel, usually the young person that baged my groceries.  But then after few visits I realized that was the charm of going to the store.  I had been used to going to large superstores who had trouble keeping up with the many shoppers so much that many times at bagged my own groceries.  And I was always suspicious of any one trying to help me to my car.  The small store chain, even though it is small and that a little more for my groceries. has made me get at ease with someone help me to my car and loading my groceries.  It felt like I fell back in time where store owners were very concerned about customer service and kept a personal touch apart of the way they did their business.

The second store was an auto parts store that had been in a very small town for over 65 years.  It was located in a dated building which looked like an old gas station located next to the railroad track.  During my first visit to the store and Ifound out that the owner had started working at that auto parts store at the age of 14.  He was about to turn 66 years old when I spoke to him.  Unlike the big auto part stores in the city this store seemed to be back in time.  It even had a rocking chair in the middle of the storm for customers to sit down and talk whether they were buying a part are not.  The the store had two bays in the back filled with wooden racks, car parts and car lifts.  The mechanic a the young man carrying a rag in his pocket and a stained baseball cap with a fishing hook on the bill the cap.  While I was there another customer has looking for part for very old vehicle.  The owners thought for a minute and went back behind the counter to the storage area and came back with the piece the customers looking for.  The owner stated that he had had that part for 40 years.  The owner was very busy in local charities and social clubs.  With pictures of youth baseball teams his store had sponsored.  I found myself going to the store because of the feeling of being back in time where customer service was a personal issue with the owner.  Several months later as I went to the store I overheard a customer talking about the store closing.  Shocked I went to the owner who confirmed that the store was closing.  After 65 years of business in this small town the growth of the area had brought several large auto part change stores close enough to take most of the business away.  I told the owner that I felt sad that he was closing the store.  He and his store were part of the history of the area and I’m sure many people who had trusted his advice and counted upon his store to take care of their auto needs felt the same way.  He stated that he could not keep up with the prices of the large chain stores and therefore he was time to retire and close the shop.  I asked him why one of his family members was not taking over the shop while he retired.  He stated he asks them to and they were not interested in doing so, the larger auto part stores made it impossible for his store to continue to exist.

This story of two stores, one continuing to exist and one going out of business, I’m sure is going on across the nation.  I believe that personalize customer service still continues to exist.  I have found it in expensive steak restaurants from our nation’s capital to a small stakehouse in a small village on the Pacific Coast highway.  As our population continues to grow and the ability of a business to keep up with new demand seems to make things impersonal, I hope that personalized customer service comes back.  Whether it is the continued use of a doorman at a building, a business, a hotel or a bagger taking your groceries to your car at a grocery store.  The two stores that I mentioned contributed to the quality of life that I enjoy.  I will continue touse the grocery store and I will miss the auto parts store.

Pops

Weddings

And I was sitting on my porch this morning, watching the rain fall on a new day.  I looked in my driveway at my truck which my wife drove down to relatives wedding.  I was glad to see her back at home and asked about the wedding.  She went on to tell me the story of how chaotic it was in the beginning and How beautiful it was in the end. Weddings are one of those events that can either take a lot of planning or can be very simple.  It always seems to me that if it’s going to be a big wedding you need to hire a wedding planner.  Such things as the music like the band or the DJ, needed be coordinated.  Items like the flowers, or where the tents are placed, when will the food be served and how long the event should last become a confused mess without a planner. It seems to me that one side of the aisle are the other, believes that someone else is in charge.  If it is left to one side of the isle it is guaranteed the other side’s family get irritated  or insulted if as the event the proceeds.  The groom and bride are depending upon someone to guide them through the ceremony.  Usually a relative other than the groom or bride’s mother or father will:reluctantly take charge and direct people to their seats;  tell the caterer when they are going eat, make sure the band or DJ has a right song get the official marrying the couple to get ready and do their best to get the show on the road.  This is in any wedding weather there are two grooms or two brides or a single groom and bride or multiple couple. If there is no wedding planner then someone will eventually get so irritated at the lack of direction they take charge. some wedding go very well especially if they are small. but many times what starts of with a small wedding plan ends up as a large wedding.

 

I’ve been blessed with sons. All of them are married now.  Each one had a different ceremony from very expensive to beautifully simple.  The llast son to get married did it on a beach in South America.  It was a simple ceremony without family or friends present.  Later with a lot of preparation a second ceremony was held in Texas with many family and friends present.  One son had a very elaborate wedding in a California mountain vineyard, it had a planner which involve the event and transportation to the site.  Three of my sons were married at my home (three different houses) each had different levels of complication.  All five events had it set ups and downs, But in the end all were remembered as great events.

 

My thought this morning is that if you want a wedding that will add little to no additional stress to the bride and groom. Either have a  waiting planner or have someone from both family’s recognized as in charge. So that all those involved in a ceremony and watching the ceremony can go to that person for guidance.

Congratulations to those of you are getting married even if this is not the first time.

Just a thought

Pops

Is it time to change the United States of America

As I was sitting on my porch this morning, drinking my coffee watching the dog play I thought back about how I’ve changed.  I am certainly not the same person that I was 40 years ago.  Some of that is because I had changed my perception on what I think is important and worthwhile.  My environment has changed from listening to only big radio in the middle of the house; to watching a black and white TV during Ed Sullivan show and then to watching color TV.  I went from learning to use a slide rule to typing on a computer keyboard and now I’m just speaking to the computer through voice recognition, my environment has truly changed.  Therefore both my development and my environment have to change. My thoughts of today is that it time for the United States of America to change.  All great cultures have eventually change and adapted to its development and environment.  Originally  many people who moved to the United States of America from other lands and developed a country with those natives who had lived here as the first humans on its soil.  During its development as more and more people moved to this great land the original 13 states grew to 50 states.  The country developed from agricultural to industrial and from rural to city life. Did the original architects of our constitution foresee all of these changes and developments?  I believe they were working to make the best of their development and their environment for the time they lived in.  In the following 200 years there have been some additions and deletions (prohibition) and still today whether through the Supreme Court, the Congress or the president United States changes are being made an answer to our changing development and environment.

 

I think it’s time that United States of America become several  nation-states. I know that several states including California and Texas have looked at this possibility before.  Not that I liked the USSR (I always thought they would bomb our country and as a child: I would hide under my desk when the bomb hit) but it was a big country who thought it was strong and always right and eventually it broke up into several nation-states.  You can go back to time and look at great societies, like Rome and Britain, who originally had great properties and lands.  Rome lost it all but only after several hundred years of ruling.  Britain survived by downsizing.  Both ended up differently due to its changing developments and environments.

 

I Have always been interested by politics.  My world went from ” I like Ike” (President Eisenhower), survived President Nixon, cried at the loss of President Kennedy, struggled with the Presidents Bush to President Obama, it seems every president and every Congress has struggled with growing changes of development and environment.  During the last two years I watched the Congress and the president struggle to get along.  Whether it is the budget (which is so big and complicated I don’t think any of them actually understands it) or Health Care (again it is so large and complicated I don’t think anyone understands it) it seems that the United States of America is so big and so complicated that even with the best intentions it is starting to self destruct.

 

Maybe it’s time to change and to develop a new map.  One in which shows the United States of America in a smaller size and new nation-states.  I know that northern and Southern California investigated a separation for many years and that Texas has taken several shots at becoming a nation-state. The governments of the new nation-states could get a grasp on; the budget, Health Care, civil rights and themany of challenges of a changing environment.  During recent events into appears that our Congress is broken and although I thought in time with the two major parties would work with each other which means compromise.  No one party, no one president no one elected official has the complete right answer.  Surely compromise which has existed since the beginning of our great country would handle all the new developments and environmental changes of today.  But like many cultures in the past, whether it is extremist or passive elected officials, compromise is more the exception than the rule.

 

Europe has seemed to handle a changing the borders and the beginning and ending at nation-states. Why can’t the United States do the same thing.  Each new nation-state or the remainder of the United States can choose it’s elected official is by popular vote or by the electoral college.  Each nation-state can decide on where it should send our men and women into military action.  Each nation-state could decide on where the money is spent.  Each nation-state could decide on who to support with funding, military backing or economical development.

 

Yesterday while watching the news I saw the leader of Iraq asking for a return of military help again. I hope we have learned from our past. Within a map of new nation-states each nation-state can make that decision. I am tried of sending our men and women to a foreign nation state and losing lives while sending billions to the foreign nation leaders (or which ever side we like) just to find it all disappear.  Many times I think our elected officials send our military to war as if we were still fighting world war II.  The last war we won.  Since then whether we called it a conflict (Korea)  or policing action (Viet Nam) or to eradicate weapons of mass destruction (Iraq) we have lost.  They’ve lost precious lives, a massive amount of money, and respect in other nations- states.  The United States has been called upon many times for help from nation states that in prior years hated the United States.  Has United States gotten so big that it keeps trying to police the world and now we have lost the capability of handling our own problems at home?

 

I believe it is time to look at changing the map.  It is not the time to destroy the United States of America and its many cultures but it is time to look at other possibilities.  If we currently accept Puerto Rico as a part of the United States yet not give it statehood why can’t we allow places like California and Texas, or  North and South Dakota, New York, New Jersey and Washington, DC become there on nation-state.  Each part of the United States could work to combine with other existing states to develop a new nation-state.  The new map of nation-states could easily work together much like Canada and Mexico work with the United States. In the past the United States courts have kept companies from becoming too large (like Standard oil) breaking the company down into smaller pieces allowing each one of those pieces to either succeed or fail while working with each other for the benefit of all.

It is something to think about.

Pops

Art

As I was sitting on the porch this morning, I notice that a branch and some leaves had covered a small bird house in front of the porch.  I thought it to be a nice picture, and maybe I could show it somewhere as art.  Which brings me to this thought of the day, what is ” art”.  Through the years I had the opportunity to visit a number of museums.  From Los Angeles to Washington, DC Beliving that what I saw is what this country calls art.  I have also gone to several small towns, county fairs and antique shops.  All of these locations proclaimed that “art” being displayed.  So while sitting on the porch I had to ask  myself- what is art.

ART as describing by the dictionary is:

something that is created with imagination and skill and that is beautiful

or that expresses important ideas or feelings;

works created by artists : paintings, sculptures, etc., that are created to

be beautiful or to express important ideas or feelings;

the methods and skills used for painting, sculpting,

drawing, etc.

I also found that art is a craft or handy carft.

Initially, I thought I would only find art in an museum or at an exhibit.  Most of the art was created by some one from the past.  Usually the older the item the more attention was directed to it.  Later I found modern art which many times I did not appreciate or understand.

It is hard at two appreciate a painting of an old woman rocking in a chair or a painting of a bowl of fruit in today’s world. The verbal and visual environment, like video games, I tunes, movies and even my cell phone has so much more to offer than a painting or sculpture.  In the past I can understand that these pictures and sculptures and songs were the world of art.  Electronic devices were not available then and beside the beauty many pieces were sending a message to create a response or feeling.

Today there are many ways for young artists to create art.  Whether: it is a song, a building, a park, a photograph, or handicraft; their works can be shown around the world almost instantly.  Communication devices, like this blog, lets the author or the artists to create art and display at almost instantly.

So I have to change my opinion about what is art.  It is not old paintings and sculptures or songs from a bunch of dead people who lived in a time when their world and their art was confined out of where they lived.  I believed that the museum’s and exhibits are funded by the older generations who have the time and money to spend on art. I believe that my generation as it got older accepted with a we’re told as young people about what art is.  In my generation’s early years art was being reborned.  From a wall of hub caps. a house made of empty bottles, the Watts towers,Andy Warhol, colorful peace signs to graffiti.  The baby boomer generation attempted to change what we understood as art.  it is sad that the baby boomer generation, who started out developing new art now with a few exceptions, have become so sophisticated that the movement for new art has been deserted and the funding now goes to the old traditional art community.  Many of the old artist created their work while living in a harsh or poor conditions.  I would ask those of us that can afford to fund art, to look around thier world, and find a new artists.  They may be graffiti artists, corner singers, computer artist or sculpture artists

If you give a young child, like my grandchildren the canvas like a computer, they will in short order, become artist using the computer.  I hope they are supported if they continue to be involved in creating art.

Which brings main to what is an antique store.  It is always looked to me as a place of old and broken down items like furniture and paintings plus old jewelry and any other item of age.  I am always amazed at what I see in a antique store.  It looks like an organized garage sale in the same location opened beyond the usual garage sale weekend.

I conceded that art is in the eye of the beholder.  I am not a fan of old paintings of: fruit, portraits, scenic views or deformed and distorted paintings.  Maybe in the 1900s these items seemed amazing, beautiful, and created a response of a feeling.  But seriously with all the information, the ability to access the Internet, to listen to songs, watch TV or do all the above on your phone the all museums and exhibits need to wake up.  Embrace that art can change and show that change, in their museums, their exhibits and their public spaces.

I hope the following generations and just accept what my prior generation had come to call art.  With the abundance of ways to communicate and demonstrate that has to be more to art than what existing contributors fund