Saturday, October 27, 2007

Musings (or Rantings, Depending on Your Point of View)

Global warming, or climate change, is still making headlines. It gets blamed for everything and mankind gets blamed for global warming, even though there is evidence out there that man does not have that big an effect on the environment. There are ways, of course, that people can be better stewards of the earth, but those ways are best implemented on a local, personal level. Scientists can help, if they will actually follow the scientific method and not get into politics and personal agendas. Real information will help real people make real decisions about their personal stewardship responsibilities.

Education is a major concern, too, because it shapes the thinking of the rising generation. It seems that only liberal ideas and propaganda are welcome in schools these days. A true education comes with looking at all sides of an issue and thinking clearly and critically about them all. It also comes from an honest survey of the past in history and other writings to learn lessons that only history and the past can teach us about what works and what doesn't. Rewriting history or editing some of it out doesn't help anyone--it only hurts us all. Then there is this whole self-esteem thing. What good does it do a child to be praised or rewarded for doing things wrong? Does it really prevent hurt feelings? No. A child knows when he doesn't deserve praise or a reward. And as far as trying to prevent hurt feelings--well, that doesn't do much to prepare someone for real life, does it?

Feminism strikes me as being selective for liberal causes. It also strikes me as training women to see oppression everywhere, even when it isn't there in reality. And what about the oppression of women in the Middle East? That is a real, honest-to-goodness problem and yet feminists remain strangely silent on the subject. I can only presume that it is because supporting change in the Middle East doesn't fit the liberal agenda. It is a larger and more important example of what feminists did with Bill Clinton--sexual harassment was bad unless it was perpetrated by Mr. Clinton. I am sure there are consistant feminists out there somewhere, but I haven't been hearing from them. Certainly they aren't making the news.

Immigration is a tough problem. Yes, we all want to be charitable, but in my view, when someone commits a crime (coming the the United States illegally) and benefits from that crime, then things are seriously out of whack. It's frustrating, too, when some play the race card and accuse those of us who want the laws enforced of being racist. It isn't true and surely they know it, but it gets attention and stops any honest debate on the subject. It's the same with accusing people falsely of being homophobic because they believe that marriage is only for one man and one woman, and that school children shouldn't be subjected to all sorts of indoctrination about what constitutes a family and about what sexual behavior is acceptable.

There are so many ways that we allow government to intrude into our lives and go well beyond what they are constitutionally permitted to do and yet so many don't seem to realize that our freedom and liberty is at stake. Taxes leap to mind. So do things like hate-crimes legislation, laws to ban transfats and other things that someone has decided are bad for us (they may be bad for us, but it is not government's place to decide).

Certainly conservatives aren't perfect, either. The thing is, though, that most conservatives look at the big picture and see the problems that will arise when "feel-good" legislation is proposed and when education is one-sided and when those opposing them indulge in name-calling instead of addressing the actual issues and debating ideas honestly.

I understand that there are those opposed to my viewpoint and that is their privilege. What I can't understand is why they won't even consider that they might be thinking about some things in the wrong way--or, worse, not thinking at all, just blindly following the liberal agenda. Well, I suppose that is what they think about me. I just want people to be more objective and to think things through in a more complete way. I want to see real, honest debate in the presidential campaigns instead of candidates who tailor what they say to fit a poll they've seen or an audience they are speaking to.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Friday, October 19, 2007

A Love Affair with Trains

Do you like trains? Do you love trains? I do. In 1969 my family took a train trip from Perry, Oklahoma to Chicago, Illinois. We hung around Chicago for several days, visiting museums and taking a boat ride on Lake Michigan (which I also loved), and then came back home on the train. It was an overnight trip, so a good part of the time it was too dark to see much, but I loved the ride. It was a new experience for me.

There is something cozy about being on a train and looking out at the world. It's also great fun to pass through a town or city and see tiny slices of people's lives. In the evening, they'll be sitting in their living rooms or dining rooms near the tracks and you see them for a moment in time. Or perhaps they are walking along a nearby street or greeting someone at the train station or they are in a car on a street near the tracks. Just a tiny slice of their lives, but enough to wonder about them. Who are they? What are they like?

It's much the same with the various scenery you see from the train. Who farms that cornfield? Who hunts in those woods or fishes in that stream?

I love to read travel books about train trips through South America, Russia, China, or Europe. The writers describe the scenes, their fellow passengers, the train employees, and the train itself. A train is like its own little world passing among other worlds out on solid ground. Fascinating.

My friend, Pop, passed along to me a link to a wonderful website called RailPictures.Net where you can see more train pictures than you'll ever have time to look at.

Have you ever ridden a train? Where did you go and what did you like about it?

Labels: ,

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Fun and Interesting Websites

I love to learn about anything and everything. Learning about the things in nature is especially fascinating and so I am sharing some links with you about insects, birds, and various other things that are fun to learn about.

Welcome to the Wonderful World of Insects

Tom Campbell's Amateur Astronomy

Archaeology Info (This site is pro-evolution, but has lots of information about archaeology.)

Noble Plant Image Gallery

Birding, Birdwatching, and Wild Birds at

"Fish" at Wikipedia

Northeast Fisheries Science Center (a fun page of FAQs about fish and other aquatic life)

USDA Plants Database The Encyclopedia of Plants, Gardening, and Botanical Dictionary

An Illustrated Herbal (I'm not recommending any medicinal use--this is just an interesting site to read)

Well, that's enough links to keep you busy for a long time! It's just so interesting to learn to identify fish, plants, birds, and insects. There are lots of fascinating, little known facts about them. The site seemed to have lots of gardening information, too, which should be helpful for those with a place to grow things.

Labels: ,