Archive for July, 2006

The long view of things

Monday, July 31st, 2006

I was reading something about history someone posted to the history and genealogy group I’m a part of. He was talking about Germany as a country, and pointed out that, before 1871, there was no country of Germany.  Then I think of Poland. At 1871, there was no Poland, but many years before it was a large and grand country, very powerful in Europe. Then I start thinking about today. I’ve lived 54 years, and even in that time the world has changed a little. A few countries have come and gone. Some borders have changed. As a kid, I studied about the USSR. What is it now, something like 15 or so different countries?

And so, that brings me to my point.  It’s so easy to take the short view of things, but that is really not valid. The long view of things is what really counts. I heard someone on the radio talking about hurricanes today. Wow, the strong hurricanes we’ve had in recent years, and so many. Yet, truth be told, many years ago they did not have the sophisticated, detailed way of measuring these storms that we have today. Probably many a storm was born and died years ago with no one even knowing about it.

History really needs to be viewed from afar, not from today. We are unable to stand back far enough to appreciate where in history we are today. That will only come many years from now, when we gain a proper perspective. Of course, then it will be too late to help us make decisions we have to make today. What a dilemma, huh? I guess all we can do today is the best we can, and stay away from superlatives and absolutes–unless we want the view of history to topple our myopic view of things with the truth of perspective.

Time for the FairTax

Saturday, July 29th, 2006

FairTax Book It is time for a fair tax. Now, I don’t like paying tax any more than anyone, and I want to pay less tax. But that’s not what the fair tax is about. We need to pay taxes, to support the programs of our nation. But we need to be fair about this. If you are not familiar with the fair tax, I suggest you buy “The FairTax Book.”Check or your neighborhood bookstore. It’s only a few bucks and well, well worth it. Heck, if you want, let me know and I’ll send you a copy–it’s that important to me.
No to IRSSo, it’s time for the FairTax. Time to get rid of the IRS. Time to make April 15th just another spring day. Get rid of the IRS. Let everyone pay their fair share. Tourists coming to the US? Let them pay some tax, they’re using our infrastructure. Illegal Immigrants getting paid under the table? Let them pay some tax, they’re consuming our resources. Tired of trying to figure out the multitude of conflicting and confusing IRS regulations? Get rid of the IRS and let each and everyone who buys or consumes anything pay tax on it.

Are you poor and want to buy a Yugo? Pay some tax on it. Are you rich and want to buy a Caddilac? Pay tax on it–more tax. Pay tax based on what you buy and what you consume, each and every one of us.

What about the poor? The FairTax gives a “prebate” to each and every one of us based on the poverty level, so that we are not taxed on the bare necessities of life. How much more fair could it be? Millions of the poor will pay even less tax than they do today. They’ll in effect get a wage increase. How is this possible? The FairTax gets rid of income tax AND social security and medicare taxes! Even the poor pay these. Well, especially the poor. But, I digress.

Let’s get rid of all income tax, FICA, medicare, social security, all those taxes. The FairTax will usher in an unprecedented era of growth and our economy will flourish. Foreign companies will flock here, rather than running away from the US.

Let me tell you folks, the FairTax is the way to go, and it’s a movement that’s gaining momentum. Ban the IRS! Get rid of Income Tax. Vote for whoever supports the FairTax, and against all it’s opponents. If you and your children want to enjoy unprecedented prosperity, this is the way to go the FairTax!!

Friday Frenzy

Friday, July 28th, 2006

Why is it that I look forward to Friday so much? Well, it’s the “end” of the work week. It’s too bad that work is such that the “light at the end of the tunnel” is the end of work–or at least a break from it. But that’s what the weekends are for many, many people.

When I was a kid, watching George Jetson, the vision of the future was one where machines made our lives so much easier and simpler, and gave us a lot more time, leisure time. That has not proved to be the case. I think we work harder than ever. Yes, in a way, we have a lot more “things” to show for it, but the really important things have been there all along, and in many cases, are fast disappearing. I’m talking about the out doors. Nature. The sky. Lakes. Streams. I’m talking about the quiet areas where, in days past, a person could go to just be and not have to take along a zillion gadgets.

I guess, in some part, camping can still take a person back to that era, and god knows I have not done much camping in the last number of years. I guess that should be one of my resolutions….to get back to nature, however I can. Maybe then, in some little way, I can escape the work “rat race” and escape the “Friday frenzy” that seems to go with it!

Feeding the Homeless / Feeding the Bears

Tuesday, July 25th, 2006

Orlando has decided to restrict feeding the homeless near the downtown area. Businesses in the area claim it brings crime. Duh! What a surprise. It’s kinda like feeding the bears, isn’t it? When you feed a bear, it’ll get trained to come back, and it’ll bring its friends. It will no longer have to wander around, working for its food. It knows where to go for food. Same thing with the homeless. I’m not against feeding them and helping them out. I think it’s society’s job to do that. But society should also be trying to help the homeless be not-homeless. Simply feeding them draws them back and, without the opportunity (or desire) to work for food (like the rest of us working people do), some of the homeless simply become hangers-on. They become like the bears, coming back for food because it’s easy and because they do not have to work hard for it. Free food to help someone get back one their feet–that’s our duty as people. Free food to encourage people to not work–shame on us when we do that!

I’m not sure I agree with the city of Orlando’s law, but I do think that as a society we need to be careful about the results of our actions. Feed the homeless, but act responsibly and encourage them to get back on their feet and become non-homeless again. That should be our goal.

Weather Worries??

Monday, July 24th, 2006

I live in central Florida. So, this time of year, the weather is always on my mind. Yes, I’m a weather junkie. I have a weather station and I post my weather on the Internet here:  I also feed my weather data to Weather Underground (, so if you search for the weather in my zip code, you find my data is what they give you. And, they maintain my historical data, too.

But during the late summer and early fall months, my thoughts turn to hurricane preparedness. We went through three hurricanes in 2004, Charley, Frances, and Jeanne. I lost power for 1-2 days in each of them.  But this year, I’m better prepared. I have a generator!  If I ever do need to use it, I’ll consider it a great investment. Now, stockpiling the gas for it may take a bit given today’s gas prices (near $2.90 a gallon, I think, and rising), but gas is still cheaper than rum or vodka!  I have extra bottled water on hand, and have most everything I need, should a hurricane threaten. So, I do have somewhat of a sense of weather security–just in case. Best to be prepared!

Orlando/Orange County’s misplaced priorities

Saturday, July 22nd, 2006

Ahh… Politicians….what a bunch of hypocrites and phonies. Here in central Florida, they are no better than anywhere else. In recent news, Orlando and Orange County are once again trying to cram a new arena down the throats of the taxpayers, trying to make people believe that this is all “free” money from somewhere else that will give us great benefits. What it will do is benefit the owner of the Orlando Magic–which has been far from a magical team lately.

On top of all this, there is political fighting because Nemours wants to give the area a new hospital. Yes, you heard right. $250 million for a new hospital!  But the other hospitals are afraid of the competition. Last I knew, competition and the free market were among the foundations of our country.

On top of all this, Orange County schools are facing something like a $75 million shortfall in money needed to build new schools and remodel existing ones. The politicians allow development after development with little thought to the impact to our school system. On top of that, a brand new teach in Orange County can expect a starting salary of about $32,000 this year, and top teachers with a master can expect a several thousand less than double that–after many, many years of experience.

Where are out priorities. We can look at what politicians “say” they are–but when we really investigate, we find out that they are misplaced by a mile. What a joke. Throw the bastards out in the next election, and get some new, fresh, socially progressive and fiscally conservative politicians in who will spend our money like it’s their own, not like a kid with $5 in a penny candy shop!

Appreciating the past

Friday, July 21st, 2006

I’ve been involved in genealogy for about seven years now. I’ve always been somewhat interested in my roots. I remember asking my grandparents questions about where they came from, what life was like, etc. I sure wish I had taken notes, as I’m sure I’ve forgotten a lot of it. Still, I do have a sense of “where I’m from,” so to speak. And a great respect for what my parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents went through in the past to get me to where I am today.

The one thing that really propelled me into a more formal search for roots was a series of family tree charts that my Mom’s cousin, Sonja, prepared for my grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary, way back in 1969. I used that data to begin my family tree.

 Now, over the years, I have “met” a few extended family members and relatives of relatives via the Internet. And I’ve become involved in a great group of people called the “History Buffs”–we all have roots in some way to Clark County, WI, and spend a lot of time on our web site posting information, pictures, documents, obituaries, tombstone photos, family information, history, and the like. It is a great group and working with it helps me appreciate and stay in touch with my roots and only increases my respect and admiration for all my ancestors went through. 

Perhaps this is more fitting for a memoria day post, but then again, I think we should always respect our ancestors and remember them constantly.

Keep on the Sunny Side

Wednesday, July 19th, 2006

There’s a great little song that keeps running through my head. The title is “Keep on the Sunny Side” and it was sung by June Carter Cash, among others. When were were at the Appalachia Museum in Tennessee last month, we came across a lady singing and playing guitar, and a guy on the fiddle. We bought her CD and this is one of the first songs on it, too. Anyway, it has a great message, I think. There is a certain amount of “dark side” things in life, bad things, accidents, things that happen wrong, even people who do or cause bad things. As they say “bad things happen to good people.” 

 However, a person can choose to focus on the bad, or look to the good side of things. Hence, “keep on the sunny side of life.” If you’d like to see the full lyrics of the song, go here: But the gist of the message is, no matter how bad things may get or seem, there is also a bright side just around the corner. Sometimes it takes some work to look for it, but it’s possible to leave strive and darkness behind and live in the sunshine, so to speak.

So, I guess my message to myself (and you) today is, there is a bright side to things, and it helps to look for it and not focus on the negative. Bad things will happen, the negative will find us, for sure.  But we don’t have to live in the shadows and darkness, we can choose to look for and move to live in the good side of life, on the happy side of things. Look for the good, don’t dwell on the bad. It’s good advice, I think.

Israel and the Arabs — Jews and Muslims

Tuesday, July 18th, 2006

We often lose sight of what’s really going on in the Middle East. The so-called “peace loving” nations of Islam hate the Jews and want them wiped off the face of the earth. The current “conflict” between Israel and the Hezbollah in Lebanon is just a small part of this battle. There is no doubt that Hezbollah is supported by Syria and funded by Iran, two evil empires that need to be dealt with. It is unfortunate that the US chose to focus on Iraq as now we seem to be stuck there. I think it’s time to get out. Let Iraq fall into civil war or whatever. Heck, if they’re fighting each other then can’t concentrate on us.

But we need to continue to support Israel. It is the one hope for peace in the mideast. And that support means pressure of all kinds on the various Arab nations. Nations like Saudi Arabia, who’ve called for an end to Hezbollah’s missile attacks, realize that they must get along with Israel in the long run. It’s too bad that so many other Arab nations don’t see that.

And, while we’re at it, from a US point of view, we need to end out dependence on foreign oil. Heck, set an oil rig up on Daytona Beach, for all I care. Drill the ANWAR till it looks like swiss cheese. Or, more importantly, we need to develop alternative sources. People against drilling more fail to provide alternatives. We need to do so. But in the end, when we’re not dependent on foreign (i.e., Arab) oil, we can be more of a powerhouse in the worls and the Arab nations will no longer see our motivation as a need for their oil. Then, we can really help Israel and the middle east move towards peace.

At least, that’s how I see it today…. But in the meantime, I hope Israel blasts the hell out of Hezbollah and any other arab groups that continue to attack them. Amen!

Looking at things from the long term view

Monday, July 17th, 2006

I learned an important lesson yesterday. Having recently been on vacation for three out of four weeks, things in the yard got a bit neglected. I even hired someone to mow my lawn for a number of weeks. Then yesterday, while mowing the lawn and checking out the landscape, I was amazed at the number of weeds there were. At one point, I thought to myself “what has happened that all these weeds all of a sudden appeared–it’s never been like this before!”

At that moment, I realized that I was now looking at things from the long term view. Usually, when I’m home and involved in the landscape, I stop from time to time here and there to pull a few weeds. It’s those occasional stops to pull a weed or do some maintenance which keep them at bay. When I was gone, they all built up. Guess I have to be thankful for the work I do in the short term, and cognizant that sometimes life is viewed only from the short term and not the long term.

Of course, I could apply this newfound philosophy to a lot of things. For example, is there global warming? I am not sure. The short term view tells me “yes.” But, there is no long term view readily availalbe. We know that thousands of years ago the upper midwest underwent and ice age, and those glaciers retreated. Are they still retreating? Does warming or cooling come and go? Science seems to tell us it does. But without a lot of hard evidence, we can’t really know the answer for sure, in the short term. Only the long term view will tell us the answer. But for some of these more profound issues like global warming, can we affort to wait a few thousands–or even millions–of years to find the answer?