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North Korea…. Armageddon or a spoiled child’s tantrum?

April 21, 2017

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Watching the news lately I have been wondering
or maybe having a brain fart with no answers
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……I remember once back in high school when I was threatened with death. This bully and all around nasty guy could not stand to see that anyone was his equal or better than him. Through intimidation and a sparse few random acts of violence he now had what you would call a posse that did whatever he told them to do, and in his warped mind he saw threats everywhere. At times when someone actually fought back he threatened his, nuclear option, which was retribution on your home, family or even your demise. Here 52 years after I graduated we come face to face with a nations leader very much like the kid I spared with back in high school.

But I have to ask what does the President have to gain by this show of force in the South China sea? When you confront a bully the only thing he understands is a punch in the face not threat of one, because a threat only provokes him all the more. So could the President be ‘poking’ the bully with a stick, the Carl Vinson battle group, wanting him to take some action so he could then use force against him? But once again I have to ask why would he want to take military action when this bully is at the very least morally supported by the only other two super powers in the world with proven nuclear weapons?

President Trump in his meeting with China’s leader has already gotten China to tighten the financial noose around North Korea by stopping coal importation from North Korea and the US and a number of other nations have stopped any imports from North Korea so why not just let the raving lunatic continue to bellow as his nation collapses.

Many questions and sadly I have no answers
but if we let North Korea’s leader
continue to bellow
eventually the people of his nation
should see that
the emperor indeed has no cloths.

Random musings of little consequence

April 17, 2017

Hiroshima twilight photograph by Anthony

“Human brains had much bigger brains back then then they do today, and so they could be beguiled by mysteries. One such mystery in 1986 was how could so many creatures reached the Galapagos Islands. Some people argued that they had used natural rafts
Others asserted that they had walked dry-shod across a natural land bridge
Some said the Islands had once been a part of the mainland
Another theory is God almighty created those creatures on the island
Still others said they arrived on an ark after a great flood
If there really was a Noah’s Ark, and there may have been
I might entitle this posting ‘a second Noah’s Ark’ “

….…lately for me it has been a time of confusion and unsettled feelings. With the inevitable realization of the reality that I may indeed not return to my home in Alaska spreading and taking command of my aging neurons. This coupled with life in this alien environment of seemingly constant thunder storms, heat, unaccustomed social norms and the choking crush of humanity surrounding me has it seems snuffed out the flame of creativity and inspiration to write.

Not that our world is void of events to ponder and write about from the Presidents unleashing of the military to exterminate isis and our use of the MOAB or a cartoon nation threatening a nuclear attack on the United States to our representatives in Washington back to business as usual ignoring the populace once again, nothing has stirred this old mans psyche.

Maybe this is why I have begun to re-visit books that travel a different path in their view of reality. From Douglas Adams ‘Hitch-hiker’s guide’ to Kurt Vonnegut’s ‘Galapagos’ which opened this posting. Vonnegut especially had a wonderfully insane way of viewing the daily life of the characters in his works, and from where I am sitting his off beat interpretation of life matches what I see around me today.

To point out one minuscule event of no consequence that ‘in my mind’ matches his writings… my trucks extreme makeover. I type this with a smile now but the day the plague of hail came and my viewing of its aftermath there were no smiles. That simple vehicle that had faithfully done everything I asked from starting in weather so cold hot coffee froze before it hit the ground, ensuring my welfare with years of safe trips on roads of ice and rugged enough to drive the most primitive roads in America, so yes at the time I was despondent.

But today I am faced with a choice weather to cast aside this faithful appendage to my life or replace it. Back home it would be a no brainier because mechanically it is just fine but here in the heart of civilization it looks out of place with its hundreds of dents, reminiscent of someone using my truck as a target for practicing golf.

In this civilized world
I am now living in
having the new and better than everyone else
overshadows everything
back in the reality of my old home
dependability equaled life
Vonnegut would have agreed
newer and better isn’t everything!

A firecracker, President Trump and shadows of the holocaust

April 12, 2017

……..it was almost 60 years ago when I was standing beside Pennypack creek in Philadelphia with a few of my older friends from school. I had followed them because they said they would show me something I would go nuts over. When John proceeded to throw a coffee can into the water I was definitely underwhelmed, but withing a few seconds a bright underwater flash appeared and then as a bubble broke the surface of the water an awesome boom echoed through the woods. He said it was an M80 and it was the coolest thing I had ever seen. I was hooked when he gave me a number of them and I experimented with blowing up trash cans and soda bottles. I had played with firecrackers before but the shear power and noise of the M80 made me feel like a king.

The news reported that just after the missile attack in Syria a United States Navy strike group was heading to the coast of North Korea. Apparently President Trump, unlike President Obama’s backing down after he drew a metaphorical line in the sand against Syria, is taking action rather than not backing up his words.

After seeing news footage of the gas attack in Syria where local activists clam that 70 people were killed including 10 children, the President after consultation with his security team deemed the missile attack on a Syrian military airbase to be the best response with the least number of civilian causalities. Of course at a security council meeting at the UN the United States was condemned for its unilateral action. Then again based the UN’s normal policy of meetings and verbal condemnations, I am sure their words would influence President Assad more than crippling his air force.

For many I guess the question is should the President have taken action or waited for a consensus from the UN. First I have to interject with a personal question…. why is a gas attack that kills civilians worse than civilians killed by artillery or aerial bombing? Having ones body ripped apart by an artillery shell seems to me to be just as horrific as a gas attack. That said I have to pose the next question should the United States be a unilateral police force for the world when it encounters mass murders by a foreign power?

Most of us remember Germany’s rise to power in the 1940’s. Many Americans at the time supported Hitler and his regime for bringing his nation back from the destruction of the first world war. Even as he started to systematically segregate the Jewish people in his country there was no actions taken by other nations, this inaction eerily similar to what is happening today with regard to the Syrians. The results being millions of people of the Jewish faith were murdered. So which is better the UN and its endless meetings and condemnations or swift reaction to another nations atrocities?

Is our Presidents actions justified
or did he realize
the difference between a firecracker
and an M80
is the same as verbally drawing a line in the sand
and an air strike?

Memories of a journey to the land of the rising sun

April 10, 2017

51 years ago I boarded a plane bound for the far east, I was just out of high school and only married a few days earlier, so when I said goodbye to my son last night our conversation about his flight today to Japan resurrected a number of memories from my journey to manhood…….

In 1964 the aircraft I flew on did not have the range of today’s airplanes, so when my son told me it was a non-stop flight from here in Dallas to Tokyo I was surprised. My flight left Travis air force base in California and only flew as far as Honolulu before refueling. Being right before Christmas the airport was decked out with Christmas trees and lights everywhere. Feeling totally alone for the first time and apprehensive as to what to expect when I arrived on Okinawa I was not enjoying my surroundings.

As I sit here and type this today thinking about my son taking off in less than an hour two memories of my trip rise to the surface. One was as the plane was approaching Okinawa and I looked out the planes window I wondered how this oversized airplane could land on an island that looked to be only a mile wide. But as we all know perspective is everything and as we descended and the runway at Kadena air force base came into view I could see it was closer to 4 miles across.

Okinawa

My second strongest memory today was after I was processed and assigned my company the drive to the remote Northern base at Henoko depot opened the eyes of that fresh out of school boy. The way people lived and worked streamed by as the old bus ate up the miles. From the terraced rice paddies and homes alien in their construction to the hundreds of people I passed dressed differently than I expected.

Now with these couple memories bubbling to the surface I think about my son, in his own way, traveling similar footsteps on his journey to the far East. He has decided to open his mind to a culture that at its root is very alien to our own. He will see, smell and experience things he never has but like myself will retain them for the rest of his life. And now as I sit here typing I hear a jet overhead, and even knowing it is not his I can dream it is him taking that first step on the adventure that awaits him.

God speed my son
and take it from one who knows
let nothing pass you by
and
savor every minute
so you like myself will have those memories
for the rest of your life.

I am just wondering…..

April 4, 2017

To some this posting may seem an odd issue to address, but we all know the adage about ‘beating a dead horse’. Well the talking heads and radio talk shows haven’t produced one solid fact showing that the Russians did indeed change a single vote in the election so I am tired of this rehashing of non-information, and thus I am looking in a different direction.

Personally I can not hold a grudge long, and sitting here I can think of only one that has lasted more than a year. Then again I am an old curmudgeon who lived in the wilderness for over a decade so that may account for my lack of old animosities. Or even more likely because whatever grudge I came across, during my lifetime, my brain no longer remembers anything about it.

However I am wondering what was done to make all the police departments across our nation un-biased and un-racist? Surely there must have been some federally funded intensive program that every police officer in the nation had to participate in to make this accelerated and sweeping change in how the police react when confronted with violence from a suspect. Even more surprising I wonder what they did to make ‘stop and frisk’ more civilian friendly.

We all remember the protests over excessive force and ‘stop and frisk’…. Most of the protesters angrily proclaimed it was racially motivated, even though those that were ‘stopped and frisked’ matched the description of the suspect witnessed in the crime. In other cases protesters started to act out because they thought the police were biased against illegal immigrants because when they were stopped they were asked for some identification proving there citizenship.

Now I am not saying that there are not a number of men and woman serving as law enforcement officers who do not see certain crimes with a biased or racist view, I am just asking where have the protesters gone? Why do we not still see the at times violent law breaking demonstrations we once did? I am sure we have not rid our police departments of all the racist patrolmen. Also if only half of what we read in the news is true immigration officers are cracking down and now actually enforcing immigration laws, so where are the demonstrations we have seen in the past protesting this enforcement of immigration laws already on the books?

I postulate that most of the major demonstrations were financed by as yet un-defined people who have their own agenda. In many of the instances from Ferguson to Baltimore it was reported that protesters were bused into those cities and told to fan the flames of unrest. Now for some reason the money has dried up and thus so has the demonstrations. Though we still have ‘stop and frisk’ and are finally enforcing the immigration laws does it not matter anymore….  or are the protesters waiting for their next paycheck?

So does this mean people only care when they are paid to care?

We still have people serving in law enforcement who should not be there
and
law enforcement is still stopping suspects
while the border patrol is now allowed to do their job
but
with the money now gone
many demonstrators who broke the law themselves
are
nowhere to be found.

The road home….

March 31, 2017

Photography by Anthony

I woke up and I was back in my cabin in Alaska. I had the same foggy cloud surrounding my brain as always but through the mist of fog I remember a dream of living in an apartment in Little Elm, Texas. A smile crept across my face as I realized that there couldn’t be a town called Little Elm… it sounded to much like something from an old time western movie.

As I stood and dressed the familiar sound of a big rig and its jake breaks echoed from the distant hills and even though I was just waking up thinking it must be morning as I looked out my tiny window from the loft the earth and trees outside were bathed in the intense eerie green glow of the Northern Lights. Something definitely was wrong because as I went down the stairs from the loft my feet never touched the steps, and my downstairs was an exact copy of the apartment I just dreamed about in Texas.

For some reason this deja vu moment didn’t bother me, and that bothered me! But in the next instant as I held my morning coffee, that I never made, and looked out the window at the dancing Aurora I understood……..

..…the past days of angst
over the hail storm damage and flooded apartment
combined with way too few hours of sleep
had my brain searching
for a way to sooth my soul
so as I slept on this April fools day
my benevolent brain had
brought me home.

Just luck or the hand of God ?

March 27, 2017

For years before I moved to Alaska permanently I drove four round trips to my old home in Pennsylvania, and that by itself is very close to 20,000 miles. During most of those trips I only slept for four hours a day, tempting fate that I would not fall asleep at the wheel. Also on numerous occasions I remember driving in Canada in fog so thick I had to have my head out of the window and guided myself by looking at the center-line in the roadway. I am saying this because my survival makes one wonder if at times some higher power wasn’t indeed looking out for my welfare.

I bring this up because last night this higher power was once again at work and a walk around the apartment complex this morning proved it. In Alaska I was concerned about earthquakes a 7.9 that I was in, bears around my cabin and forest fires like the one that came within half a mile of the homestead. But after 14 years living in my wilderness home they became second nature. Now In Texas during the spring I have to be aware of tornadoes and hail storms one of which blew through here last night.

Your asking what does this have to do with the ‘hand of God’, well last night the people of Denton country were spared not living through a tornado, but we did get hit with a hail storm. This morning emergency work crews are here starting to repair roofs for leaks, apartment and clubhouse windows shattered as the many cars and trucks with broken windows and hundred of dents sit as proof that a higher power does exist.

Why would one car have its windows destroyed and another alongside remain untouched? Why would your neighbors apartment window be broken and yours not? Just a matter of luck? In no way do I understand why these things happen to some but not to others but if you fall back on saying they are just lucky than I truly feel sorry for you. I believe there is almost always a purpose for what happens to us even though we may never understand why, and I think that purpose is directed by a higher power.

Whether you believe in God or not
I think
it may not truly matter
because
he believes in you.