Recently Read Books

  • A Delicate Truth- John Le Carre (fiction)
  • Perfect - Rachel Joyce (Fiction)
  • The Expats - Chris Pavone (Fiction)
  • An Event in Autumn - Henning Mankel (Fiction)
  • Winter in Madrid - C.J.Sansom (Fiction)
  • The Brothers - John Foster Dulles and Allen Dulles - non-fiction
  • LIfe Among Giants - Bill Roorbach (Novel)
  • Empty Mansions - Bill Dedman (non-fiction)
  • Woodrow Wilson (non fiction)
  • Lawrence in Arabia (Non-Fiction)
  • In Sunlight and In Shadow by Mark Helpren (Fiction)
  • Lesson in French - Hilary Reyl (fiction)
  • Unbroken- Laura Hillenbrand (Non-Fiction)
  • Venice, A New History- Thomas Madden - (Non- Fiction)
  • Life is a Gift - Tony Bennett Autobiography
  • The First Counsell - Brad Meltzer (Fiction)
  • Destiny of the Republic - President James Garfield non-fiction by Candice Millard
  • The Last Lion (volume III)- William Manchester and Paul Reid (non-fiction, Winston Churchill)
  • Yellowstone Autumn -W.D. Wetherell (non-fiction about turning 55 and fishing in Yellowstone)
  • Everybody was Young- (non-fiction Paris in the 1920's)
  • Scorpion - (non fiction US Supreme Court)
  • Supreme Power - Jeff Shesol (non-fiction)
  • Zero day by David Baldacci ( I read all of Baldacci's Books)
  • Northwest Angle - William Kent Krueger (fiction - I have read 5 or 6 books by this author)
  • Camelot's Court-Insider the Kennedy Whitehouse- Robert Dallek
  • Childe Hassam -Impressionist (a beautiful book of his paintings)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Golf Ball In Flight

Check out the photo below. I took a photo of The Lovely Sharon driving the golfball in 2010.  You can see the ball in flight.  I circled it.  This is the12th hole of Ironwood Country Club's South Course in Palm Desert, CA.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Author Charles Cummings

I just finished read two books written by Charles Cummings.  The first book I read was Foreign Country and the second was Typhoon.  Both books are spy/suspense books.. His website is  The two books I read were terrific.  I have a third one which I will read next;  A Spy by Nagture. Mr. Cummings has writtenn 6 or 7 books.  I plan to read them all.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Hot Babes in Bikinis

I am on the internet a lot, for business and for personal use.  There are a zillion websites but there are a few that I go to all of the time.  There is no doubt that the website I most often use is Google.  What does Google even mean? I Googled the Google Company’s website where I learned:

The name 'Google' is a play on the word 'googol,' coined by Milton Sirotta, nephew of American mathematician Edward Kasner. A 'googol' refers to the number represented by a 1 followed by 100 zeros. It's a very large number. In fact, there isn't a googol of anything in the universe -- not stars, not dust particles, not atoms. Google's use of the term reflects our mission to organize the world's immense (seemingly infinite) amount of information and make it universally accessible and useful.

Any time I have a question about anything or need information about anything, I go to Google and I Google it.  If you are talking to someone about information you need, what does your companion tell you.  They don’t recommend you go to the library, or to an encyclopedia, do they?  They tell you to Google it.  Google has become a verb. Well according to the online Merriman-Webster Dictionary, which I Googled, the word “Google” is a “transitive verb”.   The dictionary defines Google as

“to use the Google search engine to obtain information on the World Wide Web”.

I had to use Google to find out what the heck a “transitive verb” is.  I learned that:

“A transitive verb has two characteristics. First, it is an action verb, expressing a doable activity like kick, want, paint, write, eat, clean, etc. Second, it must have a direct object, something or someone who receives the action of the verb.  Here are some examples of transitive verbs:

 Sylvia kicked Juan under the table. - Kicked = transitive verb; Juan = direct object.

Joshua wants a smile from Leodine, his beautiful but serious lab partner. -Wants = transitive verb; smile = direct object.

Cornelius painted the canvas in Jackson Pollock fashion, dribbling bright colors from a heavily soaked brush.-  Painted = transitive verb; canvas = direct object.

Alicia wrote a love poem on a restaurant napkin.- Wrote = transitive verb; poem = direct object.

Antonio eats lima beans drenched in brown gravy. -  Eats = transitive verb; lima beans = direct object.

Pinky the poodle cleans the dirty supper dishes with his tongue before Grandma loads the "prewashed" items into dishwasher. -  Cleans, loads = transitive verbs; dishes, items = direct objects.

I suppose it is somewhat odd to use Google to find out what Google means. It sorta feels like defining a word by using the word to be defined in the definition itself,  I Googled that concept and learned this is a recursive or inductive definition.  But then I Googled further and learned it may be a Circular Definiton.  Then I Googled Circular Definition and learned:
A circular definition is one that uses the term(s) being defined as a part of the definition or assumes a prior understanding of the term being defined. Either the audience must already know the meaning of the key term(s), or the definition is deficient in including the term(s) to be defined in the definition itself. Such definitions lead to a need for additional information that motivated someone to look at the definition in the first place and, thus, violate the principle of providing new or useful information. If someone wants to know what a cellular phone is, telling them that it is a "phone that is cellular" will not be especially illuminating. Much more helpful would be to explain the concept of a cell in the context of telecommunications, or at least to make some reference to portability. Similarly, defining dialectical materialism as "materialism that involves dialectic" is unhelpful. For another example, we can define "oak" as a tree which has catkins and grows from an acorn, and then define "acorn" as the nut produced by an oak tree. To someone who does not know which trees are oaks, nor which nuts are acorns, the definition is inadequate. Consequently, many systems of definitions are constructed according to the vicious circle principle in such a way that authors do not produce viciously circular definitions.
I am now going crazy as each Google compels me to Google something else, which in turns compels me to Google yet another thing and so on and so on.  By the way, I Googled and "so on" and learned the words together is an adjective meaning "continuing in the same way".
I can't stop Googling.  I need to go to a Google Addiction Clinic.  I wonder where I would find one?  I bet I could Google it.
Whew, I am mentally exhausted.  I think I am going to Google "Hot Babes in Bikinis" and just relax for the rest of the day.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Art of Eric Zener

I have bloged before about my love of art.  I know almost nothing about art but there are artists and works of art that I truly appreciate and that touch me in some way.  Recently I have become aware of artist Eric Zener.  It might be that I am the only civilized American that did not know of Eric Zener but I didn't so get over it.  I have been looking at his paintings from a variety of on-line websites including his own

I especially like his water paintings.

The Melissa Morgan Gallery on El Paseo in Palm Desert is showing some of Eric Zener's works.

I am going to check it out.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Naked In San Francisco

I just read this article in the LA Times.,0,7554993.story

A year after passing an ordinance to gently regulate al fresco nudity — requiring that naturists place something between their seats and public seating — city officials are scheduled to vote Tuesday on whether to ban public nakedness outright. Well, almost outright. This being San Francisco, there are exceptions:

The preschool set still could go diaper-less anywhere and everywhere. Fetishists could drop trou for a flogging during the annual Folsom Street Fair, billed as the world's largest leather fest.

The proposed ban would not stop the athletically inclined from jettisoning their shorts during the Bay to Breakers run — the historic, costume-optional race through this city's microclimates (chilly to chillier). And Dykes on Bikes could wear — or not — whatever they wished during the Pride Parade. But a starkers stroll down Market Street would most emphatically be out if the prohibition passes.

"In its traditional form in San Francisco, public nudity was fine," said Supervisor Scott Wiener, who represents the Castro District and introduced both ordinances. "It was fine to have a random [naked] person walking through the neighborhood once in a while. It was fine at public festivals and parades."

But although many talk about the tolerant "spirit of San Francisco," Wiener said, "what's happening now is … a caricature."

You can thank the "Naked Guys" for that.

Until recently, officials generally had turned the other cheek to questions of public nudity — particularly when the sightings of sandal-clad men with all-body tans around the Castro district, the heart of gay San Francisco, were sporadic.

Then two years ago, when Jane Warner Plaza was dedicated at the intersection of Castro and Market streets, the number of Naked Guys grew. And so did the complaints, from gay men who live in the area and shop owners near the gathering spot eventually dubbed the "Buff Stop."

Wiener's attempt at regulation last year banned nudity in restaurants and established the outdoor seating guidelines. The goal was to bring a little civility back into the practice of urban nudism. Unfortunately, it had the opposite effect.  The number of nudists grew, Wiener said, and some apparently accessorized the usual shoes and sun hats with jewelry that cannot be described fully in a family newspaper.   Over the summer, Rob Cox, board secretary of the Castro/Eureka Valley Neighborhood Assn., and other community leaders canvassed business owners in the area. They asked how the influx of Naked Guys had affected commerce.

"Ninety percent of the business owners were furious," Cox said. "I had heard it a lot from neighbors too. So we passed that information on" to Wiener.

In early October, the supervisor proposed the stricter ban, calling it legislation "I was hoping that I would never have to introduce." But the Castro, he pointed out, was known for "its diversity and its vibrance," and that sensibility was under attack.

"Jane Warner Plaza is the only usable public plaza in the Castro," he said during the Board of Supervisors meeting. "It is our town square. And it has become dominated just about every afternoon by one group.... The Castro is not about a group of men exposing themselves every day."

Last week, the naturists struck back.  First, they held a nude-in on the steps of City Hall. Then they filed a federal lawsuit. To Gypsy Taub, protest organizer and hostess of a local show called "My Naked Truth TV," the proposed ban is proof that officials want to turn the city back into "the Dark Ages of body shame and fear."

To Taub's 9-year-old son, Bunny Gonzalez, who was fully clothed during the protest, nudity "is a good cause. Scott Wiener is trying to make nudity bad."

Placard-waving Web designer Mitch Hightower said the San Francisco clampdown smacked of gentrification: "More and more they're taking away the things that are only-in-San Francisco." Dressed in a T-shirt, sun hat and not much else, even he had to admit: "I'm cold!"

Ckiara Rose, in ballet-style flats and chandelier earrings, said banning public nudity in the city was pure hypocrisy. "San Francisco was founded on the Barbary Coast, full of brothels and saloons," the self-proclaimed sex worker said. "They don't come from Puritan origins."

But that's the way things could be headed if Wiener and his colleagues aren't stopped, said attorney Christina (formerly Christopher) DiEdoardo, who is representing Taub, Hightower and others in the federal lawsuit.   Gripping the legal document in her hand before marching on the federal building, DiEdoardo declared to the variously clad group, "What a gorgeous day for a rally in San Francisco … and for us to return to real San Francisco values!"

And how was DiEdoardo dressed on a breezy autumn afternoon as she struck a blow for the 1st Amendment rights of the naked? She wore a brightly flowered blouse and black slacks.

Because the federal building is not clothing optional.
First we may lose Twinkees and now we may not be able to walk naked down Market Street.  Damn


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Twinkies- RIP

Say it ain't so.

Have Twinkees gone the way of black and white TV's?  From the Wall Street Journal:

   The seemingly imperishable Twinkie finally may have an expiration date.
Hostess Brands Inc., the 85-year-old maker of iconic treats such as Twinkies, Ding Dongs and pantry staples like Wonder Bread, on Friday said it would go out of business after failing to reach agreement on wage and pension cuts with its bakers' union.

Hostess Brands, the maker of iconic treats such as Twinkies and traditional pantry staple Wonder Bread, said Friday it is shuttering its plants and will seek to liquidate the 82-year-old business. The Irving, Texas-based company, which filed for Chapter 11 for a second time in January, closed all factories and asked a judge for permission to start proceedings that will mean job losses for about 18,500 employees and could result in more than 30 brands being sold or disappearing.
Just looking at the photos of the twinkees makes me want to have a couple of them with a glass of cold milk. I can taste them and I feel like heading to the store to look for a few packages.
I read the news stories about how the company's problems were caused by the unions not agreeing to reduce wages and benefits.  So I figured the shut down was entirely the fault of the unions, right?  But in the Wall Street Journal article it is reported that the company's problems with too much debt  "traces back to Hostess's first trip through bankruptcy in 2004. Missteps by a private-equity firm, hedge funds and managers since burdened the company, despite its more than $2 billion in annual sales."
I read several articles about the history of Hostess 's financial problems since 2000.  Its interesting and it made me realize that it was not as simple as I had thought. See
Anyway, I suspect the Twinkee brand may be sold off to someone else and live to fight another day.  I still feel like a Twinkee.  Maybe I will go wake up the Lovely Sharon and ask her if she wants to join me on a Twinkee Quest.  I am pretty sure that will go over good.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Just some photos I took in Monaco in October.

We stayed in the hotel in the middle of the photo - the one with red flags on top

I took this from our room

The Guards at the Palace

I may be old but I am not dead.

Monaco's population density is one of the highest in the world.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

"He's A Man" - By Pat Robertson

You know Pat Robertson right?  The right wing televangilist? He ran for president in the republican primary a few elections back.  Just in case you forgot, here are some of Reverend Pat Robinson's quotes over the years:

1     "You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war ... We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability. We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator. It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with." –Pat Robertson, calling for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez

2. "It may be a blessing in disguise. ... Something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it. Haitians were originally under the heel of the French. You know, Napoleon the third, or whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, we will serve you if you will get us free from the French. True story. And so, the devil said, okay it's a deal. Ever since they have been cursed by one thing after the other." –Pat Robertson, on the earthquake in Haiti that destroyed the capital and killed tens of thousands of people, Jan. 13, 2010

3. "Maybe we need a very small nuke thrown off on Foggy Bottom to shake things up" –Pat Robertson, on nuking the State Department

4. "The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians." –Pat Robertson

Pat is a true man of God, don't you think?   I mean I am for assasination as much as the next guy, and for nuking the State Department, but Reverend Pat, it sounds odd coming from such a revered religious leader as yourself.   These quotes and others are in:
I just read an article about Reverend's Pat's comments about the David Petraeus affair. See

"Television evangelist and ultraconservative Pat Robertson doesn't think General David Petraeus should be condemned for his affair with writer Paula Broadwell. After all, she is "an extremely good looking woman" and "he's a man."

Robertson excused CIA Director Petraeus for the extramarital affair with his biographer, Broadwell, on Monday's episode of "The 700 Club," the flagship program of the Christian Broadcasting Network.

"Who knows?" he said. "The man's off in a foreign land and he's lonely and here's a good looking lady throwing herself at him. I mean, he's a man."

He also alluded to Broadwell's wiles. "She is an extremely good looking woman. She is a marathon runner. She runs Iron Man triathlons."

Well Patty my boy, apparently the Petrareus affair started in Washington D.C. after Petraeous was appointed CIA director, but Washington, D.C. certainly could be called a foreign land. Remember that is where the State Department is located, the place you wanted to nuke.  And as you point out, she did run marathons.  And she was throwing herself at poor old David.

I wonder if that line will work on the Lovely Sharon.  She is in California for more than half the year, I am in Utah. Many people think Utah is a foreign land.  I know for myself when I look at the Utah State Legislature I often say to myself   "Beam me up Scotty, there is no intelligent life here."  I gotta know some woman who runs marathons, don't I?  I am a man so.....

That's gotta work with the Lovely Sharon, don't you think?  Thanks for the idea Pat. And Pat, "God Bless."

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Mitt Romney is a Poopy Head

It has been interesting to read all of the reasons republicans have given for why Mitt Romney lost the election. Here are a few of my favorites:

1. Grover Norquist, right wing founder and president of Americans For Tax Reform, has a theory about why President Barack Obama won – Grover said that

"the President portrayed Mitt Romney as a "poopy head."

Grover said  that "the president was committed; elected on the basis that he was not Romney and Romney was a poopy head and you should vote against Romney and he won by two points." 

I am not making this up. Grover said this on “CBS This Morning” on Monday, November 12, 2012. If you recall Grover is the No New Tax Pledge Guy.

I don’t think I ever heard the President call Brother Mitt a Poopy Head. I don’t even think Brother Mitt is a Poopy Head. I should know because I consider myself a Poopy Head and most of the men I golf with are definitely Poopy Heads.

2. According to “Forbes Magazine”, one of the reasons Brother Mitt lost was because the President got very lucky when Hurricane Sandy destroyed a huge part of the East Coast. What great luck for the President that so many people died, lost their homes, all of their worldly possessions and totally had their lives turned upside down. Is Forbes suggesting the President was dancing with glee when the Hurricane hit? Dear Forbes are you effing kidding me? No wonder magazines are going out of business.

3. Another reason bandied about for Brother Mitt’s loss is that Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christi praised the President’s responsiveness in connection with emergency efforts for Hurricane Sandy. That bastard Chris Christi, working hard for the people of New Jersey, caused Mitt to lose by thanking the President for his help. What was Chris thinking? He should have told the President to stay out of New Jersey and keep FEMA out too. Remember before the Hurricane what Brother Mitt said about FEMA:

During a CNN debate at the height of the GOP primary, Mitt Romney was asked, in the context of the Joplin disaster and FEMA's cash crunch, whether the agency should be shuttered so that states can individually take over responsibility for disaster response.

"Absolutely," he said. "Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that's the right direction. And if you can go even further, and send it back to the private sector, that's even better. Instead of thinking, in the federal budget, what we should cut, we should ask the opposite question, what should we keep?"

"Including disaster relief, though?" debate moderator John King asked Romney.

"We cannot -- we cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids," Romney replied. "It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids, knowing full well that we'll all be dead and gone before it's paid off. It makes no sense at all.

So Brother Mitt’s position is that it is immoral for the Federal Government to spend FEMA money to help those damaged by the Hurricane and that it should be the States’ job or better yet private industry to deal with the damage. Who pays private industry to handle this mess? If you and 100 houses around you are destroyed by a fire, a flood, a hurricane or a bomb, do you really hope the Fed’s keep out of the neighborhood?

4. Forbes also said Brother Mitt lost because the President and his allies spent over $200 million trashing Mitt Romney before the Republican convention. Forbes asserted that Romney never fully recovered from those assaults. Duh! The republicans with their PAC’s spent almost a Billion Dollars attacking President Obama. The billionaires who put hundreds of millions of dollars in Pac's are now pissed because their “investment” did not "pay off".  Their “Investment?” Their Pac money was an investment? I guess that tells you something. 

So their contribution to Pac's was not a donation to help the country, it was an investment for which these billionaires expected a return.  You would think if these guys were such great business men they would have put their money in a winning Pac. Well boys I think you invested in a Bernie Madoff Scheme.

5. Karl Rove said Brother Mitt lost because the President suppressed the vote.  Karl asserts that the President prevented republicans from voting. Karl (who went to Olympus High school in Salt Lake City) don’t you recall the big push the republicans have made in this last year to prevent, students, the poor and other democratic constituencies from voting? Changing ID requirements, shortening early voting, and facilitating republican voting hit squads to intimidate people   Karl as beautiful as you are ,and if I recall you were called Bush's Brain, I think you got this “bass ackward”.  I think Bush may want a brain transplant

These are all good reasons that Brother Mitt lost. Maybe someone should write these all down somewhere as an analysis of the 2012 election. Instead of previous books like The Making of a President or Game Changer they could call it Obama Lucked Out With a Hurricane and Brother Mitt is a Poopy Head.

Now we are seeing people wanting their states to secede from the United States because Brother Mitt Lost. I for one am in favor of that. I suggest that we take all of the secessionists; put them in Texas, a nice big state with a good economy, help them secede from the United States, make Texas a separate country and build a 15 foot fence around it so these nuts cannot get back in the USA. No immigration reforms for these wacko's

Monday, November 12, 2012

Religious Freedom

The religious right nationally, and persons of Utah’s predominant religion locally, have increasingly put a litmus test on acceptable political leaders. Believe like us or you are not acceptable or qualified to be a  political or governmental leader. I find this belief frightening and yet it seems to be growing each year.  The holders of this belief seem to have forgotten that one of the primary reasons for Europeans to head to the new world was for religious freedom. The Mormons migrated to Utah for religious freedom.  But this growing sentiment that a candidate must espouse the orthodoxy or such candidate is not worthy to be elected is troubling.

One of the things I studied so many years ago in my political science classes at the University of Utah was the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom.

The next two paragraphs are from    (

 The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom is a statement about both freedom of conscience and the principle of separation of church and state. Written by Thomas Jefferson and passed by the Virginia General Assembly on January 16, 1786, it is the forerunner of the first amendment protections for religious freedom. Divided into three paragraphs, the statute is rooted in Jefferson's philosophy. It could be passed in Virginia because Dissenting sects there (particularly Baptists, Presbyterians, and Methodists) had petitioned strongly during the preceding decade for religious liberty, including the separation of church and state.
Jefferson had argued in the Declaration of Independence that "the laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle [man]…." The first paragraph of the religious statute proclaims one of those entitlements, freedom of thought. To Jefferson, "Nature's God," who is undeniably visible in the workings of the universe, gives man the freedom to choose his religious beliefs. This is the divinity whom deists of the time accepted—a God who created the world and is the final judge of man, but who does not intervene in the affairs of man. This God who gives man the freedom to believe or not to believe is also the God of the Christian sects. (

Here is Jefferson’s Statute for Religious Freedom.  Read it carefully and ask yourself how you feel about.

 "An Act for establishing religious Freedom.

 Whereas, Almighty God hath created the mind free;
            1.         That all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burthens, or by civil incapacitations tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and therefore are a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, who being Lord, both of body and mind yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either, as was in his Almighty power to do,

             2.         That the impious presumption of legislators and rulers, civil as well as ecclesiastical, who, being themselves but fallible and uninspired men have assumed dominion over the faith of others, setting up their own opinions and modes of thinking as the only true and infallible, and as such endeavouring to impose them on others, hath established and maintained false religions over the greatest part of the world and through all time;

             3.         That to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves is sinful and tyrannical;

             4.         That even the forcing him to support this or that teacher of his own religious persuasion is depriving him of the comfortable liberty of giving his contributions to the particular pastor, whose morals he would make his pattern, and whose powers he feels most persuasive to righteousness, and is withdrawing from the Ministry those temporary rewards, which, proceeding from an approbation of their personal conduct are an additional incitement to earnest and unremitting labours for the instruction of mankind;

             5.         That our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions any more than our opinions in physics or geometry,

            6.         That therefore the proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence, by laying upon him an incapacity of being called to offices of trust and emolument, unless he profess or renounce this or that religious opinion, is depriving him injuriously of those privileges and advantages, to which, in common with his fellow citizens, he has a natural right,

            7.         That it tends only to corrupt the principles of that very Religion it is meant to encourage, by bribing with a monopoly of worldly honours and emoluments those who will externally profess and conform to it;

             8.         That though indeed, these are criminal who do not withstand such temptation, yet neither are those innocent who lay the bait in their way;

             9.         That to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill tendency is a dangerous fallacy which at once destroys all religious liberty because he being of course judge of that tendency will make his opinions the rule of judgment and approve or condemn the sentiments of others only as they shall square with or differ from his own;

            10.       That it is time enough for the rightful purposes of civil government, for its officers to interfere when principles break out into overt acts against peace and good order;

             11.       And finally, that Truth is great, and will prevail if left to herself, that she is the proper and sufficient antagonist to error, and has nothing to fear from the conflict, unless by human interposition disarmed of her natural weapons free argument and debate, errors ceasing to be dangerous when it is permitted freely to contradict them:

 Be it enacted by General Assembly that

·         no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever,

·         nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods,

·         nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief,

·         but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of Religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge or affect their civil capacities.

And though we well know that this Assembly elected by the people for the ordinary purposes of Legislation only, have no power to restrain the acts of succeeding Assemblies constituted with powers equal to our own, and that therefore to declare this act irrevocable would be of no effect in law;

yet we are free to declare, and do declare that the rights hereby asserted, are of the natural rights of mankind, and that if any act shall be hereafter passed to repeal the present or to narrow its operation, such act will be an infringement of natural right."


I think that the religious right should understand that not only should the government not control the religious right’s religion or anyone else's religion, but the religious right should not have their religion control the government or governmental leaders.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

First Big Snow Storm

It snowed Friday.  There was a lot of snow but not much stuck to the road.  Saturday was a different story.  I woke to a blizzard and the walks and roads were covered with snow.  I had about a foot of snow in the yard and I shoveled the walks a couple of times.  Finally it stopped snowing and the sun came out. My back yard was beautiful.  Three days ago the grass was still green and it was 70 degrees. Three days ago, neighbor kids were in shorts and tee shirts, riding bikes.  Saturday they were in parka's, snow pants and stocking caps.

I looked out the window and saw five or six deer in the back yard.  I grabbed my camera and went out side to take a few photo's.  A few of them are posted below.

As I walked down into the yard, although it was sunny, a breeze was blowing snow from the trees above me and crystalline flakes floated down onto my head and my camera. They were cold as they landed on my face and neck.  Although I just turned 60, the beauty of nature is just as exciting to me as when I was a boy. The deer watched me as I slowly descended the snow covered steps toward them.

I whistled at this buck and he was kind enough to pose for me.

After a few minutes of posing, he walked away. Can you tell why they call them white tail deer?

This buck and the three doe seemed to wonder why I was disturbing them.  There were a couple of other deer munching leaves just outside the frame of this photo.  The yellow leaves add a nice highlight to this photo

We have a stream that was flowing beautifully.  If I was a kid I would probably try to walk across the fallen limbs.  As an old man I have either learned better or I have lost the courage for such an adventure.

The deer crossed the stream and were hidden in the trees.  But I could see them and they knew I could see them.

If you look carefully on the left side of the silver pole you can see a deer in the trees.The stream is between the deer and me.

I have a couple of benches that always look picturesque in the snow.  This summer the Lovely Sharon wanted me to sand the wood sitting area on this bench and then revarnish it.  I planned to do it for two reasons; (i) she asked me to do it; and (ii) it needed to be done.  Sadly, I put it off until now it is too late.  I will definitely do the job in the spring.

This  plastic bench is just a few feet from the stream.  Sometimes I sit there and read, listening to the stream.

Looking up at our house from the yard. You can see the lower patio to the right of the hot tub building and above it, the upper patio with its snow covered railing.

I like this photo, the snow, yellow leaves, green leaves and barren trees. The stream is just behind and below the snow covered stump.


One last photo from the lower patio looking down into the yard.

Our yard is too big for us but it is so beautiful in all seasons.  It is a park, an oasis in an urban environment.  I often walk ouside just to look down at the yard.  Its beauty always amazes me. I think it is suppose to warm up this week so this first snow will likely melt and the grass will be back for awhile but then another storm will cover the yard.

Sometimes when I stand looking down into the yard and see the snow covered lawn and trees, and watch the stream slowly meander through snow covered banks, the words of Robert Frost come to mind

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake. 
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
For a comparison of the winter photos set forth above, look at the autumn photos of the yard I posted a couple of weeks ago.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Fixing Government - Mark McKinnon

Republican Strategist, Mark McKinnon has suggested steps to help fix govenment.  These items were published in Parade Magazine:

There are no easy solutions to issues Like the fiscal cliff, immigration, and energy, but a number of reforms could be enacted to help Washington work better.

Pass "No Budget, No Pay" legislation that would dock legislators every day they fail to pass a budget on time.

Require an up or dawn vote on presidential appointments within 90 days or the nominee is confirmed by default.

End the use of filibusters to prevent a bill from reaching the Senate floor for debate.

Allow members the ability, if they have a majority, to anonymously override a leader or committee chair's refusal to bring a bill to the floor. The names would be made public after the bill passes.

Make members come to work five days a week in session. Sync House and Senate schedules, with three weeks in D.C., one week at home

Introduce a "Question Time " for the president; on a rotating basis, the House and Senate would host televised sessions. And schedule monthly news conferences for the president.

Have the comptroller general present an annual televised fiscal report to a joint session of Congress.

 Allow no pledges but the Oath of Office

Introduce monthly bipartisan gatherings, bipartisan seating, and a bipartisan leadership committee.

Expand presidential power to reorganize or eliminate redundant parts of the federal government.

 I found these suggestions interesting.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Family Values


America is a Family, its time to act like one.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Romney's Concession Speech

 I stayed up late last night watching the election returns. I have been watching election returns since 1964 when I was a 12 year old boy.  I am relieved the election is over and somewhat surprised.  Although I voted for President Obama, in the back of my mind I thought Governor Romney would pull out victory at the end.  I thought Governor Romney’s concession speech was terrific.  Here are parts of it 

The nation, as you know, is at a critical point. At a time like this, we can’t risk partisan bickering and political posturing. Our leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the people’s work. And we citizens also have to rise to the occasion. We look to our teachers and professors, we count on you not just to teach, but to inspire our children with a passion for learning and discovery.

 We look to our pastors and priests and rabbis and counselors of all kinds to testify of the enduring principles upon which our society is built: honesty, charity, integrity and family. We look to our parents, for in the final analysis everything depends on the success of our homes.
 We look to job creators of all kinds. We’re counting on you to invest, to hire, to step forward. And we look to Democrats and Republicans in government at all levels to put the people before the politics.  I believe in America. I believe in the people of America.

And I ran for office because I’m concerned about America. This election is over, but our principles endure. I believe that the principles upon which this nation was founded are the only sure guide to a resurgent economy and to renewed greatness.

 Like so many of you, Paul and I have left everything on the field. We have given our all to this campaign.

 I so wish -- I so wish that I had been able to fulfill your hopes to lead the country in a different direction, but the nation chose another leader. And so Ann and I join with you to earnestly pray for him and for this great nation.

Thank you, and God bless America”

 Good speech.