Sunday, November 25, 2018


We recently celebrated Thanksgiving in the U.S. – giving thanks for our blessings.   Our tradition has been a family gathering for a big dinner.   The occasion also is taken by some groups to provide turkey dinners or meal provisions to those who might otherwise do without.

We’re commemorating what most of us learned from the time we were children – that our Pilgrim ancestors and the Native American Indians shared food each harvested that fall symbolizing peace and harmony. 

The Pilgrims and the Indian tribe actually had a three-day celebration with the signing of a mutually supportive treaty.  Gradually, the over-simplified folklore we knew has been giving way to a much more complicated reality best appreciated by reading the only two brief Pilgrim contemporary accounts HERE – one of which wasn’t written until about twenty years after the fact.  

Understanding more about the circumstances preceding this celebratory event and the Pilgrims subsequent relations with all Native American Indian tribes does have a significant bearing on the story we’ve come to know.  Appreciating the perspective of both groups is important.

Thanksgiving to the Native American Indians may not mean the same thing that it did to the white settlers in American History” as described at HERE.

National Geographic reveals a pertinent Native American Indian succinct historical perspective HERE.

Take a look at those links abbreviated content, then consider the following.

Our nearest northern neighbor, Canada, celebrates Thanksgiving, too, but in October.  They began celebrating this holiday long before we did in the U.S. for reasons different than ours in 8 ways which you can read about HERE. 

Especially interesting to me was learning Canada celebrates their holiday in October, so they apparently don’t experience the aggravating time crunch with commercial overlaps as we do with Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. 

Thanksgiving weekend in the U.S. has seemed to have become increasingly commercially corrupted into one gross sales pitch compared to when I was a child which has annoyed me more and more every year.   We celebrated Halloween the end of October which occurred primarily just one evening – an activity mostly for children.  This day has become exploited commercially, gradually drawing in more and more adults to celebrate with greeting cards and costumed parties. 

We had a respite from commercial promotions for a few weeks those years ago, then looked forward to Thanksgiving – a welcomed day that could occupy our full attention.  The next day signaled business to begin their special lightings, displays and advertising for Christmas.   I recall as a child thinking the time from then until Christmas Day was interminable.

All this has changed in succeeding years with what I consider an abhorrent commercialization that is drawn out -- sometimes starting even before Halloween, but definitely before Thanksgiving.  In fact, retailers now keep ridiculous shopping hours, people line up to shop these stores at all sorts of hours, often mauling each other in the process when the doors open.  Children must be numb from anticipation by the time Christmas arrives.  

No doubt the competition between brick and mortar stores with the 24/7 shopping accessibility of the Internet world accounts for some of this madness.  I don’t see this commercialization compressing holidays changing any time soon as long as people succumb to the advertising lures.  My only choice is simply to ignore it all which I have been doing as best I can.    

But perhaps there is one change that could be made in connection to the Thanksgiving/Christmas commercial overlap time squeeze.   Consider that history indicates the very Pilgrim/Indian dinner we are supposedly commemorating on Thanksgiving may well have actually occurred in October. 

Maybe we should consider changing our Thanksgiving to the third or fourth Thursday of October.  What do you think?   Does our culture’s commercialization bother you? 

Sunday, November 18, 2018


The good news is California fires are gradually coming under control.   A fire recently started  east of where I live, is being contained.    Our area has not been subjected to any fire, smoke or ashes – our skies continuing to be blue. 

Federal emergency aid has been granted by our President, as he made a visit to some of the areas including that of the Thousand Oaks shooting massacre which had coincidentally occurred prior to the fires.  Meeting with our Governor Brown and newly elected Governor Newsom he expressed words of concern as could be expected to be forthcoming from any responsible leader of our nation in such a disaster. 

The President’s broad knowledge of the factors involved in these fires’ propagation appears to be rather narrow, to put it kindly, as he persists in blaming poor forest management as the problem.   There was reported HERE  “...a protester along the route of the president’s motorcade who held a sign that said, “Moron, we’re in a drought.”

I suppose our officials must use care to not antagonize a President some believe to be vindictive to those who don’t agree with him lest our residents not receive all the assistance needed.   California has primarily supported candidates with views other than those of the current federal administration, but that has become even more pronounced with the results of the recent elections.  

Very large Orange County has been known many years as a stronghold for the President’s political party.  Midterm elections altered that as all four House seats in Orange country – Richard Nixon’s birthplace and that of conservatism – now belong to the new House of Representatives predominant party.   

My friends’ family members here in Southern California had to evacuate but were fortunate to stay with other family until they could return to, thankfully, find their homes still standing, unlike some others in their areas, or in additional communities including Malibu near the Pacific Ocean. 

In Northern California a town ironically named Paradise, population over 26,000, burned to the ground.   Known as a retirement haven, tragically at this writing over 600 residents are still missing – whether they are in safe locations or are fire victims has yet to be established. 

Safety for older folks.....
There has been some concern that lives lost not only there, but in other areas, too, may have included an inordinate number of older people – some unwilling to leave soon enough, others unable to evacuate as rapidly as needed.   Likely this issue will be, or should be, examined in the weeks ahead.   
Data from 2017 fires concluded older people are at greater risk in disasters.  It should give us all thought that when the potential for safety concerns emerges, older and disabled folks should be among the first to act promptly, to not wait or try to be heroes – concentrating on saving ourselves could be the best way to aid our loved ones and those who would want to help us. 

Wildlife has not been spared as their habitat is destroyed including our mountain lions HERE and a heart-warming story about a rescued horse/mule.
* * *
A couple updates:

My California I.D. card that serves as my driver’s license for the next five years arrived with my photo quite acceptable unlike the one on the new regular license initially issued.   Card photos quality was a subject I had previously posed recently for comment HERE.

Daylight Savings Time will hopefully be ended in California based on voters choice in our recent election.   There is still some uncertainty about voters choice being implemented though the California State Legislature now has the power to vote to change the clocks permanently with a two-thirds majority vote.  Even then the time change still has to to receive U.S. Congress approval.    

* * *

Green transportation in California and in other cities across our country has been gaining increasing interest in recent years.  I’ve been noticing a few unusual vehicles in my community and Los Angeles TV news stories cause me to wonder if such vehicles/devices actual usage is becoming more prevalent. 

Electric scooters are being introduced by companies into prominent cities across our country creating quite a bit of controversy.  There are companies that distribute them around some city areas for individuals to use at will – riding them to their local destination, then just leaving them.  City governments often haven’t been given an opportunity to establish operation requirements they can then also enforce with licensing.   Many pros and cons are being debated about whether or not to allow these scooters, safety issues, to name just a couple.  
“...the first company to launch shared electric scooters in the United States, unrolled its first fleet – or flock – in Santa Monica last September. Their scooters have since appeared in some 70 municipalities across the country, including 17 in California, as well as Paris and Tel Aviv and dozens of college campuses." "... the biggest of a dozen or more competitors, has landed in more than 80 American municipalities.”

What do you think about electric scooters?  Have you encountered any?   Would you use them? 


Sunday, November 11, 2018


I’ve evolved into somewhat of a somber mood this week following my initial enthusiasm and encouragement with the overall outcome of the 2018 U.S. Midterm Elections.  Hope you’re pleased with most of the results where you live.

Initially ....
The early part of the week began with those elections encouragingly drawing a higher percentage of voters than usual.   Some results are still not tallied as the number of mail-in and provisional ballots has increased, too.   Outcomes between some candidates are so close a winner cannot be declared until the days or weeks needed to tally those ballots are completed. This is true even in our local City Council contest.   Even then, it’s possible the results could be so close that some candidates may require a ballot recount.   

The previous political dominating party has become the minority party in our U.S. House of Representatives.  Hopefully, to most Americans this will mean some sort of check on our current president’s relentless dictatorial actions that many believe weaken our democracy. 

They see his efforts deliberately creating chaos and divisiveness directed toward destroying citizens trust in our government.   Surreptitiously, he’s also attempting to require personal loyalty to himself, rather than to our constitution, from leaders he appoints and in all branches of government.  

Given his attempt to alter our form of government this comes as no surprise – except to some who naively don’t realize this is occurring, and those still in denial who think this is just political party differences – not a matter of preserving our freedoms and democracy as our nation’s founders established in our constitution.

Insidious now, too, is our President’s relentless assault to muffle, consistently denigrate, a Fourth Estate Press that reports factual information.   He condemns them for questioning or refuting his mendacious statements and presenting other issue views as though he had no ethical or moral responsibility for stating facts to the American people.  Instead, he fluently prevaricates insultingly, in the belief the people are either too dumb to know the difference or don’t care and has previously said as much.   He leads me to wonder if he is correct. 

Most of those in the President’s political party have acquiesced to him despite to what many of them once objected, as they have either changed or compromised their moral and ethical values in exchange for power – and money?   Some of those who won’t bend are simply leaving or retiring from their positions, since many of their constituents fail to recognize preserving our democratic republic is at stake. 

Our President continues to favor one specific television network news organization reflecting that owner’s agenda, documented by many as a group that warps news content accounts.  It is no coincidence that corporation’s owner, Rupert Murdoch, has had news content control ambitions of his own, or that our President met with him in Scotland shortly after the 2016 election.

Mr. Murdoch’s organizations have often been characterized as promoting tabloid journalism.
His efforts to gain monopolistic control over all media forms to influence news content, distribution, government influence, created havoc in Great Britain years ago when he came there from Australia. Subsequently he gained U.S. citizenship to pursue his power-seeking of news control here to influence our populace -- followers would be wise to consider that family corporation’s agenda.   

Murdoch has been known for interfering in editorial processes contrary to what he has vowed he wouldn’t do.  This gave concern following his Wall Street Journal purchase a few years ago. 

This year Murdoch’s long-term consolidation efforts in Great Britain to obtain satellite Sky News was thwarted The Guardian reported earlier HERE.

The Competition and Markets Authority said 21st Century Fox’s bid to take control of the 61% of Sky it does not already own was not in the public interest due to concerns about media plurality.”

The CMA’s investigation into the deal found it would give the Murdoch family trust, which controls Fox and News Corp, the publisher of the Sun and the Times, “too much control over news providers in the UK across all media platforms and therefore too much influence over public opinion and the political agenda”.

Our Fourth Estate News Media seeking factual information from our President these next two years until our 2020 elections to report to us will likely be subjected to his increased attacks and false accusations as he has been doing.  

Considering what we know about the modus operendi of this President and the news sources he favors, we need to thoughtfully exercise analysis, critical thinking and our best judgment determining the news media sources we can trust for most closely providing unadulterated content truth.  Incidentally, social media may not be the most viable source for truth, either. 

* * *
Next, with the election still fresh in my mind, my attention was shocked in morning wee hours as I watched the ending of an old movie -- a news bulletin interrupted.   Tragedy struck in one of Southern California’s designated safest cities, Thousand Oaks, with a mass shooter murdering young people and a police officer.   The shooter took his own life, is thought to have been a troubled young man, possibly suffering from PTSD following overseas war experience in the military service. 

Once again, many citizens voice outrage as to why laws are not enacted in an effort to control the availability of certain types of weapons, curtail how readily they can be purchased and limit those permitted to possess them.   

Still reeling from this surreal as yet unexplained shooting event .....
devastating fires in Southern California, coincidentally, struck that same city of tragedy, the next day -- devouring homes -- additional houses continuing to be threatened. 

The fire raced toward the ocean requiring the whole city of Malibu to be evacuated with the flames ravaging, then leaving some once homeowners, homeless.  

Other residents in those cities still awaiting the fires becoming controlled, the area safe, so they can learn if their house has survived intact, though likely smoke-damaged.  Family members of a friend of mine are in the latter group, having had to evacuate, but fortunate to be able to stay with others in their family. 

Many residents have had to seek shelter at special evacuation centers setup for accommodations with such available even for a large menagerie of pets reportedly not limited to just dogs and cats.  

Incredibly, even more fires were reported .....
an entire community of 27,000 in Northern California, ironically named Paradise, was forced to evacuate.  Every structure burned to the ground.   Now, loss of life has been discovered as an increasing number of residents have been found in their vehicles -- presumed to have been stranded, trying to escape the flames. 

As I publish this .....
The strong Santa Ana winds blowing off shore have given temporary way to slight on-shore breezes lessening these out of control fires intensity for a day, but only temporarily.  Humidity from the Pacific Ocean increased only slightly from the previously high of only 5%.

Predictions are that the Santa Ana high winds are returning with more dry off-shore blowing to whip these fires today, Sunday, before on shore winds resume, possibly by Tuesday evening to slightly lessen fire forces.  The fires will likely rage on as exhausted firefighters fight for containment.   We will see what the coming week brings us.

I do feel compelled to clarify the truth and express my outrage at one more outright falsehood perpetrated by our President.    He threatens to withhold federal funding for the California wildfires due to gross mismanagement.  California Professional Firefighters President stated:

“It is the federal government that has chosen to divert resources away from forest management, not California.”

This irresponsible U.S. President later modifies his comments to offer some support for Americans affected by these disasters.   

This is such classic contradicting rhetorical behavior exhibited by our President -- designed to deliberately keep him in the news daily.  He believes all publicity, positive or negative, benefits him as his discredited attorney mentor taught him.   Most distressing to him is to be ignored which gives reason to avoid gratifying his need to have his name mentioned.   Would that all the media and every other source would cease saying anything about him for even a day, but ideally several, a week, a month – but to what antics would he resort to get our attention?