Monday, May 21, 2018

Loneliness Kills

Dear Blog Reader

I hope that this finds you doing well. I am fine. We at Flying Dirt Farms have nearly exhausted the lilac supply. With January lasting 127 days this year, we are pretty late with the peonies, nigella, sweet peas, larkspur and other hardy annuals that get us to that magical second week of June time when we can coax sunflowers, and zinnias into our flower pallet. I know peonies are perennials not hardy annuals but work with me here all of you Master Gardeners. So we have relied heavily on the lilac supply. Each week going to our favorite abandoned farm houses, skulking around back and finding the old dilapidated outhouse. It never fails. You walk around to the backside of old farm houses and there will be the outhouse and its lone sentinel; a dark purple lilac bush. It does look the worse for wear. It could use a restorative pruning; a hacking away at the old growth allowing fresh growth to come in and produce more blooms.

All of the outhouses had them. Can you image how much you would look forward to the end of winter and the start of the aromatic magic of the lilac? That sweet fragrance so strong that it meant your poop didn’t stink for two whole weeks. Our grand parents (unless you are my children’s ages; then our great grand parents) were made of sturdy stuff. To imagine that two weeks of relief would make it worth spending your Mother’s Day loot on a sweet smelling, flowering shrub is a bit amazing in this day and age of instant gratification where playing “Fortnight” will consume our children’s time for the next month before the newest craze hits the  gaming universe.

Enough about the sweet smelling, beautiful flowers that the lovely Miss Beverly is selling that the Garfield Park farmers market every Saturday from 9:00 to 12:30; May through October. 

I am here to share the concern that I have for you, my dear blog readers. Over the past two weeks or so a new epidemic has had the bright media spot light shined upon it. No fewer than four media eruptions have occurred highlighting this societal nemesis. According to the experts, it is deadlier than obesity but not as deadly as smoking; proving once again that if it isn’t one thing its another. How am I ever going to live to be one hundred and fifty years old with all of these longevity stalkers trying to track me down?

So naturally my thoughts turned to you blog readers. Are you okay? Are you lonely?

Who is this new stalker? It appears that loneliness is the latest thing dragging us down. The first article was published on May 1. I am thankful that the editor showed restraint and didn’t give the article the headline “May Day! May Day! We are All Going to Die!” The article lays out the following premises:
1: Loneliness has huge impacts on public health.
2: Loneliness is particularly bad in the US with most people (more than half) feeling lonely.
3: The young appear to be most vulnerable.
4: We need a systematic approach (read big government program) to overcome loneliness.
This study was conducted by Cigna, a mega big insurance company, and reported in Business Insider; written by Kevin Loria.

Around the same time the same statistics were spewed forth from our local Indianapolis Star. I was also listening to a pod cast where the Buddhist author was antidotally reporting that 78% of all people were lonely and . . . all of them were going to die. Unlike all other bad news coming in threes, the loneliness bad news train had four cars. Mattie Quinn reported on “The Loneliness Epidemic” in May’s issue of Governing. In the article, Brigham Young University “found that weak social connections can shorten a person’s life at roughly the same rate as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. In England, they are planning to establish a minister of loneliness. OMG.

How did this epidemic sneak up on us? I was busy exercising, riding down lonely roads on my bike at 5:00 a.m. and shunning my favorite bars that allowed me to continue smoking on guys night out, all in an effort to live a long healthy life, and I suddenly get ran over by the loneliness bus. Or, should that be the loneliness unicycle?

Let’s face it. Loneliness isn’t new. The Beatles sang their tribute to the lonely 52 years ago with Eleanor Rigby on the Yellow Submarine. Were she and Father McKenzie were patients zero and one in this epidemic. Father McKenzie was the guy in verse two but received no naming rights in the deal; lonely and no royalties. The father really got screwed.

The reason for their loneliness? I would appear that they spent too much time in church. Thankfully, that organization’s relevance has been eroded to the point that the church can’t be the loneliness virus. I guarantee that regular church attendance is less than 40% in America now. So don’t go blaming the church for this one. Marx said the religion is the opiate of the masses way back in the 1840’s. Thankfully, we have turned that corner and heroine and fentanyl are the opioids of the masses now. Phew! It is good to get that religion opioid problem solved.

I know what you are asking. “So what do you suggest that we do about it Mr. Smarty pants?” 

Two answers:
1: The answer isn’t a systematic (government program) approach. Remember the war on poverty, the war on drugs, the war the end all wars, no child left behind? The systematic approach only institutionalizes the problem and forces it’s continuation in order to maintain the infrastructure of the solution.
2: This is not my idea. In a recent reading Love Does by Bob Goff, I was impressed by his practice of making a difference. He put his cell phone number on the last page of the book. The opportunities brought about by that openness were inspiring. So here goes. My phone number is 317 519 5902. If you are prepared to carry on a conversation with an extreme introvert, I am prepared to do my part and answer the phone.

Or even better, if you show up at the end of our driveway, knock on the door. We can go out to the garden and hoe this long row . . .


Take Care


Sunday, May 6, 2018

Scratching Post

Dear Blog Reader.

I hope that this finds you doing well. I am fine. I am managing the sudden increase in Vitamin D production; no overdoses yet. Sure I had gotten a few minutes while walking along the canal at lunch the past week. However, it was nothing like an entire day in the garden at Flying Dirt Farms. We are way behind. I had bundled up for a few Saturdays and gotten the perennials set out; arms very protected with SPF sweatshirt and a knit hat pulled low on my head to protect the tips of my ears. Now, it is time to get the bi-weekly rotations started. The winter rye has to be tilled under. Potatoes, onions and peas oh my. Dirt is flying everywhere.

Speaking of walking along the canal at lunch time, it is bittersweet. The realization that you have allowed the educational system to bundle up your eight and nine year old put them on a bus and sent them to a downtown greenscape, is nice. They get to see western history at the Eiteljorg museum. They can jump up and try to climb the mastodon sculpture outside the Indiana  State Museum. Or maybe they are aping the orangutans at the zoo as they careen into my path and shatter the peace and quiet of my daily walk. It is a wonder that any eight and nine year olds ever reach mature adulthood. But we manage to hover, to watch, and to chaperone them until they can exhibit some manifestations of self preservation. Plus, I have plenty of time for peace and quiet on those January days when the high temperature was - 5 degrees.

I must admit to a bit of a mean streak when I mention the following. This is for all of the helicopter parents who look at your young’s inability to manifest self preservation tendencies and decide to protect them from all possible harm and or hardship. The ones who buy hand sanitizer by the boat load and then fret when you hear that the lack of germs suppresses their little immune systems so you make them eat probiotic yogurt by the tub full. This is for you. Your children while wondering around this beautiful greenscape; chasing one another, knocking one another down trying to get to a makeshift ball rolling across the ground are doing so in about an inch of goose poop. 

Yes, the geese have been walking around on this three acres of green space for the past two months. The surrounding buildings provided protection from the wind and held a bit more heat. The canal provided a good source of water without any alligators to eat the geese. And about three acres of slowly growing grass to provide nutrition. And where you have goose nutrition, you also have goose poop. Because, geese poop right where they eat. I have no idea why. Maybe it is a circle of life kind of thing, or maybe they have little tiny brains on top of a really long neck and they are just stupid. But they are pooping all over the place and your children are having the time of their lives frolicking in it. So helicopter parents have an nice day doing your Lucy VanPelt imitation.

Speaking of bird poop, causing havoc with somewhat compromised immune systems, we are finally emerging from two separate huge food scares. With the first, our federal government was so flummoxed by where the romaine lettuce came from that was poisoning us that they were actually in my garden trying to recall my home grown heads of romaine. Any romaine grown any where? How can you lose track of the food supply so completely? But it would appear that we don’t know where romaine lettuce originates from and that it is commingled in huge vats of lettuce mix so throw it all out.

The second incident involved 200,000,000 eggs from one farm in North Carolina. The owner of the farm, Rose Acres an egg conglomerate, is headquartered right here in Indiana. Makes you proud doesn’t it. The eggs went to seven states and were sold wherever cheap eggs can be found. It appears that eggs are tracked better than heads of romaine lettuce so they have lot numbers and know the point of sale by state and stores. 200 million eggs is a lot of eggs. I am mind boggled just a little bit by the size of the pile that would have to be to throw all of those away; not to mention the 16,666,666 egg cartons. That is a mountain of yolks, folks. The king is going to have to get more men to put that one back together.

I took the opportunity to look a bit further into these already impressive stats. The farm has 2.3 million hens and they lay about 2 million eggs a day. This tells me that Mrs. McGreedy of Chicken Run has some culling to do. Chickens should lay one egg a day. Sure some days are going to be missed from time to time but a 15% rate would seem to me to be a bit high. Get ready for some really cheap pot pies. So 2 million eggs a day and 200 million eggs recalled that means we have eggs out there that are three months old. The seems a bit old to me. That is quite a long time for salmonella to get its tentacles into a moist, protein rich, environment and multiply even if it is in cold storage.

Thankfully the media dug into the issue and provided clarity and an explanation. A couple of weeks ago the Indianapolis Star interrupted my work day with the following headline:
FDA inspectors found rodents, filth and butt-scratching workers at farm tied to egg recall

You newspaper people crack me up. Sure there was some “touching of the inter-gluteal cleft” without subsequent hand washing going on according to the inspector’s report. Do you realize how much touching of the inter-gluteal cleft would have to go on to contaminate 200,000,000 eggs. Let’s just say some one may want to have a doctor look at that. No the problem here lies in the fact that the workers continually wiped the sanitizing solution from the eggs before the prescribed time on a regular basis. Let’s face it chickens produce two things; poop and eggs, and probably more of the former than the latter. Also not to put too fine a point on it, they use the same vent for both operations. 

You need to leave the sanitizer on the eggs for the proscribed period of time. That was the problem. It is described elsewhere in the FDA report. Also the report is only describing conditions as they existed prior to the outbreak. It had little ability to assess the actual source of the bacteria that made so many people ill. However, that doesn’t sell papers like butt scratchers. I know there are newspaper people out there screaming right now “but touching the inter-gluteal cleft is butt scratching.” Yes, but it doesn’t contaminate 200,000,000 eggs. It only drives page views and clicks.

In the end, (pun intended) understanding food safety in an landscape dominated by huge agribusiness concerns whose interests are served by cutting corners with the few minutes it takes to leave the eggs in the sanitizer for the proscribed time is too important an issue to have the news media just scratch the surface.

Take care and enjoy the sunny side up.


Sunday, April 8, 2018

a picture is worth a thousand words

New feature for the blog.

Caption this. Add captions in the comments or on Facebook 

It makes a nice follow on from last weeks blog.

Take care.


Sunday, April 1, 2018

When Will It End

Dear Blog Reader

I hope that this finds you doing well. I am fine. I started writing this from the third floor penthouse of a little apartment building in Long Beach, California. The view was spectacular. We were looking out on 600 yards of sand lovingly groomed to the edge of the Pacific Ocean. Strong winds made for great kite flying. A strong sun and midwestern hardiness made for some back of the legs sunburns. An eclectic beach community made for some great people watching. 

The lovely Miss Beverly and I were on vacation and had tag teamed it with a nephew’s wedding: two birds with one gift so to speak. I do want to give a shout out to Janice, Bev’s sister who put herself out there and went on line and found a great place for 11 of the spawn of Bonnie to get together for the week. You will remember the spawn of Bonnie was described in a recent blog called “Go Your Own Way.” To date, the total stands at 54 of the most intelligent and attractive offspring and in-laws the world has ever known. So 20% is a pretty good start.

But I could not finish the blog. I had all week. The weather was great. The view was fabulous. However, every time I sat down my brain would scream I am not at home. I am turning into more and more of a homebody. I enjoyed the vibe of California, seeing shoppers in Trader Joe’s in shorts, a winter vest, and Uggs. All the while, wiping sweat from my brow because 62 degrees was quite the change from what we had left and what you all were experiencing in that 60 mile wide band of snow that ran from Iowa through Rushville. I am so used to seeing the “bizarre weather picture” from the NE, or tornado alley that I grew a bit nostalgic when the airline passenger took the snow demarcation picture on the Weather Channel over INDIANA.

Four take always from California: 1: I enjoy the time difference. My news queues were all full by the time I woke up because things have been happening for three hours. I also really like that the NCAA games are over in a decent time. 2: You get all of the best fruit and vegetables. Since your strawberries don’t have to travel 2,600 miles they aren’t picked until they are ripe. We ate a lot during the week. Not a one of them were white and the consistency of a ping pong ball. 3: If you live in a place where you think that a high of 62 is a cold snap, do you really deserve a spring break. Toughen up buttercup. You are not going to be eaten by a polar bear in 62 degree weather. 4: I don’t understand the off shore oil drilling kerfuffle. All of your cars (and there are billions of them in the valley) run on gasoline and the off shore rigs are no less unsightly than the 14 cargo ships lined up off shore waiting to unload their cargo to take to an Amazon warehouse to wait until I order that doodad that I will be incensed about if it doesn’t arrive two days later via Prime. Logistics!

As I sit here writing, my phone is warning me of 2 to 3 inches of snow tonight and are not following the warning with “April Fools.”  Speaking of warning, I warned you. Look at my blogs from October. I was telling you to chill out about Augtober. Remember? It was an unusually warm fall. The leaves didn’t turn very much. One day they were hanging there, holding on by their finger tips but still green. The next day they just gave up and fell off. We were sweating and playing golf. The children didn’t have to wear jackets playing soccer. There were no hypothermia cases in local hospitals. I was even temped to start tomatoes to over winter. In fact, we were begging frost to set in to stop the flowers that the lovely Miss Beverly was selling at the Garfield Park farmer’s market. (We are going to be selling there again this year. Saturdays; May through October. All of the profits go to braces for a couple of neighborhood kids whose parents would have a hard time being able to provide them. Nature’s beauty and straight teeth to boot.)

During the middle of talking about Augtober, I admonished everyone not to worry about it. It would all work out. I was sure that we would all be complaining about Janpril. Here we are. We buckled down. We knew that we had to get through March. That horrible month of thaw. One day a week of tolerable weather surrounded by six days of gray, cold, damp weather. Every step off of a sidewalk is into ankle deep mud. The wind is blowing that damp air into the marrow of your bones. We desperately try to remember if the ground hog saw his shadow in Pennsylvania. Then we try to call grandma, “how many more weeks of winter is it until spring if he sees his shadow?” She can’t remember. So we made it though warnings about the Ides of March. We watched the Irish co-opt the stage a couple of days later so the canal, river, or some other similar mud puddle can be turned green. We endured it and more. I don’t blame you. We just want spring to come.

While waiting for that day when the birds are singing, the sun is shining, and the flower’s break their dormancy, we finally succumb to March’s madness. We crawl into our man caves for three weeks. We make sacrifices to our alumni gods and burn them on pyres fueled by the smoke from our busted brackets. And as the good sister’s hopes die with her hopes for her Loyola Chicago, we are faced with another 2 to 3 inches of snow on April 1. This is not an April fools joke. As the announcers of March Madness started to cry when Sister Jean rolled from the floor 2 minutes before the final shot, we start to lose hope. Our reserves from spring break are as faded as our tans.

While it is hard to remember, we are just paying the bill for all of that wonderful Augtober weather. Mother Nature isn’t out to get us. We just get used to a rhythm. We become so habituated to that average that we think we will die if more than the average is to be endured. We are dipping our toes into the far edge of the bell curve. That’s all. We will be okay. Maybe we should learn to adapt like our friends on the Left Coast. We just need to learn to put on our winter vest with our shorts and wear a pair of Uggs to keep our toes warm. And since I am home, maybe throw another log on the fire to be on the safe side.

Take care


Sunday, February 25, 2018

Why can’t we have nice things?

Dear Blog Reader

I hope that this finds you doing well. I am fine. Finally, the days are getting noticeably longer. It is nice to see that all of the parts of our landscape are still there. It has been quite a while since they have been seen in the light of day. Leave in the dark, home in the dark, that mid-November to mid-February always seems to stretch on and on. To all of my Greenland, or Norway fans, I apologize for the whining. We all have our cross to bear. I recognize that yours is  bigger than mine.

We have turned the corner. The seed order has arrived. The snap dragons and celosia seeds have been delivered to the greenhouse to get starts going. The pruning is nearly done at my favorite orchard. The sap in the maple trees is starting to rise. And speaking of bears, I suppose they are starting to stir from their hibernation. I know that I am starting to rouse from bed a bit easier everyday. All we have to do is get through that mud pit called March and the two weeks of Janpril. Then, it will be off to the grass mowing and gardening races.

The topic of today’s missive presented itself about 4 weeks ago. A lot has happened since then. The American’s solidified their claim on most boring people in the world by winning Olympic Curling gold. The spring floods have returned to the mid south. And the national gun debate has been reignited at the cost of 17 lives. This time the debate is clouded by failures of local and federal law enforcement with a bit of cowardice to make us all shake our heads.

No, about 4 weeks ago it exploded on the news. It appears that a consumer advocacy group called a news conference in DC and took on big detergent. You would have thought that the holy grail had been found. It was all over my Facebook pages for days to come. However, in doing the exhaustive research that goes into this blog, I found out that it has been a hot topic, making an annual reboot, since 2012 when Chuck Schumer proudly proclaimed “I saw one on my staffer’s desk, and I wanted to eat it.” A little self control Chuck, not to mention take a refresher course on office etiquette. What are you doing rummaging around a staffer’s desk for snacks? That staffer probably makes $30,000 a year. Go buy your own d&#%ned snacks.

Of course, the emphasis has shifted. In 2012, the focus was on young children and adults with dementia eating them and getting sick and in 10 cases dying, a tragedy. Any steps that can be taken to eliminate those deaths are a good thing. Those steps have been taken. Child resistant packaging, PSA’s, etc.  But now the focus is on high school and college kids creating a social media sensation called the Tide Challenge. Google it. I refuse to try to use my wordsmithing skills describing idiots. 

As you can tell, I feel no sympathy for this iteration of the Tide menace. I like those little, squishy, transparent packages of grime busting goodness. I fill up the washer with cloths. I reach in to the container throw one in and am off to write my blog. I don’t have to worry about where the measuring cup is. Did I take it to the barn to measure herbicide, or poke a hole it one corner and create a funnel hack for pouring oil into the car? And who hasn’t had a puddle of detergent eating the enamel paint off of the top of the dryer because the no spill spout wasn’t no spill when you twisted the measuring lid back on top of the bottle? 

No detergent pods are a nice thing and they are about to be taken away because of the youth of America. As the lovely Miss Beverly said, “once again another nice thing we can’t have because of kids.” Thankfully, the lovely Miss Beverly went proactive and bought a dozen packages to “Tide” over this little crisis.

Grace our lovely daughter was pretty excited and pointed out that this may be the first thing that her mom and dad couldn’t blame on the millennial generation. It’s true. This one is on the un-named generation. Actually, it has been named. The internet just hasn’t settled on a name. Gen-Z, iGen, post-millennial are in the running. I am currently voting for post-millennia because you have to be dumb as a post to eat detergent.

I do want to step back for a second and question the idea that this is a story. To the best of my knowledge gained from less than exhaustive internet analysis, 10 people have died since 2012 from the ingestion of detergent pods. A little perspective; last year over 20,000 people died from synthetic opioid overdoses. The trend on that disturbing number looks like a Sherpa going up the side of Everest. Why aren’t we taking on big synthetic opioids? It is hard. Addiction is hard. There are no easy answers there. Rather than talk about a difficult problem, society spends four weeks wringing its hands that Johnny and Mary walked around spitting bubbles for a few hours. When I was growing up, that is how we identified who got caught cussing by their mom. 

Maybe the mom’s of America were doing more than cleaning up our language or encouraging us to think about lying to her again. I think inadvertently they were helping us keep nice things.

Take care.


Sunday, February 4, 2018

Go Your Own Way

Dear Blog Reader

I hope that this finds you doing well. I am fine. I sit here thankful that I didn’t go all Bill Murray after the 2nd. It would have been an especially difficult day to finally get right because the lovely Miss Beverly was at a conference in Florida. It would have taken self-actualization galore to get missing Beverly to turn out okay.

Thinking about this blog has caused an old Fleetwood Mac song to run on a continuous loop inside my head. Two months is long enough. It is time to exorcise it from my noodle. It is a good song. I just knew that I should copy its title for this blog. 

Nearly two months ago the lovely Miss Beverly received word that Bonnie, her mother, had suffered a severe stroke. Bonnie was 85 years old. Twenty years ago she had received 2 new hips. Well the warranty had expired and one hip had deteriorated and was causing Bonnie a great deal of pain. The doctors counseled that the surgery would be very risky. Bonnie decided that a chance of being pain free or even in less pain was better than the prospect of increased pain going forward.

The surgery went well but as they say there were complications. Repeated procedures left her weaker each time as her body had difficulties metabolizing the anesthesia. The stress on her body grew to the point that she suffered a stroke. She was mostly unresponsive at that point. Doctors were unable to do anymore for Bonnie so hospice was called. We used to call it the Grim Reaper. But apparently, he went corporate and needed a new image and so we call hospice now. Family and friends gathered and reminisced and said goodbye. A few days later she succumbed.

We try to capture our loved ones live and essences in a few paragraphs in the newspaper. But as Abraham Lincoln once said in the Gettysburg Address  “We cannot consecrate . . .” However, the lovely Miss Beverly did a pretty good job catching the essence of her mom in this obituary.

“Bonnie will be remembered for her love for her husband and family, her prowess for making pie, and her skill at knitting. She drove her kids thousands of miles to basketball, cheer clinics and 4H meetings. Only her well-worn black cast iron skillet knows how many potatoes she fried. Millions of inches of yarn passed through her clever fingers, transformed into sweaters, afghans, mittens, and hats. So many hats for so many beloved heads.

Bonnie’s highest renown, though, will be for her kindness and generosity to all, as her family’s boundaries did not end with her 8 children. Neighbor kids hopped in the van for rides to town.  Hired hands sat with us at our table. Nieces and nephews confided in her.  Co-worker’s waited for their birthday pie from Bonnie. Her friends shared mischief, nights on the town, and all of the heart-crushing griefs life brings. Her listening ears and giving heart will be missed by all who loved her.”

Two months later the jobs that Bonnie tended to are being shifted. The mantles of responsibility, for finishing knitting projects, bearing witness to heart crushing griefs, and maintaining and initiating the grapevine needed to keep 8 children (brothers and sisters) 46 nieces and nephews, great grands, and in-laws connected when they are spread out across the country, are being picked up and carried on. Plus, there is always more birthday pie to be baked. 

I think that I missed her most of all on January 28th when Purdue played IU. It must have been very difficult through the years for Bonnie. All of those children and only Bill going to IU. Not only that but all of those daughters going to Purdue and marrying somewhat rabid and obnoxious Purdue boys. That afternoon, I missed the one ring phone calls announcing a particularly good IU play; a late game surge, or hopeful anticipation. 

One ring phone calls really were the prehistoric text messages. Back when there was such a thing as rotary dial phones, and long distance phone charges, our grand parents would let their brood know that they were thinking about them by dialing, letting the phone ring once and hanging up. No completed call, no long distance charges. I missed that on the 28th. However, as I said the mantle of responsibility has shifted because the lovely Miss Beverly’s phone blew up with text messages all afternoon.

The other mantle that has shifted or is shifting during the past two months, and has been a little difficult for me to put on, is that we are next. I didn’t realize how comforting it was to know that my great grandmother Keenan would pass before Grandma and Grandpa would pass. And she did. It was comforting believing that Grandmas and Grandpas would depart before moms and dads did. And they did. For the past 20 years, deep down in my lizard brain, I have believed that I wasn’t my time yet. Lloyd, Stell, Doyle and Bonnie were all much more mortal than I. It is no wonder that the grief is so much greater when the order isn’t followed. It is an unmentionable expectation. And the unmentionables are often the strongest.

No, when hospice comes calling, I can no longer stand there hands in pockets, eyes on the ground, shifting from foot to foot kinda nodding my head towards the generations before me. “Take them. They have lived their life.” If I were an Inuit, I would be the one getting on the ice flow when times got tough. No, he will be here for me.  It has been a sobering realization, and yet another gift from this remarkable woman.

Bonnie went her own way. I’ll go mine.

Take care.


Sunday, January 21, 2018

Leave the stick on the ground.

Dear Blog Reader.

I hope this finds you doing well. It leaves my computer doing just fine. I am in the middle of a beer and Oreos weekend as the lovely Miss Beverly has traveled to Austin, Texas to further hone her superhuman teaching skills. What is a beer and Oreos weekend? A previous post in this blog provided a complete treatise of the topic a few years ago. Look through the archives; March 31, 2012 to be exact. It does give you pause to think that you have been entertaining yourselves by reading these missives for more that 5 years.

The lovely Miss Beverly’s absence marks a perfect storm. A political event has happened this past week that makes me want to explode and low and behold there is no moderating influence from Bev.

So be forewarned. I am getting ready to let it rip about a political topic. If this is not your cup of tea, or you are tired about the constant political polarization, you may want to tune out.

While the rest of the world was worried about Trump’s vulgar characterization of many 3rd world countries, our fellow Americans in the 50th state were running for their lives after a hapless employee of the state of Hawaii was pushing the “Kiss your a#@ goodbye” button multiple times.

When did we become a failed superpower? Whether or not N. Korea has the missile and nuclear technology to reach Hawaii or even California, we believe that they can. The state government of Hawaii believed that they could. By definition, if you have an early warning system, you believe that it is a probability. You could argue that they were monitoring the Russians or the Chinese. However, everyone I know thought that those missiles had the N. Korean flag stenciled on their side.

Sure, there is outrage over the mistake that was made. The lovely Miss Beverly and I were retreating to an inn on the shores of Lake Indiana (very romantic). We were watching a Sunday morning news show. The talking head told us that the idiot felt “terrible” because of his actions. The written word cannot do justice to the inflection given to the word terrible. It was the same inflection that I used early in our marriage when I felt “terrible” about forgetting the lovely Miss Beverly’s birthday. But really is feeling “terrible” adequate, when you have sent 1.5 million people heading for the exits. Once again government providing evidence that they have no aptitude for competence.

A brief aside here. I know that I have been temped from time to time to think that Israel overreacts just a bit. Her enemies would never want to use a nuclear device against her. Right? We know now that we believe our enemies would use one against us. The Israelis wouldn’t have to wait 30 minutes for the warning to be withdrawn. In 30 minutes, their shooting war would be over. New policy; if Israel doesn’t want to allow her enemies to have nuclear weapons, more power to them.

If we would have had the same policy, North Korea would not have menaced our population on a January Saturday morning. It is clear that we let them have nuclear missiles. You could argue that with your logic Roger we could have kept Russia, or the Chinese from the nuclear club. You would be wrong but there is nothing lost in the argument. We were not powerful enough to stop their development at the time. It takes inordinate power to stop that kind of development. We were not in position to stop near equals from developing powerful weapons. But North Korea was not our near equal. They still aren’t but they can bloody our nose with a terribly powerful weapon.

But our leaders, opened the door. Through a lack of wisdom and will, we said go ahead and develop nuclear capabilities for peaceful purposes. I know who these leaders were. I would name them but I choose to teach you to fish instead of giving you a fish. Look it up. Besides, it wouldn’t matter if I told you who it was. If you believe something different, you would blame it on the other side. Whatever. It really doesn’t matter. But you and I both know that the situation has crystallized for our Hawaiian friends. And it should crystallize for all of us.

While my fellow Americans were putting their children into sewers, I was on a walk through the woods receiving an epiphany. There was a young boy who had trouble focusing walking with the group. He was all over the place. Just a little disruptive but not too bad. Certainly, no restraint was being exerted on the child. Who knows why? He’s inquisitive. It is a big area. Show a little forbearance, he’s not really hurting any thing. After a while, he picked up a stick. Sure enough a few minutes later, someone was crying with a bloody lip. The boy felt “terrible”. It was an accident. “I just picked up the stick and held it over my head and it fell into his face.”

You know what? Some people should never be allowed to have a stick. And society needs to be wise enough and strong enough to say put the damned thing down.

Take care.