Thoughts on History

While I was sitting here at my laptop wondering to write about, I made the mistake of checking the news. Not CNN or ABC or NBC, but Fox News. Not because Fox is perfect, but because the other media outlets are totally untrustworthy. I believe Fox is accurate most of the time. And when Todd Starnes is reporting, it’s always accurate.

But then I turned to Facebook and saw an interesting article someone had shared about an NAACP official, a very dignified looking older black lady, who was lambasting the left for what they’re doing (or trying to do) to statues of Confederate leaders. I was exceptionally impressed with her remarks, especially when she said the Confederacy was part of American history and history shouldn’t be tampered with.

I believe most people are familiar with Edmund Burke’s famous saying, “Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.” Don’t we see that happening all around us? Especially by those who are trying to rewrite history as if the undesirable events never took place.

The current emphasis on political correctness has reached ridiculous extremes, and nowhere does that show up more obviously than in our freedom of speech being taken away from us every time we offend someone. I recently ran across this quote of George Orwell’s. Do you remember his book 1984, a futuristic horror story that  describes modern-day America a little more accurately every day?

“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”

Sir Winston Churchill might have been describing contemporary America when he said this:

“Some people’s idea of free speech is that they are free to say what they like, but if anyone says anything back, that is an outrage.”

I’d love to think I’m using my freedom of speech while I still can to say something back. Unfortunately, I’m probably talking to the people who generally already agree with me.

Comments are always welcome. The more politically incorrect, the better.

 

 

    

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Best regards,
Roger

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A Walk through Daily Life

I enjoy walking at the local mall, and I do that at least five days a week in the early morning. Early morning is either 8:15 or 8:30, depending on which security guard lets us walkers in. There doesn’t seem to be any agreement about which time is officially correct.

Although a number of my fellow walkers walk with other people, I prefer to walk by myself. The practical reason is that the echoes in those empty hallways make it very difficult for me to understand what other people are saying. But the real reason, other than the fact that I enjoy my own company at that time of day, is that I enjoy God’s company even more.

Yep, I like to pray while walking. Although I make it a practice to always pray about certain specific needs (usually not my own), I try to leave my prayer time open to whatever God lays on my heart to talk to Him about.

Several days ago my prayer time revealed something I’d never thought about before. Walking at the mall has many similarities to living my daily life.

In both cases, I’m at it before much of the day has a chance to get away from me. And I’m not necessarily all that alert yet at the beginning, even though I’m theoretically wide awake.

Each activity has a definite starting and ending point. My day goes from bedtime to bedtime, and my walks go from the Food Court entrance back to the Food Court entrance…and then back to the same car I came in…and to the same house I left forty or so minutes earlier.

Just as I expect to see a number of familiar fellow walkers, custodians, and early store employees, my daily life involves a number of familiar activities–a mid-morning snack, working a while on my WIP (work-in-progress), lunch, afternoon nap, putting away the clean breakfast dishes in preparation for suppertime dishwashing.

I could keep going, but there’s no need to belabor the point.

Occasionally my walk involves a surprise. Maybe I see someone I suddenly realize I haven’t seen in a while.  Or I end up walking a short distance with one of the walkers I know is a Christian, too. (I’m not really anti-social.) Or seeing that an interesting looking new store is about to open.

Of course, the surprise may not be the least pleasant. Like when the security guard is really late letting us in. Or when I have to break my stride to tie a shoelace keeps coming loose. Or when I notice one more store going out of business.

Good or bad, my walk still resembles my daily life to a certain extent. Sometimes I write more words in my WIP than I’d expected to. Sometimes fewer. Sometimes something special comes in the mail. Or something unexpected interferes with my routine. Like the tire pressure light coming on in the car and having to get the charger out of the trunk and deal with it.

I wish I could recall more of the similarities that came to me while praying that day. One thing is certain, though: I’m always glad to safely reach the end, whether that means I’ve completed my walk and can sit down for as long as I want to or that I’ve plopped into bed at the end of the day, satisfied that I’ve “run the good race” that day, accomplishing whatever I wanted to accomplish, and thankful to have had God leading me each step along the way.

What do you think? Please leave a comment.

    

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Best regards,
Roger

Guest Post: Key Car Driving Technologies to Assist with Seniors (part one)

I’d like to thank Craig Hammontree of Healthmax360.com for sharing this fascinating article, the remainder of which will appear here next Sunday.

Everyone wants their freedom, none more so than the people who raised us and still want active lifestyles as they get older. Just because someone is aging, that shouldn’t mean they can’t have their mobility. Plus, the automotive industry has heard the cry for better technologies in cars. Today’s cars are safer, more aware of their environments and take convenience and ease of movement into account more than ever before.

You may already have a great car caddy to help you get in and out of a deep, soft seat, but how about knowing what’s behind you or getting a warning about speed changes? These and more are all on the horizon for drivers of all ages, standing to benefit senior drivers immensely.

Help with changing lanes
There are some great accessories you can add to a new car that makes sure you don’t stray out of your lane as you drive, helps your car keep centered between hard-to-see markings and even does some minimal steering for you, though you have to keep your hands on the wheel.

Many cities don’t take driving safety for those with poor vision into account as lines fade on the street or rain falls. This new technology steps in to keep you safe as you go along at night or in a storm. While it hasn’t been perfected yet and some versions rely on a camera to keep you centered, it’s worth considering. Staying centered in your lane will prevent accidents and minor fender benders and help everyone in the car feel that much safer.

Smarter headlights
This technology you can put in your car will make you wonder how you ever drove without it. Newer, more aware headlights are the next step in driver safety and help ensure that as the sun goes down, your lights go up to make everything clearer and safer for you and everyone else on the road. Some lights are even designed to move their beams around as the road changes and have special settings for curves and hills. Once you have them, you will never go back to manual.

Better brakes
You may have already heard about Autonomous Emergency Braking or AEB, as it’s something that many car manufacturers have committed to putting in all their new models. Essentially, the brakes help your car know when it’s about to have a collision and stops the car for the driver.

If your reaction time has slowed or if you just want the reassurance of knowing your car can help you out when danger is on the road, these brakes are a must.

A wake-up call
Many of us get relaxed as we drive, but some of us get far too relaxed. A drowsy driver alert system is designed to monitor the blinking patterns of the person at the wheel through a camera or take into account a lot of swerving or drifting. The Drowsy Driver Alert System kicks on and either wakes the driver up with sounds, vibrations or suggestions to the driver that it’s time to take a break.

Sleeping behind the wheel is extremely dangerous and one of the leading causes of accidents. If you know you tend to nod off as you drive, this could be a great addition to your vehicle. 

That’s the end of part one. How about leaving a comment to thank Mr. Hammontree for his willingness to guest post with this article. I don’t know about any of you, but as a seventy-year-old driver, I find this information to be greatly encouraging.

 


 

    

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Best regards,
Roger

In Transit

Hmm. What’s a guy to write a blog post about when he’s sitting in the Atlanta airport waiting for his connecting flight to Fort Myers, Florida?

It’s been a long day, even though only a little over an hour of it has been spent in the air. We had the alarm set for 5:30, but both of us were awake at least ten minutes before that and went ahead and got up.

Nobody was going to bother with showering today. Not before reaching our destination, anyhow. We were on our way to the Richmond airport by 6:00. It’s less than twenty-five miles, and we’re less than a mile from Rt. 95, and from there we turn off almost immediately on 295. In short, we were there in no time.

At least we would’ve been, but since we were hungry and running ahead of schedule, we stopped first at Hardee’s to eat.

Checking in online is great. Although the bag drop line was fairly long, it moved rapidly. On to security. Not a problem. The last few times we’ve flown, we’ve been TSA pre-checked or whatever they call it. We’re obviously not terrorists.

So we found our gate, and I started reading a novel on my Kindle. I’d just started it the day before, but it was fast moving. Especially when I found myself skipping unnecessary paragraphs. I’d read several books by this author, but found this one only vaguely intriguing. I’d do him a favor by not writing a three-star review.

So here I am in Atlanta. I’ve finished my lunch–the grilled chicken sandwich could’ve used LOTS of mustard, but the fries were great. I decided it was time to write something for my weekly post, and this is it.

I’m curious. Which would you have preferred, an account of my acceptably tame day (so far) or no post at all this Sunday? You won’t hurt my feelings, I can assure you.

     

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I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger

If History Should Happen to Repeat Itself

Right now I’m about a third of the way through a novel by my friend Ann Tatlock. ALL THE WAY HOME is a historical novel, and the fact that I’m reading it says a lot about Ann’s writing; I ordinarily avoid historical novels at any cost. But this one sparked my interest in a special way.

This novel is about a young girl, Augie, whose home situation is so undesirable that she hangs out as much as she can with Sunny, a schoolmate she became friends with at the park. Over time, Augie becomes more and more a part of Sunny’s family. Sunny’s parents do  everything short of legally adopting Augie.

An interesting story? Of course it is.

But when you put the story in its historical context, it becomes more than simply interesting. Sunny and her parents are Japanese-American. Genuine flag-waving American  citizens.

And the setting makes this story even more intriguing. It starts prior to the beginning of Word War II, when Augie thinks the Japanese are the greatest people on the face of the earth. She thinks of herself as Japanese and wishes she was Japanese, too.

But then the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor and the United States enters the war against Japan, and Augie and Sunny can’t really understand why things are the way they are. Especially the fact that seemingly all non-Japanese-Americans turn their backs in fear on their Japanese fellow citizens and make hatred the byword of the day. Sunny’s family sees the possibility of being moved to an internment camp as a real possibility.

That’s as far as I’ve gotten. I foresee Augie’s Japanese family being sent to an internment camp and Augie wishing she could go, too. Perhaps she even tries to. I don’t know.

Because I’ve gotten so caught up in loving and sympathizing with those two girls and Sunny’s Japanese family, it’s hard for me to keep reading. I’m not sure I want to see what they must go through.

Looking back on that period in American history, I’ll bet most people today would insist that the internment camps of yesteryear wouldn’t happen today. I hope they’re right.

But we’re facing a similar situation regarding Islam. Because of the Muslims who are unquestionably our enemies, some people are tempted to view all Muslims the same way.

Can you blame them? How many of the Islamic terrorists who’ve wrought havoc in America were described by former neighbors as kind, friendly people? How can we tell who’s dangerous and who’s not? How many criminals look like criminals, anyhow?

I’m on President Trump’s side in restricting immigration from Islamic countries, at least for a while. I think liberals who claim that Muslims are being discriminated against because of their religion are forgetting one thing: those potential immigrants are not U.S. citizens; does the Constitution actually give them the rights citizens should have? And those same liberals appear to have no objections to discriminating against American citizens who are Christians.

Even if President Trump can keep potential terrorists out of the country, that doesn’t change the fact that we already have a number of terrorists living here, just waiting for the right chance to strike.

What I’m afraid of is that genuinely peace-loving Muslims who’ve already become American citizens and have begun making a positive contribution to their new country’s welfare may have to pay the price for the Muslims who believe in jihad.

The relatively small acts of terrorism we’ve seen since 9/11 have been bad enough, but what will Americans’ attitudes be if the jihadists carry out another 9/11 attack–or something even worse? In our fear and our inability to tell who’s who, will we treat all Muslims the way Americans’ treated Japanese-American citizens during Word War II?

I pray that we don’t. And that we won’t separate two cute little girlfriends–one Christian, the other Muslim–because of our fear and resentment.

I’d appreciate your comments on this post.

 


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I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger

Passing by Home?

In my novel ROSA NO-NAME, the lead character ponders several times about what “home” is. In regard to the title of this post, I might be pondering that same thing myself.

When I was a kid, from approximately eight to twelve, I lived in Durham, North Carolina. It never felt like home because I’d had to leave the only home I’d ever known when my parents and I lived in Farmville, Virginia. So, when we later moved to Norfolk, it was a relief.

My wife and I drove back yesterday from the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference in western North Carolina. Just as we’d done going to the conference, we skirted Durham on Rt. 85. I usually just casually think, “I used to live here,” but yesterday I started remembering some of the things I hadn’t thought about in years.

Even at that early age, Duke University played a role in my life. My father used to take me to a barbershop at Duke for our hair cuts. No idea why. I remember a fountain outside that building, one that we could frequently see a rainbow inside or through. (Okay, so I’m a little hazy on details.)

Although I wasn’t big on admiring flowers, my parents liked to visit the extensive gardens at Duke, and even though I wasn’t very interested in Handel’s MESSIAH then–I’d love to go back to that now–they took me to a presentation of that work every year. I may not remember the music, but I recall being fascinated with those huge columns inside the Chapel.

I recall walking to my elementary school and passing by a little neighborhood store–anybody remember when there were still a number of those around? I recall one day when a bigger kid across the street from me yelled an obscenity at me. I was too naive to know what he was talking about.

I can’t forget how big a part tobacco played in Durham. Our next-door neighbor even used it to fertilize his lawn. Although I think unsmoked tobacco sometimes has a pleasant smell, I hated playing outside and having to smell that every day.

Speaking of tobacco, one of our church members gave my father and me tickets to attend some very special, tobacco-related yearly show. The actor who played Joe Friday’s sidekick on Dragnet was an entertainer that year. I had to ask my father the meaning of a vulgar joke he told.

Durham wasn’t all bad. The problem was my inability at that stage of my life to adjust. Being put on the safety patrol and going with that group to Washington, DC, were two of the better parts of my life there.

Home, though? It still didn’t seem like it. Would I like to go back and visit sometime? Maybe. If I can forget the worst of the past.

Thanks for letting me journey a bit through the past today. If you have comments, I’d love to have you share them.

NOTE: Various people have complained about not being able to find or leave comments. Go all the way to the bottom of this post, beneath my “Best regards, Roger.” On the very bottom line of that last section just above the previous post you’ll see “Leave a Comment” if yours will be the first or “X Comments,” where  X denotes the number of existing comments.

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Best regards,
Roger

What’s He Dreaming About?

I’ve been to Australia more times than I can count, starting with my first mission trip in 1991. Although I’ve been back for a family vacation and also to teach an all-day seminar at a computer users symposium, most of my trips have been mission-related. I’ve spent most of my time in the Sydney area, but have also visited Melbourne, Toowoomba, Port Douglas, and Hervey Bay. Plus a few places I’ve forgotten the names of.

My closest Australian friends lived in or near Sydney, however, and I always managed to visit them for a day or two no matter where I’d spent most of my time. And I always enjoyed two special activities–visiting the harbor and the Opera House and walking around Featherdale Wildlife Park.

I never tired of seeing and even getting to pet koalas. Because of those VERY sharp claws, I was limited to contact with one that was safely situated on a fence or in the crook of a low tree branch. Once I held a toy koala that the real one was safely holding onto.

That fur isn’t soft the way you might expect, by the way. Very disappointing.

But koalas themselves aren’t disappointing. Not unless you expect them to DO something. Even though I once got a video of a koala jumping from one tree to another and running around on the ground, most of the ones I saw were perched soundly in a eucalyptus tree, like this one pictured in the poster hanging on my living room wall.

  

This particular picture has always been one of my favorites. Why would I hang it in the living room, otherwise?

It’s fun to look at him (could be a her; I don’t know) and speculate. Is he asleep? If so, is he dreaming about something nice and quiet? Or is he actually thinking…to whatever degree koalas are capable of thought?

No way to be sure, of course, but I’ve always looked at the fellow from a different perspective. That’s why I call this picture “Praying Koala.”

Okay, so maybe koalas don’t have the same relationship with God we Christians do, but they’re just as much God’s creations as we humans are. So who’s to say he’s not praying?

What do you think? How about leaving a comment?

 

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I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger