Friday, August 28, 2009


As Americans, we pride ourselves on our freedom and do not give much thought about it from day to day. In what do we really want to be free? Is it enough to say I can vote for whomever I want, buy the car I want, live where I want, marry who I want, associate with whomever I want, read what I want or attend the church I want? Is there more? For a while now our freedom has been under attack. The first instance I can think of right now is the freedom to smoke. That freedom has pretty much been obliterated. Should a free person be allowed to smoke? Not when it affects others, we say. Long ago a gentleman would ask a lady if she would give him permission to smoke. No permission, no smoking. From there, we slowly progressed to the constraints we now have. Smoke free offices, factories, elevators, restaurants, bars, public gatherings, parks, beaches and even in the home when children are present. Should we be proud that we have denied some of our citizens a freedom? You say, their health will be better? Is a person free to do as he will with his life? If a person decides to eat french-fries every main meal (as I once did) and clog their arteries, is he not free to do so? If a person over eats at every meal they are free to do it. If they drink cokes at every meal and affect their endocrine system they are free to do it. Some are in favor of the freedom to have an abortion and others would deny it. Still others say: "Not with my money." How about the freedom to attend school? Drop out of school at a certain age and you find no freedom to do it. We have freedom of speech and yet it is severely curtailed in many universities. The freedom to take a drink is relished by those who imbibe, yet we had an amendment to the Constitution that prohibited just that. Should we have the freedom to use recreational drugs, even to point of dying from it's use? The "nanny state" is upon us and is restricting our freedoms. Do you feel the hand of government coming to take more of our freedoms away? Some examples: control the kind of fat used in cooking, taking the right of child discipline from the parents, buy only small, energy efficient cars, require a passport to travel outside the Country, buy gasoline that has ethanol in it, submit to extensive searches to get onto an airplane, mandatory flu shots, environmental studies required to use your own land, etc. At what point do we lose the distinction, or the boast, that we are free?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Dreams - A Movie

How nice it would be if at the end of a dream the credits would roll to show who, or what, was involved in the making of the dream. I, the dreamer, would appreciate it very much because I am aware that there are other entities involved. For instance: Who is the director? Who is the writer? Who does the set designs? Also, I would like to know who is in charge of retaining copies because they are doing a lousy job, I can never rerun a dream. I once had a dream that was going along quite normally, when I suddenly realized that there was something cut out. In other words, like a piece of film had been snipped out and then the film ends attached together. I immediately stopped the dream in order to ponder how this had happened, all the while still dreaming. How did I know something was missing (as if I had read the script beforehand)? Who is setting this up for me? Color is another variant that is puzzling. Sometimes there is color and sometimes there is only black and white. Who decides? How varied is the palette because sometimes there is a plethora of color and sometimes there are only two colors? At times I am aware of designs that I have never seen before, similar to non-discript wallpaper. How did this design get created? From where does the intricate nature of the design spring? Who decided when a design was sufficient, or complete? Sometimes, I, the dreamer, can steer the dream in a certain direction but, yet, never too much. What determines my limitations of control. Does the director give me limits? Is there a casting manager that limits the number of people in the dream? I recognize that my thinking faculties are deficient when I am dreaming. I am able to do things that I would not do if I were thinking straight. For example: jump long distances when I desire, or swim and breathe while underwater. There have been dreams from which I awoke in order to go to the bathroom and upon returning try to resume the same dream. On those times in which I have had some success, the scene is never truly the same scene, it has somehow perceptively changed. Yet, I am usually pleased upon it's resumption like I have accomplished a difficult task. However, this resumption is usually very short lived, i.e. the dream ends quickly. Why does it end so fast when I want it to continue? If it can be said that dreams are like movies, my dreams are a lot like reality, I never have a coke or popcorn during such a movie. And the price is right.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Reunion and 80th Birthday Surprise

I went to Atlanta for Pat's birthday on Aug. 3 and stayed an extra week. I knew many of the kids would be there for a reunion, the first one for many attendees. The reunion was a success and was enjoyed by all. While everyone was there Pat decided to celebrate my 80th birthday, also making it a surprise. I had never had a birthday in August and never had a surprise birthday either. I had no idea it was coming, though looking back there were clues, clues which I missed entirely. Is it nice to fool an old man? Pat did as much cooking as she used to do when everyone was younger. She needed a thorough rest after everyone left. I had not seen some of the great grandchildren before and they are all delightful. Their mothers took very good care of them. Amanda came with Mathew, who is a pleasant young man, and it was our first encounter with him. He is a chess player and played a few games with any who desired, while he won most, he did not beat his grandfather, Scott. The great grandchildren loved the big pool. They all wore the "floaties" on their arms and nearly all will make the leap of riddance in the near future. Jon Pierre and Mathew shared with caring for the little ones in the pool. We have one "night owl" in the family, Ryan. He stayed up every night after all had gone to bed. He is working up a resume for a job as a night watchman. Sean mentions his drive from Knoxville but we had others that had much longer drives. Tarren and Pete came from Chicago, as did Duane and Rebecca. Dawn and Kelly drove from Milwaukee, and Amanda and Mathew came from Orlando. Mark flew in and out from ?? We alternated eating venues from our house and Duane and Debbie's house. Both places were able to accommodate all that came by carrying folding chairs from place to place. Robert was able to join us in eating a few times, always after a bike ride of 25 to 100 miles (keeps him thin). Amber displayed a boyfriend a few times, he took most of the group pictures. Between our three places we had room for everyone, Cheryl took most that did not fit in the condo. Those that were missing were Mark and the five Hoeksema kids. Also missing: Cheryl's boys in the Air Force, John and Danny, and Karen's husband Steve. Sean has given a lengthy description of the time that he was there and I refer you to his blog for more details. It is my understanding that he has posted some pictures on his Facebook. I will admit that Karen, Sean and Ryan are better tennis players than I am. I hope Jerry does not read this.