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.

The Cookie Tree

When I was stationed over in Japan, I worked 12 hour days.  When I got home, I wanted to rest.  I had no desire to read to my sons, 6 and 2.  Yet my wife insisted on it.  She gave me a Sesame Street book and said, “Read it.”

So I did.  It was a little book.  I guess it was about 40 pages.  Pictures filled about half of each page.  Yet I had a very difficult time finishing it.  You see, the boys started laughing, which of course, caused me to laugh.  So needless to say, the progress was slow.

The book was about a witch that didn’t want the Cookie Monster getting her cookies off of her tree, the one that grew cookies.  So she cast a spell on the tree keeping anyone from getting the cookies.  To her dismay, she found out the spell worked so good she was unable to get any of the cookies either, no matter how hard she tugged at them.

Actually, that’s about all I remember of the book.  I’m not even sure of the ending.  This much I am sure of.  I should have read to the boys far more often.  It is one of my great regrets.  Maybe you can learn from it.  Maybe you can get your kids to put down their electronic games for a few minutes each day so that you can read to them.  They just might enjoy it more than the game and you might enjoy it more than they do.  Even as they get older, there are some good books to read to read to them.  (Lassie, Come Home was one of my favorites.  Johnnie Tremain was good too, and patriotic.)

Even more, it just might add to those nice memories you want to hold onto.  Maybe it will help you let go of the bad ones.

As a side note, you might take a lesson from the story about the witch.  You might not want to cast a spell on your cookie tree.

Drugs for the Terminally Ill

It’s about time.

It should have been done decades ago.

The only question I have is, how many lives has it costs by waiting so long?  Just how many lives would it have saved if it had been passed fifty or sixty years ago.  My guess is that there is no way of knowing.  My guess is that there are likely many who lost a loved one because of the ridiculous laws and rules set up by the lawyers, mostly for their own benefit.

Humans Acting Like Animals

In 1925, it became legal to teach evolution.  According to certain scientist, it became official, man descended from apes.  Darwin was right and God was wrong.  Henceforth, the schools no longer taught that man was a distinct creation of God.  It became laughable that man was created separate from the other animals.  It was no longer believable that God formed him from the dirt and breathed into him life.

So now, after many decades, we have learned that we are simply animals, as with the other creations that were made on the fifth day.  There is nothing that sets us apart, other than a few more brain cells and apposing thumbs.  …and, oh yes.  We have the ability to talk, write and, of course, read.

Why should we wonder why, when a high school student kills a bunch of students.  After all, as he has been taught, they are just a bunch of descendants from monkeys.  It is true that the young boys and girls had their lives cut short, but what harm has it done?  They are simply a higher form of animal life.  They have hardly any value.

Then too, why should anyone be expected to act morally, especially when there is no reward.  Indeed, why should a person do good when he seems to be punished for it?  If we are animals, why not act like animals?

I would suspect that a chimp would feel little remorse if he were to kill another animal, or even a human.  What makes us any different?

Maybe the scientist can tell us.  Then, of course there are those people that study the human mind and our emotions and behavior.  Maybe they can tell us why we shouldn’t just up and kill someone for stepping on our toe.  Such an act at least deserves a good punch or two, right in the nose.

Humans are said to be civilized and we don’t do that sort of thing.  Yet, in a way, even ants are civilized.  Moreover, they get along much better than we do.  I guess they aren’t smart enough to realize when they have been wronged.

Well, now the scientists have their way.  I have but two questions.  Is Darwinism better than Christianity?  Is the belief in evolution better than what Jesus taught us:  to love God and to love each other?  If the scientist ideas are so much better, than I guess we have taken some big leaps forward in our civilization.

So now we have humans acting like animals killing humans as if they are animals.

Cosby, Drugs & Rape

I believe that what Bill Cosby did to all those women is despicable. I must admit it was difficult to convince me that he was guilty, but now I realize he did some horrible things.
However, let’s put this in proper perspective.

I saw a man on TV tell a joke. The man said that God made wine to increase a man’s courage and decrease a woman’s inhibitions. Millions laughed, but not me. What the man was implying was rape. Indeed, such a thing is very close to what Cosby did.
Bill Cosby used Quaaludes. The so-called joke suggested alcohol. In the end, it has the same results, though ludes are stronger and more effective.

My first question is why does such a man get away with telling a joke like that and thousands of men actually practice such a thing while Bill Cosby has the book thrown at him.

In truth the one is rape just as much as the other. The only difference is the choice of drugs. To be sure, Cosby was also guilty of using an illegal drug, but in effect, both are guilty of rape.

Again, I do believe that Cosby is a monster and should spend the rest of his life in prison.

However, while we are at it, maybe we need to throw a few others in prison who have done the same thing, but used alcohol instead.

Of course, it can be said that the woman gets drunk with the intention of implying consent. The truth is, how do we know without something in writing? She can imply consent and claim she didn’t. On the other hand, she can withhold consent and the man can claim she implied consent.

The same thing can, of course, be said about Quaaludes. Did the women take the drugs, knowing and consenting to what followed? It truly creates a horribly murky swamp of legality and mores.

By the way, Bill Cosby is not the only one with such morality. As far as I know, Cosby is not even accused of sexual assault. Regardless, it is a well accepted fact that Bill Clinton is likely guilty of several cases of assault and rape. We are told, of course, that it was private and we had no business considering it.

Indeed, his wife became his primary defender to the point that she managed the so called “Bimbo eruptions.” To be sure, his method of defense was to attack his accusers.
John and Teddy Kennedy are held in high esteem by the democrats and yet we are pretty certain that each killed at least one woman. With their money and power, much of it was covered up. Even then, some of it seeped out into the public, though the media cooperated in the cover up.

There is another question that comes to mind about Cosby, or more accurately it is an observation. For decades, there was nothing said about what Cosby did. Apparently, the efforts to keep it quiet were successful. I wonder if the reason was that no one wanted it to come out, including the victims.

I know it is a horrible thing to suggest. Yet, it was not until he started telling young black men to be more responsible that the complaints started occurring.
It is not a suggestion. As I said, it is only an observation. Yet, it does make me wonder if he would have ever been accused of anything had he kept his mouth shut.

For those who would like see the books that I have published through Amazon.com you can look at my Author’s Page at

amazon.com/author/story_teller

…or, if you prefer, just look up my name on Amazon.com.

Abuse of Power

From 1977 to 1997 a man often called B1 Bob (Robert Dornan) held seats in the House of Representatives in three districts, first Los Angeles then Orange County.  I was actually brought up in a city in Orange County and I am very familiar with the area.

I can remember watching him speak on C-Span for five minutes a night.  Though he was Republican, he angered some from both sides of the aisle.  It was considered one of the most conservative parts in California.  Indeed, it was one of the most conservative districts in the country.

The Democrats got tired of hearing his remarks each night so they moved a bunch of Hispanics into the district.  Some might argue the point, but they can’t argue the facts.  Among other facts, the year he was voted out of office there were 624 illegal Hispanic votes that they were able to find.  Knowing the area, I would suspect that it was far worse.

So, the Dems pushed him out of office and silenced his voice.  No matter what anyone may say, I believe it to be illegal and an abuse of power.  It is the way the Dems and media work.  If someone raises a voice against them, they silence them.  It is something they learned from the communists.  Now, people are reluctant to say anything that is not politically correct, lest they lose their job, position or political standing.

On or about 1996, I sat down and started writing my first book, “The Ring.”  My motive was to sell a million copies and stop thousands from using drugs.  Hopefully, it would stop some from starting to use them and get others to stop using them.

It never happened.  Mostly, it was because it wasn’t a very good book.  The grammar was bad and the story wasn’t any good.  Over the years, I have made corrections and enhancements to it.  One of my readers was a technical writer and provided a very good grammar correction.

Someone else decided to use my title in their book.  I didn’t like their book, though it was commercially successful.  To keep my book from being confused with the other, as well as the movie that followed, I changed the name of my book to “The Secret of the Ring.”  I decided it was a much better title and I am very glad I made the change.

It brought out an aspect of the book I hadn’t considered, the concept of power.  While Scott Williams, the main character of the book gained a great deal of power; though he had the desire to use the power only for good, in the end, he realized he didn’t use the power properly.  Hence, though he learned the secret of the ring, he had not yet learned the secret of the use of the ring.

Now, it is not just a book about drugs, but also about the use of power.

It brings a question to my mind.  If I were given a great deal of power, would I use it properly?  I certainly would like to think I would.  I would certainly want to use it properly, but would I have the wisdom to go along with the power.  I would like to think that I would use it to help others, but I wonder if I would do something stupid and use the power to hurt others.

I look around me and I see people misuse power all the time.  To be sure, many of them might actually think they are doing good.  On the other hand, there are some that obviously use their power for themselves and to hurt others.  Certainly Hitler, Lenin, Stalin and their bunch did not have the well-being of others in mind.  They obviously abused their power intentionally.

I look at people like Rep. Pelosi and quickly form an opinion.  I try to give her a little consideration, but the woman seems to be full of egotism.  What good can she ever hope to accomplish when she used her power to devise a healthcare system that currently costs me over a thousand dollars a month, more than half my social security?  Apparently, she thinks of a thousand dollars as crumbs, but I don’t.  Moreover the vast majority of us don’t share her values.

Nonetheless, I wonder, does she abuse her power because she wants to or does she really want to accomplish something good?  Regardless, her damage is great and widespread.  Sometimes well-meaning people can do more damage than those whose intention is destruction.  They do more damage through ignorance than intent.  Then again, she might really intend to do the damage.  Is she really that ignorant or is her abuse on purpose?

I have no doubts about the Clintons.  Both of them have made it clear that they intend to abuse power and you dare not get in their way.  If you doubt it, ask the women who were dealt with as “bimbo eruptions.”

I heard Mrs. Clinton say that she was Methodist and that she believes in faith and works.  I don’t share her beliefs, but if what she said is true, she is some very serious danger.  Actually, if she maintains that belief, the Bible makes it very clear that she is in deep trouble anyway.  She is accusing Jesus telling a lie.

Either way, they certainly did their share of power abuse.  If she had won the election, she would have done far more.  (Sort of scary to think how close she came to it.)

I looked overseas and saw doctors refusing to let a child go to another country in hopes of helping the child.  This is at least the second time it has happened.  The only reason I can think of such a mindset is so that the doctors will not be proven inept.  Then, what really scares me is that the doctor’s word is final.  There was no intervention from the government.  I am sure that one word from the prime minister would have been enough to put the child in a plane to Italy, but Prime Minister May did not let out so much as a peep.  Tell me that is a proper use of power, please.

Money is often the source of abuse of power.  (If you do as I say, I will make you rich.)  Then again, sometimes it is a trade.  (As the saying goes, you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.  It is, so to speak, a trade in favors.)  The problem is, they trade, we suffer.

The Bible speaks of bribes once or twice.  It causes those in authority to make poor decisions.  You don’t believe the Bible.  Look at the example.  Obama care was passed because of a multi-million dollar bribe made to a Louisiana senator.  (maybe representative, can’t remember for sure, same difference)

I’m told there are thousands of people who have offices on K Street who have legal jobs of bribing government representatives.  That’s right.  It’s legal.  In banana republics, they might bribe public officials, but at least it isn’t legal.  We permit the bribery.  We just call it lobbying.  (I don’t know where that word came from.  What does a lobby have to do with bribery?)

And, of course, the end result is abuse of power.  Indeed, it is the way our government works.  Not only is it accepted.  No national government representative can succeed without it.  Once I finished studying The Constitution and found out how our government really works, I wonder how the US has survived as long as it has.

The worst part about it is that nothing can be done to stop it.  I am not sure that even an amendment will stop it.  I suspect that such an amendment would be impossible.  Even if such an amendment was passed, it would not take long to find a way around it.

As I said, if I was given great power, I would hope I would not abuse it.  The problem is that the abuse of power has become so common place that it has become the norm.  No one who gets into government has any hope of avoiding abuse of power.  No one in government has any ethics.  If anyone with ethics does try to wiggle his way in, he gets trampled by those who don’t.

Pelosi said we need to pass Obama Care so we can find out what is in it.  It is not the statement of an honest person.  It leads me to believe that she is certainly one of those who like to abuse her power, along with most of the Dems.  Moreover, she and they seem to also like to abuse people.  They are hungry for power.  They want to tell us what to do and what to think.

It seems to me that someone wrote a book about that.  Oh, yes.  It was called 1984.  Well, maybe the prophecy was a little late, but certainly accurate.  Given a few years, and people like me will no longer be able to express my opinion.  A few years more and there will no longer be people like me.  Opinions like mine will no longer be allowed.  We will be told what to think and what not to think.  Those who step outside the boundary will quickly be penalized by the thought police.

Fear

Fear can be a good thing, or not so good.  It can keep us from doing stupid things and it can cause us to do stupid things.  Sometimes when we face fear, we become heroes, sometimes cowards.

I don’t mind telling you, I faced my times of fear.  In 1968, I got off a bus in San Diego and put my feet on some yellow foot prints painted on the asphalt.  …and I was afraid.  I spent a year in Vietnam.  While there, I had my moments in fear, even before the plane landed in Da Nang.  I don’t guess I need to tell you, I was not alone in my fear.

Recently, we all saw what happens when two parents fear for the life of their child and a government fears for a revelation of a substandard health care.  It would appear to me that the English government had but one reason for not allowing a child to go outside the islands for possible care; Italy’s doctors might have succeeded where British doctors didn’t.  They feared that it would uncover that they might have done something wrong.

…and so it was that an innocent three-year-old child died at the hands of substandard health system that is being run by a substandard government.  Though the Prime Minister had nothing to do with the death, she must share the guilt.  There is no doubt in my mind that she could have done something, but, instead she ignored the situation, as if she never read or heard about it.

My guess is that she was acting, or perhaps more accurately, not acting out of fear.  After all, she might lose votes in Parliament if her government were to be exposed for their fear.  Certainly, the last thing Parliament wants is to have the world find out that their wonderful health care system isn’t all it is supposed to be.

I don’t know if anything could have been done for the child.  I do know that it shows a pattern.  It is not the first time it has happened and I am sure it won’t be the last.  To me, it sounds like a good reason to avoid going to London on holiday, especially if you have children.  If your 2 year-old gets sick while there, you just might not be able to get him out of the country.

More-than-that, we will never know what was wrong with the last child.  No one outside of the country will be able to look at the body.  No one will be able to tell the world that some mistake was made during his diagnosis or his treatment.

It is but one small reason that a nation’s government should never manage healthcare.  Just think, if we had national healthcare, that poor child might be yours one day.  He will lie at death’s door.  Even if you know a way to bring him back to good health, even if you know a doctor who can heal your child, there will not be one thing you will be able to do.  The healthcare system will be afraid that you just might prove them wrong and they can’t afford something like that.

If your child does die because of some blunder by a state doctor, who is there to find out?  Certainly not the state.  They have too much to fear to do something like that.

I once heard someone say, “If you think healthcare is bad now, just wait until it is free.”  It is one one of my greatest fears.  You see, I lived under single provider healthcare while I was in the Corps.  My oldest son almost died of tonsillitis though he was treated by Navy doctors for a week.

Finally, I went to a civilian doctor who said he was barely able to breath because his tonsils were so swollen.  I really hate to think of what might have happened if I didn’t have that option.  Just remembering how close I was to losing him makes me more afraid than I ever was in Vietnam.