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The second amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America states: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

I do not on a regular basis ever offer my opinion on any right in this country, that being the United States of America, but I do have to speak out now. Why? Because just about everyday on the news I hear about senseless shootings and deaths. Yesterday, locally, two deputies were shot and killed, and a third person, who was trying to keep his vehicle from being carjacked, was shot in the head and is in critical condition. Also yesterday, a teenager at a school in Washington State killed one person and injured four others before turning the gun on himself.

So, let us look at the second amendment shall we? Yes, let us look at this amendment. The reason why you will see in this post.

“A well regulated Militia:” This refers to: “A military force that is raised from the civil population to supplement a regular army in an emergency.”

“being necessary to the security of a free State,” I believe the meaning of this is that at the time when this country was formed because at that time we needed to do what needed to be done to ensure that this country was not under the control of anyone else other than ourselves.

“the right of the people to keep and bear Arms…” To me this means that the people of this country had the right at that time to defend themselves as a well regulated Militia…

“shall not be infringed.” And that to protect this new country, this right shall not be infringed upon so that they could defend this new country.

OK – Now let us put together my translation: The United States Armed Forces, shall secure for our country, the right to keep our country safe and under our own control by giving the the right of those same Armed Forces the right to bear arms to keep our country secure.

Now let me ask this question: Is this country abiding by this amendment? I kindly ask that you, a citizen or not, answer this question. Here are recent events in the United States of America that might help you make this decision whether or not the founders of this great country had these circumstances in mind.

April 20, 1999 – Columbine High School – 13 dead. 12 students and one teacher. 24 injured.

January 11, 2011 – Gabrielle Giffords is shot outside of a grocery store in Arizona, 6 are killed and 13 others are wounded.

December 14, 2012 – Sandy Hook Elementary School – 154 rounds of ammunition were fired. 24 people, both children and adults are shot. 20 were children. They were between the ages of 6 – 7 years old. These 20 are dead. This is the deadliest mass shooting ever in the country, and the second deadliest mass shooting at a school by a single person in US history. The weapon was a Bushmaster .223 assault weapon.

Did you know that since 2010 there have been 95 shootings at schools around the U.S.? Of this there were 98 deaths and 111 injured.

I just gave you some examples of gun use and death to citizens in this great country. Do any of these shooters appear to you to be a “regulated Militia?”

Now the National Rifle Association (NRA) will tell you that everyone is entitled to possess a gun in this country. They tell you it is not the guns that kill or injure people, it is people killing or injuring people. If people do not have guns then they wouldn’t be able to kill or injure anyone, would they?

Pew Research recently did a poll which indicated that the country is split over gun ownership, however 90% of those polled want there to be background checks on everyone purchasing a gun. The NRA threw all kinds of money to oppose background checks. Hmm…Why would they oppose background checks? Because gun manufacturers are behind the NRA and they are more concerned with their bottom line. Ka-ching! Yes, it is all about money!

Smart gun technology is out there but the NRA, who has lots of money for lobbying politicians, opposes this too, as well as those same gun manufacturers and gun retailers. Smart Gun technology that would only allow the purchaser of the gun to use the gun, by way of fingerprint recognition, is out there. There is ongoing debate that has to do with a law passed in New Jersey in 2002 that states that once the technology is proven reliable, the law to require this technology will go into place within 3 years of that determination. The law has not yet gone into place. The reason the NRA opposes this is they believe it weakens the 2nd amendment.

I propose a solution: Do not sell bullets! If it was more difficult to obtain bullets we have less senseless death.

I know that I will most likely hear from those who support the NRA’s view, which is fine. I am just exercising my first amendment right: Freedom of speech!

Asian Artifacts


I came across some Asian artwork, and snapped off a bunch of photos so that I could share the amazing pieces that I discovered. The details of this artwork is amazing to me. If anyone can identify which culture this comes from I would love to hear from you!

Happy faces

Happy faces

A beauty

A beauty

Dancing

Dancing

A lion

A lion

Isn’t this artwork cool? Well, thanks for stopping by today! Have a spectacular Saturday! Be well! ^..^


Guest host Pete Rosos has chosen the subject “Cover Art” as this week’s WordPress Photo Album. This got me thinking about what photos that I can feature that would make for good cover art for a music album or a book. With this in mind here are the photos that I feel meet this week’s challenge!

The Old Man

The Old Man

Blue Dasher

Blue Dasher

A break in the storm and a rainbow pops!

A break in the storm and a rainbow pops!

Respect

Respect

Stained glass wings

Stained glass wings

Winter

Winter

I hope that you enjoyed this selection of photos! You too can join this challenge by clicking HERE!

May you have an amazing Friday and a wonderful weekend! Thanks for dropping by! ^..^


A Congressional Hearing for the Birds - Photo by The Reclining Gentleman

A Congressional Hearing for the Birds – Photo by The Reclining Gentleman


“How wide is that island out there in the bay?” asked the Congressman. “I am thinking that it might be 20 feet long and 6 feet wide. Would that be correct Admiral?”

“Congressman, I do not have the exact information right now, but I can get it for you,” replied the Admiral.

“And what is the bird population on this island?”

“I think that it might be about 150.”

“Now you want to add how many birds to the island?”

“We want to add 6 birds sir.”

“My fear is that if you add 6 birds to this island it will become overly populated, capsize, and tip over.”

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I wrote this story based upon on an actual event. A friend of mine sent me a video link in an email. Not believing that what I was seeing was true, I did a check of Snopes.com. The story is true!

The true story has to do with adding U.S. troops to the Island of Guam. I hope that you watch the video below. I found it unbelievable and maybe you will too. As much as I would like to spout off here, I will not. I just ask that you watch this video, and then ask yourself about who you are voting for, no matter where you are in this world.

Now for the video:

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Thank you to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for hosting Friday Fictioneers, and to the Reclining Gentleman who brought to mind the story of a video sent to me by a certain friend! Aloha!

Thank you for taking the time to read this and I certainly hope that you took the time to watch the video…be well!

The Salmon Spawn!


Many times I have had the opportunity to watch the salmon spawning. They move in from the oceans, miraculously back to the place where they were born. The colors of the fish change from the lovely silvery color to shades of black and red. After spawning they die, washing up along the rocks at the sides of the rivers. There are also hatcheries which help in the reproduction of salmon, providing ladders for the fish to go up, where they head in to tanks and do their thing. The next years fish are also contained before they are released out to sea. So, let’s take a look at this cycle beginning with the fish going up a river, and then to the hatchery! Be sure to watch the video at the end!

Here is a shot of a healthy salmon before spawning. They are silver in color before they head into fresh water to spawn.

Salmon face

Salmon face

Once they head upstream and into the fresh water they lose this color as their bodies get ready for spawning. Standing along a bridge near the mouth of the river, I capture a number of shots of the salmon. Their colors have changed. See if you can spot the salmon in the water in these next shots.

Three spawning salmon

Three spawning salmon

Five spawning salmon

Five spawning salmon

Ten spawning salmon

Ten spawning salmon

Here is a shot of the salmon from the above photo a bit closer…

Close in on some of the ten

Close in on some of the ten

We headed to a hatchery, and the folks there help the salmon species to continue on. The salmon that head to this hatchery were born here. Along a river, they have set up a ladder to resemble the uphill climb. The fish head for this ladder.

This is the ladder at the hatchery

This is the ladder at the hatchery

As the tide comes in the ladder fills up. Looking through a window set into the ladder you can see the fish…

Going up the ladder

Going up the ladder

Once they hit the top of the ladder, the fish go into holding tanks. There is a mechanism that sorts the fish by size. Here are some of the salmon in the holding tank. There are a lot of them!

Before spawning at the hatchery

Before spawning at the hatchery

Here they will collect the eggs and sperm and raise the babies. Here are the babies…

Baby salmon

Baby salmon

Out in the wild, the male salmon go through a number of phases in their spawning process. They develop humps on their back, and their mouths enlarge to create a hook at the snout. Both male and female, when they enter the fresh water they both stop drinking, relying on a gland in their bodies that has stored salt so that they do not get dehydrated.

Here is a salmon heading upstream! You can already see the color change on the fish. From the hump and the curved snout this appears to be a male.

Heading upstream

Heading upstream

The male is the first to arrive at the spawning ground and mark off their territory where the gravel is not too small and not too large. When the female arrives she uses her body to create what is called a “redd.” This is a depression in the gravel and will become the nest for the eggs. With her body she signals the male that she is ready to lay her eggs. The males fight and it is the dominant male that gets to spawn with the female. Swimming side to side she releases her eggs and he releases his sperm. The sperm, called milt, mixes with the eggs. They do this again a bit farther up the stream and the gravel she moves covers over the eggs and sperm from the first batch.

The male dies fairly quickly after spawning is done, and the female hangs around for a couple of weeks by her nests, and then finally dies off, and her body gets carried downstream. Here are two salmon who have done their job, their bodies have floated downstream. They don’t smell to good either!

They have done their job!

They have done their job!

Here is a quick video that I took of the spawning salmon, the river and the little babies. Click on the link, and then on the button at the bottom right to enlarge to full screen. The sound you hear is natural sound and was not dubbed in to the film.

Well, this got to be a lengthy blog! Thanks for stopping by and for hanging in there to read this thanks! Be well! ^..^

Margerie Glacier Calves!


On a trip that we took to Alaska, on a cruise ship, we visited Glacier Bay. I wanted to share with you today photos that I captured of Margerie Glacier calving! Calving is when ice breaks from the glacier and drops into the water. I suggest that you enlarge the photos so that you can see all the details as the ice breaks, drops and plunges into the water only to rise again!

Standing on deck, I hear a cracking sound that is louder than the ships engines. And I watch as ice begins to break free!

Dropping ice

Dropping ice

This next photo shows a huge chunk of ice that has cracked off starting to drop!

Calving

Calving

The chunk hits the water!

Hitting the water

Hitting the water

The water splashes up as the ice goes down!

The splash!

The splash!

And, a wave is formed rolling towards us.

The emerging wave

The emerging wave

And the ice pops back up to the surface!

Coming back up again

Coming back up again

This last shot shows the new iceberg floating in front of the glacier. Look for the arrow in this photo which points out the piece!

The broken piece now floats

The broken piece now floats

Wasn’t that cool? :) Stay tuned for some other glacier photos and facts!

Thank you for stopping by today and be well! ^..^


I have a friend who for years was constantly having pain and discomfort almost always after a meal. Over the years the Dr.’s were unable to identify what was wrong with her until recently. They finally diagnosed her with celiac disease. This disease prevents foods from being absorbed into the small intestines and actually damages the lining of the small intestine. It can be very painful, as it was for her. What caused this disease is an intolerance to gluten.

What is gluten? It is a protein found in wheat and other grains that gives doughs that elastic feel. It helps the dough to rise, keep its shape and makes it chewy. Folks who suffer, as my friend does, from celiac disease have to consume a special diet so that they can avoid this protein.

Here is a brief list of foods that are recommended for those suffering from this condition. The list includes beans, seeds and nuts, none of which are processed. It also includes fresh eggs, most dairy products and fresh vegetables. It is also important that any meats that they consume do not have breading, batter coated or marinated. There are gluten free “flour” alternatives to wheat, like quinoa, amaranth, corn, to name a few.

Last year you might remember I attended the Tony’s Fine Foods food show. At this event we went looking for gluten free crackers. We were doing this so that folks who came to visit the winery where I work would be able to clear their palette, enjoy the varying flavors of the wine, and not suffer from the gluten side effects.

I spoke to one of the vendors about how a single plant can make items with gluten and items without. I was told that they have to have separate facilities. This is because as wheat flour is processed gluten can float into the air and contaminate other products.

So, now you know that gluten comes from wheat. And, food manufacturers have now included the words “Gluten Free” on packaging. Now this is not a surprise on crackers, cake mixes, pastas, bread and such. I was surprised to find this labeling on bacon. Yes, I saw gluten free bacon! And, I was surprised to find it on coffee too! The two manufacturer’s do not have plants that process wheat. Here is a coffee label that indicates it is gluten free.

Gluten free coffee

Gluten free coffee

Searching the internet, I did find this one club that offers the “gluten free bacon.”

Gluten free bacon

Gluten free bacon

I understand the necessity of labeling an item as gluten free for those that suffer from celaic disease and marketing products as gluten free has now become the norm. I believe that people should educate themselves on what gluten is and what food alternatives there are.

Have a terrific Tuesday and thanks for stopping by!