June, 2010 - It turns my stomach to see a convicted killer grandstanding before the television
cameras and getting national attention, because he has requested death by a firing squad
(still available in Utah).  He shot a police officer, and I really think that he considers himself a
hero - and certainly the extra attention adds to that notion.
In the memorial to the horrible Oklahoma City bombing there are numerous photos of Timothy
McVeigh, the nut case who considered himself a hero.  If I had designed this presentation, I
would have made certain that every photo of him had the face covered with a circle and an
X
- as a message to him and to the world that it is not our intention to glorify this kind of
sociopathic behavior.
I don't usually discuss
religion in this space, but the topic came up indirectly recently, and I
felt the need to share these thoughts.  These are some of my basic ideas:
If your faith causes you to be alienated from your friends and your family, your faith is not
adding much to your life.  Certainly there are writings that tend to agree with your position, but
I believe that "love one another" is superior to all of those - in fact, you cannot practice "love
one another as long as the other "stuff" is in the way.
If your faith causes you to feel that you are more "special" in the eyes of your creator than
some of your brothers and sisters,  you are walking on very shaky ground.  Certainly a belief
in justification by faith and the promise of a heavenly hereafter can bring personal satisfaction
and peace, but at the moment you decide that someone else in not worthy, you have put
yourself in the place of your creator.  It is a dangerous place to be.
If you believe that you have gained some measure of prosperity and the "good life" because
of your faith, you may not be looking at the complete picture.  Your position in life is largely the
result of having been born in a free and prosperous nation, having parents who taught you
well and emphasized the value of education, having made good choices regarding work and
your social circle, and, finally - being in the right place at the right time.  Certainly your faith
has helped you continue on your way when times were a little tough, but it is not the central
component that allowed you to have the many blessings that you enjoy.   

June, 1980 - It is obvious from statements made by some candidates following all of the
presidential primaries that for the first time in history
everyone is winning.  Carter is winning.  
Reagan is winning.  Kennedy is winning.  Even Anderson (don't remember him) is winning.  
I think the time is right to take full advantage of all of these "winners" (more than we have ever
had before) and let them all become a presidential committee designed to replace the office
originally meant for only one man.
In the news recently was the arrest of someone known as "Farmer Brown" for cultivating and
harvesting an illegal weed on his premises.  In his defense he claimed that he was raising the
plant for his cows to help break the monotony of eating the same old hay every day.  I've
heard of "milk from contented cows", but I didn't know anyone was taking special measures
to make it happen.
The other day I came across an ecology-minded publication called the "Mother Earth
Times".  I thought you would be interested to know that the letters to the editor begin,
appropriately enough, with "Dear Mother".

RHYME FOR OUR TIME:

I'm the last to argue with women's rights today.
I'm glad they're liberated and free to go their way.
But I don't intend to stop being courteous and polite;
I still hold doors open for women - whether it's wrong or right.

It's a harmless action, done with little thought -
not patronizing, chauvinistic - just something I was taught.
It used to rate a "thank you" - sometimes a pleasant smile;
but simple courtesy in reverse is going out of style.