Computers, Good and Bad

Ever since computers have become somewhat common, I have had an interest in them. It helped that my brother designed them. He had a master’s in math and an Electronics Engineer degree. When I went into the Marines, I went into Aviation electronics. Admittedly, I didn’t have my brother’s abilities. If I had, I likely would have never gone in the Marines. Even as it was, I almost went to work for Autonetics, the electronic division of the no longer existing North American Aviation.
After the Marines, I went into the repair of computers and then into operations. There is no way I ever thought I would start writing books. Most of my English teachers concurred. By the time I reached the 7th grade, I was starting to have problems. At the time I had heard of Dyslexia, but I had no idea what it is. Though I have never been diagnosed as dyslexic, I now realize I have many of the symptoms. Anyone who knows the symptoms and has read my books will realize what I mean, although it is more of a reading problem.
So during my youth, I spent a great deal of my time trying to hide my problems. Because reading is difficult for me and I read slowly, I generally shy away from reading. I am good at listening, which allows me to somewhat make up for it. I can attend a lecture and I remember it far better than if I read the same material. In spite of my efforts to hide my problems, teachers should have recognized it and taken proper actions. Instead they just punished me for not keeping up.
I am very bad at spelling. It’s not specifically part of dyslexia, but the two sort of go together. When I write, I leave words and even phrases out. I frequently use words like also at the front of a sentence and then too at the end. Homonyms drive me crazy. I really do know the difference between there, their and they’re. That does not keep me from using the wrong one in the wrong place. I haven’t the foggiest reason for it. I don’t know if that has is something common among dyslexics or not, but it does drive me nuts. In my more recent books, I do searches on many homonyms to make sure I use them correctly.
Actually, as I started this my purpose was to write about computers. I guess I got off on a rabbit path. Nonetheless, it isn’t too far off of the beaten path. The fact is, without computers, I’d never be able to write. It would be hopeless. I have heard of other authors who were highly successful. You can do a Google on dyslexic authors and there will be a big list of them. (Including Earnest Hemingway and Jules Verne.) The word processors, as great as they are, simply cannot find all my errors. I have no idea how the old authors managed it, but many did. Maybe they just had good editors.
Here lately, computers have really made a mark on recent history. The text-to-speech has really made things nice. First time I heard one, a man had a small box connected to a desktop computer. He had it set up so that anything he typed, it said, though it sounded a little like Robbie the Robot. Also, it did mispronounce things. In baseball, it pronounced the e. It sort of made it sound Italian. The problem was easily solved by separating the words… base ball.
Nowadays, the text-to-speech programs are very good, though some provisions have to be made for some words. The one I purchased always read the word read the same way, present or past tense. Nonetheless, I do use my program a lot. I use it to help me with my editing. Others might find the program far more useful. Even at seventy, I have full use of my eyes, for which I am thankful. Some are not so fortunate. People who are blind can listen to books. Before computers, the blind couldn’t read anything that is not in Braille.
On the other hand, computers help those who have a difficulty hearing. The old hearing aids, as great as they were had one problem; they amplified all frequencies about the same. That was fine for most, but sometimes people hear almost all frequencies but a small band, especially high frequencies. Current hearing aids are smaller, but they can also be programmed for a specific person. They are expensive, but for those who have problems hearing, they are well worth it.
Then there is the cochlea implant. What an invention that is. And it is only possible because of computers. Indeed, it is a type of computer. As far as I am concerned it is one of the greatest inventions of modern man. You might argue with me about it, but not with someone whose life it has changed.
I sat and watched TV one day and saw a cripple man walk. I was absolutely amazed. He didn’t walk well nor did he walk very far. He carried a computer on his back that had probes connected to his legs. …and when he wanted his leg to move, it moved, using his own muscle. I was floored. I worked around computers almost all my life and I was stunned to see what they did.
From that day, I understand that they have made large advances to help people walk with the help of computers. It is a wonderful thing, if for no other reason than to keep the muscles from atrophying.
What wonderful things these computers are. To be sure, they are a tool. They can be used for good and they can be used for things not so good. They can be used to spy on people. They can be used to track all that an employee does all day. For a while, I was even one of those employees.
I can’t help but think, why do people use computers for bad when they can be used for such good? Who knows? Maybe, one of these days they will make a word processor that can correct all my mistakes. I don’t think that will happen really soon though.

Voting Irregularities

Winston Churchill, a wise man, said “A lie gets half way around the world before the truth gets its pants on.”  The dems and the media take advantage of that.  They say something, knowing it is a lie.  Then, if they are caught, they issue a correction.  Not only does the correction not go anywhere, the media continues to quote the lie even after the correction is issued.  So the truth dies while the lie lives on, a fact the liberal media is well aware of.  The liberals prefer to believe the lie, regardless of how unbelievable it is.

The democrats are surprised that someone wants to influence elections.  Actually, it is over a hundred years old.  During Reconstruction (what they called the time rebuilding the South after the Civil War) it was rampant.  It was the primary reason for the formation of the pole taxes, literacy tests and the KKK.  People from the North went into the South and paid Black people to vote… 8 or 9 times.  (I will give you 2 guesses as to whom they wanted them to vote for, and the first one doesn’t count.)

Almost immediately after the advent of the Soviet Union, the communists tried to affect far more than our elections as well as hundreds of others…including Germany.  One of Hitler’s main adversaries was the Bolsheviks, Soviets.  By the late sixties they virtually took control of our colleges.  They were the primary source of the anti-Vietnam war movement and I have not heard one complaint from the democrats about that.

To a lesser degree, they affected our politics during WWII.  After the war, they came within an inch of taking control of this country.  They have had their nose in our politics ever since.  To be sure, Khrushchev made it clear that he would take over our government without firing a shot.  I can’t remember who it was, but there was one commie that said that he who counts the ballots wins the election.  Even a moderately intelligent sixth grader likely knows the meaning of those statements.

When Kennedy was elected, it was clear that someone in Chicago decided to count the ballots.  Possibly, if there was a recount, the results of the election might have come out differently.  For the sake of national unity, Nixon told them not to do the recount.

To this day, precincts are reporting irregularities.  Oddly results are always overwhelmingly democrat.  Though it doesn’t take a genius to figure that out, proving anything can be difficult or impossible.

Several times, Obama said that there was no need to look into voter fraud.  There’s no cheating.  Then, immediately after the vote…guess what…evidence of cheating…by the dems.  Then, of course, the first thing they did was yell fraud at the republicans.  (The best way to cover your tail feathers is to accuse someone else.)

The fact is, we need to change our voting and registration or we will be as the third world countries.  I suggest that registration should be in person and separate from any auto license bureau.  Upon registration, a message should be sent to all other states to ensure that the voter is dropped from their registers.

When the person registers, a photo ID should be issued, which should be required to vote.  To ensure validity, there should have magnetic strip that contains the written info on the card.  When the card is presented to vote, the info on the card should be updated with the current date.  It would prevent the card from being used multiple times.  Finally, when a person dies, a message should be sent to all states to keep anyone from voting or registering by that name.

I know.  It is a lot.  But if we don’t do something, the votes of honest people won’t mean a thing.  It is a sorry state of affairs that we should need to do such things, but, as we just found out, there are people trying to steal our elections.

Certainly, there should be stiff penalties for voter fraud.  The laws should be especially stiff for those that are involved in gross voter fraud.  We should never have 2000 votes in a precinct with 1800 voters.  If there ever is such a thing, it should prompt an immediate federal investigation.

Oh yes.  I have one more suggestion, the most important.  All ballots should be paper.  Electronic voting is too easily altered.  Worse, recounts mean nothing.  Recounts of paper ballots can verify everything, including vote count.

Unions

My father was a carpenter, a good one.  He could and did build houses from the ground up and by himself.  He did all the plumbing and wiring.  He dug the foundation and he laid the floors.

However, carpenters have unions.  For this reason he spent many hours waiting around the union hall waiting for a job.  He had to wait in line, just like all the rest, regardless of the skill levels and regardless of experience.  If they didn’t have a job for him, he came home.

One day, he was working on a two story apartment building.  One of the new carpenters, a young man, refused to go up on the second floor scaffolding.  My father tried to shame him.  He said, “What’s the matter.  I can walk on my hands completely around the building.”

The young man didn’t believe him.  My father said he would do it if he agreed to work up there.  To make the story short, the young man went up there and worked the rest of the job.  Oh, by the way.  My father was fifty-five at the time.

A short time later, he was taken aside by a union rep and told he needed to slow down.  He was making the rest of the men look bad.  Besides, they needed to make the job last a while.

I am not saying that unions are completely bad.  They fought for safety, especially for minors and steel workers.  They provided many of the things that labor takes for granted today, such as the forty hour work week.  Certainly, they managed to put the kibosh on child labor.

However, the pendulum has swung the other way.  They have become counterproductive.  Those that work harder are punished.  Those who turn in substandard work are protected.  Wages and benefits have become prohibitive, to the point that US industry was unable to compete with foreign industry.  The imported goods were not only less expensive, but better.

In effect, they forced the companies they worked for to go bankrupt.  Then, American taxpayers had to bail them out.

It is no wonder that people have such a negative perception of unions today.  They have had their part in destroying about every part of this country that was good.  The school boards no longer run our schools.  Everything is run by the NEA (National Education Association) even to the point that they determine what is taught and what is not.  About the only way a teacher can be fired is if he or she says something bad about unions.  By the way.  May I point out that the US schools have gone from the best to some of the worst under the management of the NEA?

This would be bad enough, but union management has become self-serving.  In a word, may I say… corrupt?  They no longer represent the rank and file.  They support candidates that support unions.  Needless to say the government officials return the favor.  They know they must or face the consequences.

We call it lobbying, but it is just a fancy word for bribery.  The unions pay some of the biggest bribes, mostly to the Democrats.  Besides their bribes, they outright pay for ads to support Democrat candidates.

In recent years, the unions have started losing their holds on this country.  Businesses are moving to right to work states.  Now, finally, The Supreme Court passed judgment on the government unions, essentially making all states right to work states for government employees.

As the unions disintegrate, as the union bosses are forced to find honest jobs, I can’t help but wonder.  If they had only not gotten so greedy.  They put themselves out of business simply because they wanted too much wealth and power.  In a while, they will have neither.  The government unions were their last stronghold.  Now it is gone.  More than that, the Dems too will suffer.  They will no longer receive the bribes from the union bosses and they will no longer be supported by dishonest men.

Cleared? Really?

I sat and watched Hillary Clinton (on TV) say that she was cleared of any guilt.  Really?  I don’t believe it. Comey fired salvo after salvo at her; things she definitely did or had done.  As I listened to the report, I was convinced she was going to spend the rest of her life in prison.

It appeared that Comey saved her from incarceration in two ways.  First, he changed a few words in the report.  Second, he said that she didn’t mean to do it.  (Really?  I do find that hard to swallow.)

For crying out loud, she was Secretary of State.  That tells me that either A. Obama appointed a dumb Secretary of State, or B. Comey was doing what he could to keep Hillery out of prison.  Very likely, it was both.

Regardless, he certainly didn’t clear anyone with that report.  He did have two accomplishments.  First he did keep a criminal out of prison and make himself look like a fool.  It is something that will follow him beyond the grave.  There is no undue function for that mistake.

Well, there is one more he accomplished.  It did wonders for the reputation of his law school and college, maybe even his high school.  If his prior schools are proud of him, it makes them look even worse.  I only have a high school degree and I could see the woman was guilty.  His report made it obvious to a sixth grader, maybe a fifth grader.

Finally, there is one more thing I should point out.  If Hillary destroyed all that info on her server, it shouts one admission; that she could get in more trouble from the info than by destroying it.  Naturally, now, this side of eternity, very few will know it.  …and they ain’t talking.

What’s Real? What’s not?

Two of the biggest complaints I receive about my books is the grammar and realism.  I apologize about the grammar, really I do.  I just can’t afford a professional editor and I do have my problems.  However, I do believe that my plots are good enough that many will enjoy them, in spite of the errors.  Unrealistic as they may be, they do provoke thoughts on real things.

As for for them being unbelievable, I used to agree with my critiques, some of which are in my own family.  However, these days, in light of what has happened in Washington, D.C., maybe those who call my stories implausible owe me an apology.

Well, maybe my books do go beyond reality.  After all, a golf ball being thrown through walls?  People defying gravity.  I must admit that sort of thing just doesn’t happen.  On the other hand, with all the new technology, who would lose a big commercial airplane?  No doubt in my mind, had I written a story of a disappearing jumbo jet a couple of decades ago, it too, would be called ridiculous.

I don’t write this to make light of any such a disappearance, but I spent nine years in the Marines working on navigation equipment.  I know a little bit about it.  I understand how it works.  What I don’t understand is how anyone can let a couple hundred people walk onto a big commercial airliner and disappear, apparently forever.

By the way, if you are looking for an unbelievable book, one without any cursing or adult passages, you just might want to check my author’s page:

http://www.amazon.com/author/story_teller

Note: there is an underscore between story and teller, though some might not notice it.

Also, you can log onto Amazon.com and look for Rhodes under author.  I would prefer you use my author’s page.  There are not as many distractions there.

My best seller is “The Prepper.”  The Mitch Series is good too.  “Mitch” and “The Prepper” are both almost realistic books.  The Floater Group and the Ring Series contain the books that are well outside the realistic. I do have one book that is totally Christian, though Catholics might not like it.  If you are an atheist, you still have my permission read it; I won’t mind.  I promise, the book is not meant to convince anyone of anything.  I wrote but for two purposes: to entertain and to provoke a little thought.  Oh, by the way, there are a few Christians that have read it and found it and thought it thought provoking as well.

My Mistake?

I made a mistake. I know. It is a big disappointment for you.

Before I explain what the mistake was, let me take a minute to repeat a story I heard from the late news and commentator, Paul Harvey. It seems there was an armed bank thief that decided to hold up a bank one afternoon. He walked up to a teller, handed her a note and pointed a gun at her. To his dismay, she broke into a hard laugh. Finally, the confused would-be thief turned to see the reason for her outburst. The lobby was full of men pointing guns at him. You see, the would-be thief chose to rob the bank across the street from the local FBI office. Worse yet, it was payday.

Yeah, you can file that one in the really dumb criminal file. One would think that even a dumb thief would know better than that. After all, the building was well labeled. I don’t know how FBI agents are paid; maybe it’s twice a month or maybe once. It might have been the first of the month or the fifteenth. Then again it might have been the last day of the month. Then too, it might have been Fridays. Regardless, if you have plans on holding up a bank anywhere near any law enforcement office, you might want to check on normal paydays.

Not that it matters much to the story or my mistake, but the guy just might get away with it today. Most everyone has a direct deposit these days. I know I do. The fact is, tellers are getting kind of rare. Between ATM’s and electronic banking, there isn’t nearly the need for tellers. The place I go rarely has more than two tellers, one on the drive through.

At any rate back to my mistake. I should have gone to Yale or Harvard. I have recently learned it is quite easy to graduate from one or the other or both. Then I could have gone on and become a lawyer.

I am sure you are confused. You likely think it is difficult to graduate from these well known institutes of higher learning. Some of you may have even gone to one or the other of these universities and found it difficult. I simply can’t understand why anyone should have any difficulty at all.

Let me refer you to my story of the dumb thief, a criminal incapable of putting two thoughts together. He too could have graduated from one of the Ivy League establishments. He certainly has something in common with some of the graduates. I would expect that the former director and assistant director of the FBI likely went to one of these most respected schools. Then too, Agent strozyk and his lover each other likely have law degrees, though they might have had to settle for a less respectable college. Either way, someone should have told them about emails and the internet. After all, they did use emails. I think the dumb bank robber would have known better than that. Then there is the agent who is identified only as FBI agent 2.

Then, of course there is Hillary. I understand she has a law degree too. Boy! Did she do some dumb stuff. Fact is, she should be wearing one of those orange jump suits. She would be if real FBI agents investigated her. Then too, I guess it would also take a mediocre prosecutor. If it weren’t for the need of a law degree, anyone who finished his first year of law school would do.

They all believed they were going to get away with it. Then again, they never in the world figured that Hillary was going to lose the election. It was supposed to be a slam dunk. Now, if I might use the politically incorrect phrase, they just might be in heap big trouble.

…and, by the way, the colleges that they graduated from, they just might want to do what they can to disown them. Then again, maybe not. Given what they teach nowadays, they just might be real proud of them. If that is true, I don’t guess I made a mistake after all. I just thought I did. I don’t think I would want to tell anyone that I graduated from Harvard. I don’t think I would want anyone thinking I am that dumb. (If you graduated from any of these schools, you might want to hide or rid yourself of anything that remind you of it.)

Windows, Doors and Walls

Walls are wonderful things.  I have no idea when the first one was made, but it was likely well before recorded history.  Nonetheless, they do serve a number of really neat purposes.

They do provide protection, in many ways.  They protect us from the weather, ravenous wild animals, from humans that mean us harm and, of course, to some degree unwelcome relatives.

They also provide us with some degree of privacy.  They allow us to live four feet from our neighbor and still keep him or her from seeing or hearing us.  Then again, maybe you live in a condo or apartment.  The walls still provide some privacy, just not as much.

Walls have been built to keep invaders away.  The most famous of such walls, of course, is The Great Wall of China.  Some walls are better for this purpose than others.  The Berlin Wall, while not completely effective, did keep most East Berliners on the east side of the wall.  I guess it kept most West Berliners west of the wall, but that was not its primary purpose.  It is not as if the West Berliners were apt to attack those on the east.

To be sure, there are other walls built to keep people inside.  Prisons are the primary ones.  On the other hand, Israel built a wall that is very effective at keeping people out.

I guess I am going astray of my main subject, doors and windows.  I guess after they invented walls, it wasn’t long before men came up with doors and windows.  Naturally, they have undergone a few changes over the years.  Let’s face it, in all his glory, Solomon had windows, but they didn’t have glass.  I guess I could be wrong about that.  I wasn’t around to see them, but I don’t think glass really arrived on the scene until much later.  It meant, if he wanted to keep the cold out, he had to close the windows, likely made from wood.  On the other hand, the best he could do when it got to hot was to have a couple of slaves wave palm branches at him.  (It was the latest in air conditioning in the day.)

By the way, the pharaohs were not any better off and they considered themselves to be gods.  Yet with all their power, they could not cause the temperature to go down one degree.  The pharaohs, of course, had their walls and they were a little odd.  We can still see some of them near the Nile.  In spite of all their efforts to keep the grave robbers out, they still got into those pyramids.  I don’t think it really matters to them.  They don’t know it, so let’s not tell them.  It won’t hurt anyone to let them believe it worked.

By the way, getting back to doors and windows, the pyramids didn’t have any.  They were the ultimate in designed security, at least for the day.

The miraculous thing about modern day windows is that they allow us to see through walls.  Incredible as that might sound, it is true.  If you are inside a wall, you can see outside.  If you are outside, you can see in, provided the drapes aren’t closed.

Now doors, they are even more incredible.  They actually give us humans the ability to walk through walls.  Incredible as it might seem, they even allow us to carry objects with us as we go through.  Moreover, if we close and lock them, we are almost as secure as we would be if it were just a wall.  That’s right; they keep wild animals out.  Most of the time, they keep robbers out.

In a way, they accomplish the same thing a gate does with the big walls.  As I am sure you know, during the middle ages, they built large walls and gates to keep marauders out.  To some degree, they were effective, but no gate or wall can truly be said to be impenetrable.  Yet they still put a lot of effort into building the walls and gates.  They figured that there was no sense making it easy for the marauders.

Now it would seem, the experts tell us that a wall on the south border will not do any good.  They call me prejudice for even suggesting a wall.  Guess what.  The idea of a wall is not new.  They do work.  It has been proven for thousands of years.  Now suddenly, they stop working?  Maybe they have catapults or cannons and their friends shoot them over the wall.

Personally, I don’t think their knowledge is built on experience or common sense.  Instead, it has been influenced by bribes, AKA known as money and favors from lobbyists.  Take the bribes and our representatives just might be able to start thinking straight.

By the way, if we do want anyone to come north of the border, the wall would have a gate.  If they have the proper ID, if they are not carrying illegal drugs, if they are not criminals, then we can let them in.  On the other hand, if they disobey our laws, we can send them south with the warning that we don’t want them back.

Some would like to make it all sound complicated.  It isn’t.  If we want the bad guys to stay south of the border, we need to make sure that we don’t make it easy for them to enter.  Moreover, we need to do everything possible to discourage them from coming in the first place.  A wall goes a long ways in that direction.  It is sort of the reason our homes have walls.  They are not perfect, but they do provide some level of security.

Maybe Congress doesn’t want a wall, but we do.  It is time for them to ignore the bribes and start listening to us.  On the other hand, maybe it is time to send them all home and send some people in there that will actually pay attention to the constituency.  Just maybe they will not lose their memory before they take the oath of office.  Then too, we need to make sure that they are never allowed to use the word comprehensive.  The word must be removed from their vocabulary.