Uncle Thor's Lessons, Anecdotes and Humor

07
Oct

Political Hatred: The 21st Century Bigotry

Just to reassure my friends: I do not judge you by the candidates for whom you vote, nor for your choice of political party. (I am opposed to Extremists on both Left and Right: Nazis, Communists, etc. Then again, I do not have any friends who are Commies, Nazis or other enemies of freedom.) Whether you choose Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Green, etc, I assume you made that decision based on your own experiences, your needs and your best judgement. I do not think you are a hater, fascist, libtard, bigot, traitor, lily-liver or any other ridiculous epithet. What with the present political climate, you can support Trump, Schumer or anyone in between and you can rest assured that I do not think more or less of you for it.

I see people hurling vitriolic condemnation of others because of their choice of candidate and political affiliation. Some of the accusations are cruel, hateful and untrue. There are too many people who take it as a grave offense that others do not agree with their views in matters of politics. The election was over and done almost a year ago, and these thin skinned whiners are still casting aspersions on others. Those at fault are on both sides of the political debate. It does not take an advanced degree in psychology to see what is really going on here.

“When you point the finger at others, three fingers point back at you.” Instead of vilifying the people whom they condemn, they reveal their own lack of character. I am seeing that some people who I thought were reasonable, on both sides of the political line, are at heart cruel, vindictive and intolerant. Most of us consider it wrong to disparage people because of race, religion, gender, ethnicity, age, level of education, occupation, economic strata, and so forth. It is equally immature to hate because people do not ascribe to the same political and social views as oneself. Every time I see someone going on a rant against others over this, they sound as hateful and delusional as every other bigot. Swap out a few words, and they are indistinguishable from every raging racist, religious bigot, xenophobe, homophobe and misogynist.

To those who do so, I say to each: Grow up. You may think you are making sense, but you sound like a fanatical moron brimming with hate. I have lost respect for several of you because of your hateful diatribes and ridiculous accusations.

********

I have heard some really stupid things. The latest was about the Las Vegas shooting. There are wicked sorts out there who claim that the concert-goers “deserved it” because “….most country-music fans are Trump supporters…” A couple months ago, there were some on the other side who said that Nazis and Klanners in Charlottesville did a service by “…stomping the leftist…” counter protesters. It is sick to wish grievous injury and death on others because you do not agree with their politics. If you are feeling that much hatred, the problem is not the folks whom you oppose. YOU have a problem and need to deal with it because something is tragically wrong with YOU.

************

To reassure folks, remember that our country has checks and balances. Our Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches keep the balance. The President has his limitations, as do Congress, the Senate and the Supreme Court. While it may seem that the divisions today are irreparable and we are on the way to civil war, the facts show otherwise. Those of us over a certain age remember when things were far worse. The Civil Rights battle and the Vietnam War controversies were far more heated, involved far more people and saw much worse violence. Look at films of the brutality aimed at Civil Rights marchers in Selma, Alabama. View the videos of the violence that erupted during the protests at the 1968 Democratic Convention. Look at Kent State. We have witnessed worse, yet the country always came through. If you doubt the checks and balances, look what happened to Nixon via Watergate and the impeachment of Bill Clinton. Whether you have faith in elected officials or any party, or none at all, have faith in the United States of America’s ability to weather the tide. There are far more people like those who helped their neighbors in the recent hurricanes in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rice, and the people who worked to save others during the horrible shooting in Las Vegas, than there are people out to hurt our country and our people. Better to be among those who help than those who hate.

04
Oct

Some Hard Facts about Violence

Ending Violence

Much violence is done in imitation of what people see through the entertainment media. TV and Movie violence is very different from real violence. The brawls and gunfights on television are “cleaned up”, stylized portrayals of violence. Real violence is messy, painful and disgusting. Any doubts? Ask a veteran city police officer about real violence.

Shooting is never as clean as it looks on television. There is blood. And sometimes it comes with guts and bone. Knives can make the most wicked and bloody wounds. Bats, pipes and other bludgeons tend to lacerate skin and draw blood. People who think violence is okay need to see this.

Let me be blunt: the decision to use violence is a grave one. It has more gravity than the stereotypical brawl between two morons. Such a choice should never be done lightly. Unfortunately, too many people see violence as a first option for any dispute rather than a last resort in a life-and-death situation..

To those who are prone to use violence to assuage their bruised egos, I say this: Your bruised feelings in no way justify the use of violence. Being offended is no cause to physically harm another. Grow up. Life is not all about you and your feelings. Thicken your skin and take it like an adult. This world does not need another thin-skinned hothead looking to avenge any hint of offense.

28
Sep

How to Diminish the Appeal of Hate Groups

The late talk show host, Tom Snyder, enjoyed my All Gauge Model Railroading Page (www.thortrains.net) enough that he placed a link to it. He was a model train fan and we traded a few emails. I liked Tom. His talk show pulled no punches and he was not afraid to tackle controversial subjects.

I learned a lesson from his show many years ago, long before anyone had even thought of an Internet. He brought some modern-day Nazis on the show. These were the George Lincoln Rockwell types. Tom let them talk. He hit them with a lot of hard questions. He gave them enough leeway to make fools of themselves. People asked why Snyder would have people like that on his show.

Tom replied that when you put the spotlight on people like that they shriveled. They certainly did on his show. I would like you to consider this.

Today, we have idealistic fools who think they can stamp out hate groups through violence and tinkering with the law. The fools want to “shut them up.” All that will do is drive those people underground. It will not eliminate them. It will not diminish their appeal to folks who think like them. More likely, it will make them more appealing. The only thing accomplished will be to force them to operate where we cannot see them.

An old Irish saying applies here: Better a Devil you can see than one that you can’t.

Though the logic of that expression should be obvious, some folks will miss the point entirely. So let me elucidate:

If the extremists go far enough underground to conceal themselves and their activities, then we have no clue as to what they are doing or where they are focused. We can no longer counter them because we do not know where they are or even if they exist any more. That gives them the element of surprise. They have freedom from observation and the time to hatch more intricate and destructive plots. Imagine a hundred Timothy McVeigh type schemes in the works.

No! We need to put the spotlight on them. We need to get them to speak in front of the camera. We need to get them out in the open so people can really hear what they have to say. And we must subject them to inquiry right then and there. I can assure you that public scrutiny will do more to counter them than any plot to silence them. It will also discourage those who might have been tempted to join them. Given public scrutiny, the extremists and their words will be best advertisement for shunning them and their crackpot ideologies.

27
Sep

Hands in My Wallet

Many years ago, a friend invited me to go on a weekend with him at a place in the Poconos. He had bought a time-share at a resort. One of the bonuses was that he could take friends to the resort for a weekend. The catch was that at the end, the friend would be subjected to a sales pitch selling time shares.

The resort was an old golfers’ country club. On arrival, we were given tickets that we could use at the resort like money. It was a nice enough place. Apparently, it was expanding its reach beyond golfers to summer and winter vacationers and hunters.

The last day, we reported to another building where we were cordially greeted. I knew nothing of time shares. The sales pitch began wit ha slide show about the resort and its amenities. Next, it spoke of other resorts with which a person could swap a time share. In other words, instead of going to Pennsylvania that year, he might trade to go to one in Europe or other parts of the US.

The show emphasized the owner’s interest in participating in events at the resort, with pictures of him having a barbecue with members / guests. I recognized that little bit of advertising. It was tantamount to saying:“Join the club and hang out with the rich man. He wants to be your friend”

That told me that the resort was really stretching with the time shares. They were going for folks with average incomes. Apparently, there were not enough rich folks joining as they had in the old days.

Of course, this was a waste of time and energy. I had no intention of buying anything. Time share? I could just as easily buy a couple acres of land and put a small house trailer on it if I wanted a country hideaway.. I had no interest in golf whatsoever.

After the presentation, I was asked to speak with a representative. He was a small, nervous-looking man in a cheap sports jacket. There was a look in his eyes that I had seen before, but did not place at that moment. We went into a small cubicle and he began showing me available time shares. I played along, intrigued by the whole concept. Yet at no time was there any intention to buy one. A hoity-toity country club was no place for me.

The little man stressed that I could sign a contract, and if I was not satisfied, I had three days to cancel it. He said that a few times. He implied that I had to move fast to get the timeshare I wanted at the best price. And here is a useful bit of wisdom about that kind if salesmanship. Getting into the contract is easy. Getting out might be a hassle. (I discovered later that terminating contracts often involves sending a registered letter and all that.) Better not to get into it at all.

I told him that rather than buy on the spot, I would think about it and call later. He pressed for me to sign on the dotted line but I refused. Again, he was told that I would think about it.

Suddenly, the little man’s whole attitude-changed. He picked up his sales binder and started to walk away. The man acted as if I had done something personally to hurt him. The abrupt reaction was as if that air had instantly been let out of a balloon. It was weird. He just spent time trying to sell me a time share and now, by his sudden change of demeanor, made sure that I – or any other customer subjected to such rudeness – would never come back to buy.

Keeping to my normal standards of courtesy, I offered him a handshake. He gave a dead fish handshake and walked away. I didn’t like the feeling I got.

Then it hit me. The little man had that hungry look. It was as if he mentally had his hands in my wallet. The man was focused on my money. What about me? To him, I was just a situation he had to handle in order to get it. Later, I learned that he was not a professional salesmen. None of them were. Almost all were time share buyers. The resort arranged for them to sell timeshares so as to earn commissions that paid for their own. Aha! The wee fellow expected me to help pay for his time share.

I was that little man’s one shot that weekend to make a commission. He not only wanted a sale: he thought he deserved it. To him, it was a “done deal.”

To be blunt, the things promised in the slide show and other promotional materials were too good to be true. The problem is not what they tell you, but what they do not tell you that is misleading.

A couple years ago, my wife and I were food shopping. In the same plaza as our favorite supermarket was a mattress store. Audrey wanted to look at mattresses, so in we went. Almost as soon as we started looking, a salesman descended on us. We told him we were just browsing, but that was not enough for him. He stayed with us, wanted us to try something to test a mattress’ firmness, and guided us toward more expensive mattresses. At one point, the man said, “This isn’t high pressure, it’s high practicality.”

We told the man more than once that all we wanted to do was browse. The constant sales pitch was annoying. Audrey and I wanted to look at what we chose to see. He kept trying to direct us everywhere else. This was a high-pressure sales pitch for, of all things, a mattress!

Finally, the man stropped and said, “What can I do to get you to buy a mattress today.”

By this time, Audrey and I were miffed. Audrey replied, “Nothing. We just wanted to look.”

This man expended all this energy and effort despite our telling him several times that we just wanted to browse. He turned his back and abruptly walked away from us. Obviously, he finally realized that we had only come to browse. And like the little man in the Poconos, he mentally had his hands in our wallet. Like that little twerp, the mattress salesman acted as if we did something to him.

People can act that way when they do not get their way. And even if they are the active one in the situation, they act as if the other person is at fault when it goes sour.

“There is something of yours that belongs to me, and if do not get it, you hurt me!”

Remember that YOU control your wallet, not some high-pressure salesman. And by all means, do not sign the contract until YOU are ready to buy. They can wait three days if their product or service is as good as they claim.

20
Aug

Facts about Extremists

Facts about Extremists

Extremists tend to be unhappy people. They have a lot of anger. Feeling like nobodies, their causes make them somebody. They think that by fighting for something bigger than themselves, they are somebody. And fight they will. Many of them are very devoted to the causes they espouse. Extremists will work for their cause, at their own expense. Many are willing to face ostracization, jail and worse in the furtherance of their causes.

And make no mistake. These are not all a bunch of ignorant thugs. Some people get cold comfort thinking they are intellectually better than the extremists. Many extremists are intelligent, if misguided. Many are otherwise capable individuals into whose lives the proverbial monkey wrench had been thrown. Extremism is a way they compensate for the losses. That same intelligence has so enwrapped itself in their various ideologies that they can see no other way.

Doing things for their cause gives them a sense of validation. The more they commit to it, the more validated they feel.

Look at history. Both Nazism and Communism had attracted intellectuals to their side. Both systems had very intelligent people working on their development. The presence of smart people does not change the obvious fact that both Nazism and Communism both have a history of brutality, genocide and complete disregard for human rights. Both thrive on hatred for their enemies. Without someone to hate, both Communism and Nazism atrophy.

I would say the key word to understanding extremists is frustration. These are people who have been frustrated in one or more areas of their lives. Many have been made powerless by unfortunate events in their lives. Granted, it happens to others who do not choose an extremist path. However, for the people in question here, it has found outlets via participation in extremist ideologies and activities.

Be aware that however you react to them, you will not change them one bit. They have chosen their ideologies and have developed a talent for ignoring arguments to the contrary. Respond with silence and they say they have made people afraid to respond. Argue with them and they say you are being hoodwinked by some inimical group or ideology. Fight them and they claim you are violent. Even if you beat them, they claim victory because they say they got their point out into the open. Extremists thrive on getting a reaction: any reaction! For them, any publicity is good publicity. They are not going to back down from their viewpoints and they are not going to go away.

When you see that extremist, remember that he is a frustrated and angry person who feels that Life has cut him a raw deal. Maybe it has. Life is unfair. However, that extremist has chosen to deal with his frustrations in a way that is abhorrent to the rest of society. He has adopted an ideology which stands against the ideals of our society. He has become a weapon of that ideology. Under it all is a person who has a “hole in the soul.” You can rest assured that the extremism with which he tries to fill that hole will never suffice. Until he turns away from it and seeks a rational means of fulfillment, he will be a frustrated and angry person lashing out at the world.

******

How do I know this? Back in the 70s, I brushed wings with extremists. I have known people who adhered to various extreme ideologies and groups: For the most part, these were not casual acquaintances. Several were friends. And yes, I had the dilemma of not being able to introduce some friends to other friends. I knew many of these people well enough to know their histories, their families and some confidential details. Among folks I considered friends were people on both sides of the equation: Right, Left, White, Black, Christian, Jewish, Panthers, Nazis, Klanners, Commies, etc. The ones who really took their causes to heart all fit the profile given above. Some were still involved when I knew them. Some had cut ties to their extreme causes and chose a more rational life. I lost contact with the last of them over 30 years ago.

Many of these individuals I knew were good people at heart. The problem was that their innate goodness was buried under a lot of frustration, hate and misguided thinking. I had no doubt that their good nature did not extend to those they considered adversaries. The same person who might go to great lengths to help someone could just as quickly turn violently hostile when facing one of his enemies. Others were malicious folks seeking an outlet. Indeed, a waste of human potential.

18
Aug

If you are proud, show your face and say so!!

People who are proud of their words, their cause, their actions and themselves do not hide their faces.

14
Aug

Better to Know!

Ignorance is not bliss. We live in an era where knowledge is widespread and accessible. Therefore, we have no excuse to be ignorant. Nonetheless, there are people who think it is “cool” to be thought of as dumb. Recently, a popular entertainer proudly proclaimed that he is a “…great non-reader of books….”

Knowledge is power, knowledge leads to insight, and knowledge is a necessary ingredient of wisdom. We all do well to increase our knowledge in whatever fields and things interest us. Let the willfully ignorant suffer the consequences of their stupidity. And let us benefit from the results of our wise decision to pursue knowledge.

Knowing gives us the ability to accomplish more. Knowledge assures success.

13
Aug

Good and Bad Religion

This is something I wrote back on August 13, 2014

After more than half a century of dealing with religion, religious teaching and the like, I have noticed certain things which separate good religion from the bad counterpart. I have experienced both sides of it in my youth and have observed these things since attaining adulthood.

Good religion:

Religion should provide acceptance. That includes self-acceptance and acceptance of and by others.

Religion should provide a sense of direction.

Religion should encourage and assist an individual’s self -expression.

Religion should empower an individual to stand on his own two feet, to think for himself and express his independence as a human being.

Religion should offer a means of belonging.

Religion should acknowledge the connection between the human and the divine. It should help people come to know the divine that abides within the human.

Religion should contribute to an individual’s confidence and sense of security.

Religion should be a vehicle for spirituality. It ought to enhance spiritual growth and understanding.

Bad religion:

Religion should not encourage total obedience to any person, entity, organization or scripture.

Religion should not penalize people for questioning it.

Religion should not be employed to cajole, brainwash, manipulate, coerce or otherwise abuse the free will of others.

Religion should not teach hate, intolerance or bigotry.

Religion should not impart feelings of fear, unworthiness and insecurity.

Religion should not teach that different beliefs make their believers inimical, hostile, or worthy of mistreatment of any kind.

Religion should never undermine, inhibit, contradict or otherwise diminish spiritual growth and development.

04
Aug

The Chris Christie Horse’s Ass Serenade

The Chris Christie Horse’s Ass Serenade

(To the tune of “The Mr. Ed Song”)

A horse has an ass, of course, of course
And none can talk to an ass , of course
Unless you meet our governor
Talk to Portly Chris

He wants you to think he’s upper class
In spite of the gas that he will pass
He is New Jersey’s Horse’s Ass
Look at Portly Chris

Chris goes round the Bridgegate way
The people he will sass
But Portly Chris can never hide
The fact he’s a horse’s ass

He’s never in Trenton, of course, of course
Approval rating getting worse and worse
The nation’s lousiest governor
Chris the Horse’s Ass.

You can hear the song on Youtube. Follow the link below

https://youtu.be/CZMtyvc01dg

28
Jun

Rune Musings: The Odal Rune – No Borrowed Ancestors

Odal – No Borrowed Ancestors

Being adopted, I had a hard time connecting with MY ancestors. For several reasons, I could not and would not borrow the lineage of my adoptive family.

I was not going to fuss over honoring borrowed ancestors.

Finding a lineage of my own came in an odd and wonderful way. Audrey and I were looking at the old veterans’ gravestones at Tennent Church. Many casualties from the Battle of Monmouth are buried there. We were looking at stones from those who had died after the War. At the start, some were marked Continental Line. Others were marked NJ Militia. From there it went to later wars, such as the War of 1812, Mexican War, Civil War, etc.

That was where I found my lineage. The Continental Line was the regular Army of the Revolution. The Militia was the predecessor of the National Guard. I had served both in the regular Army and the National Guard, and felt a connection. Here was a lineage that fit me. I am part of that line of American soldiers stretching from the old militia to the present.

There are other groups that give a sense of precedence and continuity. Members have the feeling of being part of a tradition that predates them. These may be fraternal groups such as the Freemasons or Elks, veterans groups like the American Legion, various occult groups, and religious societies like the Knights of Columbus. I should note that only a few of the aforementioned groups and others like them are over 100 years old. Nonetheless, each has its traditions which help establish a feeling of continuity among members. They have a lineage, whether short or long.

The idea of ancestry and lineage connects us to the past and present. Instead of being a lone thing, it gives us a sense of belonging to something that was ours before we were born. For most people, it is easy. They have a family lineage. For others, a sense of continuity from a precedent must be discovered.

Being without a familial lineage, I am more cognizant of the need for a connection to some precedent. Fortunately, I found more than one.

******

My wife can trace her ancestors back to the 14th century. Through marriage, I have become part of her family tree. I can’t borrow her ancestors, but I do have a small place in the scheme of things.

****

What of past lives? That is a difficult thing to undertake. Better to find something in your present life on which you can find it.

********

Family is a nebulous subject for me. I know there is a natural family from which I came, but I have no contact with them. I can’t trace ancestors past my birthday. As to my adopted family, their lineage is not mine. They have not been an active presence in my life for a long time. Then again, who really matters? My answer to this comes from a lifetime of experience.

The people who matter in life are the people who love you and are there for you. And even if you have not seen some of them for years, they are still your people. That is the truth. Family or not, those who do not care for you and those who do not want you may as well be strangers. Focus your goodwill and best intentions on those who love you and show it. They are the people who deserve you. And always remember: actions speak louder than words. A lot of people talk, but the ones who count are the ones who show it in what they do.

*******

This is the last of the latest rundown of the Runes. I will likely do another one in the foreseeable future. If you have enjoyed my work, please consider my books. Profits from the Runes help cover the costs of these websites. They are available here:

Look under the Our Books and Publications heading here:

http://www.thortrains.net/trollwisepress/index.htm

Get all five of our Runic books at a discount. Go to the Specials and Discounts link, click and scroll down.

http://www.thortrains.net/trollwisepress/specials07.htm

*****

Here is a set of Rune attributes using an interesting version of the Futhark. We contiue to use our old names for the Runes rather than proto-Germanic.

Rune Interpretations

© 2017 Uncle Thor's Lessons, Anecdotes and Humor | Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS)

Design by Web4 Sudoku - Powered By Wordpress