Cloud Gazing

There are days when all I want to do is to sit and gaze upon the clouds. They make me want to dream. Sometimes, they put me in a stupor, and at others a state of euphoria. At other times, they make me sad, and depressed.

It is fun to search for something to see in the shape of clouds. That one looks like Mickey Mouse, or gee, today they are strips of cotton floating along in rows to infinity. Yesterday, they were massive mountains of white billowy gobs of whipped cream sitting on top of a blue sky reaching for heaven. This morning they were a shapeless gray cover blanketing the earth.

Clouds are scary when they are green, dark grey, black, and swirl around from place to place in a fury. Sometimes they unleash their swirling energy and sweep the countryside in a rage. Other times they are generators of electrical charge that release energy in a giant flash of light that zigzags to mother earth to explode anything in its way.

Ah yes, clouds, they are many things.

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How the Garden Has Taught Me Conservatism

One of my passions is bird watching. I love to see and identify birds in my yard. I do not go to the woods, or to exotic places to watch, I watch from my kitchen table. The trick is to attract a large variety of birds. There are several ways to do this. One way is to create an environment that is conducive to birds. Plantings of trees, shrubs, flowers, and a water feature all add to the formula. The biggest trick of all is bird feeding.  Free easy to get food does it every time.

The problem with providing free, easy to get food is that soon, the feeders are empty, that necessitates constant maintenance, and considerable cost. If the free food secret stayed with pretty birds, it would not be too bad. What happens though is that the illegal aliens arrive to take advantage. The less colorful and common bird’s will crowd out the colorful birds. Soon, animals of many species join in the fest. Everyone loves a free meal. Squirrels, raccoons, possum, rabbits, deer, you name it, if it lives around here it comes to the feeder.

Another thing I have observed is that the free food factor attracts a single species of bird more than others do. The English House Sparrow is the most common visitor. It is not one, but many. I see as many as six of them perched on a feeder; gorging themselves. When I take a walk around the house, a flock of sparrows will flee from the feeder as I approach.

So often, I tell myself, “This is just like a welfare program.” If I stop, the birds go away, and find natural food sources. When I feed, they all come to take advantage of the entitlement. Am I wrong to train these creatures to accept the handout? Would I better serve God’s creatures by ignoring them to find food on their own?

Yesterday, I spent considerable time pulling thistle from my flowerbed. The sweat and effort was of my own doing. By providing thistle seed for the goldfinches, I am guilty of spreading the weed all through the yard. It happens two ways. One is by bird droppings, and the other is by spillage from the feeder. Thistle is a nasty weed whose roots spread horizontally, and send shoots up every six inches. Pulling thistle only brings it back with a vengeance. The broken roots sprout new plants almost immediately.

I wonder what damage I do by feeding birds while they raise their young. I often see a mother bird placing seed into the mouth of a fledgling near the feeder. What if the parent never teaches the fledgling to seek natural sources of food? What if the fledge relies entirely on my source? Will he survive, or will he require a feeder for the remainder of his life?

Gardeners are never satisfied with the natural environment of a location. Here in Illinois, we live on a prairie. A prairie habitat is prolific with perennial plants that most gardeners abhor. Yet, when we view a prairie in its natural splendor, it is beautiful. Have you ever seen a field of Queen Anne’s lace in bloom? It is absolutely- gorgeous. The same is true of a field of yellow dandelions. A gardener will attack both of these flowers vigorously. He wants to improve on nature to appease his own sensibilities. He wants color, texture, and order. He wants plant material that will not overtake the plants he has imported, and placed into his canvas. Is not that what we do as socialists? We are never happy with man’s plight in a natural form. We are always looking for a way to improve someone else’s life. In the process, we screw up the natural order of things. We feel sorry for those who cannot provide for themselves, and provide. The result is that others see what we provide, and find the loophole that allows them to ride free too.

Program after program designed to do humankind some good become nightmares. Providing free breakfast and lunch for poor kids at school has led to obesity. Now we need a program to eliminate obesity. Instead of finding the root cause of a kid’s starvation, we provide. It is the socialist way. Promoting abortion, and forms of birth control to keep the population of poor people down, has led to a loss of population. So much so, that we now need to allow unlimited immigration to keep our culture alive. Tampering with nature by inventing an endless intrusion of improvements only makes the world a lousier place to live.

What does this have to do with the garden and conservatism? I have learned that by trying to make my garden a canvas of color, scent, and sound that I am upsetting the natural order. Every plant out of its natural place comes with a cost. Every new species, brings a new predator, be it a bug or animal. Every attempt to make a beautiful environment is at a great expense of time, energy, and cost. If I were content to live in the environment that is natural to my spot on this earth, my life would be much easier, simpler, and less expensive.

A Bill For Services Rendered

I just received a bill that set me back on my heels. What the heck did I spend on to get a bill like the one below? I do not spend much at all, but the government spends on my behalf. They do a very good job too. The problem with their spending is that I do not see any benefit. So why am I getting the bill? You will get one too. This invoice is for every person in the USA. The problem is that after I pay this bill, I will get another one to pay for my counterpart who has not worked.

An Obama-Care Anecdote

It has only been a few months since Congress immorally, and illegally squeezed through the huge Health Care Reform bill. The effect is already showing. Yesterday, I took my beautiful wife to her cardiologist for a check-up. She is currently paranoid about losing her healthcare insurance because of an incident that occurred this month. She received a letter from a collection agency. She does not do too well with any threat to her credit score. The overdue bill was $24.55.

Her secondary insurance is from the State of Illinois, and you may be aware that the state is on the edge of bankruptcy. The result is they are slow at paying their obligations. Peggy is the victim of their stupidity. Our visit to the cardiologist was the result of stress she suffered from the collection notice.

The real point of this post is our conversation with the doctor. The doctors are waiting to see what, if anything, Medicare will pay under Obama Care. If their payment drops to the level of Medicaid, well, his practice does not accept Medicaid patients. The practice cannot afford to keep an office open on that level of payment

Here is my advice to all of you liberal, progressive, socialist, baby boomer, ass kissing Obama health care reform, new Medicare recipients; sit down, put your head between your legs, and kiss your ass goodbye. There is an excellent chance that you will see a death panel of big government clerks before you will see a doctor.

How in the hell could you be so stupid as to believe that a government that cannot handle the cost of one social program (Medicare), that it will be able to manage a gargantuan (twenty-two hundred page) loosely defined plan?

Here is my wish for you:

I wish you eternal happiness, as you slave endless hours all your life to get a free happy pill from your new health care system.

We Can or We Can, Not

During President Barack Obama’s campaign to the presidency, he promoted the catchy phrase “yes we can.” He used many positive affirmations throughout the campaign. Being a student of positive thinking, I thought here is a guy who is living the positive message.

In the past, few months I have heard a string of cannot dos that are very untypical of the positive Barack of the campaign. We cannot secure the border. We cannot prosecute illegals. We cannot prosecute voting fraud by blacks, browns, yellows, and reds, only whites. We cannot have God on our money. We cannot have God in public places. We cannot have God in schools. We cannot pray on the National Day of Prayer. We cannot make our own end of life health care decisions. We cannot live by the Constitution of the Founding Fathers. We cannot run the government with heads of departments vetted by Congress. We cannot read two thousand page bills before we vote to approve them. We cannot have capitalism because it is evil. We cannot define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

The slogan “Yes We Can” has become a matter of definition. There are those who believe “We Can,” means one thing and there are those who believe “We Can,” means something else.

Barack and his liberal Congress believe in stripping us of our liberty. They believe they can teach us that big government is good for us. They believe in destroying relationships we developed with our allies. They believe they can talk themselves out of any situation. They believe they can pass laws to control us. They believe those who choose to earn a living must support those that do not. They believe every law should be in the interest of promoting a socialist state. They believe once elected, they should own the office until death. They believe they know what is better for you than you do. They believe in a form of slavery known as liberal-progressive-socialism.

I want to believe that we can make the USA a better place to live. We can have freedom of speech. We can have choices in our health care. We can start a business without the government regulating every move. We can choose to live where we want. We can own a gun. We can have God in our schools. We can have God in our public places. We can have God in our schools. We can prosecute racism of white against black, and black against white. We can gather on the National Mall, and pray on a given day. We can vote for a union privately. We can live by strict interpretation of the Constitution. We can encourage immigration into the country via a set of rules. We can limit the power of the Executive branch of government. We can limit Congress to terms of employment. We can give people an education without government dictating what is in a history book. We can hold a child back. We can discipline kids without fear of retribution by a nanny state. We can live without fear of a radical religion promoting its theism upon us.  We can adopt English as the national language. We can promote the exceptionalism of our people and country. We can limit the size of government. We can live without a Department of Energy. We can live without a Department of Education. We can live without a Department of Homeland Security. We can live without a Department of Health and Human Services. We can have a Department of Justice that enforces laws. We can have a president who knows how to lead. We can have a Congress that listens to the voice of the people as well as to special interest groups. We can limit campaign funds of the President and Congress. We can make elected officers give back all unused campaign funds immediately after election to office.

Which definition of We Can do you choose to accept? We can, or we can-not?

Wabbit War Mind Game

War is definitely a mind game. Strategy is critical to the success of one, or the other side. Right now, I am trying to understand the new strategy of the Alliance. This morning my intelligence indicated a new player on the scene. Could the Wabbits be so smart as to ally with the Herons? Even if they are not allies, the heron represents another attack on Grumpa Joe. Now, I have to fight the enemy on one more front. Wabbits, ants, mice, now herons; how many more will join the battle before I raise the white flag?

I thought I won the heron battle last fall, but I lost. I last saw him standing on the frozen pond waiting patiently for the thaw. The temperature turned down, and he disappeared. All winter, I waited  to determine if any of my fish had survived his onslaught. They did not; he had eaten every one of them.

The heron is a formidable enemy. He is cunning, clever, and observant. The least bit of noise or movement, and he flies off making a giant circle around the neighborhood only to return and land on the roof of the castle. When opportunity presents itself, he glides down to the water, and patiently fishes.

I avoided buying new fish because of the heron threat. I did not see Great Blue for months, so I finally broke down and stocked the pond with five bucks worth of Comets. The fish are so small, that I have only seen them three times in a month. They disappear rapidly under the foliage of the water lilies.

Today, I did maintenance on the pond. I trimmed the creeping water plants, pulled the string algae out by the bucketful, and cleared the skimmer basket. The heat has evaporated several inches of water, so I ran the hose to top it off. As I picked up the trimmings and piles of algae, I spotted a toad. Then, a few inches away from the toad, I watched a green frog quietly slip into the pool. The frog is another threat. Will he win out over the heron, and eat the comets? Or, will Great Blue have frog legs for supper?  It doesn’t matter; I’m screwed either way.

As I said before, war is strategy. Grandma Peggy hates Great Blue because he eats fish. She will not have a fish eater as her ally, but she will remain faithful to the flower eating Wabbits. How do I resolve the dilemma of split Alliances? In one case she is with me, in the other she is against me. It’s a losin fight.

Choices

A truly great friend of mine sent an incredibly heart-warming story via e-mail. Of course, at the end of the message there is the typical guilt trip about sharing the story with the world. I almost went for it. Hold on, I thought. What if this is a sham? Look it up on Snopes. I did. The story is true, but the original version is by Rabbi Paysach Krohn.  

Two Choices

    What would you do?….you make the choice. Don’t look for a punch line, there isn’t one. Read it anyway. My question is: Would you have made the same choice?
    At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves children with learning disabilities, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question:
‘When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does, is done with perfection.
Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is the natural order of things in my son?’

    The audience was stilled by the query. The father continued. ‘I believe that when a child like Shay, who was mentally and physically disabled comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes in the way other people treat that child.’

    Then he told the following story: Shay and I had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, ‘Do you think they’ll let me play?’ I knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but as a father I also understood that if my son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps.

    I approached one of the boys on the field and asked (not expecting much) if Shay could play. The boy looked around for guidance and said, ‘We’re losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we’ll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning.’

    Shay struggled over to the team’s bench and, with a broad smile, put on a team shirt. I watched with a small tear in my eye and warmth in my heart. The boys saw my joy at my son being accepted.

    In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay’s team scored a few runs but was still behind by three.

    In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the right field. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as I waved to him from the stands.

    In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay’s team scored again. Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat. At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game?

    Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible because Shay didn’t even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball. However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher, recognizing that the other team was putting winning aside for this moment in Shay’s life, moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least make contact.

    The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay. As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher. The game would now be over.

    The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game. Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the first baseman’s head, out of reach of all team mates. Everyone from the stands and both teams started yelling, ‘Shay, run to first! Run to first!’

    Never in his life had Shay ever run that far, but he made it to first base. He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled. Everyone yelled, ‘Run to second, run to second!’
Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second, gleaming and struggling to make it to the base.

    By the time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the ball. The smallest guy on their team who now had his first chance to be the hero for his team. He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher’s intentions so he, too, intentionally threw the ball high, and far over the third-baseman’s head. Shay ran toward third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward home. All were screaming, ‘Shay, Shay, Shay, all the Way Shay’

    Shay reached third base because the opposing shortstop ran to help him by turning him in the direction of third base, and shouted, ‘Run to third! Shay, run to third!’ As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams, and the spectators, were on their feet screaming, ‘Shay, run home! Run home!’ Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the grand slam and won the game for his team

    ‘That day’, said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, ‘the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world’. Shay didn’t make it to another summer. He died that winter, having never forgotten being the hero and making me so happy, and coming home and seeing his Mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day!

     AND NOW A LITTLE FOOT NOTE TO THIS STORY:
     We all send thousands of jokes through the e-mail without a second thought, but when it comes to sending messages about life choices, people hesitate. The crude, vulgar, and often obscene pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion about decency is too often suppressed in our schools and workplaces.

    If you’re thinking about forwarding this message, chances are that you’re probably sorting out the people in your address book who aren’t the ‘appropriate’ ones to receive this type of message Well, the person who sent you this believes that we all can make a difference.

    We all have thousands of opportunities every single day to help realize the ‘natural order of things.’ So many seemingly trivial interactions between two people present us with a choice: Do we pass along a little spark of love and humanity or do we pass up those opportunities and leave the world a little bit colder in the process?

    A wise man once said every society is judged by how it treats it’s least fortunate amongst them.

The original version is here: Snopes

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