Thoughts, Philosophy, Life and Love

Category: …In the news! Page 2 of 3

Countdown to Fatherhood – T-Minus 4 weeks

It’s strange how things work out.  How you plan something, working out what you think are important details, then when you are actually at the point where the thing you had hoped and planned for, actually comes to pass… nothing you planned actually survives first contact with reality.

This is like the old saying, “No battle plan survives first contact with the enemy.”  Only in this case there is no enemy, just the realization of our dreams.


One of the things that Naty and I spoke about for years was names for any children we might have.  We wanted to have names that were not JUST names for the sake of a name.  We wanted strong, powerful or meaningful names that the child would grow into and might, through understanding the origin of their name, strive to live a live that would pay honor or respect to their namesake.

My name, Samuel, was given to me for two reasons.  First, it was the name of my father and second, for Samuel the Prophet.  I am sure that my mother considered other names, but to her, she saw the name Samuel or, in Hebrew, Shmu’el, for me.  Likewise, my brother was given the name Benjamin, The Patriarch.  While neither of us became anything special or worthy of the history of the names we were given, they were strong names none the less.

When we spoke of naming our child, we thought, ever so briefly, of naming a boy Samuel.  But then we considered the lineage.  My Name is Samuel; my father’s name was Samuel, and the same with my Grandfather and great-grandfather.  Needless to say, there was some repetition in the choice of names.  So we decided that subjecting our child to the doomed title of the 4th was not an option.

One of the names that we thought of early for a boy was Ellery.  I have always liked that name, and I used to read the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine on a regular basis as well as watch the TV series of the same name, back a few years ago.  In spite of the popular and literary history of the name, it too has a good past and meaning.  So we were happy with that.

For girl’s names, there really was never a question about that.  It was always going to be one of two names.  It was going to be either Lydia Elizabeth or Daisy Faye, both names that paid homage to our families.  Lydia was for Naty’s mother and Elizabeth for my mother’s middle name.  Daisy was also to celebrate Naty’s mom by using the name she had as a child and Faye was for my Grandmother, on my mom’s side, who passed away when my mother was very young.

I am not sure why choosing a boy’s name was so much more difficult that picking a girl’s name, it just seemed like nothing worked until we found Ellery.

Reality sets in…

Everything you see written prior to this changed the moment we discovered that we were pregnant.  Prior to that point, it was all purely speculation, just thinking about what we would do if it actually happened.

We had been trying for some time, but since nothing was happening, we were getting to that point that most people get to at some point where we were just accepting that it would not happen to us. It was one of those things where we were not ready for our wish to actually be granted.  Suddenly the names that we had spent so much time thinking about and considering for their meaning and strength, we called into question.  “Did we really want to name a child this?” We asked ourselves, and then set about to rethink all our plans.

Looking through our past and through the various names we liked, we came up with our choices.  I will not post these here, the people who need to know what they are, know.  When they child is born and we know what sex it is, then we will name the child.  At that time, I will add a post welcoming the child into the world and sharing this new life with you. Let it be said for now, that the naming process… the selection of the names was not as easy as we thought it was.  There was a lot to consider, but I think we have some winners that will be strong names and will celebrate the family.

Countdown to Fatherhood – T-Minus 5 weeks

I smile when I hear people tell me about how much my life is going to change with a baby on the way.

Not because I do not believe them,  I have no doubt at all that things are going to be turned asunder for us. but because our life has already changed in more ways that I can even count.  Naty’s life changes go without saying, those are and will remain obvious to anyone that comes around right now and to anyone that visits after the baby comes along.  But there are so many things that have changed in both our lives that are not readily visible to the outside, but any parent will recognize once we start talking about them.

As I had mentioned in a prior article, there are things that just are not that important any more.  Things that at one time needed me to give them my main focus, have fallen to the wayside.  If I were to go into details, this article would become long and very boring, but suffice it to say that I am laughing at the changes I have gone through just since I found out.

I am sure that anyone that experiences fatherhood for the first or fifth time goes through these same things… these feelings or changes of feelings.  Their minds start going into that “Nurturing” mode, where they start thinking about the welfare of the family over their personal needs.  They start thinking about how they can make life good for the child at the expense of the little things that they used to like to do.

That is where I am now.  Where both of us are now, and this is where we should be.  This child is going to be the center of our universe for a long time.  Suddenly there is nothing else in our lives quite as important as this little mass that is growing in my wife right now.

As always… I would love to hear any stories or comments that you might have and would like to share with me.

Merry Christmas and Happy Channukah!

Thank you for reading.

Countdown to Fatherhood – T-Minus 6 weeks

Throughout this journey, we have been plagued by fear.  It has been, as a poet might say, our constant companion.

Not fear of having the new addition in our lives, but the fears that come with a baby in the making in general.  Things that go beyond the control of mankind, things that, you might say, are left in the hands of G-d.

There are not many that would tell you that having a child over the age of forty, especially for the woman, is not fraught with potentials for risk.  Add to that the fact that my wife has had a few other health issues in her life, and you are doubling the potential risk.  So it is safe to say that we are taking every day with baby-steps.

We have had numerous ultrasounds and various other tests to make sure that there is nothing wrong with this little bugger, but still… there is always that fear that something might be wrong.  Something the doctors missed.

It is important for me to say that should any of the tests found anything wrong, we would not have terminated the pregnancy.  The only exception to that would have been two known genetic abnormalities that are almost always fatal to the newborn… in which case we would have seriously considered that, not for our sake, but so that the baby would not suffer.  Anything else is something we could work through.

As each test came back with no problems, we would breathe a sigh of relief, but then would start worrying about the next step, or the next tests, or some other little problem that would come to might.

Then there is the input from others that causes worry.  No… I do not think they do it intentionally, but when people start telling you to look out for certain signs or watch out for this or that, then you cannot help but start to feel that pressure return.  That worry or fear that maybe something you are doing is wrong.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think that having a child would be such a roller-coaster ride.  I mean this from both the emotional as well as the spiritual aspects.  There is so much that I am having to reevaluate in my life.  Suddenly there are things that used to be important that now deserve little more than a cursory glance.  Decisions that I make now, I am not only making for myself or Naty, but for the baby as well.

But a have to admit something to you all.

I am loving every minute of it and I would not trade these feelings for anything in the world.  The fears, worry, excitement… all of it.  It is all a build up for something great.

This is going to be a great ride. Or as my favorite author, Hunter S Thompson, might say: “Buy the ticket, take the ride!”

Countdown to Fatherhood – T-Minus 7 weeks

Something that I am looking forward to, with the coming of our child, are the conversations.   Granted, at first those conversations are going to be mostly grunts, squeals and crying, with occasional laughing and “Baby Talk”.  But before you know it, and I am sure most parents reading this will agree, they will start talking.

I remember some of the conversations I had, as a very young child, with my Mother and Father.  Most of that was silly, when I look at it from my adult state of mind, but at the time it was earth-shatteringly important.  I really HAD to know why there were stitches in a baseball and football.  I really HAD to know why my Dad’s hair was gray.  Things like that.

When I watch the interactions between kids, especially the very young ones, and their parents, there is just something fascinating about watching them ask questions and learn about their world.  They are born with a innate NEED to understand the world around them.  As Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson says in one of his interviews, “Children are born scientists.”

He goes on in that interview to say that we need to encourage that and help them explore their world the way a scientist would.  This is something that I am hoping that my wife and I can accomplish in our upbringing of this kid.  We have both committed to one another that we will give this child every ounce of our effort to make sure that they learn as much as they can and to make it fun in the process.

I know… Kids are all different and there is no guarantee that anything we plan will survive the arrival of the baby.  It seems that everyone is quick to point this out to us, as if they assume that we are not already aware of this ourselves.  But the truth be known, we are.  But we are also aware that if we do not plan ahead for some things, then we will not be ready for those times when the child does start asking questions.

I think that I was blessed that I grew up in a house where I had a parent that offered me every opportunity to learn.  There was never a time I can recall asking my mother a question and her telling me that I did not need to know the answer or that I should not worry about it.  I do recall a couple times when she said something like, “I will explain it when you are a little older.” but that was about as restricted as she got with me.

There are some things kids do not need to know about at too early an age.  I will not go into that here, because it might turn this into a political argument, but I am sure that you all understand what some of these things are.  Suffice it to say that children should be allowed to remain children and not have to worry about some things until later in life.

There IS a magic to being a child, but we lose touch with that as we grow older and become more jaded with life and the problems around us.  I hope to try and teach our child that they can grow, but still hold onto that magic as they age.

Countdown to Fatherhood – T-Minus 8 Weeks


The process of preparing for the arrival of a child is something new to us.  We walk through the stores, look at the goods that are being offered and just get lost.  There are so many things out there that we need or want, but are not sure which way to go.

Luckily there seems to be no end to books, magazines and friends that seem more than willing to suggest these things to you.  Everything from diapers to doctors are suggested by those around us and in the magazines that we have picked up.  At time, however, this seems to only make life a little more confusing for us, though.

We both know that everyone has the very best intentions when they suggest this diaper or that doctor, or some other device or service that is designed to make having or caring for your new baby.  So we really do not mind, we are flattered that so many people out there are willing to take the time to offer advice.  But even with the advice, we start to get a little overwhelmed at times.  Sometimes too much information can be just as bad as too little… and as the old sales saying goes, “If you give a person too many choices, they will choose not to choose.”

I am amazed, though, at the sheer volume of merchandise there is out there for babies and their new families.  Everything from ultrasound units for the home, if you are wealthy enough to afford one, to music to play for the child while they are still in the womb.  You name it, it seems to be out there, waiting for someone to buy it.

We have decided to keep spending at a minimum.  There are a lot of tricks out there to save money if you just look around a little.  The biggest savings that my wife and I have found has been buying much of our stuff at either yard sales or at second hand stores.  There really are some fantastic deals and prices, if you just look around.

Everything that we have picked up so far has been in near perfect or new shape, and with almost no signs of use.  Which makes sense when you think of how long a child actually uses this stuff.  It is about the only time in a kid’s life when they are liable to outgrow something before they wear it out.   A fact that is very friendly on our pocket books and one that I am very aware will change as time goes on and our child grows older.

As I am sure I have said before, though, I am excited about the upcoming addition to the household and am sure that these worries will all take second place to the enjoyment to be had with the child… at least until they reach their teens.  Then I might need to look for a tranquilizer gun.

Countdown to Fatherhood – T-Minus 9 Weeks


I have thought about this a lot over the years. Most of the time, though, it has been from the point of view of a child that never really KNEW his father that well, except as the guy that would occasionally show up for the errant birthday or take me off for the obligatory weekend visitation.

That is not to say that my father did not love me, I am sure he did. But when it came to communications, there really was not that much there between us. We would talk, but it was, most of the time, because I do not think either one of us liked the sound of silence.

That being said, there really was no template for me to use when I thought about myself as a father. No image I could hold up and say, “This is what a dad is!” Unless, of course, you counted the Andy Griffith, Dick Van Dyke and Ward Cleaver images that some of us grew up with. Images that would not stand the test of time even in their own generation.

Instead, as I grew, I learned about being a father through reading, through what my mother told me a father should be, through watching my father’s interaction with my sister.I had sort of built up this “Frankenstein” image and understanding of what a father really could and should be.

It would not be until years later, as an adult, that I would start to really understand what being a father was, when I would adopt people into my life as my mentors and father-figures. People that represented, to me, what a father should be to their children and those around them. People like James Baier (Major, USMC), Jack Bell, Paul Eidmann, Clifford Ayers (My Dad-in-Law) and Russell Petrone. None of them are perfect, far from it, but their hearts are all in the right places, and their kids have all grown up to be good people. Many of their kids are my friends to this day as are they… though two of them have some issues that they need to work out before I kick both their asses (you know who you are.)

The other person that I have to give kudos to for being like a dad to me, oddly enough, is my mother. Barbara E. Wright. She force-fed me the education to be who and what I am today. When I was not in school, she was teaching me manners, principles, ethics, right and wrong, and would occasionally instill the required discipline when I would step out of line. Trust me… there were several times I deserved a good paddling.

It is my hope that the experiences that I have had and the things I have learned from these people, people that have meant so much to me and are a part of my life, even though some of them are no longer with us, can help me by becoming an amalgamation of experience that I can incorporate into my life and help me be a good father.

Someone that I hope, when this child is and adult and I have long since passed, can look at his or her memories of me and say. “I had a great dad!”

Countdown to Fatherhood – T-Minus 10 Weeks

I have decided to start a little series here called, as if you could not already tell, Countdown to Fatherhood.

At the time this will publish, there are about ten weeks remaining before my wife’s due date, so I will take the next ten weeks to talk about my feelings of parenting, what my parents were like and how I will use their, and other people’s parents, influences on me, to raise this child.

Before you start “tut-tuting” me, you need to not assume I am an idiot about this. Too many people have gone out of their way to tell me that nothing I or my wife are doing can prepare us for parenting. That all our preconceptions about what we are planning and what will be, are going to be busted when that baby arrives. Yes… I get it, I understand that.

We are excited, nervous, terrified, thrilled… you name the emotion and we have or will go through it. If you are a parent, then I am sure that you know exactly what I am talking about. But we also understand that we are not prepared for what comes next, so the best we can do it be prepared to do the very best we can do. More than likely the same way new parents have been doing for longer that recorded history can say.

I am reading books, and talking to other parents, but I know that this is all to get the generalities down. That by gleaning all this knowledge, my wife, Naty, and I will be prepared for most things, but not all. We will have many answers, but might still be confused or lost at a point or two along the line. This is nothing, I am certain, that many of you folks out there that are parents, have not also done when that first child came into your lives.

We have also surrounded ourselves with friends and family that are excited and pleased to help out along the way. Many of them are experienced parents themselves, some are not but are still excited about sharing the experience with us. For this we are eternally blessed and thankful. Together they make up our extended family and will be, in addition to the Grand Parents, if only in the name of love, if not that of blood, the aunts, uncles and other family.

The fact that we are expecting at all is a blessing. We were advised that we would probably not be able to have children, so after some effort, we stopped trying and decided to live life. Then when we least expected it, it happened. Maybe that is the way it was meant to be. As a friend of our said, we were given a chance to go out and live our lives, now it is time to have a child to share those lives and experiences with.

Are we ready for this child? Yes and no… but this is a new and exciting chapter in our lives, and over the next ten weeks I will share my fears, joys, thought, questions, concerns and ideas with you. You are more than welcome to join in the conversation and share your thoughts with me as well. Who knows… I might even be able to get my wife to chime in.

As always, thank you.

Risks of Illegal immigration…

Shortly after I finished the last piece on illegal immigration, it occurred to me that I forgot something important.

While it is an established fact that illegal immigration does cause a burden on the resources of the state in which they have invaded as well as a burden on the country in whole.  There are also other risks and dangers as well, but not solely to us as Americans.

You see, there are good reasons that countries like ours try to monitor the flow of people across the border.  In spite of what you might think of us as Americans, some of these reasons are not completely mercenary.

Let’s look at them one at a time:


No… Not the dogs.  But the people that transport the illegals across the border.  If you visit the ICE web site and look at some of the ways these people try to come in, then you would have a better understanding of how dangerous it is to BE and illegal, and not just from Mexico.

Look at the stories of people dying while being shipped in containers from overseas.  Or the stories of people dying in the desert while they are being transported to the US illegally.  In some cases, you have dozens of people that are packed into a small cargo container with little or no water or facilities.  There are even stories of people dying because they have no way to breathe.  Then there is the occasional story of the cargo container, full of people, that is abandon because the person carrying it does not want to get caught.

Long story short…  once the person pays the Coyote or transporter for their services, there are no refunds.  If you back out, you do not get your money back.  Furthermore, there is no guarantee that you will even make it here anyway.  You might either be caught by the US or Foreign authorities or die in the process…  Either way, you are not getting your money back.


The process of quarantining both immigrants and emigrants for fear of passing diseases from one country to another is not new.  This is something that has gone on since around the time of the Roman Empire.  Even to this day the US, as well as many other countries, will monitor the inflow of visitors and immigrants to look for signs of illness.  If they find someone that is sick with something that might be a hazard to the citizenry of the US, then they are quarantined or, in some cases, returned to the country of their origin.

There is nothing wrong, or racial, about this.  It is merely a process of protecting the welfare of the United States and the people therein.  Same holds true for any other country, the process is there to protect the citizens and not there to discriminate against anyone of them.

Now… when you subvert that process, work around it through the process of illegally entering the nation without going through the proper processes, you not only risk your own health, but you also risk the health of the people in the country that you are “invading”.

Now… imagine for a moment that someone enters the country that is ill with something like hemorrhagic fever, like Ebola.  If this person make contact with others, especially through the process of crossing the desert with his or her fellow illegals.  They are now all exposed to the same illness and all become carriers.

When they finally do reach a populated area, some of them might start showing signs of the illness outwardly.  So when they check into a hospital, on the taxpayer dime I might add, they are now exposing potentially hundreds more people to the disease.

Yes… what I have just given you is a rare case.  Luckily hemmorhagic fever is not very common and has never been a major threat to us.  But the potential is there.  It is a problem we have to consider and prepare for.

Risks in General:

Lastly… and most importantly, is the crossing of the desert itself to get here.

Most of the border is made up of some pretty inhospitable land.  Not something that is easy for even the most well prepared hiker to deal with.  But you have hundreds of people that are in worse shape than those hikers that try to make the crossing each year.  Many of them fall ill or die in the process.

The answer is not is not like the placing water barrels in the desert and providing the illegals with maps as the organization Humane Borders seems to think.  Or providing people with assistance to get across the borders.  The answer is to stop the flow of illegals across the border, then to promote and praise those that DO come over legally.  Make it something that they can be proud of doing.

I am not a hateful person.  I understand that there are some opportunities here that people might not find in other countries.  That is always what has set America aside as a great place to live.  I encourage all the people that want to share the dream to come to America and live it, embrace it and love it.  In spite of our downfalls and our present administration, we still have a lot to offer.

But as I said in the last part of the last post.  Do not think you can steal that dream.  It is an earned effort.  No matter how long you live here, if you have not sworn an oath to uphold the constitution of this country, to renounce your interest in the country of your origin in favor of this one, then you are not an American.  You never will be, and thus you are not going to share in the dream.  You are merely an intruder on, I hope, borrowed time.

Yet another commentary on the Arizona Immigration law…

I know…  I know… about this time most people are tired of hearing about Arizona.  But that is precisely why I decided to write this piece.

I am not trying to get in on the action and promote more traffic to my site by this, though I will have to admit that more traffic would be nice, but that is not why.

Personally, I agree with it.  I think that the law itself should be put into effect and the peace officers should carry out their orders.  I think that anyone that is stopped and questioned and refuses to produce ID (be they Hispanic, Iranian, Dutch, Congan, what ever…) should be detained until their ID and legal right to be in the US is established and then either let go or sent to the country of their origin.

This is not a Race issue.  If you are Mexican and you are here legally, then you should be proud to show it.  Whip out that ID and show us your Red, White and Blue.  But if you are here illegally, or not a naturalized citizen, and are not sporting a valid and current Work or Travel visa… then you need to go home.

Why is that so hard for you people fighting this law to understand.  Exactly how dense are you that you cannot see the reasoning behind this.  It is not just about SB1070, it is about a sovereign nation protecting it’s borders.  Nothing more that every other country, including Mexico, is trying to do itself.

So now a judge has placed an injunction on the key parts of SB1070 that make the most sense to uphold.  They are the sections that:

•  Require an officer make a reasonable attempt to determine the immigration status of a person stopped, detained or arrested if there’s reasonable suspicion they’re in the country illegally.

•  Makes it a crime if they fail to apply for or carry alien registration.

•  Makes it a criminal for illegal immigrants to ask for, apply for or do any form of work. (This does not include the section on day laborers.)

•  Allows for a warrant-less arrest of any person(s) where there is “probable cause to believe they have committed a public offense that makes them removable from the United States.”

The funny thing about this, for me, is that people are turning this into strictly a Racial thing.  Do you think that if Canadians were coming over the northern border in waves and getting government benefits and such, we would not be doing the same thing there?  The answer would be yes, we would.

It is not a racial thing… it has become a racial thing because that is what people WANT it to be and that is the quickest way for people to make headlines.  It is a racial thing because people respond when they think that you are picking on a minority.  But you are still not looking at it from the grand scale.

This is not about Arizona at all.  This is about the fact that we have a southern border that is about as porous as a fishing net.  People come and go through it on a regular basis.  US Border Patrol, G-d bless them all, are not able to do their jobs because of what might happen.

Granted, there are examples of things gone horribly wrong.  Take for example the recent shooting at the border of Sergio Adrian Hernandez Huereca.  This was tragic, but it is not the norm.  Accidents happen, and when you place people in situations like this, where there is a potential for violence, then the chances of injuries increases.  In this case, an American acted foolishly as the result of a Mexican acting equally foolish… maybe more.

Another thing that I find funny about these arguments is that while so many Americans are up in arms about SB1070, it seems that none of them have really commented on the Mexican government’s OWN laws toward immigrants… illegal or otherwise.  Their rules and laws towards both legal and illegal immigration are much stricter than are ours.  Yet Filepe Calderon, the president of Mexico and the person who, a few years ago, stated that “wherever there is a Mexican, there is Mexico.”, has the Gaul to come here and tell us what we are doing wrong?

For examples of what you have to go through in Mexico, as an immigrant, please check out some of the links below.  These are not my work, but I list the parent site and give credit where possible.

From the Rosen Law web site – Click Here

From Michelle Malkin’s web site – Click here

From the Human Rights web site – Click Here

Why is it that if Calderon can come to the US and chastise us for our immigration policy, that we cannot send Obama to Mexico and have him complain about why you and I cannot run across the border and take up some of those jobs that He sent down there?  Is it OK for Mexico to display such obvious racism towards Americans, by protecting their country from us, among other countries, but somehow it is a cardinal sin for us to protect our border?

People… Please… stop playing this as a racist thing.  Sure, there are those out there that make it racist, but they are not the majority.

If you want the American dream, do not steal it.  Earn it.


First off, let me apologize to those of you that might be regular readers.  I have been lazy lately and have not posted anything for some time.  While I would love to have a better excuse, like the Obama administration kidnapped me and attempted to brainwash me into being “Samurai the Insane for Obama”, I cannot and must admit that I have been nothing more than a lazy person these few weeks.

Now… that being said, I would like to touch a little on the amazing events over this last weekend.

In spite of the many people that said that the Tea Party movement was just a passing fad and would, through time, fade away, the turn out in Washington DC this last Saturday went a long way to dispel that thought.

With number varying from tens of thousands to a reported two million, depending on which news agency you read and what party they want their news to promote, it was apparent, at least to me, that the Tea Party movement is alive and well.  It is also apparent that this movement crosses party lines, as my wife and I found out when when went to the local “Tax Day Tea Party” here in Bakersfield back in April.

Through my wanderings at that event and talking to the various people, I found more than a handful of Democrats, a couple fellow Independents, a couple Greens and even one person that identified themselves as a American Socialist Worker.  Now… I must tell you that this would not count as a legitimate poll of the people at the party I went to, as I was not there to interview people, I just happened to start talking to some of the people and this is the information that I gleaned from them.

Now… I am not an activist, in fact I might be considered the furthest thing from it.  I am more content to read about what is happening and then write about it, but there is something to this Tea Party movement.  This last weekend has proven that they, or should I say we, are not going to fade away.

You see… people seem to be just now remembering that the strongest part of the US government is not the President, Senate, Congress or any other body therein.  They are waking up to the fact that the strongest part of the US government is you and me.  It is about “We the people” and our government “…of the people, by the people, for the people…” and not about the people who sit in office and write agenda based on their own needs and wants.

Now… I do not dislike Obama… I have always said that and I would even go so far as to say that somewhere deep in his mind, he might honestly think that his plans are good for the United States.  I cannot think that any person that considers themselves even remotely capable of running the country could intentionally set about to hurt the country.  But I hope that he and his cohorts in office with him are smart enough to see the reactions that his moves have provoked.

I hope that there are more Tea Parties… I hope that this is a sign that more people are going to start getting active in the direction that their government is going.  I do not limit that statement to just the people whose beliefs match my own, but to everyone.  If you have a belief that you support, stand up for it.  Let people know.  Don’t sit idly by and hope that someone else might say something, because there may be thousands of people out there waiting for one to step forward and lead the charge.

If we all become more active in our government and the actions it takes, then maybe they will start paying more attention to what they are doing and if it is for the people or for themselves.

As always… thank you for your time.

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