Category Archives: general posting

18 Best Books I’ve Ever Read….

Go ahead, pick it up.
Go ahead, pick it up.

1. “Isadore’s Secret” by Mardi Link – The murder of a Nun in the little town of Isadore Michigan in 1907 takes more turns than a dogs hind legs.

2. “Into the Wild” by John Krakauer – A young man’s adventurous side continually pushes him to the limits.

3. “The Giver” by Lois Lowry – Futuristic society where a new seer is needed and found. Hard to believe this sometimes graphic book is aimed at young people.

4. “Tom Watson’s Strategic Golf” – Tom shows you how to play the set up of the course, the do’s and don’ts. No swing tips which you’ll forget anyway.

5. “Lake Wobegon 1956″ by Garrison Keioler – Childhood revisited.

6. “Catch Me If You Can” – Frank Abagnale as the con artist elite.

7. “Commandant of Auschwitz” by Rudolf Heoss – Untold tales of concentration camp life.

8. “The Rape of Nanking” by Iris Chang – In 1937 Japan invades China, history you don’t hear much about.

9. “Miracle at Midway” by Gorgon Prange – It really was a miracle we won this battle and turned the tide of the war with Japan. As you are reading you’ll have to remind yourself, “we won this battle”.

10. “Escape from Camp 14″ by Blane Harden – Modern day tale of a North Korean prison camp escapee and prison life inside the so called labor camps.

11. “Survival at Auschwitz” by Primo Levi – Untold tales of concentration camp life.

12. “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy – The apocalypse has come and a Father and Son struggle to survive.

13. “When Evil Came to Good Hart” by Mardi Link – The unsolved murder of an upstanding family in Good Hart Michigan in the summer of 1968. You figure it out after reading and being introduced to the suspects.

14. “No Country for Old Men” by Cormac McCarthy – One chases the other in this tale of hitman -vs.- anyone in his way.

15. “Heaven Is For Real” by Todd Burpo – Leaves you thinking after a young boy momentarily dies and experiences what he believes is Heaven.

16. “At Dawn we Slept” by Gordon Prange – Day by day account on both the US and Japanese sides leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor. The research that went into this book is absolutely astonishing!

17. “The Call of the Wild” by Jack London – Excellently written tale of a kidnapped dog forced to be a member of a sled dog team. When I finished chapter five, I read the last paragraph 10 times it was so well written, and still go back to read it time to time.

18. “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee – Very good read of a depression era father and his two children. Wish I had read it before I ever saw the movie.

The Last Great Art Form….

I saw a hitcher hiker the other day on my side of the road that had his hand and thumb up to a car coming toward me in the other lane, with no luck there he put his hand and thumb up to me?!? He was going somewhere and didn’t seem to care where or what direction.  Read the book “On The Road” by Jack Kerouac, you’ll find that he romanticizes it so much you can’t wait to get out there.  It was set during the dustbowl days and it’s the story of a group of young folk who travel all over this great land by hook or by crook visiting friends wherever they find them.  Living and sleeping wherever they find themselves.  Good read.  It’s also been said that the road is better than the inn.  I knew a guy who told me he saw the same guy hitch hiking quite often but never picked him up because he didn’t want to feel obligated every time he saw him.  I used to hitchhike quite often when I was a teenager, never had an issue.  We have actually walked farther away from our destination to start hitchhiking so there was a better chance of getting a ride because of hitchhiking longer.  Quite often with no luck you ended up walking to the place you were going anyway.  I always debated at what point do you give up hitchhiking and just walk the rest of the way.  You don’t want to get picked up and have tell them almost immediately to drop you at the next corner.  How embarrassing is that?  Hitchhiking is a lost art.  There are the guys who just walk along with a thumb flying in the air.  Come on hitchhiking is a form of begging and you’ve got to turn around and look forlorn or sad, you know, put some effort into it.  Look that driver in the face and connect with him in the split second he’s deciding yes or no.  Actually it’s a no going in but you got a second or so to change that with the right expression on your face.  A poorly written sign shows effort I guess.  Gives the driver the idea that at least you have a goal for yourself.  Don’t put the words Vet or Veteran on the sign.  People are leery of veterans who wear a lot of camouflage, appear to be somewhat unkempt walking the highways.  Groups are bad.  Don’t hitchhike with a group.  Does it seems like a lot of hitchhikers have guitars and dogs?  Although it’s not as exciting or popular as it once was I still have faith it will continue on as a form of travel for the people of lesser means.  However all’s not lost for those that traverse this great country of ours because I heard a serial killer once say that there are people he knew who rode around looking to pick up hitchhikers.  So there you go.

Mastering It….

Lucky hole #13
Lucky hole #13

Have you ever been to a place that’s so well kept and manicured that it’s inconceivable the amount of work that would have to go into it on an almost constant basis. Have you ever been to a place like this that makes you feel welcome and proud at the same time that your there to enjoy it.  This place does exist and it’s in Augusta Georgia.  I had the pleasure not long ago of crossing off my bucket list a want that’s been building and building for the past several years and finally came to be a few weeks ago.  Attending the Master’s Golf Championship!  Unless you win the ticket lottery you will pay a premium price for the pleasure.  I fortunately didn’t have to do either and am extremely grateful for the opportunity a friend gave me.  The Master’s Golf Course is a place like no other I’ve ever seen as a past golfer, and I’ve played quite a number of nice courses.  There is nothing out of place, nothing!  Looking back I find it’s set up for the “Patrons” or visitors as much as it’s set up for the golfers that play there.  Maybe more so.  I ended up walking the entire course and took in many of the side events and history the golf club offers.  I figured when the day was said and done I had walked more than six miles and only sat one time for about 15 minutes.  I made the most of the opportunity and when I hit the car at days end I was spent.  Watching on TV is fine, but to experience it first hand and then take it in on TV brings it into a greater context.  This course, set up to the way the pros play it would eat the lunch of the average hacker.  I stood on many of the fairways scratching my head wondering how I would play certain holes if given the opportunity.  I’m still wondering.  It is relentless with trips up and down hills with added sloping one way or the other and the greens are just as undulating and lightening fast.  TV brings you there but in no way gives you the real feel for what the course offers.  All that said it’s no longer on my list, but I wouldn’t mind doing it again.  Trying to pass on the experience to others always ends in the same statement “you gotta see it to believe it!

Wal-Mart, Beware of Falling Self Respect….

Sure there are times when I need something and have to take that seemingly dreaded trip to Wal-Mart. NPR called Wal-Mart the death of small town America.  I guess I don’t have to go to Wal-Mart but hell they have everything, the prices are decent or at least somewhat cheaper than what you would find at other stores.  It’s pretty much one stop shopping.  Don’t get me wrong I don’t go there to shop, I know what I want, I get it and I’m in and out in short order.  That is if more that two of the 50 registers are open.  Have you ever seen at least half of the registers in a Wal-Mart open at the same time?  Any Wal-Mart, ever?  You have a better chance of seeing a UFO.  Sometimes I park and check out in the auto department sometimes just to curb the wait time.  I was thinking the other day, what ever happened to those benches they used to have throughout the store for old men to camp out on?  I guess Wal-Mart figured out old men have money and that bench isn’t going to spend it.  That and they needed the space for the $3.99 DVD bargain bin.

Now I find most times I’m not really dressed to go there. I feel so out of place.  It seems pajama bottoms or sweat pants are the dress code of choice and all the rage.  The only place you’ll see more pajama bottoms is in front of a Netflix vending machine at the convenience store.  This with a nice worn-out dirty sweatshirt or hoodie that doesn’t even come close to matching seems to be the required attire.  Don’t forget the curlers ladies, and don’t you dare to remove them before going.  The pink ones are my favorite.  No shoes no problem.  Who cares if your feet are hanging off the back of flip flops that are two sizes too small for your feet?  I consider this type of dress to be kind of like the “emergency trip to the store” throw on anything clothes?  Well there must be a lot of emergencies going on because that’s the norm.  Now not all the folks dress up this nicely some come a bit more casual.  I had a friend who used to say “just because they make it in your size doesn’t mean you’re supposed to wear it”.  I guess if they’re covered they’re happy.

Of course no trip to Wal-Mart would be complete if you didn’t run into Grandma who took every kid and Grandchild she can find with her and then turned them loose like a bunch of banshees. Don’t kids go to school during the day anymore?  Of course she has to take them as they seem to be calling most of the shots during the visit anyway.  I can’t remember the last time I walked down the toy aisle, that’s scary stuff right there boy!  What a mess!  Although there usually is a good fight going on between some child and an adult.

Then there are the riding buggy people, the group of folks who have never actually walked through a Wal-Mart. They ride in electric cart comfort.  Not long ago I saw two women riding in the little carts side by side down an aisle, shopping, riding, talking and looking.  Two rather large ladies, like twin sisters.  Consider that aisle closed.  I’m sympathetic to any cause but I find that if these carts were designed for the handicapped or injured, every handicapped or injured person who goes to Wal-Mart is overweight.  And I know Wal-Mart is sympathetic to the handicapped because how many handicapped parking spaces do you think there are in front of the average store?  I’ve tried to count them all, it’s not easy but it’s somewhere between 24 and 30+.  Know what else?  They’re always filled.  As soon as one opens it almost immediately gets filled.  It’s one of my pet peeves and it kills me where seemingly fit people park in them and then strut into the store like nobodies business. What’s he rush though, none of the registers are open.

Good luck in there!

He’s Here, A Christmas Story….

I believe most people who know me would say my two favorite words are, “Go Blue”.   Well they’re up there and were the tops for a great number of years but I think “He’s Here” has overtaken the top spot.  You see when I was waiting on my grandchild, for nine months all the talk I heard centered around the baby coming, showers, due dates, checkups, how big he is, is he healthy, and the mother or baby’s needs.  But mostly the talk was of the future and the baby that’s coming.  You hear about it, you talk about it, but you can’t wrap your hands around it.  It’s like talking about Santa or the Easter Bunny, lots of talk but they never really appear.  You hear the talk talk talk but what they speak of is never with you.  100_8833An intangiable object.  The excitement in their voices is there to be sure, but still something’s missing and what is coming never seems like it will ever get here.  On April 1, 2014 I sat quietly in a hospital waiting room only a short distance down the hall from the delivery area where my Daughter and Son in Law were about to make me a Grandpa.  Only there a few minutes at best when my son in laws sister looks at her phone and says in an excited voice; “He’s Here”.  A text and photo from the delivery room announced his arrival.  It then hit me, BA-BAM!  My mind went clear as a bell with only one thought. He’s right down the hall right now.  He’s in the next room.  No more living in a state of wondering.  I can now see him in person.  I can go meet him and hold what the all the talk was of for so many months.  A Grandchild I can put my hands on.  You have no idea of how remembering hearing the words, “He’s Here” makes me feel.  Just slightly above “Go Blue”!

Why Would You Even Consider it….

The President recently has taken executive action that is going to allow 5½ million illegal aliens to remain in the country, work and eventually become citizens.  Basically he’s saying “screw congress, I’m doing this on my own”.  We elect congress to do our bidding and he is bypassing them. What is he thinking?  Why would he even consider this?  Do we not have enough issues of our own to deal with?  Hell jobs are scarce enough much less with him doing this.  Think about it, right now there are boarder patrol agents patrolling the boarder to keep these illegals out.  Some of these guys are risking their lives on occasion and the President is spitting in their face.  It’s like saying come on over, we’ll take you, no problem.  Remember when we told Cuba, “we’ll take your refugees” and then Castro proceeded to empty his jails and send them too.  For the life of me I cannot figure this guy out.  It’s like he’s a sleeper agent working for some group set out to undermine this country.  The end of his days cannot come soon enough, he’s done enough damage.  If a President ever needed impeachment it’s this one. God help us.

Random Thoughts….

I have a friend who’s family put up the Christmas Tree on November 8th.  I saw a yard decorated, fully decorated now , on November 11th.   Aside from rushing the Holiday season this also rushes our lives.  Constantly looking forward to something.  Counting the Saturdays until football season, counting the weeks till Christmas, the months till summer, always looking forward rather than being in the moment.  Then all of sudden at the end of the year everyone goes, “man time flys, where did the year go”?  You lived your year looking ahead.  Did you enjoy it?

Whatever happen to the days when we target practiced anything and the target was a paper with a series of colorful circles and a “bullseye” in the center.  Now it’s the outline of the top half of a human torso.  Not only that the vital areas or kill zones score higher points.  Not like the series of circles where the closer you got to the bull’s eye the higher the score.  Do you think this desensitizes us to shooting another human being just a little bit?  Your damn right it does!

If you’ve ever read the book “The Greatest Generation” you’ve read many many stories of entertainers and sports figures who chose to put aside their careers, many very strong careers, to join the ranks of the military and fight.  You would be surprised at how many well know individuals fought, won awards, were killed and did great things in time of war and all in the defense of the United States.  I mostly think of these indiviudals when I see the current day entertainers and sport figures who are so self absorbed they wouldn’t think of holding a door for a little old lady much less give of themselves in any way toward their country.

Outside a resturant the other night I noticed a antique stone tablet with the 10 Commandments inlayed into it.  Then I noticed on the backside it was chained down to the pole it was leaning against.  Makes you think.

I may be wrong and someone correct me if I am.  Every home football game when they play the National Anthem the ROTC tries to time the raising of the flag to the top of the pole with the end of the song.  If I’m not mistaken an American Flag should be hoisted “briskly” and lowered solemnly.  I’ve seen this done nowhere else.

Is It Time….

Social media can be a great tool for keeping in touch with people, making new friends, and socializing effectively. Unfortunately not everyone uses it that way. For many, checking Facebook has become almost like a job. They post for likes, see what others are doing, and become almost obsessed with knowing exactly what’s going on everywhere all at once. They play all the games and participate in all of the fads (like quizzes). This may be you or someone you know. If it is then maybe it’s time to quit. I had a friend tell me one time, you could say to yourself “who gives rat’s ass” after reading 95% of the posts!  Here are 10 things that will happen once you stop checking Facebook all the time.

1. You’ll become less brain dead.

I use the phrase “brain dead” figuratively here. When you’re buried in a screen checking Facebook, you’re not paying attention to the world around you. Your animals may need to be fed or to be let out to use the restroom. You’ll do it but only after you’re done on Facebook. You may go places but still be on your phone all the time. If that happens, you’re not even experiencing what you left your house to experience. When you put Facebook down, you put your head up and start looking at what’s going on around you and you’ll be more cognizant of everything. For your hungry pets or your friends who wanted to hang out with you, that’s a good thing.

2. You’ll get more work done.

As a blogger, I’m on the internet fairly frequently (read: constantly). My greatest enemy is social media. It’s easy to minimize the tab with the blogging stuff in it and go check Facebook or Google+ for a few minutes. A few minutes turns into a quarter of an hour and before I know it, I’ve lost 30 minutes of productivity. Thanks to smartphones and improving mobile data speeds, you can check Facebook anywhere and that includes at work. When you put it down, you’ll have to do something else to keep from being bored and that usually means doing actual work. If you do put it down then expect your productivity to go up.

3. You can focus on other things.

Being on Facebook takes up a lot of time. You can waste insane amounts of time just scrolling through updates. This is especially true since Facebook doesn’t adhere to a chronological posting format anymore. Putting down Facebook means you’ll be freeing up a lot of time. That’s time that can be spent doing other things. You can spend more time with your significant other and make your relationship stronger. You can spend more time with friends and reconnect with them on a different level. You can get on a treadmill and lose a few pounds, get back into shape, and feel better about yourself. The possibilities are literally endless because you’ll be spending time doing what you want to do.

4. You can find out who your real friends are.

Having a good internet friendship is easy. Liking people’s posts and commenting on their photos takes mere moments. Someone who comments on all of your photos and likes all of your status updates spent 45 seconds doing it but they appear as though they really care and that they’re a real friend who is interested in you. Once you leave Facebook, a lot of that will disappear. The only people who want to actually hang out with you are people who care about you and who want you around. Leaving Facebook is going to help you find those people really quickly.

5. You will learn the word “like” has no meaning.

Audra Rundle made an amazing point regarding this. She states that liking things on Facebook is no longer a matter of actually liking the post. It’s an obligatory action to show that you have seen the post and acknowledge its existence. Many people are too close to the problem to see it directly. Taking a step away can show you just how useless the Like button is now and how few people actually care about the things they like.

6. You will feel more accomplished.

The defining characteristic of Facebook is that you’re never done with it. There is always more to do, more to see, and more to engage with. Dealing with that feeling of “never done” all day long can be emotionally and mentally draining. Doing things outside of Facebook can fix that problem. You can finish a book. You can finish planting a garden. You can finish washing the dishes. Pretty much any task in the real world is something that you can finish. We as humans feel almost high on the sense of accomplishment. Don’t rob yourself of that feeling. Get off of Facebook and finish something.

7. You will get rid of the stalkers.

Practically everyone who uses Facebook has a stalker. That is especially true if you happen to be a woman. People can look at your photos, your updates, and everything without your permission and some people actually do that. Creepy guys will frequently browse the photos of their crushes. Creepy women will do the same thing (albeit less frequently). People you’re not friends and people you don’t want to be friends with can see your information. Even if they can’t see you directly, they can see who you associate with. Your less privacy-minded friend may post that they’re going to the mall with you. Now your stalkers know where you are.If you leave Facebook, you’ll be totally immune to those kind of creepy people.

8. You will actually feel better about yourself.

Studies have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that Facebook makes you feel bad about yourself. There are so many reasons for this. When you post a status and no one likes it, you feel like everyone thinks you’re stupid. When you post photos and members of the opposite sex don’t comment on how good you look, you feel ugly. You’re constantly exposed to people who are happier than you, more successful than you, and who have stronger relationships than you. How is that not supposed to make you feel inferior or utterly depressed all the time? Why would you want to put yourself through that? There’s an easy way to stop and that’s taking a break from Facebook.

9. You will feel better about the things you own.

Reporter Belinda Goldsmith published a piece regarding some research that had been conducted in Germany about how people feel on Facebook. The end result was that people actually become more jealous and envious of what others have on Facebook. It may be someone posting about their new phone, car, house, or other possession. There are some who get jealous when they see people in happy relationships be it friends, boyfriend/girlfriend, husband/wife, or family relationships. Facebook is a great place to brag about what you have and that means it’s also a great place to read about all the things that people have that you don’t. Like I asked earlier, why would you want to put yourself through that?

10. You will realize that all you ever were to Facebook was a piece of data that viewed advertisements.

We have no doubt that there are people on Facebook who legitimately care about you. However, we also have no doubt that Facebook itself couldn’t care less about you. To Mark Zuckerberg you are a piece of data in his giant database to be mined and exploited. Your job on Facebook is to view advertisements, spend money on Facebook games, and make the site rich. What happens to you aside from that doesn’t really matter to Facebook. You wouldn’t stay in a relationship with a person who treated you that way, so why stay in a relationship with Facebook?

I know this sounds like a Facebook bash post and it definitely is to an extent. However, social media sites were made for a reason and somewhere in the last 10 years, we’ve all forgotten what that reason is. That includes you, me, and even the social networks themselves. It’s not about finding people, or about connecting, and creating lifelong friends anymore. It’s about fads. It’s about chain-liking status updates like a smoker chain-smokes. It’s an addiction and it’s a job and you don’t really get anything out of it. I’m not saying you should leave Facebook for good. That’s a little drastic. However, you should definitely have less of it in your life. You’re not missing much by not going on Facebook 30 times a day.

Which way did he go….

Recently I heard on the news that the car companies are coming out with a so called “black box” for your car.  It doesn’t record the conversation in the car I don’t believe but it does record the car’s vitals.  Vitals like speed, direction, turns, time of day, braking and etc.  It may, and I don’t remember, record where the car’s been much like a GPS would.  Seems as if it would though?!?  Regardless I can hear it now.  The American public going crazy that Uncle Sam is spying on them. I believe the only reason for this is to make it easier in the event of accidents.  Assisting in the investigation of and feeding data back to the car companies to improve the safety of the vehicles we drive.  But there are always going to be the paranoid few that swear the Feds want to know their movements.  That they’re activities are so interesting that they are cause for constant surveillance.  If the Feds want to know what your doing and where your going they can follow you, or simpler yet, they can track the GPS in your pocket.  Damn near every warm body in the US carries a cell phone and if they want to know what you’re doing and where your going it’s as easy tapping into your account.  Let the bragging begin from your buddies about how they “disconnected it”.  Whoo don’t tell anyone.  You know if we had GPS on our children we wouldn’t have so many missing.  But let’s not go into that.  Quite honestly I don’t care if they track me, hell they can ride along if they want.  I’d enjoy the company.  These boxes are still in the trial stage and will probably not be introduced for a model year or two.  People need not worry though, recently a 767 jetliner disappeared and it had four black boxes, and no one can find it.