Archive for the ‘Government’ Category


Imagine for a moment that I had fifteen minutes to address the world. I would have to wonder who on earth would ask me to speak, and why. What could I possibly offer the entire population of this planet?


Having grown up in the era of his wrongful imprisonment of 27 years, I have viewed him in these latter years of his life as a sort of grandpa to the world. And though I knew this day was coming, it didn’t make the shock any less. God bless his soul.

¡Viva Mandela!

Higher Learning

Best known for his work in ending Apartheid in South Africa in the 1990s, Mandela continued to fight for human rights after finishing his time as South African president in 1944, a position he was elected to following his release from prison at the end of apartheid, founding the Nelson Mandela foundation to combat HIV and AIDS in Africa, as well as working closely with international organizations such as the UN and NATO to improve conditions worldwide.

Mandela passed away at his home in South Africa earlier today (December 5). He was 95. For more on Mandela’s life and death, check out this article from NBC. The Guardian also posted a great article listing his 5 top contributions to humanity.


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Children don’t have historical perspective. Parents and grandparents provide that for them, and I truly believe it is an obligation to provide it, whether the kids like it or not. We need to know where we’ve been, to have any idea where we are right now. I didn’t believe it when my parents said it to me when I was a kid, but they were right. Someday, the kids will thank you for it. Of course, when that perspective comes from the grandparents, children will swallow it like good ol’ Mary Poppins said, “a spoon full of sugar.”

Do you remember listening to your grandparents telling stories about their younger years, the historic events that you  solidly categorized as Olden Days? Or even your parents, listening to their tales of youth rebellion, and trying to imagine that they could ever have been those people, yet not understood your own teenaged angst? History in school always seemed to take on a different life, if my grandparents could augment my lessons with their own real experiences. They had survived The Great Depression, which in my young mind was the Mother of All Historical Eras. Grapes of Wrath As they recounted their various exploits from the 30’s, 40’s, and later, my imagination created magnificent cinematic dramas. Sepia or black and white affairs, their childhoods were all Grapes of Wrath, as far as I was concerned. Dust, starvation, and endless roving the country looking for work. I was a gifted child and, possibly, my parents allowed me a little too much time with the classic movies on the weekends. But I could never hear too much of Grandma’s and Grandpa’s storytelling. Are you kidding? The Great Depression, World War II, The Cold War, these people were heroes! I wanted pictures!


I don’t claim to know anything about the complexities of Global Positioning Systems. But, considering it was developed by the US Department of Defense, I would expect it to be capable of accuracy to within a hair on a gnat’s posterior. But, of course, what most of us commonly refer to as “my GPS,” isn’t actually THE Global Positioning System, but the navigational device, and the mapping software created to utilize it for navigation. Whether it’s a feature in the dash of your new vehicle, an app on your phone, or a stand-alone device made by a company like Garmin, Magellan, or Lowrance, you are still at the mercy of the accuracy of the mapping software you are using. Because the GPS satellites don’t tell you where you are, at all. As explains, the satellites simply send out their location in space. It’s up to your navigation device to determine your location based on those reference points provided by the satellites. And I don’t know about you, but latitude and longitude readings would be perfectly meaningless to me. What do I care how many degrees I am north-south and east-west on Earth, if I have no idea how to get home from wherever I am? And that’s where the mapping software comes in.

Let me just say that, were the GPS lady from Mapquest in my passenger seat Thursday, I’d have had to pull over, and there’d have been some %#&@ kickin’ goin’ on. And, had the GPS lady from Apple’s Maps been in my backseat, after I was through with Lady #1, Lady #2 would have been like a naughty kid scramblin’ across the seat, try’n to avoid the smack down. Because it would…have…been…ON!