Remember the poor on Christmas

While watching the news on the day after Thanksgiving, otherwise known as Black Friday, I happened to notice a very stark contrast between a couple of news items that popped up. The first one went into detail about how much money people in this country were projected to spend this year on Christmas and how it compared to last year. People being interviewed for this report talked about some of the new material things that they were looking to buy such as those new Galaxy phones and so on. A story appeared shortly after of an organization who have been putting on Thanksgiving dinners for the poor and homeless for years. One of the guests of the dinner was interviewed, a middle-aged man who has been homeless for a few years now. It dawned on me right there how sometimes our country has its priorities mixed up, especially around Christmas time. We are so entrenched by all these sales on Black Friday and Cyber Monday that we often forget about those poor people who are homeless and have to work hard just to find their next meal. Many people in this country as far too consumed at this time of the year thinking about trying to please some loved one or ones with the latest trendiest gifts. Trying to help some poor family during Christmas is probably the last thing on our minds.

In this day and age, many families are struggling to make ends meet and simply do not have the funds necessary to buy Christmas presents for their families. Imagine telling your children that they will not be getting any Christmas presents this year because money is very tight right now. The children go to school and hear their classmates talk about what their parents might buy for them and what they really want for Christmas. A terrible empty feeling must set in for these precious kids.

I challenge anyone reading this post to consider budgeting some of their money to help some low-income family buy Christmas presents during this holiday season. The company that I currently work for always sponsors a family in need during this time of the year. I cannot even begin to tell how great of a feeling it is to know that our contributions helped make a family’s Christmas very enjoyable. We have received numerous letters throughout the year from grateful families who tell us how much it really meant to them and their families.

If you go out shopping during this season, chances are you will probably run into one of those Salvation Army bell ringers at the front entrance. Just putting in a small amount can go a long ways in helping somebody out during Christmas. There are countless other ways to help donate money as well. One just has to look online for ways to donate money or gifts.

I do not work for any organization that picks up Christmas donations. I just see so many opportunities out there to help the needy and poor. Many of us are blessed with more than we really need. Christmas is more than just a holiday about Santa Claus. It a religious holiday where Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus. In his many teachings, Jesus talked about how we should help the poor. What a great time to honor his birthday by helping those less fortunate people. They say that it is much better to give than receive; there is no better time to give than during the Christmas season. Knowing that your contribution helped make a family’s Christmas is the greatest feeling in the world.

 

 

Much to be thankful for on Thanksgiving

 

Just from watching news reports on television and reading print media online or in newspapers, one could really get the impression that there are a lot of very unhappy people in this country right now. People are complaining about the economy, police brutality, income inequality, national security and so forth. It is like this is the worst country in the world to live in! So when someone talks about how grateful they are for the many blessings in their life, it is like a breath of fresh air. Finally! Someone who really appreciates his or her life!. Wouldn’t it be nice if more people actually showed appreciation for all of the positive things in their lives? Maybe this Thanksgiving can be a start. The truth is, we all have many things to be grateful for in our lives. Sadly, many of us take those things for granted.

I am very guilty as one of those people who take the good things in my life for granted. For instance, I often take for granted how lucky I am to live in this great country. Sure this country is not perfect, but we are very lucky to have the types of freedoms that we have. I would not want to live in any other country in the world. How would you like to live in a place like Syria, Iraq or some place controlled by ISIS? Maybe every American should live in one of those regions for just a week. Their appreciation of this country would grow ten fold after that experience! They would be counting the minutes before they could return back home to the gold old U.S.A.

How many of us take our health for granted? We think that we are immune to any serious illness, then a lump in discovered during a routine checkup and we are told that it is cancerous. Cancer can strike any person, young, old, the fittest or fattest person. That cancer patient just wants to get his or her life back that they took for granted before. I am extremely grateful that I am healthy and have access to the greatest health system in the world in case something goes wrong. I am also thankful that I can go out and play sports and workout with any physically limitations. Sometimes when I have a bad workout or play a bad game, I think about a few people I know who used to be athletes, but have suffered crippling injuries and now are in wheelchairs. I know they would give anything to be able to run and jump again.

Our families are often taken for granted. We don’t realize how special they are until they are gone. I used to take my Dad for granted, then he died suddenly. Now I really miss him. Never, never take those family gatherings for granted. My family and friends are among the things that I value the most in my life. So many of them have greatly helped me throughout my life and have been there for me in the worst and best of times.

I challenge everyone on Thanksgiving to think of at least 10 things to be very thankful for. Your total outlook on life might change dramatically after producing that list.

 

My 2015 Turkey of the Year awards

This is a week when many of us reflect and give thanks for the many blessings in our lives. However, a certain level of negativity always pops in my mind during this time of the year that threatens those good positive thoughts of thankfulness. Yes, this is also the time of the year when I tend to remember several high-profile people or groups of people for acts of foolishness and thus putting them into contention for being “Turkey of the Year”.

My committee and I had some very long discussions about who we felt were worthy candidates for this years award. We have had a long-standing rule that the President of the United States should never been considered for this award, however, it was heavily discussed whether to waive that rule and put the POTUS in the running. After all, ISIS is contained, right? One of our committee members, a young college age intern, made an excellent point on whether we should include President Obama in the mix. “Suppose he uses his executive action and unleashes the IRS on us?” was his concern. The thought of that scenario sent shivers up my spine, so we decided to take BO off the list of worthy contenders. Without any further delay, let me give you the list of finalists for this very prestigious award and why they were considered.

 1. Darrell Bevell- Offensive Coordinator of the Seattle Seahawks. How can anyone forget this years Super Bowl? It will go down, not only as one of the most exciting ever, but also as having one of the worst coaching decisions ever. You have one yard to go for a touchdown, plenty of time left to run a least 3 plays and have a virtually unstoppable running back to give the rock to pick up one yard and the win. Instead, Bevell  calls a high-risk pass play which gets intercepted and there goes your Super Bowl victory, Seattle. The worst play call in the history of football!

2. Dan Price- CEO of Gravity Payment in Seattle. My committee found a   totally stupid CEO who might want to take some business classes on how to run a company. Price decided to take a pay cut and give pay everyone at least 70,000 dollars a year. Yes, the entry-level people had an enormous pay bump which did not sit well with some of the more senior people of the company who did not get that kind of raise. This type of socialist mindset does not work well in any company. Some of his more senior and important people quit and the company at last report is struggling. Perhaps some of you Bernie Sanders supporters should take note. Paying workers more than they are worth is a recipe for disaster in any company.

3. Congressional Republicans- Republicans picked up many seats in both the Senate and House during the 2014 elections. They were specifically voted in to fight some of the foolishness that has been going in Washington, especially with regards to the Obama administration. And what have they done since taking office, nothing but infighting among party members, virtually no leadership and a total lack of togetherness. And yes, very timid to fight against Obama. Sometimes I wonder if we really have a 2 party system here in the United States. It seems more like the Democrats and Democratic light parties are running the show in Washington.

4. George Soros- Soros is a famous billionare who absolutely demonize fossil fuels. Last summer, Soros decided to invest in a few coal companies when their stocks became very cheap. What a hypocrite!

So those are the finalists for the award. Unlike in the past, I have selected a few groups of people instead of just individuals. Now for another first, I would like to present my 2015 Turkey of the Year award to an entire network. This years winner is none other than the icon in cable sports and political correctness, ESPN. This network hit a new low this year when they awarded of all people, Caitlyn Jenner, the Arthur Ashe courage award this past summer. As many of you know, Jenner declared earlier this year that after 60 some years of being a man, she know wants to be a woman. Obviously, Jenner has some serious issues to deal with as a person and I wish he/she the best. Why does ESPN feel the need to give the award to someone with a serious mental problem? That is totally not right in my view! There are many athletes who have defied tremendous odds to achieve success and here ESPN gives the award to a transgender.  Really?! Furthermore, Jenner seems to be using her new-found attention for personal gain, not for the betterment of transgender people.

I would like to recognize other people who were seriously considered for the award, but fell short of being finalists. That list would include Greg Hardy, Bernie Sanders, Patrick Kane, John Kasich, Missouri student protesters  and last but not least, Jenner. On behalf of my committee, I want to wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving and to ESPN for winning the award. See you next year, DaDaDa, DaDaDa!

 

 

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Satan’s army, ISIS, strikes again in France

Before I begin writing this post, I would like to take time to extend my deepest condolences and prayers to the great people of France and in particular, the families of those innocent victims who were brutally murdered by a bunch of cowardly thugs. My heart goes out to you guys and the United States has your back.

If there ever was any evidence that our world is becoming a less safer place to live in, the events of last Friday night should serve as serious wake up call. Many innocent people were enjoying a pleasant night on the town when the unthinkable happened. Without seconds, several lives were totally wiped out in a series of senseless and vicious attacks by a very dangerous and radical group bent on trying to change the identity of the world. The sad fact of the matter is that this attack could have happened anywhere in the world. You or I could have easily by one of the victims. The group that I am talking about ISIS or should I say, Satan’s army, has members all around the world including this country. No one is safe anywhere in the world these days. In my opinion, it is not if but when they will strike in this country. It is only a matter of time.

This group claims to be doing God’s work, but there is nothing Godly about what they are doing. The God that I worship speaks of loving one another and forgiving one another, even our enemies. My God strongly condemns killing people and other acts of violence which this group seems to enjoy taking part in. The actions of ISIS are straight out of Satan’s playbook. I challenge any member of this group to tell me how their philosophy of the world will make it a better place for everyone. They are evil, pure and simple. Not only evil but very cowardly. It take a real brave person to walk into a place with a bunch of unarmed people and start shooting, doesn’t it?

I find the attitude that certain politicians have towards this group to be rather disturbing as well. This is radical Islam pure and simple. Why cant the president admit this problem for what it is? It is a group of people with a very twisted version of Islam. It is a very serious problem with this country and the world. When I hear politicians like Bernie Sanders say that climate change is a more serious problem, it make my blood boil! What planet is he living on? It also upset me when we have politicians who are willing to accept many thousands of refugees from Syria into this country or not close our rather porous borders. A rational person would assume that out of those thousands of refugees, several may be members of ISIS getting a free pass into this country. The level of stupidity among some politicians is way off the charts!!

I have to admit that this latest episode in France has made me think twice about being in a public place such as a mall or a sporting event. It has always been in the back of mind how easy it would be for some radical people to step inside a shopping mall and kill thousands of people during a busy shopping day. The sad truth is, how can anyone stop something like this from happening. It would take an incredibly naive person to think that ISIS does not have members already in this country. They absolutely do! We need to take the fight to them over there with any means possible before they infiltrate this country and make our lives and future generations lives miserable. We also must help and support European countries such as France and Germany from further attacks. This a serious global problem that affects world peace for everyone. It is time to destroy the cockroaches known as ISIS once and forever before more innocent men, women and children lose their lives.  The next victim could be you or me.

Welcome to Utopia University in Missouri

There are certain news stories these days that really makes you wonder if we have lost it as a society. The recent news from the university of Missouri fits right in with my theory that our country is becoming crazier by the day. It appears that a few young whippersnapper college students were offended by something they deemed as racist and you know how that goes. The snowball only gets bigger and bigger. Many students joined in and conducted several protests until the president of the university was basically forced to resign. On top of that, the students came up with a list of ridiculous demands for the university to meet. Is this the new age of college in America where a bunch of radical students call the shots at a university? If so, our fine institutions of higher learning are in a sad state of affairs.

One has to wonder how many of these allegations are actually true. When an alleged story of a racist symbol on a wall is not backed up by a picture, you have to questions how valid the story is. You mean in this day and age of camera phones, not one picture was taken? Why was the media turned away from the protests? One also has to wonder whether many of the same out-of-town protesters who demonstrated in Ferguson were there at the campus as well and they did not want to be exposed. There are just so many rather puzzling unclear facts to the story that I am beginning to wonder whether this is just another example of the silly political correctness war that is getting out of control in this country, particularly on college campuses.

Several years ago when I attended college, I came across several things that offended me. That is the way life works folks! When you have several thousand people of different backgrounds and values attending the same place, there are going to people who get offended by what others say. This is especially true when you have a bunch of young people around. Any claim of racism should and usually is taken seriously by the school. I know because I saw it happen. I seriously question the level of racism that actually goes or went on at the University or other campuses. Before people start calling for the head of the school, let’s have some clear-cut examples of racism that actually existed and was not dealt with. Making up stories just to further a particular agenda is not going to cut it.

The real disturbing part of this story is that it could start a new trend in this country. Imagine if other football programs did what the Mizzou football team did. Imagine if the University of Alabama football team did that? College sports bring in millions of dollars to a university and a forfeit can really be harmful. I say just kick the guys off the team and bring in guys who really want to play. And there are plenty to replace these narrow-minded players.

College is supposed to prepare you for the next 40 some years of your life. Instead it seems many students are trying to make college some big Utopian palace where nobody’s feelings are hurt. Perhaps these students should spend more time worrying about final exams than nailing someone for being not politically correct. People who shout and scream on college campuses about make-believe racism need to be called out and challenged to verify their complaints. Unfortunately, a university president decided to take the easy way out and just quit. Our college universities will forever by ruined if we let a few radical students call the shots. Most college students are there to learn and prepare for their careers. It is important that we not let a bunch of people with a political agenda ruin it for the vast majority of students and faculty.

Why would anyone want to run for president?

During the past year, approximately what? 649 candidates from the Republican side have declared their intentions to seek the office of the U.S. president in 2016 as well as several from the Democratic side. In addition, there are many independent and minor party candidates to further add to the collection. Of those many candidates, one name will not and never surface as a candidate for the presidency of the United States. That would be the author of this blog. I simply cannot understand why anyone in their right mind would ever want to be the president of the United States.

For starters, the pay of the president is rather ridiculously low compared to other prominent positions of power. A CEO of a major company makes millions of dollars a year and the president of the United States makes a paltry 400,000 dollars a year. You could argue that the president has the most responsible and hardest job in the entire world, yet he or maybe she one day is paid peanuts compared to what many CEO’s of the world are paid. The decisions of these CEO’s affect only a fraction of the people compared to the president. But the president is paid far less. Something is not right here! The president is well taken care of financially after he leaves office and that is true. Many CEO’s are as well after they retire with their golden parachutes. I might be wrong, but I believe with all things considered, the office of the U.S. president is one of the most underpaid positions in the world.

Imagine a position where ever decision you make is heavily scrutinized. Would you enjoy that type of job? Suppose everyday you show up for work and have the company second guess the decisions you make (kind of sounds like my job at times!!). I think after a while, it would really wear on a person. You turn in a report only to be called into a meeting to explain why the did the report a certain way. And this happens everyday! A president has to constantly fight with opposition to get things done. In your mind, the proposal you just recently thought of is the best thing ever since sliced bread. It will save the company millions of dollars. However, that brilliant proposal in your mind is a real dud in the minds of many others in your company. How frustrating would it be to deal with that everyday? No wonder many presidents accumulate a lot of gray hair after just a few years in office! You have to have very thick skin to run for the office, something that I and many others lack.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I value my life and my loved ones. Being under constant protection 24/7 is not the way that I would want to live my life. We as normal people are not aware of the many threats to a president’s life. I would not want to go out in public with the threat of being shot at any moment be on my mind. How would you like to have a job where you are constantly at a threat to be assassinated? Furthermore, their families are also at risk. There are very few jobs out there that involve that type of danger to an individual. Of all the lousy things that a president has to go through, this might be the worst thing of being a president. I don’t want a job where my life is in constant danger.

It really takes a very special person to even consider running for that position. Only a handful of people in the world could do it. I very rarely agree with the president on many of his policies. But I have a great deal of respect for the office of the presidency and what they have to go through on a daily basis. And all for a somewhat meager salary!! It is one job that I would never want!

A huge life lesson from a football coach

Taking a back seat in this week’s sports headlines was a story about a college football coach who suddenly decided to resign his position because of health reasons. His name is Jerry Kill, the coach of the Minnesota Gophers. Kill has been the head coach of the Gophers for the past 5 years, During his tenure as the coach, Kill was diagnosed with epilepsy and his battle with the condition ultimately forced his resignation. Stories like these happen all the time to high-profile people in all walks of the life, but this one really hit me personally and made me realize what is really important in life.

Watching the news conference, in which he announced his resignation, was one of the most painful and touching things that I have ever watched on television. Here was a man who had a great passion for the game of football. It was his life for 32 years. He ate, slept and dreamed football. Coach Kill had a big vision of building the program up to an elite status after many years of mediocrity. He worked tirelessly towards that goal. Suddenly, that dream is gone. Something that he had very little control of took that precious opportunity away. The tears were following from his face when he talked about not knowing anything else than football. It was a very touching moment!

In the aftermath of the press conference, I tried to put myself into Kill’s shoes. Suppose I was the coach and my medical condition forced me to resign and give up my passion. Of course I would be devastated and crushed. But I would tend to look the big picture in my life and realize what is really important. Is coaching football the only thing that matters in my life? I would think that is a very shallow life indeed! Yet for the many football coaches, that is their attitude. They spend 14-16 hours a day on the job during the season and who knows how many during the off-season. For them, nothing else matters than their passion of football. I question whether some of them even care about their families back home. Sadly, many of them probably care more about how to stop next weeks opponent’s offense than how to stop their children from bad influences in life.

It is not only football coaches; many people in life are so hung up on their dreams and passions that they really forget about what is really important in life. The business world is full of people like that who are so driven at their careers. It doesn’t even have to be a person’s job or career. Some folks are so focused on their hobbies that they forget about spending time with their children or families. And even worse, many people in the business community literally kill themselves on the job. Those long 60-70 hour work weeks will eventually come back to haunt them in forms of health issues.

I think everyone really needs to take a step back and look at this issue. I certainly am not saying that we should not be passionate about things in life. When those things start consuming us, then it is a problem. There needs to be a balance or else that passion will destroy you and ruin your life. Working and being consumed by a job for 14-16 hours a day is not what I call smart living. It is a foolish way to spend precious moments of your life. Unfortunately, so many people live that way and I have to admit that I do at times as well. The coach’s decision and the aftermath revelations about football coach’s lives really make me stop and think about my own life. There should never be anything more important than your loved ones and your health. To Coach Kill’s credit, he saw the light and realized that his passion was killing him. It could  have ended his life. We can all learn from his story. I want to wish him the best of luck and congratulate him on an outstanding career.