Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Liberty and the current government crisis

I cannot go along with those who claim doomsday is just past the horizon. Though I believe there may come a time when the foibles of our political leadership have led us down a road of no return, I find it counterproductive to assume that we are already there. That may be the case and preparing for it should be on every thinking person's mind (and not only on their minds, but in their plans and in their actions, such as acquiring needed resources in the eventuality of such a disaster as the collapse of our economy) from time to time, but to continually dwell upon it removes all hope and joy from life.
So what do I think needs to be done, right here, right now? If the elections are truly a farce, rigged, and people are truly fraudulently elected--if the American people are truly fools who will elect whomever the media convinces them should be elected--if no matter who I elect caters to the media, the corporations, George Soros, or anyone else who is out there pulling strings, then nothing I do matters. Why should I do anything other than prepare for the eventual war that will occur?
The reason is this, I do not believe that we should give up non-violent measures to preserve life and liberty until all other measures have been exhausted.
That being said, we see through national polling (not discounting that the polls themselves could be rigged, but I'm not as much of a conspiracist to believe that every pollster is bought and paid for) that all of the Republicans, save Donald Trump, beat any Democrat running. This looms large because of one thing--the recent demise of a true champion of the Constitution on the Supreme Court--Antonin Scalia. With the Court in a crucial balance right now, one more leftist on it could totally undo our Constitution. If we get another Supreme Court justice like Sonia Sotomayor to replace Scalia, say goodbye to our 2nd Amendment rights.
That makes it imperative for any Constitution loving American to vote and to vote for the most conservative candidate who can actually win. Voting for a Libertarian or Constitution Party candidate doesn't get the job done of electing a candidate who will nominate a justice who actually believes in and affirms the original intent of the Constitution. This election is more crucial than any other, and the death of Scalia makes it even more so. Trump isn't the candidate who would defeat Clinton or Sanders, and it's arguable that he's even a conservative. It's highly questionable who he might nominate as a Supreme Court justice. Yet for conservatives to say that they won't vote for him if he's the Republican candidate is to virtually give the presidency to the left, and thus tearing to shreds the remaining fabric of our beloved Constitution. The best thing is to make sure that Trump isn't the candidate representing conservative values, but if he is, he is a far better choice than either Hillary or "the Bern". Unless, of course, your goal is to undermine the Constitution and reduce liberty in America. If that's your goal, my advice is to vote for one of the leftist candidates, and then, when you find that your liberty has been usurped by those who would curtail your freedom of speech, your ability to call terrorism terrorism, your ability to speak your mind without recrimination, your ability to drive as far as you want to in whatever vehicle you want to drive--then you can take full responsibility for your actions. For each man or woman must own up to the decisions they make and the causes they advocate--and the results that come from those choices.
Yes, we might be headed down a path of destruction, but to do nothing to stop it, or if we try and hasten it, is in my mind a trail to ruin. I will be there to fight, if and when the time comes, but I will not give up on the America in which I grew up. I will not give up on the fighting spirit of liberty that has dwelt in the heart of every true American since the day our Founder first signed the great Declaration. Those Founders fought for liberty, even to be wrong.

Today's keys for better health

I've recently been seeing a naturopath to try and figure out ways to lower my blood pressure without resorting to blood pressure meds. So far, so good. My last three measurements have been 110/62, 100/58, and 128/78. Those aren't bad readings. There is really no clear cut answer for what levels blood pressure measurements would be considered "low" other than how a person feels. If you have reading, like say, my middle one of 100/58, well that would typically be low, but not necessarily. It's more based upon whether or not you feel good. With low pressure you may feel dizzy or light headed. I felt none of those symptoms when I hit my lowest figure.

So what's helping me? I've been eating better. I have a smoothie for breakfast, try and eat less grains (the doc says it's not because they are bad for me, but because eating grains keeps us from eating veggies and fruit). I'm also avoiding foods with added salt, such as canned cream of mushroom, tomato, or cream of chicken. Though I still eat the occasional bad meal (yesterday I had chili cheese fries for lunch), I'm mixing in more lunches from home and progressing in a more positive direction--away from the fried foods in general, bringing tuna sandwiches to work, eating apples on my breaks etc.

I've also been doing things to control stress. Relaxing, deep breathing, controlling my own reactions to things.

My exercise levels have gone way down during the past couple of months due to being on the overtime list at work. I can only believe that once I'm back exercising like I should be, at the beginning of April at the latest, my health will improve even more. I will be able to go for a walk this morning while I'm waiting for Ann at her doc's appointment, and I will be skiing this afternoon, so it's not like I'm totally ignoring the exercise part.

So, here are the keys: avoid fast foods and extra salt intake, eat wholesome veggies and fruits, practice stress relief, exercise, drink plenty of water. A guy in my study group last night said that giving gratitude to God for the water as you're drinking it actually makes the water respond is a positive way and that studies have shown that. Though a cursory look found no studies to confirm this, it doesn't hurt to have an attitude of gratitude in all we do. A positive outlook, keyed by gratitude goes a long way to creating an atmosphere in which good health can flourish.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Life amid its busyness

I have taken on extra work since the beginning of the year. At the post office where I work, employees can get on the overtime list at the beginning of each quarter. I generally stay off the list for three quarters of the year, but get on it for the first three months of the year. As time has gone by, however, and my responsibilities at home have gotten greater, I see the need to stop this practice. Either that, or find ways to make my home responsibilities less than they currently are. Most of the home responsibilities depend upon Ann's health. She can do things to improve her health, but with the auto-immune disorders that she has, there is a limited ceiling to what she can reasonably be expected to do.

Still, anything helps. And, it should snowball. If she can have one success, like making one dinner per week, she will see that she can do more and progress from there. It's a win win situation.

Getting on the OT list has been a big help for this particular first quarter. We have some added expenses like paying taxes, doing the timing belt on the car, and some other things that weren't really projected. It has, however, made it much more challenging to write in this blog.

That being said, it's part of life, and I kind of like the challenge. I just don't want things to get too challenging. This level is about my max for not being too stressed.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Where would I be? Without Your Love--Roger Daltrey's love ballad is a classic

Not as well-known as some love songs, still, this one touches my heart. One of the great love songs, for your post-Valentine's Day pleasure.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

A night at the Harlem Globetrotters

A few weeks ago, Ann mentioned that she'd really like to go see the Harlem Globetrotters since she'd never seen them live before. They had two nights that they would be playing within driving distance. Monday night they were in Salt Lake. We decided we'd rather go Tuesday night when they would be playing in Ephraim--a two-hour drive, but a chance to see them in a more intimate venue--the Gymnasium at Snow College. I hadn't actually told her I was buying tickets until about two weeks ago when they came in the mail and she got to see the mail before I did.
We stopped at a Mexican restaurant called Malena's Cafe before the event to eat dinner. I really liked the chicken fajitas, which was the special of the day. Ann had a sweet pork burrito and thought that it was okay, but not as good as Cafe Rio's.
When we arrived at the Gymnasium, there were no ushers other than at the door, and the guy at the door told us that our VIP tickets were for the blue seats. As we approached the blue seats, we saw some folks seated on some orange seats, courtside and we asked if we were allowed to sit there. One woman said that that was where one of the workers at the place told them they could sit. I personally had a hunch that these were the seats the teams would sit on, because there were no other seats near courtside.
During the pregame activities, a few of the people got up off the orange seats and participated in a dance contest to be voted on by the crowd. After the contest, those people never returned to the orange seats. The only people left on the orange seats at this point were the woman who had been told (allegedly) that they could sit there, and one of her kids, and Ann and I. She got up and said that she didn't want to be part of any kind of dance contest, and left, leaving Ann and I as the only ones there.
Soon the teams came in and my fears were realized. The team opposing the Globetrotters was called the All-Stars and we were sitting on their bench. They filled all the seats except for the last three, and we were on the last two. We asked one of the players if we should leave. He told us we were fine to sit there, so we ended up with great seats for the entire night!
It was great fun and typical Globetrotter antics ruled the evening. I suggest if you've never seen them to do so at least once in your life, I had seen them many years previously.
The fun event was over at about 8:30, and we got on the road by 9:00. As we got into Salt Creek Canyon, where there was once an infamous massacre I took the chance that I take when I get it and stopped by the side of the road. I opened the sunroof and we looked up at the stars. Then I got out and looked at them. I cannot believe how much different looking at the stars is when I am away from the city. I got back in and told Ann, "I would move here just for that."
We arrived back home at about 11:00. It was a fun time. I don't know that I'll ever need to go to the Harlem Globetrotters again, and Ann says she doesn't need to, but the experience and the adventure was well worth it. Check out the pics below.
Getting pics with a camera I don't know how to use was a challenge because of the fast movement of the ball.

High flying dunks were part of the show.

Here's our view of the bench and game.

We were practically a part of every team huddle for the All Stars.

A few of the All-Stars looking on.

Ann liked being a part of the All-Stars bench and cheered for them.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

911 is for emergencies? Hmm. I'm not sure I like the way it worked last night

The night was dark and I was returning from a trip to the grocery store. I had stopped in a parking lot on the way home to put some things away, and when I went to pull onto the street again, I noticed the traffic was really congested. I had a hard time getting back on the street. As a gap appeared in the line of cars, I saw an accident had occurred. A rollover and the wheels were still spinning. One or two people had already made it over the the vehicle and I pulled over to the side. I pulled out my phone to report the accident that apparently, I had just barely missed witnessing first hand. I dialed 9-1-1. You have reached 911 a masculine recorded voice said, please do not hang up and the next available operator will assist you. I waited and waited, perhaps 4-5 minutes before a different voice came on and said, the person you are trying to reach is not available. Please try again later. I'm not sure if those were the exact words, but that's pretty close.
I redialed 9-1-1, and began getting the same please do not hang up recording I had gotten the first time. I finally heard sirens. Apparently someone had been able to get through, thankfully. By now a large group of people were over there trying to help. While I had been on the phone trying to report the accident, I had seen a guy rush over there with rubber gloves--apparently he had some kind of medical know-how. I'm not sure if any of them had been able to do anything. One guy came back past me and said, "it's bad", and walked on to his vehicle.
I don't know what the outcome was. I do know that if I had been under attack in my home, or my house was on fire, and I had to depend upon the 911 system at that time, I would have been in serious trouble. At least, if someone was intruding at my house I'd know how to defend myself, but other kinds of incidents, such as accidents and fires, require a swift response time. When people's lives are at stake, as in an accident of that magnitude, the system should work better.

Longer--a great Dan Fogelberg Classic

Dan Fogelberg's Longer. I don't think anything else needs to be said.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Tax time--do it early this year

I think I'll figure out my taxes tomorrow. It's my day off, and it needs to be done. Of course, I hate doing it. I had planned on doing it on my last day off and ended up postponing it. There are several reasons why doing taxes is a pain the butt, and that's why I abhor doing them. Chief among the reasons is the paperwork involved. I have to have that document, and this document just to get started. I have to sort through stacks of stuff to find what I need. I could take it to a professional, but I'd still have to sort through my own pile at home before I took it.
My taxes aren't that complicated. I don't need an accountant to do them. Generally, I use an online free tax program and that works just fine.
Still it gives me a headache.
There's a good reason though for me to get on it and get it done tomorrow though. Thieves are using identity theft to steal people's refunds, so the sooner you can file your own taxes, the less chance that you will be a victim of fraud. Not that I'm expecting much of a refund, if any. I do adjustments to try and break even. I may even have to pay a little. But that's another good reason to get my taxes done early, so that I know if I owe anything prior to the deadline.
I sure wish we could adopt an easier system. I like paper. It's great for writing, gift wrapping, books, and making airplanes. What I don't like is the headache of taxes each year. I really support the Fair Tax. But if that doesn't fly, I want some kind of flat tax.

Saturday, February 06, 2016

More in the classic love song series. Put your head on my shoulder.

Lest we forget one of the all-time great love songs. Put Your Head on My Shoulder.