Tuesday, March 31, 2020

The Coronanator - Rise of the Virus Part 1


The President’s science guy has let us all know.  This health crisis is  straight out of “The Terminator” movie series.  Dr. Faucet, the President’s go to science guy, said the Corona virus told Dr. Faucet, “I’ll be back” in the Fall of this year.


That is a call to action.  It’s obvious what we need to do.  To stop more illnesses and deaths of innocent people.  To defeat Virusnet.  We the people of the Resistance need to send somebody back through time to defeat the virus when it first appeared in China.  It’s the most sensible solution.  Somebody go round up Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton and have them suit up.  Send them back to Wu Han province in China prior to January 2020 and have them deal with Virusnet before it launched the Corona virus.  If you want to, send President Trump back with them.  Let Trump sweet talk Corona with some kind of business deal that will keep Corona away from the United States.


If we don’t send someone back now, you know a new model of Corona will be messing us up in the Fall. Corona will be stronger, faster, ripping masks off our faces.   But we know how it will work.  Virusnet will keep on sending Coronanators to wipe us out.  More advanced, and more deadly.  We have to keep sending folks back into time though.  If Arnold, Linda and Trump don’t work out, send somebody else.  Send “The Rock”, “can you smell the virus the Rock is cooking.”  Send Daniel Craig, Mr. James Bond himself.  Send the cheating Houston Astros baseball team.  If they can’t pull one over the Coronanators, nobody can.


This is it people.  The rise of the viruses.  Are you ready?

Monday, March 30, 2020

The Virus Chronicles Day 35

I reloaded on groceries this morning.  I visited the local Kroger's which has been the most organized store of the three I have visited in the past 4 weeks.  Kroger's had an ample supply of food available.  Fish remains a hard to find item.  On this trip Kroger's even had my trusty Jiffy Mix.  I only got enough food for 2 weeks.  I still am not into hoarding.  Those periods of poverty in my childhood prepared me for rough times.  Any food items I am not eating now I consider just luxuries. As I walked around you could feel the anxiety of the shoppers.  Some wearing masks.  Life moves on.

We received word yesterday evening that a fellow former church member of ours from a past church passed away yesterday.  The Corona virus was the cause.  He was in his mid 60s.  I recall the last time communicating with him.  I had made him  an offer to fellowship over lunch  even though we had left the church he was a member of.  Unfortunately he turned down the offer to maintain a friendship.  After that I never heard from him again.   One of his son's is in the hospital, assumingly also for the virus.  His wife has moved in with another son for the time being.  They are the first people we know who have succumbed to the virus.

I have family who died from the Spanish flu and typhoid fever in the early 1900s.  I think of them often during this virus season.  This period gives me some idea of what they must have been feeling.  Medicine in some ways is more advanced than in the time frame they lived.  But as the Corona virus shows, we apparently will never be free from dangerous virus.

Outside my window, the robins and other birds are still searching for food and nesting materials.  Squirrels and chipmunks scamper by.  A squirrel buries an acorn, not knowing I see where his stash is located.  The red cardinals add some color to the cloudy blue sky.  Spring is not far away.  The human race continues with fewer souls than last month.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Lessons Learned During This Virus Season

Things I've noticed during this corrective virus season.

1.  I don't miss my sports idols and sports shows that served as distractions from life.  They truly were just distractions and things not necessary in my life.  NBA, Major League Baseball, etc.  Just Something to do and sometimes a waste of time and money.

2.  I don't miss going out to watch movies in Theaters. Again just discretionary stuff to do.

3.  I have enjoyed using my spare time to get more into the Bible and apply what I read to my life.

4.  I have contacted family more.

5.  I can live without eating out at restaurants.

6.  I am saving money and buying less discretionary items (more than I already was saving).

7.  I do not miss "news" correspondents running to black athletes for the "black" leader opinion on social issues.  I didn't give any athlete permission to speak for me just because they are professional sports athletes. Why do European American news reporters always run to black athletes for opinions on social issues?  Ask a common black man like me.  Or are you afraid to?

8.  We have an un Godly government that doesn't even think about prayer or God when a crisis arrives.  In general, to government it's all about the human solutions.

9.  We as people are truly ignorant of history and the Bible to understand that life and events repeat themselves.

10.  Some people do try to do acts of kindness in a crisis despite the general evilness of this world.

Friday, March 27, 2020

History Repeats Itself

During this Corona virus season we are missing the wisdom of our ancestors who have experienced  these health crises.  The period from 1900-1940 featured several epidemics such as the Spanish Flu (675,000 deaths); typhoid fever (over10,700 deaths per year); and  diphtheria (15,000 deaths).

Our current generation has never experienced such an outbreak.  That explains much about the general reaction.  It also shows our lack of respect for history and learning from the past. Finally it shows our absence of knowledge shared in the Bible on how we are to live our lives.

It truly is a circle of life.  Events we think are "new" have occurred before.  Each generation is given a message.  The message being to put aside our man made idols and to modify our lifestyles.  To find the way to live our original purpose for being here.  That is to fellowship with God our creator.  Not to establish our own human rules for existence.  Our idols of sports, entertainment, food, etc. have all been put aside.  They no longer consume our daily passions because if we allowed them to, the virus would have spread quicker with deaths to match those of the Spanish flu and typhoid fever.

The world should look to receive these "time out" warnings every 100 years or so.  Each event repeats the past event.  The only difference is that a new generation experiences the event.  It is predictable that in another 100 years, another event similar to the current one will exist.

From the Bible.  Ecclesiastes 1: 9-11. History merely repeats itself.  It has all been done before.  Nothing under the sun is truly new.  Sometimes people say, "Here is something new!" But actually it is old, nothing is ever truly new.  We don't remember what happened in the past, and in future generations, no one will remember what we are doing now.

Monday, March 23, 2020

The Virus Chronicles Days 30-32

I spent the weekend mostly in isolation with my spouse.  In normal times I tend to avoid going out among crowds anyway.  So this behavior was nothing new.  I continued to work on my hobbies and follow my retirement routine.  This is definitely quality time for my interests.  We streamed in church service Sunday morning which basically was just 11 minutes of music followed by the taped sermon from our pastor.  Between streaming a few episodes of a favorite TV show and watching a movie on Netflix, boredom did not set in.  I have a 1000 page plus book on Ulysses S. Grant to occupy my reading time.

This morning I venture up to the local Kroger's to purchase some food items we needed.  Kroger's had it organized well.  7 a.m. to 8 p.m. was shopping for senior citizens.  Inside food was pretty much available, even meat items.  Seafood seems to be the main item unavailable.  That and Jiffy Mix to make corn bread and other baked items.  It seems like self service checkout was the only option available.  I was in and out of the store in about 30 minutes total.

I have an ongoing battle with Kroger due to the brand deserting black neighborhoods and leaving behind food deserts.  Now people in black communities have to travel far to find food.  In the past a local Kroger serviced our needs.  The community I live in now must be 90 plus percent European American.  So they have 2 Kroger's within 4-5 miles of each other.  Today I basically took advantage of Kroger being there.  My primary choice, Meijer's has not been as organized as Kroger's was this morning.  Maybe they will also institute special hours for us over 60 year old crowd.

This begins the second full week of the ramped up concern about the Corona virus.  The new conferences of President Trump continue to be a laundry list of rambling facts or pretend facts.  I wish he would just do a general summary and then let his staff go into the details of everything.  This is the person YOU all elected President.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Listening to God's Messages

Now I recall the quiet messages God was giving me in 2019.  The first message that stands out now occurred  in April of 2019.  In December 2018, I had paid for a 10 day small group tour of China.  The trip was to occur in April 2020.  In April 2019, I contacted my travel agent to begin the process of  arranging flights to and from China one year in advance, in order to get "good seats".  My travel agent informed me that when she contacted the tour vendor she was told I was the only one signed up for the tour.  She anticipated others would be joining the tour.  With no one else signed up I could not make airline travel arrangements as I desired.

During the year I periodically checked back with the travel agent.  I  even called the tour company directly to find out when I would be given a reimbursement if they could not fill the small group with enough people to make the trip.  Then in late December early January, I was given the opportunity to switch my tour date to May instead of April.  They apparently had a group big enough to continue making plans for the May small group tour.  I could have said yes, but a voice told me something wasn't correct and to decline the offer.  Plus, I could use the money I would eventually be refunded if my April tour was cancelled.  I declined the May offer.  I listened to God's message.

My April tour was cancelled in early January shortly before the explosion of the news of the Corona virus in China.  My money was refunded in total.  I was able to pay down the debt on my main credit card.  It was timely as I needed to get my debts down for another venture God was guiding me through.

A second message had been given to my wife and I in early December 2019 while on a vacation in Florida.  We met a gentleman who explained how he had retired to Florida from another state.  That conversation got my wife and I to thinking more seriously about pursuing a retirement home. We still did not have a clue on how to find a retirement home.  What location to move to?  How would we pay for it?  Over a year ago I had been told about another community in Florida by a friend/former co worker.  I started searching for homes in that area and the area the gentleman had mentioned also.  My friend emailed me about  a new community in the area he lived and I followed up to gather  more information.  That resulted in a planned trip to the community to see homes in person.  God was giving us the answers to our retirement home questions.

My Florida travel day approached during the early stages of the Corona virus epidemic in China.  The morning of my flight to Florida, I checked in at the airport for my flight.  The flight departed on schedule.  About 5-10 minutes into the flight, the pilot announced that the landing gear would not retract into the plane, so we had to return back to the airport.  Now my mind is thinking, "Does God not want me making a move to Florida?"  After the plane landed, I had the opportunity to reschedule the flight for later on that day.   But, I thought about the "China message" I had been given before and decided to postpone my trip for another day.

At that point I was not sure whether to pursue finding a retirement home in Florida.  So I prayed about it and continued searching for homes.  I rescheduled the trip for the next week.  This time the plane departed with no problems and arrived in Florida.  I met with the realtors I had contacted to view several homes and the new community my friend had told me about.  Within a day after chatting with my wife, we decided to go with a new construction home.  I signed documents and made a deposit on the new home construction.  We were able to get a lot with a prime view of vegetation without a neighbor's home obstructing the view.  If I had not returned a week after my initial canceled trip, the lot we chose would have been gone.

We are scheduled to close on the home in July of this year.  I had planned a trip to Florida to visit the construction site and to do some research on furniture for the new home.  But the Corona virus event resulted in my canceling the trip next week.  Again, I could have ignored the warnings to not travel and gone ahead with my plans.  But, I remembered the prior two messages.  Sometimes we as people think just because we have the ability to do what we want to do, we should take action.  In my case I had to continuously humble myself and not take action just because I could.  I listened to the quiet messages of God.  They have all resulted in positive events.  I know this doesn't mean listening will always result in getting what I originally wanted.  I just need to understand that the eventual result is part of the plan for my life.  God's plan, not Arnell's man made un Godly plan.

My message to you is to listen to your messages.  They may not always be clear and loud.  They could be subtle quiet messages directing you into another course of action.  Continue to pray that you are humbled to listen and hear.  Then react accordingly.

Friday, March 20, 2020

The Virus Chronicles - Day 29

I visited the local grocery store the past two days.  Today there actually was some bread on the shelves.  I did the correct thing and only picked up one loaf of bread, not hoarding.  Red meats were still non existent in the meat department.  Same for the seafood area.  The parking lots for the two grocery stores near me were almost full.  I chose not to go into the second store while on the way to pick up a carry out pizza from a local restaurant.

The rest of the day was spent at home in social distancing.  Still plenty to do.  Reading, writing, household chores.  Watching dvd's for entertainment.

The national news was the same.  Despite knowing what China and Italy have gone through, the major news networks are acting as if what is going on in these United States is  a shocking event.   Lesson learned.  When a foreign country actually closes down its cities, the crisis is serious.  Now the United States finds itself being humbled and joining what happens in third world countries.

I do worry about family members, some who do have existing medical conditions that would make them susceptible to the virus.  As with China, now we will see how much improves or worsens over the  next 30 days.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

The Virus Chronicles - Day 28. Putting the Impact of Corona into Perspective Historically

I have taught myself  to only watch 5 minutes of news programs in general and less than that during this virus "crisis".  After that the worthiness and value of the information becomes doubtful.  Then the "news"  becomes repetitive and turns into an entertainment/drama/reality show  mini-series.

To get an idea of how serious this corona virus is compared to past historical outbreaks, I started doing some research.  As of this writing there have been over 7,000 cases of Corona reported in the United States with approximately 114 deaths.

Their have been greater epidemics in the United States.  The statistics below provide examples.

The first recorded, and the one most people of European American ancestry do not want to remember, is the small pox outbreak in this land in the 1600s.  The disease was brought to the yet to be established United States by European Americans.  It impacted the Native American population which ranged from 7 to 10 million in numbers.  It is estimated that over 70% of the Native American population in this country died from small pox.  In some cases tribes of Native Americans were purposely infected by European Americans through gifts of infected blankets.  It was a campaign of genocide.

In 1793, over 5,000 people in the United States died from yellow fever.

From 1832-1866 in the United States, two out of six people died per day from cholera.

In the early 1900's, over 10,000 people per year died from typhoid fever.  One of those was my paternal great grandmother in the state of Arkansas.  Poor living conditions for black people in Arkansas contributed to the spread of typhoid.

In 1918 over 675,000 Americans, including my paternal great grandfather, died from the Spanish flu.

Between 1921-1925 over 15,000 people died in the United States from Diptheria.

Over 3,000 people died from polio in 1952.

There have been other outbreaks including various strains of the flu each year.

A man made cause of death we also seem to forget is that during World War II, the Holocaust atrocities committed against those labeled Jews, resulted in the deaths of some 6 million people.

Lastly, the impact of the slave trade is estimated to have killed 10 million to 60 million Africans.

Yes, any death from the Corona virus is unfortunate and regrettable.  But, let us not forget the facts of the past.  If you had your choice would you rather get Corona or typhoid fever?  Would you trade Corona for the opportunity to be assigned to a  Jewish death camp in World War II?  Would you trade Corona for the opportunity to be enslaved in the United States prior to 1865?

Step back, look at the facts, and reassess your fears.  God is in control.

Matthew 6: 25-34 "Do not worry about everyday life. Whether you have enough food and drink.  Life is more than food and clothes.  Do birds store food in barns?  God feeds them!  Can worrying add a single moment to your life?  Have faith!  God has always provided.  Seek the kingdom of God above all else. Live righteously. God will give you everything you need."


Tuesday, March 17, 2020

The Virus Chronicles - Day 27

A very quiet social distancing day.  Other than going for the mail, I did not go outside.  The weather is too cold for me to go out running in.  Otherwise that would have been my physical activity.  New "rules" came out for our state that closed down restaurants and fitness centers.  I continue to be blessed in taking advance actions before this virus became broader.  I had a trip to China canceled by the tour company in early January before the virus exploded.  I had been the only person signed up for the trip that was scheduled for April.  I turned down an offer to sign up for the May tour, listening to God in my ear and staying humble.  I just recently canceled my membership in the nearby fitness center in a money saving move.

The new rules on limiting discretionary travel caused me to cancel a business trip I had planned later this month.  It is unfortunate that people are losing their lives due to this virus.  There have been some positive actions resulting from the turmoil though.  Disney World is donating to a food charity all of the food they have since the theme parks and hotels are closed.  The focus on feeding children who would miss meals since schools are closed has become a widespread theme. People are taking time to check on the elderly.

Personally it is providing time to work on those projects that I needed to work on.  Plus this social distancing time is helping me to save money on those discretionary things I normally would be doing during this period.  Saving on gas for my car, saving on food, saving on entertainment.  Keeps me away from the dangers that await us in the outside world.

The lesson is learn to make a negative event a positive one in some respects.

Monday, March 16, 2020

The Virus Chronicles - Day 26

The Virus Chronicles Day 26.  The only person I have seen close up and in person in the past 2 days has been my spouse.  I did go over to the local clubhouse fitness room yesterday morning to do a 45 minute workout.  I ensured no one else was in the room first.  I am not sure what someone else would have done if they had walked in and seen me working out.  Maybe they would have left fearing breathing the same air in the enclosed room.  As I was in the room I saw several cars entering and leaving the complex.  Life was continuing.  It was a cold day so I did not see anyone in our complex walking around.

Back inside my home I had plenty to do to keep me occupied.  The internet still works so I was able to stream in some television shows to pass time for a few hours.  Also, we streamed in church service and did our Sunday School lesson together.  We have ample food in the house so there was no need to go out to order anything.  I had done my last shopping a week ago after stocking up on household supplies a week before then anticipating the eventual panic buying that started last week.

This social distance period does provide a lot of time to work on personal hobbies and interests.  I check the news off and on via my cell phone to catch the latest updates.  I have contacted a few older family members to ensure all are well.  I have plenty of time to read, write, listen to music, and talk to my spouse, when her face is not into her television shows!  Beyond that life is normal.

Even before the virus scare came on I had cut back my social interaction and general spending, as I am directing my efforts and  money into a life style improvement later this year.  So the changes in getting out of the house have not been drastic.  I do have a quick out of town trip planned next week and will find out what type of travel restrictions or safe social distancing practices are created by the airlines by then.

In my family genealogy, two of my great-great-grandparents were killed by the typhoid fever and Spanish flu in the 1920s.  Back in those days the living conditions in the state of Arkansas, especially for poor black people contributed to poor health conditions that facilitated the spread of those illnesses.  Jump forward some 100 years and we see that social freedoms and poor individual sanitary practices are assisting in spreading the current virus.  As back then, the government did not have a plan that could prevent widespread contagious conditions.  We need to learn from history.


Sunday, March 15, 2020

The Virus Chronicles - Day 25

I finally saw it for myself last week. Out of a scene from the movie/TV series "The Walking Dead".  Virus fearful people overcome by the news of the "pandemic".  Driven to the zombie like selfish behavior of the oncoming virus.  There they were, masses of people invading grocery stores across these United States of America.  Small stores, and stores on large scale meant for bulk purchasing.  The common theme, incessant hoarding of grocery and household items at a pace to last them through the year 2021.  Grocery carts overflowing.  In the midst of the event, anti social communication where no words are exchanged.  Only the virus crazed gazes to maintain social distance!

This is the beginning of the decade of the 2020s.  A series of shocking events designed to slap us into reality that we are not in control.  Another in the series of warnings we are periodically given to "get our act together".  What is your reaction to all these events?

Our individual and collective actions differ based on what we really have faith in.  Me.  I tire of the self serving/pat yourself on the back news conferences of national political leaders who are allegedly giving us assurances and updates on how their federal government is responding to the virus crisis.  They are tantamount to a United States government official giving guarantees to Native Americans in the late 1700s that Native Americans will never be adversely impacted by the arrival of European Americans.  Or a government official promising those enslaved in the United States that they would be released and returned to their native lands after a "short" 3 year term of service.

One only needs to look back at history to anticipate the actions during this virus period of the government and the people it governs.  Yes, there are some acts of charity and sincere caring for the welfare of those impacted.  Then there are the zombie like actions of those seeking profit for themselves in the midst of a crisis.  Observe what is going on.  Learn from this experience.  Place your faith in non human institutions.  There is a God.  A message is being given to us. Listen carefully.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Coronavirus, Food Deserts and using Coronavirus time to Communicate

Knowing this country well and the habits of the people, I did my "stock up" shopping last week.  The coronavirus was starting to spread more.  I knew it would just be a matter of time before prosperous Americans would do what we do best in difficult times.  Buy up all the shit possible in stores!  Food, toiletries, guns, whatever we can get into our vehicles or carry in our hands.

While driving to an appointment today, as I passed by grocery stores the parking lots were full.  Inside the checkout lanes were full of people purchasing items they felt they could not live without over the next few weeks or more until the coronavirus stabilizes in these United States of America.

Many people who live in European American communities are lucky to have stores near them to run to.  But in most minority communities, especially black communities, there are food deserts.  Areas where major chain stores have left the black communities.  In leaving, they left a void for the community to go to for everyday groceries.  People, especially the elderly are left to their own means to get to and from the nearest grocery store that is miles away.

Maybe it is good that the conditions that lead to acquiring the coronavirus are not prevalent in minority communities.  Many of us do not have the financial means to travel to those locations overseas where others have contracted the virus.  Or minorities are not the typical attendees at those business conferences where people contracted the virus. That may be our saving grace. Wealth has its benefits and its curses.  Statistics on the number of people infected by race have not been released yet.  With the exception of black entertainers, athletes, and prominent business people, the numbers will be low.  Being poor and lacking wealth does have its benefits.

With that in mind, I pray the negative impact of not having large scale stores in minority communities will not be increased by the impacts of the coronavirus.  So thank you Krogers, and those other stores that left the black community over the past years.  We have not forgotten how you treated us.  Watching others hoard material good into grocery carts just is a reminder of your lack of concern for us.

When I did my advance shopping I stocked up on the normal things  I had purchased when stocking up last Fall for the winter months.  I understand that God is in control.  We think just because we are allowed to run to stores and purchase items that we are in control of our own destiny.   It is my hope that the time families are now forced to spend together by the coronavirus "semi quarantine" will result in more communication within those families.  Maybe even some discussion of the importance of God in your family's life?  Coronavirus is more than an illness.  It can also become an opportunity to call time out, pull back from your regular routine and act on those aspects of life that deserve more of our time.

Imagine what would happen if the next crisis results in loss of our access to our cellular phones, streaming TV devices and other technology?  We might really start talking to each other then.


Thursday, March 12, 2020

Why Didn't the United States follow China's lead in the fight against Caronavirus.?

All of a sudden institutions in the United States have begun taking the coronavirus seriously.  Professional and amateur sports leagues have suspended or canceled activities or seasons.  So why didn't the United States take immediate action once the first cases of the virus were found in the United States?  Did not the United States see that China imposed massive shutdown of activities leaving entire cities empty of people on the streets?  Did the United States really think that somehow we would be immune to the virus or that it would not make it into our borders?  Well, we know how that turned out.

Was it pride, arrogance  or stupidity that kept institutions from acting sooner?  It appears that only as the number of cases increased did more actions occur.  China now appears to be bouncing back from the initial virus spread.  It seems unusual that the United States did not take the lessons learned from China to develop a more effective and planned strategy to deal with the virus.

A world wide share approach should have been taken.  A world wide strategy.  But we as people are too arrogant, prideful and stupid to adopt such a strategy.  Lives in the United States could have been saved, and fear abated.  But, now it's too late.  Now we are into full panic reactive mode.  Maybe that is how we in America react best?  Let something go wrong and then have a reason to develop an effective policy.

Lessons learned?  Look to China for the answers.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Passenger Meltdown on Southwest Flight 4919

I witnessed my first passenger meltdown that lead to a family being removed from a plane this past Sunday.  New Orleans, MSY airport.  An early afternoon flight.  The players were a black family of 3-4 adults.  Note they were light complexioned black people.  During pre boarding several of them came up to board the plane first.  I could not tell what medical, physical, or mental ailment they had that warranted all the family trying to pre board.  The gate attendant did inform them that only one family member could accompany the person who was approved for pre boarding.  I thought I heard a female adult say she had some condition that supported her pre boarding.  But it did seem as if the gate agent let an additional family member board who probably by the rules should not have done so at that time. One or two of the family members remained in the terminal to board with a later group.

When it came time for my group to board apparently some type of confrontation had already occurred inside the plane regarding someone trying to save a seat for a passenger who was going to board later.  A light complexioned black woman sitting behind us was talking about how the flight attendant had been wrong in moving one of her items.  I thought she was talking about an item in the storage space, but that would be clarified shortly that it was a personal item she had laid on a seat to save the seat for her daughter.

The daughter of the woman came on board.  For some reason the mother who was complaining behind us still made a comment to the daughter that she had been mistreated.  This got the daughter going and she started asking and repeated asking her mother numerous times, "who was it?"  "What happened?"  She was speaking loud enough for people around her to hear her.  The dialogue continued to the point where a flight attendant finally came up to try to calm the situation down. This didn't work as the chatter continued.  This lead to the flight attendant telling the daughter that she needed to get off the plane.

Now that of course got the daughter going into overdrive and she said she refused to get off.  She wanted to know why.  Then she explained numerous times that all she had done was go to use the rest room in the back of the plane and then come back to her seat.  I was under the assumption that maybe she had tried to confront the person or flight attendant who had either moved her mom's item from a seat or had complained to the attendant about the attempt to save the seat.

All of this resulted in security getting on the plane and after a 30 minute delay the woman and her two parents left the plane.  The daughter raised the complaint that it was a racial issue.  I think basically it came down to Southwest getting relaxed on allowing passengers to try to save seats for other people and not enforcing the no saved seat rule.  Also, I don't recall the Gate Agent or flight attendants reminding people that seats could not and should not be saved.  Southwest, in my opinion, was therefore complacent in allowing the situation to occur and escalate to the point it did.

When I returned home I sent a complaint letter to Southwest.  Southwest responded that they would be conducting an investigation of the incident and someone would respond within 30 days.

The lessons learned.  If you feel you have been wronged do not create a spectacle on the plane.  That behavior will guarantee that you will be seen as a possible threat or that you might initiated a follow up disturbance once the plane departs.  Document your complaint and file it after you get to your destination.  In this case the daughter and her parents likely did not get home at a convenient hour that day.  The mother should not have shared what she went through with the daughter.  All she did was get her daughter riled up to the point that they were all removed from the plane.  The gate attendant who had allowed the mother to board should likely be reprimanded as her actions assisted in creating the follow up drama of the mother attempting to save a seat.  Southwest airlines should clearly restate the no saved seat policy verbally as passengers are lining up for their boarding group.  Flight attendants on the plane should verbally remind passengers that there is no policy that allows them to save seats for other.

I await the decision of Southwest.  Many parties were at fault.  All of us passengers suffered a 30 minute plus delay based on the attempt of people to save a seat for someone else.  Selfish behavior inconvenienced us all.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Stop and Think


After seeing the news of the death of Kobe Bryant, my initial reaction of shock and sadness turned the corner into another direction.  The media seemed to be ignoring that other people perished.  That irritated me.  Their lives are important too I thought.  The media kept repeating only Kobe Bryant as the focus of the story.  Then news came out that Kobe’s daughter was on the helicopter also.  Finally, more news came out that nine people including the pilot were on the helicopter.  At last other people were being acknowledged, but the focus was still on the celebrity, the basketball star.


That focus did not seem correct.  Yes, he was well known for his exploits on the basketball court, but these other people were important too.  They should not just be asterisks to the primary loss of life.  But as family of those who perished were informed, the full names of those who perished came out.  Some media attempted to acknowledge that the loss went beyond one family and beyond the sport of basketball.  It impacted the lives of other families and they were noteworthy and important.


Then I heard reports that the helicopter had been flying in foggy weather conditions where visibility was poor.  My thoughts were why would adults make a decision to fly in perilous weather and visibility conditions when they were taking kids along with them?  What was so important that they would risk lives by traveling in such conditions?  Would it be so terrible if they had arrived an hour or two later via the congested highways?  At least they would be alive.


People kept referring to the “Mamba mentality”. I thought to myself, I hope the pressure to stay in the “Mamba mentality” mode didn’t contribute to the decision to board the helicopter in poor weather conditions.  But this is a sometimes-Godless world where we as people get caught up in our own thoughts and concepts and forget that we don’t control our lives as we think we do.


That is the lesson that has been directed my way from this tragedy.  When presented with conditions that may be a threat to your life or the lives of others, pull back from an only choice aggressive attitude.  Especially if it involves the lives of children.  Have a servant of God mentality.  Humble yourself.  Pray before deciding what course of action you will take in potentiality dangerous conditions.  We need to choose life, especially when the other option has negative impact on the lives of others.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

The Triad of Terror at the University of Evansville



The Triad of Terror – Three Instances of Being Black at the University of Evansville.


My alma mater. The University of Evansville (UE).  The past 4 years has seen a series of events where black students have faced a fog of harassment and discrimination.  Attempting to wade through the fog resulted in one black female fleeing the environment at the University of Evansville.  A second student was suspended and banished from campus.  And now in a non-student event, the black head basketball coach of UE, who had been placed on administrative leave while an investigation occurred, was fired.  I have labeled these events “The Triad of Terror”.


In the first case, a black female student was active in the university’s theater department.  As a freshman student in 2016 she became the target of offensive remarks made by a UE professor.  The student came forward to file a complaint.  Doing what we are all taught.  Work within the system to resolve problems.  Unfortunately for some reason the University did nothing to support the student or punish the offending professor, so the student left the university environment that was causing her mental anguish.  Then in the year 2018 the student went to the legal system for relief.  The legal system outside of the university’s control.  That effort on the student’s part mobilized UE to take an appropriate action against the offending professor who has since been terminated from employment with the University.

In the recent firing of the UE basketball coach the University put out the following statement; "There is no place at UE for any behavior by any University employee or student that jeopardizes the safety and security of others."


This brings up the case of Jalen Chestnut.  Who up until the Fall of 2019 was a student at UE.  In the Spring of 2019, Jalen had begun sharing the Gospel on campus in an area designated for free speech.  Some non Christian elements at UE did not want to hear the truth and the Word spoken on campus. One of those elements was a professor at UE.  One day this tenured professor made a derogatory gesture towards Jalen while Jalen was speaking.  For some the gesture could also have been taken as being threatening in nature.  But….."There is no place at UE for any behavior by any University employee or student that jeopardizes the safety and security of others."  

The professor remains employed and it appears he was not disciplined for the offensive behavior.  Jalen was suspended from UE and banished from campus after he chose to continue speaking and sharing the Word.  Yes, he was doing so in an area that the university had ruled off limits after instituting a new policy.  The punishment could have been mitigated to a lesser penalty.  But, the environment at UE apparently doesn’t condone a black male, with strong religious beliefs to make a stand for what he believes in.


The details regarding the firing of the UE coach for off-the-court misconduct have not yet been revealed.  Considering how UE has given the benefit of the doubt to other university employees who misbehaved, one can only wonder if the same criteria was used.  Of course, we all know that race doesn’t matter, right?

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Faith & Politics - The Elections of 2020


February 2020 brings on the start of the Presidential primaries.  What is at stake this year and for our future? We have an incumbent President doing his best to lead us further along the path toward the eventual ending of life on this planet.  He at times appears to be an agent of Satan.  Even when he makes references to God, notice the mocking manner in which he does so.  The incumbent President is doing what he was destined to do.  That destiny is to take us along the path that will eventually result in the conditions referenced in Matthew 24:21. “For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.”


Via television, I witnessed the last hour of the January 14th debate of candidates running for the Democratic Party nomination.  Six candidates.  I looked at them for who they are.  Human beings, all a descendant of the original man and woman created by God.  God created us to live in fellowship with him in a world he designed and prepared for us.  But our free will to do both evil and good took us off the fellowship path into our current state of chaos mixed with moments of fellowship with our Creator.  The six candidates?  Romans 3:23. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…”


Among these Democratic candidates is one who himself is a testimony to mankind following our sinful desires. Romans 1:27. “In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another.”  This candidate believes he can lead the government of the United States while willfully violating what God intended a man to be.  This candidate is a self-professed homosexual and proud to be one.  He displays a  “pride in ourselves” attitude we have developed as humans.  A pride that makes us believe that a person has the right to do and be whatever he or she wants to be, regardless of what God intended us to be.  This homosexual candidate is a second level escort leading us to human greatness and spiritual destruction.


I did not see the beginning of the debates.  Did any of the candidates in their opening statement make reference to asking God for guidance in responding to the questions?  Did any of the candidates mention how their faith in God would play a role in how they would manage the government of the United States and how we as a country interact with our neighbors on this planet?  I heard the closing statements of all the candidates.  God was not mentioned.  It was all “I”, “we”, “me, me, me.”


The candidates all debated how they would approach “solving” or handle the variety of issues we currently encounter as humans.  Health care, immigration policies, environmental issues, foreign policy.  From their mouths spewed information and opinions as if they really believe we as people can really solve our own problems without having God as part of the answer.  Sadly, they all seemed to believe that human answers will “solve” problems.  Absent a Godly foundation to a proposed “answer” they all are missing the point that there are no human answers to eliminating the sinful nature of people that has brought on all of our “issues”.  Mark 10:43-45. “Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else.  For even the son of man came not to be served, but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for money.”


What can politicians and we as people do?  At best politicians and we as people might be able to lessen the threshold of pain that an issue has on a distinct segment or number of people.  Maybe it is possible that some issues can be eliminated and solutions found?  But to be fully effective those “answers” and “solutions” must be reached through spiritual guidance. Do you really believe that a human answer can meet the needs of everyone?


As the Presidential candidates spewed forth their viewpoints and opinions, I didn’t hear any of them saying that after prayer and consulting with Jesus Christ they had reached their conclusion.  Minus that affirmation of faith and bringing the discussion of issues into fellowship with Christ, all the candidates are just a collection of talking bobble heads.

Voters.  Now is the time for you to require that the candidates address their faith and how their faith is part of how they make decisions.  It does not matter if they are Baptist, Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, Mormon, etc.  Have each candidate address the question of faith.  Then make your humanistic voting decision on who is the best person to lead the government of the United States of America.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Unable to Provide Prompt Service

As a former Federal worker, I understand the bureaucratic methods and outdated processes sometimes followed by workers in Federal agencies.  I am now into year 2 of an attempt to see what monetary benefits my mom qualifies for as the spouse of  deceased WW II veteran.  My mom suffers from Alzheimer's and dementia.  After the death of my father on Thanksgiving morning in 2015, my mom began the quick journey into Alzheimer's and dementia.  Seemingly the grief and heartbreak of losing her lifetime companion, over 60 years of marriage, helped expedite the journey to Alzheimer's.

In October 2018 I initiated a claim on my mom's behalf to the Veterans Administration (VA) for whatever benefits she may have had to assist in paying homecare costs to a newly hired homecare provider.  My mother had some $11,000 in savings from my dad's life insurance policy and her monthly annuity checks to use as a source of income to pay for homecare.  Seeing that the homecare was expensive and that she could benefit from more homecare, the claim was an attempt to see what she qualified for.

The VA sent an initial response in May 2019, but had not considered the costs of homecare in calculating what my mom qualified for.  So I resubmitted the claim with evidence of the costs of homecare being an income reducer that was not considered initially.  The clock began to tick and I soon noticed that 5 months had elapsed with no answer.  When I called for an update on the status of the claim I kept on getting a response that it was under final review and given an expected date of completion.  That date would pass by and I would call and given another anticipated completion date.

I tired of the continued delay and contacted my Congresswoman, Susan Brooks out of Indiana, for assistance.  Suddenly the case was finished and a response sent to my mom's house that she did not qualify for assistance since the VA  assumed that I was paying the cost of her homecare from my personal account not my mom's.  I then submitted documentation to the VA to show them that I was a co owner of my mom's account as her Alzheimer's prevented her from carrying out the simple task of overseeing her finances.  Yes, I paid the homecare bills via my mom's account.

Now, you would think the VA would take the info and then expedite a final decision.  No.  Instead I was told that the info is seen as being a new claim and goes to the back of the line for consideration.  That means my 89 year old, Alzheimer's impacted mother will likely have to wait another 5 months for a decision.  That is 5 months that may not be promised to her.

Why would the VA stick to a process such as this and not close out a case with the latest information?  Only because they can and because there has not been enough outrage expressed at this archaic system of processing cases.  The VA like all federal agencies needs to continuously review operating procedures to see how those procedures result in providing the best, timely customer services available.  Delaying a decision on an 89 year old customer's claim  is a disservice.  It makes the system a simple paper pushing agency with robotic processes driving the system.

If this is how the VA treats the spouse of a deceased veteran, maybe all the complaints about the VA providing our veterans poor services has some merit.  The VA Claims centers can do better.  I've expressed my views in a personal letter to the Jainesville Center in Wisconsin.  I am sure I will receive a form letter response, because that is how federal agencies respond.  With un emotional responses designed to just answer the mail.

We are in the year 2020 and many of our agencies probably have processes that have not kept up with the times and technology.  It's time for the federal government to mandate reviews of customer related processes.  Stop requiring cases to go to the end of the line when they are already in progress.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Proud of Our "Great Ideas"?

I saw an article in a local newspaper that seemed to be applauding the creation of a "baby box" at a fire station of a local community.  It was as if they were patting themselves on the back for establishing a box for an unwanted baby to be left in.  I thought to myself it's really sad when we as people think creating a box for an unwanted baby is the best we can do as humans.

Is creating a baby box at a fire station the best option?  Why not allow for dropping off a baby at a hospital?  Why not a police station?  Abandoning a baby itself is one of the worst things we can do as a human being.  Yes, it is better to place a baby in a designated box rather than a trash car or abandoned on the street somewhere?  But a box?  Yes, the box alerts those inside there is a human life awaiting someone to pull it out of the box.

It just seems that the article, though well meaning, really was pointing out our human lack of ability to get to the root of the problem.  Valuing human life itself, not the ability of man to create a flawed method, should be our focus.

A baby box points out the flaws in our human character and our methods to respond to those flaws.  So what is next?  Are we going to create "homeless boxes" built into walls of abandoned buildings that will serve as a sleeping quarters for the homeless during cold weather?  Are we going to place un used food in boxes on street corners as a way to feed the poor?

Sometimes we as people create some good ideas.  But boxes are not the solution to some problems.