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Posts Tagged → family

Thank you

Dear friend, thank you for your friendship, affection, and trust.

Dear clients, colleagues, and partners, thank you for your trust. Taking risks and making sacrifices with you in the spirit of entrepreneurial pursuit is tremendously satisfying.

Dear family, thank you for your love (which I try to return equally), hard work, support and for getting good grades in school.

Dear God, thank you for making me a natural-born American citizen, and for having me live in a time of great material abundance and comfort.

Dear fellow citizen….Enjoy Thanksgiving in the greatest nation on Planet Earth.

It’s duck season! No it’s turkey season! No it’s rabbit season!

In addition to picking apples with the family, one of Fall’s greatest attributes is the abundance of hunting opportunities.

A friend sent me a photo of a huge buck he arrowed last week.  I am jealous of him because I have not yet had an opportunity to go bow hunt for deer.

Instead, I have been small game hunting, wild turkey hunting, duck hunting, and trapping.

So, it is not as if I have been missing out on the outdoor experience by failing to bow hunt.  The problem is that I’m in a frenetic whirlwind of other, related recreational pursuits, because Pennsylvania is blessed with an abundance of wildlife and healthy natural habitat.

Spending time with my kids and friends outside in this environment is one of the healthiest, safest, most wholesome activities anyone can do.  Hunting is safer than cheerleading, high school football, soccer, and baseball.  It gets my son’s face out of whatever handheld device is sucking out his brain at any given moment.

Successful or not, time afield is the best family time possible.

Here are some old favorite cartoons about hunting, and most important is the Duck Season, Rabbit Season, Duck Season! episode.

Bugs Bunny vs. Daffy Duck

Rabbit Season! Duck Season!

I brought my guns to school

Back in the 1970s, I brought my deer rifle to school on the bus.

It was locked in my school locker when I arrived at school on the bus. In its case.

No one made a big deal about it.

No one was hurt by my gun.

My biology teacher reloaded my 7mm Mauser shells for me.

I hunted after school with friends, and no one was hurt. We were all safe handlers of our firearms. We all took it seriously.

It now might be a time for Americans to recall a different time, a safer time, a time when Americans could not imagine using basic firearms to hurt one another. A time when deer rifles were as normal as new sneakers, as significant as new clothes. A high powered deer rifle meant that much, and that little.

So many Americans today wonder what happened to our nation. Well, quit treating traditional American values as inferior to the chaos, anarchy, and violence that have replaced them. Let us traditionalists come back. Let your kids demonstrate how responsible they are. Take comfort in the inherent strength of our nation and its traditions. Relax.

We gun owners are safe, responsible, and experienced. We have our own children who we cherish. We will do nothing to hurt our own children.

Guns, used safely, are safe.

 

Field Notes

Field Notes are the monthly notes written by PA Game Commission wildlife conservation officers, about notable experiences and interactions they’ve had on the job, out in the field.  And you know that for those folks, men and women, out in the field is truly out there in the wild.  Their descriptions of encounters with people and wildlife are unique and often funny.

Field Notes are published monthly in the PGC’s Game News magazine, and for all of my hunting life (1973 until now), one person really summed up Field Notes and gave them pizzazz, making them my first-read in the magazine.

That was artist Nick Rosato, whose funny illustrations in Field Notes came to epitomize and symbolize the life and lighter side of wildlife law enforcement.  Rosato’s humorous, rustically themed sketches summed up a WCO’s life of enforcing the law against sometimes recalcitrant bad guys, while maintaining an empathy usually reserved for naughty school children, when first-time offenders were involved and a slap on the wrist was needed.

Rosato died this summer, and his art will no longer grace the pages of Game News.  I will miss Rosato’s humor and skill, because for most of my life he helped paint the human dimension of officers who are too often seen as gruff, grumpy, and unnecessarily strict law enforcers.

Speaking of WCOs, a couple years ago I was hunting during deer rifle season when I encountered a WCO I knew.  He had a deer on the back of his vehicle and we stopped to chat and catch up with each other.  Out of nowhere, I asked him to please check me, as in check my license, my gun, my ammunition.

Getting “checked” by WCOs and deputy WCOs is a pretty common experience for most Pennsylvania hunters, but the truth is, I have never been checked by anyone in my 42 years of hunting.

“Sorry, Josh, I just do not have the time.  You will have to wait ’til later or until you meet another WCO out here,” he responded.

With that he smiled, waved, and drove off to follow through on his deer poaching investigation.

I think that encounter should be a Field Note, Terry.  It is probably a first.

Maybe this year I will be “checked,” but perhaps having every single license and stamp available to the Pennsylvania hunter, and hunting only when and where I am supposed to hunt, somehow creates a karma field that makes WCOs avoid me.

Speaking of hunting experiences, yesterday morning Ed and I were goose hunting on the Susquehanna River.  Out in the middle of the widest part, we were alone, sitting on some rocks, chatting about our families, professional work, politics and culture, religion.  Our time together can best be summed up as “Duck Blind Poetry,” because it ain’t pretty, but it is soulful.  Two dads together, sharing life’s experiences and challenges, makes hunting much more than killing.

While we were noting the Susquehanna River’s recent and incredible decline in animal diversity, we suddenly saw four white Great Egrets fly across our field of view, followed by three wood ducks.  Intrigued, we began speculating on where they had all been hiding, when out of nowhere a mature bald eagle appeared on the horizon.  It flapped its way over us and clearly was on the hunt.  So that was why the other birds had quickly flown out of Dodge!

Seeing these wild animals interact with each other was another enjoyable example of how hunting is much, much more than killing.

Unfortunately, during that serene time afield, I introduced my cell phone to the Susquehanna River, and have found myself nearly shut off from communications ever since.  While the phone dries off in a bath of rice, I am enjoying a sort of enforced relaxation.  Please don’t think my lack of responses to calls and texts is rudeness.  I am merely clumsy.  Let’s not make that a Field Note.

 

Fellow Americans, enjoy your summer!

Dear fellow Americans, we got it good here. Summer time is for gardens, BBQ with friends, travel with the family, loafing by the pool, fishing, and so on.

Summertime in America is truly a serene time. We are blessed in this.

Don’t take it for granted.

The hoops and links and tethers that kept the world’s nations mostly stable over the past sixty years are broken. Entire arrangements of human life across enormous landscapes are changing. Europe, the Middle East, the Far East, all are in significant play. Iraq and Syria both have lost control of their borders.

Think this doesn’t effect you or your life?  You’re wrong. Energy, trade, security, violent jihad, and more are all in flux, and changes are rippling across the globe.

America is a strong nation. Be prepared to be challenged, because it’s going to take all we have to succeed.

On that happy note, enjoy the hot dogs and cold beer!

The war on Christianity, at home and abroad

With all these “wars” going on, you know, against poverty, drugs, Liberalism’s war on individual rights and liberty, Hillary Clinton’s war on women, it is hard to find room for one more.

But yes, there is another war going on, and it is purposefully un-reported by the mainstream media, for evident political reasons.

That war is the war on Christianity, in America, Europe, and across the Middle East.

Despite being the bedrock of American values and institutions, American Christianity in all its variations somehow turned into a target, somewhere in the 1960s.  Those versions of Christianity offered as an acceptable alternative were far-left politicized versions with no basis in Christian texts, with Jim Wallis a good example.  The modern day Quakers are another good example, as they are as America-hating, pro-tyranny, pro-totalitarian as any far-Leftist could ever hope for.  These became the “good Christians.”

It is practically illegal to be a professing, witnessing, practicing Christian today in America.  If you stand up for your religious rights, as guaranteed by the US Constitution, you are immediately labeled as a racist, a bigot, a mean person, a threat to others, and so on.  You might even get sued for refusing to violate your own rights.

A wedding cake, wedding photography is somehow more important than religious beliefs.

Somehow, being opposed to the PUBLIC SUBSIDY of private birth control became another reason to hate Christians.  Do you recall Sandra Fluke, the young lady who demanded that the public taxpayer pay for her to avoid pregnancy?  Why Sandra Fluke just could not engage in abstinence, engage in behavior that would not lead to pregnancy, or pay for her own birth control were all public policy questions to which lots of Christians had the common-sense answers.

But because they are Christians, their common-sense views were somehow unacceptable, an establishment of religion…yeah, right.  Christians founded America and wrote the laws that protect minorities.  It is the Biblically-inspired US Constitution that was designed to protect minorities.  The worst faults of America’s Christians pale, pale, pale in comparison to the depredation, cruelties, mass murder and sadism practiced by “liberated” minds in Fascist and Communist countries, which is to say, most of the world.

Across the Middle East Christian refugees are increasingly fleeing their ancient homelands in the face of Islamic supremacism.  To its credit, the mainstream media is slowly reporting an increasing number of insane incidents of “convert-or-die” experiences these believers face at the hands of their Muslim abusers.  There are many more Christian refugees from Muslim lands than there were “Palestinian” refugees seventy years ago, but who do you hear about day-in, day-out?

In Europe, Christianity is all but dead, having been relegated to the shadows of cultural and political life, its own leaders having embraced their own demise as the ultimate symbol of self-sacrifice.  Britain is home to Anglican leaders who openly endorse the use of Muslim Sharia Law in lieu of British law in some areas.  That is, the supplanting of British law by Sharia law.  Bizarrely, when Christians object to the removal of Christian-based law, in favor of Islamic law, they are accused of being bigots.  Said another way, British Christians are being forced by their own leaders to accept the imposition of another religion, or face accusations of sticking up for their religion…

This is the “logic” of the Left, and it is utterly illogical.  At best it is morally relative, if not morally bankrupt.  For to give up equal protection under the law in favor of Sharia-approved brutal family honor killings of young women, even little girls, by fathers and family members, is to turn Western Civilization upside down.

This is why American Christians must rediscover their roots, rediscover their original texts, rediscover their traditional prayers, and simple values, and re-assert themselves politically.  America is depending on Christians.

Western civilization was primarily built by Christians, and if they abandon it, the whole enterprise will come crumbling down.

Onward, Christian soldier.

 

Oh, those funerals…

If you live long enough, you get to go to increasing numbers of funerals.

Friends, colleagues, family, acquaintances, leaders you admire, they all begin to fall as time marches on.  Because each of us is already “born terminal,” dying is a natural part of living.

Of course, it is not necessarily the dying part that is upsetting at a funeral.  Unless the particular ending is unexpected, violent, or tragic, what gets me is the sudden absence of the qualities that particular person brought into the world around them.  The absence of their warm personality, their humor, their bravery, their way of thinking or looking at and solving problems, friendliness, and so on.  Whatever vacuum suddenly appears in the wake of a deceased person is the foil to the wonderful qualities the person had developed over a lifetime.

Recently I participated in several funerals, all for older people whose families loved them very much.  At the last one, hardly anyone cried during the eulogies or the burial, not because the person was so horrible, but because they had lived such an utterly full and meaningful life.  She had squeezed every available drop of opportunity, family, love, and community from her time on Earth.  No one felt sad, because she had lived so well and had made so many people feel so good about themselves, and instead, there was much laughter and chuckling.

At each funeral I find myself somewhere in the back, musing, contemplating, listening, and reflecting.  There is not one deceased person I know, or knew, whose abilities, talents, personality traits, character, and strengths I did not wish were my own, in some way.

I am a pretty hard-charging person.  Trying new, entrepreneurial business models, speaking out about my own ideas and beliefs, challenging political orthodoxies I believe are destructive of American liberty and individual freedom, not to mention the outdoor adventures I do each year that put some wear and tear on my increasingly stiff frame and joints…all of this makes me the person I am, now.

Hopefully, with the increasing number of funerals under my belt and the personal qualities I see getting buried each time, I will be a better and improved person as I try to take on some aspect of the person we lost.  Bear with me…

My antidote to the heat

Several years ago my family bought me a Hamilton Beach smoothie maker (model 56222) for Father’s Day, and it long past earned its price. It has a pour spout which makes smoothies a lot cleaner to make, pour, and drink.

Fruit smoothies are a summertime daily staple of our family, and they can be made lots of different ways, with all kinds of natural ingredients (fresh and frozen blueberries, strawberries, citrus fruits, etc), for far less money than you might pay at a Rita’s or other ice cream venue.

Here is my antidote to the heat:

1) One 20-ounce can of Dole pineapple slices in heavy syrup or in natural pineapple juice.

2) One cup of Cabot Greek-style lowfat yogurt, vanilla bean flavor.

3) A quarter cup of water

4) 2-4 tablespoons of granulated sugar (more or less to taste)

5) lots of ice cubes or crushed ice

…….Pour the pineapple into the blender, juice and all.  Spoon in the yogurt.  Pour in the sugar, to taste.  Pour the water over the sugar to help it dissolve.  Fill the blender to the top with ice cubes or crushed ice, and put the top on.  Pulse or use the smoothie function for 30-60 seconds.

The sliced pineapple blends better than the crushed pineapple, oddly, at least in our machine.

Plenty of times we skip the yogurt and just use water and a splash of lemon juice, along with frozen berries.  Other times an old, mushy banana with pineapple, or some coconut milk with pineapple, and suddenly you are into daquiri land… Depends on what you are in the mood for.  They are all refreshing.  The world is your smoothie!

And not to take away anything from Rita’s: When our clan is in the mood for a cold, icy snack, places like Rita’s have far more flavors than we can come up with at home.

The personal cost of political correctness

Political correctness is a political and social orthodoxy whose adherents behave like caricatures of religious zombies.

Having captured government schools, academia, and the mainstream media, PC constantly reinforces a seamless far-Left brainwashing from most Americans’ earliest memories through their college education and into adulthood.  Constantly told that they are correct on the laundry list of PC issues, questioning, even contemplating an alternative, is impossible.

Rigid, inflexible, out of the mainstream, followers of political correctness can inflict tremendous damage not just through failed laws and policies, like ObamaCare, the “War on Coal,” and “global warming,” but also through an inability to communicate with people who don’t share the same beliefs.

Unable or unwilling to share ideas, to have what philosopher Martin Buber called the I-Thou cross pollination and consideration of ideas, PC people have become both political Brown Shirts and personal martyrs.

Because the PC cause is so just, in its totality, no deviation is acceptable. Because no deviation is acceptable, no friendliness with other humans who are deviating from PC is acceptable. This has deeply personal consequences for old friends and families alike. PC is like old religion: Step out of line, burn at the stake.  End of friendship, painfully strained relationships, hard feelings, rejection, loss of meaning and special value. Not good.

But because PC followers are “tolerant,” ha-ha, their intolerance is justified.

So many of my friends and acquaintances have experienced corrosive and destructive PC both in their professional and personal lives that I cannot keep count. But if I can’t keep count, I can keep a general running tab. The body count is getting higher, the PC Brown Shirts commit cruelty after cruelty, and then they turn around and claim martyrdom when they are challenged or when they hurt someone.

While it is tempting to brush aside this PC excess, it has a cost that demands a response. Commitment to the PC cause must meet limits. Or else, political and familial divides will appear increasingly like those seen leading up to the Civil War.

Please be friendly, be understanding, listen, and reflect when talking, writing, or debating. The lack of reflection and contemplation among PC believers is a challenge we all must be up to helping with, and each small firm kindness extended to a PC believer may contribute to their eventual awakening.

Our nation cannot afford PC, and we must be patient in turning it back.

Fathers are important

Thank you to all the fathers and father figures out there, working to hold together a family, to provide a voice for kids to rely on. There’s no substitute for family. Happy Father’s Day.