Archive for the ‘Life and Memories’ Category

In the mid 1990s, I rode my motorcycle into a Hardee’s for coffee in East Tennessee and, as cyclists tend to group together, I parked next to a sportbike I had spotted as I pulled into the parking lot. After I got off my bike, I stared in wonder and amazement at this bike that hailed California license tags, it had a seat that seemed about 3 microns thick and saddlebags that appeared to be attached by divine intervention to this grimy, road-worn cafe style racer. In the 1990s, you didn’t see that many motorcycles with out-of-state plates…and you certainly didn’t see uncomfortable sportbikes traveling from out of state unless they were traveling in the back of a truck.

At the time, I was in my early forties and traveled quite a bit and I couldn’t believe anyone could have been riding that misery machine across the country and still be ambulatory enough to walk into the restaurant. I went inside lookin for the rider and spotted the kid, which was easy seeing we were the only two with bikes there, and I walked over and spoke with him. It seems he was headed to DC from Cali and he told me he had been averaging 600 to 700 miles per day. I asked if he felt stiff or cramped after riding all day in a position akin to being stuffed into a pringles can (I probably didn’t mention the pringles can, but that was the image I was seeing) and he said no, not at all and looked at me a little oddly as if this were one of the sillier questions he had heard. For decades I have thoroughly enjoy traveling on cross-country camping trips and at the time, I did it astride a BMW K100RS and toward the evening of hundreds of mile days, I would often feel mind-numbing stiffness and pain from my neck to my hips, while wishing they made portable traction machines I could carry along with me. At the end of our short conversation, I shook his hand and wished him the best and walked away thinking that guy must have been one of those rare humans born without pain receptors.

My father used to quote the phrase “I cried because I had no shoes until I met the man who had no feet” to me to help teach me to appreciate what I have, while at the same time desiring to work for more. It worked for I have always tended to never lose sight that there are always those that have less than me and I thank the Lord daily for what He has blessed me with, and continues to do so.

There are so many people today that seem to endlessly complain about everything without stopping to realize how blessed they actually are, and this started me thinking about my parent’s generation. I began thinking about life in the early part of the twentieth century, as opposed to life since I have been circling the sun.

Think about this, if you were born in 1900, for the first 50-55 years of your life, if you lived in rural America, you had minimal, or no healthcare, no electricity or running water, the prospect of finding a job outside of a large city was poor and there was no social security fund for the aged to fall back on…life as we know it, really only became commonplace after 1955. These facts can be a little sobering, if we allow them to sink in, and we need to make sure we appreciate every day we live upon this earth, instead of whining about what we don’t have.

Jim 5-22-20

Alternate title OK, So Maybe I am a Racist (but I’m proud of it!)

I grew up in the 1960s and I remember reading and seeing heaps of things growing up about Nazi Germany and the Gestapo and the tactics they used to control people. The Totalitarian German Government throughout the 30s and 40s completely controlled its subjects and a few of the tactics they employed were things such as controlling the travel of the populace and enforced curfews as well as lock downs and generating programs in which they encouraged people to “snitch” on their neighbors for illegal activities…there was much more they did to control the people unfortunate to be within the realm of their control, but you get the picture and it sounds terribly familiar to what has been going on across America in the last couple of months.

The 1st amendment to the United States Constitution addresses the protection of free speech, but the formerly free media and militant liberals (those guys that espouse tolerance) proves daily that they have no toleration for anyone that doesn’t see things their way and is doing their best to erode that individual liberty by attacking anyone says something they don’t like. For example, today I saw a news story where the liberals and their minions (the media) were absolutely up in arms, accusing a family run business in Texas that has been struggling because of the Corona virus (that started in China, the same country that pressured the WHO to not report the virus in January and subsequently started preventing export of masks and respirators to the West) of racism because they placed a sign on their marquee that said “Don’t buy Chinese, buy American”…so what? The owner has a right to post whatever he wants on HIS sign and he wanted to get the word out that America’s dependence on China hurts all Americans…and I wholeheartedly agree with him. The dependency of America and many of the world’s nations, on cheap Chinese products has severely hurt local community manufacturers and many small, local economies around the nation, as well as the world to the point that many small communities around this nation are starting to look like ghost towns with all their boarded up buildings where local small manufacturers used to employ local citizens. This country has an opportunity to turn that around.

When it comes to the virus, I truly believe that China weaponized this virus to hurt and destabilize western economies, for the purpose of strengthening their own economy and I believe that it has had an opposite effect (to strengthen my argument this was intentional, China has almost no cases of this virus in their larger and most populous cities such as Beijing and Shanghai). They have hurt economies across the globe, but many of the western governments are actively blaming China for this as well and are seeing China’s response such as refusal to allow Westerners access to their areas infected, threatening to withhold medicines and the raw elements required to make effective antibiotic and anti-viral medicines to the west, as we learned that 90% of all medicines and raw elements to make the medicines are now manufactured in China (the last penicillin manufacturer in the US stopped making it in 2002).

We have an opportunity to lessen our dependence on the Communistic and Totalitarian regime that runs China by a huge amount and bring manufacturing back to this Country, subsequently helping those that are struggling in many of the small communities to make ends meet. Lets help America become a manufacturing giant again by weaning ourselves of the communist teat that currently controls us.

America was based upon freedom of speech without fear of government intervention and freedom of religion where folks can worship without fear of reprisal or government repression. It appears those guaranteed rights and freedoms are under severe attack, for today if someone voices their opinion that offends someone somewhere they are immediately excoriated and labeled either a racist or an (xxx)phobe and these labels are swiftly shot across the major media outlets like a raging wildfire, with the intent of destroying the offenders reputation. I have no reputation to damage, and even if I did, I don’t believe I would cowtow to the readily offended. According to those that appear to control the media in this Country now, and because of the current mentality I am a racist for saying “screw China…buy American”…and I am tremendously proud to wear that label!

 

 

Jim 5-14-20

For as long as I can recall, I’ve had a compelling infatuation with music of all kinds. I never did have the overwhelming desire to learned to play an instrument, as so many music lovers have had and I can’t seem to carry a tune in a bucket (though I think I sound pretty good in the shower) but I love listening to all forms of it.

When I was 6 years old my grandmother gave me a little Sonic brand transistor radio for my birthday and I thought that was the most wonderful present I had ever seen. I adored that radio and carried it with me whenever, and everywhere I was allowed to. At some point in my young life, I acquired a radio for my room and I would listen to it at night or in the evening or really anytime I was in my room doing something. In the 1960s the FM band was really unheard of and the only thing that you had available for listening to music across the airwaves was an AM radio. I discovered early on that the properties of AM radio was that the radio waves would bounce off the ionosphere and come back down at an angle so you often could tune in radio stations from far, far away. Generally, in the daytime you could only pick up mainly local stations and many rural and small market stations were limited by the FCC to how much wattage they could use to transmit their signal (I lived in a small town of about 7000 people). Most of the lower wattage stations would only transmit during the day light hours which meant that when the sun began to set and local stations would sign off the air, then their signal would stop overriding the more distant signals and we could tune in to listen to high-wattage stations from hundreds of mile away.

There was a radio station out of Chicago with the call letters WLS that was a huge favorite of mine and was one of the most popular radio stations among teenagers in the nation as they constantly played all the hits that America’s youth loved to hear. I looked forward to the evening hours so I could tune in and listen to my favorite Disc Jockeys. One hugely popular DJ that I recalled looking forward to hearing on WLS as he talked about and played the current hits as well as emerging new songs and artists was John Records Landecker. It was only after 6 or 7 in the evening that I was able to start receiving it and night after night I would loyally listen to it either with my transistor radio or in my room until it was time to go to bed, at which time I would tell John Records Landeker good night and grudgingly turn off the radio.

Overall I was a pretty shy kid and in 1968, at the age of 11, I was secretly and madly in love with a beautiful little dark haired girl at church by the name of Charlene. I vowed to myself I would build up enough courage to tell her how I felt, but every time I would see her at church, that courage would just melt away and I would set there silently adoring her. That summer on WLS, one of the new songs that started playing across the airwaves was one by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles called Tears of a Clown. I instantly fell in love with the song and I secretly dedicated it to Charlene as our anthem, as I continued to try and grasp the courage but continued to fail to approach her. One Sunday morning in August I noticed Charlene wasn’t there at church. That same evening at the Sunday night service she still wasn’t sitting in her normal seat in the auditorium, and so I assumed she might be sick. When I didn’t see her again at the following Wednesday evening service, I became concerned and on the way home that night I asked my mother if she knew why Charlene wasn’t at church and my mother replied that they had moved to Livingston. I was stunned, flabbergasted and totally devastated, for even though Livingston was only twenty mile away, to an 11 year old kid, it might as well have been twenty thousand. As I went to my room that late summer evening in 1968, I allowed the fact to sink in that because of my complete shyness and fearfulness I had squandered the opportunity to tell Charlene how I felt about her and now it was too late. As I began to wallow in this depression of my own making, I turned on the radio and proceeded to tune it in to 890 to listen to WLS. As if by design, mine and Charlene’s personal anthem, Tears of a Clown came wafting out of the radio speakers and I sank down to the floor and softly cried. Even to this day, some fifty years later, when I hear Tears of a Clown, I often think back to a simpler time and wonder what happened to that little dark haired girl I was so madly in love with in the summer of 1968.

Jim 5-8-20

As I walked out of the house this morning, to take advantage of the beautiful spring weather, I decided to start weeding my flower garden and as I pulled the little weeds that were beginning to spring up and cleaned away leaves and debris from around the flowers, I began humming whatever tune that happened to pop into my head at the moment. This morning the tune that dropped into the mental music slot in my cranium happened to be Hello Dolly sang by Louis Armstrong and as I happily hummed it as I worked, I started thinking about that song and the musical it came from. Whenever I hum tunes and then begin to think about whatever I’m humming, I often think of the context I remember the tune in. Whenever I think about the tune, Hello Dolly, I instantly think about Carol Channing’s smile. The beautiful Carol Channing starred in the musical in 1964 and it was a huge success for Hollywood at that time and Carol Channing was a much adored and beloved film and stage actress (when I was growing up we called females that performed on stage and screen, actresses…somewhere along the line I suppose someone got offended and the rush by the thought and speech gestapo to correct the “wrong” was swiftly enacted).

I recall reading a story a few years back about Carol Channing where it was revealed late in her life that her father was half black and she had to conceal that fact because if people had found out that she was any other race or color other than Caucasian then she could not have achieved any level of stardom in Hollywood as an actress. Sure, she may have been able to find work, but she would have been limited to roles that were specific to non-white actors…and that is a shame. My thought progression continued and I started thinking about my country’s history of racism and how for too long that people were snubbed, castigated and looked down upon as second class citizens because of their skin color. I then began thinking specifically about this, relating to Hollywood, and how not only were people judged and graded by their skin color, but also because of their sex (more thought progression).

This made me begin to think about the Me-Too movement that suddenly popped onto the scene and began to get coverage all over the media a couple of years ago…and I guess that this movement, at its core, is a good thing because nobody should have to be judged on the casting couch or to be forced to have sex just to try to get a start or to get noticed in Hollywood (or in politics, it would seem) but that’s the way life was in America, and especially in Hollywood, for much of this country’s history.

That being said, the problem with the Me-Too movement (and others like it) is that liberals and the media get hold of something that has a good solid basis and purpose and they proceed to destroy it to push and achieve a certain agenda. It appears most things that the media become involved suddenly is taken way, way off path to where it becomes unrecognizable to its original founders and they end up politicizing it and ruining the original purpose of it. This coupled with the fact that people are no longer innocent until proven guilty, but are instantly adjured guilty and are demolished by the media while their employers are publicly shamed by bleeding heart liberals to fire them, clearly demonstrates that the “innocent until proven guilty tenet that has been part of our justice system, is tossed out the window. In addition, if these folks want to try to prove their innocence, they have to fight the almost insurmountable uphill battle with their own funds as the media that happily annihilated their lives and reputations, clean their razor-sharp talons of the affair and scan the horizon for other victims like digital carrion birds.

Those folks that consistently hijack the desires to right long-term cultural wrongs, end up turning something good and righteous into these runaway movements that, through false narratives and paid hirelings (who on cue pose as victims to assist the attempt to destroy the current target), have bastardized and politicized years of hard work by good people to the point that they have almost become meaningless and are completely unrecognizable from their original purpose. Also, it seems today you can’t read or watch anything coming from the political left without hearing them accuse someone of being a racist, to the point that they have severely diluted the word as they bandy and fling the accusations about without cause or merit and often in a laughable way, that all they end up doing is jading the public to the point that if someone is justifiably accused of racism, it will not carry the weight or truth that it should. Americans are finally waking up and are beginning to turn a deaf ear to all these adulterations of the truth. You can only cry wolf so many times until folks begin to stop listening to you.

Jim

4-17-20