novatownhall blog

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Priorities

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A young lady of my acquaintance recently earned her doctorate and has gotten engaged.  She expressed annoyance that her family gave her more congratulations for her engagement than for her doctorate.

So I told her of my in-laws.  Both had doctorate degrees.  My mother-in-law, in fact, was one of the leading researchers in her  field, and my father-in-law was a well-respected priest.

Then he had a stroke.

It was a bad stroke.  He was unconscious in the ICU for many days.  He has never spoken since — twenty-three months now.  He does not have much motor control at all — but can pull away a little if you’re trying to cut his nails, and he can look at you sometimes.  He is on a respirator and cannot speak.

My mother-in-law immediately quit her job so that she could spend hours sitting with him in the hospital.  When she went to another hospital with a minor heart problem and could not visit, a tear ran down his cheek when we told him she could not visit that day.

All of his education and all of his achievements are gone.  What is left is his love for her.  And she abandoned her career — in the middle of experiments — to be with him.

You will spend eight hours a day, 250 days a year, for 40 years or so, in your career.  You will spend almost all of the rest of your time, and the rest of your life, with your spouse.

If your betrothed is not more important to you than your education and career, you are both marrying the wrong person.

We all have very busy lives. We focus more on ourselves and immediate family circle as we plod, trod, race through this life we most hold dear. Sometimes we lose track of our extended families with such a busy schedule we run. Next thing you know, people are gone and upon our reflection, we wonder why it happened and what we were doing that we allowed these people to escape our company and some of our time.

Such is the case with my neighbor and dear friend. We have done many things together and enjoyed deep conversations on varying subjects. Our “busy” schedules with work and family have lessened the times we get together, other than some occasional banter over the fence. I’m use to his habits as he is with mine. I was away for the month of May and some of April. He usually takes a sibling outing during that same time period but little things were out of place. Children were mowing the yard. I didn’t see the grill smoking from the meal being cooked. Didn’t hear that Chevy pickup rumbling to the store or work. And the window of the man-cave has been shut for much too long. I caught his wife mowing the yard and inquired about his presence. The response I received was not what I expected. He is the same age as I and found out in March that he has cancer. He has done the chemo and radiation and is very weak; not seeing visitors. We are both proud people and keep things from others. And sometimes we keep it from each other as to not cause burden or concern, which is the case here.

My friend is with family and I offered to take all burdens from the women during this crisis so that they may focus on their Dad and husband. I don’t know how this will turn out and I don’t know whether my friend will shun his pride and allow me to see him in this depleted state. Wish I could talk with him again. I was able to converse with him right before this happened but it just doesn’t feel like enough to satisfy me now. No NASCAR, no vehicles, no Nats, no politics, no work; all things that were on the routine conversation menu. I pray my friend gets through this but, anymore, moving late into life, I pray I am able to talk and see those people that have made my life what it is. This is but another reminder to all that we only have the current day to do what we need to because tomorrow just might not be there. Call someone. Visit someone. Leave no regrets.

“A happy childhood is a parent’s greatest gift”

I hope that everyone had a very nice long Thanksgiving weekend with the family. My family and I spent the weekend with my parents, my siblings and their families. I am really fortunate to have grown up in a solid family with parents that are not only still alive, but still married to this day. It is truly a blessing and I can only hope to pass on this tradition to my own children. It sounds cliche, but there really is nothing like family. It is for this reason that I try to enjoy every minute with them – all of them. There’s no substitute for love, caring and sharing.

Just wanted to share those thoughts, and I sincerely hope everyone enjoys the upcoming Christmas season with their families and friends. It truly is the best time of the year. It is a time when we reflect on that fact that the power of Christ is best reflected through forgiveness, reconciliation, sacrificial love, and serving society.

12 years ago this morning I was driving my pickup truck on my way to drop off a bid in Mississippi while listening to sports radio when the host confusingly announced that, “it seems that a small plane has hit one of the twin towers”. I quickly switched over to news radio and they were as confused as the sports hosts at this point. As time passed and details continued to come in (both towers were now smoking, the Pentagon had been attacked as well and a plane had gone down in Pennsylvania) I heard the news caster say, “One of the towers has collapsed!”.

I can still take you to the exact spot on the road I was driving when I heard that; it was so shocking. When I finally got to a TV, I saw the second tower collapse on live television with others who had gathered around the television. It was the most surreal thing I had ever witnessed in my life up to that point and still remains so. It was horrific. That night, I could not sleep.

The next day I saw something even more horrific: the footage of the planes going into the building. “What kind of incredibly evil and depraved maniacs could these people have been?”, I thought at the time. But I can only imagine what those who witnessed it live must have felt. I can only imagine the pain that those who lost loved ones must have felt that day. I can only imagine the incredible fear those who perished must have felt (some even decided to jump rather than burn). I will never know that pain. I can only continue to pray for their families and hope that we continue to honor them.

Well, folks, it seems that I have been banned from an investment blog. In truth, the author of that blog, Joshua Kennon, expounds on other issues there besides investing, but he does call it an investment blog. Nonetheless, he saw fit to comment on the Supremes’ rulings on DOMA and Калифорния’s Proposition 8. Within the comments thereof, he references another post in which he wrote about his definition of morality:

A moral action is one that results in the maximization of both individual and collective happiness, freedom, and fulfillment without imposing unreasonable or unjustified costs upon third parties or the broader civilization.

Well, I had the temerity to point out that such a moral code requires far more foreknowledge of consequences than it is possible for a person to have.

Several examples came immediately to mind.

  1. Those who proposed increasing the Minimum Wage simply wanted the “working poor” to earn more money. What could possibly go wrong? Well, many of those people did not produce enough to compensate for their increased cost, they were laid off, and we have still not fully recovered from the consequences.
  2. In 1960, about 80% of Black children were born to a married father and mother. The government set out to help struggling single mothers. What could possibly go wrong? Well, now 80% of Black children are born to a single mother, and many live with siblings who have yet other fathers.
  3. In the South in the early 1960′s, many White-owned businesses refused to serve Blacks. Well, the government stepped in and made that illegal. What could possibly go wrong? Well, the Blacks stopped going to the Black-owned business, so they went out of business and the Black middle class collapsed.
  4. I pointed out that that Harm Principle was the basis of China’s One Child policy. The result was forced abortions, sex-selective abortions, and daughters left in orphanages or simply left to die.
  5. Finally (and probably the final straw for a professional investment advisor), I pointed out that the Harm Principle was indeed the very basis of Socialism and Communism, and that if he disagreed with what had occurred in the Socialist and Communist countries, it was simply because he disagreed with them on how to calculate the “maximization of both individual and collective happiness, freedom, and fulfillment,” and what constitutes an “unreasonable or unjustified cost.”

That last comment was deleted, and any IP address from which I commented in the past has been blocked from the site.

When you cannot defend your Weltanschauung, ban the one who challenges it.

I have been busy and unable to keep pace with the blog (something to do with quality time that Mrs. ACT is constantly demanding) and since much of what I like to post is not commented on, I must pick and choose my finger fatigue in time allotments. This post has value and commands consideration.

People comment on my yard/house ventures. Much is mimicked throughout the neighborhood and beyond and has been since I’ve lived here. I have a standard and reputation I am held to and there is no rest for the weary. Painting, washing, planting and weed pulling are the norm for maintenance and although drugs are made for just such occasions (anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxers, deep heat creams, spirits), hard work, devotion, and partnership carry a very healing power of their own. Those treadmills are great for youngsters but a brisk walk with your spouse will suffice handily (while conversation added enhances lung function and bonding). While hard work can kill you when only done infrequently, as a regular routine, only your old bones feel the pain and that goes away with repetition of action during a normal routine. I have my cuts and battle scars from the roses and rocks; my sneezing fits from mold spores; my aching knees and feet from stationary stress (pulling weeds still sucks but is a necessary evil) yet the delight we get from a clean product is rewarding. Loving birds, the pets come out to talk with their wild friends, the fat babies constantly fluttering their wings and crying for another morsel of food from their parents, gives us great delight. The time passes quickly, fresh stock from the garden gleaned for the nights supper, and some quiet rest before lights out. I feel worn and energized the next day, needing very little push to get started once again.

We aren’t as young as we used to be. Our bodies wear out and give us aches that weren’t there before. Good nutrition, supplements, companionship and hard work is what keeps us going and healthy (as is possible). When I’m not here, I am doing a project necessary for my well being (or, of course, giving Mama her quality time as is demanded). Between blog and venture, venture is more rewarding but blog is important. Just remember my finger fatigue as you peruse here and how this old boy divides his time. Now if this rain would stop, I need to spend a day on the roof.

Article on Gov Christie having gastric band surgery to help him lose weight. If he is doing this for his health, good for him. If he is doing this for political image and advancement, bad for us and let me tell you why. Gastric banding is a medical surgery. There are a couple more that are radical and it is serious business. I have known a couple people doing this and the more radical procedures, and it can be dangerous (life threatening). There are better ways.

There are Weight Watchers, which you do for yourself and takes dedication and devotion. Stick to it and you will lose weight. Then you have the lazier version which is Nutri-System. It makes the meals for you (you pay for them, of course) and if you only eat these meals, as directed, you will lose weight. Both of them work. Exercise intensifies the lose of weight. But they both take dedication and devotion. If you are so lazy and willing to take drastic measures with your life when will power is all you need, how do you think you will affect other peoples lives; when instead of doing something simple, you go for the drastic? I wouldn’t want a lazy bonehead ruling over me. Would you? Maybe just banning Dunkin Donuts as a breakfast restaurant would suffice.