Saturday, December 10, 2016

Wake up America, where is our outrage? CIA assessment says Russia intervened in election to help Trump win.

This isn't good. Secret CIA assessment says Russia intervened in election to help Trump win.

Wake up America, where is our outrage?

Where is that deep rooted patriotism that verges on nationalism? Another country has interfered with the election of the President of the United States. Not a nice democratic country that was watching over our election to make sure it was fair and democratic, but a nation led by a tyrant and former leader of the KGB. This is not ok!

If you truly love this country, regardless of who we elect for President. If you truly respect the men and women who put on a uniform and risk their lives to protect our democracy, then you must be very upset when a foreign government attempts to undermine our democracy. Any President of any party would be pretty pissed off at the moment and trying to figure out what the right response should be. Our President-elect apparently believes that the proper response is to tell the American people that it was nothing, just another conspiracy theory. This is ironic since conspiracy theories were the backbone of the Trump campaign.

But this is not a conspiracy theory. It is not a theory that our President-elect has significant economic ties to Russia. (…/dbdcaac8-31a6-11e6-8ff7-7b… ) It is not a theory that the Russia that Putin has created has a severely strained relationship with the USA and nothing would indicate that the relationship would improve with any other presidential candidate of any party. Donald is the exception. He has expressed respect and even liking for Putin. Trump has significant investments in Russia and as his son, Donald Jr., put it a when talking about his family empire “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets”. A “pretty disproportionate cross-section” of Trumps assets are in Russia and/or financed with Russian money while Russia is meddling and manipulating our election in Trump’s favor. This should bother everyone who believes in democracy! This time things may have gone your way, but what about next time? If someone were to try and steal your freedom they wouldn’t do it by direct confrontation, that would be too costly, they would do it by enticing you by making you think that you are getting some great short-term advantages.

Saturday, December 05, 2015

Suppose I liked venomous snakes

Suppose I liked venomous snakes.  Maybe I don’t really know why, I just really enjoy them.  I suppose I wouldn’t have anything against your common garden snake but I would just get a kick out of poisonous snakes and the more poisonous the better.  Rattlesnakes and water moccasins would be great fun but there would be nothing like a blue krait or and inland taipan to really get my juices flowing.  Suppose I had 5 of the 10 most deadly snakes in the world in my personal collection in my home.  I wouldn’t take these dangerous creatures lightly and I would be very careful with them and keep them locked up in special enclosures.

Unfortunately, there would probably be some people who were not as conscientious about their snakes as I was.  Some people would like to carry their deadly snakes in public in special holders on their belts or over their shoulders. Some people would get their snakes out when they had been drinking and end up hurting themselves or someone else. Sometimes other people’s snakes would get out by accident and kill someone. There might be incidents where people left their children alone with these venomous snakes and the kids might end up getting bitten.   There might even be cases where people with mental illness, criminals or terrorists got their hands on these snakes and used them to hurt people.  This would in all likelihood lead to demands to regulate the possession of these dangerous snakes.  There would probably not be an outright ban on the possession of poisonous snakes but it would be well regulated.  The more dangerous the snake the greater the level of control would be.  In fact, some snakes would be deemed so dangerous that only special organizations with highly trained personnel would be allowed to possess them.

Naturally, this might lead to some anger and frustration from people like me who really liked owning deadly snakes.  We might argue that we have a right to own these snakes for home protection.  But this argument would not have much effect on public opinion since venomous snakes are very hard to train and if you got them out to sick them on the bad guy they might just as often end up killing you instead.

No, I think we would all have to agree that no matter how much we enjoyed owning deadly snakes it would be better for everyone if the possession of deadly snakes was strictly regulated. 

To my surprise I just looked on-line and discovered that the possession of venomous snakes is highly regulated.  That makes me think if there might be other highly dangerous things in society that should be just as regulated.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

10 Commandments for Success in 2015

Every year for the past couple years I have taken a look at my suggestions for being successful in the new year, updating them and then re-blogging them.  I hope you like this years updates. 

I remember as a child when we went on some cross country vacations in the car.  We could drive accross the USA to go to one destination or another.  My mother was a music teacher and my sister and I grew up singing.  When we would take those long car rides we would sing the scores of every broadway musical we knew and every other song we could think of. Everything was in 3 part harmony. Mom, my sister and I would sing while dad filled the role of audience (he was one of the only people I have ever met who truly couldn't sing). 

Today, forty years later, I only have vague memories of our destinations. I don't remember much of the details about Disney land or being seasick on the fishing boat in Oregon.   But my memories of singing, laughing, talking and sometimes fighting in the car on those trips are as vivid as if they happened yesterday.  If you have ever heard someone tell you that the journey is more important than the destination, believe them.  I suspect that the milestones in our lives, as important as they may be seem, with time  will fade away but the paths we took to reach those milestones stay with us forever. Enjoy the trip!

1. Decide to be happy! It’s not magic. Deciding to be happy doesn’t automatically make you happy and it can at times involve hard work. But deciding that you want to be happy and deserve to be happy is the first step that will lead you to making the necessary decisions and choosing the actions to move you in the right direction.

2. Be forgiving! Forgive others and possibly hardest of all forgive yourself.

3. Keep learning. Be curious. Ask more questions and really listen to what people say. Talk to strangers. Read more books.

4. Get involved in something outside of work that is voluntary. Your kid’s football team, a charity, a church or a scout troop, whatever it is get involved and invest some time in it
5. Exercise regularly. You don’t have to be a fanatic! A little physical activity done regularly can make one hell of a difference in both your physical health andyour mental wellbeing.

6. Don’t work for money. Work for stimulation and satisfaction. The money will follow. 

7. If you find yourself in a bad situation, for example at work or in a relationship, make a plan and take the necessary steps to either improve the situation or to move on to a better one. If you find yourself in a good situation invest more of yourself into it.

8. Spend more time with friends and family. Try hard to really be with them when you are with them. That means turning off whatever problem is mulling around in your head, the TV or your cellphone for just a little while and just be. Don’t avoid people you don’t like. They will help you learn a great deal about yourself.

9. Work hard! Be wary of easy answers and quick fixes. Creating anything worthwhile whether it’s a painting, a career, a relationship or a life is hard work.

10. This moment is the only moment you have and it will never come back, make the most of it! The past is the past and if you are lucky enough to have a future it will be to a large extent the result of how you spent the accumulation of all the moments just like this one.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

There is no shame in thoughts; there is only shame in actions.

This is the time for compassion and understanding.  This is the place for forgiveness and acceptance. The battle between good and evil is not a battle between nations, religious or political factions, races or even between individuals.  It is a struggle within the hearts and minds of each and every one of us.  The battle is fought every single day through our words and deeds.

If ours beliefs lead us to do evil then our beliefs are evil. If our gods cause us to hate others because they are different or believe differently, then our gods are evil.  Our gods can take many shapes. We may worship Jesus, Allah, God, Buddha, money, our nation, our political party or any number of other things.  If that which is holy to us causes us to hate or harm others then we are on the side of evil.  If our beliefs encourage us to dictate who or how others should love, if our beliefs cause us to believe that our path is the only right path and to be judgmental or damning of people who choose other paths then we are the ones who are lost.

If our beliefs cause us to love and forgive then we are on the path of good. If our gods cause us to help those in need and accept those who are different from us then our gods are virtuous.  If that which is holy to us causes us to be humble and accept that what is right for one of us may not be right for all of us then good will triumph.

No good every came from evil acts.  Good comes from good.  In the end what you feel or believe is far less important than what you actually do. There is no shame in thoughts; there is only shame in actions. Do not fear your fears, fear is natural. You may fear those who are different than you or those you don’t understand and still offer them help in their time of need. Triumphing over your fears to do good displays courage, allowing your fears to dictate your behavior displays cowardice.

Friday, May 09, 2014

Kelly's original Oklahoma barbeque sauce

When I first came to Sweden 30 years ago there were many foods that we not available here.  One of them was good barbeque sauce.  So I did my homework and came up with my own recipes for some of the things I missed most.  Today there are many good barbeque sauces on the grocery store shelves here in Sweden but if you want to try something really special you can give this a shot.  This might even be a little treat for my friends back home in the USA.

1 liter (about 32 oz) Heinz ketchup

1 large onion

2-3 cloves of garlic

1 package of bacon (about 8 strips). Exchange the bacon fat with a vegetable bouillon cube or 2-3 tablespoons of fond if you don’t want the bacon fat.

The juice of one lemon
250-300 grams (about 1.25 cups) of butter
3 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
6 dl water (3 cups)
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
3-4 tablespoons of brown sugar or dark syrup
1 tablespoon of mustard
1-2 habanera peppers (Use a milder pepper If you don’t like it hot or skip this ingredient completely if you like it very mild)

Fry up the package of bacon, remove the bacon and save the grease.
Finely chop the onion, garlic and peppers. I like to use a hand blender or food processer for this to get all the ingredients almost pureed. 
My original recipe used only the fat from the bacon but for an even more robust sauce you can add the bacon into the food processer with the onion and puree it too but this otherwise only use the fat.
Put all the ingredients in a large pot (3 liters or larger) and mix well. Cook the ingredients on medium heat without a lid for 20 minutes then reduce the heat and let simmer for another hour.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Det är resan som är målet

Vi är på en resa tillsammans.
Det kräver hårt arbete och ibland kör vi i diket eller åker vilse, det ingår i resan, men vi kommer också att få uppleva mycket spännande.
Vi får möjlighet att växa som mäniskor, att hjälpa andra och skapa mening i tillvaron.
Vi har en riktning men ingen slutdestination.
Det är resan som är målet.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Tips for boarding an airlplane (Reflections of a frequent flyer)

1.    Respect the line. If you have a ticket they will let you get on. Don't go to the front of the line and "merge" in front of 150 people who actually are in line. We see you even if you pretend to be invisible.

2.    Have your boarding card, ID, etc. out before you get to the front of the line. If you can't find your boarding card, step to the side and let others go past while you look in your one carry-on, one large handbag, computer bag, odd little extra bag, hanger bag, a paper tube with the advertising campaign you are going to pitch to your client and the two plastic bags of stuff you bought in the airport shops.
3.    When the airline says one carry-on and one small handbag they don't mean one carry-on, one large handbag, computer bag, odd little extra bag, hanger bag, a paper tube with the advertising campaign you are going to pitch to your client and the two plastic bags of stuff you bought in the airport shops.

4.    If instead of one carry-on and one small handbag you actually bring one carry-on, one big handbag, a computer bag, an odd little extra bag, a hanger bag, a paper tube containing the advertising campaign you are going to pitch to your client and the two plastic bags of stuff you bought in the airport shops and if you cut into the front of the line to make sure you can get room in the overhead bin for your one carry-on, one big handbag, a computer bag, an odd little extra bag, a hanger bag, a paper tube with the advertising campaign you are going to pitch to your client and the two plastic bags of stuff you bought in the airport shops, don't be surprised and all righteous and indignant  if someone removes one or two of your "carry-on" items and places them in the aisle, especially if you aren't sitting anywhere close to the vicinity of the overhead bins where your plethora of personal belongs are stored. (Breath)

5.    Take off your coat before you actually enter the plane so you don’t have to put all your worldly possessions in the aisle so you can take off your coat while 150 of us behind you wait because you cut in line ahead of us.

6.    If despite everything I have written here you insist on entering the plane with all your junk and pile it all in the aisle while you take off your coat please don’t wear your delicate “in-threat-of-extinction-skin-of-something-you-shot-on-safari-in-Africa” coat that can’t possibly be wadded up and stuffed into whatever crevice there is amongst all your stuff in the overhead bins (like the rest of us cattle do with our outer garments) while 150 of us other passengers are waiting behind you because you cut in front of us in line.  And if you do all of this at least and don’t start a big pontification about bad service and “don’t you know who I am” with the cabin personnel because they don’t have a humidified room to hand your rare dead coat in.