Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Hope everyone is ready for Thanksgiving because the day is here! Somehow my mindset has not been prepared for that fact. Surely does seem as though this holiday came pretty quickly this year. I was just getting accustomed to summer evolving into fall.

Thanksgiving memories and thoughts immediately have me vocalizing:

"Over the river and through the wood
to grandfather's house we go ..."

This Thanksgiving song was originally a poem by Lydia Maria Child. Years later the lines were changed to "grandmother's house" and became a Christmas song
Wikipedia reports.

This version is as a Thanksgiving song, but retains the change to grandmother. Enjoy!

Wishing one and all a most pleasant day whether alone or with family and friends.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Mishmash: a confused conglomeration of mismatched information (my definition)

Internet factual personal data independently collected by commercial sites is highly suspect in the event you have any doubts. Specifics about themselves revealed by individuals, or those who know them, on social network sites are a different matter but could be questionable, too.

On a whim I thought I'd see what personal information about me some commercial sites offered free to readers who searched my name. What a hoot! I've never seen such a mishmash of mixed information. I hope no one is ever foolish enough to actually pay any of those sites money to see whatever other data they claim they may or may not have about me. (I don't know what they might have, since I wasn't about to subscribe to find out.)

First of all, the sites often don't even have my name spelled correctly. A nonexistent middle name's initial is indicated in other instances. These name listings are as mixed up as the credit reporting agencies were the last time I checked their written reports (facts they can't seem to get straight.) Reviewing further family data purported to be about me revealed continuing grossly erroneous information including total family members and names in the household.

This experience caused me to wonder how accurate these sites would be for a few other family members and friends, or to question if only my listing was inaccurate. I needed to search but a few names to discover their data was as bollixed up as my own.

Frankly, I'm quite accepting of the fact much data about me on those commercial Internet sites is untrue. I hope anyone who might refer to those sites realizes they may contain little more than a grain of fact in an ocean of misinformation. I have no intention of correcting falsehoods or providing missing particulars to any of those sites.

I guess I belong to a minority group that doesn't welcome the gathering of information about me, that is consolidated in one such public centralized location so readily available for marketing. So, I don't intend to take any corrective action to aid in their so-called fact gathering. At best this effort only slows the assault on my personal privacy.

This Internet activity set me thinking. Just as many individuals seek celebrity today -- either the famous or infamous variety seems desired by many -- numerous other people are dedicated to compiling as many facts as possible about each of us as a way for them to make money. They lead us to embrace the idea that revealing all about ourselves on the Internet is desirable. I think, despite rhetoric to the contrary, the primary motivation for gathering information about us is purely commercial -- to find a way to entice advertising dollars.

Eventually, one day the great computer with infinite storage in the cloud will know all there is to know about us. The mechanical wisdom of this computer, that will have been designed to program itself, will spew forth selected knowledge unique to each of our needs and desires. When we consult that digital wizard about products and other matters each of us will automatically be offered predetermined choices presumed to be our preferences.

I wonder if the computer will know to offer me a pair of special shoes I always wanted? Maybe I shouldn't wait for the wizard to intuit the wish of this then young girl who longed for springs on her shoe soles in preference to the pogo stick she never had. There were no such shoes with springs then, as far as I know, but finally, these many years later, someone somewhere has designed that footwear. Hm-m-m! I wonder if there's a model suitable for elders?

Friday, November 11, 2011


Thanks to our U.S. Military Veterans on this date designated to honor their service to the nation on our behalf. This year we have a unique confluence of "eleven" numbers to which some people attribute special significance for a variety of reasons.

This Veterans Day, which internationally is known as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day some places, falls on November 11 (or nearest weekday.) The day refers to the end of World War I which occurred in 1918 formally ending at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. The change to the name Veterans Day in the United States came about when in 1953 Emporia, Kansas citizens observed a Veterans Day in lieu of Armistice Day. Subsequently, legislation was introduced in the United States House of Representatives for this official name change to Veterans Day. Then undertaken was a letter-writing campaign directed toward gaining support of state governors for this holidays' observance and name change. All veterans who served would be honored as this name change to Veterans Day was enacted June 1, 1954.

Imbedded in my lifetime's memory are the stories of relatives who served in World War II. I especially recall family members serving in the U.S. Navy. Others were active in local USO events designed to entertain the service men and women who were often far from home, sometimes bringing them into their own homes for family visits.

I do believe that the sacrifices made by our armed forces during WWII are directly responsible for the fact our country continued to exist as the free democracy/republic our constitution's creators intended. For this reason I accord special tribute to those WWII surviving veterans whose numbers diminish daily, as well as to those who live only in spirit now.

Armed forces personnel are often placed in harm's way with tragic results. Lives are lost, outwardly observable physical and/or mental injuries are incurred, and wounds invisible to the eye alter life for some service people. Our sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, friends and lovers -- these men and women are all forever changed, so are their families.

I believe as a nation our people should be insistent that our veterans receive not only initial optimum timely medical care, but continued long term therapeutic interventions needed to maximize their quality of life. I am greatly distressed whenever I become aware veterans have not received the highest level of care. I am particularly concerned that those diagnosed with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI,) Closed Head Trauma, Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) receive the extended care they need and their loved ones receive necessary caregiver support.

I think it is important to note that the evolution of Armistice Day to Veterans Day in the United States came about because a group of citizens in the heartland of this country were determined to bring about meaningful change. I have heard from time to time over the years individuals excuse their responsibility for not actively participating in our government by voting in our elections because "My vote doesn't count," or, "It doesn't matter whether or not I vote, as it won't make a difference."

U.S. history is replete with many instances which prove individuals votes and actions do make a difference. The establishment of this Veterans Day is an instance when citizens actions manifested themselves in a desired outcome of benefit to all our citizens.

Our veterans who put their lives at risk, and those we honor on Memorial Day who died, gave of themselves so the rest of us could continue to enjoy freedoms unlike those enjoyed in any other country in the world.

On this day when we honor our veterans, I hope we also make a promise to ourselves that if we've not yet registered to vote, we will do so; that we will educate ourselves on the issues and the candidates, then vote intelligently in every local and national election. Seems to me that is the very least of our responsibilities to our country, ourselves and our children. If that is not enough incentive then, at the very least, we should do so in honor of our veterans. Voting is an important act when we consider our Veterans willingness to lay their lives on the line so that each of us can live in freedom and exercise our voting privilege.

Thank you, again, to our veterans!