Category: Letters From Home
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Letters From Home

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Iran and War/Diplomacy

Son, Are we on the path to war with Iran? Even the French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner is saying, “We have to prepare for the worst, and the worst is war.” Robert Gates, the United States Defense Secretary, said, “…all options are on the table.” I hope that means the option of diplomacy. So what […]

24Sep2007 | | Comments Off on Iran and War/Diplomacy | Continued
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Publishing A Novel

Son, I have written a novel. Now – how do I get it published? I finished the novel last February. I wrote a goofy synopsis and sent it to about fifty agents. Most of the agents curtly responded, ‘Uh…No thanks.” Some of them wanted to see more samples of the story. I have received several […]

23Sep2007 | | Comments Off on Publishing A Novel | Continued
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Blog Statistics from the Eastern Shore

Son, We have had this blog for a month. We have 109 posts, 48 comments, and 1,130 views. I think that means that your wife checked on us 334 times, my brother in Virginia checked 297 times, and that one friend that you have checked 288 times. As near as I can tell from the […]

22Sep2007 | | 4 comments | Continued
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Parenting – missing the point

Son, I am embarrassed again. I read some of the comments to your post on being a house husband. They got it – I ran around it. The comments you received were considerate of your sense of self – my response was an academic discussion on semantics. Why is it so difficult to just simply […]

21Sep2007 | | Comments Off on Parenting – missing the point | Continued
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Giuliani – terrorists and mobsters!

Son, Rudy Giuliani has the best track record of fighting terrorists. He has been fighting terrorists for 25 years. And he is pretty good at it. He is good at putting them out of business and into jail. Not one other candidate has his credentials. Ok – so what is a terrorist? I have to […]

21Sep2007 | | Comments Off on Giuliani – terrorists and mobsters! | Continued
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Art of Congress – Negotiating

Son, If I negotiated with a car dealer like the U.S. Congress negotiates within their chambers I would still be driving a 1992 Chevy Pickup. One-upping the next guy is more important than moving forward. This is not liberal or conservative – this is fear of being labeled as ‘not being faithful to their base‘ […]

20Sep2007 | | Comments Off on Art of Congress – Negotiating | Continued
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Conservatives have their say

Son,   Someone responded to your concern about where the liberals have gone – They commented with a definition of conservatism. Here it is: ” American Heritage Dictionary – Cite This Source con·ser·va·tism (k?n-sûr’v?-t?z’?m) Pronunciation Key n. 1. The inclination, especially in politics, to maintain the existing or traditional order. 2. A political philosophy or […]

19Sep2007 | | Comments Off on Conservatives have their say | Continued
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Bush tax cuts

Son, Something is wrong with the U.S. Economy. George W. Bush and his Republican cronies lowered taxes a few years past to provide stimulation – if that is sound logic, what happened? A couple of things. Economics is not really rocket science – think income and expense. Bush and the Republicans lowered the income and […]

19Sep2007 | | 1 comment | Continued
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Federal Reserve interest rate cuts

Son, I was worried about the economy. Now I am really worried. The Federal Reserve takes their responsibility very seriously. Their willingness, even eagerness, to cut an important interest rate tells me that I was not worried enough. I am relieved that someone who can actually do something is taking action. Sometimes us regular folks […]

19Sep2007 | | Comments Off on Federal Reserve interest rate cuts | Continued
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Baking: Culinary Artist vs. Kitchen Technician

Dad I am interested in baking my own bread. I know that this is something that you have some experience with. I believe that there are two kinds of cooks – the ‘culinary artist’ and the ‘kitchen techinician.’ I tend to be the culinary artist, and that style of cooking is more about developing a […]

19Sep2007 | | Comments Off on Baking: Culinary Artist vs. Kitchen Technician | Continued
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‘Bitch’ dignity in cultural context

Son, MSNBC is focusing today on Isiah Thomas in the NBA referring to a woman as a ‘bitch.‘ In an interview he said that calling a woman ‘bitch’ is wrong – but more wrong if a white man says it- even more wrong if a white man is referring to a black woman. Is he […]

18Sep2007 | | Comments Off on ‘Bitch’ dignity in cultural context | Continued
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Babies Vs. Politicians: Who is Smarter?

Son, A national magazine recently had an article titled ‘Babies Vs. Chimps.” It felt like I was reading an article on ‘Babies Vs. American Politicians.” The study examined theories of general-intelligence versus cultural-intelligence. The different study groups “performed about equally well on ‘physical learning’ – locating hidden objects…understanding concepts of more and less, using a […]

17Sep2007 | | Comments Off on Babies Vs. Politicians: Who is Smarter? | Continued
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Send O.J. to Iraq

Son, Back in the late 1960’s the Hell’s Angels really were. The Vietnam war was spiraling into the quagmire of disillusionment. Billy Jack became a cult classic fighting errant motorcycle gangs. I remember the Missouri redneck wisdom in the Hoopty Doo Bar and Grill – “We ought to take those Hell’s Angels and send them […]

17Sep2007 | | Comments Off on Send O.J. to Iraq | Continued
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Angry Grandfathers Do Not Pray!

Son, I’m with you.  A continued, recurring illness in your little four year old girl is terribly frustrating.  One of my favorite optimistic sayings is, “We should be grateful that we live in an era of modern medicine.”   But what do we do when the health care system comes up short? I don’t have […]

16Sep2007 | | Comments Off on Angry Grandfathers Do Not Pray! | Continued
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Praying for Help

Dad, It is Sunday morning and your granddaughter has a fever again. She finished her antibiotics two days a go, and this is becoming a frustratingly familiar story.  People have been suggesting alternative medicines, our neighbor is a chiropractor, my mother-in-law is concerned about all of the antibiotics that my daughter is taking. At first, […]

16Sep2007 | | 1 comment | Continued
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Hot Dogs and Grandchildren

Son, Your nephew is staying with me today. The boy, he was 9 last month, and I mowed the lawn and played catch with a football. I’ve been looking at those patio fire places – I can’t bring myself to spend the money. Then I had one of those ideas that strike me occasionally. I […]

15Sep2007 | | Comments Off on Hot Dogs and Grandchildren | Continued
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Hope, Cynicism, Reality, Politics

Son, Hope. What is it? It is perception. Obama, Clinton, a Republican? Many of us have similar hopes and dreams. A country of economic prosperity, religious freedom, a safe family with easy access to health care, freedom from war and despair – is this dream any different for Democrats or Republicans, liberals or conservatives? You […]

15Sep2007 | | Comments Off on Hope, Cynicism, Reality, Politics | Continued
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Your Grandfather is dying

Son, Your grandfather, at age 84, is in the hospital. The news gets worse daily. Sixteen years ago he had prostate cancer. The prostate was surgically removed and a little radiation seemed to solve the problem. His left arm began swelling, without explanation, a few months ago. The medical folks did cat scans on his […]

14Sep2007 | | Comments Off on Your Grandfather is dying | Continued
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No Child Left Behind

Son, The local news paper reported today that federal funds must be taken from the most impoverished schools. The money will instead be used for staff training. The shift is a consequence of special education students failing to meet the standards set by the No Child Left Behind legislation. Mixed feelings abound – probably because […]

14Sep2007 | | Comments Off on No Child Left Behind | Continued
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Jim Wallis at the University of Iowa

Dad, My wife and I are attending a lecture by Jim Wallis, editor of Sojourners magazine and author of the blog God’s Politics. He is having a discussion forum at the University of Iowa.  I am pretty excited to hear him speak, having read much of his stuff from Sojourners and read parts of his […]

13Sep2007 | | Comments Off on Jim Wallis at the University of Iowa | Continued
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McCain/Lieberman? Hmmm…

Dad, It is unfortunate for John McCain that he will not win a republican primary. His party will not put him on the ballot because he does not cater to their ideology. He should give it up and run as an independent on a ticket with Joe Lieberman. Now that would be something to see. […]

13Sep2007 | | Comments Off on McCain/Lieberman? Hmmm… | Continued
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I Like John McCain

Son, I like John McCain – I will probably not vote for him – but I like him. He is a real, legitimate, straight shooter. I agree with most of his principles (I qualify ‘most’ because I do not know all of his principles.) He comes from a family of honorable military tradition and he […]

13Sep2007 | | Comments Off on I Like John McCain | Continued
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Bush or Bin Laden – All or nothing

Son, The problem with partisan politics is the ‘all or nothing’ mentality. Even the all or nothing mentality gets distorted – for instance, can we oppose George Bush and Osama Bin Laden at the same time? Are we either for George Bush or for Bin Laden – are they opposites? They are not opposites – […]

13Sep2007 | | Comments Off on Bush or Bin Laden – All or nothing | Continued
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Let Us Have Peace, Shall We?

Dad, Our ship’s boatswain used to tell us, “look for problems, you’ll find them. Look for solutions, you’ll not find problems.” I think this can be applied to our current political climate. I don’t like the administration, but I don’t want to hear about it anymore. I want us all to get to work on […]

13Sep2007 | | Comments Off on Let Us Have Peace, Shall We? | Continued
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Patraeus, Chris Matthews, and Bin Laden

Son, General David Patraeus is a noble man. A man of honor, courage, and integrity. He is in a tight spot. Even Senators who know better are asking him to opine on issues that are not his to decide. The General was asked if the War in Iraq was making the United States ‘safer.’ The […]

13Sep2007 | | 2 comments | Continued
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forgive, yes…but forget?

Dad, Forgiveness can be mastered, but we are not able to erase history. My wife and I have talked at length about forgiveness and how to go about getting better at it. What we have discovered is that our skill at forgiving gets sharpened, but our ability to forget is dull at best. I am […]

12Sep2007 | | Comments Off on forgive, yes…but forget? | Continued
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Forgiving self

Son, I have been writing about humility and learning from mistakes – that sort of thing. It brings me to think about forgiveness. It feels to me that at least two of my three children forgive me for being me – One still has a burr under their saddle. That is OK with me. The […]

12Sep2007 | | 1 comment | Continued
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Humility in parenting

Son, Some wacko California Hippie commented on my parenting post, I will address them: – I can make mistakes as a parent if I want to. I don’t know who you are but you are almost correct. Well, you are correct – but be careful. I know several people my age who beat their children […]

12Sep2007 | | Comments Off on Humility in parenting | Continued
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Denial – Outdated Mythology

Son, There is a huge mistake by Addiction Treatment Professionals, law enforcement, and the courts in addressing the problem of alcohol and drug addiction. The dominant philosophy the past thirty years has been that the central problem is one of denial. That is to say, the belief that alcoholics and addicts have abnormally robust denial […]

12Sep2007 | | Comments Off on Denial – Outdated Mythology | Continued
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Shifting Paradigms – Obama is On Track!

Son, What is the driving mission, vision, philosophy, whatever, of the United States of America? We look to our Constitution for the how-to’s; we look to our leaders for the why-for’s. The national media continues to look to our candidates for office for specific logistical solutions to problems. They continue to look at how-to’s. I […]

12Sep2007 | | Comments Off on Shifting Paradigms – Obama is On Track! | Continued
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A letter from Barack Obama…

Dad, I just got this letter from the Obama campaign. I want to share it because it represents why I will vote for him. I believe him. Bryan. ______ Dear Bryan, Six years ago, on a bright and beautiful Tuesday morning, a new kind of enemy came to America’s shores. We will never forget the […]

11Sep2007 | | 2 comments | Continued
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Addictions – Losing Control

Son, Dante wrote The Inferno. I am not sure about this – anyone can correct me if they wish, but I think Dante described the greatest sin as giving up control of your life to something external – gluttony, sloth, envy, greed, power, or addiction. The punishment for violating the greatest sin was total loss […]

11Sep2007 | | Comments Off on Addictions – Losing Control | Continued
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Same turkey, different flavors

Son, As you are well aware, I like to bake a turkey. Not so much the turkey – but the turkey dinner experience. When I bake a whole turkey I like to prepare my favorite oyster dressing ( my own recipe.) While the turkey cooks I like to make my own bread (I have developed […]

11Sep2007 | | Comments Off on Same turkey, different flavors | Continued
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responsible turkeys?

Dad, I am baking a turkey for dinner. Its a lot of work. Do you think that. accounting for the amount of work and the weight of the bones and stuff, that it is a better deal to buy a turkey at a dollar a pound than to buy, say, boneless skinless meats that are […]

11Sep2007 | | Comments Off on responsible turkeys? | Continued
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Christianity and Capitalism

Son, Is there a conflict between Christianity and Capitalism. I rather think that these philosophical elements make a nice marriage. This country was founded on two basic principles. The Pilgrims at Plymouth were seeking religious refuge. The tradesmen at Jamestown were seeking economic prosperity. Today we marry these ideologies – the product is a prosperous […]

11Sep2007 | | 2 comments | Continued
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Mistakes in parenting

Son, I feel a little embarrassed about giving advice on parenting. Your mother and I were talking last week and we both felt that our children turned out pretty well – in spite of us. I talk today about acting out of love – but that was not really my style. I was a parent […]

11Sep2007 | | 1 comment | Continued
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Protecting children from themselves.

Son, Parenting is difficult. Your sister was in the Rainbow Honors Program in elementary school. When she was preparing for middle school she told me that she no longer wanted to be in the honors program. I asked, “Why not.” “Well”, she said in her 12 year old wisdom, “I don’t have enough time to […]

11Sep2007 | | Comments Off on Protecting children from themselves. | Continued
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My daughter doesn’t want to go to school…

Dad, My daughter didn’t want to go to school today. She was screaming for me when I left. I was crushed, but I know that she enjoys school. She is discovering that this thing is for good, i think, and she wants to came home and hang out with her brother and I. It is […]

11Sep2007 | | 3 comments | Continued
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George W. Bush Presidential Library

Son, People can be funny, creative, facetious and sarcastic. Our local newspaper has a column called “It’s your call.” They allow people to call in and leave comments. There is little editing and the column gets heavy criticism from local officials. Today there is a clever comment: How about putting the George Bush Presidential Library […]

11Sep2007 | | Comments Off on George W. Bush Presidential Library | Continued
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the politics of the modern crusades…

Dad I am a Democrat today because I cannot subscribe to the politics of the modern crusades. I have, in the past, been afraid to state a political position or defend a political candidate. I have also been reluctant to attack a public figure for fear that I might find in my heart that I […]

11Sep2007 | | 2 comments | Continued
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Pit Bulls and Republicans

Son, The attack dogs are breeding. The muffling process of the Primaries disguises the Machiavellian mentality of self proclaimed leaders. Only restricted by fear that they might harm their pack, the Republicans are frustrated. They are off stride. The Democrats are well ahead in the money game. An unpopular President George Bush holds the leash […]

11Sep2007 | | Comments Off on Pit Bulls and Republicans | Continued
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a virtual fireside chat…

the fireside chat -episode 001 Dad, Hey, it’s our first podcast! I think the reference to the original fireside chats of FDR is apropriate, since the radio was his tool to create a sense of closeness with his audience. It worked, and it seems we have come in a virtual full circle. From writing to […]

11Sep2007 | | Comments Off on a virtual fireside chat… | Continued
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Liberals and Conservatives

Son, We have received comments from both the left and the right. My observation is that both are irrational. The left present themselves as more witty, more creative, more interesting. The right presented themselves as angry, frustrated, attacking, and belligerent. Such is life. Dad

10Sep2007 | | Comments Off on Liberals and Conservatives | Continued
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My Opinion on Convictions

Son, I admire your determination. Opinions are the fodder of intellect, just academic talk until applied. Conviction is the result of integrating opinion with life experience. Our life experience will test our opinions – if we come out the other side with the same opinion then we call it conviction. We know many things – […]

10Sep2007 | | Comments Off on My Opinion on Convictions | Continued
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Opinions vs. Convictions

Dad, I think that convictions get muddled because they get confused with opinions. The difference lies in action and inaction. if we sit around the table in your living room and sip coffee and talk about feeding the hungry or staying out of debt, then that conversation is founded in opinion. If we cut up […]

10Sep2007 | | Comments Off on Opinions vs. Convictions | Continued
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Bush says ‘Never!’ how smart is that

Son, I know a lot of people my age who, over time, have violated their own principles. They said “NEVER!” They were wrong. They were wrong to say never and they were wrong to violate their own principles. “Never” is a word that denies our own humanness. George double-u Bush is one of those folks […]

10Sep2007 | | 2 comments | Continued
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Say Never

Dad, I don’t like that phrase “never say never.” I hear that a lot. My wife and I will never borrow any money again. I said it. We will never get divorced. I said it again. I will never inject myself with anything that isn’t prescribed. Man, I am on a roll. I believe that […]

10Sep2007 | | Comments Off on Say Never | Continued
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Voting for Republicans…

Son, I voted for one Republican for President – and he quit. I have never voted for another. I was conflicted in 1980. I did not like the choices. I voted for the independent John Anderson. I have difficulty imagining the circumstances that would convince me to vote for any Republican for any national office. […]

10Sep2007 | | 2 comments | Continued
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Ike Skelton asks one question…

Son, Ike Skelton states he will ask but one question, calling himself a country lawyer and qualifying that the leadership of Iraq appear “to be sitting on their thumbs…” So, “Mr. Ambassador, why should we expect the next six months to be any different?” Ambassador Crocker, “These are extremely complex endeavors…it is going to be […]

10Sep2007 | | Comments Off on Ike Skelton asks one question… | Continued
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Yes To Healthy Dialogue – No to This Administration

Dad – I am still under the assumption that all dialogue serves us well, but that some people probably should be removed from the conversation in order to keep it rolling. It is complicated, yes, and we should approach our international situation with care. I have spent the last few years learning how to act, […]

10Sep2007 | | Comments Off on Yes To Healthy Dialogue – No to This Administration | Continued