For the first time since maybe the 60’s or 70’s, it seems like all walks of life in America are tuned in and are actually out voting. It may be the age of technology that via smartphones and social media, young and old are tuned in. I can and do, have pretty strong debates with my middle schoolers. They are actually quite knowledgeable about the current political issues and which candidates seem to support which issue. For someone like me who loves American Government and Politics it is a very exciting time. I have watched more debates, town halls, and speaking forums this year than all past years combined. This is the same guy who as a kid (10 years old) wrote a letter to President Reagan because I was sad he would not be president any longer. Some of you and it seems like everyone associated with the Republican Party this cycle agrees with that ten year old kid.
I am curious as to what my friends, associates, and followers think and believe. But, most importantly WHY they believe what they do. Of course there are the hot topics: immigration, Cuba, China, ISIS, Iran, Obamacare, racism, Police in the community, the nest Supreme Court Justice and how it may affect certain civil liberties, IPhone cracking, reforming tax codes, and free college. (Forgive me if I did not include your hot topic). You don’t have to wed yourself to one of those topics. Of course you may back a candidate for some reason I have not thought of.
I am requesting educated answers. For example, if you say you choose your candidate because they will keep the embargo with Cuba, explain to me why Cruz (if he is) your guy. Texas is only second behind Louisiana, and just ahead of Tennessee who CURRENTLY trade HUNDREDS of MILLIONS of dollars with Cuba and have for many years. (Not really an embargo for his state). Keeping the embargo only benefits those states because it keeps other states from the market. If you are Trump, tell me how, when, who is doing the work and who is paying for the wall. Surely you don’t think we can raid Mexican banks in a stick-up (if that’s one of your topics). *I did slip a clue in there for how money can be collected. If you candidate will end racism, global warming, bring peace to the Middle East, abolish abortion, make everyone pay the same amount of taxes, and/or build our economy, I’d like to hear their plan and why you support it. And, I would be most gracious if you could explain how and why you think that plan will work.
I named Cruz and Trump. I am not picking on those guys specifically. One that ignites my curiosity are the WHYs (Why you like?, Why you feel?, Why?, Why?, Why?). I’m sure I was annoying as a child and my wife can attest for how many times she finally responds to my line of questioning with, “I don’t know! I just do!” She’s mostly patient with me. The second is debating. I love a healthy debate.
Quite often during debates, town halls, or even during television interviews, I get really frustrated when a candidate is asked a question. It can even be a simple yes or no, yet you get 4.5 minutes of talking and the original question was never answered.
What are your thoughts on Campaign 2016?

Happy Draft Day!!!

Posted: May 8, 2014 in Uncategorized

Imperfectly Perfect

It’s Draft Day, people!

This is big!

Especially this year, when so many of our South Carolina Gamecocks are looking so good!

I think we all know who’s going first:

That’s right!  Our very own: Clowney!!

In case you’ve had your head buried under a rock for the last couple years, here’s a reminder of who Clowney is, exactly:

Yep – He’s that guy!

And then, of course, we have Bruce, Kelcy, and Connor who I’m hopeful will go tonight or tomorrow, as well.  They’ve all worked hard, and they’ve given us some awesome football to watch.

Let me tell you – there’s no better place to watch these guys play than at Williams-Brice.  But I’ll happily root…

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Parenting – “Honey, Where’s the Damn Manual?”.

Entrepreneurial traits

Entrepreneurial traits (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Parenting –  RULES and PARENTING GUIDELINES – we all struggle with these.

I have given some thought recently into my parenting “rules’ and guidelines. My “thoughts” were more of me venting due to frustration with my son’s behavior last weekend. It led to him being grounded for the week and a two part series (discussion) I like to call the infamous, “Coming to Jesus Meeting.”

As for Rules a Guidelines – they are, you know, those things that you do or don’t do. Your pet peeves and the things you choose to enforce and unfortunately let slide. (For the record, I hate picking my battles. It seems too arbitrary and inconsistent.) It seems that almost every parent has a different set of these. I have seen that even within a household the mother and father have different and sometimes competing “rules and guidelines.” That may not be a bad thing. What works for some parents and kids may not work for others. EVERY situation is unique as we are dealing with people here. And God created all of us differently. We all have different backgrounds and circumstances that shaped who we are and our beliefs and ideas.There are things that I’m a stickler about ad things I let slide. Alicia and I are similar in most and different in others. Again, every parent has their ideas for what they think is the best way to do it. I’m by far not perfect and neither our my little angels (tongue-in-cheek).

1. “Do as I say, not as I do.” I’m a firm believer in this. I’m the parent/father/husband. I have executive privilege. I pay the bills and until you have your own house, it’s my rules – my way. I can stub my toe and say “shit” you cannot. I’m not proud of it, but it is what it is. I can talk over you when you are being disrespectful or I need to make sure you shut up and hear me. As a parent, it is my responsibility to make sure you are taken care of. What I say more than likely is more important than yours. What you say is important, too, so let me say my thing, you acknowledge, then say what you need to say. In summary: there’s a pecking order: parents then kids. CLEAR line in the sand.

2. When I say something you comply. Not in a minute. Not when you finish whatever you are doing. Not “hold on.” And do not say something smart. If you don’t like what I said or asked you to do, say whatever you want UNDER YOUR BREATH. I better not hear it. You can roll your eyes, grit your teeth, or whatever you want. Just do not let some disrespectful word fly from your mouth that I can hear.

3. Empty threats. I hate empty threats. Part 1: Don’t say “do —– now” and then start counting. If your kids are over age 6 ( kindergarten) you do’t need to count. Do it right now. Ok, I’ll count. ONE! That’s all you get. Part 2: If you do —–, you are going to get —–. Final warning. 10 minutes later “final warning” an hour later “final warning.” Part 3: when we get home, (you go straight to bed, you’re getting a spanking, I’m taking —— privilege) and then you don’t do it. As I said, last weekend one of my son drove me nuts. He wouldn’t listen and did something really really stupid. He had one warning on that Friday. All week, he had no TV, no video games, no DVD player, no games on his phone had to clean house, empty all trash all week, and clean a bathroom. We watched TV during dinner one night ( a rare occasion) to watch something and he had to eat by himself in the dining room. I’m sorry but too bad. You acted like a jack ass, you get no privileges.

4. Your kid has tons of privileges- phones, video games, nice clothes/shoes, electronics, etc and treats you like shit. Are you kidding me. The little ungrateful f***ker needs to be in their room with nothing. No privileges. Early bed and some chores added. How dare you bust your ass at work to provide for their needs AND extras and have to deal with that. Your kids should thank you every day. They should have chores and responsibilities, too. No free rides and most importantly they should be respectful.

5. Structure: I am a firm believer (now I am) in structure. Structure everything. A small example – on the weekends kids can stay up later but in general still have a bed time. They need their rest and most parents, if you are like me, need some down time, too. At some point, the house needs to be in chill mode.

6. I break this one. There is no need to scream and act like a fool. A kid says or does something stupid. Go back to your plan of enforcing whatever it is you had in mind and keep cool. Wish I could keep this.

7. Be affectionate. Hug your kids as tell them you love them an are proud of them. Even when you are fussing. On good days and bad days. I find that I do this at bedtime after prayers are said. It’s one on or private time an I know I have their attention. (Hint here: PRAYER TIME)

8. Censorship: it’s hard to e everywhere your child goes especially as they get older, but I feel censorship should be employed whenever possible. I cringe at some of the things they have seen or heard on YouTube and even on regular tv. We didn’t have that stuff growing up. And we weren’t allowed to see and hear that stuff. I live in fear what they will hear on tv, at school or on the radio, internet, etc.

9. Quitting/ crappy participation: If you sign your kid up for a sport, chorus, theater, scouts, etc. They need to participate. They need to attend all meetings and practices and games. And if they don’t like it, they need to at least finish the season/term. We dont miss practice or rehearsals because little Johnny or Suzy doesn’t feel like going. Same for parents. No shit. You had a long day and are tired, too. The activity isn’t about you. Teach the the kid it’s important to stick with it and take them anyway. When you signed them up, did you think a unicorn was going to handle the transportation?  Don’t teach them to be a quitter or slack ass.

10. Guard them against your lifestyle: Hey you might be divorced, single, or a sob cheater. Whatever I’m not going to judge. Just please spare the kids from your flavor or the month. They don’t need to be exposed to whomever you think will be the most awesome step-parent ever. Chances are it won’t work anyway- as statistically blended families separate- and you are in a fantasy world of happily ever after. Summary: guard the kids against your flame of the month. Your kids should meet the person once some time has past and it obvious that a long term deal is imminent.

11.  Don’t be an idiot and do things like smoke in your car/house with your kids. Don’t be friends with your kids on Facebook and post things they shouldn’t see. Don’t use your kids as leverage. And chances are if they screwed up in school it was more likely than not their fault. Not the teachers or Johnny B Bad from down the street. Chances are he didn’t put a gun to your kids head and forcibly coerce your kid into participating. Try teaching your kid to be a leader an not a follower. See also the Book of Jeremiah in the Bible. Don’t blame the teacher for your kid’s bad grade or the crappy school system.

12. Be involved and push education. Know what they are learning. Talk to them about it. Study with them. Make sure homework is done. Check, double check, triple check. Pop in once in while and ask the teacher how things are going with little Johnny. Hell an email would even suffice. Stay with your finger to the pulse. Kids get one shot at education and in many ways it is the only opportunity to have a better life than their current one and most certainly their best opportunity for successful independence.

13. Idle hands are the devils work shop. My grandmother an great-grandmother used to say this all the time. I hated it then but am a firm believer now. So so true. I have noticed when the kids are busier with school, sports, church, etc they are much more respectful, they fight less, and get more rest. Almost ever time I hear “we’re bored” trouble is soon to follow. Part 2: A lot of kids these days don’t help out with things like yard work and chores. We had no choice growing up. We were not allowed to play until the grass was cut, limbs picked up, etc. Mama would take us to the beach at Edisto ONLY AFTER our buckets of tomatoes were picked. The longer it took (we stood around whining) the less time we had at the beach. As a kid you quickly learn to reason with yourself to bust ass and get it done so that you can do what you want to do.

It is time we all get off our lazy asses as parents and do our jobs. We run this show. My .02. 🙂

Daily Prompt: A House Divided

Posted: August 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

Obviously, vote for my choice 🙂

Imperfectly Perfect

Today’s Daily Prompt:

Pick a divisive issue currently in the news. Write a two-part post in which you take on two personas and approach the topic from both sides. Bonus points for a creative format (roundtable discussion, debate transcript, etc.). Photographers, artists, poets: show us DIVIDED.

Once again, Eugene and I have had a little debate on a current issue.  And once again, we want you guys to be the judge.

Here’s the issue, in a nutshell.  You can read the entire articles here or here.

A student at Georgia State University started a White Student Union.  Six students have complained about the formation of this club, and the school says that it’s not an official group, as in order to become one, a staff member is needed as an advisor.  The Vice President of Student Affairs says he doubts the group could find one. …

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I got a notification yesterday from Alicia that she nominated me for The Versatile Blogger Award. She apparently likes a quote that I used once and often, but not very often, comments on my blogs.

If you haven’t checked out her blog, by the way, do it now.

Now, on to the rules of this award:

1. Display the award on your page.

2. Announce your win with a post.  Link back to your nominator as a ‘thank you’ for the nomination.

3. Present 15 awards to other deserving bloggers, and let them know you’ve nominated them.

4. Post 7 interesting things about yourself.

Let’s get the 7 things out of the way first:

1. I’d like to spend a year in Iowa, South Dakota, or Nebraska working on a farm. I’d love to drive the Combine from sun up to sun down. Just my iPod in on shuffle and enjoying the scenery.

2. I’d like to own a small orange grove in Florida.

3. I love picking apples in the mountains of North Carolina.

4. One of my favorite places in the South Carolina lowcountry is Boone Hall Farms. I like to go out there on a blistering hot summer day, take off my shirt, turn on my iPod and fill BASKETS! with blueberries, corn, strawberries, blackberries, peppers, tomatoes (which I never eat), and many other things. I can spend days on end picking fruit and vegetables.

5. Fishing is my favorite hobby.

6. There are two things I wish I could do better: 1. throw a perfect cast net and 2. play the piano.

7. Fall is my favorite time of the year. I like when the air turns cooler and crisp. It is the beginning of hunting season. The holidays are approaching. Football is awesome. Baseball playoffs are on tv. School is back in for the kids. Fall also reminds me of my grandparents. They used to take me to the mountains every Fall to pick apples and see the leaves change colors. Fall is about food! Food for football games (tailgating), and Thanksgiving meals and Christmas meals and the in betweens when family comes to visit. Ahhh Fall is right around the corner. I will admit, the kid in me still loves to pile up the leaves all nice and thick and jump in them! I hope to take the family to see this majesty very soon.

And now… here are my 7 nominees for the Versatile Blogger Award.

1. Arden

2. Rarasaur

3. Powcat

4. Mom

5. HP

6. Anna

7. Nate

Congrats to all. Thanks for the award, Ms. Benton.

Detroit

Detroit (Photo credit: Ann Millspaugh)

 

Installment 1 on a series that affects so many and is quite sad. The PRIDE of our country now stands in shambles. If you are a GenXer or younger, you probably wouldn’t consider Detroit the Pride of America. Installment 2 will show you why this city was so great. I shared a  few bullet points (both good a bead below).

 

It is so sad to watch one of America’s greatest cities die a horrible death.  Once upon a time, the city of Detroit was a teeming metropolis of 1.8 million people and it had the highest per capita income in the United States.  Now it is a rotting, decaying hellhole of about 700,000 people that the rest of the world makes jokes about.  On Thursday, we learned that the decision had been made for the city of Detroit to formally file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy.  It was going to be the largest municipal bankruptcy in the history of the United States by far, but on Friday it was stopped at least temporarily by an Ingham County judge.

She ruled that Detroit’s bankruptcy filing violates the Michigan Constitution because it would result in reduced pension payments for retired workers.  She also stated that Detroit’s bankruptcy filing was “also not honoring the (United States) president, who took (Detroit’s auto companies) out of bankruptcy“, and she ordered that a copy of her judgment be sent to Barack Obama.  How “honoring the president” has anything to do with the bankruptcy of Detroit is a bit of a mystery, but what that judge has done is ensured that there will be months of legal wrangling ahead over Detroit’s money woes.

It will be very interesting to see how all of this plays out.  But one thing is for sure – the city of Detroit is flat broke.  One of the greatest cities in the history of the world is just a shell of its former self.  The following are 25 facts about the fall of Detroit that will leave you shaking your head…

1) At this point, the city of Detroit owes money to more than 100,000 creditors.

2) Detroit is facing $20 billion in debt and unfunded liabilities.  That breaks down to more than $25,000 per resident.

3) Back in 1960, the city of Detroit actually had thehighest per-capita income in the entire nation.

4) In 1950, there were about 296,000 manufacturing jobs in Detroit.  Today, there are less than 27,000.

5) Between December 2000 and December 2010, 48 percent of the manufacturing jobs in the state of Michigan were lost.

6) There are lots of houses available for sale in Detroitright now for $500 or less.

7) At this point, there are approximately 78,000 abandoned homes in the city.

8) About one-third of Detroit’s 140 square miles is either vacant or derelict.

9) An astounding 47 percent of the residents of the city of Detroit are functionally illiterate.

10) Less than half of the residents of Detroit over the age of 16 are working at this point.

11) If you can believe it, 60 percent of all children in the city of Detroit are living in poverty.

12) Detroit was once the fourth-largest city in the United States, but over the past 60 years the population of Detroit has fallen by 63 percent.

13) The city of Detroit is now very heavily dependent on the tax revenue it pulls in from the casinos in the city.  Right now, Detroit is bringing in about 11 million dollars a month in tax revenue from the casinos.

14) There are 70 “Superfund” hazardous waste sites in Detroit.

15) 40 percent of the street lights do not work.

16) Only about a third of the ambulances are running.

17) Some ambulances in the city of Detroit have been used for so long that they have more than 250,000 mileson them.

18) Two-thirds of the parks in the city of Detroit have been permanently closed down since 2008.

19) The size of the police force in Detroit has been cutby about 40 percent over the past decade.

20) When you call the police in Detroit, it takes them an average of 58 minutes to respond.

21) Due to budget cutbacks, most police stations in Detroit are now closed to the public for 16 hours a day.

22) The violent crime rate in Detroit is five times higherthan the national average.

23) The murder rate in Detroit is 11 times higher than it is in New York City.

24) Today, police solve less than 10 percent of the crimes that are committed in Detroit.

25) Crime has gotten so bad in Detroit that even the police are telling people to “enter Detroit at your own risk“.

Next up –  Installment 2: Detroit, The Pride of America circa 1960.

redcross-logo

The American Red Cross through a network of generous donors, volunteers and employees share a mission of preventing and relieving suffering, here at home and around the world, through five key service areas:

1. Disaster relief: Hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, earthquakes, and tsunamis. There are 70,000 such events that occur in the US each year. Red Cross provides shelter, food, health and mental health services to help families and entire communities get back on their feet.

2. Military family support: The Red Cross helps military members, veterans and their families prepare for, cope with, and respond to the challenges of military service. Emergency communications, training, support to wounded warriors and veterans, and access to community resources help an average of 150,000 military families and veterans annually.

3. Blood bank: Your donations of blood are what make the American Red Cross the largest single supplier of blood and blood products in the U.S. Each year, nearly 4 million people donate blood through the Red Cross, helping to provide more than 40% of America’s blood supply.

4. Health and Safety services: The Red Cross is the nation’s leading provider of health and safety courses, such as CPR, First Aid and Lifeguard training. Each year, more than 9 million Americans participate in our training programs, including first responders, educators, babysitters, and people who want to be prepared to help others in an emergency. (I am CPR and Defib certified!)

5. International Assistance: The American Red Cross is part of the world’s largest humanitarian network with 13 million volunteers in 187 countries. Working together, we help respond to disasters, build safer communities, and educate future humanitarians. Each year, we reach an average of more than 100 million people across the globe.

Today, I will be training to become a certified (I hope) volunteer with the American Red Cross. As we have seen throughout our country’s history, nothing brings us all together like a call for help and those willing to lend a hand. Remember how close we all seemed post 9/11? Remember all of us (my age) as kids and helping cut and tote trees out of neighbors yards following Hurricane Hugo? I encourage everyone to click this link HELP and sign up for a class. No matter how small or large the contribution you are able to make, please know you are helping your fellow man.

English: tire identification diagram showing v...

English: tire identification diagram showing various labeling features, English terms. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

That quote single handily made my job easier. Now as I’m pouring through the tread options, warranties, speed ratings, ply ratings, and not to mention judging the appearances. They are going on Princess’ baby! NOW I get to imagine that I’m pouring through …oh I don’t know… boobs and trying to pick out the best ones. Hmmm. Alright, alright. Focus.

Back to the job of finding the perfect replacement tires for Alicia’s car. The current tires are the original ones and they have served a very good life.

Here’s the challenge. I have to get at least 50,000 miles out of them. They have to have an excellent speed rating. They have to have lifetime replacement on defects. They have to look good on the car. That have to have traction as it rains here nearly every dang day and Alicia someone likes to hit the gas and feel the horses run. Oh yeah, and I can’t afford the ones from Italy.

On top of all that is this added subject matter stress. See, in a previous life, I actually worked in litigation involving tire defects which ultimately led to deaths. Ironic, that kind of how I met Alicia. We worked on 2 or 3 cases together. So that’s the stress, we both sifted through the thousands of pages of discovery and know all the dirty little tire tricks.

For now, I have it narrowed down to two brands. But that is likely to change. I mean, unless the Michelin man is going to lift the car and tote them safely to each destination, these babies have to be safe, reliable and attractive.

toys

Anyone ever pause and watch your kids play? I do quite often. I have actually pretended to be playing working on my laptop or iPhone so that they would not know I was watching and listening. The more fascinating kid conversations I have heard are when Jeremy and Ronald are playing Leggos. Apparently, if you switch a head and arms on a guy he becomes a pirate-zombie-police officer-soldier with a very large assault weapon. I always listen to see if there is an logic behind this transformation and what this new super-Leggo man is capable of doing.

As an adult I think we males do something very similar. Like putting so and so’s face on so ans so’s body to create super sexy woman. Sorry, I got distracted and that’s not the point. It is neat to listen and think about what is going on in their little heads.

Those guys love Leggos and the Leggos of today aren’t what we had. Today they have moving parts, glow-in-the-dark, and the themes of the sets are all over the map. Also funny is when they get a set of Leggos for birthday or Christmas and Alicia spends hours putting the set together. I tried the first time to tell her to let the kids do it and that it was part of the experience, but she wasn’t having that. Deep down, who doesn’t like playing with them?

My favorite toys when I was their age was not Leggos. I was completely enthralled with GI Joe action figures and He-Man. My favorite Joe was Tunnel Rat. He had the huge backpack. I also like the Bridge layer. My favorite He-Man was He-Man himself, except I had the one where the shield on the front dented twice before being resent. It showed his wounds in battle. I also had Castle Greyskull. Since my birthday was so close to Christmas, I had to ask my grandmother for it, as compensation for both occasions. It was well worth it. I loved that thing and all was great until I took it outside. I mean, you cant have a castle without a moat. So i dug a moat and filled it with water. later when it was time to come in, my mom wouldn’t allow this muddle castle back in. So, I left it outside. It seemed as if my room was empty that night.

Life lesson I learned here was that I just tell the kids to wash their toys  off and dry them, but that they can bring them back in the house because the experience of having to leave mine outside sucked.

“Now you know. And knowing is half the battle – GI JOE!”

toy3

toy2