Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Me and Pope Francis. Merry Christmas!

Being Pope is a huge responsibility. I could not even come close to guessing the complexities of it all. Some Popes in the past have handled it well, some not. Imperfect Humans leading God's own perfect church. Wow! I keep Pope Francis in my prayers, he may need them.

During a discussion with an really, really smart acquaintance a while ago the topic of conversation was language and proper interpretation. He had spent over 5 decades studying written and spoken languages. Being a man of deep faith he combined his career with his love by studying biblical translations in minute detail. He enlightened me regarding a few common mistakes in common word usage.

According to his research, In the commandment: Thou shalt not kill- the actual translation is Thou shalt not "murder" It does make a difference.

Another point he made was one that has affected me very much. In the Lord's Prayer the first line, in most cases, reads: "Our Father, Who art in Heaven". He has another, much more surprising translation. Because he was surprised himself with his discovery he spent a lot of time making sure he had it right. Even though it makes most people a bit uncomfortable because we are dealing with our God. The correct translation he found was far more intimate in nature when it was taught to us by Jesus himself. The first two words, if translated in their pure meaning become much more personal. It then becomes one word, in today's common language, "Daddy" It's intimate a prayer.

When I read about Pope Francis and his desire to be open. personal, non-elitist and caring for even the least visible in our world, I see a person filled to overflowing with the love of God. In contemplating the translation of the Lord's prayer and the address of "Daddy" I wonder if thinking of the Pope as a more familial "Frank" would be disrespectful. Just in thought you understand.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Prayer for adults

I made it through Thanksgiving Day without gaining more than 5 pounds. That's quite an accomplishment for me. That success is due in no small part to a life change I began almost two years ago. The change included but is not limited to less and smaller portions regardless the occasion. It takes real willpower to keep the program going. But I am here to tell you, sticking to the program and timeline has helped me lose a full 12 pounds and keep it off. Thanksgiving means different things to different people. A friend locks himself in his house, turns off the radio and TV and watches movies from dawn to dusk. He wants nothing to do with the holiday. He has his reasons. others shop, others travel and others volunteer to help the less fortunate. We are all unique and have our own stories. One thing I enjoy doing is writing a new prayer on each Thanksgiving. It's a good reminder of what life is all about for me. This year I wondered about posting it. So, here goes.

God and our Holy Father,
Help guide us as we wander through our journey of life. You always show mercy to those who seek you and love you. Remain with us, your servants and open our eyes to your will. Shelter us with your protection during the day and bring us the light of your grace at night. Be our companion on this journey and welcome us to the safety of our final destination when that time comes. We ask this through Christ our Lord.........Amen

I wish you a fine day and exciting Christmas holiday season.............Joe

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving traditions

Probably thousands upon thousands of well meaning folks such as myself attempt to pontificate on blogs about Thanksgiving. So, here I go. I certainly don't want to  miss an opportunity like that. Blogs are a little like a mini presidential podium aren't they? Here I sit, typing one letter after another and no one can do anything about it. The main difference is that all of you can simply go to another site if you don't like this posting. With the President we are stuck with whatever until the next election and even then it may be too late. At least I don't reach my hand into your wallet. What's all that got to do with Thanksgiving? I'd say that, if you have nothing else to be grateful for, you can certainly be grateful that I am not behind a presidential podium. It goes up from there.

Since I was a kid, Thanksgiving has been a series of traditions. With my folks it was church in the morning as early as possible. That was usually 6:00 or 6:30 in a chapel with mostly farmers or other working people like my parents. Then my dad went to work while my mom prepared whatever food was available for our feast. We never had an empty table although the turkey may not have been present once or twice. Rabbit, duck, and squab (pigeon) made their appearances too. I'm grateful for that. Whatever we ate after my dad got home from work was what we had and I learned to accept that what was important was us being there together. It still is!

As a teenager I still enjoyed the early church service, watching the Thanksgiving day parade on TV, the meal itself and the traditional nap afterward. But, what with friends and motor driven vehicles and the introduction of girls being more than a nuisance, the afternoons were spent with almost anyone but my family. Although it was great fun, I learned from those restless years just how much I wanted to be with my family. I'm grateful for that lesson in life. (I certainly could have used the counsel of my folks a bit more back then.)

One year I spent Thanksgiving in Detroit while working. No family, no friends! On Thanksgiving Day I stopped in at the restaurant around the corner owned by a Greek immigrant. "The American Kitchen". It was closed! I didn't know of anywhere else to go. As I walked past the side door the owner saw me through the window, opened the door and asked about my day. After a few words he invited me (a regular customer) in to join his family for Thanksgiving. It would be good to be with a family he said. They celebrated in the restaurant because the home was too small. Although I missed my family I had a wonderful time with them. I did find out that there are some types of dancing I just should not do. I'm grateful for the restaurant owner and his family.

getting married and having children brought even a stronger desire to be with family on Thanksgiving. Now it was a combination of two large families and even a few friends. The challenge became in having proper seating for all of us. I so wanted everyone to be together we hosted Thanksgiving every year. Filling the kitchen, the living room and even a re-arranged bedroom with tables and chairs so everyone had a place to eat. I guess the proper term would be organized chaos with 40 or more people in a two bedroom bungalow. Being a pretty good cook and watching everyone enjoy the food was all I needed. I am grateful for all of those crazy Thanksgivings when it was difficult to hear and I went to bed totally exhausted.

Several of my uncles and an aunt or two served in the military. They were some of my heroes. Any time I saw someone in uniform I remembered how much we owed to their sacrifice. In my early 20's I developed a tradition of visiting some of those veterans who had no family for whatever reason. Starting after church on Thanksgiving morning I would go from place to place and bring some sort of trinket, some cards and a few rolls of pennies. We'd play cards and do some talking and tell a few jokes and I'd be off to the next guy. I carried on the communication throughout the year by either a visit or a phone call but I feel it was the Thanksgiving Day card game that seemed most important. There are only two of those guys left after over 35 years,they are way into their 80's. and living long distances from here. A visit is no longer possible but I will be spending an hour or two on the phone with them before dinner today. I am grateful for those people and the experiences they have shared with me.

As circumstances change for whatever reasons, traditions change too. The definition of exactly what is or is not a tradition is left to the situation of that particular time isn't it? I believe that this year is the beginning of a new tradition for Thanksgiving. I do have my phone calls to make, mass to attend, and a visit to make but other than the traditional feast and nap it's all up in the air yet. This year activities need be spontaneous due to circumstances beyond our control. It won't make any difference as to the enjoyment though. Over the years I've learned to accept whatever presents itself. I am grateful for those people that taught me the importance of that.

Wherever you are, whomever you are with, whatever you do, I wish you a happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 22, 2013


Well, I finally have a couple spots on Facebook. One for my shop: J&S Car Care Center, and the other for me personally. Mixed blessing those are. Social media has changed far beyond anything I could ever have dreamed of. Because of my time restraints, as I am sure others have also, viewing time is limited to a few short sessions from time to time. Knowledge of Facebook's working is gathered slowly, more by hit and miss than anything else. For the most part, Facebook is a way to stay in touch with whomever. Networking and advertising stand alongside political statements and religious views so a person has to learn fast how to pass over postings not of their liking and move on. It's also important to remember that anything written is viewable to most anyone, anywhere, at any time and cannot be taken back. In only the short time I've been involved I've seen postings that may have been written without keeping that fact in mind.

Over the past year, business and personal responsibilities have become much more intense and time consuming and I haven't been able to blog as much as I wish and now there is the Facebook thing. Choices, choices. What has my life become other than a journey between choices? Not complaining here, I welcome these opportunities and the richness they add to my existence. With Facebook my vision is expanded far beyond my physical surroundings. I find it very interesting the value of humor on social media. One minute a sense of tension can be felt when suddenly, the next minute someone pops up with a joke or humorous picture of an animal making a funny face with a caption putting you into fits of laughter. Five minutes of viewing a Facebook page can give you a moment or two with 20 other people. That's nice sometimes.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Veteran's Day

Monday is set aside as a tribute to our Veterans. It's our way of saying thank you and we recognize your efforts and sacrifice. We  need a reminder sometimes I think. The United States didn't come to where it is easy or by chance. It's been a hard fought battle every step of the way. Freedom has a price doesn't it?

My parents, uncles, aunts and friends made sure us kids knew that veterans were special. That's the way I learned it anyway. We visited many of them in the apartment complexes built just north of 28th street by Kalamazoo. About three stories high with no elevators, those apartments were filled with veterans coming back from service along with their families. I was too young to understand the economics of the situation but I could feel the importance. My folks would bring little things for the kids and maybe a casserole or other dish. My dad would give rides to job interviews or doctors or sometimes just a ride on Sunday afternoon for the whole family. The apartments are long gone now. There is a golf course there instead.

The movies at the time highlighted the heroism of our armed forces. In school we started the day with the Pledge of allegiance. Downtown was the community hub and it seemed that whenever we went there people could be seen wearing a uniform of one branch of the armed forces or another. I had several heroes in my own family from the navy, the air force, the army and the marines. I was in awe of them. The whole family held them in esteem. I haven't forgotten that.

Every day of the year we live in a free country preserved by our armed forces. Every day of the year it may be a good idea to remember the huge price paid for our freedom. A society such as ours is only as good as the morals and integrity of the people living in it. All too often I hear people who have no concept of what we are all about. Our veterans do. I do my best to live my life as a real tribute to our veterans and their sacrifice. We all enjoy rights and freedoms because of them. It's best we don't allow those rights and freedoms to disappear. Sometimes I feel as though more veterans might just be what we need in politics. They know the price.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Advanced Cell Technology stock sales/getting rich

Even without any money invested here in Advanced Cell Technology stock, I can understand why the buddy of mine that recommended it says that the stock market isn't for the weak. I have nothing to lose and my heart still goes up and down with the fluctuating price of the stock. I'm actually getting caught up in the process. A great deal of my interest is because I want my friend to make a bundle. Another part is that when it comes to medical research I want to see inroads in treatment and cure of disease. Only one week ago I never even heard of this company and today I'm fussing and fretting over each and every blip on the stock exchange. Crazy how stuff like that works. It's pretty neat that their clinical trials are going so well. That ought to shake things up.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Getting rich with stocks/Advanced Cell Technology

Well, someone is getting on the bandwagon with those advanced Cell Technology stocks. They bought 20,000,000 yesterday. I'm thinking my buddy that suggested that stock may be onto something. But, of course that is what he does all day, every day, buy and sell stocks. That's what it takes to make a go of it. Unless, your name is Warren Buffet and you can buy or sell any company at any time you wish, even an entire railroad from what I hear. Meanwhile, back here in the world of reality for me, where there is no extra money to lose, I am left to watching the stock market from afar. I guess that's OK by me. But, to tell the complete truth, part of me wishes he was buying some of that 20,000,000 Advanced Cell Technology stock. As a matter of fact, if I can sell one more of my old, antique radios, I' wouldn't be surprised if I buy a few thousand shares. If I win, all is well in River City. If I lose, it won't change my lifestyle.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Advanced Cell Technologies/Getting rich with stocks

The stock tip on Advanced Cell Technologies the other day, that I cannot afford to take advantage of, has shown promise already just as he said it would. The stock rose over 10% in just a couple days and is continuing to be very active. I'm thinking it's going to go even higher in quick fashion. One of the company officers is giving a lecture and that will probably divulge some good news there too. Once again I will miss the opportunity to increase my worth due to a lack of excess funds. Even so, I find it exciting to see some stocks show huge gains. Somebody is going to make a haul from what my buddy said. He's just bought a bunch of it to hold onto until the clinical trials are over. The health markets are blossoming what with the affordable health care act here in the states. I'll keep watching and let you know what happens.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Advanced Cell Technology stock

Well, the old government is up and running again so we can all sit back and breathe easy for the time being. Now I have a chance to play catch up on weeks old correspondence. The first letter on the top of the pile is from a friend who has earned a bunch of money buying and selling stocks. I value his opinion. He's proven he knows what's happening with certain stocks. In his opinion, the stock to buy right now is a company called "Advanced Cell Technology" As he relates it, this company has made some sort of ground breaking discovery linked to Diabetes and some other life changing disease. The stock price is cheaper than a 10 cent candy bar and he figures it'll go up over 50 times in value before the end of the year. If I buy it now, I'll be able to buy a new truck in January, he says. I think, "I wish I had a few hundred or thousand to invest in stocks because he's almost always on top of these things." Just my luck, no discretionary income at this time. He says he'll lend me some money but I do not borrow money no matter how large or small the opportunity. Good old Dave Ramsey has convinced me of that.

several years ago he mentioned a stock for an oil company he saw promise in. I bought $300 worth at 78 cents a share. Nothing happened. Not right away anyway so I truthfully forgot all about it. Until the stock broker I bought it through called me and asked if I was ready to sell it. I replied that I might, if the price was right. He said it was now worth $29 a share. I sold right there and then abd paid off the tuition for my kids schooling. As you might guess, I am so very tempted right now after that experience. However, no money is no money no matter how you say it and as I said, borrowing is not an option. There goes my opportunity for a new truck.

Now it's on to the rest of the pile of letters. I gotta stick with my plan. So far, so good. I haven't made much in stocks but I haven't lost my butt on them either. My buddy says "no risk, no gain." Hmmm!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Government shut down

It happened before, back in the 1990's, our government representatives got their hair in a bunch and refused to reach an agreement regarding the budget and other important stuff and allowed non-essential government functions to shut down. We survived! A government shut down sounds like scary stuff doesn't it? For anyone who hasn't lived through it before I can see how it appears to be total collapse. Perhaps, if it lasts long enough that may be the case. However, someone has to blink here. They did it before, they'll probably do it again. Meanwhile, as much as our instincts tell us to panic, I'm going to do my best to survive in the same way I did the last time. Just keep doing what I know best: And, remember all this when it comes to elections. That's about it. Oh yeah, and not plan any trips to a federal park or museum. I also write letters and send them to politicians. I do that a lot. The post office isn't funded by the government.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Cartakers and cowboy movies

Recently I've been talking a lot to a few friends that are taking care of relatives in health crisis of one type or another. A father with ALS, parents with dementia, a mother with Alzheimer's, a wife going through chemo and radiation, a friend with serious, suicidal depression. All incredibly difficult and emotionally and physically exhausting situations for the afflicted and, to another degree, the caretaker. Not to make light of those suffering the challenges, the needs of the caretakers themselves are often neglected or completely forgotten throughout the crisis. No one intends for that to happen but that's the way it is from what I have observed with these people. In one particular instance, a husband has been visiting his wife of 61 years, in a care facility due to her advanced Alzheimer's, every day, all day until he is kicked out at night. His doctor told him to back off and start taking care of himself more so he can experience life too. The husband is having a difficult time doing that. If he doesn't go every day, all day he feels guilty. Just one example of how this caretaking thing works sometimes. When you love someone it just comes natural I think.

That brings me to the cowboy movies. "SAGEBRUSH THEATRE" was one of my favorite TV shows when I was a kid. On Saturday morning, upon waking at 6am as usual, (much to the sleepy dismay of my hard working, sleep deprived parents) I would grab a quick slice of sugar covered buttered bread and rush over to Hank and Ken's house. Their home, with 7 kids under age 11 was always filled with activity even at that early hour. We'd just hunker down in front of the TV and watch Sagebrush Theatre, the Lone Ranger, Gene Autry, Sky King and finally Roy Rogers. We learned all about life from those cowboy shows it seems sometimes. Bad guys often wore mustaches and wore black hats. Cowgirls were the most beautiful and smartest women ever and always helped their cowboy friends. And, when it comes to caretaking: A horse was the most important part of being a safe and healthy cowboy. Cowboys, always needing a healthy horse to help them automatically knew that when the day was done and the horses work was over, the cowboy would feed and brush and check the horse to make sure their horses needs were taken care of before they ate, washed up or bedded down for the night. That assured them that the horse would be there for them in the morning. The horse took care of them, they took care of the horse. The bad guys didn't always do that and their horses got sick and then the bad guys had to walk.

That's what I learned about caretaking from cowboy movies. I wonder if that holds true for people too?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Art Prize Grand Rapids

If you have the opportunity to peruse the Art Prize exhibits throughout the downtown area of Grand Rapids, do it. You'll not be disappointed. Every offering is not for everyone's liking but I guess that's the whole idea. Sparking conversation and debate in some cases and reflection and meditation in others. And, simply because apparently art knows no boundaries, outright disdain or disgust. Yeah, this competition covers the entire gambit when it comes to opinions. This event is so far away from when I used to frequent the Grand Rapids Art Museum it boggles my mind. I am not an artist, I am not an art aficionado, I still find some of my favorite works on a church wall or a Norman Rockwell magazine cover print. Never really had time to figure out all the intricate details of the more refined art stuff. Just can't figure it out. Most art forms do not, "bring out my innermost thoughts." No, those thoughts are usually most apparent when I hit my thumb with a hammer. I am impressed, however with the ability and insight of so many people when it comes to a true understanding of the art projects now strewn about the various venues. The oohs, and aahs, and tongue wagging on the streets, in the restaurants and even in the multitude of bars and breweries is varied or polarized. Creating a cacophony of interest and activity. Art? Or is it the people? It definitely is interesting and fun. See you there.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Strength, independence and perseverance

As is my custom, yesterday (Sunday) after church services I went across the street to pay my weekly visit to the final resting place of my parents in the cemetery. A few quiet minutes to reflect on the two people who instilled me with their perspective on living a good, respectful life with integrity. One of the key elements to that kind of life, in their opinion was being independent and self sufficient. Some ways they accomplished that were gardening, fishing, hunting, working multiple jobs, coupons, bargain shopping, accepting their own limitations and not allowing others to do anything for them that they could do themselves. Not always an easy way of life. They thanked God daily for that life. On their knees at home or in church, they prayed honestly and faithfully. They were truly grateful for being together and for what little they had. When my father died my mom was heartbroken but carried on through the rest of her years in the same fashion. She remained a widow because, as she said, it was her job to finish up what they had begun for their family. Someone else might mess up the whole plan. I always chuckled when she said that but admired her tenacity and sense of independence. Making her meager funds last until she passed away was a monumental task. I have first hand knowledge of that. My brother, sister and myself watched over her but she wouldn't allow us to "take charge". No siree! She took care of herself with a passion. It was the way my folks had agreed upon. period!

Brushing off the headstone, replacing the flowers, trimming the grass edges, at least they  let me do that without shooing me away. I honestly think they may even enjoy it. I hope so anyway. I do love them. I can never quite say that enough.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Reading the bible

Reading the bible, cover to cover is a rather interesting undertaking. It's not just one book like 50 shades of Gray. Although some of the circumstances in the stories are rather explicit too. From the very beginning it becomes obvious, to me at least that some of it is meant to impart knowledge instead of specific historical fact. Nor, really was it meant to be read all in one fell swoop. It took me a few months to do it but that's just what I did. How much do I remember more than I did before? Probably not much. In an athletic analogy it was more like running a race than a walk through a park. Concentrating on getting the job done rather than savoring each sentence. I'm happy I did it. The benefit will play out over time I'm sure. But, I have another comment regarding one of the books in the bible, The Book of Revelations to be exact. Now that book is a real piece of work. I mean no disrespect whatsoever as my faith is sound in the truth set forth in the sacred texts of the bible. However, from the aspect of simply reading without benefit of meditation on the true meanings, The Book of Revelations is really far out there as far as understanding.

From angels to devils, swords, numerous heads and fire and truly mind bending visions it is most difficult to maintain focus in realistic way. The next time I read it I will be spending the time necessary in search of "revelation." This is definitely not a bed time story for kids or the weak of heart. The message of hope in spite of ourselves carried throughout the entire bible, to the beginner at least is well hidden in this final book. Yeah, my intent was well meaning but the quest of knowledge and truth was lost in the marathon approach. Still, time well spent compared to some other offerings on the best seller list. To be honest, no matter how I did it, by reading the entire bible, sometime, somehow, somewhere, I will see something I've never seen before. That's the way it works I think. Even if, at first glance to me at the time, it seems like the last book was written by a guy on a trip.

Friday, September 13, 2013 has Joe's Story in hard copy and Kindle

My book, "Joe's Story: The Book of a Lifetime" is going well on

The hard copies are doing well but the Kindle version is fast catching up. Since it was highlighted on a website a few weeks ago in connection with rehabilitation of people facing brain damage and memory loss, lots of 20 or more have been purchased by such institutions. I've been told the story is excellent for helping establish a route to regaining memory lost through trauma. Another area it is helpful in is hope. I am pleased that "Joe's Story" is helping people. The main reason I wrote it was to do good somehow. A man come into my office a while back, burst into tears, gave me a hug and said he felt better about himself than he has going through 15 years of Psychological counseling. He even bought another copy for his Psychologist. His wife even thanked the book for bringing her husband back from chronic unhappiness.

I certainly am not any sort of doctor but having survived a two year battle with amnesia I can attest to how wonderful it is to get a feeling happiness back. Just having one person tell me that makes all the time and effort worth while. And a royalty check in the mail yesterday is just another reason to be happy my own self wouldn't you think?

I wish you a day of happiness...............Joe

Friday, September 6, 2013

My book and a retirement fund

I enjoy listening to the adventures of my friends. The fellow I mentioned in the last posting had many stories to tell about walking trails and losing weight and learning to use his new found slimmer, more muscular and way more energetic body in ways he had not dared to dream of only a year ago. Now his plans are filled with hope like I'd never seen before in him. An excellent, inspiring conversation! I wish him well on his journey. Before he left he turned the conversation towards what was going on in my life with a few questions and he did some listening of his own. He is a good listener and I suppose I'm pretty good at talking too because he laughed a lot. I autographed a copy of my book: "Joe's Story: The Book of a Lifetime" he purchased and we said our good byes til another day. I figured I wouldn't see him again for a while. I figured wrong. He read "Joe's Story" all in one day and stopped by this morning to tell me how much he enjoyed it as well as an idea he had for me. I listened with interest to his advice. I got down right inspired again and thanked him when he left for parts unknown. It's pretty cool when someone goes out of their way to help you.

His idea was this: Start doing everything I can to get "Joe's Story" out there and in the hands of book readers as soon as possible. "It's a terrific story" he said. The wisdom in the book would help hundreds of everyday people by validating them in so many ways. By getting the book sold and helping others I would add to my own sense of having done good by writing the story. The side benefit, in his opinion was that I'd finally do something about a retirement fund like he did.

I can say without hesitation that his words made my day. I am also going to do some serious thinking about promoting "Joe's Story".I could use a few bucks in the, as yet non existent retirement fund.

Um, er, by the way. Are you looking for a good book to read? I can help you out there.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Personal adventure

A friend stopped by yesterday that I haven't seen in over a year. He's been on a sort of personal adventure, "renewing himself", he says. He and his wife split up a couple years ago after 43 years of marriage and 3 kids. She felt they had just grown in different directions and had nothing in common anymore. He was devastated, he loved her. Lost and not sure of himself, he decided to quit his job and go looking for whoever he was. The kids are grown, he's been frugal enough to be financially independent if he doesn't go crazy and figured he had nothing left to lose. Off he went in his van to see what he could see. When he left he weighed 304 pounds and used a walker most of the time. Holy Cow! Not any more. He went on a high protein eating regimen along with reducing his calorie intake too. His plan was to walk as far as he could each and every day. As the weight dropped, he walked more and more. Eventually he took on parts of a trail on the West coast over the winter and then came back to the East side and did parts of the Appalachian trail before returning to Michigan. He tips the scale at around 195 pounds, give or take a pound or two now, he says. Looks great and sounds great too. A different person in so many ways. He says his wife is paying some attention to him for some reason, they went on a "date" even! A continuing story there I guess. It was good to see him. Reminded me of back in the day when I lost 90 pounds in a very short time. I managed to gain about 30 of that back but that's a whole nother story too.

He sent me a link to a news story he had seen and in his opinion, the video says it all when it comes to the results and the lady in the video obtained.

I found it interesting. You may too. Have a good day!

Friday, August 30, 2013


What a time in history to be President. We are still reeling from a catastrophic war in Iraq, ongoing war in Afghanistan, seemingly unstoppable tide if illegal aliens, economic instability, carnage amongst drug infested neighborhoods and a myriad of other problems. Now, there is Syria, another country thousands of miles away, suffering through an almost inhuman carnage of their own. The President, when speaking about the political divide, civil war and senseless loss of human life going on there, drew a line in the sand and said that if chemical warfare was used we would step in and do our best to stop it. A daring statement. A few days ago hundreds of people, mostly women and children were killed. Two things are being investigated, was it in fact chemicals or gas? And who did it? One thing is sure, almost every other country in the world has declined to go along with us in any type of military response. It looks like if we do respond, we'll be going it alone. Will that result in a reduction of killing of innocent people or will it bring on even more retaliation to their own people and more importantly, beyond their borders and around the world. Iraq is still after so many years involved in a civil war and people are being murdered every day. So far, not much was settled in that war. No weapons of mass destruction were ever found. Some say the stability and modernization brought on by Saddam Hussein was far better even if he did kill the guys he didn't like and make stupid threats.

The president is going to make a decision for us. Just as he has done so many times before as well as  his predecessors. There doesn't seem to be much we can do about it. Where does this get us? According to news reports, most people in Arab countries don't like or trust us so much do they? Normal for us isn't necessarily normal for them. We have a Judeo-Christian set of morals. Al Quida and other similar groups find our desire to be fair in all things as a weakness. They kill us as well as their own people without conscience. Is any intervention from us, further taxing our already slim resources, going to accomplish anything constructive? Personally, I do wonder where the Arab groups and countries stand on Syria and the murder of innocent people. They, so far really haven't said anything or offered any real solutions or help military or diplomatic. I wonder if they know more than we do concerning the mind set of that region.

Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, We've been there. I do pray for a correct answer to this. I do pray the president looks at all the consequences involved here. I know I certainly don't know what the solution is but too swift a move often leads to more loss of lives. I pray that doesn't happen.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Minimum wage

One confusing aspect of governmental controls that is a bit crazy to me is the imposition of a minimum wage. Personally, I feel that those people that work should receive a fair compensation for their labor. Anyone withholding wages from a worker to keep exorbitant profits for themselves should be prosecuted in a court of law. A minimum wage to me however, is counterproductive in many ways.

#1- Minimum wage, as dictated by government, does not take into consideration market, demand, costs or any other conditions regarding any particular business and the profitability to remain operational.
#2- Minimum wage, as dictated by government controls, removes the competitive nature of international commerce and manufacturing. Countries without minimum wage produce and manufacture cheaper than we can. Fair or not, that is a fact.
#3- With far less jobs available due to the competition in non regulated countries, right here in the United States, far more people are on government assistance. Government assistance is funded (supposed to be anyway) by income taxes of working people thereby reducing their take home pay.
#4- The higher the minimum wage, the less competitive our products and services, the less competitive these things are, the less companies there are, the less companies there are, the less people are employed at any wage, the less people employed, the more people on government assistance. The more people on government assistance, the more taxes needed to pay for the assistance. With less people working, the higher taxes they pay so minimum wage or not, their take home pay is taken away by excess taxes.
#5- With more and more people losing their jobs because we cannot compete with other countries, more and more people are buying the imported products from other countries because they are way cheaper. Resulting in a reverse cash flow from the united States to the other cheaper countries draining our cash resources so fewer and fewer companies remain open. Creating a downward spiral in our economy.
#6- In my opinion, wages too high to compete=fewer people employed=more people on assistance=higher taxes=fewer people to pay those taxes=an overall lower wage and our currency becomes worthless. So, what did the minimum wage dictated by government to increase our standard of living actually accomplish?

Oh, wait a second. Am I talking about the United States or is it Greece? I forget sometimes. I'm probably just a bit tired, need coffee. Have a good day.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

It don't work that way no more

Having lived during many decades I've experienced innumerable changes in the way we live. Most of the things that have changed, although exciting and adventurous and practical at the time, simply wouldn't work today. We are far more educated, worldly, and "mature". Grabbing onto a slow moving car rear bumper, in the middle of the winter and being pulled a full two miles on ice and through drifts before letting go and rolling to a stop, laughing until my stomach hurt is probably something I would never want my grandkids to do. I'm way to smart for that now. Seemed good at the time though, all us kids did it. Walking back and forth to work through the streets of downtown Detroit in the middle of the night was necessary and interesting back in 1964 (although I did get robbed at gunpoint twice by the same guy, I survived). I certainly wouldn't do that now. I guess maybe I'm a scaredy cat. Working two full time jobs every day, one in Detroit and the other in Grand Rapids, catching what sleep I could on the train ride back and forth between the two. Rather fun then but I value my sleep too much now. Meeting people from all over town by dialing my own number on the telephone to get a busy signal and speaking to total strangers in between the beeps. Too many perverts out there now. Cruising up and down the street on Friday and Saturday nights until the sun rose right alongside hundreds of other teenagers playing loud radios and yelling at one another and having an occasional drag race at the red lights. Are you kidding me? Wouldn't want to try that now would you?

Nope! None of that stuff would work anymore. I sure did like it then though. I kind of feel sorry for anyone that hasn't.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The dark side of the moon

Movies are readily available without leaving one's living room via cable, Internet DVD or even the old video cassette. New offerings are moving to most media faster than ever too. I haven't been in a movie theater in many years. That's fine with me, the popcorn and candy are way too expensive and sometimes the crowds are more than I care to handle. I do miss the big screen though, some movies just aren't the same on a TV screen. But my thoughts are directed more at content than size or appearance for now.

The movies I watched in my younger days were rather simplistic and immature by most of today's standards I've been told. Predictable plots, too mushy, mushy, too bland, not enough truth regarding reality of human nature, not enough sex, not enough back stabbing, too many bad guys getting caught by too many goody, goody, all too perfect cops. Catering too much to the good side of people makes movies too wishy, washy. Today, and for decades now, movies tend to cater to any and all perverse, mean, just plain deplorable side any human being ever possessed. All this disgusting stuff is touted to be for our own good because we need to face the truth about ourselves according to the know-it-alls in charge of Hollywood or wherever movies are made today. Granted, many movies are fast paced, visually stimulating, and otherwise entertaining, but so often, even in PG and PG13 rated offerings, we are caught off guard by totally unnecessary and deplorable crude language, sexual situations and abnormal behavior, just for the sake of "entertainment". And we are told, this behavior is what people are really like and enjoy. Regular movie goers are being told what they are like, pandering if you will to our dark side. I guess I am hard pressed to describe this any better. I guess also that it is working. As the degree of moral corruption in movies becomes the norm, the degree of moral corruption in overall society follows suit. Bad is better. Lies are accepted as truth for the sake of cinematic "purity" and entertainment license sees no boundaries. My question is then: Why is it that so many G and PG rated movies receive a larger audience?

I just read a review of the truthfulness of a new movie, "The Butler", supposed to familiarize us with the plight of the butler who served so many presidents in the white house. I guess it was way to boring to tell a true story. According to the article, the greater part of it is fabrication. That's too bad, I thought it would be great to learn about someone so successful in spite of the social hurdles. Now I find it may be a good story but that's all. I think I'll just read the book. I don't need another story shoving some producer's agenda down my throat.

I kind of like seeing the better side of us human folks and our fight to do what's right. That helps me be a better person.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Personal appearance is a challange sometimes

Sometimes I wonder about my powers of observation when it comes to myself and my appearance. All my life has been spent in an occupation which requires me to help other people with how their vehicle looks. It's all about appearance. This means that I have to see any defect, soil, scratch, stain or hair out of place. If I do my job, the customer will be happy. Frankly, I am very good at what I do and some people come from as far away as Tennessee and Florida to have me work on their rides. That's all well and good but when it comes to seeing any of those things in my physical appearance, it seems I simply don't have an eye for it. Picky as I am, I just can't get it all together sometimes.

Walking out of church last Sunday, a fellow church goer asked me if I knew that there was part of a candy bar stuck to the seat end of my pants. How embarrassing! I went to the grocery store on the Saturday before and the cashier at the front counter caught my attention to tell me that they couldn't allow me in the store without a shirt on. I had been gardening, enjoying the sunshine, thought of something I needed and forgot all about putting on a shirt. How embarrassing!

Standing in line at the gas station on Monday afternoon a guy behind me touched my shoulder to catch my attention and whispered my underwear was pulled up over my shirt in the rear. How Embarrassing! Here I sit, as I am typing this after just noticing I had two different types of socks on. At least they are the same color. How embarrassing!

I'm thinking I need me a personal assistant. Lay out my clothes, make sure they match, (I've been known to mix stripes and plaids, yellows and reds) Make sure they are clean, and make sure the elastic is tucked in. I'm so busy thinking about everyone else I can't see my own self. How embarrassing!

Friday, August 9, 2013

January 7th 2014?

Just one quick question here:

What's happening on January seventh two thousand fourteen?

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Feeding the poor

What does it mean to feed the poor? Give them food, right? with the abundance of food in this country and so many others throughout the world, there should be enough food to feed everyone and still have a surplus. Transporting the food is sometimes a problem and that issue should be remedied as soon as possible. On the other hand, when it comes to the poor, are they being removed (at least in this country, the United States) from the natural course of events in life? So many times we hear of someone who worked themselves up from being poor to being a complete success financially. A musician from a few decades ago, Liberace, was born and raised poor. His mother worked at minimum wage and often less than that and received a very small amount of help from the government to get by. Liberace, even in those conditions managed to learn to play the piano and became a huge success and made a ton of money. when he became well off financially he repaid the government for any assistance his mother received, plus interest. He was grateful it was there when they needed it but he didn't want to be responsible for someone else not getting assistance when he reaped the benefit of it. That was true integrity in my opinion. Who else have you heard of that grew up on assistance and repaid it when they became reasonably well off?

The natural course of life for the poor is that they are challenged to improve their lot in life by trying harder despite the hardships. When I was a kid, we were poor. We were told by our parents that if we wanted something more, we should work hard to get it. "Work first, play second!" We could have anything we wanted if we wanted to pay the price for it. We wore second hand clothes, and had fun shopping for them at the second hand store. There was no shame in being poor, wearing second hand clothes or playing with second hand toys we were told, only in not striving to do better. getting better things took work and effort, it was our incentive to be poor. I'm not poor now, I didn't raise my family poor either. There are still things I'd like to have but can't afford. That's life to me.

I wonder if some of the people I see that are living on assistance understand how it works. Niki shoes, Approved sports team sweat shirts, Guchi hand bags, jewelry, tattoos and piercings all over their bodies, 3 bedroom town houses paid for by the government, government provided education and child care and still no job in sight or the desire to get one.

I believe in proper aid to the poor. I wonder if we haven't created a culture of being poor with everything they ever wanted without working for it. It's a quandary worth investigating. It's my understanding that about 48% of the American citizenship is on some type of assistance. Almost half of us. How long can that go on? Is there a limit to what is considered proper giving? Or, in the case of the government, dividing and spreading the wealth. Yup! I think we should study what we are doing there.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Mistakes with steak and other food

When was the last time you began eating something and suddenly realized it wasn't what you thought it was? This morning I read a cartoon with a guy that was baiting his fishing hook with a piece of his wife's pasta and it dawned on him why his lunch hadn't tasted all that good.

Being a fisherman I was taught by my dad that nothing should go to waste. Consequently, I learned how to cook fish, all sorts of fish and frog legs too. There are a few types of fish that are just way too ugly to eat though, Gar Pike, Guppies and anything with gills, legs and tails all together. If I can't throw them back, they get buried in the garden. Nothing is wasted. Anyway, I went fishing in a river for an entire afternoon, a rare occasion for me, and I caught three dozen Red horse Mullets. A fantastic breed of fish with a fin across their back much like a sail on an ocean fish. Red Horse are about the best fighting fish I've ever caught. When the are hooked, they put that sail up and swim sideways against the current so hard that the only way to catch them is to simply keep the line tight and wait until they tire enough to bring them in. It takes a while, they don't tire easily. Needless to say, I enjoyed the experience. What's that got to do with eating anything?

Packing up all those fish in the cooler I brought them home and scaled, deboned, filleted and powdered  them for cooking. Some people are adverse to eating a mullet type of fish. They are similar to Suckers and cat fish regarding their bottom feeding habits. It's fine with me as long as it's a clean river but not everyone feels that way. (Of course those same people are usually more than fond of eating Shrimp, Shrimp are also bottom feeders.) So, on this beautiful Saturday afternoon, feeling super good following a successful fishing adventure, I called a couple friends over for a fish fry, a little guy talk and a brew or two. When they arrived I already had the last batch of fillets in the pan and the tantalizing aroma wafted over the patio bringing appetites to almost a feeding frenzy. Along with cole slaw and baked potato the fried fish meal was complete and worthy of royalty. One of my friends is a one of those people that seems to know everything about everything. Nice enough but always grabs center stage in the knowledge category. The subject of what kind of fish we were eating did not present itself until I was asked where the fish came from. I named the river and before I could tell my stories of fantastic fishing the know-it-all guy butts in and explains how he just knew we were eating Walleye. "That river is known state wide for it's huge Walleye fishery" He said. Then he went on to say how he "had heard that some guys fish that river for suckers and Red Horse. However, he would never, ever allow those bottom feeders to touch his lips. They were garbage fish but these walleye were something special and he could recognized the taste blindfolded."

I had a choice to make: Tell him they were Red Horse and he'd just eaten half a dozen "bottom feeders", or Let it go and enjoy the rest of the time with my friends without embarrassing him. It was a great meal, pleasant conversation and nice weather to boot. I guess the know-it-all will go to his grave not knowing he ate a plateful of Red Horse. Maybe I'll let him know the next time I catch a cooler full. It just wasn't important to do anything but be selfish and be full. I didn't serve him right, I served him fish.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Justice in America and our president

Our President, eyes downcast and forlorn, played upon the emotions of his audience for some unknown reason and said, "It could have been me." Speaking, of course about the shooting and death of Trayvon Martin. A terrible thing. Mr. Zimmerman, the man who shot Trayvon was, in a court of law, found not guilty of the charges brought against him by the prosecutor. Mr. Obama, evidently does not feel justice was served in our legal process and appears to be, for some reason stirring up unrest and civil protests, seemingly pitting one race against another. Protests are a way of life in this country. However, I have not seen in my lifetime a president that caused them. It brings to mind some statement from Mr. Obama's run for the presidential election. He said he was ashamed of this country. I figured at the time it was some sort of populist retoric. I guess it wasn't.

Friday, July 19, 2013

What's your passion?

Just what is it that you are passionate about? I don't need an answer from you but it may not be a bad idea at all to ask yourself what it is that you are passionate about. Yesterday the question came up and, quite frankly I had to think about it for a long, long time. The thought hadn't occurred to me in the recent past, maybe in the far past either. it's not a question that comes up often over dinner or while conducting business. A true artist is passionate about their art. A true musician is passionate about their music, A true athlete is passionate about their sport, and so on it goes. At least that's what we believe about high profile pursuits. How often do we hear about us common folk and our passion? Has anyone asked you about yours lately? Does anyone actually care about the person behind the counter at the fast food joint? What kind of answer would you receive if you asked? I'm thinking it would often come as a surprise. Who would think that someone working for minimum  wage, barely eking out a living would even remotely be passionate about anything? So, what's your passion?

I am passionate about a few things I guess. I detail cars for a living, I am passionate about getting them done right. I've been passionate about detailing since I was ten years old. But detailing is not my whole life is it? I am passionate about doing the right thing regarding my family to the best of my ability. I'm passionate about my faith beliefs. I can think about a few other things too but then I step back and realize that an actual passion consumes your resources physically and spiritually and mentally doesn't it? That leaves not much room for another passion does it? I need to rethink my ideas of passion I guess. For now, the one thing that I can think of that consumes my ideal of passion is this: I feel that everyone should receive their just rewards for what they do or do not do. I have never wavered from that belief and I am passionate about it. Still, is that my passion in life? A good question to ponder.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Staying cool in hot weather

According to the local weather report her in central Michigan we are beginning a heat wave. Three days or longer of over 90* temperatures and high humidity. Everything is relative isn't it? Meteorologists are warning everyone, particularly those of age to keep themselves cool in any way they can and drink lots of fluids. Unfortunately, they say to stay away from alcoholic beverages so there goes the fun part for many. But as far as the relative part, in the southern states the heat and humidity, although surely just as uncomfortable is simply a way of life in the Summertime. They manage to survive it and keep going. We can too, it's not so much the end of the world as we know it is it? I've survived hot and cool summers and lived to see the fall color explosion of a Michigan Fall.

My problem has always been that I don't much care for water. Water is great for us. I still don't care for it. I drank tea, soda, power drinks, cold and hot coffee, but if it was a surprising day if even one glass of water crossed my lips. Now I'm back to water. Gag or not, I've managed for the past month to choke down at least two quarts of water a day. I guess it's keeping me cool and hydrated like they advise. But the main ways I manage to stay cool in the hot weather are #1-simply not hiding from the heat. I just slow down a bit until I get used to it. #2- find shade when I can. #3- keep a deep pan of water somewhere so I can sit and soak  my feet for a while. (not the same water I drink though) #4- shower just before bed and I stay cool enough to get several hours sleep. I can deal with the heat much better when I am well rested. Are these good ideas? Are they enough to keep me from getting heat related health issues? Answer- So far, so good!

Stay cool............Joe

Monday, July 15, 2013

Zimmerman-Martin Case

The shooting of Trevon Martin by George Zimmerman was terrible and, most likely very avoidable. The Jury has reached a verdict in the State's charges and that particular trial is over. Regardless of how one feels about it either way, it's over and will not, accordingly to the laws of this land, be repeated. Federal charges or civil suits may be forthcoming but that is another part of our laws that will be dealt with by those involved. Now for what I'm seeing in all this totally apart from the legal proceedings. The news media and politicians acting in ways that should embarrass anyone with a grain of sense.

The news media, which is so very important to us as a means of getting pertinent information and aided by the right to free speech keeps us informed as well or better than any other country. However, in this instance I feel bombarded by opinion rather than information. And, in my opinion it is aimed at aggravating the situation by insulting everyone involved. "We are surprised that the demonstrations have been so calm!" One news reporter said.  "I find it difficult to believe there has been no bloodshed up to this point!" Said another. Huh? Sounds more like they are disappointed than surprised. We're dealing with intelligent people here. Trevon Martin's parents have been, in spite of their immense grief, calm, forthcoming and attentive to the proceedings without expressing any desire to seek revenge or threatening as much. One would believe from their actions that they will act in a lawful and civil manner. In spite of how painful this must feel. Why would the news media find others following the example of such courageous parents surprising?

Then come the politicians: "I hope that the fighting, rioting and injury is kept at a minimum!" That was one of our highest ranking elected officials and many, many others followed suit. While I'm at it, a couple religious figures were saying things along those same lines. Makes me wonder.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Good health, Gluten free diet and food journals

Sometimes I feel just plain silly. For twenty five years I have kept a food journal, recording every food, quantity and even the seasoning I have consumed. I started the record of intake on the advice of a doctor following a blood test that indicated I had certain food sensitivities. No allergies mind you, simply sensitivities. Gluten was one of them so for many years I avoided anything even remotely related to wheat or barley. Because most gluten free substitutes used sugar to compensate for the lack of gluten, I switched to diet soda and other sugar free items on the shelves to help keep  my weight down. About five years ago I began slowly re-introducing gluten back into my menu. I dearly love a good sandwich, hot dog or burger for lunch and toast on a Sunday morning after church. Seemed OK to me but I kept up with the diet soda and other stuff. Mmmm! Cake, cookies, French bread, short cake, all the good things in life were back. I enjoyed eating so much I ignored the danger completely even though I was recording the food and my health situation. That's the silly part. Here's what I mean:
Slowly, ever so slowly, I started to be plagued by heart burn, then came some headaches, in my entire life headaches are so uncommon I could probably count them on one hand. Bad headaches too. Still I ate that delicious bread and cake. My legs began to hurt so bad I could barely walk by the end of the day. They cramped up all night long too, keeping me awake and in pure misery. My energy level dropped precipitously, I am a man full of energy and anticipation, waking early each day looking forward to whatever comes along. A happy guy I've said so many times. Unhappiness slowly crept into my daily life. I was almost crippled, miserable, confused and in constant pain. The doctor suggested some pain medication but tests were not showing anything more than the difficulties resulting from getting older, I was simply wearing out. I have an aversion to pain meds other than aspirin so I just put up with the pain and inconvenience for five years.
A bit over a month ago I woke up in the early morning, about 12:30am. In pain, heartburn burning my throat, legs twitching uncontrollably and a pounding headache. I decided to stay up and do whatever I could to get my mind off the misery until it was time to go to church. I began reading my food journal. After an hour or so a light went on in my head and I laughed at myself for my own stupidity. "Gluten" was a glaring connection to me problems. before returning to eating gluten I had felt terrific, after introducing gluten back into my diet I became miserable. Duh!
I have eaten no gluten since that moment. I began feeling better by that very evening, I have not suffered heartburn or a headache since. The legs on the other hand continued to be a problem. What to do, what to do? Back to the food journal. What else could the problem possibly be? I didn't like the idea of simply getting old but if that's what it was I would accept it with grace. Right? Well, there was just enough evidence in that journal to indicate that the leg problem began to increase at the same time I started to drink diet soda and eat foods with sugar substitutes. What the heck! I had nothing to lose so I eliminated diet, sugar free and sugar substitutes of every kind from my diet. I am happy to report that the leg problems are reduced greatly to where I can walk reasonably well, climb and descend stairs rather easily and even ride a bicycle again without pain of any consequence.
So there you have it. The happy is returning to my life once again. It's a wonderful feeling to wake up after a full night's sleep filled with anticipation for the coming day. Yeah, it's a areal treat. I offer you this suggestion: Start a food journal, be faithful, record your food and liquid intake every day. Also record how you feel and any health issues you may have, if the worsen or get better within three days of any particular food or liquid consumption. I'm certainly glad I did. even if it took me five years to get it through my thick scull.

Join me in my exultation, it's a very happy place.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

My dad on being the critic

On this last day of reminiscing about my pop, recalling his perspective regarding critical folks pervades my thoughts. He wasn't keen on those that would impose their will on us, for whatever reason. "No one died and made them king, queen or judge and jury."

Criticize the cook-be prepared to go without food
Criticize the giver-be prepared for nothing
Criticize a woman's appearance-be prepared to be alone
Criticize the doctor holding the scalpel just before surgery-that's just plain stupid
Stuff like that. If you criticize be prepared for all the ensuing consequences. Try as I might, I have a hard time remembering that, especially when I'm driving. I find it hard to believe some of those idiots are allowed to drive on public roads. Getting in my way, going too slow, going too fast, forgetting to signal a turn, generally not giving in to the fact that if all drivers simply did my will there would be peace and tranquility on every thoroughfare everywhere. I keep thinking it's pure fact, not criticism, right?

Monday, July 1, 2013

Dad's wisdom and me-Joe Cramer

One thing that seemed to irk my dad was when someone whined about their situation in life and kept blaming everyone except themselves. He couldn't tolerate that and avoided anyone that whined endlessly. Complaining from time to time wasn't the issue. "Complaining sometimes was good for the soul." He said. But after the complaining was over the time came to do something to change the problem. He said he never missed the opportunity to vote in even the least significant elections. Voting was a way of changing things and if he didn't vote he had no right to complain either way. My dad never voted for a tax. In his way of thinking the government through the constitution was already set up to get enough taxes to run it. He figured that if we kept on voting for more taxes they'd just keep getting bigger and bigger. He heard enough whining from the government about taxes to last a lifetime. Me too I'm thinking maybe lately.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Joe Cramer and his dad

My dad would have some wisdom at the ready when needed. Exactly where he got this wisdom, for better or for worse remains a mystery. I figure he talked to a bunch of old guys when he was young. Guys in general and older guys in particular somehow feel they have to have an answer for any dilemma that comes along. I guess that's Ok though, it makes for a good story from time to time. Helps a person forget his troubles too.

One day the TV news was reporting so much bad news it was downright awful. Floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, burglaries, murders and no one in the government could agree on anything. (go figure the government thing eh?) Finally my dad turned off the TV and asked me to go for a walk with him around the block until wrestling came on. We walked and he talked. He told me some good stories about his younger years: growing stuff in the garden with his brothers and sisters, swimming in the river and saving his sister from drowning when he didn't even know he could swim, shooting peas out of straws, learning how to drive when he was ten, and how he met my mom. All good stuff. Then he did the wisdom thing, you know he had to. He said, "You know what? Sometimes the news just stinks and you are better off shutting it off and making your own." Hmmm! Probably not the most profound advice I've ever heard but I have found myself doing just that a lot lately. How about you?

Monday, June 24, 2013

Joe Cramer-My dad's humility was genuine

My dad was a hard worker, his work was physical, intense and as hard as it gets sometimes. He took it in stride though and expressed gratitude for the pay he received even though it was far less than he deserved most of the time. Far from well educated, as so many other guys were, he just couldn't get himself into the high paying factory jobs. No patience, couldn't stand the slow pace of assembly lines or being inside a building for so long. Low pay or not, he was a happy guy. He was a humble guy. If anyone gave him anything, it was difficult for him. You see, my dad remembered his mistakes and didn't feel he deserved gifts of any kind. He already had everything he dared dream of: His wife and his kids. Growing up I saw several times how he humbly accepted what was given to him. He did it with class. Thankful and always showing how he was delighted so as not too diminish the thoughtfulness of the giver. When I was older, around 19 I guess it was, my dad and I sat on the back steps and he pontificated a bit about being humble. "If we get all caught up in thinking that we deserve stuff, we never really fully appreciate the giver or the gift." "Same thing with wages too", he said. My dad the philosopher. I didn't deserve a dad as good as him.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Joseph A. Cramer-Son of my father

Yup! I am my father's son all right. Most people don't know that during my mid-teen years my dad was dumber than a box of rocks. At least that was my opinion at the time. Eventually, he got smarter though and everything turned out OK. He had his sayings my dad did:
Quicker than two shakes of a lamb's tail.
Going to see a man about a horse.
It'll all work out in the end.
You know, stuff like that. I wasn't all that keen on hearing those sayings at the time. I'd give almost all I have to hear him say them now. He's been gone for 44 years. I loved that guy and didn't appreciate him for a while there. But his words still ring in my ears at the times I need them. He talked a lot and gave sage advice non-stop. Today it makes more sense than ever.

People die, he said. Learn to deal with it. Life is for the living. Help the people who are still alive.

The news you hear is geared to scare you. Don't get scared and if you do don't let anyone else know it.

Learn from the mistakes you make. Be grateful you made them while you are young. You've got your whole life to try to make it right. Expect and accept consequences you may not like so much. You earned them.

You can be anything you want to be. If you rely on other people to help you be what you want to be you are nothing.

Never, ever, give up on those you love. Love never stops but also remember, love is not always enough. With all he did, even God didn't save everyone. Some people go to hell. Stay away from them.

If someone makes you food, puke before you complain. It was a gift.

Some of these debatable advice modules were said tongue in cheek but every one had some wisdom anyway. What do you remember that your dad said that made sense only after you grew up.

I'm going to say a few more things about my dad. Get over it. It's my blog right?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Joe Cramer-More about a father

Being the son of a guy that would tackle just about anything was a real learning experience. I learned as much, if not more from his mistakes than from his successes. Early in his adult life he was a hard drinker. He managed to overcome that and became a responsible, caring and loving husband and father. One of his greatest achievements. He bought a semi tractor and car hauling trailer. Had just enough to buy them, he was going to insure them as soon as he hauled his first load of cars. There was a terrible accident on that first haul, we lost everything! One of his greatest mistakes ever. Scrimped and saved and worked several jobs on very little sleep for over six years living in a cramped apartment with my mom and us kids. Finally, finally, there was enough to buy a rather decrepit older house in the suburbs and start over. Flush toilet? Sure, as long as you had a pail of water. Stay warm in the winter? Sleep on the living room floor next to the space heater. Running water? Absolutely, just grab the pump handle in the kitchen sink and get it done. As a family we were so excited to be there none of these slight inconveniences mattered in any way. The whole idea was that we were a family and attacked any problem, under my dad's careful eye and my mom's calm encouragement and understanding. We were going to make this our castle. So very Cool!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Joe Cramer-Words from my father

Our dads were not carbon copies of each other were they? Yours said this and mine said that. They did give us stuff to think about though didn't they? I really like my friend's dads sometimes. They were smart and knew a lot more than my own dad. At least sometimes. But, then something would happen and I would realize just how smart my own dad was. He had some phrases that irritated me at the time but later sounded like good advice. You be the judge OK?

Ride your own bike!
If someone says you ride funny, get them to race you-on the course you choose. You'll be surprised how good you are.

Buy cheap, you'll get cheap. Don't complain and pay the price of being stupid.

If someone swears all the time and doesn't realize it, be careful of what you trust him with.

Men are made to protect women, whether they think they need protecting doesn't matter.

Don't pass gas and think it's funny. You are a better man if you feel embarrassed.

Don't waste your energy fighting a battle you can't win.

Lots of other stuff he said. Right or wrong he was there to say it. So very cool!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Joe Cramer-Being a Father

It's that time of year again when we get congratulated for being dads. I stop by the cemetery to do some looking back on being the lucky son of my own dad. I can't thank him enough. Because I may have been what could be called a bit of a loose cannon growing up, I'm not so sure congratulations are in order for my dad. Maybe a word or two of concern or understanding and a gold medal would be better. I was a good kid, a good son, most of the time. But there were a few times when some of my choices must have tested my father's patience far beyond most human expectations. How I am not sure, but somehow good old dad managed to handle my disruptive behavior and remain patient and caring and ready to move forward. My dad forged an attitude of being able to overcome just about anything in my mind that carries me through all these years since he went to the great eternal fishing sight he always dreamed of. I believe the attitude he expressed so well is exactly what keeps a real fisherman on the water long after the fish stop biting. Along with the attitude he also gave me perfect examples of what forgiveness and unconditional love meant. He had a lot of that forgiving to do with me. My maturity took a few turns here and there so he had a regular workout in that category. Yet, he still insisted I was a gift and on Father's day he felt he should be thanking all those involved in his being a father instead of being thanked. Humble and grateful for who he was. How can a guy go wrong with a dad like that? That's why I dedicated my book "Joe's Story: The Book of a Lifetime" in part to him.

That brings me to who I am as far as being a father. I had to become one before I fully understood my dad's humility. Truthfully, I rather enjoy the calls and cards and maybe a special meal or activity. But, that's where it stops these days. I am lucky to have the kids and grandkids I have. I trust that in some way I was a good example in their lives too. At least they are still talking to me and answer the phone when I call. It's a privilege and an honor to be their father. Being a dad came with a heavy responsibility and due to my own dad's ability and love I was ale to meet that obligation the best way I could and watched them grow and mature into remarkable parents themselves. That is so very cool!

So on Father's Day I offer my congratulations to the dads everywhere that did their best to be there for their kids. You had a job to do and you did it. We get some static sometimes, actually a lot of times: for working too much, being too strict, expecting too much, believing kids should except their own consequences, sometimes having to be the enforcer of those consequences, for even being in a place of authority. Well, in His wisdom, God placed us where we are and made us the way we are. Being a good father means that, no matter how much we are criticized, we must remain true to our goal of being the best dad we can. It's our job and our privilege and our honor. Hey guys, here's to you and me for being there, loving and protecting our kids and leading them into the future knowing we stuck with them through thick and thin. Good Job! Happy Father's Day!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Joseph A. Cramer-Published Author

Wow! Talk about a compliment. I am totally humbled.

Yesterday, a very pleasant couple waltzed into my office looking for :"A Joseph A. Cramer." I answered that was my name. They looked at each other for a moment and the guy asked if I had written a book? "Yes, I had written a book." I said. "Joe's Story?" he asked. "Yes, that's the one all right." I said. And motioned towards the credenza where I kept a few copies on display. "Oh, thank goodness! She said, "we came here from Appleton Wisconsin to find you. Would you please autograph our copy?" Dog eared and rather worn around the cover with underlines and highlights, I could see they had done a good job of reading it. I said, "I feel honored" and signed the book with their names and my well wishes. We chatted for a bit and they left on their way to somewhere in the Detroit area for a business conference or something like that. It's not that they came to Michigan just to see me but they did stop on their way through. The effort made me feel somewhat special. They were rather hurried so off they went.

Either way, I am still riding the good feeling that goes along with someone telling you that you did a good thing. You just can't beat a feeling like that.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Right or wrong? Who makes the rules?

The name of a movie once declared that "The world has gone mad!" Various reasons behind that statement are what made up the plot. Mostly it focused on how individual perspective determined opinions of right or wrong. Some perspective was based upon fact, some perspective was based upon limited observation. Everyone acted on what they deemed as truth with outcomes sometimes humorous, sometimes nothing short of disaster. The movie highlighted how ignorance can rule people and even entire societies.

Fact: Reality/truth exists regardless of what you say or believe.

Listening to news of changes in long held rules regarding morality and law lately reminds me very much of that movie. Hollywood once again predicted the future. Reality/truth no longer prevails. Life changing decisions are now based upon perspective. And, this is the really silly part, it is the perspective of a self-indulged few that rules the majority of those who view reality as, at the very least common sense. The weapon of choice to empower ignorance is guilt. It works, big time!

When I was a kid, the neighbor kids never got treats from their folks. The family had way more money than my family but for whatever reason the parents did not spend money on treats of any kind. No popsicles from the popsicle guy, no ice cream or cake on birthdays, no candy bars from the corner store bought with allowance money on Saturday afternoons like the rest of the kids in the neighborhood. However, whenever any of us other kids had treats the kids from that family would be right at our sides with the phrase: "Jesus says we must share!" To load us up with guilt if we didn't give them some of our treats. As kids we wanted to do what Jesus did so we shared. We couldn't hold up to the guilt. That is until us other kids realized that those kids weren't Jesus, they never shared anything with us. They just wanted some of our stuff and used the Jesus guilt trip because it worked.

Now I'm all growed up and I find that some of those kids are still around loading me an millions of other people up with guilt so we will give them what they want. There are no limits as to what they want either:

 "I broke the law but you only want me to be held accountable because you don't like me or anyone like me."
"I can do this, even though it disgusts you because I was born that way. Accept it or you are old fashioned."
"I am special and don't have to work. You have to do with less of your hard earned money and support me or you are selfish."
"I decoded, all by myself what God really says and wants. You are out of touch with the modern concept of God."

Guilt is a huge weapon against good minded people. Nobody wants to feel guilty do they? Maybe it's this unfounded guilt that has made the whole world go mad. Are you guilty of allowing guilt to overcome your better judgement? Perspective, ours or theirs?

Friday, May 24, 2013

Memorial Day/Veteran's Day

Growing up in my family meant a lot of things. This weekend marks one of those things. Working six, sometimes seven days a week left little time for my Dad to do socializing. My mom worked too so that further complicated the matter. However, come Memorial day/Veteran's  Day, my folks packed us kids up and made a trip to Wisconsin. My uncles in Wisconsin, my mom's brothers were veterans. We made the trip there and back in one day. Nine hours there and nine hours back. Do the math and that means six precious hours to visit and chat with four uncles living within the greater Appleton Wisconsin area. It was a whirlwind of activity: Laughing, hugging, joking, always some sort of food and then off to the next and finally back home to Michigan again. What did we do back home? We visited my uncles on my dad's side of course. They were veterans too. As I got older I felt the need to question my folks about that almost impossible feat regarding the trip to Wisconsin. "Did we have to go all that way? Wasn't it expensive? Didn't you get tired of driving? Really, why di we have to go instead of just going on a picnic and taking an afternoon nap?" Simple answer: "Because they needed it!" They went on a trip for us, we go on a trip for them!"

Thank You! To all those who were or are in the Armed forces. You are there for us, I hope I am there for you!............................Joe

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Competative sports?

How do athletes exercise to maintain their competitive edge?

Competitive sports are as much a staple of our modern day society as they have been throughout history. Of course, what with the advantages of new fangled electronic media millions of viewers are able to watch a competitive sport 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Professional and amateur athletes alike are subjected to criticism from around the world. They have to stay in shape to be at the top of their game or face constant ridicule from armchair experts. Sports are big business! In my opinion, somewhere along the way, the term "sport" has been altered far from it's original intent. A couple of examples if I may:

#1- Competitive eating
#2- Competitive poker

Just how does one prepare themselves physically to endure the trials and tribulations in either one of those sports?
 Umm, let's see now. Eat so much as to stretch the stomach to capacities never before seen in the civilized world. Practice exercising the throat muscles holding down food so you don't puke.
When it comes to cards it's important to work your butt enough to build up protective callouses for hours of sitting. Facial muscles must be trained to maintain a constant "poker face".

Two "sports" I simply don't understand as being spectator friendly. Seeing someone puke or another person push a pile of tokens is not high on my agenda.

An entire channel of broadcasting can be dedicated to just about anything these days as long as it is deemed a sport. Where is the Chess channel? Where is the kite flying channel? Where is the crepitation channel? And, as long as we are at it: Where is the competitive sleeping channel? Oh wait, maybe it's already here.

Enjoy the day. If you need a good night's sleep there are a couple sports to watch that will help.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Easter Sunday, the easy part.

We've got the easy part of Easter don't we?! We don't have to hide our affiliation with this Jesus guy for fear of persecution or death. At least in this country for the most part anyway. We don't have to stand in a crowd of otherwise, good people, incited by a bunch of powerful religious leaders, yelling at the top of their lungs to hang him. "Free the murderer instead!" they said. Leaving the authorities no other choice than to humiliate and torture this innocent man and then hang him on a cross to die, slowly and painfully. What would it have been like to experience all that? Can we even imagine such horror? We'll never really know. It's done! We can meditate, we can pray, we can fast, we can give up things, but none of it compares with those three days over 2000 years ago. It had to be done to give us sinners a way back. There was nothing we could do to make up for our disappointing ways of life. It had to be someone who could handle it with faith, love and kindness. Of course that doesn't mean we will all follow that path but it is there for any of us that does.

During Lent we prepare, on Holy Thursday we remember the last supper and the washing of his feet. On Good Friday we read again of the last hours, the cruelty, the pain, and finally, death. On Holy Saturday we go about our mourning in every possible way. On Easter Sunday we bring ourselves together to celebrate the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ. No matter how hard we try, I don't think it's possible to imagine how it all went down, hard as we try, we simply can't.

So, for our part, what is left is the acceptance and celebration of the door that was opened to us. That's the easy part. Have a wonderful Easter weekend!

Friday, March 22, 2013

I always start again in Spring

Spring time is such a time of hope and promise I can't help but get all giddy about what's coming next. The world comes into bloom all over again. Colors appear, popping up almost everywhere, even in the cracks of sidewalks. The smell of all this new growth fills the nostrils with a pouporie of goodness. Animals wake from a winter's slumber and run hither and yon across the roads. Some of them don't make it but that's the law of nature I guess. Then there are those pesky rabbits, multiplying like nobodies business almost to the point of overpopulation. I don't quite know exactly what happens to all of them. I'm guessing it's the predators though. Hawks, Falcons, Foxes and Coyotes as much as the neighbor's cat enjoy a good rabbit dinner. Some say it tastes like chicken. Flowering fruit trees and bushes make for a kaleidoscope through every window. I find it difficult to think bad thoughts in the Spring. It's my tradition to take a long walk in the park in March to collect my thoughts about where I am, what I have, what I've done so far and what I hope to do. Then I pick pussy-willows and go home to take on the day. One thing I've held on to since I can remember, every Spring, I always try to do my best.

I've tried to:
Keep my sense of humor
Raise my own kids
Treat others like I would like to be treated
Tell the truth
Be honest
Maintain a moral standard
Be thankful
Pray every day
Read the newspaper comic section every day
Keep my language clean
Not to embarrass my family name
Help others when I could
Take personal responsibility for my actions
Not to blame others
To look after the environment
Not to accept unnecessarily from the government
Pay my fair share of taxes
Just plain do the right thing
Not back down from a good argument
To learn from someone I disagree with
Maintain reasonable health
Read good books
Listen to good music
Not talk too much
Remind people of just how bad carbon monoxide poisoning can be.
Wake up early

This is, of course a not so complete list but I think you get the idea. Every Spring I am reminded that it may indeed be true that Happiness is a choice. Happy Spring you all....................Joe

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Being poor

In my childhood I experienced many wonderful things. Living in a two room Quonset house with one electrical outlet at the base of a light fixture, an outside toilet and heated by a combination wood cooking stove and furnace. The two rooms were separated by a blanket. When we moved to an apartment in town with a real flush toilet I was really impressed. Shopping for shoes and most of our clothes was done at a variety of used clothing stores and there was more than a few trips to the warehouse where the government gave us some surplus food: powdered milk, flour, rice and cheese. On rare occasions there was a can of peaches for an added treat. Travel to just about anywhere in town was by bus. My folks worked hard at low paying jobs, spent money frugally and eventually we got our own home just outside of town. Back to being heated by a kerosene space heater and flushing the toilet with a pail. Hot water for a bath was heated on the stove. We knew we were poor but it was our life and we embraced it. Being poor was nothing to be ashamed of because it gave us motivation to do better. My folks did everything they could to avoid any help from the government unless it was absolutely necessary because they figured the government should take care of those that couldn't take care of them selves. It wasn't easy but we eventually became a bit better than poor. All the while we enjoyed what we could with what we had, where we were at and I don't recall feeling sorry for ourselves, blaming our situation on anyone else or expecting someone else to take care of us. We knew we were poor and knew what we had to do to better ourselves. We weren't saints but just plain, hard working people. Being poor was no picnic but we made it and improved in the ways that we could.

I listen to a lot of people my age that say when they were growing up they didn't have any money but they enjoyed life and really didn't realize they were poor. I knew it. It made me better instead of relying on others.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Cop slugs woman

Bear with me here for a minute so I can make my point.
I apparently don't quite understand this whole new equality of the sexes thing. On one page I read all about how pleased equal rights advocates are because women can now be up on the front lines in war zones shooting at the enemy, and also being shot at by the enemy. Equal treatment. Next page explains how a woman is granted a large sum of money because she was discriminated against and paid less than her male counterparts at work. Same work, same pay. It's all about equal treatment for all. The courts back it up every day. The legislative branches pass laws to clarify it and make it enforceable. That's the way it is. Then I turn the page and read a completely different approach to this equality between the sexes. "Cop slugs woman" the headline read. It seems this woman grabbed the cop while he was attempting to do his job and interfered with is ability to do what he needs to do. In order to continue without being interfered with he felt the need to slug the woman so she'd leave him alone. Police officers have a job to do and it is difficult enough even without anyone getting in the way and holding them back. If I understand the wording correctly, it is against the law for anyone to interfere with a police officer during the completion of his appointed duty of enforcing the law. The law in this case does not discriminate in any way, at least in my opinion. So that brings us full circle to the equality issue. Why did the headline read, "Cop slugs woman."? And infer that it was way more traumatic or unacceptable because a woman was involved. If a woman is in fact equal, then the woman gets to participate in the consequences of their behavior from both sides of the spectrum, right? equality means that no longer is special treatment given to someone just because they are the "fair sex". Equality means no more "fair sex"! What would the headline read if the cop was also a woman? I believe it would not have even been a news story.

I don't know the right or wrong of this particular incident. That will be played out and taken care of in the proper, lawful way that is laid out. That is not my concern. Nor is it my concern about the equality concept. Women are getting the rights they have long fought for. It is simply my opinion that everyone across the board should face the fact that if one wants equality, the whole idea of "special treatment" goes out the window. No one has the right to grab a cop and not expect to get slugged for it if need be because they are 'special." I don't particularly like that, but I guess that's what it's become. I just hope I don't have to slug some woman. Nope, don't like that idea at all. Coming from a time when women were regarded with respect because they were fair, gentle and special and often were considered to be peacemakers, it's hard to shake those concepts.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Hey Dennis Rodman

Hey Dennis Rodman,
I've been hearing about your admiration for the North Korean governing family. I can't comment on your remarks because I've not met these people personally as you have. In the videos it appears that you all really enjoy each other's company. Especially while you are sitting at the arena during a basketball game. It must be comforting to find such kindred souls. You have been on the outside of anything resembling respectable for so long in this country that I'm sure you often felt like an outsider. What with your ventures into clothing, personal body art, language and generally any type of public activity. Of course as fellow Americans we are not supposed to judge you in any way but, truthfully you left us no other option. Yet you boldly continued to go where no sane man had ever gone before. Finally, from what we have seen there in North Korea you have found acceptance and mutual admiration. In light of that, I have a suggestion: Stay there! Obviously, in this country we do not have the societal maturity to see the value in just who you are. I guess we are too backwards to understand how you are advancing mankind. Dennis, we don't deserve you. So, because we have for so long found you so disgusting through our own ignorance, it's probably best that you remain in a place where so many find you an inspiration and you find them the same. Yeah, that makes so much sense doesn't it? Good Bye Dennis. Good bye to the hoops show, good bye to the Rodman show. I'm sure it's our loss but we'll get over the trauma eventually. Don't worry about us. And let's not us stretch this thing out either. Stay there now, we'll send you your stuff and pay the postage.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Pope's red shoes

The news is filled with opinions regarding the Pope as he trades his red shoes for a pair of brown loafers. (Are they from Wolverine World Wide?) That, not necessarily being as important as his resignation seems to me to get a bit too much air time. We are witnessing an event which hasn't happened in many centuries and although not catastrophic, signals a change of the guard for millions of Catholics. Regardless of faith affiliation, almost everyone in the world knows who the pope is and how keenly he is observed when it comes to religious leadership. Commentators from each end of the spectrum and everywhere in between offer their own spin on the effect this will have on the church. Interesting too, how so many that have no connection whatsoever to Peter's direct successor or a religious affiliation of their own feel they are knowledgeable enough to make such an infinite amount of assumptions. From laughing at the idea of such traditions as the red shoes, to offering advice as to how the next pope should direct the faithful. Arm chair coaches. We all have a tendency to be one of those from time to time don't we?

Today, as person of faith, I meditate on just how small and often insignificant I am in the scope of things. It would be easy for me to criticise the red shoes, they aren't really fashionable in my eyes. But then, they aren't meant to be, possibly they are meant to be shocking in some way, just like the pope. What would I do if I walked in his shoes for a time? How seriously would I take the tenets of God's own church? In my opinion, Pope Benedict is doing an incredibly unselfish thing. So often leaders simply hang on and on, well past their ability to be effective, essentially becoming simply a figurehead. The pope is not a figurehead. The faith of millions of catholics around the world is not based upon a man wearing red shoes. To us catholics, faith is based on the beliefs of rights and wrongs given to us over 2000 years ago by Jesus Christ. The popes down through the centuries along with the other leaders of the church, have been the protectors of those beliefs in a world of conflict and and diverse cultural perspectives. That is the immense responsibility of the office of pope in a nutshell. Red shoes or not, that's a heavy weight to carry. Pope Benedict saw his inability to carry on that tradition and acted on it. I admire that. We need someone strong, mentally, physically and especially spiritually.

Today I pray for Pope Benedict to have peace and be confident in his decision. Today I ask for God to give the College of Cardinals divine inspiration to bring us the spiritual leader we need. Someone to protect the truth with all the resources available. Someone to cleanse the church and make it Holy. Someone who is not afraid to wade into controversy and remain true to the word. Our faith is not based on a man in red shoes, our faith is based on the truth. Some things are right, some things are wrong. Pope Benedict sees that too. By resigning he is doing his part in moving God's own Church forward as it should. I look forward to seeing just who's feet those shoes go on now. History in the making. For now, I will sit down, shut up, and hang on. All those commentators will certainly have much to say about it.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Spring cleaning vs taxes

Personally, I grab the opportunity to clean my surroundings every Spring. Not quite so enthusiastically I also grab at doing my taxes. But they both have to be done so I divide my time between the two so as to maintain a reasonable amount of sanity. The Spring cleaning involves throwing stuff away that I saved for one purpose or another and every time I start to pitch an item I have to go through a whole mental scrubbing or I'll throw away something I need and can't replace. Yesterday I took on my computer software collection. Over the years an accumulation of programs and accessories built to massive proportions due to a swinging door of one antiquated computer after another. I think I found a floppy disk containing Windows 1978. Well, maybe not quite but almost. The computers are gone, however I felt a need to keep that junk, just in case! Putting my fears aside I waded through and filled one box after another to send to the recyclers and put them in the truck for dropping off on the way home. I really made a dent in the pile of useless materials. Finally the drawers, cabinets and shelves were cleared and tidy. Ready for a new influx of computer brick a brack I didn't know what to do with but was afraid to throw away. Feeling quite victorious after such a major accomplishment I set myself to attacking the year end tax situation. Things were going quite well for about an hour, then I came across an empty packet where some extremely vital information was supposed to be. It dealt with the tax record bookkeeping computer program I was working on. I was struck speechless. Where was the information? Ah, it was still lodged in the computer, I simply forgot to print it out I guess. I opened the drawer where the memory backup for the program was located, at least that was where it was supposed to be. Not there! Panic time! I had just cleaned that drawer and thrown out all kinds of stuff. Did I throw out that too? I looked everywhere in that area. Not there! I looked again. Not there! Oh my goodness, it must be in the truck, I thought. I proceeded to take everything back out of the truck, one box at a time, remove the entire contents, going through each and every piece. I examined the whole lot. After an hour and a half of searching, Not there! Vital information needed for completing my taxes was missing and looking more and more like it is gone. I had searched every possible location. I could not for the life of me remember where I could possibly have placed it. Woe is me, woe is me. All is lost........................!

Not being one to sit idly by and feel sorry for myself, I decided to take action and began the process of creating an entirely new, hand written record of transactions I needed to complete my taxes. I opened the drawer I originally thought the back up program was in and the entire program and packet of information fell from behind the divider that was stuck to the handle. Just another day in the life of a pack rat. All better now. I wish you a much less complicated day.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Sequester or fiscal cliff?

Nothing on television sit-coms is as hilarious as the action, or as often,  inaction of people in charge of huge amounts of money. Especially, if it isn't theirs in the first place. Numerous headlines seem to appear almost daily regarding the mishandling and embezzling carried by financial officers and accountants. A few dollars here, a half million there and soon an unknowingly and trusting company is bankrupt with large groups of employees losing their jobs and added to the unemployment roles while the embezzler gets a few years in the slammer and public service taking care of poor people. I guess hilarious is probably not the correct word. Sad maybe, extortion, terrorism, theft, inept, careless, the list could go on and on. The fact remains that when certain people are put in charge over other people's money their brains seem to turn to mush and nobody can make the appropriate decisions. When an accountant embezzles money the motives are clear. When an official is careless the motives are less obvious. Most often officials get all caught up in some sort of power game struggle. Impact at the expense of those depending on them. In relative terms it is basically dictatorial behaviour. Dictators, in the United States of America? Yup! Just try and hold an elected official responsible. Just try and get Congress, the Senate or even the President to put off a vacation, even in the most dire financial crisis and see if it has any affect. Nope! They will go away and play anyway. Ask any of them to actually admit some of the resulting difficulties may in fact be partially their fault. Not a chance.

Whatever happens with the financial situation we are in at this moment, we'll work it out. Americans are a resilient people. Some of this may not be easy but if it doesn't bankrupt us it'll make us stronger. Maybe it'll work in the same way that Chemo and Radiation therapy works against cancer. When we vote in any future elections it's our vote that is the Chemo or the Radiation needed to rid us of the cancer of irresponsibility. Meanwhile, no reason to panic. That won't stop me from bellyaching though. Some things remain constant throughout history. If you drink from a glass of water and do not refill it, it will eventually dry up. If you deplete the well you drink from you are in real trouble. The moral: Take care of the well and don't blame the guy that owns the well for the water you took.

Hah! Just figure that one out. Kind of hilarious isn't it?
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