Monday, November 13, 2017

How Do You Interpret Amendment II of the US Constitution?

"Amendment II
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

First off, I love firing weapons, whether handguns or rifles. They make noise. They go bang! They destroy things (assuming I hit what I aims at). When I was in the Air Guard, I fired an M16 and was asked to be on the Rifle Team. Yes, I was that good and I seriously considered saying yes, until I realized I'd have to buy all my own practice ammo. Uh, no, guys. That be way too rich for my blood, even at the Base Exchange.

Now SCOTUS has already ruled that citizens are allowed to keep and bear arms, and I'm no lawyer and am certainly not going to try to argue my thoughts in front of such an august forum. BUT (you knew that was coming, yes?) to me, the key phrase is, "A well-regulated militia..." (emphasis mine). And this is one of those cases where I'm not in one hundred percent agreement with SCOTUS. That's okay; they can handle it.

Too many people believe the Second Amendment gives them the right to own, and use, a weapon. And SCOTUS agrees with them. But is it necessary? Unless one is trained to respond, in an appropriate manner, one tends not to. Yes, the young man in Sutherland Springs, Texas who shot the church shooter responded appropriately, but he was on the outside, looking in. He was not on the inside, frozen in shock at what was going on.

I can understand wanting hunting rifles—after all people do still hunt meat for their tables. I can understand wanting handguns just because they are fun to shoot. What I can't understand is why anyone, not in a well-regulated militia, needs an assault rifle. Okay, I can understand why they want one. They are great fun to fire. They're fast, they're noisy, and they are really, truly, destructive. Don't use one on Bambi's mom though; there won't be enough usable meat to bring home to your starving children.

So, what do we do? What about secure firing ranges, in- or out-door, where your pride and joy AK47 can be kept under lock and key and brought out to play with under moderately controlled circumstances? Why do you need to buy and use high capacity magazines for the ammo? (Maybe rent one from the firing range?)

Like I said earlier, firing is fun. Lots of fun. But I don't have a gun in the house. It's certainly not that I'm afraid of them; I just don't want one in the house. As much as I agree with William Saroyan, that "...if the time comes in the time of your life to kill, kill and have no regret." I don't think I could totally follow his admonition. Oh, I could kill, of that I am certain. But I would for the rest of my days have great sorrow and regret over the need to do so.

I do believe we need stronger laws regarding the sales and purchases of firearms, and universal background checks are a good start. I really would hate to see them unilaterally banned, but I hate more seeing the NRA ride roughshod over our politicians and the majority of the American People who want common sense laws. I think it's time we stand up for what is right for our children and other living things. Responsible gun control can be, with a little work, a case of having our cake and eating it, too. Let us sit at the Table of Dialog and have a national discussion about it. And a slice of your favorite (and calorie-free) cake.*


*All cake eaten at the Table of Dialog is calorie free!

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For those of you who are still waiting for my response from SecDef Jim Mattis, well, so am I! I'm very surprised, and some disappointed, that I haven't had one by now. Oh, not from himself, but one of his minions. I really don't expect The Man to respond. I guess it's too much fun to try to start a nuclear war than responding to a taxpayer, huh?

Monday, November 6, 2017

John McCain, Hero!

I am not a fan of John McCain. He and I have some basic, philosophical/political-type, differences—I'm a progressive, he is not. But I do respect him. I would walk across the street to shake his hand. He may run in the other direction, and if he's smart he would, but that would be his choice ;-)

While our draft-dodging Juvenile-in-Chief may not like people who get captured, I think I can speak for McCain on this one—he, too, would have preferred not being captured! Boy Howdy, of that I'm pretty gosh darn sure!! (I have no problem with men who did not go to war, in fact, I respect many of them for taking their stand. I raised my hand to defend their right to stay home. Yeah, even P45's. But these men do not put on a huge patriotic show and wear the flag as if they, too, had gone to war and defended it. They do not try to claim their time at a military academy as being 'in the military.' They quietly go about their business. Our Juvenile-in-Chief makes a big show of his non-existent patriotism while denigrating those actual men and women who serve and served.)

McCain spent several lifetimes as an all-expenses-paid guest of the Hanoi Hilton, where he was severely tortured. (Is that an oxymoron? Can one be mildly tortured?). Now, I have known a lot of guys who came home from a year's tour, or less, in the 'Nam, and were/are pretty screwed up (How would you be, knowing you killed someone? That someone was trying to kill you?). Imagine what an indefinite visit at the Hanoi Hilton would have turned them into! No, don't; it's too awful even for me and my 'warpedness' to contemplate.

McCain not only served his country but when asked, he didn't just say yes, he asked how high his country wanted him to jump. Or fall. And he did it. When he came home from Hanoi, when he got out of the Navy, when he healed as much as he ever would, he continued to serve his country—in the Congress of the United States of America—where he has, to the best of his ability, put Country before Party whenever necessary. For all the faults he may or may not have, McCain, is an American first. (Do you know that due to his torture, he cannot comb his own hair? Think on that a bit. How would you handle that?)

McCain is not a whiner, nor is he a victim. The doctors have given him between 3%-14% chance of surviving his cancer. Is he sitting at home blaming Hillary? Is he sitting at home feeling sorry for himself and fake news? Is he even sitting at home? No, he's continuing, like his good friend Teddy Kennedy, who died of the same insidious cancer, to serve his country.

I don't care which side of the aisle you sit on—or would if you got off your duff, ran for office, and won—Senator John McCain deserves our respect, our support, and our thoughts and or prayers. Unlike our Victim-in-Chief, he does not see a need to blame Hillary or anyone or anything for this latest hand he's been dealt. He is dealing with it as and how appropriate.

And when the time comes, as it will to all of us, stand, raise a glass of your favorite libation, and drink to a Fallen American. Drink to John McCain, Hero!


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For those of you who are still waiting for my response from SecDef Jim Mattis, well, so am I! I'm very surprised, and some disappointed, that I haven't had one by now. Oh, not from himself, but one of his minions. I really don't expect The Man to respond. I guess it's too much fun to try to start a nuclear war than responding to a taxpayer, huh?

Monday, October 30, 2017

Rainy Day, Protester

A young friend of Rainy Day who lives in Singapore, one day asked if Rainy Day had ever marched in a protest. Now, Rainy Day has been around long enough to have marched in several, and in a way, I guess she did. Both march (and march, and march. She still hears her DI counting cadence in her dreams!) and protest.

You see Rainy Day considers herself a Peace Monger. She hates war. She also hates injustice. She totally agrees with the bumper sticker so popular in the 1960s that stated, "Wars are unhealthy for children and other living things!"  During the 1960s, she protested the Viet Nam war the only way she knew how.  (That was so long ago that Vietnam was still two words!)

While many of her classmates wore tie-dyed clothes and long straight hair festooned with flowers (to which Rainy Day is highly allergic), Rainy Day cut her thick curly hair and enlisted in the WAC (Women's Army Corps, no longer around. Rainy Day really is an antique;-) and she's still around!).  While Jane Fonda was busy sleeping with the North Vietnamese, Rainy Day was attempting to sleep on the ground in Alabama during Basic Training too close for comfort to deadly, unseen, (but heard, she swears!) pygmy rattlers. Too many of our brave and patriotic young men were, during this time of free love and protests, enjoying an all-expenses-paid vacation at the Hanoi Hilton. Patriots like John McCain (Rainy Day went through Basic two years before Sen. McCain became a guest at the Hanoi Hilton). I'm still not Fonda Hanoi Jane—but that's another blog.

Rainy Day never understood the hippie's protest movement.  She always thought the best way to end a war was to win it--or it would haunt you forever.  "Look," she is fond of saying, "at the South." But, to be honest, she'd rather avoid war altogether. They really are unhealthy for children and other living things. And they have been known to interrupt the flow of coffee and chocolate. That interruption is unthinkable! Think Peace, not War.

Rainy Day learned many things during Basic Training. She even learned her real first lesson in White Privilege, not that it was called that at the time, but it existed. Today, she self-identifies as a person of color who can "pass." She had her DNA done a few years ago, and guess what? Just like you, her ancestors walked out of Africa! She is also part Native American (Catawba). [According to the White Supremacists, any white person with even so much as a drop of colored blood, is considered colored. Of course, they are so proud of their ignorance, they don't understand every man, woman, and child on this planet is, by their definition, colored. Even them. Even P45, Steve Bannon, and Rush Limbaugh!]

Although the war in Vietnam is over, Rainy Day finds herself involved in another war, one that is not (yet) nuclear, but a war to once again take back the night; to make it safe for women, children, and men of minorities and color to be safe on our streets, in our cars, and in our homes.

There is no place in Rainy Day's country for Supremacy (white or otherwise), there is no place for forced religious beliefs, there is no place for second class citizens, there is no place for people to enforce their beliefs on others—especially women. If you don't believe in health care for women, fine—don't go to an OB/GYN. If you don't believe in reproductive health for women, fine. Don't deny it to others. If you don't believe in abortion, don't have one. There is no place in Rainy Day's country for statues erected during the Jim Crow era for the sole purpose to remind a whole group of people they are still not free, no matter what our law says. If you think those statues were erected to honor great men of a bygone era, how would you react to a statue of Lenin, Stalin, or Hitler in one of your town parks? They were equally great in a bygone era. Robert E. Lee was a great traitor to the US; why is it, exactly, you wish to honor him?

Yes, Rainy Day still protests, but not by marching, camping, or chanting. She writes letters. And she signs them with her name and adds, "I am a Woman, a Veteran, and I Vote!" Her politicians know who she is and what she stands for. Do your politicians know who you are, and what you stand for? Why not?


Boycott Football! Save Brains! Save Lives!

Donate to USVI and PR—check out Charity Navigator to see how your money will be spent.

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For those of you who are still waiting for my response from SecDef Jim Mattis, well, so am I! I'm very surprised, and some disappointed, that I haven't had one by now. Oh, not from himself, but one of his minions. I really don't expect The Man to respond. I guess it's too much fun to try to start a nuclear war than responding to a taxpayer, huh?

Monday, October 23, 2017

Auntie Lenora's Tips for Losing Weight

Auntie Lenora knows a thing or two about both losing weight and keeping it off. When she was in high school, she went on a diet and lost 50 pounds, she went from 165 lbs to 115 lbs. She went back up to about 118 lbs and mostly stayed there for years and years. By the time she was approaching 50, she was up to about 125, and by the time she went through 'the change,' and coincidentally went on anti-depressants due to her uncle's death, she gained a lot of the weight back. Until last year, when the dr. told her she either had to up her meds or lose some weight. She's lost the weight and is back to 118-120 lbs. And she's been at this weight now, for several months (believe me, it goes on a lot easier than it comes off!). And some of her friends are asking for her secret.

So, if you want to lose weight, and keep it off, here are her tips.

1. Embrace the mantra, "I weigh what I want to weigh." It's true. If you want to weigh more or less, you will eat accordingly.

2. If you are on medications, talk to your doctor. Ask her if you can take one of the over-the-counter diet suppression pills. (Auntie Lenora took Dexatrim Max, there are others out there. Auntie Lenora suggests you NOT subscribe to one of those expensive advertised on tv diets where they send you the food, and tell you not to expect the same results as their celebrity spokespersons). NOTE: if you are on anti-depressants, one of the side effects seems to be weight gain, and I'm not sure you're going to be very successful at the weight loss, but ask your doc.

3. Buy the pills, read the directions. One month's worth ought to get you onto the right track. You might need or want a second months worth. But this is about re-training yourself to eat better, not depend on pills.

4. Clean out your pantry. Auntie Lenora gave up her nightly glass of wine (alcohol is horrid for dieters—empty calories with no food value). She gave up junk food. She gave up mayo. She gave up bread. She gave up anything that she knew if she had it in the house, she'd eat it, using any of her thousands of rationales as excuses. (Peanut butter is healthy. It's vegan, it's protein—but not the whole jar at one time!!! Sigh.) But, she did buy frozen dinners of 300 calories more or less, for suppers when she didn't feel like cooking. The Lean Cuisine type of dinners are pretty good and have a good variety of veggies, meats, and grains in them. (If Nestle buying, or trying to buy up, all your water rights doesn't bother you, buy Lean cuisine, but there are others out there. Auntie Lenora thinks there is enough water in Switzerland for Nestle, they don't need hers.)

5. Buy a good kitchen scale. Weigh your food. You don't need more than 4 oz of dead beast a day. Weigh that macaroni before cooking it. Auntie Lenora did not bother to weigh veggies. She also did not 'dress' them with anything more than a bit of EVOO and vinegar or pickle juice. Auntie Lenora buys things in family packages, portions them out by weight, wraps them, and freezes them. Four oz of raw chicken, pork, beef, etc.

6. If you don't have one, buy a good bathroom scale. Weigh yourself at the same time each day, wearing the same birthday suit. Don't panic when the weight goes up, as it will, but pay attention. You want to lose no more than 2 to 2.5 lbs per week.

7. Drink lots of water. Slice a cucumber and put in it, or a piece of ginger root, or lemon, or whatever. Try to avoid the so-called diet drinks and skinny sugars.

8. Perhaps one of the most important things is, keep your diet a secret. Don't tell your friends you're on a diet, and that, "Oh, gosh I would just love to go out to dinner with you, but I can't eat the food as I'm trying to lose weight." No, don't tell people. Telling them just reinforces your self-imposed sense of 'deprivation.' Instead, go out with them, order something from the appetizer menu, eat slowly, chew well. And when the dessert tray comes around, tell them, "No, thanks. I'm plenty full right now." People hate dieters. They will do everything they can to sabotage a dieter. Don't tell anyone.

9. Reward yourself. Go out to eat now and then. Have that glass of wine now and then. Enjoy that piece of celebratory cake—just have a very small piece, and if you can't control the portion, offer to share with a friend, and take the smallest half. If you absitively posolutely MUST have that hamburger, order it. Cut it in half and ask for a box. If you MUST have some fries, order them, and a box. Put 80% of the fries in the box. Your half a hamburger in the other box. When you leave, pick up the burger box, but not the fry box. You'll not only thank me in the morning, but you'll respect yourself, too.

10. If you eat in a restaurant, don't be shy asking for a takeout box. Take at least half your meal home with you for a later meal (or meals).

11. Learn to ask yourself as you look at the pastry case in the bakery, "Do I really want to wear this?" Because, trust me, you will.

It will take time, but your stomach will shrink, and as you realize that both your stomach and your body are shrinking, and it's your little secret, you will find yourself craving fewer of those foods you thought you couldn't live without, and now often find too rich, too much, too not as tasty as before.

Oh, and if you simply have to tell someone you're on a diet, tell Auntie Lenora. She'll understand, sympathize with you, and offer any tidbits you ask her to. And, Darling, you look simply divine 4 sizes smaller!


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