Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Too Much Information

I think I’ll make a new rule: no cell phones during family time. While amazing, technology can get in the way in our personal lives.
You know, after being inundated with hundreds of phone calls, emails, texts and mail ... there has to be an end to it in the day sometime.
I’m as guilty as the next person for putting my family off while I’m in contact with someone on business. But I’ve found letting those on the other end politely know that I’ll be out of reach when away from the office is the prudent thing to do. Each person I’ve mentioned this to has understood completely, as they should.
After church Sunday, I witnessed a teenage girl text her way through lunch at a local restaurant. There she ate with her family and hammered away with one on her phone.
I don’t have a teenage girl and I’m not picking on the family I’m referring to, but gosh, there is no way she is getting any real “family time” from that experience.
I made up my mind right there that my children would not be texting or talking on the phone during meal time or family time.
When technology gets in the way of family, we’ve gone too far.
I’ve yet to receive a single phone call or text message which is more important to me than my wife and kids and I never will. Keeping that on my mind helps me to turn my phone off or ignore it all together.
MoveOn.org, which sometimes seems to be running the government since many of the organizations candidates reign over Washington, wants to nationalize health care and wants American citizens to get the word out.
MoveOn is sending millions of emails to Americans asking them to write letters to the editor to express their opinion.
The emails tell you what to write and how to write it. You can even write the letter through their Web site and they’ll take care of the rest.
I guess the only problem MoveOn has now is getting people like me to run their robotic drivel.
If any of you received the email and were contemplating writing a tanked letter to the editor through MoveOn, save yourself the trouble. We can spot a phony a mile a way.
Now, if you wish to express your own opinion in an authentic letter, we’ll certainly take a look at that and consider it.
Americans need to start being careful of groups like MoveOn. It’s wise to find out why an organization is doing what they do. Ask “what’s in it for them” before following the crowd like a bunch of blind sheep.

Copyright Christopher Blackburn 2009

Be On The Lookout!

Nearly two years ago, a tragedy nearly occurred in my small family when my wife, Sharon, backed over our then 4-year-old son Jackson after a family reunion downtown.
Jack was supposed to be in a different care and Sharon was already in the process of backing out and never saw him.
By the grace of God, Jack suffered only minor injuries - mainly to his ear and head. In fact, he still has an area on his scalp where his hair refuses to grow. It serves as a reminder, though none is needed.
Sharon suffered from the incident. It weighed heavily on her soul and the slightest sound or bump in an automobile was nearly too much for her to handle. It terrified her.
Lately, our baby, Sutton, has taken it upon himself to run out in the street. Three times last week.
Sutton, 3, took off for the road during Jack’s t-ball practice. I happen to see him and shouted, “SUTTON HAWK STOP NOW!”
He did. And so did everybody else in a two block radius.
Twenty minutes later, he did run out in the street and Sharon quickly reigned him back in.
I punished him that night. Granted, my punishments are, by old-school standards, pretty mild because the boys mind pretty well. They get in the most trouble for endangering themselves and others, rudeness, attitude and lying. Obviously, this was a safety issue.
Anyhow, the very next night, as soon as I walked into the yard, Jackson, whose in the sandbox playing with his brother and cousin, yells to me, “Dad, I have to tell you something!”
Sutton screams out, “Nooooooooooooooooo ... don’t tell him!”
Then, Sutton precedes to come and tell on himself.
Needless to say, Sutton and I adjourned into privacy and I gave him a strong message. I pray it worked.
You know, when you go through what we went through two years ago, and you have these small children who just run out into traffic .... it just scares the death out of you. Hopefully mine are learning to slow down and look.
I’m sharing this with you, not so you’ll call Child Protective Services on me, but as a reminder. Warn your children to watch out for cars. Tell them to stay out of the street if they’re young and if they ride bicycles or scooters, urge them to wear a helmet and watch out for cars. NEVER ASSUME A DRIVER SEES YOU!
Additionally, local children will be taking to the streets for an additional eight hours a day in a few weeks. Please, please be aware of them, especially around the parks and residential areas.
We can’t always avoid a tragedy, but we have a fighting chance when we are aware of our surroundings.

Copyright Christopher Blackburn 2009

Monday, April 20, 2009

Ohhh Nancy - You Silly Girl

I’d like to publicly thank God Speaker Nancy Pelosi is not my U.S. Representative.
How dare she and some of her cohorts resort to labels and name-calling.
So far, some leading Democrats have referred to Wednesday’s tea partiers as gatherings of racists, Nazis and gun nuts.
Pelosi herself called efforts to get the government to tap the breaks on excessive spending “AstroTurf.”
“This initiative is funded by the high end; we call it AstroTurf, it’s not really a grass-roots movement,” Pelosi said Thursday. “It’s AstroTurf by some of the wealthiest people in America to keep the focus on tax cuts for the rich instead of for the great middle class.”
Other House Democratic leaders took it a step further: One senior aide was circulating a document to the media that the tea parties were driven by corporate lobbyists and attended by neo-Nazis...
The tea parties are “not really all about average citizens,” the document says ... Neo-Nazis, militias, secessionists and racists are attending them.
Watching the news last night in Amarillo, I saw parents, grandparents, children - all walks of life - all races. I saw the same thing in the state-wide and nation-wide coverage as well.
It’s low for those living in their protective world - a world of millions, mansions and limousines - just like Pelosi - to denigrate Americans and flat out lie and portray events differently then they actually happened.
I paid attention to the tea parties. I watched them on MSNBC, CNN and Fox News. I never heard reports which were circulated and conveyed to the media by a few fringe Democrats.
I’ve got news for Pelosi and her buddies, they are quickly getting into the same smug boat Republicans found themselves in back in 2006. Start thumbing your nose at the masses and you’ll be shown the exit come November 2010.
On Wednesday, hundreds of thousands of people across the U.S. held peaceful demonstrations opposing massive spending by the government. Is it so wrong to question how trillions of taxpayer dollars are to be spent? Of course not.
Mrs. Pelosi needs to climb out of her ivory tower and look around for herself. We don’t all live in San Francisco. We don’t all think the government is the correct answer to all our problems. We don’t all think that she, Sen. Harry Reid and Rep. Barney Frank are the answer. In fact, with their 33 percent approval rating, not many think they are the answer at all.
The 58.8 percent of American which think this country is on the wrong track want real answers. They include Democrats, Republicans and Independents. So someone tell me, what is so wrong with wanting OUR money spent wisely?

Copyright Christopher Blackburn 2009

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thanks For The Theft!

I had a building burglarized last week.
Thieves broke in and stole some valuable items and vandalized the place.
Here’s how I feel about it: It would be worth them breaking in, if I could catch them breaking in.
I wonder if we could get the laws changed where the victim can get five minutes alone with the perpetrator(s).
I guess that wouldn’t fly. Our liberal friends would have a fit if we did that. Too bad. That would be five minutes well spent.
It’s frustrating when people decide to hit you where it hurts. You go through a gambit of questions and feelings.
Luckily, we have a group of people capable of getting things done regardless of the situation! I’m sure proud of them!
So many times newspapers are regarded as the bad guy for printing the news.
I’ve put family and friends in print ... and not for scoring the game-winning touchdown either. I’ve even placed myself in the not-so-flattering limelight.
As far as I’m concerned, having your name published is a risk you incur when you decide to do something which might get your name in the newspaper. In other words, before knocking off the local Allsup’s, you might consider the fact that your name may indeed, end up in the newspaper.
I suppose you can consider the publicity you receive a deterrent of sorts. It should also encourage law enforcement to release names and information so they get the credit they deserve for keeping us safe and sound.
As for the criminals which burglarized my building - I certainly hope I get to publish your names soon!
President Obama made a great call giving our U.S. Navy SEALS the okay to rescue Capt. Richard Phillips, who was taken hostage when his freighter ship, the Maersk Alabama, was hijacked by pirates off the coast of Somalia last week.
“I am very proud of the efforts of the U.S. military and the many other departments and agencies that worked tirelessly to resolve this situation,” Obama said.
The SEALS, which everyone should know are weapons unto themselves, were the perfect solution to the problem.
Obama deserves credit for not only making the call, but letting would-be pirates know our stance on piracy and kidnapping.
The following is some feedback I received recently. It is regarding a recent column I wrote which had the word “puke” in it.

Mr. Blackburn,
I was agreeing with you all the way down the page. Couldn’t have said it better myself. Nodding my head and sitting in the “amen” corner on everything you were saying and then you had to ruin it by saying “puke.”.
Why couldn’t you have just said something like regurgitate (for polite society) or maybe up
chuck, throw up, vomit ( I always want to when I see that word) or toss your cookies or even hurl ... or one of my favorites that it was sick enough to “gag a maggot.”

I really never even thought before writing the word “puke.” I guess it’s one of those things that is in the eye of the beholder. One man’s puke is not another man’s regurgitation.
I hope none of you are trying to enjoy a meal while reading this. If so, I apologize.

Copyright Christopher Blackburn 2009

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Interesting Trip For Prez

President Obama had quite a trip. I’d say it went pretty well for him overall. However, there were a few missteps.
Obama’s recent references to American “arrogance” and its “dismissive” attitude are a bit far-reaching.
Why go to France - a country which has displayed nothing but arrogance toward the U.S. for decades and say that?
“In America, there is a failure to appreciate Europe’s leading role in the world. Instead of celebrating your dynamic union and seeking to partner with you to meet common challenges, there have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive,” Obama said to the masses.
I think many of us would appreciate “Europe’s role” if the Europeans would get off the sideline and actually display some leadership in the world. Of course we’re going to lead - we are the United States and that is what we do. Seems to me the governments in Europe would rather criticize than truly “lead” by example.
I guess what really gets under my skin about Obama’s comments is the fact he made them in France. Of all the countries in the world to bash the homeland, why do it in front of the French. Drives me crazy!
This was also a quote Obama made in front of the French: “But in Europe, there is an anti-Americanism that is at once casual, but can also be insidious. Instead of recognizing the good that America so often does in the world, there have been times where Europeans choose to blame America for much of what is bad. On both sides of the Atlantic, these attitudes have become all too common.”
Beautiful! Very well said and true, true, true! Next time, he should reverse the two and lead off with the latter quote.
Overall, Obama had a good week overseas. He is now firmly established on the world stage, which should serve this country well.
To his credit, I thought President Obama’s trip to Iraq was huge. There is nothing like seeing our leader in front of the troops. I also like how he is managing the war. Listening to Secretary of Defense Bill Gates is always wise.

Copyright Christopher Blackburn 2009

Monday, April 6, 2009

Play Ball!

A decade ago I coached 13-15 year-olds in baseball. Did it for three years with a friend.
This week, my son Jackson, 5, will take the field in tee-ball. I am not coaching him, but stood ready had I been asked.
I coached all those years ago because the local league needed help and because I wasn’t sure I’d ever have a family. Things sure change over time!
Here I am at 41 with my oldest boy getting ready for his first season in the sun. I think it’s cool and I hope it’s the beginning of many sports activities he will be involved in.
Will I encourage my boys to play sports? Sure. I will encourage them to try as many things as they can. Activities keep young minds busy and competition is healthy.
Will I live vicariously through them? No. I had my glory years and I don’t plan on having any more ... at least athletically.
The demands we put on our children are easy: Be disciplined, try your best and make straight A’s. I know for sure they are both intelligent so I’m confident they can make some terrific grades once they get in school.
Back to tee-ball. Jack and I discussed sports in general the other day and he now thinks he knows how to hustle. We all know how much difference hustling makes, but I don’t recall him ever doing it.
Speaking of hustle ... My mother and father actually left a soccer game of mine in third grade for my lack of hustle.
“What happened to you!” I screamed at my parents when I got home (I had to find a ride home).
Mom calmly replied, “We are not going to waste our time watching you if you are not going to do your best.”
We never had to have that conversation again.
I can recall some tee-ball action from my younger days as well. It’s a good thing too as I can remember being terrible. That’s right - coach put me in right field to begin the season and I promptly took a fly ball off my forehead. Got a nice goose-egg.
By the end of the season, coach had moved me to center field. Most of what I remember about that season involved a lot of nose picking and ant stomping from my teammates.
I also remember several players running toward third base instead of first. I really emphasized this point with Jack.
Anyhow, it will be a lot of fun watching these kids take the field for the first time. They have no idea what they’re setting us up for over the next 13 years.

Copyright Christopher Blackburn 2009