“Culinary Appropriate College Food” — huh?

360_tray_war_0818America, something has really gone wrong here. The tray to the left there looks like the kind of food I got when I was a young man going to high school.  During a campus visit to the University of Massachusetts in Amherst it pretty much looked and tasted the same.  Food produced in mass quantities that was lacking in home touches and fairly bland.  It sucked but it was food.

Students at Oberlin College in Ohio seem to think that undercooked sushi rice is somehow an insult to Japanese cuisine.

Sush? In college?  Really? When did that start?

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Open Question to Anyone Running for President of the USA

dealing-with-divisive-issues So, I don’t care which party you belong to or even if you belong to a political party. I have a question that I’d like answered which would help me decide who I want to vote for come elections.

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A Modern Fairy Tale

fairy-tale
Once upon a time, there was a mother and father with a very large family.  They had twelve children in all but they were not all the same.  Some wore very fine clothing and ate the best food their mother and father could feed them.  Some slept in very comfortable beds and some slept out in a shed in the back yard.  This went on for years and nobody thought anything of it.  Their surname was “Harrison.”

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Folks from Away

not-from-here-are-youI have family in Maine and in Maine there is an expression. “Folks from away” meaning people who were born somewhere other than in Maine.  This used to be a big deal back in the day when folks from “away” could be snooping or up to some nefarious thing or another.

With the advent of the Internet Mainers are less suspicious of folks from away but they definitely still see a difference between “locals” and “folks from away.”

A topic that has been getting a lot of attention in the press these days is immigration.  More to the point illegal immigration.

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I am not a Cracker!

racism

“I’m not a Cracker, dammit! I’m a Saltine American!”

Now that I’ve gotten that bad joke out of the way: There is a fair amount of heated discussion going on around US culture concerning the subject of racism. Hearing a young black man refer to me one day (granted: it was at Walmart) as a “Cracker”  brought the discussion to my mind.

I wonder if the young man in question realizes the irony in his use of that term as a pejorative considering the pejorative words that have been excised from our speech (rightly so in my opinion) to temper real or perceived white on black racism.

Further, I wonder if the young man even understands the real meaning of the term “Cracker.”

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Why Our Borders Matter

border_marker2The first thing that happens when a nation is born is an imaginary line is drawn around the territory it occupies. What’s inside that boundary becomes part of that nation and whatever or whoever is outside that boundary is considered “foreign.”

The first responsibility of a government is to defend that border and keep outsiders out.   Depending on the country in question some have more lax rules about immigration than others.

The United States of America probably has some of the most lax immigration rules in the world and there is a big difference between being an immigrant and being an illegal immigrant.  Key word in that phrase is “illegal.”

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Symbols: Which are good and which are bad?

Union-Confederate-FlagSo once again political correctness has shaken its fist angrily and gotten its way. The Battle Flag of North Carolina which has been mistakenly identified as the flag of the Confederacy and has been taken down in South Carolina having been tarred by the left as being a symbol of racism.

Given that there are racist organizations that have used the flag of the United States of America as a symbol of their twisted agenda, not to mention the Bible, the flag commonly used as a symbol of Christian churches and lots of other symbols should we ban those as well?

For a lot of Southerners the flag associated with the Confederacy is a symbol of Southern Pride no matter that both whites and blacks from the south see it that way, we must in the name of Political Correctness and division censor that symbol.

Where do we go from there?

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Firearm Ownership: Right or Privilege?

fotolia_4846112_XSSince my sixteenth birthday (boy was that a long time ago) I have had an on again off again relationship with the National Rifle Association. I can’t bring myself to totally 100% agree with their positions on firearm ownership but I find myself wanting to support an organization that is out to prevent the outlawing of private firearm ownership for a whole host of reasons.

First off our founding fathers felt the private ownership of firearms was such an important right that it was second after the much more important right to free speech.  I find that placement rather significant.

Apparently the Supreme Court agrees with the importance of this amendment having recently validated the right of US citizens to keep and bear arms.  In my opinion there is another side to this coin that gets lost in the discussion of private firearm ownership.

A right comes with it responsibility.  In my opinion a right is not the same thing as an entitlement.

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So.. where’d you hear that from?

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Blah..blah…blah…blah…

Ah.. the power of the internet… now anybody can have a pulpit to preach from and a megaphone to do it with.  Obviously if that were not the case this blog would not exist.  Anybody who can afford to have a hosted site or have the ability to get space on any one of the free web sites can say anything and everything they want to say.  I love it.  I’m not being sarcastic, I really love it.  Used properly it is a great way to facilitate the free exchange of ideas.

There is a dark side however and this curmudgeon is great for spotting the downside. Whether by email or via a blog or on Twitter people have been known to publish unsubstantiated fact, innuendo, rumor or whatever without checking their facts first.  Worse yet there are sites and blogs out there that publish articles to the internet that take fact and embellish on it to the point of drowning out the fact to support an agenda or worse.

Careers have been ruined by this bad behavior and it gets worse. Start photo-shopping images and you can ruin lives.  Here is a classic example (offsite link) of what I’m talking about and this is far from the only time it has happened.

Tales told on Facebook about people ruin lives as well. There are a number of articles that have been written by Time Magazine, Wall Street Journal and others that spell out just how easily you can ruin your own reputation saying nothing about how much damage you can cause to others.

Another facet of this downside is the reporting of so called fact about news stories.  I hate to beat this dead horse any more. In the wake of the Ferguson shootings there were all sorts of people on Twitter claiming to “know for a fact <insert statement>” on both sides of the issue.  In my opinion there should not have been any sides but there were lots of folks with agendas stirring up sentiment in one direction or the other.

Just because you see something on Twitter doesn’t make it so. There have been lots of wild claims made on Twitter that later turned out to be false.

What to do:  Number one, think critically.  If something sounds a little to pat or extreme or fantastic it probably is.  Number two:  check facts for yourself.  Critical thinking and doing your own homework will keep you from being led down the rosey path of someone else’s agenda.

In every story there are multiple views of what happened that are shaped by the lenses people’s instinctive prejudices based on their upbringing, life’s experiences and other factors.  Someone who had a friend or a relative that went to jail may not like the police very much. Something happens involving a police officer and automatically the police officer is guilty of a crime.

I will not go on record saying there aren’t bad police officers.  Police officers represent a cross section of society and they bring their own baggage to the table. I tend to be pro law enforcement but I have certainly met a few police officers over the years that made me think “what a jerk!” Case in point was a police officer sitting in a diner having his lunch and I overheard him say “there’s three kinds of people in this world, suspects, victims and law enforcement.”   Not exactly a sterling moment in public relations for that police department.

Those aren’t the police officers I think about.  I think of all the very dedicated to public service police officers I’ve known personally over the years that would do whatever they could for you if needed.  I’m talking about the one police officer I interacted that got down on his belly in uniform because his long arms could reach the puppy that had fallen into a storm drain.  He could have waited for animal control, but the young girl who’s puppy it was tugged on his heart strings.

There have been other news events where social media has caused disinformation to circulate frighteningly quick. Interesting excersize is to Google for “superstorm Sandy disinformation.”  There was loads of disinformation about Sandy released ranging from the downright silly to tales of conspiracies linking Sandy to any number of supposedly powerful organizations with world domination in mind.  Embarrassing for me as a practicing Christian was the Christian group that put out on a website an article blaming gays for the wrath of Superstorm Sandy.

The internet makes a great way to have your own bullhorn and pulpit.  It also makes for an excellent bullying tool and a source for deceit.

Be careful what you believe.