Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Clouds...


...moving in over the Ten Mile Range right now.  Looks like the beginning of a horror movie.  So very nice to live at nearly 10,000 feet and not have to worry about serious weather in the summer.  This is not Kansas or Iowa where the Tornado alerts are going off every ten seconds.  I have five children ages 46, 43, 41, 33 and 29 along with seven grandchildren spread out from 25 to 2.  This weekend my youngest son is getting married at Sapphire Point on Saturday with a reception following at Drake Haven at Bill's Ranch.  Outdoor wedding and outdoor reception.  The forecast right now is for occasional thunderstorms.  It has always rained around 3 pm every day in the summer in Summit County.  The wedding is around 6 pm.  Let's hope for the best.  He is a Lindstrom and a Swede and there is an old wives tale that rain on your wedding day is good luck.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Decisions...


...handed down today by the United States Supreme Court were all over the place as usual.  When I teach constitutional law I always have to include a caveat about how the court is constantly changing it's collective mind.  That is actually a good thing.  Government and the laws must be dynamic, always moving, always changing with the current political thinking and the current moves in our culture and our society.  If you don't like a decision then just wait a few years and I promise it will go in your direction again.  Supreme Court nominee Kagen is currently under attack because she once referred to the confirmation hearings as a joke.  She is right.  You go home with them who brung you.  Justice Stevens is retiring today and someday future Justice Kagen will retire also.  The court is dynamic and I think that is a good thing.  Regardless of who is on the court the world has yet to end as a result of the members.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Katrina...


...was the single most detrimental thing that happened during the eight years that George W. Bush was president.  Yes, it was not 9/11.  It was a natural disaster that he or no one else ever had any control over.  For a few days after the hurricane President Bush continued to stay on vacation on his ranch in Crawford.  He left the dirty work up to Brown, "You are doing a great job Brownie."  George cut brush while New Orleans drowned.  Huge mistake.  Today President Obama is dealing with many major issues.  Some he inherited from President Bush and some have happened after he became president.  He is alone and is not getting any help from the Republicans. They can't even extend unemployment benefits to our poor out of work citizens.  Heaven forbid they might do something that could be considered helping the nation or the President.  I heard a commentary yesterday that explained that of all of these issues the most important is the BP (Not British Petroleum.  Give me a break.) deep oil well break in the Gulf of Mexico.  The commentator said that if Obama could solve that single problem he would go down in history as a great president.  Don't know about that but at least he is not on vacation cutting brush in Texas.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Old...


...friends are nice to be with.  Old friends can help you remember all of the things you have forgotten.  Old friends remind you of the good times and somehow have they managed to forget the bad things.  Old friends are like a good pair of cowboy boots.  Very soft and comfortable.  Something you can tolerate for long periods of time.  I went to the retirement party of my secretary from the Sheriff's Office today.  She had been there for twenty one years.  Funny. I thought it had been a lot longer.  I first went to work at the Sheriffs's Office thirty four years ago.  I think about half the people in the room had not even been born then.  It seemed as though there was several generations of police officers in the room.  Some were in their early 20s and others were, like me, in their late 60's.  Lots of war stories.  Lots of lies sprinkled liberally with moments of truth.  As you get older it is easier to not tell the truth because you can always  blame it on your loss of memory.  The sad part about that is the older fellows like me have total recall about the events in the 1960s and 1970s but can't remember what happened this morning.  I think it is the mind's ability to soften the pain of today and make the past even more exciting.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Some...


...people see everything in black and white.  It is either right or wrong.  There are no shades of gray.  Either it is or it is not.  I have had students who have approached life this way.  They want to consider everything as absolutes.  When I offer two or three different theories or opinions on a topic they cannot grasp the meanings.  Their hands will shoot up followed by the question, "Well. Which way is it?  Which way is right?  Which way do I have to learn so I can pass the test?" I try to explain that there are normally many theorists on any given topic and it is important to learn how many scholars think about things. Most of the time they simply roll their eyes and sigh finding out that life is not an exact science. Life is not black or white.  I actually looked this up in the DSM and found out that it is symptomatic of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).  Nice to know it has a name.  Maybe the next time someone does not agree with the shades of gray definition I can suggest that they discuss it with their therapist.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

General...


...Stanley McChrystal should resign and then he should be courts martialed. He has shot himself in the foot while his foot was in his mouth.  He can no longer lead our forces in Afghanistan or anywhere else.

He should suffer the same consequences that any officer would suffer  when considering the Uniform Code of Military Justice’s penalty of court martial for “any commissioned officer [using] contemptuous words” against the civilian chain of command.  He needs to be drummed out of the service.  If it does not happen then all of our wonderful men and women serving in the military will lose faith in the system.

I am old enough to remember when President Truman fired General of the Army Douglas MacArthur for invading China during the Korean War.  It is no different.  The civilians are over the military.  They always have been and always will be.  If you want to see what happens when that does not occur then take a look at the military dictatorships all over the world and ask yourself if you would like to live under that system.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Estella...


...means star in Spanish.  Estella was my teacher in Guatemala in 2007.  She was a life-long local in San Pedro la Atitlan and was related to the owner of the language school.  In fact everyone was related to the owner of the language school.  The school had little huts along the beach of the lake where we had classes each day.  I had signed up for the full load and went to school from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.  I still wonder if I was learning Spanish from Estella or if she was learning English from me.  It was about equal.  

Each morning a black helicopter would fly along the shore of the lake.  I wondered if it was the police or the army or just some rich person commuting to Guatemala City for work.  

There were no local police in San Pedro.  Having come from a career in law enforcement and public safety I wondered about this.  I asked where the nearest fire department (bomberos) was and I was told that it was about two hours northwest in the city of  quetzaltenango shortened to  Xeal (shell-ah) about two hours northwest of San Pedro.  I asked about the nearest hospital and it was in Xeal as well.  As well as the local police (policia municipal) and the federal police (policia national).  Talk about a terrible response time.  

There was an ambulance in San Pedro owned and operated by the husband of the local massage therapist.  He was from Germany and she was from the Czech Republic.  Nice people and they both spoke English.  There was a clinic in the Baptist Church, the largest building in town and it was manned by doctors from Spain.

During Santa Semana (Holy Week) there were some local police in the town center but that was about it.  The federal police would come through once in a while in their black pickup trucks wearing their all black uniforms.  

Early one morning a large group of federal police lined up along the shore of the lake.  One was close enough that I walked up to him and spoke to him in Spanish. I told him that I was a retired police officer from the United States and that I was studying Spanish in San Pedro.  He gave me a very long, cold stare and ignored me.  Later a friend told me that the federal police were lined up along the shore to provide security for the drug dealers as they were moving drugs in the area.  Whoops.

Friday, June 18, 2010

World...


...War I was an interesting time.  As I teach each class I am being affirmed that history does in fact repeat itself.  The start of the war was attributed to the assignation of the Austrian heir to the throne.  Sounds good to me but you must lift the covers and see what was really going on.  The various alliances had amassed huge armies and navies with nothing to do.  The age of imperialism was winding down and nations felt that they needed to do something to acquire more territories.  We have big armies.  We have a need to expand.  We only need an excuse to start the war to end all wars so let's use anything that might be attributed to causing the war.  Heaven forbid that people might think it had something to do with the military. The assassination occurs and the war begins spreading from Japan and the south Pacific all the way back to the English channel.  Woodrow Wilson just said no to war and the United States stayed out for several year.  We only entered the war after Wilson was reelected.  Heaven forbid that someone might think that Wilson supported the war. The same Wilson who ran on the platform that he kept the United States out of the war. World War I has been called the deadliest war ever in the history of the world.  All because we had a huge military sitting around with nothing to do.  Sound familiar?  Think Iraq and Afghanistan.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Egalitarianism...


...means equal.  It means treating everyone the same way.  It means to give respect to people regardless of their sex, sexual orientation, race, color or economic status.  One on-line dictionary has this definition.  e·gal·i·tar·i·an  adj. Affirming, promoting, or characterized by belief in equal political, economic, social, and civil rights for all people. It is a word that pops into my brain each time I watch the news or listen to a talking head.  It is a word that many people do not understand or maybe do not want to understand.  Another word is dissonance.  It is commonly referred to as noise.  Cognitive dissonance is where some people have a hard time sorting out ideas and thoughts into any semblance of order.  Confusion.  Recently it seems that both the lack of egalitarianism and a plethora of cognitive dissonance are prevalent.  An example is where five people are talking and they are all talking at the same time.  So very rude.  They are over-talking.  Talking over each other.  People should spend an equal amount of time listening as they do talking.  Communication should be well ordered and easy to understand.  Communication should be polite.  Ask yourself if you talk more than you listen. As Zig used to say, "We need a checkup from the neck up."  Relax and take some time to stop talking for a minute and listen.  Maybe someone else has something important to say.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Sorry...


...that some of you did not get the photos yesterday.  I normally write my blog and then add the photo at the very end.  Yesterday I sent four pictures at once having copied them into the file.  Apparently the code to embed the photos was read differently by some systems.  I could see them on the copy I sent to myself and they were apparent on my web page.  I guess it is one of the mysteries of life.  

By the way, speaking of mysteries, two friends have recently had major problems after they clicked on Malware that indicated they had a virus.  The malware is designed to force you to buy their virus protection.  The operative word is fear.  It is set up to make you believe that your computer is infected and when you are asked if you want to fix it you unwittingly download the malware into your computer.  The only way you can get rid of it easily is to buy the software.  A more complicated way to get rid of it is to click on your start button and go to programs/add/change/delete and then find the malware and remove it that way but you have to be fast.  It is not a virus.  It is Malware.  Mal=bad.  You have to put up with a pop up every ten seconds until you buy the software or remove it.  Just don't ever click on anything if you don't know where it came from or you don't know what it does.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Sunday...


Snow Forecast 010.jpgSnow Forecast 011.jpgSnow Forecast 012.jpgSnow Forecast 013.jpg
...morning June 13, 2010 was white at my house.  Just when you think it is safe to go back in the water.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Silliness...



...prevails.The people in England are all up in arms saying that we are bad mouthing Britain because we keep referring to BP as British Petroleum.  Apparently they changed their name from British Petroleum to BP a couple of years ago  not unlike Kentucky Fried Chicken became KFC to get rid if the word "fried" in their name.  Much to do about nothing.  I think that the British need to get a life.  It would be as if American Airlines crashed a large plane into the center of London.  I am sure that the BBC would refer to the operator of the plane as "American" Airlines.  Would I be offended for the use of the word American in their comments.  Of course not.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Snow...



Snow Forecast 002.jpgSnow Forecast 001.jpg...is forecast for later today in the Colorado high country.  Yes, later today.  Today being June 11, 2010.  These photos were taken by your's truly in the Town of Frisco, Colorado around 1 pm this afternoon.  One is looking toward Grey's and Torrey's and the Continental Divide and the other one is Buffalo Mountain on the Gore Range west of Silverthorne, Colorado.  Lots of ice in those clouds.  Even now as I look through my window on the world the clouds are even more menacing to the south and east.  Now watch.  Nothing will happen.  It is raining right now too.  In June of 1974 we had over 36 inches of new snow on the third of the month so such things happen.  Just when you thought it was safe to put away the snow blower.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Ten...


...percent of our brain power 
is all we use 
according to many 
who study such things.  
Imagine what we could do 
if we cranked that up 
by one percent?  
I think that I 
spend way too much time 
using up my ten percent 
on things 
that are not important.  
They also say 
that ninety percent 
of the things we worry about 
(think about) 
never come true.  
What a waste 
of the ten percent.  
I wonder if 
the ten percent 
is true with Stephen Hawking or Albert Einstein?  
Imagine what their capacity is/was 
in the grand scheme of things.  
I just finished 
my morning walk 
half of which was uphill.  
By the time 
I get to the top of the hill 
I seriously believe 
that my brain 
is functioning 
way beyond 
ten percent. 
Stress/conflict 
causes the synapses 
to fire more often 
I believe.  
All of life 
is an uphill walk 
most of the time 
so I guess 
that is what 
keeps us going.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Oil...



...is going to be with us for a very long time whether we like it or not. Because of the recent issues in the Gulf of Mexico there has been a plethora of information out there about fossil fuels and renewables.  If you want to believe the press then renewables are not even close to replacing fossil fuels and as we explore more and more the quantity of available fossil fuels seems limitless.  Take the well that blew up in the gulf.  It was down 5000 feet to the ocean floor and then another 2000 feet beyond that to the oil.  7000 feet.  Nearly a mile and a half.  All of that just to get to the oil.  But considering that there are huge oil reserves all around the United States and in much of the world available for the future.  I believe that change comes about due to conflict.  Conflict in this case would be the lack of fossil fuels that would drive the market to renewables.  Or the exorbitant cost of fossil fuels driving us to renewables.  My personal opinion is that we should stop using fossil fuels immediately and let that conflict move us to cleaner more efficient renewables.  It does not look like that will ever happen in my lifetime.

Monday, June 7, 2010

It...




...is our choice.
  

“We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.”

I have always been a great fan of Carlos Castenada ever since a friend turned me on to him and his philosophy.  Such simple truths.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Emotions...


...rule.  

People 
do not function 
using logic 
or information.  

It is not 
about how 
they think.  

It is 
about how 
they feel.  

To sell something 
to someone 
work on 
their emotions 
and not
their intellect.  

I see this 
happen 
many times a day.  

People will spend hours 
trying to explain 
some complex issue 
to someone 
when the bottom line 
is not what they think 
about something 
but rather 
how they feel 
about things.  

Men have never 
figured this out 
and women do it 
without even 
having to practice.  

Feeling 
is in 
a woman's 
nature.  

Women go 
right to the heart 
while men fail 
all the time
trying to go right
to the brain. 

Now you know 
why women 
are so 
damn smart.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Colorado...


...never ceases to take my breath away.  

First of all 
there is not 
a lot of oxygen 
so it is naturally 
hard to breathe.  

A natural 
intoxicant.  

Even 
after forty years 
of living in this place 
I still get up 
in the morning 
and just stare 
out the window 
at the colorful sunrise.  

It is 
never 
the same.  

Always different.  

It is like 
going to 
a new place 
without ever 
having 
to move.  

To drive.  

To fly.  

Standing 
in one place 
and seeing 
a new sight 
every day 
and sometimes 
several times 
a day.  

This time
of the year
it is especially 
special.  

Natural air conditioning.  

Free air conditioning.  

No carbon footprint.  

No electricity.  

No coal.  

No natural gas.  

Just the 70 degree 
cool air both 
inside 
and outside.  

It does not 
get any 
better than that.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Memories...



...are hard to escape at times.  

Lately 
I will wake up 
in the middle of the night 
having 
remembered 
some event 
from forty years ago.  

Something 
that has passed 
and is gone 
and is lost 
forever.  

But still 
it is stuck 
in my mind 
to the point 
where 
it will 
wake me up.  

Something unresolved.  

Something uncompleted.  

Something 
left hanging.  

We all know 
that we can't change 
the past 
but if that is the case 
then why 
is it so difficult 
to let it go?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

First...


...word.  First thing.  First thought.  Sometimes that is the most difficult thing about getting started.  I love to write and spend a lot of time every day writing all sorts of things.  I sometimes wonder if anyone will ever read what I write.  I also read everything I can find to read. I do not have a theme.  I do not have a genre.  I am all over the place.  I tell people that I even read toothpaste tube ingredient labels.  Strange but true.  Most people would rather not know.  If you are going to learn or become a better person or a better writer you must read without ceasing.  We learn from others.  We learn what is good and what is bad.  We learn what we like and don't like.  I also write to writers to comment on what they have written.  I love writing to columnists for newspapers.  Most of them are egotists.  I know that because I am a recovering columnist.  I wrote to one over the weekend and he erupted back in an e mail casting aspersions on my ability to criticize his work.  Of course he was right.  Only in his grammar but not in his response to my comments.  I wrote him back and thanked him for teaching me the error of my ways.  He wrote back and apologized for his response.  Good, positive communication is a wonderful thing.  We all need teachable moments.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

School...


...starts for the summer semester next Monday.  I am teaching Sociology I, 20th Century World History and Contemporary Social Problems.  Part of getting ready is writing new mid-term examinations and final examinations for each class.  I have two choices.  I can write the test myself or I can use a computer generated test.   I do both.  One issue with the computer generated test is that some students want to challenge the question and the answers.  That is fine in fact that is great.  Lets me know they are paying attention.  Of course the problem with the computer generated test is that I have to defend the question and answer when I had nothing to do with their creation.  Put myself into the mind of the person at the publishing company.  Try to second guess what they were thinking.  Sometimes it is simple and sometimes it is impossible.  The publisher includes page references for the answers but that does not necessarily help. Of course I have the same problem with my questions and answers.  I sometimes sit and scratch my head asking, "What was I thinking when I wrote that?"  Sometimes I can't answer that question.   A mind is a terrible thing to waste.