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Friday, February 28, 2014

Spending Time Wisely


When you take the time to learn a trade or profession you have not wasted your energy.  It is time well spent.  Unfortunately today many people will not do that.  These people prefer a constant handout over a hand up.  But these same people have not realized that one day there will be nothing left to hand out; they got it all and gave nothing back.  

A trade or profession is portable; an electrician can work anywhere as can a nurse (just two examples). When you have the knowledge and the resultant skill-sets, you have become self-reliant.  And that self reliance gives you the ability to stand up on your own, to take care of yourself and your family.  Taking one step further, when self-reliance is combined with industriousness, the world suddenly becomes your oyster.  But, you have to possess the "want to."  

To those who prefer handouts to hand ups, I ask this question:  what will you do when the well that supplies you runs dry?  To those people who refuse to learn English and have their hands out, I ask this question:  what will you do if English becomes the lawful tongue?  The pendulum swings.  

                                                      Copyright @2014 Terry Unger      

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Dare To Be Great


When you are young, people tell you, "You're too young for that."  Then when you are old, people tell you, "You're too old for that."  If you are an infant or totally enfeebled, these admonitions hold some water.  But I am willing to bet that you do not fall into those two groups; most of us do not.  Moreover, it's more than likely that these naysayers never did a damned thing in their lives, other than move from the couch to the refrigerator.  

Modern buzz words like "think outside of the box" and "move out of your comfort zone" challenge you to take a risk.  The risk can be small or huge, but without risk, nothing moves forward; everything remains static, the status quo.   If you want to do or be something special, you need to take risks.  The taste of success is sweeter with the greater level of risk; you need to take a chance.  

So get off the couch and turn off the television.  Turn off your computer and smart phone.  Grab a tablet and pen.  Plan out your dream and then work your plan.  Go on, dare to be great.  

                                                    Copyright @2014 Terry Unger   

Saturday, February 15, 2014

An Older Man's View Of Morals, Ethics, Fidelity, and Honor




When folks talk about our western world being awash in immorality, there is a certain validity to the statement.  Unless you have lived under a rock in the Arctic, were raised by wolves, or spent the last 50 years in outer Mongolia, it is hard to not see it; all kinds of illicit temptation is in the open for all to see.  Then, there is the Internet, but that's a story for another time.  Unfortunately, too many people play fast and loose with their ethics and morals.  They sacrifice what's good and wholesome for short term pleasure or quick monetary gain, thinking that they will get away with it.  Maybe in our modern world people do not understand morals and ethics, or they just don't give a damn.  Let's see what Mr. Webster has to say:
   
Moral(s) - 1a   of or relating to principles of right and wrong in behavior/  b. expressing a teaching a conception of right behavior. * 
Ethic(s) - 1.  the discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation ** 
Ethical 3.  conforming to accepted standards of conduct ***

When we read Mr. Webster's definition for moral(s), we see the words principles and teaching.  Looking at ethic(s) and ethical, we see the words discipline, duty, obligation, and conforming.  Therefore, morals, the principles of right and wrong behavior are things that are taught (and today often discarded).  Ethics on the other hand, is the application and living these principle in daily life.  These principles of right and wrong, as ethics, then become a part of the person's character.  Let's look at morals and ethics using the following question:  

What is the difference between a moral man and an ethical man?  

A moral man knows that is wrong to "cheat" on his wife, but temptation convinces him to justify negative behavior. Thus, he thinks that he has earned the right to do so, and then proceeds to commit infidelity.  It's almost Lokian how this works.  An ethical man, because he has burned the principles of right and wrong into his character, so much so that it has become a part of him, will not commit infidelity for two reasons:  he knows that infidelity is wrong and, he is not willing to let that negative action stain his character and honor.  Some people still think that fidelity and honor matter.  Obviously, the ethical man understands fidelity and honor.  

Fidelity, or the loyalty to spouse, ancestors, family, Gods, and friends never should be taken lightly; it is the stuff that binds when all else fails.  Honor is something that, if lost, is very hard to regain.  Honor is not only your character, but your good name and how people look at you.  Only fools trade away fidelity and honor for illicit pleasure or short term gains.  Take a look around you.  Who do you know that has fallen?  Who do you know that has trashed their fidelity and honor?    

*Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition, copyright 2007 Merriam-Webster Incorporated
** Ibid
*** Ibid

  

                                                Copyright @2014/2016 Terry Unger    

     






  

Friday, February 14, 2014

Life Statistics


Statistics can be a scary thing.  Currently, the Social Security Administration claims that, if a man reaches 65 years of age, he will live to 84; women outlive men by 2 years.  The folks at Social Security also claim that 1 out of 4 people aged 65, will live to be at least 90, while 1 out of 10 will live well past 95.  Sounds confusing?  Yes it is.  The first life spans are calculated from birth.  The second are calculated from age 65.  However, these figures are raw averages (it seems that the wizards behind the curtain figure if a person makes it through the perils of youth and hits 65, the rest should be smooth sailing).  The stats for cancer and heart disease appear ominous but again they are raw averages.  Fortunately, raw averages do not factor in genetics, current health, and lifestyle.  

Being gifted at birth with good genes, and I don't mean Levi's, is a wonderful thing.  Right out of the gate a person has a major advantage in life, unless he or she screws it up with bad lifestyle choices.  Like smoking, alcohol abuse, and illicit drugs, just to name a few.  That negative habitual behavior will ruin anyone's health.  It stands to reason that lifestyle changes will help most people improve their health and overall quality of life.  

Obviously, these lifestyle changes involve saying good riddance to negative personal behavior, making diet corrections and exercise.  This is the start of having a healthy body.  But there is more.  A healthy body also needs a healthy mind.  A person's head can be a minefield of negative thoughts and behavior. 


Many folks wonder why shit happens to them without realizing that they brought it on themselves.  They cling to negative thought-habits born from greed.  They want the easy way out, the quick pleasure, the easy money or fame and think that the future will be OK.  The decision is made, even though they know that it's the wrong decision, and sacrifice their future for short term gain.  This behavior is almost Lokian.  Down the road, when their personal shit hits the proverbial fan, the original decision, the epicenter of their grief, is forgotten or excused away.  A lifestyle change for the mind is warranted, and can be had by applying the Nine Noble Virtues of Asatru to one's life.  

A man or woman need not be Asatru to embrace the Nine Noble Virtues; they can be used by all men.  All that is required is a deep desire to live a good, positive, and noble life.  Below are some thoughts on how the Nine Noble Virtues can be applied.  

1) Have the Courage to stand up for what you believe in and have the Courage to do the right thing, even though your "friends" think you a fool.  
2 & 3) Always search for Truth and hold your personal Honor sacred.  Keep in mind that life has no Honor when Truth is scorned.  
4) Fidelity is about loyalty.  Sometimes, that loyalty is cemented with an oath.  Always be loyal to your spouse, family, Gods, and friends.  Infidelity is not limited to husband and wife.    
5 & 6) Develop a Disciplined life.  Discipline is the fuel that helps you to see your plans bear fruit.  Along with Discipline, develop Perseverance.  This is the stuff that makes you get up again and again after being knocked down.  It is the "don't quit" attitude.  
7 & 8) Discipline and Perseverance gives birth to Self-Reliance and Industriousness.  This is what lets you stand on your own two feet in the world.  
9) Understand the correct reasons for good Hospitality, and be willing to share your time, talent, and treasure.  

Developing these Virtues in your life is doable, but it does require a desire to make them effective.  It is not just talking the talk but also walking the walk.  Remember, it is not how many years that you live, but how much good life you put into your years.  

                                                    Copyright @2014 Terry Unger

      











 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

The View From My BACK Porch


The neat thing about having a front and back porch is that when you get tired of the view from one, you can move on to the other.  Recently, I posted The View From My Front Porch (1/14/2014).  Since then, I followed my nose to the back porch; there was a strange smell in the air.  

That smell is from marijuana.  Currently, weed is legal for public consumption in two states (Washington and Colorado) and legal in 20 for medical purposes.  You can bet that this has the DEA in a tither.  And it rightly should - weed is illegal under federal law.  Can you imagine how frustrated this agency must be when a sitting President states that marijuana is no worse than alcohol.  Add to that, statements made from members of government agencies, past and present, claiming that weed is less harmful than alcohol.  Yes, this is going somewhere.  That "somewhere" is the irony of this whole mess.  

Prior to one day in 1937, marijuana and hemp were a legal commodity.  But before we go further, one point must be made.  Some confusion needs to be undone.  

Industrial hemp (AKA hemp) and medical marijuana (AKA weed) are Not the same thing.  Yes, they are a part of the same genus family, cannabis sativa, but hemp lacks the active cannabinoids that makes weed "medical."  Comparing the two and believing that they are one and the same is like trying to compare a virile berserker to a very de-nutted eunuch.  That said, let's continue.  

The Marijuana Tax Act (MTA) of 1937 made weed and hemp illegal.  There were many motives, varied players, and hands that stirred the pot, that conspired to make this happen (there are many who think that a bit of skulduggery took place).  I discuss this as a small point in my Reluctant Hero Trilogy.  The important point to know is this:  before the MTA of 1937, there were 28 patented medications, made from weed, and proscribed by doctors for a host of problems.  Industrial hemp was farmed, harvested and made into things from heavy rope cabling to clothing.  And the group, the heavy hitter that condemned the MTA of 1937 the most was the AMA, the American Medical Association.  Fast forward to the 21st century.  

Consider all that was said in the previous paragraphs and add these two points:  patent 6630507 and the Farm Bill (Feb. 2014).  You, like me, just might find the irony of all of this stifling.  

The U.S. Farm Bill (Feb.2014) legalizes the growth of Industrial hemp by universities and state agricultural departments within the 20 states that allow medical marijuana.  The purpose?  Research!  That answer I find laughable when you consider that the USA imports millions of dollars or raw hemp products a year.  Hemp is a cash crop that can help family farms and add jobs to the national payroll.  If it was good enough for George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and so many more to plant and harvest in the past and present, why is there a need for research?  I find much of this to be a no-brainer.  Moving on to patent 6630507.  

Patent 6630507 was issued 10/07/2003 to the Department of Health and Human Services, representing the USA (in this case, the body/entity applying for the patent).  The patent is for a hybrid cannabis sativa, marijuana, AKA weed plant.  Yes, you read that correctly.  The folks employed to make the patent happen all have their MD's and/or PhD's.  Their patent data reports tell of all the great stuff about the plant, how it can help humanity in a multitude of ways (remember, we had 28 patented medications before the MTA, these guys went deeper with proposed uses).  Imagine that, from something that can be grown as a simple plant.  Well, all of this was known before the MTA of 1937.  Then we have about 5,000 years of historical data.  Obviously, all of this does create a dilemma for government.  

There will be people, who after reading this post, will think that I am some kind of pot-head.  So sorry to disappoint you, I am not.  When Elliot Ness, of the FBI's "Untouchables" fame was asked what he would do once Prohibition was repealed, he had a simple reply.  Ness said that he would walk into a saloon and have a drink or two, like any other American.  But as long as Prohibition was in effect, he would not partake.  In a way, I am like Ness.  I can see the irony but will not partake.  It's time for me to grab another PBR and move to the front porch.  

Anyone can google .... the uses for hemp and patent 6630507.  Check it out for yourself.  

                                               
                                                   Copyright @2014 Terry Unger        





      

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Midnight Riders



They come at you without warning in the dead of night.  When your sleep is the deepest, these Riders attack you with a vengeance.  In a sense, it may be a form of vengeance; they come from your past words and deeds (maybe a form of 'self-vengeance' brought on by having a conscience).  These Midnight Riders are nightmares, your deep personal regrets for willfully making the wrong decisions for all the wrong reasons.  Like it or not, they are a part of you.  Also, these Riders of Midnight are your " woulda, coulda, shoulda," deep personal regrets, plus your having to witness some very nasty business.  These thoughts, these "Riders," are kept as memories in a deep part of your mind and can be lessened by honest introspection.  Notice that I said lessened and not "gone."  

These negative memories, these "Midnight Riders" are a part of you, like it or not.  They are a part of what is known as your wyrd/orlog (life and experience over time ... a simplified explanation).  As mentioned in the previous paragraph, they can be lessened, by using meditative introspection aided by solid virtues.  

Personal honor is important; the lack of honor in personal life, if you have a true conscience, helps to create the "Riders."  What can you do to keep your words and deeds honorable in the present and the future?  Meditate on these things.  It will help to you understand why your lack of honor in the past created your current "Rider" (if you like, call it your boogie-man/nightmare).  

Vigor, courage, and the strength to support the first two are necessary, to keep your honor clean and focused.  What must you do to summon your strength, vigor, and courage?  Meditate on these things.  

Is it better to have a joy-filled life or a life full of guilt?  That guilt held captive in your head for things that happened that you could not avoid, things that you could not stop from happening (the woulda, coulda, shoulda stuff that will haunt you forever if you do not deal with it).  Remorse is one thing, but harboring guilt for things that you could not control is rooted in a dogmatism that has you enslaved.  Rid yourself of this dogmatism.  Meditate on these things.  

We are, you are, I am more complicated than the simple concept of body and soul.  We created our individual Midnight Riders; they belong to us as long as we give them a place to exist.  We can slay them like any dragon, boogie-man, that thing that goes bump in the night, or what comes charging out of the closet in the darkest of night.  These Midnight Riders are ours, to slay.  Have no mercy.  Meditate on this.    

                                                 Copyright @2014 Terry Unger    








Our Visit to Sutton Hoo

When walking the grounds, you can feel the specialness of this place.  It is quiet, save the wind rustling through the trees.  The ages...