Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Counting Chickens Before They Are Hatched

Have you noticed lately that the Republicans are going out of their way to maximize what they believe will be historic gains this election. They have forgotten the maxim: Don't count your chickens before they are hatched. Pollsters have been working overtime to supply polls that will sell. In today's world polls are used to make news and not necessarily to reflect the true state of the electorate. The Democrats, even as I write, are taking steps to minimize their losses by spending additional money of close races. Make no mistake, the amount of money spent does make a difference. On another note, Democrats have been saying that the Tea Party people are only a flash in the pan and will disappear once this election is over. They fail to understand how deep seated this movement is to reduce the size of government and reduce spending. The Tea Party people will be a very long lived movement because of the resolve they have for the change they want. The people that have the biggest surprise coming are the Republicans. There will be Tea Party people that will be elected this time around and they will be marginalized. Their strength will come in the elections of 2012 where the primary fights will be furious.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Cornucopia Kids

It is apparent to me that this generation is raising kids that get everything they desire. These kids are regarded as foremost in the family. They come before the parents, relatives and grandparents. Affection for these kids goes beyond normal parental instincts where the parents are charged with the role of teacher, advisor, disciplinarian, needs provider and love giver. They help the child to mature and eventually take their place as productive members of society. To fit a person into society means that they must know themselves and where they stand in the universe, by this I mean a religious background. They must be taught about God, what God wants, how to please God and the parents. They must be taught respect for other members of the family (even if they are crazy) and the rituals that are important to the family. They must be taught how to relate to neighbors and their children. They must be told that education is important and they must strive to learn all they can. They must learn that there is pain in this world and that everyone has some in life, along with the understanding that this society runs on money and it is good to have some. All this is done before they attend their first day of school. Today's parents have abandoned much of the above changing themselves into suppliers of children's desires instead of suppliers of children's needs. A child needs shelter, food, clothing and love. The parental response today is to give excessive and sometimes non-nourishing food, provide shelter large enough to give each child their own room, clothe in the latest fashion, transport in an SUV for sports participation, electronic equipment to satisfy every audio or visual whim, and allow the child to pick and maintain their friends and what they do together. All this makes the parents the slaves of the children.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Norman Troshack

At St. Gabriel's, Norman Troshack was one grade in front of me. He was an altar bay and he was in the choir. I first met Norman in the Bennett school ground while playing softball. We were not close, he was just one of the kids that played there. He played ball well but nothing outstanding. He had some older brothers that sometimes came to play softball. When the older kids came to play we younger kids sat out and watched. If there were not enough players when the older kids played some of the watchers were invited to play, none refused such an invitation. Norman was always asked before I was because he was better. This skill hierarchy was accepted by all. Norman lived on Whittaker near Springwells and his brothers started to play at Wilson school ground because it was bigger. Soon all the older kids went there and we younger kids had free reign at Bennett school ground. Norman continued to play at Bennett, he was just one of the usual kids that showed up to play. Eventually, he left us and went to Wilson with his brothers. In 1940 and 1941 there were a few of the older guys in the neighborhood that joined the Army. Older ball players were becoming scarce and my group got to play all the time. One day after Choir practice, Norman and I began to talk and he walked along with me. I started down Mullane and when we got to Whitaker his route was to turn left to home. He asked me to walk him half way, and I did. We were deeply into a kid conversation, the subject of which I have no recollection. He then said he wnated to buy me a Coke at Cunningham's Drugstore on Springwells. I was shocked at this invitation and we continued to walk past his house and onward to Springwells. When we got Cunningham's we climbed up on the stools and he said he liked cherry Cokes, and bought two. I had never had a cherry Coke and found it delicious. Regular Cokes were five cents but cherry Cokes were six cents. Shortly after we drank the Cokes I said goodbye and went home. I remember thinking at the time how this seemed so strange. None of us kids ever had extra money to treat somebody, why did he do it? Did he learn it from his brothers? I was aware that his father had a good income and his home was better than mine (his house was brick) did he get an allowance? Summer came and I went to Canada for the vacation period. When I came back I no longer went to choir practice and instead got a paper route. I did not see Norman very often and he soon went to Holy Redeemer High School. While I continued to play ball at Bennett he did not come back to play there. I knew it was more fun to play in that larger playground at Wilson. So our lives drifted apart until I never saw him again. I don't know if his family moved away or if it stayed there. A number of families moved for higher wages elsewhere and perhaps that is what happened. Over the years I have remembered his kindness of a cherry Coke and puzzled over why he did it. It was the first time that an associate had ever done that for me. If I could see him today, I would ask him why he did it and how he learned to do that type of kindness.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Hawk

While having lunch today, I became aware of a hawk that was circling over the fairway. It was only his shadow that I could see and he appeared to be going in a large ellipse. I got up to see what his target might be and could see nothing on the ground. At times he would swoop low and then rise for altitude. My view was obstructed by my trees and some bushes, but I knew he was not there to while away his time. I have only seen one squirrel in the last week and that was yesterday, could he have spotted mine. The hawks have been doing a great job for the last two years, nearly eliminating our screen damage from them. Pat would become angry when squirrels would run up and down our screens, rush out onto the back porch and yell. Most of the time they moved off but if they did not get all the way off Pat would run at them to make them move off. Dawn's dog, Bonnie, always ran after squirrels and they would jump on the fence and scamper off. Bonnie threw her hip out chasing after a squirrel, cost Dawn some real expense to get her whole again. I'm lucky, not only do the hawks eliminate the squirrels, but if a hawk gets hurt he is on his own. I am aware that the environmentalists are working hard to save the polar bears and their food is seals. What exactly is it that the environmentalists have against seals. On a similar note: on Fleming Island nearby there is a Golden Eagle nest. There are large signs near the bottom of the tree that warn of high fines and jail time if a nest is disturbed. At the street there is even a larger sign giving the same warning. When a Golden Eagle egg is broken - jail time. When a human embryo is disturbed no jail time. Is an eagle worth more than a human?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Dance Of The Lemons

Are you familiar with the term "dance of the lemons"? School administration leaders are. It comes out this way: A poor teacher in a school is reported to the school athorities and parents are upset. The school cannot dismiss a teacher because of the teachers union. In order to take the heat off of themselves, the school administration transfers the teacher to an inner-city school where parents are not as severe or vigilant about the learning of their kids. Do you think this is possible in your school system?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Shovel Ready

Today we witnessed the President openly admitting that he does not know what he is talking about. It was an amazing admission and must diminish his stature in many eyes. Many months ago he said he was going to immediately improve the job situation by giving the go ahead for shovel ready jobs. Supremely confidant, he stated that there are many, many shovel ready jobs just waiting to start. Today, he stated that there are no such things as shovel ready jobs. Why would he say that? Why not just continue trying to fool the people that he is all knowing and will get us out of our problems. For me, this is earth shattering. How can he ever be trusted by his supporters again. Those who understand business realize that he is woefully ignorant about how jobs are created and how to expand the economy. As a Marxist, he assumes that the economy is a static entity. Economists know that economies are dynamic and are extremely complex. He may be receiving his first important economics lesson.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

8:00 Mass

It is my custom to attend the 8:00 mass on Sunday. I like to get there early, about 7:35, for quiet praying (this week for Kim) and then to sit back and read the day's readings. After the readings it is pleasant to ponder the thread that connects the three readings. Today that thread was about "thanking" for what we have received. The first reading covered the leper who was cleansed and then went back to Elisha to thank him. The Gospel reading was about the ten lepers that were cleansed but only one went back to Jesus to thank Him. Of course these same readings are read during the mass. After that, today, the Priest's homily was on thankfulness. Therefore, the same message is presented to me three times, through reading, through listening and through instructing. Also pleasing is the four person choir that sings just before the mass starts. Later they sang "Amazing Grace" and it emotionally affected me. There are times when I join in and sing (remember, the person who sings prays twice) but my voice, disappointingly, does not have the range it did in the past. Today, the psalm was sung with unusual clarity, every syllable could be distinguished, I like that. It disrupts me when the psalm is nasally sung to hit every note without attention to the words. Today, John Daigle, a past tennis partner, was sitting on my left, there were three of us in our row. During the "Kiss Of Peace" I reached out to my right but the lady did not take my hand. (It brought to mind the time when the same thing happened with an old man. He later apologized and explained that his immune system was very low and he should not touch anything that might affect it. In fact, his doctor had advised him not to leave the house because of his condition.) She later did shake my hand giving me a big smile. We have four retarded men who live together with a care giving couple. They are usually all at the 8:00 mass. Today, I was amazed at the quantity of wine that one of them drank during communion. That was one gigantic sip. It amused me to think of him draining the cup leaving nothing for those following. I wondered if one of his care givers had seen it and if he would be re instructed in the correct procedure. After mass is over the priest will come forward and conduct what I most detest. He asks if there are any birthdays and inquires the age, whereupon all the people clap for each one. After this comes the inquiry, any wedding anniversaries. A person will call out the number of years and again all clap. Next, any visitors, and they will call out where they are from, again all clap. While it is inane to me, the people seem to like it. When the priest exists walking down the isle, small children come forward to hold his hand and walk with him. Sometimes there will be ten children surrounding him each holding one of his fingers. Yes, a peculiar sight, and it is not easy for him to walk without stepping on them. The kids love it.

Monday, October 04, 2010

What To Make Of It?

Scenes of the 10/2/10 rally have just been shown and I was shocked with the condition of the mall and some of the monuments. There was trash everywhere, particularly discarded signs and literature. The memorials, at almost any other time, are treated with reverence, every scrap of paper is picked up by whoever sees it. Why did this happen? Did these people truly represent the environmentalists in their party? Aren't they the ones that lecture others about a clean planet? I am disgusted when someone at McDonald's does not clean their trash and throw it in the bins provided. Very, very few people will leave trash on their tables, it is just natural to pick up and discard. I am confident that many of the people at the 10/2/10 rally have eaten at McDonald's and have discarded their trash in an appropriate manner. Why not at the rally? The group on 8/27/10 cleaned up after themselves and left the mall without any paper on it. Why did that happen?

Friday, October 01, 2010

Kim's Funeral

Pat and I have just returned from Kim's funeral in Clermont, FL. Kim died from a massive heart attack while at home. John was there right after she fell to the floor. They called 911 for an ambulance but John believes she was dead before they took her away, she was 54 years old. Of course, it was a surprise to everyone. Monica is so frail that we all thought she would be dying soon. I wondered how Monica would take this news but, as far as I could tell, she handled everything fine. Her memory is so bad that I joked with Pat that each day she is told it will be news to her. Todd was there with Angie and Linda, having come up from Fort Lauderdale. They were there on Wednesday night during the evening showing, the funeral mass the next morning and the lunch after that. Todd and Angie look great, they have started on an exercise regimen with a personal trainer. Linda is still on her diet and has such a sweet disposition and so easy to talk with. A curious thing happened during the funeral mass. There was a ray of sunlight that played onto the casket from time to time during the service. John had his nine year old grandson, Austin, at his side who asked him what was happening. John told him the angels were doing it. He accepted that explanation. Krista was the most distraught person during the whole episode. She had periods of crying and loud statements. I understand she was given some Xanex but it did not seem to help. She did rally enough on Wednesday evening to recite a statement about her sister. It was well done. In the funeral home, about ten feet from the casket, there was a TV screen that played picture-slides of Kim's life. Music was added to it that made the experience of waiting in that room rather comforting. It was set to continually cycle. The funeral home was filled with people and many had to stand. There were many people from Disney and Martin that came; they also came to the Church, Blessed Sacrament, for the funeral mass. The Church was full. There was a lunch provided after the funeral mass attended by about 120 people. It was all managed by a friend of John's, she was very thorough. All the flowers from the funeral home were there and it was most colorful. Todd mentioned that he was close in age to Kim and it had him worried. Pat told him that Lori, Monica and she were all pregnant at the same time. All three were born within a few months of one another. When Pat talked to Duane on the phone he also said he was worried. The priest gave a homily about always being prepared for death, "because we know not the hour or the day when we shall be called to make an accounting." He called her a young person and said her life was cut short in the eyes of many people, yet, she had lived as full a life as she could. Lori and Bernie were not there, they were out of the country. Todd said he had no idea how to get in touch with them. He was even concerned about how he would tell them because he was supposed to pick them up at the airport. I told him he should know how to do it, he was the one that told them that their house had burned. He laughed and said:"Yeah, and my Mom said which one?" Mitchel and Danny, Kim's son, were pall bearers; Ryan, Debbie's son, and Bob, Debbie's husband, were also pall bearers; the others I did not know. We got to talk to Mitch's ex-wife, Robin, who is a most impressive conversationalist. She is a strong person and I can see why she did not get along with Mitch. She has remarried and now has a subservient husband. She had custody of their child, Colton, for a number of years. She said that when Colton wanted to play baseball she realized that he now needed his Father more than her and let him move in with Mitch. Colton is now living and going to school in Jacksonville. He attends North Florida University. Kim was to be cremated and when Pat asked John what would happen to her ashes he said he would keep them at the house. We got to see John's house after the lunch. The house is situated on a hill with lots of land around it. We saw the two horses that are no longer ridden, just living out their lives. John says he will have them until they die. This is the house that John and Kim designed and they have since added a pool. Kim wanted one so that the grandkids would be able to learn to swim there. Kim enjoyed her life as a child and wanted her grandkids to enjoy theirs as well.