Would You Like To Donate?

Donation Sign
Donation Sign

It seems you can’t go anywhere these days without being bombarded by a donation request.

Now don’t get me wrong, I believe strongly in giving. I have run funding campaigns for various organizations that have provide assistance to combat homelessness, hunger, poverty, and especially veterans. During the holiday season, I always donate to the Salvation Army.

But, I want to know where my money is going and how it will be used. I like to know some things about you before I give you my money. To be put on the spot is not agreeable at most times, especially in a public setting. It makes people feel bad if they choose to not give.

When I lived in Las Vegas, there were days in which walking down the street could invite a constant attack of open hands waiting for spare change. Stopping at a corner to wait to cross the intersection was asking for trouble.

There was one episode during my time in Vegas in which I was asked for some “spare” change. I told the person that I didn’t have any cash on me. They then had the nerve to ask me to go to the nearby ATM to withdraw money so I could give. One could get worn down.

It is not that most people do not want to give, but I would gather that most do not not like being confronted out of the blue, even for a good cause.

I find myself going to the self-checkout to avoid being asked by a cashier to give. In the beginning, I would get depressed, but later I became content with it. I can live with myself as I do actively help whenever possible. I am willing to donate to any cause. I just want to know for who, and for what.

I’m A Racist, and Didn’t Even Know It

The Dukes of Hazzard Album, courtesy of Amazon Images
The Dukes of Hazzard Album, courtesy of Amazon Images

I’m a product of the 70’s and 80’s. Like many of my generation, I watched the television show “The Dukes of Hazzard.” This is the same show that the television network TV Land pulled for fear of offending viewers.

The issue that TV Land had with show was the car, yes, the car. The car was called “The General Lee”, and featured a Rebel flag on the top. In the minds of many, the flag is a symbol of racism. So, does that mean anyone who watched the show was racist? I watched it, and so did many of my friends, black and white. Every young boy during my time had a crush on Daisy Duke, who was played by Catherine Bach. We would all go around doing impressions of Sheriff Rosco P. Colthrane, and saying Boss Hog’s famous words, “handle it.” I guess we were all racist.

Speaking of Daisy Duke, she spawned a fashion style of shorts called “Daisy Dukes”, which usually describe shorts worn by women that were short and tight. Black women especially, began wearing those shorts. Heck, even a very famous rap was made about those shorts. That means blacks, black women who wear really tight shorts, and rappers are racist toward minorities, for example, blacks. For the record, I’m black.

Now people want to remove anything that may symbolize racism, and that is understandable. So, let’s look at that premise in detail. Currently, everyone wants to remove all the statues that were put up to honor the Civil War. Well, they shouldn’t stop there.

As I already stated, blacks who watched the Dukes should be gotten rid of. Then there are the statues of Buffalo Soldiers, some who helped in the fights to kill, or displace the American Indian. Those statues have to go too. Speaking of the military, it was them who conquered the American Indian, plus, lets not forget the many years up until World War II that the U.S. military was very segregated. After Pearl Harbor, it was the military that ran the internment camps of Japanese citizens. So, the military must be disbanded.

As far as the Civil War is concerned, most slave owners were white, so all whites must go too. Plus, when the West was being settled by white settlers, who were protected by the military which was controlled by a federal government. So, the Federal government has a history of racism, and therefore, should go. We can throw in Federal Housing Subsidies, and along with support of discriminatory lending practices from banks directed toward minorities as further proof.

It is because of discriminatory lending practices, that the banks should all be shut down. Not that they are exactly lending money anyway.

So far we have blacks, whites, the military, federal government, and banks should all go. But, wait, there’s more.

Hollywood is guilty of racism. Many years in the early days, blacks were always portrayed as uneducated servants in cinema and on television. Compared to white characters, minorities are still under served in movies and on television. So, Hollywood, gone.

Any newspaper or magazine that has been in existence at least 50-plus years probably was not kind to minorities in their coverage. Gone.

Back to the American Indian. Say everyone and everything was gone to eliminate racism. Will that solve all the problems? Nope. Indians participated in slavery pre-European so they need to go too. But, most historians would tell it was not the same as the slavery experienced by blacks, as many slaves were assimilated into tribes. Yet some tribes were known to have kept black slaves, for example, the Chickasaw and Choctaw, so, they would at least have to go.

This is all stupid conjecture. The thing is this: Removing symbols do not remove ideas. It is the minds that must be changed. Running from history will not solve anything. What are all these people who want to destroy artifacts doing beyond that? Are they having discussions? Are they reaching out to others? Are they finding ways that we can all come together for the good of the whole?

Well, I’m in search of the season DVDs of The Dukes of Hazzards. If you call me racist, then I’m a racist.

Its Cold Out There

courteously of pexels.com
courteously of pexels.com

As I look up into the winter sky

All I see is darkness

It feels like I’m peering into the abyss

And I wonder is it where all hopes and dreams go

Just floating around in the universe

Is there some way to get them back

Maybe I can reach my hands up and try to capture them

I seem to have lost my happiness too

Living for me is like playing the lottery everyday

You keep playing hoping the odds will one day come in your favour

But each day another loser

Surviving in this world is like being in a deep grave

Every mistake throws another shovelful of dirt in the hole

Pretty soon there is so much dirt that you can’t get out

Then one dies a slow death

The unsettling thing of it all is that I am the one holding the shovel

But I must keep trying to get out

I must go into the abyss and find my hopes and dreams

But looking into the sky all I see is darkness

That puts fear in me

Because I know it is cold out there

 

Georgia Gwinnett College Holds Veterans Day Celebration

Members of the Coalition of Veterans Engagement, Readiness, Trust
Members of the Coalition of Veterans Engagement, Readiness, and Trust

I was blessed to participate in the Veterans Day Celebration last Friday at Georgia Gwinnett College. It was the third such Veterans Day celebration at the school, and the second in the row that I would participate in.

 

Beginnings of the Day

The day began early for members the Coalition of Veterans Engagement, Readiness, Trust, (COVERT), which is a Registered Student Organization of Georgia Gwinnett College, and a chapter of Student Veterans of America. The coalition consist of veterans who are enrolled at the school, and is an organization that I am a member of.

Miniature U.S. Flag in GGC Lawn
Miniature U.S. Flag in GGC Lawn

Organization members arrived at 6:00 am. to place miniature U.S. flags around the main campus. The group was lead by John Maison, who is the Veterans Services Coordinator for the school, and is a former president of COVERT. COVERT consist of student veterans of all the military branches. You can find more information about COVERT on their Facebook page which is at: https://www.facebook.com/GGCCOVERT/

Gwinnett Veterans Memorial Museum Display
Gwinnett Veterans Memorial Museum Display

Veterans Museum Display

The Gwinnett Veterans Memorial Museum was kind enough to provide items that were displayed on the second floor of the Student Center of the school. Display items included uniforms worn by actual service members, a mine sweeper, a Kevlar helmet, a book of submarines, and an encased U.S. flag, along with other items. You can find more information about the museum at: http://vetmemorialmuseum.tripod.com/

Georgia Gwinnett College Army ROTC
Georgia Gwinnett College Army ROTC

Veterans Day Breakfast

The Georgia Gwinnett College Army ROTC opened the breakfast by presenting the colors. After presentation of the colors, I led the attendees in the saying of the Pledge of Allegiance. John Maison was the host of the breakfast. While everyone ate, I conducted a giveaway of prizes provided by the school’s Barnes & Noble Bookstore.

VFW and Veteran Museum Members
VFW and Veteran Museum Members

The breakfast was attended by members of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5255, which is the local post for Gwinnett County. Veterans of Foreign Wars is a supporter of Student Veterans of America, and several members of COVERT are members of the local post.

Congressman Rob Woodall
Congressman Rob Woodall

Congressman Rob Woodall, who represents the 7th District of Georgia, spoke at the breakfast. I honestly have no idea what he was talking about. Maybe, it was because of my hearing impairment, so I will have to give him the benefit of the doubt.

 

John Maison, Veteran Services Coordinator
John Maison, Veteran Services Coordinator

Student Veterans of America

As mentioned previously, COVERT is a chapter of Student Veterans of America. John Maison, the school’s Veteran Services Coordinator, is one of the founders of the chapter.

Student Veterans of America, (SVA), is a coalition of student-veteran groups located on colleges throughout the U.S., and around the world. SVA provides support and resources to veterans to succeed in higher education and following graduation. SVA supports over 500,000 veterans located at over 1,300 schools, and has awarded over $1 million in scholarships to veterans since 2011.

SVA conducts quarterly Local Leadership Summits in every region of country. SVA also provides grants to campuses for construction of Vet Centers, which gives student veterans a place to study and socialize.

SVA works with members of Congress to ensure protection of the G.I. Bill, that college is accessible and affordable, and that veterans are well represented on Capitol Hill. To find out more about Student Veterans of America, look here: http://studentveterans.org/

 

I grew up saying these words and will continue until I die

Everything You Didn’t Want to Know About Talc

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Johnson's Baby Powder 1 1/2 oz Container
Johnson’s Baby Powder 1 1/2 oz Container

Talcum powder has been in the news a lot lately. In an Reuters article published yesterday, it was described how Johnson & Johnson has lost another lawsuit charging that its baby powder causes ovarian cancer. You can read the article here:

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-johnson-johnson-cancer-lawsuit-analys-idUSKBN13114F

I am not going to discuss the merits of the lawsuits. The purpose of this article is to explain what talc is and what possible dangers its use has been linked to. Warning: we are about to get deep, this is not general purpose information. I used minerals.net as my primary source along with information from the National Institute of Health. You can find information on talc at minerals.net here:

http://www.minerals.net/mineral/talc.aspx

What is Talc?

Talc is the softest mineral on earth, and is number 1 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. The scale is a measurement devised by Austrian scientist Fredrick Mohs to determine the hardness of a mineral. Hardness is the resistance of an object to scrapes and scratching, with the harder something is, the greater its resistance.

Talc can be found in different colors, which are well sought after, along with what is called pseudomorphs. A pseudomorph is a mineral that chemically replaces another mineral without changing the external form of the original mineral.

Talc is a basic magnesium silicate, which can be found in colors of white, beige, gray, yellow, brown, pink, purple, blue, and green. Talc has a monoclinic crystal system, and is most often found as large distorted masses and foliated sheets. Foliated means an aggregate is composed of numerous, thin, leaf-like crystals.

Talc can also be found as a plate, which is a small, flat, flaky crystal. Talc can be micaceous, which is an aggregate of compact, flat, parallel, flexible, peel-able sheets. Talc can be radiating, which is an aggregate composed of tiny, slender crystals compacted together radiating from a central point. The radiation can be flat or three-dimensional. If three dimensional, the aggregate commonly occurs with circular, ball-like masses, called spheralitic.

Talc can be botryoidal, which is an aggregate which resembles a cluster of grapes with smooth rounded surfaces or bubbles. The term, globular is also used to describe this particular form of aggregate.

Then, there is a fibrous talc aggregate, which is constructed of fine, usually parallel threads. Some fibrous minerals contain cloth-like flexibility, meaning they are easy to bend soft to the touch, almost like cotton.

Crystallized talc is rare and is almost always microscopic. Talc has a transparency range from transparent to opaque. The specific gravity of talc, or the ratio between the density of an object, and a reference substance, which is usually water, is in the range 2.7 to 2.8.

Talc usually exhibits a luster than can be greasy, waxy, or pearly. Talc’s tenacity, or ability to be cut with a knife is sectile, which means it can be sliced easily. Talc is found in metamorphic rock, or rock formed from original rock through heat and pressure.

Soapstone is formed mostly of talc, with small amounts of chlorite and pyroxenes, which are a class of rock-forming silicate minerals, generally containing calcium, magnesium, and iron. Soapstone is used in ornamental carvings.

Talc is a very important industrial mineral. Talcum powder is just crushed talc, and is the main ingredient in many cosmetics as well as baby powders. Talcum powder was used in latex gloves to fight moisture, but has since been replaced with cornstarch. Lastly, talc is highly resistant to heat and electricity.

Health Problems Associated With Talc

I reviewed the National Institute of Health’s U.S. Library of Medicine’s Medline Plus website to gather information on the health effects of using talcum powder, or anything that contains talc. You can find the site here:

https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002719.htm

Respiratory problems have been associated with talc in powder form. The above link is to a page entitled “Talcum Powder Poisoning”. According to information listed on the site, talc can be harmful if swallowed or breathed in. It is always advisable to wash hands after handling talc.

Talc is an ingredient in certain products that kill germs like antiseptics. Talc is often used as a filler for street drugs, like heroin. That is why you must purchase drugs only from reputable drug dealers with years of experience and not some new kid off the block.

Most symptoms of talcum powder poisoning are caused by breathing in talc dust. Breathing problems are the most common symptom. Other problems associated with talcum powder poisoning urine output becoming greatly decreased or halted all together, coughing, irritation of the eyes and throat, diarrhea, and vomiting.

Talcum powder poisoning has also been linked to convulsions, low blood pressure, chest pains, difficulty breathing, lung failure, rapid or shallow breathing, and wheezing. Other health problems include induced coma, drowsiness, fevers, lethargy, and twitching of arms, hands, legs, feet, or facial muscles. Lastly, talcum powder poisoning can cause blisters, blue skin around the lips and fingernails.

Talc: One of the Military’s Most Important Weapons

As a veteran, I can attest from experience that with talcum powder, military operations would come to a screeching halt. A soldier would never travel anywhere without his powder. We need our powder to prevent jock itch, toe jam, or trench foot. A soldier not having their powder can be worse than not having a weapon. Talcum powder reduces the change of getting sick, and a sick soldier is an useless soldier, weapon or not.

I hope you learned all you didn’t want to know about talc and find this useful. Prepare yourself for more useless drivel in the future. Peace!

 

 

Volvo’s Planned Fight Against Bullying

A Young Musing Cogitator
A Young Musing Cogitator

In a Business Insider Australia article, written by Rob Price, entitled “Britain’s first self-driving cars will be unmarked so aggressive drivers don’t bully them”, Volvo plans to begin leasing self-driving cars in Great Britain.

Volvo plans to begin the program in 2018. What makes this story interesting is Volvo plans to produce unmarked vehicles to prevent bullying from aggressive drivers.

Volvo’s thinking is that if a car is marked self-driven, drivers in other vehicles will disregard road courtesies that they may give to others in manually-driven cars. Honestly, Volvo’s premise is correct. People will cut a self-driving car off in traffic, or act like a bunch of asses by tailgating. If someone knew a car was self-driven, they would not worry about road rage.

Cities in the future should maybe consider a lane dedicated to self-driven vehicles, as they are coming and the matter will need to be addressed sooner or later. Self-driven vehicles will never go over the speed limit, or cut others off, or tailgate. Of course, this would piss other drivers off, especially here in the Atlanta area where a speed limit sign seems to be a reminder of the minimum speed and not the intended maximum.

It probably won’t take long before there is an accident between some over-aggressive driver and a self-driven vehicle, with the self-driver receiving most of the blame. What I want is a self-driven Ferrari, or Lamborghini. Having one of those would nip road bullying in the bud.

I digress, so back to Volvo. If the cars look like “regular” cars, there should not be any problems. But, if the look like a toy RC car, then unmarked or not, Volvo will not have solved anything.

You can read the article here:

http://www.businessinsider.com.au/uk-volvo-self-driving-car-pilot-vehicles-unmarked-drivers-dont-bully-them-2018-2016-10