Daily Prompt: To pledge allegiance and mean it

I promise to love my country and no one has to force me to do it. I will love the United States regardless, but like a child, I won’t always approve of her behavior.

Flag on our Library

One of the things I love best about this nation is exactly that we are allowed to say we don’t care for what she is doing, what her leaders are doing. There’s no Hell to pay for it. No one comes in the middle of the night to arrest me for saying — or publishing — what I think. You can disagree with me. The government can disagree with me. Everyone can send me strongly worded messages opposing whatever it is they find objectionable in what I say, do or publish … but that’s as far as it goes. At least so far.

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We may not be nice to one another, but we don’t have concentration camps — not anymore — and we’ve managed to make some progress towards equality in the past 60 years. Okay, we aren’t there yet, but at least we seem to be trying to go in the right direction.

Not Flags of War

Even when historically, we derail for a while, we equally historically find our way back to the good path, though it may take more time than we like. Ours may not be the best form of government on earth … but if it isn’t, please show me the better one? Because I haven’t found it. And I have looked. However imperfectly this government functions, there is none better. Maybe there are a few just as good — arguably, anyhow — but not superior.

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Does that make me a patriot? I think it does. I think the Constitution is a brilliant, if flawed, document that has shown itself to be flexible enough to grow with the changes in the world. If only mens’ minds were equally flexible.

Ghoul Soldier

I believe we are strong enough to survive hard times, bad presidents, well-intentioned but wrong presidents, bad legislation, bad legislators, scandal, corruption and stupid wars. And still be a good people. If that isn’t patriotism, then I don’t know what is. I am not always proud of this country, but I always love it.

Weekly Photo Challenge: The Cold, Grey North Atlantic

The sky is rosy with the coming sunrise. The air is full of the smell of salt. Sand crunches under your sandals. Listen to the call of seagulls and the whoosh of the waves breaking against the shore. Flights of plovers and terns flutter by.

You’ll never mistake this for the Pacific. It’s colder. Darker. Don’t be deceived by the apparently calm water. The undertow is powerful and can easily sweep you far out to sea before you can call for help.

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The cold grey North Atlantic is simultaneously alluring and ominous, the ocean of my childhood. Whenever I dream of the sea, it’s the Atlantic that calls to me.

 

Because we need a laugh … or at least I do!

Probably like everyone else, people send me jokes. I love jokes, as long as they aren’t offensive or mean-spirited and I collect them. When I have enough, they becomes a post. Like this. So, if you have something you think is hilarious, send it to me. I’ll save it and when there’s enough to fill a page nicely, up it goes and we can all enjoy a good laugh. If it’s something you made yourself, make sure to sign it.

Send them to fivedawgz@gmail.com and stick “Joke” somewhere in the subject line so I won’t think it’s spam. I can’t, however make promises for Google. They think everything is spam … except spam.Bob-Mankoff-cartoon_660

No moment is more painful than the moment during an argument when you realize you’re wrong.

Does anyone know how to fold a fitted sheet? If you do, will you let me know the secret?

GodIsFunnyBad decisions make great stories. If we didn’t make dumb choices, we wouldn’t have great anecdotes. I think that’s what we call a silver lining.

Can we agree to ignore whatever comes after Blu-ray? I can’t redo my collections again. I replaced records with tapes and tapes with CDs. I’ve replaced videocassettes with DVDs and am very slowly switching to Blu-ray. I frankly don’t think I’ll live long enough to go another round.

Sounds like my AT&T Password. And THEN they say "Make it something you find easy to remember."

I’m always slightly worried when I exit an application and it asks me if I want to save my changes when I’d swear I didn’t make any changes.

Why doesn’t the freezer have a light too? What, we don’t need to find stuff in the freezer?

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You want to know how many times you can say “What?” before you just nod and smile because you still didn’t hear or understand a word they said? The answer is three. Try it. You’ll see.

Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Jeans? Jeans never get dirty. You can wear them forever.

First Senior Moment
The first senior moment

I used to look at my watch 3 or 4 times in a row and still not know what time it was at least partly because I couldn’t read the numbers. I rethought the problem and stopped wearing a watch. No more problem.

Following The Leader — Bellwether, by Connie Willis

Connie Willis_1996_BellwetherBellwether was the first full-length novel by Connie Willis I read after finishing her Cambridge Time Travel series. One of the rare book that grabbed me from page one … really, from sentence one … in the process of rereading it I realized that this isn’t a science fiction book. It’s just a very good book. A very funny book.

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Not merely was I highly entertained by the story, but I learned a lot about chaos theory, fads, sheep, and the meaning of “bellwether,” a term I’d heard and used — and misused — for years but never understood. Neither its literal meaning or social implications.

It was the bellwether and sheep connection I had never got. What do I know about sheep? And why would I care? It turns out, sheep and people have an unnerving amount in common.

A bellwether is the leader of the sheep, the ewe who the flock follows. There’s no discernible reason a bellwether is the leader of the flock. She just is. There is something about her that other sheep sense, but is invisible to us. Regardless, whatever the bellweather does, all the other sheep do too. They will follow her mindlessly, blindly. Moreover, the flock is unaware they are following the bellwether. They just do it.

The book is laugh out loud funny. Erudite, witty, and replete with trivia guaranteed to upgrade your anecdotal abilities.

Bellwether carries a not-so-subtle message that’s a little disturbing. The parallels between humans and a flock of sheep — the running theme of the story — explains much of human behavior and not in a flattering way.

Connie Willis

It explains a lot of events throughout history that never made sense. Even after you understand what happened and (sort of) why … they still don’t make sense. Everything just happened. Because someone copied someone else and the rest of the sheep followed.

Human life, history and relationships are not logical or reasonable. They happen. Human society is the epitome of chaos and the only predictable thing is unpredictability.

I found Bellwether wonderfully original, insightful, amusing and thought-provoking.

And hilarious. I can’t imagine what more anyone could want from a book than to be entertained, amused and enlightened. I recommend it both in its printed and audio versions. Both are delightful and memorable. This is a book you will read and remember. Then, just because … read it again.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Rockport Harbor, Cape Ann, Massachusetts

Rockport Harbor, Cape Ann, Massachusetts
Rockport Harbor, Cape Ann, Massachusetts

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