Wednesday, December 30, 2015


It's drab outside. The snow covers everything and the overcast sky makes the world look like a black and white movie. I feel drab inside. If you struggle like I do with chronic depression, you know winter can be hard. It's easy to get caught in a pit of despair.

There is help. Find something you can enjoy. Find quiet spaces for yourself. Read and pray. Take care of yourself. Let people help you, let them care about you. Talk to your doctor and a counselor.

I wish there was a magical cure. I've tried a lot of things and I continue to struggle. I'm weak and I make giant mistakes. I hurt myself, I hurt others. I am in constant need of forgiveness. I need God to touch me every day.

If things are drab for you, if you feel empty and alone, hang in there. The sun will be back out and the snow will be gone. We just need to hold out a little while longer.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

An Open Letter to the Cat

Dear Little Cat,
     You have been with us a couple of years now, so I thought you would understand by now, but I want to explain how things work. You see, you are not really performing in a satisfactory manor in the house and I want to share a few thoughts with you, help you step up your game. I was hoping the big cat and the dog would help you out, but you haven't seem to connect with them in healthy ways. The big cat hates you, the dog just ignores you now, until you attack him and then he engages you shortly. You then become snobbish and ignore the dog for months. Since you refuse to listen to them, let me run a few things by you.

First, we don't live on a farm and we don't keep stored grain outside the house. There is no real need for you to catch and kill every mouse, bird, baby rabbit around the property. They are fine outside, and we prefer for them to stay outside. The fact that you have brought in a few creatures and released them alive in the house is contrary to your function. We would like you to get rid of pests in the house, not reintroduce new ones. I know you many find it exciting to have wildlife inside to chase, but we prefer this to not be the case. We appreciate the bat that you caught, but leaving him to hide under the couch wasn't really a completed job. In the future, we can handle the bats, please leave the mice outside.

In addition, any small animals in the house that exist inside cages and enclosures were put there on purpose. We haven't had any hamsters since you came to live with us, mainly because you view them as your entertainment. They are not snacks or treats, and we would ask you please respect them as pets and not as fast food. In addition, the fish tank is not your water bowl and the fish is not there for you to taste and sample. He has been here longer than you, and we ask that you respect his place as a member of the family. He would also appreciate it if you stop slobbering in his filter.

As far as your interaction with the humans in the house, that leads me to my main point. There are several things you are doing which we would like you to stop and some things you won't do that would be nice if you could start. First off, 3:00 am is not the designated time for us to awake. Walking all around the house meowing as loud as you can until someone lets you out is not appreciated. Wanting back in 20 minutes later is also not appreciated. We will be up in the morning, the dog will want out and you can join him then. In fact, this is usually when you go out of the 2nd or 3rd time in the morning. If you could, please just wait until then.

Also, drinking from the fish tank loudly right after all the lights are turned off is frowned upon. Also, knocking all the items off the dresser or table, climbing in the window sill and climbing the clothes to get in the closet to knock everything down is also not appreciated, especially in the middle of the night. Any action that is loud and obnoxious after the lights are out are ill advised.

We wanted to talk to you a little about the food situation. There is special food we purchase for you, it's called cat food. It's in the cat food bowl on the cat house. This is your area to climb, scratch and eat your food. Getting in the sink to lick the dishes is not necessary, we can wash them, thank you. Getting on the table to get to the left overs is also not necessary. We are also able to wash the table, knocking over every glass of water is not really that helpful. It's the same water that is in your bowl and in the fish tank, there is no reason to drink it off the table after you knock it over. Also, the food on the bowl on the floor is for the dog. It's called dog food, and it's not for you. We are not sure why you eat it.

Lastly, you only have one role as a pet in this house. We don't need a mouser, we don't need an alarm clock or a table washer. We are ok with you eating cat food and using the litter box, we understand those are necessities. The eating until you are full and drinking water until you vomit is not appreciated, if you could do that outside it would be helpful. All we ask of you is to do the things the other pets do. Currently, the dog is laying beside me and the cat is laying on the other side. They enjoy the company of the humans, being pet and scratched. They interact with us ways that express love. The emotion that you express is often frustration, anger and resentment. The angry tone of meow that we receive when you are touched or held is not necessary. We do appreciate the few, occasional times that you have been an actual pet and shown some affection, but those times are rare, few and far between. The children really seem to love you, I can't understand why because you show them nothing but disdain. Please make more of an effort in this area, since as a house pet this is your one and only function.

As a family, we have committed to you, we feed you and house you and get you medical care. We have done our best to take care of you, and while we appreciate the occasion gift of dead or marginally alive vermin, that is not needed. What we would prefer is some affection and the ceasing of all the noted behaviors above. If any behavior is in question, if someone yells your name or simply screams "CAT", that is a good indication that behavior is not wanted. I understand you will not be reading this because while there is internet access in the house and access to the technology to find this, you are of course a cat and cannot read. You have been told most of these things, and it's clear that you don't understand.  All that aside, if you could read and did understand, being that you are a cat, one thing is clear. You simply would not care.

Everyone Else in the House

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Maybe Some Common Sense Gun Laws

With the number of shootings lately, there is lots and lots of talk about gun laws and reform.  These range from no laws and registration to no guns of any type. Seems to be a lot of saber rattling, lots of rhetoric and lots and lots and lots of stats being thrown around. In reality, we have a lot of mass shootings lately so maybe we need to talk common sense and figure out something that can be done. Maybe we need to talk apart from the election cycle and political maneuvering.

First, let's state the obvious. If someone wants a gun and they are willing to break the law, they are going to get it. You can quote the reality of England and Australia, but they don't have the illegal immigration problem that we do and the Mexican Drug Cartel as a neighbor. There are some ways we can't compare us to the UK, because we have a different set of issues.  Illegal guns come into this country. The 17 year old gang kids aren't buying their guns legally now are they. The guns are smuggled with the drugs. Making them illegal will make them bigger business for the cartels.

Criminals can still get guns, but at least we should make it more difficult, right? What about the law abiding citizen, should they be able to get guns? If they do, what kinds of guns?  Let's start with sports rifles, should hunting remain legal? As a hunter and as a wildlife tech, I can tell you that hunting is critical to conservation and needs to remain as part of our society for many reasons. Rifles are occasionally used in crimes, but most mass shootings don't involve a 30-06 or a .308. Perhaps registration for these weapons is needed, but for the most part, it's not called for. What about shotguns? Pump action shotguns are illegal in UK, but they are used by most bird hunters. I myself use a 12 gauge pump for duck and goose and pheasant and dove and turkey. Perhaps the length requirement that already exists is wiser, since sawed off shotguns are not really used for hunting.

This is where things get tricky is the non-sporting weapons. Handguns, semi auto, assault rifle and the like. There is a major conflict over these weapons and for good reason. They are not used so much in the taking of game, but in the taking of human life. Some of that is for protection and defense against those who would use it for destruction. What are we to do? If you take away the right of free citizens to carry and own guns, you are opening a can of worms that can have serious consequences, but not guaranteed. The 2nd amendment gives us the ability to defend ourselves from all enemies, foreign and domestic. Remember, this country has already had one Civil War, there is nothing to say there will not be a second. Invasion is a reality, we can have a foreign enemy invade, the reason that Japan didn't invade the US, allegedly is the fear of the number of weapons held by the American people.

Where is the line drawn? When it comes to hand guns, there is background checks and waiting periods. To go further, permits are required for most states to concealed carry, and some to open carry. To get a fully auto, you must have a dealer's license or be part of the US Armed Forces. Many states require a hunter's safety class to carry a fire arm for hunting, and everyone has age limits. So what more can be done?

I honestly don't know, and I think we can put the focus on the guns but that won't change much. We live in a hostile world and things are getting worse. There are not more guns today than there use to be, and the price of things goes up. Ammunition has more restrictions and the price is rising quickly. Outright banning of certain guns may help in the short term, and we can see stats that may support that, but things will change. As our enemy continues to come into our borders, we are going to see more of this issue. We are having problems these days with police shootings on top of everything, and I'm not sure taking guns away from police is going to do much to help the situation.

It seems clear to me that we have less of a gun issue and more of a conflict issue. Maybe we need to deal with the root of the issue instead of trying to take the guns away. I wish I knew the answer, but I don't think it's going to be a quick and simple fix.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Real Problem with Socialist Politics (Bernie Sanders)

We have an upcoming Presidental Race, and unless you've been under a rock you have probably heard for Bernie Sanders. Sanders is a Socialist and wants to redistribute wealth and create social equality. The ideal form of this is what we see in Star Trek, were money and wealth are no longer necessary, where needs are provided for every person. As a result, socialism assumes that if people don't need to worry about the basics like food, shelter, safety and medical care, they will turn their energy to furthering society. It's assumed that if we don't need to use our energy for self-preservation, we can use our energy to explore strange new worlds and seek out new life and new civilization.  Sounds good, right?

Here is the issue, socialism assumes we are basically good at the core and care about society. Guess what, we don't. How do I know? Millions of homeless vets, we want to government to take care of them, but no one is giving up their house (very few people anyway). People are not giving them food, clothing or shelter, so we are asking our government too. There is a huge battle raging over Syrian refuges, if the government should give them shelter. I don't see people crawling over each other to give their stuff for their needs.

The reality is people are selfish. We are self centered and we want for us. If we have want we want, we lose our motivation. We work for a pay check, if you take away the pay check, we stop working and we do things we enjoy. Yes, some volunteer and help out here and there, but the line for those wanting to get is far longer than those who are wanting to give.

Want more proof?  How much food do we throw away each day? All that food that could be used to food the starving. They don't have the resources to pay for it, but many of us do, so we get it. Farmers sell it to us, because they take the money to pay for their stuff. They pay for their stuff from others who supply what they want. The poor, they are the people who don't have anything we want or need, so they don't have any. Stop using your money for anything but bare necessities and use the extra money to buy stuff for the poor. No more movies or TV or books, just pay for food, shelter, clothing and what you need to live. Take the rest of your money and buy food and shelter for the poor. Don't want too? We are selfish.

The Biblical word for this is sin. We are sinful and selfish. To assume that humanity will take care of each other is a pipe dream. If it worked, we would do it without the government telling us we have too.  Let's be real people, we are selfish and self serving. That is why we need Jesus and not Bernie Sanders.