Quote of the Week

"One cool judgment is worth a thousand hasty councils."
- Woodrow Wilson

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

I Boycott Boycotts

Seems with every social or political issue flare up, comes a boycott. Don’t buy shoes from this store because their owners support abortion. Don’t buy gas from that station because their parent company extracts oil by fracking. Don’t buy this company’s product because they are against gay marriage. For every dividing issue in this country, there is at least one boycott or counter-boycott.
We are even taking up boycotting, or going out of our way to support entire states based on their policies regarding gun control, immigration, and a host of other issues.

This is a pretty stupid way of voicing your opinions if you think about it. The reason why the social issues that divide us are so hard to resolve is, well they divide us. They are not right or wrong, black or white in nature. The have a lot of maybe and gray mixed in to make a resolution palatable for everyone.

And there lays the problem. The big social issues, that never go away, typically divide us down the middle. Not always 50-50, but even 60-40 is close enough of a spread to prevent any real solution. And that is the reason why I feel it’s dumb to boycott for social-political reasons.

While the owners, and or Board of Directors, Shareholders, Union Leaders, etc. of corporation may take an official or unofficial stance on an issue; that does not speak fully of the employees. While a CEO for example may be for or against a social cause of your choosing, it’s reasonable to believe that 40% to 60% of the people who work for them agree with you. And who are you going to hurt more by not buying that $4.00 latte or $40 pair of jeans?

I do not wish to imply I don’t boycott. I do refuse to buy from or use the services of certain companies. But it’s not because I have strong beliefs that vary from management. I boycott mainly for poor service, poor quality, or for price gauging and other unethical business practices.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Another Solemn Day in the Family

Today we solemnly gathered to say goodbye to another family member. We did it in typical Lien fashion with as few tears of sorrow as possible, but with lots of family, friends, food, drink and laughter. Especially laughter.

We said goodbye to a true fighter and one of the kindest souls to ever shine in my life. Though she lived a life with pretty much daily migraines, limited mobility and occasional seizures caused by scar tissue from multiple brain surgeries; you would be hard pressed to find a more positive person.

Nothing could stop her kindness, her sense of humor, her love for others, or her joy of life itself. Even in the last few weeks, after battling cancer, breaking a hip, and having a stroke, she still smiled and had that ever present sparkle in her eyes. I need to remember all of this the next time I want to whine about my bad shoulder or sore back. My aches and pains were nothing compared to her daily endurance that didn’t even hinder her from enjoying every minute of life.

Even after months & months of cancer taking its devastating toll on her already fragile body, whenever I asked her how she was the response was always “Great! How are you?” Nothing got in the way of her happiness. I need to remember that as well.

I am beyond blessed to be part of such a strong, close knit family. After retreating from the church to the stronghold of my parent’s home, the old Lien Farmstead founded by my great grandparents. The stiff shirts, ties & dresses were replaced by shorts & t-shirts (formalwear is not well tolerated by our family, nor is today’s 95+ degree heat) and the food, drink and laughter went into full power.

Tears of sorrow for our loss were quickly replaced by tears of laughter from our memories. While sadden we will no longer be able to make new memories with the one we lost, we will never forget her and how she touched all of our lives. Fortunately I and the rest of my goofy family will continue on to make more memories worthy to repeat the story of again for other family gatherings.

Hopefully the upcoming family gatherings will be in line of the annual camp out, birthdays, holidays and such. We've had enough funerals now to last us for quite a while.

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Worst Week To Be A Garbageman

This has to be the worst week to be a Garbageman. Last week July Fourth landed in it, throwing off the schedule for many residents. Since we are all creatures of habit, this means many people forgot to put out the trash for collection on the right day. Plus many people take a family vacation round this time to take advantage of the holiday pay for Independence Day.

That means on each garbage truck driver's route this week, there will be plenty of overflowing trash cans with an extra week's worth of trash that has been fermenting in the July heat. Maybe next week you should give your route driver a plate of cookies or a gift certificate to buy him lunch.

Friday, July 5, 2013

My Dire Zimmerman Trial Prediction

I’ll get straight to the point. My dire Zimmerman trial prediction is this: If Zimmerman is acquitted; there will be mass protests in major cities that will quickly degrade into riots and looting. If Zimmerman is convicted; there will be mass celebrations in major cities that will quickly degrade into riots and looting.

Regardless of the verdict; cars will be burned, stores looted, other private property (all owned by people who have nothing to do with this mess) destroyed, and innocent people will be severely beaten if not worse. I sincerely hope I am wrong, but it’s going to happen, and we all know it.

I’ve made this prediction several times in several forums since this trial has started. Nobody I’ve discussed this with fully disagrees with me. Closest was “hopefully cooler heads will prevail.” Hopefully cooler heads do prevail, but I don’t see it happening.

We may not see mass riots across the nation, but there will be innocent people, who had nothing to do with this trial, will be victimized nonetheless.

Why? Why is this going to happen? Why has the media, from day one, been sensationalizing this story? Why has so much effort been put forth to make this a racial issue? Why? What is the reason?

This case is, sadly, nothing that unusual. Young thugs and thug wanna be’s are gunned down by the dozens every week in Chicago, Detroit and Washington D.C. alone. Where’s the outcry about their deaths? Is this the only time in American history that a confrontation between two stupid, macho strangers turn into a violent struggle were one is killed?

I’m not trying to downplay this tragically sad event. While both men handled the encounter stupidly and whether it turns out to be criminal or not, the results are the same: a young man is dead and another’s life is ruined. But this kind of thing happens often, and a transfer of power via a coup from the first democratically elected President of Egypt dose not.

While tanks roll through the protester filled streets of Cairo, the major 24/7 “news” networks here in the Sates carried coverage of the Zimmerman trial. I’ll ask again, why is there such a committed effort by the media to keep this case in our face?

Without sounding like a conspiracy theorist, saying the media is pushing an “agenda;” there is only one logical explanation: money. Sensationalized a tragic story, make it as racist as you can so you can jack up the ratings and cash in on the advertising.

First Zimmerman was White, then White-Hispanic. What the hell is “White-Hispanic? Is the opposite of a Hispanic-White? Are there also White-Blacks, or a Black-Whites, Asian-Blacks, White-Asians, etc., etc.? The media edits the 911 tapes and continues to show pictures of Martin when he was twelve. Why, to push for justice, or to push for ratings? You know there are book deals and TV movies in the making to capitalize on this frenzy. All for some people to squeeze out the last few drops of blood money.

This whole event is a horrible thing. And the media is pushing to make it worse. When the media is covering the upcoming riots remember: the innocent’s blood will be on the media’s hands.

I just wonder who the media is going to blame the riots and looting on.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Dear Egypt, Keep Trying

As I type this post, there is chaos in Cairo (catchy phrase, isn't it). About a year after voting in their first democratically elected leader, citizens are massed in the streets demanding him to step down, and a military coup is in progress.

While this is going on, major media networks here in the States remain focused on a murder trial that should not be in the news in the first place. But since the media has put so much effort into hyping this case up by making it a racial issue, they need to follow through. Especially since they'll be covering the riots they  will have, in part, started because of their sensationalism. But that's for a different post. Let's get back to Egypt.

Egypt, one of the oldest countries in world, has been ruled by Pharaohs, foreign Kings & governments and Dictators for thousands of years. Finally it's people have freely elected their first leader, and in about a year they want him out of office. Not only do they want him out of office, if he doesn't back down and leave, they just might kill him.

While this may sound disheartening for freedom lovers around the world, no one should be discouraged. Chalk one up to inexperience, Egypt, and keep trying.

Just look at us, The United States of America. We've been at this government elected by free citizens thing for well over two centuries now. And it's been decades since we elected a President that the majority approved of for their entire term as our leader.

Monday, July 1, 2013

The July 1st Storm

As July starts, one has to reflect on the ferocious windstorm that devastated this area a few years ago. I am still in amazement of the pure power of that storm and I will never forget watching the destruction has it happen in my yard. While I knew that even the majestic mature Oak trees that were in my yard would not live forever, I never would image their demise would be so sudden and so complete.

The storm, in a matter of minutes, changed our area forever. Giant mighty White Pines and Oaks that stood proudly against hundreds of storms, over many decades or even a century plus, were snapped like match sticks.

Views from the roads changed. Woods that you could view far into were turned into a tangled miss. Lakes and homes that were well hidden from passing traffic are now visible. The pure power and undiscriminating force of nature was shown at full strength.

While the drastic changes made to our woods saddened me, what I saw take place in the wake of that storm was inspiring. Neighbors getting together and helping each other clear the fallen trees from their roofs and drive ways. People checking on neighbors, making sure they were okay. Those who still had power or generators, offered space in their freezers for their friends and family.

I remember the crews of the local power companies putting forth an enormous effort to restore power as quickly and safely as possible. I was proud to notice that not only very few people complained about the power being off; I saw many people dropping off bottled water and sandwiches for the crews when they worked in their neighborhood.

Small acts of kindness like that speak volumes about the character of people around here. When events like this take place in other places, curfews are put in place and reserve police and even the National Guard are called in to keep the looting down to a minimum. And a bulk of the residents complain that the cleanup is not happening fast enough, while they do nothing themselves to help out.

As I type this, reflecting on that storm; I am reminded that this area is an amazing place to call home. Not only for its ever changing remarkable wilderness, but for the terrific people who live here