Thanksgiving 2016

 

We have too much.

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I went to buy cereal the other day and found two aisles, 76 feet long, 5 rows high with breakfast cereals.

Stopped counting at 600 brands, flavors, sizes, prices.

All I wanted was a box of Wheat Chex.

Like apples?

Something like twelve varieties: McIntosh, Cortland, Gala, Jonathan Gold, Granny Smith, Paula Red, Red Delicious, Honeycrisp, Fuji, …

Likewise, canned tomatoes for chili. Several types, sizes and flavors to choose from. I always have to read the fine print, otherwise I end up with something like “Petite-Diced-Fire roasted-Italian” something, in my chili.

Bread, chips, frozen food-four aisles wide.

Eggs: cage free, organic, a box of six, a dozen, 1 1/2 dozen, to choose from. Brown, white, medium, large, extra-large.

Milk: 2%, 1%, Skim, plus dozens of varieties of cheese.

Meat, produce, canned goods and a deli.

All are for sale at my local grocery store, one of fifty or so located within ten miles of home. A twenty minute drive, tops.

“Natural, organic, gluten-free, non-GMO.”

Asked how many food items were available, the store manager could only say, “thousands.”

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Thousands of items to choose from, everyday, everywhere in our country.

My wife and I budget $20 a day for food.

More than half the world’s population lives on $2.50 or less-Americans spend more on their pets.

Choices are much easier for those living in extreme poverty.

Either find food  or starve.

Children under the age of five have a mortality rate of 6.10 (per thousand of live births) in the U.S. while those in Haiti die at a rate of 72.8. (Newsweek, Save the Children Report, 2015)

Our family of five adults now has, as you might guess, five cell phones, one land line, five laptops, one I-Pad and something called a Kindle.

Collectively, we own three cars, a pickup truck and a boat.

No one lives in the basement.

This Christmas season Amazon has offered just a little over 12 million consumer products, while EBAY claims to have a billion items listed for sale.

In the United States alone consumer retail sales are projected to reach $5 trillion this year.

I can’t decide whether to buy a Segway “miniPro” to cruise the neighborhood or a Samsung 55 inch, 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV, and stay on the couch.

Our three adult children have each graduated from college while over a billion people worldwide remain illiterate.

Two-thirds of them are women.

We live in a country that allows us the freedom to move about as we please, associate with whomever we choose and pursue our dreams as far as hard work and sacrifice will take us.

We have the freedom to worship our God as we see fit, or not at all.

Millions of people worldwide are persecuted and even killed for their beliefs.

We can read thousands of books, magazines and newspapers or watch,  hundreds of television  programs and movies.

Virtually everyone in America has access to the internet with all the information known to man,  at their fingertips.

 

 

It’s mind-boggling, the choices we have.

I have the freedom to grouse about having too many choices.

I’ll take it.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Veteran’s Day

 

 

 

e-wilson

In light of the recent election and the peaceful transition of government that is now taking place, I thought it only fitting to thank those family, friends and others that have served our nation.

Their sacrifice ensures that we continue to enjoy the freedom to chose our political leaders and pursue our unique way of life.

 

To that end I start by thanking my father, Ellis C. Wilson-US Army,(WWII).

Uncles: Inert Wilson, Hughes Wilson, Basil Wilson, Darrel Wilson, Roy Schaffer, (All US Army, WWII). Robert J. Andler, US Navy, serving aboard the USS West Virginia which sailed into Tokyo Bay to witness the Japanese surrender). Phillip R. Pettit, US Army.

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Bill Toledo,USMC,3rd Marine Division,(One of the last living Navajo Code Talkers), Iwo Jima.

Cousins: Kenneth R. Larsen, USAF(Korea), Dean Larsen, USAF(Vietnam), his daughter Beverly Larsen and grand-daughter Melinda Grabner-both USAF, Darrel Wilson, USAF, Mike Wilson, US Army, Calvin Wilson, USMC(Vietnam),Gary Wilson, US Army(Vietnam), Rex Larsen, US Army, Inert Larsen, US Army(Vietnam), Dan Wilson, US Army/Army National Guard, Dallen J. Wilson, US Army, Michael Andler, USAF (Iraq-The First Gulf War).

Barry Roseland, US Army,(Afghanistan, Kuwait), William J. Enders (Korea), Chuck Enders, US Army, Andrew Beerntsen, US Army (Afghanistan), Tom Pettit, US Army(Vietnam),Tony Lison, US Army(Vietnam), Larry Atkinson, USMC, John Rogers, US Army(Vietnam), Kenneth Lasee, USMC (Vietnam).

Since the birth of our Nation over 42 million men and women have served to protect and defend our way of life.

Most never knew of the places they fought in and some had never left home before. Some never owned a pair of boots.

A million of them paid the price of freedom, with their lives.

More than 3400 Congressional Medals of Honor have been awarded-most posthumously.

Over 92 thousand are still missing and unaccounted for.http://www.homeofheroes.com/moh/memory/statistics.html

They served honorably and asked for nothing really, in return. Maybe care for their wounds and a thank you.

Thank You.

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How About a Do-over?

 

 

detail-of-american-flag-11279635008nzanA do-over, a mulligan, another chance to get it right.

There should be a checkbox on the ballot for “None of the Above“.

If a majority of voters were to choose “None of the Above” then the two major parties would be required to come up with different candidates to offer.

Yeah, that would do it.

The problem of course is that we would have to endure another year or more, of inane speeches, annoying campaign ads and never ending robocalls.

As it stands, one of the two candidates for the highest office in the land is in line to join the ranks of the most unpopular presidents in history.

Names like Grant, Harding and Nixon are among those on the “The 10 Most Hated U.S. Presidents in History” list.http://www.answers.com/article/1183821/the-10-most-hated-us-presidents-in-history

On one side we have a Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton who has been involved  in controversy and scandal since she first walked into the White House in 1993.

The record continues, up to and including the private email server that more than likely left confidential documents vulnerable to hacks by just about anyone.

Her attitude has been one of entitlement-hers.

By her own admission she had to ask, “Why am I not 50 points ahead?”

Because, over 60% of Americans don’t trust her.

The rest apparently believe:

That the attack on our embassy in Benghazi was caused by some  meth head in California, posting a YouTube video.

That it is proper for a Secretary of State, while conducting affairs of the nation, to solicit donations from friends and enemies alike, for her own private foundation.

That it was just a coincidence that husband Bill ran into Attorney General Loretta Lynch, on her private jet, just to talk about the grandkids.

That all of her problems stem from the great “right-wing conspiracy” against her.

Conspiracy?

The right wing, a.k.a. the Republican Party can hardly get out of its own way.

Just look at who they nominated.

“The Donald”.

Like a dysfunctional family fighting over Grandma’s china, the GOP lost focus and allowed Donald Trump to advance to the general election for President of the United States.

The elephant in the room (pun intended) was a campaign of racism, sexism and discrimination unsurpassed by any other in history.

Trump supporters have chosen to ignore the dangers of electing a candidate who has denigrated women, minorities, immigrants, the disabled, and well, just about everyone.

The list of Trump adjectives: narcissist, bully, racist, sexist, abusive, alleged sexual assault suspect, pale in comparison to the video evidence of his behavior on the campaign trail.

With his self control, he could probably be goaded into nuclear war over a critical tweet.

The planets were finally aligned for a third party to emerge as a legitimate force in national politics.

The only platforms offered were a mix of ignoring our role as a world leader while developing a marijuana based economy and peddling into the 19th century.

Yep, a do-over is the only thing that makes sense in this impaired election.

Too bad we don’t get one.

 

Money-making scheme targets older people and veterans | Consumer Information

Source: Money-making scheme targets older people and veterans | Consumer Information

Losing101

hollywood_liberals_blast_donald_trump-1d1b1ae913bef3bc62b456fdeb3cfaf7

Dear Mr. Trump, Donald,

Congratulations on appearing in your first Presidential Debate.

Close to 100 million people tuned in to watch and learn about the differences between yours and Hillary Clinton’s view of America.

I just have a few, not many, but just a couple ideas that might help you in the next one. Not that I am an expert, mind you but just a couple thoughts on how you might do just a little better in the next debate.

PREPARE!  DO A LITTLE RESEARCH!  STUDY! YOU KNOW, LIKE HOMEWORK!

You had her. Several times you could have nailed her.

Just a couple of examples:

On the economy. How many millions of people have simply given up and left the workforce? Over 90 million. These are not counted in the jobs figures provided by the Obama administration.

What percentage of young African- Americans are out of work? Over 30% in Milwaukee, almost half in Chicago.

The Cyber war being conducted against the US became more difficult to fight since you, Secretary Clinton, decided to put classified materials on a private server kept in a closet, just because you could.

BTY, why did you decide to erase some 30 thousand emails rather than make them public if you had nothing to hide? You were part of the administration that promised to be “the most transparent administration in history.”(President Barrack Obama)

The current Middle East wars and the development of ISIS was made possible by your administration’s support of The Arab Spring, the attack on Libya and Iran’s nuclear proliferation. Did you really think that the American people believed that story-the one you and President Obama put out-that the attack on our embassy in Benghazi was the result of a home-made video on U tube?

You were the face of Obama’s foreign policy which has been a disaster.

Speaking of Russia, how is it that Russia is dictating policy in the Middle East and conducting the war in Syria to the benefit of the Assad Regime?

And what about her foundation? You know, the one that took money from foreign governments and entities in exchange for favors-implied or otherwise. Foundation watchdog groups have categorized the Clinton Global Initiative as one with “questionable accounting practices.”

Again, not to be critical because I know you really are sincere about “Make America Great Again”, but when it came to perhaps the one defining event that could have propelled your campaign forward, YOU SUCKED!

You ranted, raved, made faces. Just maybe next time try to, SPEAK IN COMPLETE SENTENCES!

You appeared to be delusional, dysfunctional, confused and, to say the least, un-presidential.

You had the least trusted person in America-Hillary Clinton-on the ropes just waiting to be knocked out.

BUT YOU BLEW IT!

In fact, like Ali she pulled you into the “rope-a-dope”.

In case you didn’t know; YOU WERE THE DOPE!

It could have been something really beautiful.

 

 

Breaking the Speed Limit, and Other Laws

road-932871__340Everyone knows that you can drive 7mph over the posted speed limit without getting stopped, right?

And, everyone knows that politicians subscribe to a different set of laws. Or do they?

Our Mayor has to resign.

Not because what he did was so bad. But because what he did was illegal and he thought he could get away with it.

Although Mayor Jim Schmitt is expected to plead guilty to three misdemeanor charges, records show that he was involved in “illegal or irregular” campaign donations going back to 2011 (Green Bay Press-Gazette, 9/14/2016) http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com

Because once again a political leader decided he was above the law and better than the rest of us.

According to Wikipedia, http://www.wikipedia.org  crimes committed by our elected officials at the federal level include but unfortunately, are not limited to: improper use of classified materials, illegal campaign contributions, money laundering, theft, bribery, mail fraud, perjury, tax evasion, obstruction of justice, misuse of public funds, embezzlement, extortion, racketeering, voter fraud, drug possession, sexual assault and possessing child pornography.

Anyone who came of age in the seventies can remember  President Richard Nixon addressing the American people through the TV screen proclaiming, “I am not a crook.”

But he was and he was forced to resign the Presidency.

It has become a merry-go-round of “spin and denial” and then blame someone else. They keep the ride going, just waiting for the public to forget or to simply tire of the whole thing.

President William Jefferson Clinton, during the Monica Lewinski scandal had a legion of lawyers arguing over the definition of “sexual relations.” Really? Then they argued over the definition of the word “is”.

Finally, Congress (a whole bunch of lawyers) agreed on the definition of the word, “perjury.”

With that, he was convicted, impeached and his license to practice law in the State of Arkansas, suspended.

The list goes on.

William “Bill” Jefferson (no relation to the former President) Democratic member of Congress from Louisiana, was found with $90,000 in ill-gotten gains stashed in his freezer. Convicted in 2009 of 11 counts of bribery and sentenced to 13 years in prison.

Dennis Hastert, Republican from Illinois and former Speaker of the House of Representatives, found guilty of structuring bank transactions to pay some $3.5 million to cover up allegations of sexual abuse when he was a high school teacher and coach.

Richard Renzi, former Republican Congressman from Arizona was found guilty on 17 counts, including wire fraud, conspiracy, extortion, racketeering, money laundering and making false statements to insurance regulators. He was convicted in 2013.

Trivia question: What state can boast that four of their last seven governors have spent time in prison?

Answer: Illinois

At least the Cubs are wining.

As far as that “breaking the speed limit” thing goes…

I have never operated a vehicle above the posted speed limit.

I mean to say that I have never intentionally operated a motor vehicle above the posted speed limit.

There may have been a time or two when the speedometer failed or after purchasing new tires, the vehicle’s speed might have inadvertently exceeded the posted limit.

But once again I can unequivocally say, “I would never intentionally drive above the posted speed limit.”

Unless it was that time when the officer’s radar gun obviously was not calibrated properly or that, as everyone knows, they do have a quota to meet and it might have been the end of the month when my vehicle was targeted.

And there is always that vast “right lane” conspiracy out to get me just because I need to travel in the left hand lane. You know, the fast one.

After all. I do have some place important to go.

 

Friends

 

 

I was starving, nursing a hangover and trying to get into Angelo’s before the  lunch crowd when I, and a  hundred or so others were ordered away from the barricades being erected across the sidewalk.

I heard a cop say something about a jumper.

Someone mumbled, “let him jump. I’m late already.”

I looked up, along with one or two others craning their necks to see a lone figure on the roof of my office building, six floors up. Even from the street there was no mistaking the tall lanky figure of an old Army buddy, Fred Warner.

The rest kept walking.

After Iraq we tried to keep in touch. You know, Christmas cards and every now and then, a phone call.

Come to think of it, I hadn’t heard from him for several years.

I knew that building like the back of my hand. Worked there for ten years. Same stuff, different day. Working my fingers to the bone just to stay in the middle.

After the top floor there is a short half-flight of stairs to a penthouse store room and then the roof. It’s always locked.

I stumbled out into the noon day sun and looked around but couldn’t find him. “Hey, you up here?” “Yeah I’m here,” came the muffled answer from across the roof. “It’s about time you showed. I was just  going to do it -but thought I’d like to see you first.”

On the other side of the parapet I found my friend sitting on the narrow ledge, like he was fishing off the pier back home. “What’s up man?” “I’m trying to get something to eat and you’re up here acting stupid.”

“What’s it look like? I’m done, I’m tired man. Need to move on.”

“You’re the one who’s got it made. Wife, home, good job. You been here for how many, ten years? Me, I got nothing. After the war, Kate left me. Even the VA left me hanging. Said I was no longer a candidate for PTSD protocol. What bullshit.”

“I was good, though wasn’t I? Could pick off a towel head from a klick away and light up a smoke before he hit the dirt. Seventy-five confirmed. Quit counting after the second tour. I can still see their faces in the scope.”

” It hurts, man.”

“Two Purple Hearts and a Silver Star. Not much good to me now.”

“But you, you always came out on top. Stayed out of the sandbox, got an education. Living the dream, just like we always thought we would. Why couldn’t I have just been more like you?”

What he said was true- except  for the whole dream part. That died years ago, along with the promotion and my marriage.

The education I got though. Learned that loyalty and being good no longer counted. It’s just a matter of who you know and who you owe.

All I have left now is the booze and an old friend on a ledge.

“Move over.”