Saturday, July 30, 2016

Tettias, Trails of Trouble

Chapter 2

Coryn‭’‬s Council

         ‭ ‬The village was abuzz.‭ ‬Rumors rippled in the wake of those rushing to see the crowd thronging the longhouse. The High Council was holding a special meeting. Some said Coryn the Seer was to be there.‭ ‬Vulryn,‭ ‬the village smith,‭ ‬caught up in the tide of the curious, arrived at the longhouse in a sea of onlookers jockeying for position.‭ ‬Valir blocked the street;‭ ‬crowded into the longhouse door and perched in the open widows.‭ ‬Vulryn was more than big; he was a mountain.‭ ‬He had arms like steel bands and big hands that the old timers said could crush a coconut.‭ ‬He shouldered his way easily through the crowd as far as the longhouse door.‭ ‬The defenders of the doorway saw him coming. They linked arms and strained to hold him back.

         ‭ “‬What‭’‬s going on in there‭?”‬ he asked.

         ‭ “‬Sssh,‭ ‬keep it down,‭”‬ a short fellow in front answered.‭ ‬He chanced a glance over his shoulder,‭ ‬saw the giant and hastily added,‭ “‬Sir, keep it down please, sir.‭ N‬othing has happened yet.‭ ‬Old Coryn‭’‬s just arrived.‭”

         ‭ “‬Do you think he‭’‬s here to trouble the Council‭?”‬ Vulryn whispered and was immediately sooshed again by all those around him.

         ‭ ‬He returned a glare that made his neighbors cringe,‭ ‬but they held their places.‭ ‬The Council chamber was filled to capacity. The seer’s distaste for certain of the Council was well known as was theirs for him. There were sure to be fireworks.‭

On the dais,‭ ‬members of the High Council spoke behind cupped hands.‭ ‬Meetings of the Council were boring affairs,‭ ‬avoided by villagers.‭ ‬It was not unusual to find the Council members napping through long speeches.‭ ‬Today was different. The rumors on the street were true.‭ ‬Sitting in a high back wicker chair and leaning heavily on his staff was the hunched figure of the seer in his robe of bouja leaves. The stern faces of the Council looked back at him. The air inside the longhouse crackled with electricity. This would be a day to remember.

         ‭ ‬The Valir people of the Boubouja had a king.‭ ‬The title was hereditary and largely honorary.‭ ‬The real rulers were the Council of Seventy‭; ‬one representative from each village of the Valir.‭ T‬he High Council was made up of five council members elected from the seventy.‭ ‬These five decided when and where the Council met and what it discussed.‭ ‬They sat in a raised semi-circle at the head of the hall.‭ ‬Officially,‭ ‬only the High Council was meeting with the seer.‭ That did not preclude the other ‬curious members from attending. Fully half the‭ ‬regular council seats were occupied.‭ ‬The seer himself had no authority to convene the High Council and this seer in particular was not well received in any circumstance,‭ ‬but his requests for a meeting were never denied.

         ‭ ‬Magryn,‭ ‬son of Goryn,‭ ‬presided over the Council.‭ ‬He was a respected scholar at the university in Bouja and looked the part.‭ ‬Wire‭ ‬rimmed spectacles perched at the end of his beak‭; ‬his intelligent eyes were as sharp as any schoolmaster.‭ ‬His smooth skin and plumage were testimony to his lack of warrior service.‭ ‬Still,‭ ‬no one questioned his courage or capabilities. He had a sharp tongue and was not afraid to use it.

         ‭ “‬Order,‭ ‬order‭!”‬ Magryn commanded.‭ ‬He pounded the table for emphasis.‭ “‬Quiet or I‭’‬ll clear this hall,‭”‬ he shouted above the din.

         ‭ ‬Magryn had no authority to make anyone leave.‭ Instead of a legal demand, h‬e peered down through his glasses using his schoolmaster’s scowl to achieve his goal.‭ ‬Silence reigned where his eyes went.‭ ‬Enjoying the moment,‭ ‬he cleared his throat and pounded the table once more.

         ‭ “‬This meeting of the High Council will come to order,‭”‬ he announced.‭ “‬I remind the members of the full Council in attendance that they may speak if they wish,‭ ‬but only the members of the High Council have a vote during this session.‭”

         ‭ ‬Magryn looked around the chamber and sensing no objections,‭ ‬pressed on to the business at hand.

         ‭ “Today’s a‬ttendance suggests everyone within a day‭’‬s journey knows the meeting is at the request of Coryn,‭ ‬son of Sethryn,‭ ‬Seer of the Valir.‭ ‬So,‭ ‬let‭’‬s get on to the business at hand.‭ ‬Seer,‭ ‬you have the floor.‭”

         ‭ ‬The old prophet used his staff to leverage up his right side and then the left to the sound of popping,‭ ‬creaking joints and a soft groan. His hands trembled with the effort.‭ Blind, white eyes fixed somewhere above the heads of the Council saw nothing and everything. ‬Few of those present that day knew Coryn for the showman he was.‭ ‬There was not an arthritic joint in his body.There was,‭ ‬however,‭ ‬a certain power in portraying the popular picture of wise old sage.

         ‭ “‬I have had a dream,‭”‬ he began and paused to let the words work their magic.‭ ‬The Valir believed dreams exercised power over life. The elders held that dreams were omens of the future.‭ ‬A buzz spread through the crowd.

         ‭ “‬Order,‭”‬ Magryn shouted.

         ‭ ‬The seer bowed slightly to him and continued.‭ “‬This dream is no ordinary dream.‭ ‬It is an omen‭; ‬a warning‭ ‬of things to come.‭ ‬In my dream,‭ ‬I stood in the mists on the banks of Hiddekel‭…”

         ‭ ‬Coryn recounted his dream while the crowd listened in rapt amazement. No one spoke; no one interrupted the rise and fall of his voice.‭ ‬When he finished speaking,‭ ‬Coryn slowly returned to his seat.‭ ‬Conversation exploded.‭ ‬Magryn let the noise go on for several minutes before trying to restore order to the meeting.

         ‭ ‬Raryn, the Councillor from Apex was on his feet, waving his arms seeking recognition.‭ ‬Magryn granted it with a warning that regular order would be preserved.

         ‭ “‬That‭’‬s it‭?”‬ Raryn asked whetting his voice with a sharp edge.‭ “‬You called us together and caused all this commotion because you had a bad dream‭? ‬Has all reason abandoned this chamber‭? Please tell us there’s more.”

         ‭ “‬Raryn‭’‬s hatred of religion is well known,‭”‬ Calryn interrupted.‭ “‬Anyone can see this is more than someone‭’‬s bad dream‭? ‬This is a warning of calamity.‭ ‬It‭’‬s a sign.‭”

         ‭ “‬A sign‭?”‬ Raryn was incredulous.‭ “‬Signs‭? ‬Brethren,‭ ‬are we reduced to this‭? ‬Are we still to live in ignorance scattering runes and gazing at the entails of pocts‭? ‬I was under the impression the Valir are beyond relying on this kind of religious nonsense.‭”

         ‭ “‬It‭’‬s only nonsense to those who have abandoned faith in the Creator,‭”‬ Calryn shot back.

         ‭ “‬Faith in a Creator is not in question here,‭”‬ Raryn countered.‭ “‬Coryn‭’‬s principles and integrity are without reproach.‭ ‬However,‭ ‬in all honesty,‭ ‬they are his beliefs,‭ ‬not mine and certainly not universal among the Valir.‭ ‬I cannot see a government crisis in his nightmares. If there is a crisis, it is a crisis of men. The Valir have no dealings with men or dreams of men.‭”‬  ‭ ‬    

 ‭ ‬       ‭ “‬Brethren,‭”‬ Byryn the Elder of Vix rose to his feet.‭ “‬We are getting ahead of ourselves.‭ ‬Coryn has told us his dream. This course is right and proper in the tradition of the Valir.‭ ‬It is a nightmare to be sure.‭ ‬Furthermore,‭ ‬Valir is not an island.‭ ‬Whatever affects the kingdom of men eventually affects us.‭ ‬We do well to hear the seer’s concerns regardless of our individual beliefs.‭ ‬However,‭ ‬we are arguing as if he made demands of us.‭ ‬Coryn has made no request of us except to hear him.‭”

         ‭ ‬The longhouse drifted into silence.‭ ‬Raryn and Calryn glared at each other across the table,‭ ‬but said nothing.

         ‭ “‬Byryn is right,‭”‬ Magryn said at last.‭ “‬We have heard no request and no one on the Council has asked the seer his reason for bringing this word to us.‭ ‬Do you have a request to make Coryn‭?”

         ‭ ‬A smile pulled at the corners of the seer‭’‬s eyes.‭ ‬He did not rise this time.‭ ‬He leaned forward on his staff and spoke softly.

         ‭ “‬A small one,‭”‬ he said. Coryn cleared his throat and looked up. ‭“‬I wish the High Council‭’‬s permission to send a personal envoy to Eeryn,‭ ‬son of Enoryn.‭”

         ‭ “‬To what end‭?”‬ Magryn asked.‭ “‬The seer knows there is a ban on travel to the kingdom of men. He also knows why that ban exists.‭ ‬Why will a letter sent in the diplomatic pouch not suffice‭?”

         ‭ “‬Because I wish to consult Eeryn,‭ ‬not the Ambassador.‭”

         ‭ “You presume a privilege that does not exist‬,‭”‬ Raryn was on his feet. ‭“We are not your messenger service. ‬If this dream concerns the Kingdom of Salem, as you say it does, Ambassador Dorryn must know the details.‭”

         ‭ “‬I‭’‬m sure the ambassador will be fully informed,‭”‬ Coryn said. ‭“A blind one can see h‬e will know all well in advance of the pouch’s arrival.‭ ‬However,‭ ‬it is not my intention to inform the ambassador.‭ ‬This envoy will seek Eeryn‭’‬s advice on my‭ ‬behalf.‭”

         ‭ ‬A murmur worked through the hall and spread through the crowd outside.‭ ‬The Seer of Valir seeking advice?‭ How could this be? ‬Coryn was renown throughout the kingdom for his wisdom.‭ ‬What was this that he needed council‭?

         ‭ “‬I must protest,‭”‬ Raryn said.‭ “‬Advice concerning Salem is also the purview of the ambassador.‭ ‬Eeryn no longer has access to King Zedek or the palace in Shiloh.‭ ‬He is a disgrace to the Valir.‭”

         ‭ ‬The seer rose to his feet without aid and rapped the floor twice with‭ ‬his staff.‭ ‬Thunder sounded with each blow.‭ ‬Fire lit the prophet‭’‬s blind eyes. Anger, shook his frame; his hands clenched in tight fists.

         ‭ “‬I do not wish to consult King Zedek,‭”‬ Coryn‭’‬s voice crackled with electricity.‭ “‬I do not wish to consult Ambassador Dorryn nor do I wish to debate with you the trustworthiness and abilities of either of them.‭ ‬I have made my request,‭ the Council will ‬be so kind as to answer yea or nay without further slander of my friend.‭”

         ‭ ‬The intake of breath around the room was audible.‭ ‬Magryn staggered back a step,‭ ‬his wide eyes blinked as if he had been punched. Several of those in the windows dropped from their perch and melted into the crowd. There was no rush for their abandoned seats.‭ ‬Silent moments passed, every eye locked on the seer trembling with rage.‭ ‬Byryn the Elder broke the spell.

         ‭ “‬Whom do you wish to send‭?”‬ his mild asked.

         ‭ ‬Blood rushed back into Coryn‭’‬s hands; his grip on the staff relaxed.‭ ‬He took in a deep breath and let it out.‭ ‬His voice was controlled.

         ‭ “‬One of my own choosing‭ ‬and,‭”‬ he paused a heartbeat,‭ “‬Someone known only to me.‭”

         ‭ “‬Absolutely not,‭”‬ shouted Raryn.‭ “‬We will not be bullied into giving you a free hand to meddle in affairs of state.‭ ‬I vote,‭ ‬Nay.‭”

         ‭ “‬I concur,‭”‬ Bowryn spoke up for the first time.‭ “‬Eeryn is disgraced for a reason.‭ ‬He‭’‬s lucky King Zedek didn‭’‬t take his head.‭ ‬Nay.‭”

         ‭ “‬I don’t remember calling for a vote,‭”‬ Byryn said.‭ “However, the best course may be to have it and be done. W‬ithout knowing the envoy or what protection he will be given,‭ ‬I have no choice but to abstain.‭”

         ‭ “‬I vote Aye,‭”‬ Calryn said.‭ “‬May the Creator be merciful to us.‭”

         ‭ “‬I must add my voice in opposition,‭”‬ Magryn said.‭ “‬Eeryn still has influence with the Queen of Salem and Prince Luz.‭ ‬Your‭ ‬dream did not mention them.‭ ‬As far as we can tell,‭ ‬they may be plotters with Eeryn in this bloodbath.‭ ‬The High Council cannot bear even a hint of impropriety in this situation.‭ ‬I too vote Nay.‭ ‬Request denied.‭ ‬Do either of the other Councillors wish to speak‭?”

“‬I did not invite this dream,‭”‬ Coryn said when no one spoke.‭ “‬I did not conjure it from my imagination as some of you suppose.‭ ‬Nevertheless,‭ ‬the dream has come.‭ ‬I am responsible for what it says to me as are every one of you here today.‭ ‬I have heard your decision.‭ ‬So be it.‭ ‬You may deny me‭; ‬you cannot deny the will of the Creator.‭”

“I warn you not to defy this Council,” Raryn warned.

         ‭ ‬Coryn did not reply except to nod; turn slowly on his heels. He made his way to the door ahead of the rumbling within the longhouse.‭ ‬He did not look back.‭ ‬None tried to stop his departure. The big blacksmith stood aside meaning to let the seer pass. However,‭ t‬he prophet stopped; dug inside his robe and pulled from it a craved figure that he handed to Vulryn.

         ‭ “‬For your wife,‭”‬ the seer whispered and passed through the crowd on his way home.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Cute Old Man

A co-worker of mine who looks like she’s twelve came by the desk the other day and chanced to remark about a customer: “What a cute little old man.” That’s cute, as in puppy-like adorable; the pinch-your-cheek sweetness of babies; not handsome cute. I happened to walk by the door and decided to get a look at the “cute” old gentleman. My first thought was, WTH? The guy was my age. I did some checking and my heart sank a little further into depression. The “cute” old man was a year younger than me.

When did this happen? When the hell did I get old? My high school days are as vivid as they were when they happened. Just the other day I had a moment of pining for a crush that never bloomed. Only the calendar says it was almost fifty years ago. I’m still living my life same as ever---well, except for my back, my knee and oh, forget it. The point is, I’m not sitting in a rocker. I’m still rocking life. I still know the words to Sh-Boom.

I guess what really bothers me is that with my age, I failed to achieve “cute” status. No pretty young thing is ever going to pinch my cheek and say, “You’re soooo cute.” That’s what comes of a life of sarcasm, rebellion and grumpiness. I look at the old man in the mirror and there’s only one conclusion to reach--one thing to say to him.

“Here’s another fine mess you’ve gotten me into.”

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Tettias --- Trails of Troubles

Chapter 1

Coryn‭’‬s Dream

         ‭ ‬Coryn Kel,‭ ‬son of Sethryn watched the morning mist rise from the surface ‬of the river.‭ ‬He was not quite sure how he got there.‭ ‬He had no memory of traveling the jungle highway.‭ ‬Perhaps,‭ ‬at last,‭ ‬age had betrayed him and stolen his mind.‭ He was unafraid.‭ ‬He knew this place well.‭ ‬It was the ancient Grove of Ryn.‭ ‬In the beginning of time ‬his people sprang into being from the leaves of these very bouja trees.

He sat without moving; ‬barely breathing at all---waiting and watching.‭ ‬When faced with uncertainty,‭ ‬it was best to let things unfold.‭ ‬The mists rising from the river grew thick; slowly blocking out the sun.‭ ‬The massive tree trunks turned to gray silhouettes.‭ Lost to the world in the shroud mist, Coryn knew he ‬was no longer alone.‭ He‬ closed his eyes and,‭ ‬without thinking,‭ ‬found he was praying.‭ ‬As if in answer,‭ ‬serenity filled his heart.‭ ‬The questions running through his mind slowed; ‬melted into peace.

“‬Come and see,‭”‬ said a voice soft as the morning mist.

Coryn opened his eyes.‭ ‬The blue sky around him was cloudless to the horizon.‭ ‬The sun was warm against his face. He was standing on the Edge of the World.‭ ‬Far below the river ran through the trees of his homeland.‭ ‬The circle of the grove where he stood a moment ago remained shrouded with mist though the ‬surrounding jungle was bathed in bright sunlight.‭

Turning from The Edge, h‬e saw a multitude creatures spread before a golden dome.‭ ‬Two thrones,‭ ‬white like bone,‭ ‬faced each other across a raised platform‭ ‬draped in banners of every color.‭ ‬From a tall throne,‭ ‬a king arose.‭ ‬Robes of purple hung from his shoulders and a golden crown sat upon his head.‭ ‬The king blessed the crowd before him when, from the second throne, arose a man in a simple white tunic.‭ ‬The second man approached the king.‭ ‬When the was but an arm‭’‬s length away from the king,‭ ‬he paused and stepped toward the multitude.‭ ‬The king removed his robe of purple and laid it on the man‭’‬s shoulders.‭ ‬The king then placed the golden crown on the other man‭’‬s head. When the crown touched the man’s head, a shining sword appeared before them. Together, they lifted the shining sword into the‭ ‬air.‭ As they held the sword, t‬he crowd bowed down before them.

While they yet held the sword high,‭ ‬there came a sound from the east.‭ ‬The cheering of the crowd stopped. Every ear turned to hear the sound.‭ Coryn‬ strained to hear to hear the sound. At first, it eluded him.‭ ‬It was a sound from another time; a sound from his youth.‭ ‬In fact, it was not one sound,‭ ‬but two blended to a melody that sent a cold knife into his heart.‭ ‬It was the sound of war; the sound of panicked stampede chased by the steady march of an army.‭ ‬The ground shook.‭ ‬The clear sky filled with the dust. A hundred thousand voices cried in horror.

From the dust rose an ebony blade. The blade, wielded by a child, struck down the two kings in a single blow.‭ As the blood of kings ran upon the dais, t‬he thunder of armored hovercraft chased a bloodied mass of cavalry. The cavalry fled in terror. Their wild-eyed ceroses,‭ the ‬mounted and the rider less alike‭ ‬plowed into the crowd.‭ ‬Their riders made no effort to avoid the people.‭ ‬Men,‭ ‬women,‭ ‬children were trampled to shapeless masses under the hooves of the beasts.‭ ‬The pursuing hovercraft pilots showed more mercy. The cleared a path through the crowd with their disrupters.‭ Infantry followed in the wake of the hovercraft. They ended the struggles of the broken and wounded with blasts to parts that still moved. They swept away the crowd.‭ ‬Those quick enough to flee the advancing hordes rode the huge wave panic toward the Edge of the World.

Coryn,‭ ‬trapped between the precipice and the mindless crush of onrushing humanity felt terror creep upward from his feet.‭ ‬His heart jack-hammered in his chest.‭ Urge‬ to run exploded in his head.‭ But, t‬here was nowhere to go‭; ‬no place to shelter against the onslaught.‭ ‬If he was to die,‭ ‬so be it.‭ ‬Coryn opened his arms to embrace his death.‭ ‬Miraculously,‭ ‬the thundering mob parted like a tiny stream around a large stone. Soldiers, beasts and innocents rushed passed to their deaths on the rocks far below.‭ ‬Bodies of men and beasts littered the trees at the foot of the granite cliff.‭ ‬The river boiled with the thrashing viath that devoured those who fell into its waters.‭ ‬Coryn could not look away from the feasting and slaughter a thousand feet below.‭

         ‭ ‬Coryn Kel,‭ ‬son of Sethryn,‭ ‬stood on the riverbank among the broken bodies.‭ D‬read spread through him sending tremors along his arms and legs. He realized he was weeping. He had not felt fear in many years.‭ Even now, h‬is eyes beheld nothing worthy of fear; nothing remained but the dead.‭ Yet, d‬eep within, his spirit told a different story underscored by the nausea swept over him in waves.‭ As he watched, t‬he waters‭ ‬of the Hiddekel turned from blood red to a leaden gray.‭ Above him i‬nky darkness poured from the cliffs.‭ ‬In the darkness that filled the land,‭ ‬he felt a presence.‭ E‬vil waited beyond his sight.‭ ‬Although the unseen seldom troubled him,‭ ‬the Seer of the Valir was troubled now.

         The still surface of the river on his right hand were suddenly broken by the thrashing of a huge beast. A great horned head broke the waters followed by shimmering scales and an armored tail.

         ‭ “‬Impossible,‭”‬ he whispered.

The dragon did not seem to hear. It roared in agony.‭ ‬Its long, narrow fins slapped the surface sending plumes of water skyward.‭ ‬The black river foamed with blood as the monster clawed its way onto the riverbank.‭ The dragon’s neck whipped the air above Coryn’s head. ‬A convulsion wracked the dragon‭’‬s body sending‭ a‬ sea of brown vomit spewing from the creature‭’‬s mouth.

         ‭ ‬Coryn raised a hand to his face to mask the smell.‭ ‬His eyes could no more leave the sight than his nose escape the stench.‭ ‬He watched the pool of vomit congeal; ‬then,‭ ‬to move until,‭ ‬at last,‭ ‬a‭ ‬creature rose up from the midst of the pool.‭ ‬The beast was like nothing Coryn had ever seen.‭ ‬The flesh of the beast shimmered like the scales of a dragon,‭ ‬but it went on four legs.‭ ‬Its front paws were those of a bear‭; ‬the rear the claws of a lion.‭ ‬It had the‭ ‬face of a man.‭ ‬Its head was crowned with a golden crown and its tail was a serpent.‭ ‬Holding to the tail was a child.‭ ‬The beast walked by Coryn as if he were not there.‭ T‬he child, however, took notice. It looked up at Coryn with black eyes and smiled.‭ ‬There was no child in those eyes‭; ‬no‭ ‬innocence in that smile.‭ ‬Coryn peered into the face of pure evil.‭ ‬The seer watched as the two dissolved into darkness.

         ‭ ‬A rustling sound behind him caused Coryn to turn again toward the river.‭ ‬The dragon on the bank was not dead as he supposed.‭ ‬The monster raised itself on powerful fins and lunged at him.‭ ‬Before,‭ ‬he could move,‭ ‬he was caught.‭ ‬Death found him after all.‭ ‬He heard the sound of his bones breaking as the monster‭’‬s jaws closed.

         ‭ ‬Coryn woke with a scream echoing in his ears.‭ ‬The river was gone.‭ ‬There were no broken bones; no blood; no slow death.‭ ‬There was only his home high in the bouja tree.‭ ‬He was alive.‭ ‬He rose from his bed on trembling legs and gathered his robe around his shoulders.‭ ‬The remnants of panic were quickly‭ ‬washing away.‭ ‬From his window,‭ ‬Coryn looked out over the village.‭ ‬All was as it ever was.‭ ‬He sat by the window,‭ ‬as he did every morning,‭ ‬and reached for his pipe.‭ ‬This dream required thought.‭ ‬He was lost in his meditations until the sun was high overhead.‭ ‬No answer came that day,‭ ‬but on the next day, he knew what he must do.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Why The Second?

This may be difficult, but just for fun give it a try. Dust off your imagination and use it to think about why the Second Amendment is a part of our Constitution. Ask yourself why a collection of businessmen, farmers and tradesmen from diverse backgrounds wanted to ensure they had a supply of personal weapons not controlled or registered by the government they created.

Here’s a hint: it has nothing to do with hunting or sport shooting.

Before I go into the answer, let me state where I stand on the issue. I do not own a gun---haven’t since I was 18 which was a lot of years ago. I do not belong to the NRA or support everything they support. I support hunting and fishing only if the hunter eats everything he shoots.
I am an avid believer in property rights and the right to defend them to the extreme. Stand Your Ground to the nth degree. I will strike out to defend what’s mine regardless of circumstance or potential harm to myself. Call 911, but if circumstance dictates, don’t wait for them to arrive.
At the same time I have no use for those who use violence to advance their personal, political or religious ends. Freedom of expression ends where the rights of others begin. All lives matter to me.

Okay, so back to the discussion. The founding fathers supported private gun ownership for self defense. Which begs the question; defense from who or what. The answer is the most feared mob syndicate of their day----government. That was equally true of the government they were founding. Governments degenerate if for no other reason than that they are made by and serve men. There were few people of that day as politically diverse than Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton. They held opposite views on the role of the new government. He’s what they had to say concerning the Second Amendment.

“What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that the people preserve the spirit of resistance. Let them take arms.” Thomas Jefferson 1787.

“If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is no recourse left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government...If the persons entrusted with supreme power become usurpers...the citizens must rush to tumultuously to arms without concert, without system, without resource; except in their courage and despair.” Alexander Hamilton, Federalist #28.

Tyrants of every stripe are to be resisted. This was the creed that sparked the revolutionary freedom we enjoy today. It came about because armed citizens refused to be dictated to by an oppressive government. The founders were careful to preserve that option for their descendants.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Hope for the Future?

The Free Lunch Myth

Like a lot of seniors I’m going to be leaning heavily on Social Security in the future. It’s an uncertain future at best given the way Congress can blow through a trillion bucks. However, the thing that really worries me isn’t the soundness of Social Security. It’s the mental soundness of those to whom we are leaving the country and or freedom. Now, I know every generation that ever was sees its successors as lacking. It’s a concept as old as mankind. I imagine Adam sitting on the front porch watching baby Methuselah playing one day. Suddenly, a look crosses Adam’s face that makes him look like he’s been eating persimmons. He closes his eyes; slowly shakes his gray head and leans over to whisper in Eve’s ear.
“I’m telling you the boy ain’t right,” he says.

I watch people for a living. (I only call it babysitting when I’m feeling especially cynical.) I watch their heart rate, their breathing, and monitor blood pressure. In the course of a day, I cannot help but observe their behavior too. You’re probably waiting for me to add a quote here; something like “Stupid is as stupid does.” It very tempting, but I’m not going to do it. Deep down, I really think the parents and children are intelligent---after all they all have smart phones. What worries me is that for all their intelligence, they are disconnected from reality.
There is a special difficulty connecting actions with their resulting consequences. Sometimes I wonder if these people realize there is a whole world going on around their story line; that all those other things moving around out there are people too. Not only are the other people real, they have thoughts, lives and fortunes of their own to seek.

Wake up people. Have a cup of coffee and visit reality land where there’s nothing free. Bernie sanders may be a good man, but he’s delusional. There’s no free college and there’s no free lunch. Belive me all those commercials that promise everything from hearing aids to knee braces “at no cost to you,” cost somebody---a real person, somewhere something they earned by their own labor.
Here’s a few home truths to savor.

First, the government has no money of its  own. Government, at every level, generates revenue by taking money from real, individual people. Whether the money comes in the form of taxes, fees or licenses, it comes from the individual pockets of the governed. Therefore, the government has no freebies to give you. One quick note. Having taxes deducted from your pay and receiving it all back again (plus a little earned income credit) is not--repeat not paying taxes.
Secondly, business and corporations don’t pay taxes. It’s not for the reason you think. Businesses send money to the government and we call it taxes, but where does this money come from? They money comes from the sale of goods and services. Unlike the government, McDonalds doesn’t manufacture money. They sell burgers--and they sell them at a profit or they don’t sell them for long. Included in the price of every one of those burgers is the cost of Mickey D’s taxes. You buy a burger--you pay McDonalds’ taxes. Guess what? Chicken butt---no not that; you also pay their workers wages. Yes, those same minimum wages everyone wants to double.
The third one is on us geezers. Social Security and Medicare are not what you’ve been raised to believe. The Social Security taxes levied on every single dollar you make are not squirreled away with your name on it. It was sold to the public that way, but that has never been the way Social Security operated. The minute the money vanishes from your paycheck, it belongs to Uncle Sam to do with as he sees fit. (Don’t believe me? How about the word of an economics professor? Try ) Uncle Sam tells you that you have an account on account of the fact he doesn’t want a gray-haired rebellion. Old people vote--just ask AARP. There is no guarantee of a return on the money you’ve paid in to Social Security. The only thing that keeps Sam semi-honest is fear of what would happen if he skipped with the funds.

Well, that’s my bit of sunshine for the day. Have a good one!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Black Lives Matter?

We’ve all seen the signs and the street marches. What I’m wonder about is to whom do they matter. I don’t buy that they matter to the demonstrators. For most of the black community, Black Lives Matter is a hypocritical show. If these black lives really mattered the black community would be taking action long before there was blood in the street. They would be marching to keep black kids in school and stop the violence in their classrooms. Black leaders need to be in the street promoting literacy programs and tutoring in their homes instead of leaving mentoring to the thugs on the street corner. Black parents would value education at home.
For there to be any truth to the black community’s cry that Black Lives Matter there must be a cultural revolution beginning with black leadership. Protests, angry rhetoric and calls for more violence get these leaders on the news, but it will never solve the problem. Perhaps they need to learn what hope and change mean in the real world.
Few black youths are going to be professional athletes; fewer still recording artists. The black community needs to be teaching its own that there are other rewarding alternatives. Maybe they should mention that street corner pharmaceutical sales is a sure way to get shot by police.
Of course, the argument is that I’m white and could not possibly understand. BS, but no one will buy that. The trouble is that when successful blacks say the same things I just did--they are no longer black enough. The refusal to change; to improvise, adapt and overcome is a prescription for failure. Listen to Walter Williams anyway:
““Blacks were charged with 62 percent of all robberies, 57 percent of all murders, and 45 percent of all assaults in the 75 largest U.S. counties in 2009, while constituting roughly 15 percent of the population in those counties....
     The primary victims of lawlessness are black people. To address this problem and most others, black people should ignore the liberal agenda. If civil authorities will not do their job of creating a safe environment, then black people should take the initiative. One example comes to mind. In 1988, at the request of residents, black Muslims began to patrol Mayfair Mansions, a drug-infested, gang-ridden, unsafe Washington, D.C., housing project ( The gangs and drug lords left. The Nation of Islam sentinels were not deterred by the wishes of politicians and the American Civil Liberties Union. They didn’t feel obliged to give kid glove treatment to criminals. Black residents of crime-infested neighborhoods should set up patrols, armed if necessary, to challenge thugs, gangs, drug dealers and other miscreants and make black neighborhoods safe and respectable.

     Without self-initiative, there is not much that can be done about the high crime rate in black neighborhoods. Black and white liberals and their allies in the ACLU, as well as many libertarians, will not countenance the kind of tools needed to bring about civility.

     Black people have the capacity to run the criminals out of their neighborhoods. Let me put the issue another way. Suppose it were the Ku Klux Klan riding through black neighborhoods murdering 7,000 blacks year after year. How many black people would be willing to wait for the Klansmen to behave themselves or accept political promises and wait for a government program?”

Full article---

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The coming of Bryn Bou

‭ ‬ ‭ ‬ ‭ ‬ ‭ ‬ ‭ ‬ ‭ ‬To everything,‭ ‬there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heaven.‭ ‬Buried deep within the heavens,‭ ‬on the outer rim of a spiraling galaxy,‭ ‬a small blue planet circles a single yellow star.‭ ‬The peoples of the planet call it Tettias.‭ ‬

     A single land mass wraps the planet in a wide belt that sit below the permanent mists shrouding the northern pole.‭ ‬Deep within the mists,‭ ‬a river is born from a single spring.‭ ‬The river flows down from the mists and at the northern mountains divides into the headwaters of four great rivers.‭ ‬On the western shore of one of these rivers is the Boubouja‭; ‬a tropical mass of swamp and jungle that is home to the seventy villages of the Valir people.‭ ‬In the tiny village of Vix there lives a young Valir by the name of Bryn Bou.‭ This is his story.‬ ‭ ‬ ‭ ‬ ‭ ‬ ‭ ‬ ‭ ‬ ‭ 
In his land of eternal summer, rain, heat, humidity and endless swamps, Bryn Bou was unaware that the season of his time had come.‭ ‬He left the wide highway branch headed for the treetops. He spent the morning watching the sun rise above the Edge of the World‭ ‬blissfully ignorant of the implications of time ansd season.‭ ‬Not that Bryn’s knowledge or consent mattered,‭ ‬the times appointed by the Creator wait for no one.‭ ‬Bryn was the least of all the Valir warriors,‭ ‬nevertheless‭; ‬Destiny stalked him in the form of a simple errand. He had only to‭ ‬deliver a message and return home again.‭ He had no idea that a‬ power lurking beyond the Boubouja would do anything to keep him from success.‭