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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

TRIGGER WARNING: B.W.A. HODGEPODGE!



     Have you been watching what is happening across our beloved Nation? One of our liberties, our freedom of speech, is under attack.  There are those who hold the notion that perceived offensive speech is equal to violence and that it is appropriate to meet such offensive speech with physical violence.  What has happened to the principle..."I may disagree with what you say but I will defend your right to the death to say it."  
     We have no such problems here at the Wednesday Hodgepodge.  It seems to me that opinions are expressed without reservation and are respected by all. Without further delay, here is this weeks hodgepodge.

1. What's something you'd rate a 10/10? Tell us why.
     One of the few things that I enjoy in the winter is on a clear night, looking up at the stars. I never fail to be in awe of the awesome sight of the billions of stars strewn across the black sky. That is something that I rate at a 10/10 in my humble opinion.

2. What job would you be terrible at? What makes you think so?
     I would be terrible at being a groundskeeper. I absolutely hate yard work and have to really motivate myself to get it done here at our (in our own mind) palatial estate.  I also don't have much talent for groundskeeping.
  
3. When did you last take a fall? What's something you're falling for (in a good way) these days?
     Last winter I was walking down our driveway to our mailbox and hit a snow covered icy patch and unceremoniously fell to the ground.  Not only my pride was hurt.  That was the last time that I took a fall.
       I do not have an answer to the second part of this question. We are in the "pumpkin everything" part of the year up here in the Granite State. I like pumpkin pie and perhaps a pumpkin spice coffee once in a while but not to the extent that it proliferates at this time of the year. Although, come to think of it, it is apple picking season. I love a nice juicy Cortland apple with a piece of sharp cheddar cheese. It is one of my favorite snacks at this time of the year.

4. According to the Travel Channel here are some of America's best fall festivals-

National Apple Harvest Festival (near Arendtsville PA, close to Gettysburg), Harvest on the Harbor (Portland Maine), German Village Festival (Columbus Ohio), Wellfleet Oyster Fest (Cape Cod), and Wine and Chile Fiesta (Santa Fe NM)

Have you ever been to any of the festivals listed? Which one appeals to you most? Does your hometown have any sort of fall celebration, and if so will you make it a point to attend?
     I have not ever been to any of the harvest festivals listed above. I'm not really a harvest festival kind of person. I am not opposed to going but they hold little appeal to me.

5. What is your goodbye message to summer?
     Well Summer, until next year. Thank you for enough water to keep our wells full. Thank you for moderate warmth for the most part. SWMBO thanks you for the days of the hot and muggies. I thank you that they were not excessive this year. All in all you have been good to us this year. If you happen to run in to Old Man Winter, please ask him to be kind to us this year and to go easy on the snow fall and to keep the freezing rain to himself. Take care Summer, I look forward to your return.

6. Insert your own random thought here.
     TRIGGER WARNING: B.W.A...Blogger With Attitude! The Bill of Rights gives us the unfettered right to say whatever we want to say.  It especially protects that speech which is deemed to be vile, obscene or offensive.  There is a significant body of  U.S. Supreme Court decisions affirming our right to free expression, particularly unpopular speech.
     On many college campi if you want to express an opinion in public you must do so in a designated "free speech" zone and only in a free speech zone. If a speaker is invited to speak at some colleges at the invitation of a college group and that person happens to hold "offensive" views, demonstrations breaks out and to avoid an unpleasant incident such as violence or outright riots, the speaker gets disinvited.
     These are just two examples of what is transpiring at colleges across the country. Both of these things are an affront to and a violation of our constitutional rights. These things must not be allowed to stand.
     To make matters worse, if a person is going to speak and their views may cause some angst to their hearers, trigger warnings are given and a safe space is provided where students can go to avoid the trauma of hearing challenging views.  This is outrageous!
     Therefore, I for one will continue to be a B.W.A. and I will continue to be as offensive as I want to be. God help us!



Thursday, September 14, 2017

ENOUGH WITH THE HURRICANES ALREADY!


     Good morning to all. I hope your Wednesday is going well. Hurricane Irma is finally dying and becoming less of a threat to life and property. She has done incredible amounts of damage and so far ten people have lost their lives. Now the recovery begins in earnest. An army of electrical workers has descended upon the state of Florida to rebuild and restore their electricity infrastructure. May God bless the people of Florida as they begin to recover and rebuild.
     Not even the fury of a hurricane can stop the Wednesday Hodgepodge. So say a prayer for Florida and don't forget Texas and those impacted by hurricane Harvey. Grab a cup of coffee, tea or other relaxing beverage. Take a comfortable seat and enjoy the Hodgepodge.

1. Is a picture worth a thousand words? Elaborate.
     I think that this cliche is mostly hyperbole. Pictures are valuable to spark a memory, to freeze time for a moment or to record an event. Like a lot of things pictures can be manipulated via photoshop and other editing software thereby presenting a false narrative. A case on point is the movie "Jurassic Park" where dinosaurs walked the earth and interacted with human actors. 
     However, a single photograph can spark a stream of memories that would easily take a thousand words to adequately describe. 

2. Have you ever driven any part of the Pacific Coast Highway? If so what was your favorite stop? If not, is this sort of trip on your bucket list?
     I cannot say that I have. I did drive along the coast from San Diego to an area located just north of La Jolla. I would like to drive the entire PCH someday. What little I did see was beautiful.

3. How do the changing seasons affect you? As the seasons change do you find yourself looking more forward or backward? Which season-season transition bothers you most? Why do you suppose that is?
     As Summer becomes Fall the cooler temperatures serve as a warning that much colder temperatures and, dare I say it, snow are not too far off. It's time to begin to batten down the hatches and to winterize the house and the cars.
     The season transition that bothers me the most is Fall into Winter. I think it's because Winter is so challenging to navigate, especially as I get older. Winter seems to be the longest season of the year and the cold aggravates the arthritic joints in my knees and hands and makes it painful to move. 

4. It's your birthday and you get to pick the dinner menu. What are we having? Do you ever lie about your age?
     My birthday menu would be a nice Prime Rib cooked medium well done, with gravy, garlic mashed potatoes, steamed mixed vegetables and bread rolls with butter. For dessert we would have Pecan Pie with whipped crime followed by "two fingers" of a nice Scotch Whiskey as we engage in conversation as we digest our meal. 
     I do sometimes misrepresent my age. "Lie" is such an ugly word, accurate... but ugly.

5. What's a life lesson you've learned recently?
     No matter how badly you hurt, you must still move. Pain is Mother Nature's way of telling you that you are still alive. Somedays I am really alive. It also makes you better appreciate God's promise that in Heaven there will be no pain. In my youth when I was essentially pain free, this promise rang hollow, a kind of "that's nice" attitude. Today, by the grace of God, I am a wiser man.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.
     In previous blog postings I extolled the character of the people of Texas for their response to the devastation left by hurricane Harvey. I suspected at the time that Texans were not unique in this regard. The people in Florida have begun to prove that I was right,  in the wake of hurricane Irma.
     Despite our problems as a nation, Americans continue to prove themselves to be a noble and compassionate people.  I am confident that the people of Florida will recover from this disaster because it is in their DNA to pick themselves up and press on. It will not easy or quick but it will get done.
     Please continue to pray for the people who have been affected by the two hurricanes. If you are able, please make a financial contributions from time to time to a relief/recovery agency throughout what is sure to be a lengthy recovery. It's the American way. 
     Thank you in advance! God bless you and God bless America. Also, ENOUGH WITH THE HURRICANES ALREADY! 




Wednesday, September 6, 2017

BACK TO SCHOOL HODGEPODGE!


     Have you seen where the Summer went? It was here just a minute ago! Here we are the day after Labor Day already. 
     In a lot of places the new school year has commenced. Parents are rejoicing everywhere! I hope that everyone has a productive and wonderful school year. I pray for our teachers and the Herculean task that they have trying to fill the young heads full of mush with valuable information under less than ideal circumstances.
    It is of course Wednesday and therefore it is time for another set of probing questions that is the Wednesday Hodgepodge. Thank you Joyce for another fine set of questions. Enjoy!

1. When you think about your future what do you fear most? Hope for the most?
      When I think about the future I fear the continued deterioration of common sense AND common decency. What I hope for the future is that the character and selflessness on display in southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana in the wake of hurricane Harvey would become so common place that it is no longer noteworthy when it happens.
    
2. September is National Chicken Month. How often is chicken on the menu at your house? What's a favorite dish made with chicken? What's something you're a 'chicken' about doing or trying?
     We really like chicken at our house. We have chicken, on average, once or twice a week. A favorite chicken dish is Chicken Pot Pie. 
     Something that I am "chicken" about doing or trying is skydiving. I have never seen the positive side of jumping out of a perfectly good airplane. In my humble opinion only two things fall out of the sky...bird crap and fools, and Mama didn't raise no fool.

3. What are three things you don't own but wish you did?
     I really do not want for anything. SWMBO and I are fairly content with our lives with one or two exceptions.  So, in no particular order of importance I would like to own (1) a portable ice maker. Our freezer is often too packed with food to use ice cube trays. It would be nice to be able to make our own ice as we need it.  (2) A large weather tight storage shed. We would like a safe and secure place to store summer furniture and other seasonable stuff for the winter. (3) A BluRay DVD player. It seems everything is coming out is on BluRay these days.

4. Would you rather be a jack of all trades or a master of one? Elaborate.  If you answered one, which one?
     I would like to be a jack of all trades. It would be great if I do things for myself that I now have to rely on others for. It would be equally as nice to be able to share these skills with those who might have need of them.

5. Ketchup or mustard? On what?
     I like both, depending upon the food. I use mustard for Ham, Hotdogs and Bologna sandwiches. I like ketchup on meatloaf, roast beef, french fries and onion rings.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.
     I mentioned in my introductory remarks above that the school year has begun. I am reminded that our founding fathers strongly believed that our citizens ought to be well educated. They believed that all citizens should receive instruction on the U.S. Constitution, how our government is organized and what was the intent of that organizational paradigm. Citizens should understand the limits imposed upon, and the specific powers granted to, the federal government. Citizens should also understand the power of the individual states and individual citizens.
     Another area that needs to be brought back is a course in life skills. These are the skills everyone needs to be able to take care of themselves. Some of the skills needed are basic cooking, basic sewing, laundary, money management, basic housekeeping and manners. 
     I believe that if all students were well educated in these two areas, as well as the basics of Math, Reading, Writing, History, and Geography, and other disciplines, we would not have as many problems in our beloved Nation that we now have. 
     God bless our teachers and their students as the new school year begins.


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

HURRICANE HARVEY HODGEPODGE!


     Unless you are living in a cave completely off the grid you are aware of the devastation that has occurred, and is continuing to occur in southeast Texas as a result of hurricane Harvey making landfall. I cannot imagine the concept of rainfall being measured in feet as is the case in Texas. The photographs coming out of Texas are heart breaking. 
     I am happy for the weekly diversion from reality that is the Wednesday Hodgepodge. What I mean to say is that it is good to have something else to focus my attention on for awhile. Join me in prayer for our fellow citizens affected by hurricane Harvey and now...the Wednesday Hodgepodge.

1. Can you believe we're rolling in to the Labor Day weekend? What's a project you'll labor over this fall?
     I cannot say that I am surprised about the arrival of Labor Day. It happens every year about this time. (Parum pum crash!) All kidding aside, the older I get the more quickly the time seems to pass by. 
     One project that demands my attention as the prospect of winter begins to loom on the horizon is getting caught up on the yard work. It has been difficult to give it the attention that it requires for a variety of reasons, some reasons being legitimate, other reasons not so much. #Ihateyardwork 

2. Tell us about the best perks you ever had in a job?
     One of the best perks of being a police officer was the things that I got to do that most people never get to do. I was assigned to work with the U.S. Secret Service on two occasions. 
     The first time was when then Vice President Dan Quayle came to Litchield NH. I got a peek behind the curtain and see what the Secret Service actually does to prepare for a visit and how they conduct themselves during the visit and during the aftermath of a visit.
     The second time, I was assigned to augment a neighboring police department to help with airport security for a visit by then President George H.W. Bush. On this occasion I got to see some of the toys the Secret Service have in their vehicles that support a presidential visit. I also witnessed the communications set up and the make up of counter sniper teams. 
     At one point during his visit, as the president was leaving I was standing on the tarmac about 25 yards from Air Force One as the president got out of his limousine and boarded the aircraft. It is the closest that I have ever physically been to a U.S. President.
    Both of those details made for a long day but it was a lot of fun.

3. August 31st is National South Carolina Day. Have you ever been to SC? Any desire to go? According to Southern Living, these are the top ten things to do in South Carolina...

Explore Charleston, bike, golf or relax on Hilton Head Island, see the beach and the boardwalk at Myrtle Beach, visit the state museum in the capital city Columbia, observe the wildlife and natural beauty of the Ace Basin, take a walk or hop on a trolley and check out Greenville's charming main street, visit Fort Sumter where the Civil War began, stroll through Pearl Fryar's Topiary Garden in Bishopville leaving time to check out The Button Museum, also in Bishopville, see Morgan Island (also known as Monkey Island)-home to nearly 4000 Rhesus monkeys. 

Which is most appealing to you today? If you're a SC native, resident, or frequent visitor what would you add to the list?
     I have never been to the Palmetto State. Hilton Head Island and Myrtle Beach appeal to me should I ever have the opportunity to visit.

4. Beef, pork, country-style, barbecued, baby back, spare or short...your favorite kind of rib? What's a dish you enjoy that really 'sticks to your ribs'?
     My favorite rib is barbecued pork spare ribs with medium hot bbq sauce. A dish that I really enjoy that sticks to my ribs is homemade, AKA SWMBO's, beef stew. It is simply AWESOME!

5. What's one important skill you think every person should have? Why?
     One important skill that every person should have, and there are several other needed skills besides this one, is the ability to sharpen tools. This includes kitchen knives, hunting knives, chisels, axes, and any other tool that holds an edge. 
     When it comes to getting things properly done, sharp tools are essential. Knowing how to sharpen tools is also a much needed and valuable basic survival skill.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.
     In my opening paragraph above I indicated how heart broken I am over the pictures coming out of southeast Texas. Here I'll share my pride in the conduct of many of our fellow Americans in general, and Texans in particular.
     This disaster has required "All Hands on Deck" to deal with the devastation and to save lives. The U.S. military and first responder agencies have conducted themselves in such a way as to reflect great credit upon themselves and their respective agencies, going above and beyond to the strict call of duty in many instances. No surprise there.
     What has reinforced my hope in the American people are the every day Americans who have risked their lives to save their neighbors and fellow Texans. Neighbor helping neighbor is the order of the day. There is no regard given to race or gender or political affiliation or any of those things that so often divide us. 
     Another group of Americans deserving of thanks are those who have come from the far flung corners of America bringing bottled water, food, and other disaster relief supplies to the Lone Star State. 
     Then there's the "Cajun Navy," those private citizens who own small boats who responded to the area and are going from house to house looking for survivors. Several thousand survivors have been rescued to date.
     This proves my thesis that the American people are a noble and compassionate people...period! So, my fellow Americans please pray for all of those who have been affected by hurricane Harvey and if you are able, donate to a relief agency. God bless Texas! God bless America!


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

WE SURVIVED THE 2017 ECLIPSE HODGEPODGE!


     I sincerely hope that all of you are having a wonderful week. On Monday there was a cosmic event that held everyone's attention for a couple of hours. You may have heard of it. You may have even seen it. Yesterday my beloved SWMBO and I had our grandgirls visit for a few hours. Color Granny Happy!
     Today is Wednesday which means that our friend, Joyce Daley, has more questions for us to ponder and answer. So on to this weeks Wednesday Hodgepodge... 


1. Did you watch the solar eclipse? Your thoughts? Sun Chips, Moon Pies, Starburst candies, a Blue Moon beer, a Sunkist orange, or a Milky Way candy bar...what's your favorite eclipse related snack on this list?
     SWMBO and I watched the eclipse being streamed over our electronic devices. We watched while sitting together on a glider on our back deck.  It was a very nice time.
     From the list that was provided I'm definitely going with Moon Pies. Up here in the Granite State we call them "Whoopie Pies." I absolutely love Whoopie Pies.

2. What are you 'over the moon' about these days? What's something you enjoy doing every 'once in a blue moon'?
     I don't think that "these days" I'm over the moon over anything. My beloved SWMBO comes to mind but I'm always over the moon about her. I'm over the moon about my grandchildren, but that's not new either. SWMBO and I are liking the fact that we are able to interact with out church family more these days. We have really missed them during our quarantine/home confinement. So that's about all.

3. Tell us about something in the realm of science that interests you. How do you feed that interest?
     I am an aerophile. I love all things having to do with powered flight. I sometimes will go to a nearby regional airport and listen to the Air Traffic Control radio traffic on my scanner and watch planes land and take off. I am amazed at the size of some the aircraft and how gracefully they land and take off. It's amazing that they can get off the ground, much less fly.

4. What are a few things you remember about going back to school as a child?
     I remember getting new clothes, pencils, rulers, pens and notebooks. I also remember getting a new book bag. It was exciting to begin a new school year. 
For the most part I enjoyed school.

5. I've seen several versions of this around the net so let's make one of our own...share with us five words that touch your soul and briefly tell us why.
     Unconditional Love, Forgiveness, Perseverance, & Faith. These are the things that should make up one's character. God is the perfect model of all these things. We would do well to be as much like God as is humanly possible.
These words touch my soul for that very reason.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.
     My beloved Red Sox are playing some pretty good baseball of late. They are in first place in their division. The took three out of four games from the dreaded Evil Empire over the weekend. The Sox have had an impressive month of August so far. Their rookie third baseman, Rafael Devers is hitting like Ted Williams and fielding like a seasoned veteran. I pray that their good play and success continues through the post season and they win another World Series Championship. GO SOX!



Wednesday, August 16, 2017

OOPS! I ALMOST FORGOT TO HODGEPODGE, HODGEPODGE!



     Yesterday, my beloved SWMBO and I had our usual Tuesday visit with our granddaughters. As usually happens, by the time they are picked up by their dad everyone is tired. SWMBO, the two Littles and yours truly were spent but it was a good kind of tired. My point, you may be asking yourself, is that I forgot about the Wednesday Hodgepodge until late Wednesday morning. So better late than never, here's this weeks Hodgepodge.

1. Do your actions match your words? Elaborate.
     To be completely honest, not always. Sometimes I find myself going against my own advice. Sometimes situations arise where a different course of action is called for and so I adapt my response as the situation warrants. 
2. Sick as a dog, go to the dogs, dog days of summer, dog tired, it's a dog's life, every dog has it's day, can't teach an old dog new tricks...now doggone it which saying could most recently be applied to your life?
     I would say "dog tired" and "can't teach an old dog new tricks" apply to my life right now. I have been experiencing more fatigue these days and I'm not sure why. I recently went to the vet for a routine follow up and all systems are operating as designed. 
   Regarding the Old Dog/New Tricks thing, I tend to be set and comfortable in my ways and no matter how hard I try I cannot change my bad habits. I still persist in trying but it seems hopeless. It is similar to the conflict the Apostle Paul describes in the 7th chapter of his letter to the Romans.
     Just for the record "It's a dog's life" is not a negative thing in our house. Our dogs have a lavish and full life style. I should be so spoiled!

3. Your favorite book featuring a dog in the storyline? What makes it a favorite?
     There are two books that come to mind. WHITE FANG by Jack London and THE INCREDIBLE JOURNEY by Shirley Burnford. I read both books during my youth.

4. What's something you hope to one day have the confidence to do?
      This is really a great question. This is really a difficult question. I am sure that there are things that I lack the confidence to try but I can't think of what they are. Maybe directly confronting someone who is out of line? I will have to ponder this question. 
    
5. August 16th is National Tell a Joke Day. So tell us a joke.
     Little Johnny was sitting on a park bench and eating a bunch of candy. An old lady was walking by and saw Little Johnny eating all that candy. She stopped and said "You shouldn't be eating all that candy at once. You could get cavities, acne and a stomach ache." Little Johnny replied "My grandfather lived to the ripe old age of 105 years." The Old Lady asked "Did your grandfather eat five candy bars at one time?" Little Johnny answered "No, he minded his own freaking business."

6. Insert your own random thought here.
     WARNING...DOUBLE STANDARD RANT! 
     Recently there have been two glaring examples of a double standard reported in the so called news media. The recent tension with North Korea and the kerfuffle in Charlottesville, VA. I'll dress only one of these issues this week.
     THE FIRST ONE: The nut job with a bad haircut leading North Korea made fairly specific threats that he was going to launch ballistic missiles on the United States. President Trump warned him, in no uncertain terms, that the United States was prepared to meet such an attack and respond with sufficient force leading to the destruction of North Korea. 
     Then some in the news media chastised President Trump for speaking so provocatively. They urged the president to not say anything that would make the bad haircut guy angry. They had nothing to say about the bad haircut guy  repeatedly speaking provocatively and threatening the United States and our allies with a nuclear attack.
     It is my humble opinion that if someone threatens to kill you, you would be wise to believe them and take reasonable steps to protect yourself. This is wise at the personal level as well as at the national level. I stand with the president on this one.
     



Wednesday, August 9, 2017

WELCOME AUGUST HODGEPODGE!



     Good morning to one and all. I hope that you are all well on this August Wednesday morning. The weather has been a bit unsettled this month. It rains, the Sun shines, it rains again, and so on! Mother Nature can't seem to make up her mind. This is not unusual for the Granite State.
     Our friend Joyce Daley has seen fit to publish another series of Hodgepodge questions. So, we might as well answer them. Therefore, here is this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge.

1. Do you try to set rules for yourself about how you use your time? Explain.
     I do not set rules for how I use my time. I go as the spirit moves me and try very hard to be a good steward of my time because I really don't know how much time I have left. The fact is that none of us know how much time we have left.

2. Monday was National Lighthouse Day. Have you ever visited a lighthouse? If not, do you have any desire to see one up close? Of the 10 Most Beautiful that made this list which would you most like to see in person-

Lindau Lighthouse (Germany), Fanad Lighthouse (Ireland), Portland Head Light (Maine), Yaquina Bay Light (Oregon) The St. Augustine Light (Florida), Peggys Point Lighthouse (Canada), Start Point Lighthouse (England), Tower of Hercules (Spain), Bass Harbor Head Station (Maine), and White Shoal Light (Michigan)

When you've been away, what's your 'lighthouse' telling you you're on the right road home?
     I have never visited a lighthouse up close. There is a very popular lighthouse in southwestern Maine. It is called the Nubble Lighthouse. SWMBO and I have visited it on a number of occasions. I don't really have a strong desire to visit lighthouses. 
     I don't get the last question. Oh well!

3. What have you unintentionally stopped doing? Is this something you need to pick back up and begin again, or is it something you need to let go of for now (or even permanently)?
     Normally, when I stop doing something it is because I chose to stop doing it. I cannot think of something that I stopped doing that I should begin doing again. I sometimes get behind in my Bible reading from time to time but I just pick up from where I left off. 

4. We've had a full week of August. Share a GRAND moment from your month so far.
     One grand moment is the sixth anniversary of my retirement from a 30+ year law enforcement career. Still living the dream with my beloved SWMBO!

5. Tell us one song you love with the word 'baby' in the title.
     "Don't Worry Baby" by the Beach Boys.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.
     North Korea is creating a serious international kerfuffle. How serious is it? Last weekend the United Nations Security Council voted unanimously to impose economic sanctions upon that imprisoned nation. That means that both Russia and China supported the imposition of the sanctions.
    As you know, Korea has been improving its ballistic missile technology. It is now believed that they possess the technology to reduce the size of a nuclear weapon which could be launched inside one of their missiles.
     I pray God that cooler heads will prevail and that North Korea will cease their bellicose programs and rejoin the community of nations. Enjoy your week!