Who and What is the Happy Warrior
This blog is a representation, in conversational form, of my voyage to wrap my arms around the world in which Mr. Worsdworth's warrior finds happiness.
(Standing disclaimer: Luckily tests of spelling accuracy ended in 4th grade otherwise I would still be in Elementary School. Be forewarned, spelling errors ahead. I subscribe to the wisdom of a great man who said, "I have utmost disdain for a man who can only spell a word one way." -Benjamin Franklin)
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Adults need to understand, and our children should be taught, that private choices are not private; they all have public consequences.
There is a popular notion that doing our own thing or doing what feels good is our own business and affects no one but us. The deadly scourges that are epidemic all over the world have flourished in the context of this popular notion. But this is simply not true.
All immoral behavior directly impacts society. Even innocent people are affected. Drug and alcohol abuse have public consequences, as do illegitimacy, pornography, and obscenity. The public cost in human life and tax dollars for these so-called private choices is enormous: poverty, crime, a less-educated work force, and mounting demands for government spending to fix problems that cannot be fixed by money. It simply is not true that our private conduct is our own business. Our society is the sum total of what millions of individuals do in their private lives. That sum total of private behavior has worldwide public consequences of enormous magnitude. There are no completely private choices.
-"Will I Be Happy?", Ensign, May 1987, p. 80
Friday, May 29, 2009
Are you kidding me? I feel like I live in the land of make believe... a land of imagination where the most sophisticated concept we can wrap our minds around is some ephemeral notion of "change". Meanwhile, back in the real world, a rogue nation with a dictator (dare we describe such a country and a man as "evil") who has proven that he values the lives of his own citizens as much as a cockroach is moving full speed ahead toward the development of intercontinental missles and nuclear armarment and we react as if we are playing a game of Risk. Hell, Mrs. Wicke beats me at Risk every time, she is more serious about the proposition of global domnation than the UN (which is not surprising) or the US executive (which, unfortunately, is surprising considering we've brought the world back from the brink of totalitarian threats twice in the last century.... you would think we would have learned our lesson by now). When will we get serious? There is an answer to this question but it is almost unthinkable... we will get serious on the day after Iran or North Korea fires a nuclear warhead on America, Isreal or South Korea. Our sobriety and clarity on that day of infamy will be two days too late.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Others have engaged in this exercise, but to really give us a sense of what your personal freedom costs, lets begin smaller and more personal... What would you pay for your eyes if you did not have them? What is a sound mind worth? What about the use of two good legs? How much would you pay for a healthy heart if yours was failing? Let's take it up a notch: what would you pay for a healthy set of lungs for your child if theirs was dysfunctional and every gasp of air was a struggle?
Now, what about your freedoms? What is it worth to live without fear of a police state breaking into your home and tearing you from your children and spouse simply because you verbalized an opinion contrary to those wielding political power? What would you pay to live in a land with seemingly endless freedoms (to worship, to assemble, to choose a profession, to write, speak and think as you wish, to travel, to wear clothes of your choice, to sing, to gain an education, to live where you desire, etc., etc., etc.)? What would you pay? The truth is, the cost has been very high. The cost of your -speaking personally, not just lumping you together with millions of others we collectively call Americans- freedoms has been the lives of thousands of men and women who you will never know. In lives given (not to mention the many more whose lives were forever marred by injuries and mental distress), here is the price paid so that you and I might, today, be free:
Revolutionary War: 25,000 Americans
Civil War: 625,000 Americans
World War I: 116,516 Americans
World War II: 405,399 Americans
Korean War: 36,516 Americans
Vietnam War: 58,209 Americans
Golf War I: 299 Americans
Iraq/Afghanistan: 4,977+ Americans
(these are just some of the major and recognized conflicts, Americans have given their lives in defense of US freedom as well as freedom to others around the world in many smaller conflicts and circumstances. Some of these, like President Lincoln, himself are not numbered although their sacrifices are no less deserving to be counted in the price paid for the freedoms you and I enjoy).
These are fathers, brothers, aunts, cousins, and someone's children whose lives were prematurely traded for something they would never fully realize but which they valued more than life itself: a future and a country where a person (you and I) would enjoy the exercise of freedoms.
What have we done with this great gift? Please tell me that I am not alone in recognizing that whenever we speak of freedom or allude to our rights of __________ (whatever, you fill in the blank) that we must also give equal weight to the discussion of our responsibilities. At least let us realize the great cost that has been paid for the quality of life we now enjoy. And let us be very careful that we do not trade those freedoms for the lesser counterfiets of comfort, prosperity, entitlement or even a malignant and eroneous sense of enforced equality.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Reminding the Japanese of this truth, Douglas MacArthur spoke these words on the first anniversary of the Japanese constitution (1948), “No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation.” Similar words have been spoken by many others including Thomas Paine, John F. Kennedy and even Barak Obama (I’ve got to give credit where credit is due). All these declarations from the list of “Who’s Who of Great Men” naturally beg a question by a man of lesser repute (me): What have I (you) done to merit the bequeathal and continuation of this sacred freedom?
I ask this question which is as stinging to me as to probably any member of the contemporary “rights-centric” generations… I ask this question specifically on the day following Memorial Day in my vain effort to extend the meaning of this holy-day (funny how we have change the meaning and spelling of that word to holiday) beyond its natural 24 hour bounds.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
-Karl G. Maeser
Saturday, May 23, 2009
This video is, at the least, an interesting history lesson. Much more than this, however, it is a tribute to the American virtue of ingenuity, hard work and PRIVATE (not government owned -i.e. the Obama directorship of General Motors) industry. Enjoy.
Did you notice:
1. the rugged nature of the Model T? So much for needing Hummers
2. that Mr. Ford paid higher than normal wages to his employees? So much for the need of a union.
3. that the Ford product grew during an economically difficult era? I doubt consumers were given a "stimulus check" to help them afford the vehicle and "jump start" the economy.
4. how much the globe warmed in the decade after the mass introduction of the gas powered combustion engine automobile? Oh... what... "catastrophic man made global warming" is the latest version of the emporer's new clothes. Silly me, trifling with actual facts and rational though. Disagree with me? Engage is some of your own first hand research instead of relying on convenient propoganda films. Here is a good place to start. (more on this later, sorry for the tangent).
Thursday, May 21, 2009
To understand your children, simply pay special attention to the objects that adorn their room. At about 10:30 PM I walked in to check to make sure she was tucked in and settled for the night when it became very clear what is important in my little girl’s life. Here is the picture:
Earlier today Mrs. Wicke and I attended Logan’s First Grade awards assembly where she received a gold medal in recognition of her academic accomplishments. We are very lucky to have a girl who is 1) smart, 2) enjoys school and 3) values learning. She spoke of her medal and the assembly for several days preceding and tonight she sleeps with the token of her accomplishment right next to her side. School and learning are a big deal to Logan. I can understand her actions, goals and motivations better by and as represented in her prized medallion.
It was a big day today! Besides her academic medal, Logan and Mrs. Wicke went to Wal-Mart to make her first big purchase. For the past year Logan has been diligently saving her allowance and other earned money (tooth fairy, birthday cash, etc.) with one object in mind: an iPod Shuffel. I have no idea what planted this object in her but she has been focused and disciplined at achieving this goal. My heart warmed a few degrees as I saw it sitting well within reach and safely packed away in her clear plastic container for the night. Yes, it is only a material object, but to her it represents hard work, saving and sacrifice. Even more, I understand that my little girl values these qualities as well as the joy that music brings to her life. This is the first big purchase of her life.
Build-a-Bear Bunny (Lollie)
I am so happy to see that my little girl is still a little girl at heart. I will be very sad when the day comes that she does not snuggle up to a stuffed animal at bed time. There is something about a stuffed animal that speaks to the innocence of a child. I’m glad to see that she still has the tender heart of a little girl especially in this jaded world where adult matters too quickly encroach on our children. I can understand where my little girl is, emotionally, developmentally, mentally but the nearness of her beloved Lollie.
Junie B. Jones Book
Thanks to Mrs. Wicke, Logan is well on her way to discovering the magical world of the written word. She is never very far from a book and is often pressing her mother to purchase a new book for her (her own money has been tied up in the pursuit of the recently acquired iPod wouldn’t you know). Sure money is often tight, I’m glad that Mrs. Wicke capitulates. While it may not be appropriate to judge a book by its cover, a book is certainly a valid way to judge a person’s interests. I’ve learned to take special care to notice the content of the books my children read. National Geographic books about dinosaurs and the big cats of Africa are great as are the various adventures of Junie B. Jones or Nancy Drew. I will start to worry if I find other, less than ennobling books or magazines creep onto her bedside desk.
You see, it is not too difficult to understand a child with a little attention to the details. The most important things to them are never that far away.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Sunday, May 17, 2009
-quoted from The Life of Heber C. Kimball
Saturday, May 16, 2009
View Full Clip
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Monday, May 11, 2009
Sorry, this summary refresher was supposed to give way to Part III. I promise to get to that quickly. Here is a little teaser: I call it the Southwest Airlines Analogy.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
"To be a righteous woman is a glorious thing in any age. To be a righteous woman during the winding-up scenes on this earth, before the second coming of our Savior, is an especially noble calling. The righteous woman's strength and influence today can be tenfold what it might be in more tranquil times. She has been placed here to help to enrich, to protect, and to guard the home—which is society's basic and most noble institution. Other institutions in society may falter and even fail, but the righteous woman can help to save the home, which may be the last and only sanctuary some mortals know in the midst of storm and strife."
-Spencer W. Kimball, Ensign, 11/78
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Enlightenment, not fear and fanaticism!
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Amazon floods leave 186K homeless, death toll 19
(obviously I realize that this story is also a product of the media, so read it even with a skeptics eye; nevertheless, the comparison between two US swine flu deaths and 19 dead/186,000 homeless should be enough to shock us back to reality)
Here are some of the major parts of the report:
SAO PAULO – Floods and mudslides from months of heavy rains in northern Brazil have driven more than 186,000 from their homes, killed at least 19 people and cut off shipments from a huge Amazon iron mine, officials said Tuesday.
At least seven states, most in the Amazon region, have been affected by the rains, which have battered the region for several months, regional civil defense departments said. Worst-hit is the state of Maranhao along the Atlantic coast and south of the mouth of the Amazon River.
Maranhao civil defense official Abner Ferreira said six major highways have been swamped, cutting off thousands of people and leaving lines of stranded cargo trucks.
The rains also prompted the temporary closure of a railway that takes iron ore from the sprawling Carajas mine in the neighboring jungle state of Para, according to a statement from miner Companhia Vale do Rio Doce SA.
Iron ore, the main ingredient in steel, is shipped overseas from Sao Luis, the state capital of Maranhao. The railway also transports 1,300 people per day, and G1 reported that service should be restored within two days. Vale is the world's second largest mining company and the planet's biggest iron ore producer.
Brazil's Health Ministry said it would send an emergency shipment of 265,000 doses of medicine to Maranhao to prevent possible outbreaks of intestinal diseases caused by contaminated floodwaters.
Ferreira said meteorologists forecast at least another two more weeks of heavy rains in northern Brazil.
Floods and mudslides late last year in the southern state of Santa Catarina killed more than 100 people, displaced some 80,000 and set off a round of brutal looting in a devastated port city by people desperate for drinking water and food. (read more)
Monday, May 4, 2009
5% to 20% -- Portion of U.S. population that gets the flu each year
approximately 25% of the US population has flu-associated illness annually
200,000 -- On average, Americans hospitalized with flu complications each year
36,000 -- On average, Americans of all ages who die of flu complications each year
Death rate extrapolations for USA for Flu: 63,729 per year, 5,310 per month, 1,225 per week, 174 per day, 7 per hour, 0 per minute, 0 per second. Note: this extrapolation calculation uses the deaths statistic: 63,730 annual deaths for influenza and pneumonia (NVSR Sep 2001); estimated 20,000 deaths from flu (NIAID)
more than 20,000 children younger than age 5 are hospitalized every year because of seasonal flu (CDC)
83 -- Children who died of flu complications in the 2007-08 flu season
So, how does the "run-of-the-mill" flu (which gets almost NO media attention) compare to the swine flu which has dominated headlines for the last couple weeks:
279 people in the US (as of May 4) were infected with the swine flu
1 US death (ALTHOUGH this is actually a Mexican child who was visiting family in Texas and not really a US death. Let me be clear: one death is tragic to the family of the child but it is far from an indication of a global pandemic. Since the time this one child died of the swine flu, more children have died from auto accidents, drowning, physical abuse, SIDS, bicycle accidents, being shaken, drunk drivers, etc.... but I bet you haven't seen any news articles about these causes).
Of course you will need to transfer seasonal flu data into weekly figures to compare it to the swine flu but COME ON! It is not even close. Clearly the statistics indicate that a person has a much better life expectancy with the swine flu than the seasonal flu.
Now that the hype has nearly run its course with regard to the Swine flu let's see if we can't learn anything:
1. a "crisis" is a powerful tool for grabbing power, manipulating behavior and generating profits (see below).
2. the media has enjoyed a nice jump in their ratings (again, "crisis" wether real or manufactured is a useful thing). Here is a great article questioning the media hype.
3. follow the money: ratings equal profits.
3b. follow the money: who else profitted nicely from this crisis
4. government authority became more entrenched
5. at the same time, governmental legitimacy was weakened as the public became more cynical (the list of unfulfilled but much promoted threats: SARS, Bird flu and now Swine flu). When the real threat arrives, is anyone going to believe it? Thank you Vice President Biden!
6. STOP watching the Nightly "Nightmare" News! The media is less an information outlet and more a manipulation mechanism. Sensationalism is the only thing that grabs the attention of the American public. Refuse to be jerked around! This is not a directive to hide your head in the sand... to the contrary. Arm yourself with information (from reputable sources, not Katie Couric and her cohort). Rationally weight the data within the larger context and make an intelligent (not an emotional) decision.
7. Finally, all you parents, plan for your children to have the entire months of November, December and January off from school next year since the "seasonal flu" is a much larger health threat to your children than the current swine flu. If we are to be consistent, and prove that we are not acting out of fear and irrationality, we must close down the schools.
Saturday, May 2, 2009
So here is my Saturday Enlightenment challenge: How about spending 5 minutes each Saturday in a focused effort at improving your mind and your character. Who knows, it may even be enjoyable (in fact, I bet it will).
To help me with this effort I will enlist one of my favorite thinkers. He is a nationally known talk show radio host and lecturer. Many of you will be familiar with Dennis Prager. While I don't know him personally, I have been a follower for nearly a decade. He is a clear thinker, a gifted articulator and a defender of traditional (i.e. Judeo-Christian, American) values. If the theme of my blog -the pursuit and defense of truth- resonates with you, you will immediately love Dennis Prager. He recently commenced an effort at explaining vital political, moral and intellectual principles in five lessons. He calls this "Prager University". You will find his "lectures" the focus of many of my Saturday Enlightenment posts. Here is the first, enjoy!