Mrs Garmin Messes Up 4

pictureof Washington Monument

Washington Monument Easily Identified From Mrs Garmin’s Route

Our Garmin GPS device is one of those that talks to you, letting you know when to turn, or when to go straight. One of those things about the Garmin I bought is that I get new maps whenever they are available, and the price is included in the base price of the GPS device.

One of the features of course is a feminine voice that can give you directions as you drive. I believe the instruction book calls the voice, Jill. I give my GPS’s voice great honor by calling her Mrs Garmin.

Occasionally, Mrs Garmin will pick a horrible route to a destination. On this trip, I entered the address in the Baltimore area for the wedding we were going to attend. With my brother and our wives in the car we were counting on Mrs Garmin to navigate us through the North Carolina and Virginia countrysides, and to find a way to dodge the crushing traffic in the Washington, DC area.

We were moving along pretty well, with Mrs Garmin estimating our arrival in Maryland at about 4:30 PM. Hoping to miss the rush hour traffic in the DC area, we decided to delay our arrival for a couple of hours by doing some shopping.

The Potomac Mills Shopping Outlets in Woodbridge, VA are known far and wide as some of the best. We pulled off I-95, parked at the huge outlet mall, and shopped for a couple of hours. I bought a pair of New Balance shoes, and my wife found more clothes for our grandchildren at Gymboree, a famous store for kiddie clothes.

Getting back on I-95, we soon figured out that Mrs Garmin was taking us through the middle of Washington, DC. The traffic was still in the rush hour phase, and we started and stopped pretty much all the way through DC on I-395. It was brutal. The only redeeming thing was being able to see the Pentagon right next to the freeway. From that vantage point, the Lincoln and Washington Monuments were easily seen, too.

Expecting to eventually find our way back to I-95 we were disappointed. Mrs Garmin routed us to Baltimore on the Washington-Baltimore Parkway. This was the long way.

To make matters more interesting, my brother pulled out his ten year old map of the area, and was constantly arguing with the signs as we passed opportunity after opportunity to change our course. I was caught in the middle of an argument between my brother using his ten year old map, and the recently updated maps of Mrs Garmin. My brother of course was right even with the ancient map, but I would not give him the pleasure by admitting it.

Somebody told me there would be days like this. Thank God it’s over. We are now safely encamped at a motel in Maryland having arrived at 8:30 PM. We are looking forward to the festivities this weekend.

 

“Some Days Are Diamonds…” 5

picture of diamond ring

Diamonds Are Good

So says John Denver in his famous song, “Some Days Are Diamonds (Some Days Are Stones)”. His sentiment may have been about lots of things. You can make this song mean anything you want. The message is quite clear. Some days are better than others. Lots better.

Last night while driving in the wilds of North Carolina on the way to my brother’s house, I was listening to an Audible book by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, “Fooled By Randomness”. This may sound like an uppity title, but be assured it is understandable by almost anyone.

Mr Taleb talks about signal and noise. The task is to not be fooled by the random occurrence of information.  It is kind of like the diamonds and stones of John Denver. You see, you want to get the “signal”, or real value out of all the news, information, and chatter going on in the world everyday. Everything else is just noise, or stones if you will.

Just like the song, you are looking for the diamonds, or value in your everyday dealings and information flow. There is no reason to look for the stones. Usually somebody is throwing the stones at you.

Under the current conditions in the nation today, most of the stones are from the Federal Government. One of those stones is the new health care regime. Another is the catastrophe taking place at our southern border. Another stone is our government’s spying programs. It just never stops.

Somehow in our stoney lives, we have to learn to live and prosper in spite of our government. It is getting harder and harder to find the diamonds.

I suppose we have to learn to be thankful for the few diamonds coming our way. Shield yourself from the stones, and don’t pay attention to the noise, or mixed metaphors like this one.

For your entertainment, John Denver.

Sunday Blessings Reply

picture of Saint John's Episcopal Church in Ocean Springs, Mississippi

St Johns Episcopal Church, Ocean Springs, MS – A Blessed Place

Being grateful for our blessings just on Sunday is not the message I want to deliver. Because today is Sunday, and I happen to be watching a popular television preacher preach about our blessings, the subject just seems to be appropriate. Indeed, it is appropriate anytime.

Today, as always, the sun rose and the world turned to gold. Sunrise is the most beautiful sight in any location. With the sun, our feelings rise and we feel good, ready to face whatever comes in the day ahead.

Recently, we were blessed with a visit of two young men, one of whom is our great-nephew. He and his partner have stayed a few days with us for the second year in a row as they attended a business conference in the Atlanta area. Joe, the nephew, is in the fitness business, and is always looking for ways to improve his business in exercise approaches, marketing, and management. It is refreshing to see a young, ambitious man tirelessly pursue his dream.

Being around these two is like a tonic. Sure, we had to prepare for their visit, but even though they spent most of their time at the conference, we really enjoyed them.

As a person ages, life changes. One’s body changes, but our Joe makes a business of helping senior citizens extend their active days. When around people like Joe, you just soak up his enthusiasm. It is catching.

So, today I thank God for the wonderful extended family I have, and for God’s work in our family. Soon, we will go to a wedding of one of Joe’s cousins. We are looking forward to celebrating life with our loved ones.

We have showers of blessings.

 

Freedom Is Not Cheap 11

picture of American Flag

For the Fourth of July holiday season, the American Heros Channel is presenting a series on The Revolutionary War. There are several episodes, presenting the American Revolutionary War in an historical accurate fashion. Former CBS newsman, Charles Kuralt, narrates the series, and viewpoints of historians are included throughout the series to give additional background on the events and people of that era.

It is amazing that our country was ever born. It took great men like George Washington to prevail in the face of problems like superior British forces, lack of support from the Continental Congress, and an inexperienced officer corps and citizen army.

picture of North Carolina market at Valley Forge

Memorial Marker for The North Carolina Regiments at Valley Forge

Times were never easy for the Continental Army. There was never enough food. Uniforms were an occasional thing. Shoes were hard to get. At the Valley Forge encampment more than two thousand men died of sickness. Of that two thousand, more died under hospital care than those that stayed at their campsites to tough it out. Medical science was not a science.

During the Revolutionary War, more men died on British prison ships than in combat. Of the five thousand Continental soldiers surrendered to the British at Charleston more than one fourth of them died while on prison ships in Charleston harbor.

There were patriots in my family that were Continental soldiers in the Revolution. Two were at Valley Forge in a North Carolina regiment, and others served in militias. During the War of 1812, family members saw action with Andrew Jackson on his campaigns, including the Battle of New Orleans. In all cases the American Army was never fully equipped, and men from state militias formed the greater part of the forces.

We cannot take their sacrifices for granted. When we forget these lessons of history, we may be compelled to repeat them.

Many families can point to similar patriots in their lineage. Our citizens have always had the courage to face threats to the nation. Several times, our nation has gone to war when the battles were fought on another continent.  Threats can take different shapes from the possible invasion of our country, to threats to the nation’s welfare and economy.

Our soldiers, today, are just as brave as men have ever been. They are much better equipped and led. The US military has a steadfast focus on the quality of force, the strength of these forces. the ability of these forces to face threats across the globe, and the health and welfare of those people who volunteer for duty. There are no finer military in the world.

Today, July 4, 2014, we thank God for the courageous and proud men and women who not only won our freedom in the early days of our nation, but those who face threats to our nation across the globe.

We have a lot for which to be proud.

 

 

 

I Told You So! 13

Barack Obama now has the distinction of having lost two wars. TWO WARS that have already been fought, and that the United States of American has won. Thousands of lives and billions of dollars were spent in these endeavors only to be thrown away by what some people call the smartest guy in the room.

To make matters worse, this whole debacle was foretold by millions of Americans when Barack Obama first took office over five years ago. In only five years Barack Obama has thrown away all this blood and treasure, all in obedience to lofty-thinking, simplistic left-wing morons. I am talking about the Democrat Party, here.

The ability to say, “I told you so!” is not helpful, at all. Barack Obama has dropped-the-ball, screwed-the-pooch, stepped-on-his-Johnson, pooped-in-the-punchbowl, farted-at-the-finish, and has made a mess of generally everything since he has been in office.

But, saying “I told you so!” reflects on me. Call it what you like, but it is all about Obama’s hubris.

You can say what you want about the necessity of fighting these wars, but at the time we thought it was the right thing to do. Those who say otherwise now are denying their own history. Plus, we all knew that there would be a time when our presence in Iraq would be a plus factor in dealing with Iran. Now, Iran is planning on entering Iraq for their own purposes with no opposition.

Oh, what a fool we have for a President. Welcome to the Obama age where everybody is a loser.

Obama’s Sins Come Full Circle 2

Oh, how he crowed and bragged that he would bring all the US military home from Iraq. Our military was spread thin, tired, and people had developed a lot of resistance against foreign military action. We were all tired, but I was never in favor of getting all our military out of Iraq.

The consequences of leaving Iraq without any US military safeguard was obvious to everyone. We all knew that when we left Iraq to the forces of terrorism and foreign incursion from belligerent countries, all the wonderful things that Iraq was becoming were at stake.

Heck, even I wrote about this three months before the last American military unit left Iraq on December 31, 2011. It must be noted that on the eleventh anniversary of 9/11 (September 11, 2012), the Benghazi terrorist attack took place which was planned, supported, and executed by the very groups Barack Obama said were out of business.

Now, the smartest guy in the room has created a situation where the Al Qaeda type terrorists have conquered a significant portion of the entire country of Iraq. Tikrit, Mosul, Fallujah, and smaller cities have fallen to the ISIS (Islamic State In Iraq And Syria). Baghdad may be next.

Their stated goal is to form a Caliphate, an Islamic state ruled by Islamic law. Islamic law means Sharia, which is a barbarous collection of brutal, outmoded, and tribal rules which punishes people rather than empowering people. All the empowering is done for the religious elite.

Barack Obama is now responsible for Iraq’s future because the United States of America has deserted those people. You can talk all day long about how they didn’t deserve the Billions of dollars and the thousands of lives we dedicated to the Iraqi people. Obama will have given an entire country to the terrorists with which to do as they wish with no opposition.

Once you let the terrorists take over a country, you have done the stupidest thing possible. You are giving the terrorists an entire country in which to plan, sponsor, and execute terrorist attacks all over the globe.

Obama’s decision to desert Iraq has come around to bite him in his popularity. That’s the only thing that concern’s this guy.

 

 

Out-Of-Body Experiences 11

The sirens were loud, and getting closer to our house. My wife and I remembered times when one of our neighbors had a heart attack, or other serious malady and our peaceful neighborhood was run over with emergency vehicles.

Partly in jest, I made the statement that I hoped it wasn’t me, this time. I had recently read a story about a man who had died (temporarily), left his body, and did not realize what was going on. He had tried to talk to people, but had no luck in them hearing him. Just for an instant, I feared that I was trapped in a like situation and would bear witness to my own body being trucked out of my own front door.

” I hope it’s not me they are after”, I said to my wife. When she replied laughingly, I knew I was out of consideration for soylent green recycling, at least for today.

I have never had an out of body experience, but I do enjoy reading about those that have. Basically, I don’t believe in out-of-body experiences and look for ways to poke holes in the stories. But, who really knows?

There have been some experiences when I WANTED to get out of my body, and those were in my younger years and involved immense amounts of alcohol. As far as other drugs are concerned, I was always chicken to try cocaine, heroine, or even marijuana, but that’s another story.

Within the last decade, I had a couple of “wish I were dead” experiences. Once, I was out on the town with a client, drinking fine wine and expensive whiskey. On top of that, we were smoking expensive cigars. The problem is that I had quit smoking about twenty years previous to the event, and between the alcohol and large doses of nicotine, I got dreadfully ill. It was worse than when I tried to start smoking when I was a teenager!

I was almost as ill as that time when I got food poisoning from bad seafood enchiladas in downtown Austin, Texas. Now, that was a doozy with me renting a hotel room for twenty-four hours just to have a decent place to throw-up and pass-out. That was almost like an out-of-body experience, except that I felt the pain. Isn’t that the reason for out-of-body stuff, not to feel the pain?

The last time (as far as I will let you know) where I was so stupid and so sick was during the Year 2000 Presidential Election Recounts. That whole fiasco was like an out-of-body experience, and I really got stupid.

I was on a trip at the time, and had checked into a motel. It was McDonald’s burgers for dinner, and a fifth of really cheap bourbon whiskey to ease the pain of the election recounts. That was the night the Florida Supreme Court came up with their Kangaroo Court decision to recount only a couple of counties. This was obviously in support of Al Gore’s candidacy, and was not supported by any law in the State of Florida.

As the night wore on, I would pour another drink, then another, then another. By the time the Florida Supreme Court ruling came in, I was in misery. It was an upsetting evening, and I was stupid enough to watch everything. No matter whose side you were on, the whole thing was like a circus.

Looking back, the recount was like an out-of-body experience. It was just not real, not in the physical or legal sense. When the US Supreme Court put an end to the circus, it was well past time to stop all the legal shenanigans.

Well, that’s my out-of-body experiences. What about yours?

June 6, 1944 – Seventieth Anniversary Of Courage 2

Picture from D-Day landing craft Omaha Beach

Omaha Beach Landing Craft

Can you picture yourself on a landing craft, approaching Omaha Beach in Normandy on this date, seventy years ago? Remember the men who did this. They were scared, unarmored, but dedicated to make it to the beach alive. Approximately two-thousand of these men were either killed or wounded that day on Omaha Beach during that invasion.

This scene was repeated on four other beaches on D-Day. For the Americans, there were Omaha Beach and Utah Beach. For the United Kingdom there were Gold Beach and Sword Beach, and for the Canadians there was Juno Beach. In addition to the brave men assaulting these beaches there were three divisions of airborne troops who landed behind the German lines to attack from the German rear.

The table below was copied from Wikipedia.

 

Approximate Casualties of the Allied Armies by Sectors, Normandy, 6 June 1944

NATION /
SECTOR

ESTIMATED CASUALTIES

U.S. AIRBORNE 2,499
U.S. / UTAH 197
U.S. / OMAHA 2,000
U.K. / GOLD 413
CAN. / JUNO 1,204
U.K. / SWORD 630
U.K. AIRBORNE 1,500
CONSERVATIVE ESTIMATE
8,443
REASONABLE
GUESS
9,000 total (of which 3,000 may have been fatalities)

 

Note that of the approximately 9,000 Allied casualties, about 3,000 were fatalities. These are the men who gave their lives that day, and we should be particularly mindful of their sacrifice. I don’t believe that I could have gone charging off a landing craft while facing German machine gun and artillery fire. Many men didn’t survive their first view of France.

May God bless these men and let us all remember and respect the courage and love shown buy those heroes on June 6, 1944.

picture of US Memorial Graveyard in Normandy, France

Normandy American Memorial Cemetary

Susan Rice – Obama’s Sacrificial Lamb Reply

picture of Susan Rice, US Ambassador to The United Nations

Susan Rice – Sacrificial Lamb

Susan Rice did it again. She appeared on Sunday news shows defending the President’s decision to trade five ultra-dangerous Islamic terrorists from the Guantanamo detention facility for one Sargent Bowe Bergdahl, a Taliban prisoner for the last five years.

The reason she may have done the wrong thing is the persistent, and prominent statements from Army soldiers who had been in Bergdahl’s company that Sgt. Bergdahl was a deserter. In spite of this Susan Rice stated on ABC News that Sgt Bergdahl had served with honor and distinction.

Most of the rational people in the United States had heard Rice make similar statements, before, defending Barack Obama’s actions. Her words have been received with derision and surprise that the administration would take such an obviously political tack just to dodge the Veterans Administration scandal.

Ms Rice had been sent by the Obama administration to lie about the Benghazi murder of the United States Ambassador, Chris Stevens, two years ago on five Sunday network news programs. Since then, we have learned that Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Susan Rice all knew that the Benghazi attack was not the result of a spontaneous reaction to a little known Youtube video. There are emails that show she was prepped to blame the video instead of admitting that Al Qaeda or a group affiliated closely to Al Qaeda, the terrorist group that Obama promised was destroyed, was behind the action.

Susan Rice has been tapped twice by the administration to lie to the American people. All reports say that Susan Rice is a smart person, and should know when she is being used as a patsy, or sacrificial lamb.

She has nothing to gain from being that sacrificial lamb, except some undiscovered reward from the most dishonest President in history.

Suggestions, anyone, on what that reward may be?

Imprisoned American Soldiers 3

It was announced today that Army Sargent Bowe Bergdahl who was a Taliban prisoner in Afghanistan was released, today. It is reported that SEALS are escorting him home.

The Obama Administration traded five Afghan Taliban prisoners at Guantanamo to secure Bergdahl’s release.

This is a good thing. One American soldier is worth a lot to us. Thank God we will have him home.

Now, the President needs to get to work to get others released from foreign imprisonment. Marine Sargent Andrew Tahmooressi was jailed after he took a wrong turn at the US/Mexican border and was detained by Mexican military authorities because Tahmooressi had weapons in his truck. These weapons are legal in the United States, but not in Mexico.

So far, the US government has not shown interest in rescuing this American Marine who is unjustly in a Mexican prison where he is being beaten regularly.

Mr President. It’s time to get busy. Free Sgt. Tahmooressi.