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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Books, books and more books!!

The monstor book cabinet was re-homed to the dining-kitchen area this week. This is solid oak, made-in-America, six feet and then some tall, four feet wide and two and ahalf feet deep. This piece of furniture joined our family when we lived on Bennett street in Fontana, over 27 years ago. It now holds books, like always, but it also holds some dishes, table-cloths, cake plates and paper-plates. To make room for the kitchen items, I had to discard some books. By some, I mean an enormous amount of books. I should open my own library. Except these books are old, boring and many out of date. I came across one that had some tips about the American economy and about buying and selling stocks. That book is obsolete, since it was printed prior to 2008, when everything about the American economy changed, somersaulted, turned housed upside down and underwater. The fall-out of the crash of 2008 is still being felt, and it will still get worse before it really starts to get better. The current administration in the white house blames the problems on the former administration. Blame-placing seems to be more important than finding solutions and fixing America. Welcoming more foreigners appears to be more vital than taking care of Americans. Giving weapons to drug cartel members to kill U.S. border patrol agents ranks high on the list of priorities for this current administration, and then lying about having any knowledge of these facts is important. The federal government won't even support their own laws, which Arizona is proactively trying to enforce. This country is broken, it's like a wounded horse, and it needs to be put down. Time for a "do-over" and start fresh. The way it's going, we will become like our not-so-nice neighbors to the south. Why do they want to come to America? Because they have lost all control, the drug cartel runs their country, killing policemen in open public. I love America and all the founding fathers intended at the inception, but those ideals are ignored and not so popular anymore. What does all this have to do with books? Since I had to discard to many, and I don't like to through anything away, I posted many books on which started out as a media swapping site for books, movies, music and video games, and now has expanded to incude clothing, household goods, cars - anything you can think of. I still prefer only the media swap portion of While I post the many books I wish to discard, I earn swap points, and am offered many books I can receive in return. There is a section called "ClassroomSwap" for donating to schools. I get a thrill out of donating and volunteering, and this way I can put my discarded books to good use. Some recent donations include "A People's History of the United States" (Howard Zinn, 1980) which focuses on European invasion, politically and economically exploited groups such as Indians (now called Native Americans), blacks (African-Americans), women and poor laborers of all nationalities. I wonder what such a book today would look like? Would it showcase the reversal of mind-set that is today, 2012? Would Zinn dare to write about how in California the white race is the minority? How that illegal immigrants (oops, sorry-"undocumented citizens") benefit from free health services and how the current administration and even the opponent in the race for president want to give these people a break at college education, when I (regular, white, hard-working, two income, parents of diligent students who get honors) have to fork over full tuition which increases every semester? When did America allow this to happen? When did foreign-born, in this country illegally but not by their own fault, just born here by irresponsible parents, or single mothers, take precedence over our own citizens? America wants to be every nation's big brother, but at what cost? It seems at the cost of neglecting our own, spending more on illegal immigrants education and healthcare, and ignoring the fact that Americans are returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan with little pay and fewer medical services to support them and their families, and help them heal. Which leads me to another book I've recently donated, "Extraordinary Correspondence from American Wars - War Letters" (Andrew Carroll, 2001), which was requested by a 12th grade teacher in Binghamton, NY. This covers letters from soldiers during the Civil War through the Persian Gulf War. Praise for this book comes from Tom Brokaw, Studs Terkel, John Glenn and Stephen Ambrose. Ambrose says, "In the sweep of history, the experience of the lone soldier is often lost, but in this breathtaking collection the individual voices of the men and women who have served this nation come to life with a power and an eloquence that is both gripping and unforgettable. I can think of no better way to understand the horrors of war than to read the words of those who have been caught in its grasp, and these extraordinaryletters offer some of the most dramatic eyewitness accounts of war imaginable. Quite simply, this is one of the greatest, most riveting books of war letters I have ever read." (And you know Ambrose has read many, and he has written many war books.)
Are these soldiers efforts to defend and protect America and her freedoms in vain? I want to say no, I want to hope that the beliefs they fight for are still true and valid today, in 2012, but with the current political situations ("The private sector is doing fine.") I can only wonder...and keep trusting that God is in control.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Travis' graduation from Cal State San Bernardino, B.A. in Economics
Saturday, June 16, 2012

Who knew a child would be graduating from university? Oh, wait...he's not a child. I keep losing track of time. My oldest son is a man, 21 to be exact. Just this morning I was looking at a photo of him at four years old, thinking that the years have slipped by so fast. Yesterday was his University graduation. The weather was beautiful. Troy drove us down to Cal State. We hugged Travis off at the 'old gym' and we found good seats in the arena. This is the final commencement for the current University president (he's retiring in August), and he wanted to talk long, but finally the graduates came in, and I cried. I always cry whenever I hear "Pomp and Circumstance" or whatever that march song is called. Four years of dedicated, diligent, hard work and Travis is a University Graduate. Mark and I have contributed financially to the Cal State system. You're welcome, Mr. University President. Tuition fee hikes, freshman-year housing, meal-plan, books, parking passes, gas money, etc. But it is all worth it. Now the future is before him, like a blank slate. Find work, live your passion. Answer all the questions everyone asks, "What are you going to do now?" Tell them something unexpected, make people think, and find out why some people do the things they do. People watching should be classifed as a sport. Congratulations, Travis!!

me testing the timer on the camera

some cooperation from Mark and Troy...but kitty Sneak kept trying to knock over the camera tri-pod

...and here's Travis, too...but wait, Troy is...move over here...


this one is better... but wait!...

ok... that's it! a good family picture!!

"can we just get this over with already?!"