Category Archives: Uncategorized

Leonard Nimoy: My Tribute

One year ago today the world lost a great scifi icon: Leonard Nimoy. I got to meet him once at a convention back in 2004 and the memories of that day remain as fresh as if they were yesterday.

He was introduced to a standing-room-only crowd of fans, which went to its feet when he came on stage to give him a standing ovation, which lasted quite a while! It was simply a pleasure to listen to him as he talked about his new passion at the time, which was his photography and publishing a new book of black-and-white pictures. He spoke so much like Spock: calm, assuring, and inviting. It became the recurring joke of his presentation during question-and-answer when fan after fan asked him when he would appear as Spock again, and he repeated the same answer calmly and politely, “I’m retired.” It became a running joke as the crowd laughed every time it was asked, and I remember just shaking my head and thinking, “That’s why some people think Trekkers are idiots!” We’re really not, I promise! The whole time, however, he truly sounded like he was the family’s favorite uncle with endless stories to tell new family members…

When came the autograph line, I was on the front row with my wife, and our tickets only allowed one autograph per person, and I had two items I really wanted signed. When it was my turn I presented a one-of-a-kind picture: I was superimposed, in appropriate uniform, into a Wrath Of Khan picture of Kirk, Spock, and McCoy, and he signed his autograph over Spock. (I digress for only a moment to state that a year earlier William Shatner signed over Kirk’s image!) My wife presented my Hallmark Spock Christmas Ornament, and he signed the back of Spock’s chair. He commented over both items, “Quite unique and logical,” with that famous raised-eyebrow expression.

I bought a studio photo opportunity of us with him. When it was our turn he waved us to join him, shook both our hands warmly, wrapped his arms around both of us like we were family, and squeezed us in close just like that favorite uncle would! When we were finished he shook our hands again and wished us well…

Over the last quarter century I have been amassing the Hallmark Star Trek Ornaments and have a Christmas tree dedicated to just those ornaments, many of which have been signed by Star Trek stars. In tribute to Mr. Nimoy, this past Christmas I put his autographed Spock ornament in a bell jar beside that tree.

Star Trek fans, even scifi fans in general, show their respect to all these shows by putting on and attending these conventions. The stars, in turn, return that respect with their wonderfully engaging appearances at these conventions. And when he said his good-bye at the conclusion of his presentation, he raised his right hand in the Vulcan salute and wished everyone to “Live Long and Prosper”.

He did.

I’m doing my best to follow his example…

~Jackscan0011

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Sit in that corner because you didn’t do it…

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We read this morning that 6.6 million Americans paid the Obamacare fine / tax for not having health insurance in 2014. (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-07-15/obamacare-fines-paid-by-6-6-million-taxpayers-more-than-planned)

We’ll let that sink in: Americans were financially penalized for NOT doing something.

Now, we’re not going to debate here on the “benefits” of Obamacare; that’s frankly been debated to death. We will state, however, that we have yet to see our annual premiums go down $2500, as President Obama promised at least 23 times across the country before his Affordable Care Act was signed into law; if anything, our annual healthcare costs have skyrocketed. Yeah, we know it’s because we’re both experiencing downturns of our physical standard due to natural forces beyond our control to prevent, but still that’s what the president promised! Of course, there is absolutely nothing in the ACA that legislates family premiums are to go down $2500, so the president was being a politician, making oral promises that were never meant to be kept. But the ACA demands that Americans pay penalties for NOT having insurance.

The Supreme Court said it was Constitutional because the Obama Administration said the penalty was a tax, and Congress can impose any tax it damn well pleases. And the Democrat-controlled Congress sent this massive takeover of the American health system to the Democrat president to sign into law.

So 6.6 million Americans paid a tax passed by Democrat-contolled Congress and Executive branch because they DIDN’T do something.

Aren’t laws and punishments supposed to be for doing something wrong as opposed to not doing something?

When we were children, our parents explained to us that insurance is something you purchase as a cushion in case of emergency. Now, of course, state laws require one to have car insurance to have a license tag and drive on the streets. You don’t have to have car insurance if you don’t have a car to drive. You don’t have to have life insurance to live. You don’t HAVE to have home insurance if you own a home, but without it you run the risk of having no way to repair or replace your home in case of a disaster. You don’t have to have renter’s insurance if you rent a home or apartment.

But you HAVE to have health insurance if you are an American citizen. 6.6 million Americans didn’t have health insurance in 2015 and had to pay a tax.

We had health insurance, and we didn’t see a savings of $2500 in our premiums, but we didn’t have to pay a tax. Of course, without the insurance policies we already had had for years long before anyone heard of Barack Obama our health costs would have been in the multi-tens of thousands of dollars last year.

6.6 million Americans paid a tax because they DIDN’T do something.

Insurance was taught to us to be a choice. 6.6 million Americans chose NOT to buy a product ordered by the federal government and paid a penalty tax. They did not, however, have to pay penalty taxes for not having life insurance, home insurance, car insurance, renter’s insurance, farting insurance, belching insurance, stupidity insurance, or any other insurance.

6.6 million Americans were punished because they did not do something. Maybe they were rich enough to be able to pay for their own medical bills (you do realize that if you pay for your doctor’s visit in full the price is usually less than if submitted to insurance companies, don’t you?) or they didn’t have the money to buy health insurance after paying the rest of their regular monthly bills.

We tried to think back to the last time there was institutional punishment in the United States for NOT doing something…

Oh yeah, there was.

It was called “slavery”…

SOUTH CAROLINA AND UNITED STATES FLAGS ARE SYMBOLS OF RACISM AND MUST GO, TOO

  
The war has been declared against all things Confederate… and the ones who declared war are the media and the Democrat party. Um, it was the Democrat party who started it all and now they’re the ones complaining? (And the major media, aside from Fox News, is admittedly primarily Democrat in their individual voting histories.)

Full divulgence: we are both born-Southerners. Jack was born in Virginia, Cyndi in South Carolina; and Beaufort, SC, is our home.

Jack grew up as a Navy officer’s son, and lived from as far west as Hawaii and as far east as Virginia. On navy bases there was always a mixture of races, but all were Navy personnel and their families. Jack grew up color-blind. When he attended military school in the 1970s his first roommate was black, and didn’t care. They were both in uniform, just like his father and his fellow navy officers and enlisted.

Cyndi was born in our home of Beaufort. She grew up in Beaufort when it was segregated and during de-segregation. As will be told in one of our book projects, “The Jailer’s Daughter”, she was the daughter of Beaufort County’s chief jailer, and their house stood right next to the county jail. The jail’s inmates were mostly those with enhanced pigmentation (sorry, we cannot say “African-American” for several reasons, but the two which fall here immediately are 1- There is no “United States of Africa-America” and 2- that descriptive did not exist in the 1960s and we do strive for accuracy in our writing at all time. If you are offended at this point, we invite you to quit reading and go read about the birth of the Ku Klux Klan, which was made up of Democrats). Many of those inmates were trustees and actually helped look after tiny Cyndi. She played with dark-brown-skinned children on the prison / house grounds. (For more historical interest, the prison building still stands today, but her house is gone yet the driveway remains.)

Back to our subject. In the past 48 hours we have seen an all-out attack on the Confederate flag, starting with the one that flies on the South Carolina state house grounds. (Let us interject that it was a DEMOCRAT governor, Fritz Hollings, who got the state legislature to pass a law to fly that flag on the capital building below the American flag.) Let us add what flies is not the flag of the Confederate States of America, but the Confederate Naval Ensign. Many have called it the Battle Flag of Northern Virginia, but that flag was square in shape and the naval ensign was rectangular. So right off the media and the Democrat party are lying about what is actually flying on the state grounds.

Back in 1865, one condition of the Confederate States of Amerca’s surrender was for their flag to continue to fly and/or be displayed so as to always remember the history of those four years, and it wasn’t all about slavery. We’ll come back to this in another blog, as this one is already getting wordy, don’t you agree?

So the attack is on to remove all traces of the Confederate Naval Ensign (we will name it appropriately from this point forward) because it causes hatred and racism. Warner Brothers has ceased licensing of reproductions of the iconic “General Lee” from “The Dukes of Hazzard” because the car has the Ensign on its roof. We grew up with “Dukes”, and never once did either one of us, nor did the millions of Americans who made the show a major hit, feel the racism and hatred genes take over our bodies and turn us into racist Hulks (get it? grow angry, turn green, grow out of our shirts yet our pants expand intact?). Ben Jones, former DEMOCRAT United States Senator and “Cooter” on “Dukes of Hazzard”, has his own chain of stores where he sells Southern memorabilia, and is totally against removal of the Ensign.

Some idiot on CNN (sorry, we can’t remember her name) called for the removal of the Jefferson Memorial in Washington DC because he owned slaves.

Suddenly we are seeing that schools are demanding the changes of their school names because they were named after Confederate veterans. People are defacing Confederate monuments with “#Black Lives Matter” or “Racist” or such.

This is getting out of hand. The Democrat party, which began it all back in the 19th century, now wants to get rid of everything they created with the help of the left-wing media. So, let’s go with it and see how they feel…

In addition to the Ensign, the South Carolina state flag must go because the seceded state of South Carolina approved its design in January 1861, and is the only Confederate southern state flag to remain flying today (all the other southern states have changed their flags, although a couple states incorporate the Battle emblem in their current design). Take it a logical step forward, and the United States flag must be taken down and replaced because, in its first seven decades, was also the flag for slave-owning states.

Locally, we need to get rid of the Thomas Heyward tomb in nearby Ridgeland, SC. He owned slaves, and his historic marker must go, even though he signed the Declaration of Independence.

The Declaration of Independence must be eliminated because it was signed by slave owners.

Our local National Cemetery, signed into law by President Lincoln, contains the remains of Confederate veterans; they must all be dug up and destroyed to make room for more non-racist veterans to be interred there. But any non-Southern veterans buried there who expressed racist tendencies in their lives, or were from the South by birth or residence, should also be dug up and eliminated… except Jack’s dad, of course, as he was absolutely not racist despite retiring from the navy in Beaufort.

Not only should the Jefferson Memorial in Washington DC be eliminated, so should the Washington Monument. Their historic homes, Monticello and Mount Vernon, must be razed and turned into parking lots because their original owners owned slaves.

Washington DC, named in honor of our first president, must be renamed Lincoln, DC, as Abraham Lincoln not only did not own slaves but in his Emancipation Proclamation declared that all slaves are to be free.

All states which originally seceded from the United States in the 1860s must be purged from the current United States, because they were all originally slave-owning states. All Americans born in states which made up the Confederacy must be deported with their states because they have racist blood (although we await for the scientific tests to confirm that blood is sentient and therefore capable of emotions on its own, and able to feel hatred and racism). All Americans who ancestors were Southern have to be deported because they have racist blood.

We read this morning that “Gone With The Wind” is under attack as being racist and must be eliminated. So all movies and TV shows that had any utterance of anything Confederate must be eliminated. John Jakes’ “North and South” trilogy must go.

Hillary Clinton must go because she dares to mock “black dialect” when speaking in “black churchs”… “I ain’t no ways taaarrrd”, for example… same for Barack Obama… 

We think you get the point by now… we could continue, but we know you have to make a potty stop… but don’t use the toilet paper! It may have been made by a manufacturer located in “The South”, where everyone is racist, and wiping with that racist cleansing tissue may contaminate your skin with racism-inducing fibers…

Obama Has Confined Cyndi In Her House

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Oh, yeah, we mean it! The media (except Fox News and The Washington Times) passed on covering another new regulatory law Obama signed that did not come from Congress, giving the Environmental Protection Agency complete authority over all waterways in the United States (http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/may/27/obama-admin-asserts-dominion-over-creeks-streams-w/). In essence, any water on the ground now is the dominion of the EPA and the Obama Administration.

Now, before the lampooning begins, we will state upfront here that the new power-grab by this President does exempt things like construction ditches, yard puddles, and other geophysical depressions which hold water only temporarily. But any permanent ponds, creeks, tributaries, and so on… well, plan to be watched by someone from the EPA from now on.

On to the lampooning:

We had quite the rain last night here in the South Carolina Lowcountry, and the differences between Jack’s and Cyndi’s homes are striking.

Jack’s house sits on one of the highest pieces of land in Beaufort County (and then another four feet higher above ground level thanks to his house’s crawlway) so he never worries about flooding; when heavy rains cause water to rise in his yard, the water is usually gone within 15 or 20 minutes following the rain’s conclusion (after a tropical storm or hurricane, make that about 30 minutes). In fact, the end of his street is almost at water level, so we know where his rainwater goes.

Cyndi’s house, on the other hand, is all but at water level, even with its six-foot elevated base. Even when her cats go outside to do their “bizness” the yard floods! This morning, after a night of rain and thunderstorms, the pond in her front yard overflowed all the way to her steps (that pond is a good 100 feet away). She woke this morning to find an EPA agent wearing environmentally-friendly waders standing in the middle of her front yard with an arrest warrant and AK47 should she or any of her cats put one toe in the new lake which is her front yard now. The amount of water in her flooded yard could possibly contain new species of fresh-water fish which are also on the endangered list, and if her cats catch even one, said cat would be confiscated and taken to a feline containment center (jail) and Cyndi would go to jail (human confinement center). Apparently, property ownership is over-ridden by the EPA when it comes to “clean water” now (but then, who the hell in Jasper County would ever call the ground water in her neighborhood “clean for human use”???). However, in just the time it’s taken to write this, the water has receded about six feet from her steps and the EPA agent has stepped back three feet, totally unaware of the alligator behind him. That is not a croc…

So, in this time of police no longer policing because the officers now fear being arrested and jailed and put on trial for doing their jobs, our Government has decided to bypass Congress – AGAIN — and instead put all water within the boundaries of the 50 United States under absolute federal control. When you go camping now, you cannot touch the water in creeks or streams! You cannot step into the tidal ponds on the beach! You cannot spit into streams! You cannot build new docks! Have we lost our freedom to a power-grabbing leadership?… Don’t they know the next President can undo every executive order or action? Unless we’re stuck with “you-know-who”… then it’s a moot problem…

THE CLUCK YOU SAY…

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Oh dear…we find the strangest things in the news!

A proposed ordinance allowing backyard chickens in the city of Racine, Wisconsin is being acted on by the City’s Council. Backed unanimously by the City Board of Health last week, the proposal would allow single-family… (Single-family? They’re discriminating against multi-family homes right off the bat?)…owner-occupied households… (Owner occupied? now they’re discriminating from renters? Renters’ money isn’t good enough???) …in the city to keep up to four hens, but no roosters. (What the cluck???)

(Why up to 4? Why not 6 or 10, or 20? Are they concerned about square footage per chicken? Or perhaps the decibel level of 5 chickens is the maximum that can be tolerated by the neighbors. Clucking volume must be it… so are we now looking at a clucking chicken noise ordinance? Have you ever heard the ear-splitting sound a single chicken makes while laying an egg? Is this in consideration? And no roosters? Why no roosters? Is council denying chickens their rights to have male companionship now? Isn’t that now a sexist factor? The girl chickens have needs after all. No, I get it. They’re worried about the production of baby chickens, and more baby chickens, and soon the entire city of Racine will be overrun with little chickens. What a bunch of clucking sexists.)

The news comes about eight months after a local resident approached the board to see if its members might craft a measure allowing residents to keep the birds. Since then, the Public Health Administrator has been working with the board and others, including the Wisconsin Humane Society and City Attorney’s Office, to draft and fine-tune the would-be ordinance. Under the guidelines set forth in the proposed law, residents could only keep chickens for domestic use. (“Domestic use“? What use? How does one “use” a domestic chicken? Oh, it’s a pet! We can put a harness leash on it and take a walk around the block…the same as we do with Fido!) Chicken owners could not slaughter the chickens, sell their eggs, or breed the animals for sale. They would also have to keep the chickens in the backyard in a coop and/or pen approved by the department’s Environmental Health Division. In addition to those requirements, owners would have to follow strict rules for the disposal of chicken droppings and the size of the enclosures and pens.

(Wait, what about our constitutional rights here? We can breed & sell all other kinds of animals, like dogs and cats. Why discriminate against the chicken? Could this be a hidden attack against right-Wing — get it? “Wing”??? What a tough crowd! Chicken owners and restaurants like Chic-Fil-A? Where’s Al Sharpton? There might be police officers shooting innocent chickens! The chickens will riot, and burn down innocent Chic-Fil-A restaurants! Call in Jesse Jackson, too! We need Colonel Sanders to come back on a Wing and a prayer! Okay, we’re winging it on our commentary here, give us a break. Preferably a chicken sandwich break, made from all breast meat… oh, damn, now WE’re being sexist!!!)

(WOW! These guidelines are stricter than our human guidelines. I haven’t seen government workers work this much in insuring the health and welfare of our citizens. The poor, needy, poverty, government housing polilticians, just have to keep adding rules and laws upon us poor owners, ignoring the renters, clucking us every chance they get…)

There also are recommendations for the bedding, feeding and watering of the animals. (What? now we have to buy chickens new beds? Hey, Petsmart, what aisle are the chicken beds on???) Those who want to keep the birds would be required to get a $50 license from City Hall. (More discrimination against the chicken! Dogs and cats don’t require $50 licenses! Only rabies tags!) Part of the cost of the annual license would fund inspections aimed at ensuring that coops are the right distance from adjacent properties and maintained in the backyard area of homes. Anyone violating the rules set forth in the ordinance could lose their license or face a possible $500 fine. If a license is revoked it couldn’t be renewed for three years. The last time city officials discussed the possibility of allowing chickens in the city was 2010. City officials ended up receiving about 250 signatures from residents opposed to the idea, and the Committee ultimately voted to set it aside. The City Council is slated to consider the proposal. Although aldermen could decide to approve the ordinance or vote it down, they could also decide to send it back to the Board of Health or City Attorney’s Office for adjustments or to another committee for more in-depth discussion.

(You mean the chickens have been put on the back burner again?!? Oh my! I want mine with mushroom sauce, please!!!)

Riddle Us This… and Get Pissed…

A riot policeman covered in flames runs to escape during in riot in Athens

We are color-blind. One of us grew up in the deep south and grew up playing with children with darker skin and didn’t care; the other was a sailor’s son and lived in military bases across the country with other families of mixed racial origin and didn’t care. Neither of us today give a rat’s ass what your skin color is.

That said… We are avid news watchers, and we are also dedicated researchers. So a lot of our time is spent online, naturally, looking up information for our various writing projects. We have found something interesting, and just want to pass this on in the form of an information graph. This is not scientific, merely our observation… but it might also make you really pissed off.

With all the recent news coverage of the death of black men by police officers (and also the Trayvon Martin death by the newly-added “white Hispanic” racial descriptive), we also noted something very specific and we wanted to share our findings.

Race of person who died while in police custody / was there a riot? / did Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson insert themselves to inflame racial tensions? / Did people lose their businesses and did people lose their jobs due to the destruction caused by rioters reacting to a police-related death? Here’s what we found:

Race?          Any riots?       Sharpton or Jackson?          Property destroyed / jobs lost?

White           No                   No                                        No

Asian           No                    No                                       No

Spanish       No                    No                                       No

Irish             No                    No                                       No

European    No                     No                                      No

S. American No                    No                                      No

Black            Yes                  Yes                                    Yes

Our question is this, then: Why do people with brown or dark brown skin (sorry, we cannot bring ourselves to say “African-American” because there is no “United States of Africa-America) have to destroy property and cause people to lose their jobs or their businesses they spent lifetimes building because they don’t like that someone of similar skin color died in police custody? Never mind that those men who died in police custody had long police records, according to news reports we have heard on TV.

We believe in what the great Martin Luther King, Jr. did and said. He would, in our opinion, be ashamed of what people with the same skin color as he are doing today. What does rioting and destruction of personal property and personal injury gain anyone? Not one damn thing.

We’re waiting now for President Obama to apologize to the world for having the same skin color as those people who burned down Ferguson and Baltimore… And shame on Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rollins-Blake for first telling the rioters that is was okay to destroy peoples’ property as a version of free speech: “It’s a very delicate balancing act because while we try to make sure that they were protected from the cars and the other things that were going on, we also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well, and we work very hard to keep that balance and to put ourselves in the best position to de-escalate.” Source: http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/baltimore-unrest/mayor-stephanie-rawlings-blake-under-fire-giving-space-destroy-baltimore-n349656e

So, Riddle Us This: why do brown-skinned people have to riot and destroy when they don’t like something? We are just asking, that is all… and is this what we want to be teaching our children? Shame on us all..

I Am Himself, or Am I?

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I now have a title I did not want, at least not for a very long time yet.

I am “Himself”.

You probably said or thought, “What that hell does that mean?” Fair question, if one is not Irish or even of Irish descent. Actually, if I recall from my father and mother correctly, I’m a bit-o-Irish / English / German, meaning I should always be fighting with myself. But, I find that a nice stiff shot of something strong and distilled makes all three parts happy and relaxed.

For years my father explained how he himself became “Himself” (yeah I know—doesn’t sound grammatically correct). He’s always told me that he’d become “Himself” in our family-line when he became the eldest age of any male in the lineage. Well, he did indeed achieve that goal last year on his 82nd birthday.

I’ve spent my entire life attempting to make my father proud of me—I admit that now (although it has always been a personal secret). Dad served 30 years 13 days in the United States Navy; when I add up all my time as a motor route carrier, intern reporter, and manager at my local newspaper, I worked a total of 30 years 245 days (there were breaks for college and working at two other jobs between being a carrier and being a manager). Like father like son…

I’ve always wanted to write stories with hopes of becoming published, dreaming of the day when someone would actually write a newspaper article about me. Dad always said to keep working at it and it will become reality. That was Dad with all his sons: supportive. It didn’t matter whatever it was, he had our backs at all times. A year after joining the “retired community” my partner Cyndi and I presented him with the first copy of our first book and autographed it to him in person in his house. The look in his eyes told me that was the day he was the most proud of me. I’d achieved a lifetime’s dream, and we’d dedicated that first book to both our fathers. (Admittedly, I tried many, many times over the decades to write that book, but it wasn’t until Cyndi and I teamed up that it actually happened; we are a perfect writing team!)

Even with this new writing career quickly developing (four books now written, three short stories, and founders of a new annual local literary festival), my life’s dreams were fulfilled. Dad and I did, however, had one mantra constantly going: “I don’t know how many more years I’ve got in me,” he would say, to which I always replied, “You keep adding them on, give me the ultimate goal for my own life”.

Sadly, now, I know that goal. Commander John H. Gannon, Medical Service Corps, United States Navy–Retired, left to join our Lord and my mother on August 6, 2014, after 83 years and 174 days. In order to pass his achievement (which, for the males in our family, was one hell of an achievement), I have to live to February 12, 2045. By Dad’s definition, however, I don’t become “Himself” until February 13, 2045.

But, according to varied online sources, the true definition of an Irishman as “Himself” is when he is the head of the family or head of the household. In either of these definitions, I am “Himself” now, as I’m the eldest of his two natural sons (I being the elder by 3 years and 137 days) within our family line. So, in true Irish definition, I am “Himself” now… but I won’t truly feel “Himself” until I also beat Dad’s goal and I wake up on February 13, 2045.

What actually brought up this whole dissertation, anyway? My younger brother gave me two items Dad had ordered for himself (no pun intended, promise!) and had just received… but never got to use: a stein-shaped coffee mug and a shot glass, both labeled “Himself”.

So, Dad, I will use these in your memory. You were truly “Himself” in the grandest sense of the word, and I will never be your equal.

But I’m gonna give it my best shot…!

~Jack

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