Monday, June 22, 2009
All the years that I've lived in the southern part of Stalag California, I've been aware that there are a large number of Jewish people here. I became even more aware during my twelve-year relationship with a lovely Jewish woman who hails from New York City. Even though she was secular, she introduced me to parts of the Jewish communities in New York, Miami, San Diego and Los Angeles. I met bankers, tax accountants, attorneys, retired folks, entertainers and storekeepers.
I've met two Jewish survivors of the Nazi death camps, their numbers tattooed in the web of their thumbs.
Nearly every one of these folks--one exception was my lady friend--favored gun control.
Gail explained to me that most WWII era European Jews literally didn't believe that the Nazis were enslaving and killing their neighbors that were herded away in the night. Until it happened to them, as one of the elderly camp survivors told me.
None of them thought of defending himself and his neighborhood. Very few of them hid away weapons and ammunition along with their other family valuables. A notable exception was the residents of the Warsaw ghetto in which, with very few old guns and little ammunition, these people were able to defend themselves and their community until the ammo ran out.
Moving ahead to today, we observe tiny Israel, nestled in the midst of several nations with tens of millions of individuals, many of whom wish the Israelis were pushed into the sea. Israel has had to defend itself almost since its inception.
Nearly every military-aged Israeli is armed. Almost every Israeli knows that he--or she--must be prepared to answer an attack anytime, day or night.
Unfortunately, most American Jews haven't made the same mental connections.
Every now and then, some deranged individual has entered a Jewish school or other building with weapons, and has shot up the place, killing a number of people and then himself, or he escaped unscathed to be arrested later. Do American Jews insist on the right to defend themselves? Well, no. More likely, they call for more stringent gun control--doing nothing against the psychotics, but guaranteeing that they won't be stopped.
Jews who are opposed to the right to self defense are, in a sense, Holocaust deniers.
And, by calling for the ownership and use of weapons of self defense to be made illegal, they are depriving themselves and their neighbors of the ability to defend themselves, while doing nothing to curtail the actions of murderers and thieves.
While I generally respect the tenacity and the self reliant nature of the stereotypical Jewish individual, as well as the many with whom I've been acquainted, I'm at a loss to understand this flaw in their philosophy.
Remember, when seconds count, the police are only minutes away.
Monday, June 15, 2009
I guess I stepped away from politics for a while, out of utter disgust for the speed with which the once free United States are being thrust into collectivism by one one would be dictator after another. Not only is the slope slippery, but it's getting steeper, fast!
The Patriot Depot, from whom I bought a couple of Gadsden-style car window flags, has brought a well-written letter to my attention. It's an open letter to B Hussein from Lou Pritchett, a former vice president at Proctor & Gamble. The letter pretty well captures many of my thoughts about the most dumbed down national election in US history, and the absolutely hideous results thereof. Have your blood pressure medicine handy while you read it.
Dear President Obama:
You are the thirteenth President under whom I have lived and unlike any of the others, you truly scare me.
You scare me because after months of exposure, I know nothing about you.
You scare me because I do not know how you paid for your expensive Ivy League education and your upscale lifestyle and housing with no visible signs of support.
You scare me because you did not spend the formative years of youth growing up in
, and culturally you are not an American. America
You scare me because you have never run a company or met a payroll.
You scare me because you have never had military experience, thus don't understand it at its core.
You scare me because you lack humility and "class," always blaming others.
You scare me because for over half your life you have aligned yourself with radical extremists who hate
and you refuse to publicly denounce these radicals who wish to see America fail. America
You scare me because you are a cheerleader for the "blame
" crowd and deliver this message abroad. America
You scare me because you want to change
to a European style country where the government sector dominates instead of the private sector. America
You scare me because you want to replace our health care system with a government controlled one.
You scare me because you prefer "wind mills" to responsibly capitalizing on our own vast oil, coal and shale reserves.
You scare me because you want to kill the American capitalist goose that lays the golden egg which provides the highest standard of living in the world.
You scare me because you have begun to use "extortion" tactics against certain banks and corporations.
You scare me because your own political party shrinks from challenging you on your wild and irresponsible spending proposals.
You scare me because you will not openly listen to or even consider opposing points of view from intelligent people.
You scare me because you falsely believe that you are both omnipotent and omniscient.
You scare me because the media gives you a free pass on everything you do.
You scare me because you demonize and want to silence the Limbaughs, Hannitys, O'Reillys and Becks who offer opposing, conservative points of view.
You scare me because you prefer controlling over governing.
Finally, you scare me because if you serve a second term I will probably not feel safe in writing a similar letter in 8 years.
I don't know if this will hit you the way it hit me, but it pretty well covers all the bases--until I find more. It looks like a rough four (let's work to see that it's not eight) years, boys and girls. Hide your valuables and keep your powder dry!
People should not be afraid of their governments; governments should be afraid of the people.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
I've always liked Knott's Berry Farm. I think the first time I went there was in 1969. I was fully involved in reading Western paperbacks at the time, Louis L'Amour in particular. I also like the few Donald Hamilton Westerns and read some of Zane Gray's. Going to Knott's was a way to immerse myself in the trappings of the Old West that didn't involve a long trip.
I won't go into the history of Knott's now, since it's very well covered in the news article linked below. What I used to do was simply wander about in the ghost town part of the Farm and look at the Old West exhibits in the museums and in the buildings of the ghost town.
This past Sunday's OC Register commemorated the 75th Anniversary of Cordelia Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant in a story to be found here. I've eaten there several times. The chicken is kind of similar to that of Col. Sanders, but much tastier and more consistent. It's a full, old-fashioned country-style dinner with fried chicken, mashed spuds, gravy, a veggie, biscuits and a dish of rhubarb sauce, followed by a dessert. I could eat at Mrs. Knott's restaurant a lot more than I actually did. I honestly don't know where one can get better fried chicken.
Perhaps the best part of Knott's is through the tunnel under Beach Blvd, where Knott built a faithful replica of Philadelphia's Independence Hall, complete with the Liberty Bell. Within, they run a tape loop of quotes from some of the founders, as might've occurred within the building during the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. It gives one pause for reflection.
Unfortunately, I was never fortunate enough to meet Walter or Cordelia Knott, but I did see Andy Devine there a couple of times. He used to tell tales of the wagon trains in a recreation of a circled wagon camp in the ghost town.
Living in The Valley now, it's a bit farther to drive to the Farm now, but I'll still go there from time to time. The Knotts were freedom-loving individuals who lived their lives during a freer time. They saw the way the country was going even then, and did what they could to fight it. Near the Independence Hall reproduction, there was a book store, selling freedom-oriented books and souvenirs. I'm not sure if it's still there.
Here and there, the spirit of liberty still lives!
Saturday, June 06, 2009
I used to like cigarettes. A lot. It's probably why I returned to smoking twice after having quit. I really didn't want to quit. The third time, I wanted to quit, and I quit for good.
The first thing you have to do, is want to quit.
The second thing is that you have to ignore all those messages that say that smoking is addictive. I don't actually know if tobacco is addictive or not, but I refused to believe that it was. After all, I went to bed every night and went smoke-free for many hours until I awoke. Then how about a few more hours?
So, if you want to quit smoking, here's what you do:
- Disabuse yourself of the notion that smoking is addictive, or that you can't quit. It just is not true.
- You have several packs of cigarettes on hand. Fine. Continue smoking as is normal for you.
- Buy one carton of your favorite brand. This will be your Last Carton of Cigarettes.
- You can write that on the box with a sharpie, if you want, but it is your Last Carton of Cigarettes. Keep that clearly in your mind for however many days it lasts. Your Last Carton of Cigarettes.
- Continue smoking as normal, but buy no more cigarettes.
- When you get to your Last Carton of Cigarettes, open it and take out one pack. Set it aside as your Last Pack of Cigarettes.
- Continue as is normal, but buy no more cigarettes.
- As you get down toward your Last Pack of Cigarettes, you have to do a little planning. You have to modify your smoking pattern so that your Last Cigarette comes at bedtime.
- It's bedtime, you have only your Last Cigarette in your hand, and you smoke it, remembering the whole time that it is you Last Cigarette. Enjoy it. Sit on your patio in the cool night air and really enjoy your Last Cigarette.
- Go to bed and sleep well.
- When you wake up, you will have already quit smoking for about eight hours, depending 'pon how long you let yourself sleep.
- Go about your day's routine in the knowledge that you are no longer a smoker. Whenever you think about buying or "borrowing" a cigarette, remind yourself firmly that you no longer smoke and haven't for X hours (include the number of hours you slept). Put smoking out of your mind.
- For a few days, it might help to stay away from places where people smoke, and avoid smoke, smokers and places in which cigarettes are sold--to the degree that you can.
I followed this path three times. The third time just over twenty years ago.
Also, it worked best for me not to tell anyone about it while you're doing it. you don't want to hear how difficult it is. It's not difficult. You don't want to hear someone tell you you can't quit. You can, and it's the confident knowledge that you can that gets it done. You don't want your friends telling you how addictive tobacco is. It isn't. It takes a physical act of will to light a cigarette, and you simply have to refuse to do it.
I didn't mention to anyone that I was going to quit. Not before, not during and not for some time after. A few of my friends realized, after a time, that they hadn't seen me smoking in a while, and only then did I admit it.
I'm not a nut-case anti-smoking nazi, as are most of the denizens of Stalag California, and I don't mind others smoking around me as long as the smoke doesn't get uncomfortably thick. Seeing someone smoking doesn't tempt me.
I'm cured, and you can be, too. All that's necessary is that you have to want it.
What if they raised cigarette taxes and nobody smoked?