the Long of it ........

unintended consequences and other musings

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One Good Dog

Just finished ‘One Good Dog‘ by Susan Wilson – very good book that sees a dog and a man both seek redemption in a new life that neither chose.  The interesting thing is that the story of the dog is told by the dog – makes for much more interesting reading as you see how the same scene is viewed from two different views.

Quote from the dog”  “I don’t know what color I am; it’s an unimportant characteristic among my kind.  What is important  is that my anal glands describe my authority, my education, and my living arrangements to any who encounter me – where I’ve been and where I’m going.”

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Council of Presidents

Latest book on my reading shelf is Council of Dad’s, Bruce Feiler.  I liked his advice that he believed ex-presidents (and one preacher) would give to his daughters as they grow up:

1. GEORGE WASHINGTON
Honesty is the best policy
When he stepped down from the presidency in 1797, George Washington never actually delivered his Farewell Address.  Instead, he published it as a letter to “The People of the United States.”  The speech is remembered for introducing the tradition of two terms for the president, warning against party squabbling, and advising against entangling alliances.  But it’s most quoted line refers to personal conduct.  “I hold the maxim no less applicable to public than to private affairs, that honesty is always the best policy.”
2. THOMAS JEFFERSON
Question with boldness
On August 10, 1787, while in Paris, Jefferson wrote a letter to his nephew Peter Carr.  He advised in favor of studying Spanish (and against Italian).  He advocated reading philosophy to improve conduct.  And he wrote this about religion: “Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.”
3. BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
Avoid extremes
When he was 22 years old, Franklin wrote out thirteen virtues that he vowed to observe every day.  He even typed up a chart and made a check besides each virtue he followed.  The exercise lasted just under a month.  Still, the virtues capture the essence of the American character he embodied.  1) TEMPERANCE – Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.  2) RESOLUTION – Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.  3) MODERATION – Avoid extremes.
4. JOHN ADAMS
Dare to read, think, speak, and write
A decade before the Revolution, while a young lawyer in Boston, Adams wrote a series of articles about the beating heart of liberty in America.  Later published as a book, the articles summoned Americans to let their minds lead them to freedom.  “Let us become attentive to the grounds and principles of government …  Let us study the law of nature … Let us tenderly and kindly cherish the means of knowledge.  Let us dare to read, think, speak, and write.”
5. GEORGE WHITEFIELD
Fight the good fight of faith
In a sermon on Ecclesiastes called “The Folly and Danger of Not Being Righteous Enough,” George Whitefield, the great Revolutionary champion of the Great Awakening, echoed Joshua as he conquered the Promised Land.  “Press forward. Do not stop, do not linger in your journey, but strive for the mark set before you. Fight the good fight of faith, and God will give you spiritual mercies.”

What can I add to this? – list is now my maxim to live by…..

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Half Broke Horses…one more

Devoured the book ‘Half Broke Horses‘ (Jeannette Walls, Simon and Schuster) in one day.  Incredible story of a Woman that let nothing get in her way in the early west.  She traveled by horseback 500 miles to her first teaching job  – and slept on the the floor of the school at night.  Should be required reading for all young girls.
One of the few books I have read recently that has these little sentences that cause you pause when you finish them.  For example, a flood destroyed their dugout house on the prairie – it also washed away the foundation of a nearby house, after which the owner gave up and returned back east.  They quickly carted away all of the timber from the house and built them a new house to replace the washed out dugout one.  After finishing it, her Mom asked the question, “Now, wasn’t that God’s will?”.   The next sentence said what I have always felt but can’t say in church; “I didn’t have an answer.  Mom could say that in hindsight, but it seemed to me that when you were in the middle of something, it was awful hard to figure out what part of it was God’s will and what wasn’t.”   I also enjoyed her housekeeping on the ranch;  fixed steak and beans every night, never washed the work Levi’s (wore them out) and cleaned house once a quarter.   Negatives?  15$ Paperbook!

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Never Watch Network News Again

Stonewalled  Just finished Stonewalled by Sheryl Attkisson, an investigative reporter for over thirty years.  She finished her career at CBS News where she was fired from.    A few observations from my reading:

  1. Nobody in the news bureaus want investigative reporting anymore – too risky for all of the negative blowback by those in power.
  2. Nightly News Programs are dumbed down and filtered so that everyone will be happy – a weather story is the most wanted feature – everyone loves weather and no one will complain.
  3. The Obama admin goes after certain stories it disagrees with by going above the reporters head with specific threats on future interview access, etc.