Thursday, August 29, 2013

Signs of the Times (part 5) - Staycations

Summer will be officially over September 22, and in many places, children are already back at school.  And during this transition, some of may look back at our ...

Vacations ...

As Labor Day comes this weekend, this particular holiday marks the end of the summer and * sob!* summer vacations.  Hence, I reflect on the few trips we took - on a budget.

One trip was made economical by cashing in points to stay in a national chain.  That was sweet.  Another, we stayed off the beaten path in a most reasonably priced motel - old, but clean, comfortable beds, and working AC.  (More than I get at some high price chains.)

But other trips, motels - especially in a bad economy - did not reflect that we still were in a bad economy.  Hence, we made use of ...

Daycations ...

We had looked into some short stays near some National Parks, as we are living already within reasonable driving distance from some good ones.   But we checked the prices, even the two star motels and to quote Chris Rock in the TV show -  In Living Color  [reference:  Counting Down The 12 Most Memorable Recurring "In Living Color" Characters - 8. Cheap Pete]

** Good Lord that's a lot of money! **

It seemed we were not alone in our sticker shock.  Though high tourist season, many places near the parks still had vacancies.

So instead, we took some wonderful daycations - where it is always cheaper to sleep in our own bed, though we had to tough out long days to drive to get back home.

Which brings us to another popular option ...

Staycations ...

We are retired and live in a beautiful area, so we are blessed that many of our days are extended staycations - that is, stay-at-home vacations.  It has been claimed that word was coined by the writers of the Canadian sitcom, Corner Gas.  [reference:  World Wide Words: Staycation]

This episode "Mail Fraud" may have been the vehicle to make staycations part of the culture.

Below is the first few minutes of the episode (from: ) which introduces the concept:

Daycations ...  staycations  ...

It is a trend of enjoying life in a tough economy and on a budget.

And these are some 
Signs of the Times ....


Previous posts in this series:

Signs of the Times (part 1) - Camping in the Parks (2012)

Signs of the Times (part 2) - Layaway (2012)


Photo from - fourth-july-luckenbach

Monday, August 26, 2013

PC Watch (part 1) - Political Correctness gaze

We have trouble, my friends, ....  That's a capital , which rhymes with  PC and that stands for ... Political Correctness (not personal computer)

But here I am blogging about PC on my PC.  :)   Go figure.  And a succinct definition of political correctness can be found here - political correctness - definition of political correctness by the Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia. (It's not all bad, but it can be.)

Look for the PC label

The PC label is continually punted about by both the political Left and the Right.  The Left makes a case that the Right uses the outcry of PC to trivialize policies correcting the wrongs that society had afflicted on certain classes of victims.  The Right sees PC as a mechanism to stifle free speech and shut down discussion - especially silence that discourse that challenges the Left.  Who's right?

I side with freedom ... 

That especially includes free speech, saying what some may consider as politically incorrect or even "offensive."  But that freedom stops short of inflicting deliberate harm - such as spiteful epithets - or words inciting violence.

What has been called Politically Correct can seem so ridiculous that it is downright funny.  But in reality, it is no laughing matter.  The effects of PC on freedom - freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom of religion - can be downright CHILLING.  It's an assault on everything we claim to hold dear as Americans as expressed in the Bill of Rights.

And those that wrongfully wield PC to silence their opposition are - BULLIES.  I venture I would not be putting myself out there to state that most everyone hates bullies - except perhaps the bullies themselves (unless they are bullied.)

Below is a clip that give some perspective on Political Correctness via the "Sound Bite Generation" and personality, celebrity driven vice truth driven.  The PC discussion starts about 8 minutes into the broadcast.

This is a good start ... and away we go ....

With so many examples of Political Correctness, this series 
- PC Watch -
can continue for quite a while ...


More examples and further reading ....

Ethics, Education, and Political Correctness By Marilyn Edelstein, Ph.D. (1992)

Online Speech Bank: Charlton Heston - Winning the Cultural War (1999)

Fritinancy: Word of the Week: Presentism (2011)

The origin and nature of political correctness (24/2/2013)

Michelle Malkin | Hello Kitty Bubble Gunfight at the PC Corral  (2013)


Photo from: - yellow gaze

Monday, August 19, 2013

Biblia Files (part 1) - Thru the Bible

Wikipedia/Family Bible

Biblia comes from the Latin/Greek word for books - (reference:  Definition of Bible - Merriam-Webster's Student Dictionary ) from which we derive the series of sacred books, known as the Bible - (reference:  SOME IMPORTANT LATIN THEOLOGICAL TERMS )  

And from the root word for Bible comes the name of a new series -

* Biblia Files *

Volumes have been written about the Bible; there are countless biblical quotes in literature and writings; it has been a great influence in law and philosophy; it offers lessons applicable to all peoples in all areas of life.  In all, this book offers a deep well of inspiration for musings as well as a never ending well spring of wisdom.

What is it all about?

For starters, this video below gives a very abridged version of what the Bible is about -

As human nature has not changed nor have our predicaments, the stories in this collection of many books is more up-to-date than tomorrow's 24/7 news cycle.

Going deeper ...

Here is a marvelous resource - Thru the Bible at

Explore this site and you will find downloads for teachings through the entire Bible in a five year study as well as other resources.

And I expect this series to go on as long as I blog as our never ending story is to be continued into eternity ...


Some related post:

Memorize this!  (2011)

Easter - The Sign of the Prophet Jonah  (2011)

The King James Bible: 1611 - 2011  (2011)

Anastasis (part 5) - Bible in the Oxyrhynchus garbage dump  (2012)

Timeless Truths (part 2) - Love  (2013)


Photo from: - Family Bible

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Signs of the Times (part 4) - Doomsday Preppers

Wikipeida/St. Gertrud

* Doomsday *

... it's coming ...

And St. John wrote about it in the first century when he recorded his vision of end times including the famous -
(reference:  Revelation 6:1-6  )

Below is a clip dramatizing the reading of the coming of these foreboding horsemen from the Book of Revelation - also known as the Apocalypse:

(video clip from: )

Since the time of St. John, the end of the age was imminent.  The apostle even said it could have happened in the 1st century - 1 John 2:18   And since the 1st century, there have been many predictions of the end of the world.  The year anno Domini 1000 (the first millennium in the year of our Lord - the big Y1K) was one of them - History’s Biggest Doomsday Prediction Fails 

Another failed prediction?  ... You betcha ... one of many

Even Jesus said of the end of the age - 

“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." 
(For context of passage on the end times, reference:  Matthew 24)

Are we smarter than Jesus? Don't think so ... many of us aren't even smarter than a 5th grader.  :)  But that doesn't stop the predictions from coming and people from thinking about doomsday. And a thousand years ago,we had

The Doomsday Book ...

Benjamin Franklin has been quoted to say  - 

In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.  (reference:  Benjamin Franklin Quotes)

And shortly after the failed Doomsday prediction of 1000 AD, anno Domini 1085 in fact, William the Conqueror commissioned  this Domesday Book - (Domesday, another spelling of Doomsday) for the purpose of assessing taxes on the English.  Because of it's extent of complying information of the subjects' assets, the records were compared to the records in the Books that were opened at the Final Judgment before the Great White Throne, as written in the Apocalypse.   (reference: Revelation 20:11-15)

Wikipedia/Domesday Book

But as seen in some examples in the article referenced above - History’s Biggest Doomsday Prediction Fails - anxious times beget anxious feelings beget anxious predictions ... such as Armageddon is just around the corner.   And among those ...

Cold War Angst ...

Baby boomers may remember the Cold Warliving under the perceived threat of nuclear war and mutually assured destruction.  The big October surprise of 1962 came to the American people in the form of the Cuban Missile Crisis when John F. Kennedy was President.  And World War III nearly happened with a nuclear showdown with the Russians.  Seriously.

As fallout - no pun intended - with my classmates, I had to memorize my civil defense number.  (I still remember it: 1-37)  Our teachers made us write it under our name on all our homework assignments.  It was suppose to come in useful when the Russians fired their nukes at us over the North Pole.  When the alarms we sounded (I don't even know what they were supposed to sound like for a nuclear attack), we were to head for the coal mines in the hills for shelter (we had 20 minutes they said) and wait for the fallout to abate enough before we came out to this brave new mutant world.

Ridiculous?  The clip below punctuates the fears of the times with the false security of how to overcome a nuclear blast:

(Video clip from Duck and Cover: )

More Doomsday scares ...

And since then we had even more warnings of the end of the world.  Here are only a few more -

* First written in 1970, Hal Lindsey's  The Late Great Planet Earth.  (It's about the end of the age and Christ's Second Coming, but the author took his cue from Jesus and did not give any dates.)

* 2000 AD -  the Y2K scare  as the Y1K scare in 1000 AD did not come to pass 

*  December, 21, 2012 - the Mayan calender ends ... and so will the world.   Whew! Dodged that bullet.

Now we have ....

Doomsday Preppers, the series

And since the pilot 2011, this show on the National Geographic channel highlights preparing  for a time when the sh** hits the fan or even surviving Armageddon.  (reference:  Doomsday Preppers | National Geographic Channel )

Below is a clip to a promo for the season starting in February of 2012:

(Video clip from Doomsday Prepper:  )

Some prepare for surviving Armageddon; some for disasters that are all so common.  And a new season is starting soon, August 13, 2013 - Doomsday Preppers : Air Dates Guide 

Without letting fear consume us, preparing and planning for emergency situations does make sense and is prudent, especially for those areas of country in which disasters are known to happen:   earthquakes in California, tornadoes in the mid-West, hurricanes off the coasts, fires around acres of dry forests ... 

During emergencies, people can be cut off from civilization; the thin blue line of civil infrastructure - fire and police protection as well as emergency medical care and other vital services - power, water, sewage, food supplies - gone. 

One example in recent memory ...  

Hurricane Sandy  hit in October of 2012.  (reference :  A Timeline of Hurricane Sandy’s Path of Destruction – News Watch

Below is a clips of the aftermath of Sandy - a very unpleasant October surprise.

(Video clip from Hoboken Is Hit by Hurricane Sandy - The Flooding Continues: )

There are lots of websites on preparedness - just google and tons will pop up.  But here is one for starters - Are you prepared?

In these uncertain times, Doomsday Preppers are one of the
Signs of the Times ....


Previous posts in this series:

Signs of the Times (part 1) - Camping in the Parks (2012)

Signs of the Times (part 2) - Layaway (2012)


Saturday, August 3, 2013

America's Story (part 13) - The Enola Gay

Wikipedia/Co Tibbets - the Enola Gay

What's in a name?

Ships so often are named after women.  And even airships ... we call them airplanes. ;)  And the Enola Gay was one of them.

This Boeing B-29 bomber was named after her commander's mother - Enola Gay Haggard Tibbets.   The commander's name back then in 1945 was  Colonel Paul Tibbets.   And the mission of this bomber hastened the end of the most deadly war in the 20th century, if not in human history  - World War Two.  

(For an interesting set of statistics of causalities of war by death toll:  - Wikipedia - List of wars by death toll.  World War Two tops the list.)

Worst of all previous recorded wars ...

World War Two (1939 - 1945) was very intense.  Its precursor was Kristallnacht: The November 1938 Pogroms.   But the Blitzkrieg of September 1, 1939, when Germany invaded Poland, was the tipping point.  Great Britain and France sent an ultimatum to Hitler to withdraw or they would go to war.  And Hitler ignored them, going deeper into Poland; and hence Britain and France declared war on Germany.  

World War Two ... it was on!   (reference:  World War II Starts)

Meanwhile, the allies of Germany, like Japan, fueled their entrance into the war in the Pacific with their aggressive military expansion.  (reference:  Causes of World War II in the Pacific )

The US was reluctant to get involved, but  Pearl Harbor changed all that.  After the United States declared war on Japan, Germany declared war on the United States - interesting enough, America was the only country in which Hitler declared war.  (reference:  Germany World War II -- declaration of war on America)

But with the United States, World War Two began and ended in the Pacific ...

Below is a timeline of the war in the Pacific theater:

On the road to nukes ...

As nuclear fission was discovered in 1938, (reference:  Discovery of Nuclear Fission) and atomic power seemed possible, Leo Szilard feared that Nazi Germany may be the first to create the atomic bomb.  Frustrated with America's lack of action in pursuing atomic energy, Szilard recruited Albert Einstein to write a letter to President Roosevelt.  It became known as the Einstein letter.  And it spurred the formation of the Manhattan Project.

The culmination was the development of the Atomic Bomb, first tested - July 16, 1945 - in New Mexico at the Trinity Site.   I had written an article about that place:  THE TRINITY SITE: WHERE THE FIRST ATOMIC BOMB WAS EXPLODED

Victory in Europe (VE Day) ...

A few months before the Trinity test, Germany surrendered to the Allies on May 7, 1945 - days after Hitler committed suicide in the his bunker on April 30.    But the war was still raging on in Pacific.  (Reference:  World War II Battles - Pacific Theater 1941-1945 - Google Maps.)

The Enola Gay and August 6, 1945 ...

August 6, 1945 was the day that the Enola Gay flew her secret mission - the culmination of the Manhattan project.  And here an eyewitness account of one of the crew members, who was part of that mission to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima:

A personal story and eye witness ...

One of my friends, who passed away a few years ago, was a navy veteran and had served during World War Two.  He told me he was aboard a ship off the coast of Japan and saw the atomic blast of Hiroshima from a few hundred miles away.  Amazing.  But it is still was not over.

Victory in Japan (VJ Day)  ...

After the second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan surrendered, unconditionally, and officially on September 2, 1945.  

Much has been said and written about about the horror of nuclear weapons - and rightly so.   And it's still intensely debated - Was it necessary to drop the atom bomb on Japan?  

But many believed this hastened the end of the war and saved many lives.  Among them may have been my father-in-law.  He fought in World War Two in both the North African and European theaters.  He was there on D-Day + 4.  And, if the war had not ended a few months later, he would have been slated to be deployed to fight against Japan.  Perhaps, he would have become another grim statistic, one of the millions of causalities of that war.

The mission of the Enola Gay hastened the end of World War Two - the worst in the 20th century - and up to that point, perhaps the worst of all recorded history.

And America's part of ending World War Two is part of America's Story,
which will be continued ....


Posts on World War Two:

Pearl Harbor Day, 1941 - World War Two Soldiers Remembered  (2009)


Other posts in this series:

America's Story (part 1) - The Speech that redefined us, November 19, 1863 (2011)

America's Story (part 2) - Savages! (2011)

America's Story (part 3) - Over There - 1917, 1941 (2011)

America's Story (part 4) - Christmas 1944, when we said NUTS to the enemy (2011)

America's Story (part 5) - Amazing Grace (2012)

America's Story (part 6) - GI Joe Tuskegee Airmen (2012)

America's Story (part 7) - When Reagan was shot (2012)

America's Story (part 8) - Memorial Day, Gettysburg, and Amos Humiston (2012)


Photo from:

Wikipedia - Colonel Tibbets and the Enola Gay