Monday, December 26, 2016

2016- A Very Turbulent Year

2016 has been a year of great social change and loss. Many talented entertainers and other public personalities passed. From Prince’s untimely, and ironic death (referring to the lyrics of his song Let’s Go Crazy) to yesterday’s announcement of the death of George Michael, this year has been a trying one in one way or another. David Bowie will be missed with his revolutionary presence. There will never be another John Glenn, the space pathfinder of the 20th century. The gracious and extremely stylish First Lady Nancy Reagan left us to be reunited with her beloved Ronnie, who succumbed to Alzheimer’s in June of 2004. As close as they were, her passing had to be viewed as a blessing as she was just a shell of her former self without him. 2016 took those from public service as well. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died of supposed natural causes while on a hunting holiday in Texas. Former Israeli Prime Minister and President, Shimon Peres, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for his work negotiating with the Palestinians was lost after a long life. He died at the age of 93. Another great loss was Holocaust survivor and Nobel Prize winner, Elie Wiesel. Television mothers were not exempted either. Florence Henderson, Brady Bunch mom was another casualty, as well as Doris Roberts, Raymond Barone’s meddling, but loving mom. There were numerous sports figures, more celebrities, producers, songwriters, etc. that were taken away this year. 2016 was a year of revolution and controversy as it was an unprecedented election year. As election years go, this one was long, ugly and in many ways, one without comparison. The scandals that plagued both sides were unbelievable, especially the Democratic National Party. Leaked emails revealed that Bernie Sanders had not received a fair shake from the Democratic Party as all support had been skewed toward candidate Hillary Clinton, and that the “PC” lovers were not very nice to minorities as revealed in their private reverences to them in the emails that came to light. All this resulted in Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s resignation, one week after the convention, and leaving the DNC lacking in leadership. Donald Trump left his very comfortable life in order to battle multiple Republican candidates, the scorn and derision of the press and many others, including his own party members to arrive at the Republican National Convention as the party’s nominee. WikiLeaks rained on Hillary Clinton’s parade even as the mainstream media studiously ignored every infraction. Julian Assange released all promised leaked or hacked emails, even though the candidate and her party are still trying to blame Russia. However, with the low security of Secretary Clinton’s email server, it will be impossible to learn how many hackers of many locations and nationalities have perused both personal and classified information. Election Night turned into a wailing cryfest for Hillary Supporters, Hollywood and the mainstream media. The tide turned late to the support of the Trump machine, as the American Working Class and others pushed out an unprecedented vote for a political outsider. As Judge Jeanine Pirro said, “This wasn’t an election – This was a revolution!” Indeed it was. Protests by the liberal, losing side have been ongoing and colleges had to give safe space, puppies and crayons to students to help offset their disappointment in the results of November 8th. It is a disgrace and quite pitiful that today’s young (and old) cannot handle life’s setbacks. Some seem to believe that if everyone holds hands and believes, life will be fair and equal. The Electoral College final vote a few days ago was witness to many tantrums of adults who acted out their childish delusions at the process, many videos of which have gone viral. On the positive side, Christmas was made merry once again. The final sales numbers are not in, but from the traffic in the stores and on the roads, it appears that the holiday spirit and big Christmas mentality returned joyful and triumphant. 2017 is a week away and hopefully will be a wonderful year for all. Let’s pray that such is the case.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Religious Restrictions- Stand Firm Against It!

RESTRICTION OF RELIGION Religion is a topic that many don’t want to bring up in a social setting. Today, people are told that they MUST be tolerant of Islam, but the same courtesy is not afforded to Christians, in fact, in the last eight years, Christians have had a large target painted on their back. Hillary Clinton has been quoted as saying that deep seated religious beliefs have to be put aside in order for women to have access to reproductive health and services. Obama says that government, “can and will force” Christians to act against their faith. One of the original reasons that the New World was settled was to gain religious freedom. The settlers were the original rebels. They wanted to live free and worship as their conscience dictated. Europe was largely Catholic, and Protestants weren’t allowed to worship freely. On October 18, 1685, Louis XIV of France signed the Edict of Fontainebleau, revoking the Edict of Nantes that established legal tolerance of French Protestants of the Reformed Church, known as the Huguenots. The Huguenots were inspired to, ”reform” their beliefs by the writings of John Calvin in the 1530’s. The Edict of Nantes was written to calm relations between the Protestant and the Catholic believers during a time of unrest. When Louis XIV took the throne, he made measures to convert Protestants back to the Catholic Church. The Edict of Fontainebleau revoked the previous Edict of Nantes signed by Henry IV and the Edict of Nimes, signed by Louis XIII. The Edict of Fontainebleau allowed for the demolition of Protestant (Reformed) churches, the ban on pastors, offering them in exchange for conversion, life pensions and re-education in the legal field or they would be banished within two weeks or they could chose to hang. The Edict declared the prohibition of any children being baptized or schooled in Protestant faith. Children had to be baptized and schooled in the Catholic faith. Failure to do so would result in men being hung and women would be jailed for noncompliance. The possessions of any member of the Reformed Church who had moved to another country would be seized if they did not return in a period of four months and properly convert. The emigration of any Reformed Church members was prohibited, so if they left, they would do so as criminals and be dealt with as such, if caught. The Edict did allow a “Freedom of Conscience” clause. This “freedom” was not allowed to be exercised as many Protestants were jailed for refusing to convert. In fact, “Draggonades” were an organized group that operated north of the Loire Valley to forcibly convert those who were trying to exercise their “Freedom of Conscience.” The New World offered a haven for the religiously persecuted. Many Huguenots did get away from France and come to the proverbial promised land of the Americas. Charleston, SC was one of the places where a large number of Huguenots settled and built churches and communities. Other than space, there are no new worlds. If the United States of America has its freedoms shut down, especially those of religion, where is the respite and safe place for Christian beliefs? Islam has Sharia Law. By its statutes, it cannot allow any other religion or doctrine to live beside it or coexist in any way. This seventh century doctrine allows for forced conversion or murder of those who remain “infidels”. The Constitution and Bill or Rights and Sharia Law are in no way compatible. If one believes that this is possible, it is a delusion. The most odious part of the call of the administration to abandon Christian beliefs, is the threat of legal action from anyone who dares to criticize Islam. Muslims can get laws or practices changed because they are “offended” by these laws or practices. If a Christian belief is allowed to be abolished, offensive or counter to Christian practices, so what? Where is the outrage? Where is the media dribbling spew about how mean and racist everyone MUST be to say anything in personal self-defense? Christian citizens of the United States of America must stand as one to stop this disturbing trend! Our country and freedoms are what is at stake. Once they are lost, the recovery will be harsh or nonexistent.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Why I Write and What Writing Is To Me

Writing is the natural extension of my favorite pastime, reading. My Mother, and English literature teacher, taught me to read by the age of four. I believe she did this because I would hound her to read the same books over and over until I had them memorized. When she was busy, I would look at my favorite books and turn the pages. She would hear me reciting the dialog and story to myself. I believe this led me to a semi eidetic memory. My maternal Grandmother, also an English teacher, spent many an hour correcting my grammar and speech. When I was in school, I was not one of the “in” crowd. I was teased and bullied. Reading was a way for me to escape the hurts of the day and have adventures where I was the heroine. I write because it gives me the opportunity to go to my own world where the accommodations are better and everyone knows me by name. Every story I create is me, off from the mundane to the exciting. I am the one who discovers buried treasure, has a love affair or saves the planet. I am an accountant by trade. There is little deviation or diversion with the numbers. When I get bogged down in the routine, I use my imagination. This is one of the ways I get ideas for stories or continuation of a story line I have already begun. My poetry often springs up while I am doing some journal entries or other task. I keep a notebook with me to jot these ideas down for future reference. This is the way I keep going. When life gets me down, I fight back by creating a character that can change the world. I have recently started writing nonfiction essays and journalistic articles. I love researching the topic, finding quotes and drawing the overall point together. The first one I finished gave me such a feeling of satisfaction. I felt like I had really accomplished something. Writing is the light at the end of the tunnel for me. For the last three years, I couldn’t really see it. I was afraid that I would never find my way out. My goal of being a self-sufficient writer has given my life a new purpose and new beginning I thought was beyond me. I am on the path of success again, and it is a glorious feeling.
Photo by Sarah Dallaire

The Old Home Place

In these latter years, what I remember most is the comfort food, dishes my Grandparents always had prepared for us when we would come back to the Homeplace. We would gather there for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, and any time we could. However, it was not just a place to gather, it was a place to return to, where you were always welcome. A place where you could go to lick your wounds when life threw all it had at you, letting blood and wreaking havoc on your well laid plans. The house was a white, wooden, developed from a very old dog trot cabin and a section of a ruined house that had survived a fire. For those who don’t know, a dog trot cabin consists of two rooms with a breezeway between them. These pieces were cobbled together into a five room house that my Grandparents purchased in the 1930’s. They married and started their adult life together on the precipice of the Crash of 29’. They were farm raised and my Grandmother said she never knew there was a Depression, because they worked on their family’s farms. Like most farmers in The South, they were land poor and cash money short. The food was plentiful, and they got by, like their peers, but stock market crashes and job losses just were not something of which rural Georgia had much experience. The lives of the ones who came to be christened The Greates Generation consisted of labor, both in the fields and house, helping neighbors as necessary. Their tenacity for fixing, repairing and making do was the cornerstone of their existence. One did not buy new things, but saved what money you earned for a rainy day or the future. To this end, they worked and saved for the small house where their love and support resided and we could always come home to them and rest. The things they taught me were both by example and in stories of the past. I remember my Grandfather walking with me through the woods and telling me stories of his Mother, who was an herbalist, while pointing out things that looked like weeds to me. He patiently explained their uses and which maladies they were best applied. If we visited a steakhouse that decorated its walls with antique farm tools, he would point and explain the purpose and use of each one. I thought I wasn’t listening, but it sunk in and stayed with me. My Grandmother taught more by example, but had plenty of stories to tell about growing up with eight brothers and sisters on the farm. I watched her cook, learning how to make the favorites we all loved. I helped her wash dishes and clothes, which we placed in the plastic laundry basket my Grandfather had repaired with a green limb and twine when the handle had cracked. She ran the finances and a frugal household. They weathered each other’s differences and often fought about silly things, or did things just to be contrary to the other. They did not feel that such things constituted divorce. They realized commitment was a promise they made long ago. If it wasn’t always comfortable, it just borne with stoicism. When my Grandfather died in 1990, the beginning of the end came. Little by little my Grandmother needed more help and soon my Mother moved in with her. The house was still there, but it was home no more. There was no fresh cornbread or drop biscuits set on the table. Breakfast was not being prepared when you walked sleepily into the kitchen. Family meals became extinct. Without my Grandparents, the team was finished. My immediate family did not last. There was little cooperation from the next generation. The Great Recession and Crash of 2008 took my two businesses and great job. Not wanting to stay on unemployment, I took the first position I found. It was alien to me, outside of my career, education and training. My co- workers were unlike any I had ever met. I cried daily after work due to the stress and verbal abuse from a demigod district manager there, but I never gave up. I did my best, even though at 46, the physical, dirty work was too hard for me with my health problems. I would never have had the will to continue if I had not had the strength and conviction I had observed in my Grandparents. My family needed me to work. I stayed for them. The company eventually let me go. Through perseverance and over time, I was able to return to my career field, a much more thankful and humble person. The house still stands, but the place and people are gone. The only legacy that remains is the person I am today.
Photo by Rebecca Dale Wilbanks

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Serve Somebody

Bob Dylan put out a song Serve Somebody in 1979. I think it really is applicable to the world today. The lyrics say, "You may be an ambassador to England or France, You may like to gamble, you may like to dance, You may be the heavyweight champion of the world, You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls, But you're gonna have to serve somebody. Indeed, you're gonna have to serve somebody. Well, it may be the devil, or it may be the Lord, But you're gonna have to serve somebody" Ask yourself today, who do you serve? I especially would like for all elected officials to ask themselves this question. If it is not your constituents, shouldn't it be?

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Crossing the Bar by Alfred Lord Tennyson

Sunset and evening star One clear call for me! And may there be no moaning of the bar, When I put out to sea, But such a tide as moving seems asleep, Too full for sound or foam, When that which drew from out of the boundless deep. Turns again home
. Twilight and evening bell, And after that the dark! And may there be no sadness of farewell, When I embark; For tho' from out our bourne of Time and Place The flood may bear me far, I hope to see my Pilot face to face When I have crossed the bar. When Muhammad Ali died, his memorial service was long and the celebrities and dignitaries lined up to say something about the man "who floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee." Princess Diana had the royal procession, and Ronald Reagan had the Presidential funeral parade that featured the riderless horse with the backwards boots in the stirrups. This is what ensues when a celebrity, princess or politician dies, but what about those who pass without the fanfare. Today, Tripp (Robert Owen the third), as he was called, was the first of my classmates (from the great old school of St. Genevieve/ Gibbons Hall in Asheville, NC, passed away due to the ravages of hated cancer, complicated by ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease.) There will be no parade. Will Smith will not be a pall bearer, but the world is a little less colorful without our friend. For who sings the praises of a life lived day to day, as most of us do? That job is left to us who remain behind to celebrate ordinary lives of extraordinary individuals. We can recall with laughter how he loved to do things he really shouldn't have. Like the time he put noise poppers in his favorite teacher's, (Mr. Olsen's) erasers. It made him so mad, and even madder as he sat in his chair where Tripp had placed more poppers under each leg. Jo, who related a tale of how Tripp shot her with his BB gun and knocked her off her bike one afternoon after they had planned a party for the next weekend together, likes to remind us of the brilliant mind Tripp possessed and what a great loss it is. One of the best things that has happened concerning Tripp for me was his surprise birthday party last year. He made sure that I was found and invited. (I had been out of touch for 36 years.) I told him we had to get together every 36 years whether we needed to or not. It has meant a great deal to me that I was returned home through his actions, (shout out to Michelle M. too,) and I was able to be around through his short, difficult journey home. All that is left is to say thank you. Thank you to his family for their love and faithfulness. Thank you for the professional caregivers who contributed to his health. Thank you for the rallying of the SG/GH classmates to encourage him as much as we were able from the places we have scattered to build our adult lives. Thank you to Facebook for allowing us ongoing group discussion on the situation. Most of all, thank you Tripp for being you, giving us good memories and sharing your brilliant mind, mischief and history with us all. I am sure heaven is happy to have you with them today and there is a homecoming party going on for you. Say hello to your Grandfather, Dr. Robert Owen. Thank him for saving my Dad's life when he had appendicitis as a boy, so I can write this tribute to you today. He is now with his dog in the above picture. Throw the ball for him Tripp!!!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016


The first issue of Bohemian Renaissance has come off the press!! If you would like a copy, please send your request to If you would like to submit any literary or art work for publication, please send a word or pdf.file to Submit artwork in jpeg. format. The website is under construction and I will keep you posted on it's progress.

Monday, June 13, 2016


Orlando has my condolences and well wishes. Saturday night’s massacre was not about gays or guns, it was about across the board hate and maybe something more. The LBGT community feels targeted. The Hollywood folks and left leaners came out about the evil of guns, gun owners and more control of guns. The man who perpetrated this horrific act of violence was a follower of an extreme cult-like “religion” which teaches hate. Its doctrine preaches across the board intolerance and excusable murder to those who do not follow the guidelines and lifestyle of this cult. Guidelines that can be interpreted to suit those who judge at any time. It can be broken down into the simplest terms. The followers of this cult hate where they live, they hate their poverty, hate their government. They come to the United States and other freer European countries. They hate that the new home is not like the old home. They want it to conform to the practices that they abhorred and kept them downtrodden in their own country, even though they are offered a good life in their new environment. This mindset cannot, nor will not progress to allow for the 14 centuries of change that the world has undergone. Whether it be for right or for wrong, no one can deny that the world is no longer as it was in the days of their prophet. Omar Mateen, like the Tsarnaev brothers grew up in the United States. All three had ample opportunity to expand their horizon with public schooling, and for further education if were so inclined. They were not required to give up their heritage. As American citizens, they had the freedom to worship, live and do as they like. Instead of embracing the lifestyle and opportunity here as many generations of American immigrants have done since before the seventeen century, they chose to jump on the same tired, radical doctrine that their parents left behind in their home country. All the schooling, kindness, television, libraries and other educational media could not root out the hate that is part of this archaic cult religion. It is true that Islam feels that homosexuals should be killed. They do this in Middle Eastern countries. It is true that Islam feels that women should be second class citizens with males being the only human beings with any civil rights at all, or even the right to life, as they can be murdered if they are perceived “bad” for any and all reasons. It is not guns that took on animated life and limbs, driving to Pulse nightclub to kill people. That took a human hand, heart and mind. Guns are not the only way to kill. Cain killed Abel with a rock. In centuries past, there were swords, axes, knives, mace ball flairs, nun chucks and the list goes on and on. These don’t even touch on poison, asphyxiation or other ways to cause death. France has one of the toughest gun laws of any country. Why didn’t that save Charlie Hebdo or the people in the last massacre? Gun laws are not the answer as criminals do not follow laws. Perhaps it is something more, if Alex Jones is to be given credence. It is ironic that gun massacres have been so prevalent in the last eight years. To be honest, it is probably a given that the current administration thought they would have more gun control by 2016. Instead, they only increased gun sales exponentially. AMERICANS WILL NOT GIVE UP THEIR GUNS!!!!!!!!!! What if the government is instigating these events to gain greater control, not just of guns, but of the citizenry? It wouldn’t be unheard of, it has probably happened in other places in one way or another, at some time. Cuba’s guns were taken away, then Castro became a dictator. A Cuban, or any communist country, or Nazi Germany immigrant that went through these types of political upheaval will be more than happy to tell anyone why citizens should NEVER, EVER give up their guns. Could the violence and bloodshed be a little something more, like buy one get one free? The Democratic presumptive presidential candidate is treading some serious legal water right now. The current administration says it will not interfere with any departmental investigation, but is extremely defensive and blocking almost every effort. The White House itself is blocking Clinton’s emails until after the election. If it were as simple as hate, or lack of guns, this would not be the crisis that it is. Unfortunately, no one wants to define in in hard terms or call it by its real name. Americans are fighting an uphill battle against an unseen, unpredictable foe. It is a foe that can easily show up in the clothes of a friend, a neighbor, a classmate or an elected official. Unless the line is drawn and the citizenry are willing to acknowledge the evils that are working in the background, this violence and hate will not stop, but increase.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Bared Expectations My book of poetry available on

Today's Hit Parade - or - He Said / She Said

Recently, many people have made remarks that perhaps they will have to eat in the coming days. The First Amendment guarantees the right to free speech and everyone is entitled to their opinion. Everyone has a right to live their lives as they see fit. That being said, here are some highlights of possible crow, for later consumption: Event - Beyonce’s half time performance at the Super Bowl with various captions, one being, “stop shooting us.” Retort: Stop breaking the law, going for the gun and bashing in a cop’s face, as happened with the Ferguson MO incident. Perhaps, that might lead to positive results, worth a try anyway. Quote – Mitt Romney says there is a bombshell in Trump’s taxes! Retort: Really, Mitt? The time to grow a pair was in 2012 when you tiptoed around your opponent in the presidential election, and gave us four more years of the current administration. Please, Go Away! Event – Leonardo DiCaprio finally wins an Oscar. Uses stage to stump for his delusional global warming cause. Retort: What about your yachts and use of your plane? Do you think those might leave a carbon footprint, or is all that jibber for the ordinary Joe trying to make a living? Quotes – Former Mexican president Felipe Calderon was quoted as saying that Mexico would never pay for Trump’s “stupid” wall. Another former Mexican president, Vicente Fox, dropped the “F” bomb in an interview about the question of the wall at the border. Retort: Maybe Mexico won’t write a check for the wall, but it is going to come out of their pocket when, “Juannie” comes marching home. They will need places to live and employment for a eleven million or so people. That is going to leave a mark on their wallet, no doubt. Event – A Marine was forcibly ejected from a stump by Bill Clinton for his wife for simply asking a pertinent question. His question was in regard to her Bengazi scandal’s involvement. Retort: Since when was the First Amendment repealed? As a person in the Armed Forces, he had a right to know if Hillary was elected CIC, would she abandon him or his regiment in their time of need. What is this trend that prohibits the general public from asking questions about the actions of such as Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama? Why would these officials be above the law and their responsibility to the American People? Finally, the cherry on top, the straw that breaks the camel’s back, the crack you stepped on to break your Mama’s back and the moment you have all been waiting for! Quote – From Al Sharpton, Raven Simone, Cher, Whoopi Goldberg, Samuel L. Jackson, et al, Who swear to leave the USA if Trump or a Republican is elected to the presidency. Retort: In the immortal words of the character Curly Bill, played by Powers Boothe in Tombstone, “Well….Bye!” That, boys and girls, is today’s hit parade of idiots and their ramblings. Stay tuned for more as the election season progresses!!!

Please Stop

The day after Super Tuesday has shown that the people have spoken. Hundreds of Democrats left the party to vote Republican. They have made a major win for Trump. If this trend continues, Trump should receive the nomination. If the RNC continues its tantrum about the legally elected candidate, we will have another Democratic president. The USA cannot survive 8 more years of a Democratic administration. I don't know what Trump or Cruz might do good or bad. I do know what a liberal tax and spend administration can destroy. Solidarity - please!!!!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Hometown Issues ( Photo of my Grandparents, Father, Uncle and Sister - 1959 Canton, NC)

The RNC and the DNC, along with the out of touch liberal media have their own ideas about what is important for the 2016 election. It is a shame how out of touch these judgmental, wealthy elitists are when it comes to what is important to the average person on Main Street. America is a country formed by the original rebels who left Europe to make their lives in the manner they deemed best, following God, Family and Country, with their own values. All they wanted was an even chance to succeed, regardless of their birth status. The United States was created with this at the heart of her Doctrine and the Republic that deemed all men equal. The pieces of the United States come in all sizes. There are the large cities, small towns and everything in between. Today’s topic is one example of the hometown fabric that has built the shining place on the hill that so many have been inspired to call home. The place is Canton, NC, a small mill town in the Appalachian Mountains. There is a paper mill there that has been in existence for over a hundred years. It built the town up around it, and supported many a generation through depression, world war and a declining manufacturing environment and overall economy. As the song Papertown by Balsam Range says, “This ain’t just another Papertown, it’s the one that I call home.” My Grandfather raised his family working there. He began as a logger at eighteen years old, then moved up to machinist in the mill. His three children, educated by the fruit of his work, became an engineer, a chemist and an artist. My Father worked in the mill as well, and I spent 13 years of my life in Canton, NC. It was common for generations to find their living in the mill. The mill has gone through so many changes as the world reacted to events beyond their control. Today, you will find the mill in operation, but at a greatly diminished capacity in comparison to years past. It has affected the town. It was the largest employer in the area. It provided living wage manufacturing jobs to the population. There is a lot less money to support the commerce that once thrived in the downtown area. This story is one of the key issues that really matter to the people who will vote for a new president in 2016. Watching the news, it seems to be a matter largely ignored and is so far and away from what the media and party officials claims to matter to the average Joe and Jane. The people want to work and earn a living. They want to know that if they send their children to college, there will jobs for them to fill to make their investment pay off. Canton is one location, but Detroit is a prime example of manufacturing that built America and the international trade agreements that have brought about its demise. Last week Carrier announced that the company would be moving the manufacturing to Mexico. Ford just announced they would do the same, citing lower wages, improved logistics and a wealth of free trade agreements. The American People want to know what the next president is going to do to bring the jobs back to the USA! They want to earn their standard of living and be free to make their own lives as they see fit, without the government sticking their noses in everyday lives. The People built this country with their generational hands, and can do so again with just a chance to work. Neither do they need or want everything free from an oppressive, controlling government. The reason, “Make America Great Again,” has caught fire is because it can and needs to be done again. It is not important who leads America to greatness again, it is important to remember that the leader will have a mighty following. Americans are a proud, headstrong bunch, and the “powers that be” have completely and totally underestimated the heart of the people!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Choices = Consequences from my column

2015 has come and gone. It was a year of controversy and offense to those who live in the five year old kindergarten land of fair play. That mythical land of utopia where touchy – feely, liberal, kum ba yah perfection reigns and someone else always picks up the bill. Where feelings are easily wounded with the harsh truth, or rumored half - truth spit out by the lame stream media, or misinformed so and so who said this or that. Where fact checking is too much effort and it is easier to believe whichever nugget of hearsay hits the ear last. It seems that too many folks didn’t have a parent who delighted in informing their children a hard fact of life when hit with the, “but, it’s not fair!” The proper parental come back being, “life’s not fair, get over it now and avoid the rush.” A caring parent would gently strip away the fairy tale lies of life and let the child know that the harsh truth that choices made today can affect the course of one’s life forever. A good example of where bad choices came into play during 2015 would be the riots in Ferguson MO over the shooting of an unarmed teen. The Grand Jury refused to indict Officer Wilson on any count because, after many hours of deliberation, the facts were brought out that Brown had acted aggressively toward Officer Wilson. Brown was not shot in the back trying to surrender, as was initially reported, nor was he the “gentle giant” as was claimed. He had just roughed up a convenience store owner as he tried to rob the store. It is a shame that a mother lost her son, but the outcome of his poor choices delivered the events that cost him his life. Many other people who ran afoul of the police, sparking protests in 2015, were not model citizens. When a person has a criminal record, the police tend to lose sympathy, especially for repeat offenders. Again, poor choices change the direction of one’s life, and no one can expect everlasting patience on the part of those who are called to defend the peace or those who are in a position to judge those who have violated the law of the land. These confrontations with the police spawned the “Black Lives Matter” movement. Yes, black lives matter, all life matters, but blocking roads, malls, and other public places will not bring people back to life, especially in the light of the fact that some caused their own demise with their actions. When all the facts come to light, these same protestors don’t give up the ill -informed example. They continue to run with the same misinformation with indignation. These protests and protestors often have run afoul of the law as well. After which, these same people who have broken laws expect John Q. Public to sympathize with the consequences of their actions. Another example of poor choices would be the predicament of Charlie Sheen. The lifestyle he led brought him to being HIV positive. No one wishes ill health on anyone, but there are definitive reckless choices that put one in a position to contract a disease. Lastly, to those who took offense at every opportunity, especially when it was the truth and it happened to be uncomfortable to hear. The truth is often unpopular and cannot be dressed in silk and velvet and be called something else. Just because it isn’t fair, or politically correct, doesn’t take away from the facts. It is impossible to make everyone happy at the same time and your state of mind is of your own choosing. Get over it and yourself! Let reality in and it will be an eye opener. The conclusion of these examples is that one cannot go against the guidelines of civilization, morality or propriety and expect good results. Neither should one get severely butt hurt because, “it’s not fair” or “why me?” The consequences fit the situation, and cannot be avoided. Hopefully, 2016 will be a year of personal responsibility. The year that the easily offended, reckless or criminal will learn that society didn’t do to them this harm or penalty. The poor choices of their own evocation brought them to the place of discomfort they now occupy.

Dreams, Disillusion and Discouragement

Have you ever felt like you were fighting an uphill battle? Of course, everyone gets this feeling every once in a while. How does one cope? Primarily, I trust God. I know He has everything well in hand. Secondarily, I have a placebo. I have my words and I write. I make up stories to amuse myself. If, by chance, they amuse others that is good. If not, at least I am delivered for a little while. When I explained this to a fellow writer, he said that words were good, but he had rum when things got him down. I suppose that works too. I am just not a very good drinker. I never did care too much for throwing up. The first half of life seems like everything is a possibility. Dreams are established. Goals are set in place. As one ages, dreams change and some disillusionment starts to creep in. Becoming a cynic is a possibility. Negativity has to be held at bay for bitterness accomplishes nothing. As one learns how the world plays its' games, discouragement is a factor. There are those who have tunnel vision. They only see the world as it relates directly to them. They walk about, step on the feelings of others in order to accomplish their goals. There are those with a broader vision, who see the world as a cooperative. They are the ones who are most likely to help one along the way. Learning to deal with the different types of people in this world is a trial we all face. Our current economic system puts workers at the mercy of those who have. They have work to offer us and we have to accept their whims in order to survive. Without work, we have no economy in our household. Even love is very delicate thing. It should not be so hard, but it often is. It is hard to find an honest heart in today's society. Fighting off bitterness is a never ending battle. Things often go awry, but it is important to never give up or give in. Tomorrow will be better. Fight a little longer, though tears get in your way.

Beyonce and other Artists of Privilege - Stop Race Baiting

I would like to comment on the half time "performance" by Beyoncé during the Super Bowl. It seems that you and your husband think you are some sort of royalty who deserve special protection and privileges. You can pay for your protection. You should only have private bodyguards on your payroll. They can be any race, color or creed you would like. Just be sure you are footing the bill. Make your own personal police force, please. Do not ask public servants to protect you, even if compensated. You do not deserve their help. Your agenda that "black lives matter," is your own. Maybe your time would be better served going into the black community and trying to help families stay together. Get people off drugs, get children in a church, or at least somewhere they are properly cared for. They should not be running the streets, raising themselves, then folks wonder why things happen to them. The statistics show black on black crime is very high. Why don't you take your fabulous wealth and follow Denzel Washington's example? Write a check for a public facility. Donate your time. Instead, you choose to judge from your Ivory Tower and feel your privileged status while spewing racial hate. You are a disgrace!

Cooperatives Still Work from my column

There are many people in the United States who lack jobs that pay a living wage. There is an ongoing controversy about resetting the minimum wage. On one side of the controversy is that workers cannot live on amount per hour set as a minimum now. The other side is that minimal skills warrant minimal pay, giving incentive to the worker to improve their skillset in order to improve their personal bottom line. Most will agree that minimum wage jobs are not a career option. The tragedy is that the majority of “jobs created” in the last seven years have been service industry jobs that start at minimum wage. Anyone who has ever taken an economic course will tell you that a business that with high overhead is not a functional business. In this situation, the business has to eventually fold. This is a major stumbling block to raising the minimum wage in the service industry, the cost of which must needs be passed onto the consumer. Today’s consumers are stretched pretty thin as it is. A vast majority of manufacturing jobs, jobs that allowed the greatest generation to make a middle class income, be homeowners and have a family with a stay at home mom have been sent overseas. One solution to this problem would be to impose a tariff on the goods that are produced overseas in order to be competitive with the same goods made here in America. Another solution would be to heavily tax the profits of the corporations that have moved their jobs in order to find locations where low pay is acceptable, or a combination of the two. A logical solution is to look back at business history and apply it to today’s need for both living wage jobs and the return of manufacturing in America. In 2013, the PolitiChicks website published an article about reinstating the Cooperative. The basis of the article and of a cooperative is that citizens pony up their resources and form a business where everyone has a share or vote in the business. They are able to work within the company or simply be an investor or both. Agriculture has employed the cooperative for decades. The most outstanding and easily recognized being the kibbutz in Israel. It is pretty obvious that our elected representatives and big business have little to no interest in returning “made in America” to a label to be proud of, much less provide living wage jobs with benefits and security to the constituency that they are elected to represent. The benefit of a cooperative is that an individual’s smaller investment can bank roll a manufacturing company to reality, where it is very difficult for one person to realize the capital needed to fund such an undertaking. What is needed is for the next administration to attempt to recruit talent and business acumen together to go into communities and spearhead the resurrection of the cooperative, along with relaxing some the rigorous EPA obstacles and providing funding for other EPA guidelines that are most important for protecting the environment. We are a consumer driven economy. Without viable income, no one can consume very much. The economy will droop and fail. Cooperatives have the potential to breathe life back in the economy and revive the middle class, the economy and the honor of the “made in America” label.

Building a Wall from my column

Immigration has been a key issue in this presidential election. They say Rubio has flipped, then later flopped on his position concerning illegal immigrants. Trump, Cruz and Christie are for building a wall to secure the borders. The Democratic side, regardless of whom is chosen, will go for allowing more illegal aliens in the hopes that they will be fresh Democratic voters for their machine. Secure borders to both the North and South are essential for national security, but what of the 11 million or so illegals from various countries? For the sake of argument, say theoretically on February 2017, the first of a two part decision is to try to build the wall in order to keep out any new illegal immigrants. Part two of the plan is to find a way to document the people who are already here and find the best way to deal with and process them. One of the traditional sources of illegal aliens is Mexico. For many decades, the country was so economically depressed, that the United States was the proverbial Promised Land. People could cross the border, get a job, even a low wage job, and earn much more than they had in Mexico. They could send their money home to their families, build their homes there and put money into their economy, usually around a 10 to 1 exchange rate. That is, 10 pesos to one dollar. In 1993, NAFTA, (North America Free Trade Agreement) was signed into law. Then president Clinton said that “NAFTA meant jobs.” (He did not necessarily mean for people in the United States, but it did mean jobs for the countries where former US manufacturing jobs were transferred.) Vicente Fox, president of Mexico at the time, said, “The real end winner of NAFTA will be Mexico because we have that human capital. We have that resource that is vital to the US economy.” Felipe Calderon, Mexican president from 2006 to 2012, has issued a statement to Trump’s claim of a border wall at Mexico’s expense, “Mexico won’t pay a cent for Trump’s stupid wall.” He goes on to state that immigration is down from Mexico to the US, since citizens have opportunities to work in their own country. He claims levels have declined or have been flat for the last five years, and some illegal immigrants are returning to their homeland because of the jobs that have been relocated to Mexico. All of this is most likely true, thanks to NAFTA. Since the mass migration in the twentieth century from Mexico to the US, illegal immigrant dollars have been sent south of the border, improving and building many of the Mexican citizen’s standard of living. While it is not the responsibility of Mexico to secure our border, they might consider with some gratitude all the United States has done for them by way of employing their citizens, and ensuring the good health of many as well. Hospitals in the United States deliver their babies, heal their sick and injured. Some pay their way and some cannot. Many take advantage of social welfare programs such as WIC and Food Stamps. In 1985, when Mexico City had a horrendous earthquake and subsequent mudslide, causing great loss of life and physical damage, the United States sent a large sum of financial aid to combat the devastation. The above references are just a two examples of the amiable relationship of the United States and Mexico. It might be nice to remember how Mexico has come to have opportunities for its people. The Mexican government has never done one third as much for her people as the United States has done. The powers that be in Mexico are generally very corrupt and do not help their own people anywhere near as much as the United States has done for theirs and our own. The only favorable thing one can say of the Mexican bureaucracy is they are very honest in their deceit and corruption, as opposed to our government who claim to be pure, fair and democratic to its people, yet scandals of corruption erupt all the time. It is true that we are a nation of immigrants and we should find a solution for those who are already here and would like to be legal citizens, but in closing, it would seem that an old saying would be applicable in this situation and in reference to the comment by the former Mexican president. “If you can’t say something nice, keep your thoughts to yourself.”

Burn the Books from my column

On the night of May 10, 1933, German students from some of the most prestigious universities, set about burning books that contained “un German ideas.” It seems like we should schedule another bonfire. Anyone with ideas contrary or unflattering to Hillary Clinton should also be censored and “not allowed” to write their books. Really, “not allowed?” What part of the First Amendment do you not understand? If the writer has proof of their point, why not bring the facts to light? The liberal left seems to need to suppress the truth, or anyone with an opinion contrary to theirs. The left’s standard M.O. is not to try and prove the point with the facts. They pull the noise factor, the race card and the how dare you think for yourself card. If anyone has “un-left leaning ideas” their material should be burned. At least, that is the way the left wants to eradicate any independent thought. I am of the opinion that the liberal left is like my late Chihuahua. She was too small to ever defend herself on her own merit, so she was the loudest, most touchy, easily offended dog in the bunch. The conservative right is like my standard Poodle. She is calm until there was a real threat. She has nothing to prove. As a writer, I have had people disagree with me. Sometimes, they were misinformed, some were of a different opinion, and some just did not like it. However, as an adult, I can agree to disagree. Disagreement and discord will happen time and again, it is a professional liability, it would be best to get over it now and avoid the rush. How does anyone miss the fact that our country is creeping forward, inch by inch, to the same mental state as Nazi Germany? The Reich mantra was to reject anyone who was not up to the Aryan standard. They did their best to eradicate the mentally ill, the physically challenged, the intellectual, the Jew and anyone who went against their lockstep, brain dead ideas. Ms. Clinton and your people, you are no better than anyone else. Perhaps, it is time to have some humility.

An Ode to Bowie from my column

On Sunday, January 10, 2016, David Bowie, born David Robert Jones, died of an 18 month battle with cancer at 69 years old. David Bowie was a pioneer in music and he had the gift of reinvention. He was an icon to expanding one’s horizon from A Space Oddity to his last album Blackstar. He sang with Bing Crosby, Mick Jagger and with Freddie Mercury and Queen. If that isn’t the epitome of an ability to fit in anywhere, there is no comparison of ability. He had a long lasting marriage. That in itself is a remarkable accomplishment in everyday society, but monumental to celebrities in the public eye. Even though he was, quote, “naming their children the night they met,” Iman was reluctant to get into a relationship with him. Her take on their relationship is summed up as she fell in love with David Jones, “David Bowie is just a persona.” Bowie and Iman have been married 22 years and have a 13 year old daughter together. Both Bowie and Iman have a child by a previous relationship. Bowie was a performer who embraced glam in the 70’s. At that time, no one could quite figure him out. It was a daring act that worked because he had the talent to back up a gimmick. In the 80’s, he hit his stride and changed his persona once again. He traded suits for the leotards and boa glam. He morphed (back) into an Englishman who could get your feet moving in his 1983 hit, Let’s Dance. He supported various charities and performed with Alicia Keys in 2006 Black Ball in support of Keeping a Child Alive. He finished his final album, Blackstar just days before his death. His longtime producer, Tony Viscotti, has called the album a parting gift from the “Thin White Duke.” Viscotti goes on to say that to the end, Bowie did things his way, even to the end of his time here on earth. David Bowie, a persona, musical chameleon, and entertainment master who could find a fit in the most extraordinary places, will be sorely missed.

Honor our Vietnam Vets from my ClashDaily column

The Vietnam War was a tumultuous period in the United States. It began November 1, 1955 and ended April 30, 1975. Many Americans were against the war and made no secret of their disapproval. Many of proper age who protested somehow managed to avoid the draft and combat, either by luck, or by going to Canada, as did ex-president Bill Clinton. The others were as John Fogerty wrote in a song, Fortunate Son, those whose families were wealthy enough to provide other options. “Some folks were born to wave the flag. Ooh, they’re red, white and blue and when the band plays “Hail to the Chief” Ooh they point the cannon at you. Lord It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no senator’s son son. It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no fortunate one.” Others were older and the draft didn’t affect them. It was the era of the Hippie and their particular ideology of “Free.” They advocated free love, free living in a utopic society. Anyone who has experienced combat will tell you that our freedom is not free. The people who were against the war spit on Vietnam vets as they returned home from the battlefront. That was a not the homecoming those who suffered the hell of jungle warfare were expecting as returning warriors. Perhaps those who blamed our military sons for their participation in war they had no choice but to fight have repented of their actions, perhaps not. Maybe a closer look into the personal history of one vet would give the unrepentant cause for shame. There was a young man born to a family with an extensive military history. His uncles served in WWII, his father in Korea. However, their legacy of armed service went back even further. The family was comprised of Native Americans, Cherokee and other bloodlines that fall under the name of Cherokee. They had fought in the American Revolution with the colonist rebels and again on the side of the Confederacy. Defending hearth and home ran in their blood, as they were part of the Long Hair Clan, protectors of the Tribe. He grew up listening to the stories these family members told of combat, of the honor and duty military service entailed. He passed his days playing with little toy soldiers, dreaming of the day he could take his place among those who were called on to defend the country and the Constitution. He never entertained the idea of any other life. For his eighteenth birthday, Uncle Sam gave him orders to go to Vietnam. His twin brother followed soon after and both were serving in different combat zones. He fought through the jungles, often without proper equipment, food, water or ammunition. He was fighting as Agent Orange was dropped on the jungles to deforest the hiding places for the Viet Cong, or Charlie. He served two tours of duty in Vietnam. When he returned to the United States, the army had to bring him and his fellow combat vets into the airport in the dead of night to protect them from those who scorned their sacrifice. He had difficulty getting any type of job if he admitted to being a Vietnam vet. It was certainly not the homecoming he had envisioned, and times were hard for him. His leadership example was followed over time by his siblings, both brothers and sisters, to join the Army. All were proud to serve their country with honor, continuing the family legacy of protectors of the country. Regardless of his treatment by those who preferred to remain ignorant of his personal sacrifice, He returned to military service after a time out to further his education, where he was tapped to participate in Panama and Granada, as these were jungle theatres as well, and completed numerous air jumps into harm’s way during his career. Now retired from service, he struggles with the after effects of Agent Orange, as do many others with whom he had served. Some of the effects of the insecticide poison are diabetes, birth defects in the children born to Vietnam vets, lung damage, cancer and many other maladies. PTSD was not a byproduct of Agent Orange, but is a mental disease to itself that makes everyday living extremely difficult. The time for the Vietnam vet to be honored has finally come, but for so many it came too late. Too many died before their due and undying respect was given to them for their time running and fighting through the jungle. Today, so many stop this man to thank him for his service. That is all very nice and is appreciated, but the nightmares and trauma can never be fully erased, for any of those who returned. So, as this Veteran’s Day approaches this Wednesday, remember those who paid for the freedoms that are often taken for granted. Some will be attending services to honor the fallen, some cannot make it, due to debilitating illness or family members of the fallen go in their memory. Veteran’s Day is not just a bank holiday. It means something so much more and should be given the weight and honor it deserves.