The Making of a Limited Edition
When we say these books are hand crafted, we mean it.
In the early days of book publishing, printing was a very manual task done by hand. The word "typesetting" came from the physical act of setting down type by hand. Page layout meant just that, laying out the page in block form using a frame as a guide so that it corresponded to the measurement of the page. Changing fonts literally meant physically changing out the type blocks, or, in more recent times, the font wheel. The paper needed to be loaded into the press, and the printing press quite literally did that: it pressed the ink onto the paper. Later, the process was changed so that metal plates were used for a process called offset printing. This process required the production of negatives which were touched-up by hand to ensure quality before being reproduced onto metal plates that were loaded into the press. The plates absorbed the ink and then transferred the ink onto the paper. Color runs took multiple trips through the press. The process was labor intensive and costly, but it produced books of exceptional quality and style.
If you have ever perused a used book store, you will see the difference between the books produced in the early to mid twentieth century and the books of today. They are heavier, and the binding is often stitched by hand. The paper is heavier, and the covers are cloth.
The hard cover version of "Midnight Train" was produced by hand, not by the print-on-demand processes used today by wholesale distributors. The hard covers are individually numbered and signed. This way the reader truly receives something unique. Just as a painter individually numbers their prints, these books have been crafted with the same care that went into book making in the early days of the printing press. This print run will not be reproduced, and the color, gold foil, and graphic cover are unique even among high quality books from the last century.
The Limited Edition is produced in St. Louis, Missouri and was handcrafted by the book's main character in his own independently operated printing company. Books like this are rare, particularly hard bound color editions. With the personalized inscription, unique ISBN, and individual serial number, these books are one-of-a-kind.
Midnight Train is book one of the trilogy. Those who purchase the limited edition will be contacted first when parts two and three become available so that they are able to complete the full three-volume set.
Thank you in advance for sponsoring this project and for your support of small businesses in our local communities.
My father grew up under communism. He escaped his country with no money and didn’t speak a word of English. Yet he came to this country seeking a better way of life. Can you even imagine the injustice he must have experienced in order to even consider taking such drastic measures? I think about his story. I wrote it so that all people could remember and learn from the past so as not to repeat our troubled history, and yet I see the very things he lived through taking place in the United States of America, a country which is supposed to be the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. Is it? I am starting to wonder.
There is a pandemic, and the implications of this have been used in order to justify exceptions, exceptions, which I am sad to report, have nothing at all to do with taking precautions to stop the spread of the illness but rather only to curtail the freedom of citizens.
To provide some historic context, pandemics did not just emerge as a twenty first century phenomena. They have been around since people have populated the planet. A few of the more commonly known are: polio, small pox, bubonic plague, leprosy, H1N1, the first go with SARS Covid 19, Ebola, AIDS, Spanish flu, tuberculosis, and cholera. If you are a student of history, you know that the death rates for many these viruses far exceed the current death rate from the second round of SARS Covid 19, the one loosely termed the coronavirus.
Pandemics are nothing new, but what is new is the way this one is being approached, not by the medical field but by people in elected positions who have sworn an oath to protect and serve the Constitution of the United States and the rights of the citizens.
Communists have a tactic, and it is worth noting that the first thing they do is remove local municipal law enforcement (i.e. “defund police” just as Seattle is doing at this very moment). They close churches and places of worship (just as the current Governor of California has mandated). They silence and persecute intellectuals (just as many scientists and doctors are being persecuted for presenting evidence that goes against the group think which is being delivered by government agencies such as the CDC). They ask you to spy on your neighbor because that is what a “good citizen” does (just like some cities have set up systems to report people who are in violation of ordinances). They ban books (just as historical books are being banned from libraries and schools). They erase the historic names of places and monuments (just as we are seeing across the country even with those who are immortalized because they were great leaders that pushed for positive change and freedom, perhaps especially around those who pushed for positive change and freedom because that type of individualism runs counter to group think and the communist ideology, i.e. “everybody equal”).
Under communism, people start to slowly shift their belief in God and free thought for group think and belief in science and system. The individual is objectified as nothing more than a data point or a serial number. You are inventoried, and you are tracked. This is all done in the name of the “greater good.” (Just as the lead virologist at the CDC is talking, not about a cure but about donated samples, mandatory vaccines, and contact tracing).
A kind of group messaging (what we call propaganda) is constantly reinforced in order to change your thought process. You are programmed through programming. In my dad’s case, they didn’t have television at the time, so they broadcast this over loud speakers. This was 1950’s style communism. Today it’s done through multiple mass media and social media outlets.
The implications for the individual human are incredible, much less the implications for business. Read my dad’s story, and you will see how small businesses evaporated into a production system of drones where the people at the top flourished from the sweat and blood of the nameless masses. Communists hate small business. Small business is the mark of the individual. It is an affront to the collectivist, and so the communist must destroy it.
The communists are all too eager to have you do things from which they exempt themselves. This is the true meaning of the word entitlement. It’s a “do as I say, not as I do” mentality, one that benefits the person in charge at the peril of those without power.
I don’t know the exact moment this started in the United States, but the first clear sign to me was the closing of all of the churches in March which happened all at the same time. When the church closes, look out. Look out especially when every church closes at the same time across an entire country! Even if you are non-religious, look out. This is a clear sign that the government is usurping the will of the people. There is a reason the founders of the US listed freedom of religion as the first bullet point under the first amendment. When there is a pandemic, the church is the first place I would want to go. In fact, even if this virus were lethal to the point of only a .00001% chance of survival, and especially then, the church would be the first place I would seek refuge. But they closed them, and no one even raised an eyebrow. Interesting . . .
Another right listed first in the amendments is freedom of peaceful assembly. Here too, people were “not allowed” to gather in groups of ten or more. “Not allowed.” I find that interesting. The Bill of Rights allows it. The Bill of Rights is very clear, yet politicians said not to, and people were compliant in surrendering the right even though the limitation of the government’s power is clearly written for all. Also interesting . . .
Then there was a group of rioters who swarmed around cities without obeying laws, much less ordinances, and even went so far to commit acts of murder, vandalism, theft, brutality, assault, impediment of public facilities such as fire trucks, and any manner of indecent criminal behavior without so much as a reprimand much less a prison sentence that they rightly deserved, and people still did not advocate their own right to freedom of assembly. More interesting yet . . .
Freedom of speech? Well, the Governor of California recently “banned” singing in public. Please read my dad’s book on this one. There is a great passage about singing. The communists hate singing. Ban singing? Sounds ridiculous, but there is a reason they do it. And then look out for what's next Ban speaking? Yes. Singing is a form of speaking, so if you do not have the right to sing, you do not have the right to speak. Definitely they will. After that? Ban breathing? Perhaps. Line you up to force vaccinate you? I will say no more, though I still have the right. Wake up people. You want to talk about “woke”? Wake up.
There was recently a couple in the news who had been standing on their lawn when a mob approached their private residence. The couple had guns. They did not fire guns. They just held them. Heck, maybe they just wanted to hold the guns on their lawn. So what? Owning a gun in this country is still legal and a protected right under the second amendment. Or is it? . . .
What happened next is appalling, and if you are not incensed and outraged about this, all I can say is read my dad’s book to see what happened at Bleiburg.
Now the couple has a right to own a gun. There is no crime. In fact, the gun is not even fired. No bullets are dislodged from either fire arm. They just stand there on the lawn. Yet, a city “official” does the following: 1.) orders the guns removed by police, 2.) without a search warrant, 3.) without a crime having been committed, 4.) without reasonable search and seizure, 5.) and the property is taken without reimbursement of the money paid for that property, 6.) while the government came into their home to do all this. How many amendments are we violating here? Let’s add them up just for fun.
First, there is the second amendment which is the right to bear arms. Next, there is the Castle Law doctrine of Missouri which states that even if the couple had killed trespassers, they would have been within their rights. There is the third amendment which is that the police had no right to be in their private home. There is the fourth amendment which speaks to reasonable search and seizure which was clearly violated when the government entered without a search warrant and without any crime having been committed. Then there is the fifth amendment which is that no person shall be deprived of property without due process of law and no property taken without just compensation. That is four amendments and one law. This is clear, and yet there is debate? Did they stop teaching fourth grade civics class and we just didn’t realize it? Four amendments and a law, and yet those people are still being harassed by the government. What sort of madness is this?
Now we get to the ninth amendment. In short, the ninth amendment states that if anything wasn’t already listed as a right, it’s a right. So if you are questioning whether the government has the legal right to vaccinate you or make you surrender a DNA sample against your will, the answer is no. Let’s move on.
The tenth amendment is pretty clear. The individual states, municipalities, and the citizens of those states and municipalities have the right to do whatever else needs to be done beyond those things listed as the responsibility of the federal government. What is an example? Well, one is that states and municipalities have the right to create local municipal police departments. Remember when I said that the first thing the communists do is to destroy the local municipal police department? Now why would they want to do that? Well, if you are a communist, you don’t want any competition. You want your government big, and you want control at the top. Get rid of the idea of neighbor protecting neighbor, and take away guns. Yep. That is how it all starts. If people think there is “systemic injustice” at the local municipal police department, what kind of “systemic injustice” do you think is going to happen when you have untrained civilians reporting on each other or a fascist government at the helm? If you still don’t know, read my dad’s book. It explains very well what happens when you no longer have the protection of your brother, sister, and neighbor to keep you safe.
So there you have it I am sad to say. It’s an up to date list of amendments that have all been completely trampled within the last five months. Unprecedented is right. The virus is not unprecedented. That stuff has been around forever. All of the amendments being trampled? Now that is unprecedented, and I didn’t even get into mask wearing and the farce of having people wear and breathe through dirty bacteria ridden masks that are virtually ineffective against viruses, or people trying to stop “fake news” and silence experts in the medical community.
Another warning sign is lead virologists not talking about cures but talking about contact tracing. When did the medical people suddenly stop talking about cures and start talking about IT contact tracing? Conversely, when did the people in IT start talking about medical matters, such as a former IT CEO talking about vaccines? Since when did we start taking medical advice from the former CEO of a tech company while silencing actual doctors with PhD’s. But this is how it all starts . . .
All I can say is this. I am a solution person. How do we fix this mess? For one, you can read my book to see where this all leads us. It’s pretty short and clear. As they say in AA, the first step is admitting you have a problem and snapping out of your denial of that problem. The book is not a long read, and I wrote it in short quick chapters to appeal to the modern reader. Beyond the book, pick an amendment. Any amendment will do. Just pick one, and stand by it. You must stand for something. Because when you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything. Freedom is too big a price to pay for a disease that has over a 97% rate of recovery, and that's even with the data from the experts being massaged in their not so subtle ploy to advocate mandatory vaccines and contact tracing.
Dear Citizens of the United States of America,
I would like to cover a few key points which everyone is losing sight of lately. I have had several online debates with people wanting to fuel the flames of violence and further injustice with caustic and presumptuous language, others who want to dismantle critical operational systems in this country, and still others who want to nip at the very Bill of Rights and Constitution that are there to protect our mutual freedom and liberty.
Let’s regroup for a moment to reflect.
If you are advocating for violence, please stop
The First Amendment to the Constitution protects the rights of citizens to peacefully assemble and to petition the government for redress of grievances. It does not bestow any right to commit murder, steal, block a fire truck, shoot at innocent vehicles driving down the road, set fires, vandalize, commit acts of violence, etc. Those are the actions of criminals, and criminals will be arrested and put in jail. Peaceful assembly is a protected right, but the moment someone commits a violent act, it is a riot. Any person who commits such acts should be tried and punished to the fullest extent of the law. No citizen has any right to commit a crime against any other citizen, regardless of their demographic or station in life. If you are advocating for violence, please stop.
The Second Amendment to the Constitution protects the right of citizens to bear arms. Citizens have the right to protect themselves against criminals, foreign invasion, and other gross and extraordinary injustice. In the event someone commits a violent and unjustified act, they will be tried and punished to the fullest extent of the law. If you feel that owning a gun gives you the right to use it for anything other than those reasons previously stated, consider that acting on such impulse is criminal behavior and you will be incarcerated as a criminal. This Amendment ensures a critical right which history has proven again and again. If you are advocating for its abuse, you are condoning criminal behavior. Please stop. If you are condoning its abolition because a politician tells you it’s in your best interest to take away your rights, please stop for a moment and question a line of thought which is to plead to your government to take away one of the most essential rights defined under the Constitution. History has proven again and again what happens when governments disarm their citizens. Question any official that advocates for the removal of any right of citizens under the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
Consider the proper level of government to address grievances
The Tenth Amendment bestows on states the power to establish and enforce laws in order to protect the safety of the public. For those persons who feel there are injustices enacted and perpetrated by their state’s municipal and state police departments, you should be outraged at your governors, mayors, and local leaders for condoning such action since these are state and locally run institutions. If you are not asking for any redress of grievance at this level, consider that your state systems must be addressed. Law enforcement reports at this level of government. It does not report to the president or the federal level. You may protest at that level, but your governors and mayors are responsible for these state-run institutions. This was intentionally set forth for the purpose of decentralizing power so that it does not become corrupt at a higher level. If you are advocating that these powers be surrendered by the states and instead assumed at that federal level, please stop. The balance of power that was created under the Tenth Amendment prevents the potential of putting all power of the militia into one central authority, a decision which has the dangerous potential to lead to a totalitarian system of government.
Please exercise some level of common sense
In relation to this Amendment, some are advocating that no police protection may be required and that these systems of protection be entirely dismantled. In practical terms, there are reasons that law enforcement exists. When a person is rear ended at a red light and has to go to the hospital, when a neighbor’s dog is loose and threatening other citizens, when there is a robbery or vandalism, when there is a domestic dispute, etc., there is a very real and practical justification for having trained police officers on staff to respond. If you are advocating for the dismantling of law enforcement, then the citizens of your community will probably look to you for an alternative solution for these real-world situations. If you are proposing such a radical plan, then it would be productive to have an alternative plan on hand to suggest. Otherwise, you are just advocating for chaos and disorder in our nation, and one would be justified in inquiring as to whether you are of sound judgement and character.
Please measure your words and treat others with respect
The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States protects freedom of speech and the press. Many thanks to the Founders for putting this first in the Bill of Rights because it is a freedom that many people in other countries do not have. That said, please temper your words. When you call people names, presume to read into people's hearts and minds just because of the color of their skin, or use presumptuous, caustic, and offensive language, it incites an emotional response rather than a rational one. At a time when we need solutions to social problems and are experiencing increasing levels of violence, “losing our heads” does not lead to peaceful resolution of grievances but only causes further outrage and violence. You have every right to use extreme and provocative language that enrages the sensitivities of others, but realize that you are adding fuel to the fire, igniting further violence, a violence that can only rip the nation apart instead of bringing it together.
Wake up to technology and its effects on your health
As relates to the press, many people are taking to social media as an outlet. Please realize that these electronic channels of communication have been deliberately programmed to elicit an emotional response from you, particularly that of anger and outrage. Studies have demonstrated that it is actually anger which elicits a higher response than joy, and social media uses this to its advantage. Additionally, those technologists who program the algorithms that feed data to you, find what you are “feeding” on and feed you more of it, particularly if it is caustic and opinionated. Realize that this is not news but rather opinion. If you are engaging in opinionated commentary on the internet, realize that it will only elicit a great deal more of it. You have every right to engage in it, but please be aware of the impact it may have on your emotional and mental health as well as your outlook on society. If you feel that the electronic media it is overwhelming your circuits, consider turning away and turning to other more impartial sources of truth for news and commentary. They are becoming scarce in this country, unfortunately, but they do exist.
Responsibility at all levels of government
The current violence and brutality in this country is heartbreaking. It is further dividing us instead of uniting us. We, as a nation, should grieve for all people who have been subject to criminal behavior by any person who violates the principles outlined in the Constitution of the United States of America and the Bill of Rights. Those in violation of these basic principles of human decency and justice should be tried and punished under those rights set forth under Amendment Five and Six of the US Constitution, regardless of any demographic of any kind. Those who have been granted power and authority to govern and to enforce the laws of this nation, such as our elected officials and those who have been paid to protect and serve, must be checked. Citizens have not only a right but also an obligation to ensure that the powers of government do not stray from their original intent as outlined in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and leaders must be held accountable in accordance with the level of responsibility to which they have been elected and hired to serve. All elected and hired officials are accountable to their appropriate station and should be measured accordingly.
If members of the general population are not attentive to all levels of government, from municipal to state to federal, then they are not exercising their responsibilities as citizens. If they neglect to vote at all levels of government, then they are neglecting their rights and responsibilities as citizens.
There is a dangerous mind-shift occurring in the United States. Citizens have begun to surrender their rights. They look to the politicians (particularly to the role of president) of this country as having supreme power and authority, rather than looking to them as public servants administering and governing in the best interest of the country’s citizens. And if that individual is not administering and governing in the best interest of the citizens, then they must be questioned and held accountable, regardless of any party lines. Citizens who align to one party without questioning their candidates or their platform, or those who do not exercise their right to vote regularly and at all levels of government have neglected their responsibility as citizens. This has, in fact, become so rampant that one supposes we may at some point need to start the process over, voting out all long term politicians and administrators and looking for a fresh approach to old problems such as education, law enforcement, environmental issues, and the like.
In terms of justice and equality, if one of our citizens has had their rights violated, then every citizen of the country has had their rights violated. When someone acts beyond their rights and station, they must be held accountable for their actions and in accordance to their station. This is not a one time event, but a consistent responsibility of the citizens. We must all monitor the behavior of our elected and hired officials, from the president to the clerical worker. These people are civil servants, and they have a responsibility and accountability to all citizens, regardless of demographic.
Furthermore, it is appalling and disappointing that elected officials are proposing mandatory electronic voting at the federal level when this could be decided at the state and local level and that they are proposing this change through the oversight of a commercial business entity which would not be tied in any way to a balance or review process by the citizens. Furthermore, these politicians are soliciting money to support this political platform which should instead have arisen from the will of the people. When these types of egregious manipulation of the system occur, we should not jump on the bandwagon because of party lines but instead question the will and intent of those in positions of power. If you see this type of abuse happening and you are aligned to these representatives, please hold them accountable instead of defending their manipulative endeavors to disrupt the election process for all citizens. If you defend or provide money to them, then please stand in review of your own role in the corruption of the electoral system which is intended to be fair and impartial with direct oversight at the municipal level by neighbors in your own community.
Recent events have shown many violations taking place in all of these areas. This is not a call to further criminal action and violence but to constructive dialogue and constructive action. We are witnessing the abuse of power at many levels of government, from municipal to local to state to federal. If citizens are not researching all candidates, questioning their party lines, taking time to vote at all levels of government, signing petitions, exercising their freedom of speech and assembly, but instead taking to the streets in anger, violence, and vengeance against their fellow neighbor, that is not a path toward resolution. It is the path toward anarchy and further injustice. This is an election year. Let us not become so mired in anger, division, and hatred of our fellow citizens and those that do execute their power to protect and serve rightly that we forget to hold our politicians at all levels of government accountable.
Exercise your rights
Please know and exercise your rights, defined in the Constitution and Amendments. Please vote this election year at all levels of government and challenge anything on the ballot that opposes the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Most importantly, do not become so consumed by the emotions of hatred and division and taking to the streets out of a spirit of violence and revenge and being consumed by electronics and technology and dividing by agenda instead of standing on principles that you forget the power of human decency and respect for your neighbor and your fellow citizens. Measure your words and actions carefully. Remember that our country can only thrive and improve if there is unity, justice, decency, and respect for all citizens.
The Pandemic and Three Myths Of Health
2020 is not the first recorded instance of a pandemic. In fact, pandemics have been quite common in history. A few of the more commonly known are: polio, small pox, bubonic plague, leprosy, H1N1, the first go with SARS, Ebola, AIDS, Spanish flu, tuberculosis, and cholera. Epidemics and pandemics are not new, but what does appear to be new are the myths that are starting to arise about how we respond to them and health in general. It seems about time we address some common myths and urban legends that are circulating about the origins of these diseases and how we respond them.
Myth #1: Government and Doctors are Responsible for Public Health
Physicians can treat an illness. Physicians can also run a battery of tests to check certain indicators of health or screen for illness. Physicians can suggest treatment and give advice. But going to the doctor does not necessarily equate to health. The simple acts of walking to your car, starting the engine, driving to the doctor’s office, undergoing tests, and speaking to a doctor, do not, in and of themselves, make you healthy. Improved health relies on individual actions and choices.
A large portion of our health comes from what we eat, how much we sleep, what we drink, and what we breathe. Every cell in our body is made up of what we take in. Food, water, and air are the building blocks of every cell in our body. If that food, water, and air are unclean, we can expect to be unhealthy. If, on the other hand, the food, water, and air are pure and natural, we can expect that these will contribute to better health.
Because we are responsible for what we ingest and what we ingest contributes to health, responsibility for health care, therefore, comes from our own health care decisions in terms of what we eat, drink, and breathe. Junk food, high fructose corn syrup, carbonated drinks, and inhaling cigarette smoke may not be in the best interest of our health. On the other hand, clean air, clean water, and organic food that is close to the minerals and nutrients of the earth create the essential building blocks that are necessary for optimal cellular function and regeneration.
As far as the government and the term healthcare are concerned, the government does not offer health, nor does it offer care. Recently, the government created mandatory health insurance regulation under the guise of calling it healthcare. The very word “government,” means “to govern.” The primary role of government is, therefore, to institute governance, nothing more, nothing less. When the government instituted a system of health insurance, it did not institute health care. What the government put into place was a complex health insurance system that it could administer.
Myth Busted - Be suspicious of any thing or person that claims to have control over your health care. Health care is the responsibility and choice of the individual.
Myth #2: Health Means Being Physically Fit
There are actually at least five types of health: physical, mental, emotional, financial, and spiritual. Physical health is the condition of the body. Is the body running optimally, or is the body struggling to perform basic processes such as digestion, exertion, breathing, circulation, etc.? But this is not the sole area of health. There are others. Mental, emotional, financial, and spiritual health also play a role in the quality of our lives.
We may spend a lot of time and attention on our physical health, but what is the condition of our mental health? Are we addressing our emotional needs for human contact, love, and connection? What about our financial needs? Do we have enough money in the bank to pay bills and attend to our needs and the needs of our family? And do we have a spiritual connection and framework for the world around us whatever that might be for each of us individually? If any of these areas suffer, our health may suffer as well.
Not only that, but when one of these areas is out of balance, it can throw off the other areas of health as well, leading to a sort of downward spiral of overall illness and imbalance. If our physical health suffers, it can affect our emotional, mental, spiritual, and financial health. If our mental health suffers, our physical, financial, and emotional health may decline.
One could, therefore, argue that the most important goal of life is to attend to all aspects of our health. And when we take time to contemplate life, nearly every action we take relates back to health. From paying bills, to going to the grocery store, to socializing with friends, to spending time at the gym, to our job, to going to church, every action (or in action) we take has some consequence on our health.
We should expand our view of heath. To think only in terms of the physical body is myopic. Health of the heart, mind, body, and spirit, along with the ability to earn a living, are equally important and can greatly contribute to our happiness, joy, purpose, and financial stability.
Myth Busted - Anything and any person that stands in the way of our path to these five aspects of health should be questioned and cross examined for motive and ethics.
Myth #3: Humans Were Put on the Planet or Evolved on the Planet to Conquer Nature
If every cell in our body is constructed from what we eat, drink, and breathe, then the health of the planet is our number #1 goal in life. Our planet and its condition has a direct impact on the health of the individual. If we treat the planet badly - polluting the air, water, and food supply - then we pollute our lungs, our digestive systems, and our circulation. Right now the planet is suffering from our actions, and it shows in the number of people who are seeking treatment for cancers, asthmas, digestive illnesses, respiratory illnesses, and the like. If we make the planet sick, we make ourselves sick as well.
The condition of the planet is a reflection of the condition of our bodies, minds, and hearts. If the planet is sick, we are sick. If the planet is well, it contributes to our health and wellness. To think we were put here to conquer that which sustains us is like saying our goal in life is to harm ourselves. Our goal should rather be to care for ourselves and for each other.
Even a tree depends on soil, food, and air. The same is true for every living organism on the planet, including humans. It is our arrogance that would have us believe otherwise. If we destroy that which sustains us, we destroy ourselves.
The recent epidemic is proof that we must take better care of this planet. Whether the virus evolved from nature or human laboratory is inconsequential. It is a sign that we are making ourselves sick and that we must change our current behavior to become better stewards of the planet.
Littering our oceans, polluting our air, altering our food supply through genetic engineering, and social isolation which will contribute to many emotional scars, is a clear sign that our health and the health of the planet must be our number one goal for this lifetime.
Myth Busted - Human health depends on the health of the planet. Humans were not put on earth to conquer and destroy it but to care for it. Caring for the planet is the highest form of self care and care for others because what we do to the planet, we do to ourselves.
The truth is that we do not need complex governance systems of economy to survive. History has proven that we can, in fact, live without them. But we as humans absolutely need clean air, clean water, and clean food. The current epidemic is a wake up call, a red flag that our planet is out of balance. The solution for this balance and returning to a state of health is not to impose government tracking and mandated social isolation. These are merely precautions based on fear. The solution is improvement in the way that we treat the earth and each other.
I was revisiting my Constitution and Amendments this morning during quarantine. After all, I had nothing better to do with my time. Interesting read. I remember studying these back in high school and junior high. As I read them, they came back to me. "Ah, yes. I forgot about that one. Now I remember."
I bought this copy during one of my international travels, back when free Americans could still travel. It was in an airport book store. Will we still have those when we get released from quarantine? I hope so. I really liked them. The pamphlet was in a little box on the side of the counter, and they were selling them for a little over a dollar. “Why not?” I asked myself, so I picked one up.
The full Constitution and 27 Amendments are only 38 pages long, and this booklet is only 3” x 5”. It takes a few minutes to read.
As I read it this morning, I was amazed by its simplicity. The wording is very straightforward and simple. It goes straight to the point with no legal double talk. It is written for clarity, not for confusion as are many laws and bills today. Even the Amendments are summarized at the top with one clear statement. The Founders knew what they wanted to say, and they said it. They did not mince words. They did not want any confusion or question. They said what they meant, and they meant what they said.
I encourage everyone to buy their dollar copy and read it. It is rather eye opening, particularly in the midst of quarantine. When you do read it, you will realize just how many of our Constitutional rights are stepped on. Here is a little summary of the more obvious transgressions.
Amendment I - Freedom of religion, speech, and the press; rights of assembly and petition
We are currently prohibited from assembling in groups greater than 10. We are not allowed to enter a house of worship. We are being censored on public platforms which are intended as communication channels. The press and news media are being directed as to what to report and not report.
Amendment II - Right to bear arms
There are those in government who are challenging this right. They feel it is for our own good to disarm ourselves. They ignore so many history lessons like those before, during, and after the World Wars as well as the Revolutionary War, when citizens, deprived of the ability to protect themselves, were at the mercy of injustice. There is a reason this Amendment exists, and the government is questioning the rights of the people. If this right fails, it is a slippery slope for all rights.
Amendment III - Housing of soldiers
This Amendment restricts the entry of government soldiers into our homes. This does not just mean physical presence; it extends to virtual presence as well. No government entity shall be housed in our homes, and yet the NSA is collecting personal data on its people. This is about to extend to medical and HIPPA data as well with forced government testing and tracking of all citizens, invading not just our homes, but our physical bodies.
Amendment IX - Rights retained by the people
This is perhaps one of my favorite Amendments as it says very clearly that the Constitution is not meant to restrict the rights of the people but rather to ensure the rights of the people. “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
Amendment X - Powers retained by the states and the people
Now we have come to my favorite Amendment, the one that covers everything after. It simply states: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” That one statement limits the power of the federal government and ensures the rights of the people and the states in which they live. People say that the Constitution says nothing about the “right to privacy.” Wrong. It clearly does. Read Amendment X, and you will see why this right is protected under the Constitution of the United States. This extends to the right of the people not to have to donate personal medical data and “specimens” to the US government for collection and data tracking.
Amendment XIV - Civil rights
This one is also very clear, echoing the words in the Preamble to the Constitution in its aim to “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.” It says that no State shall “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property.” Being forced into your home, being denied the ability to freely travel, being prevented from labor, and being prevented from property which you earned through your own free labor are the restrictions of the current pandemic.
This is not to say that citizens should not, of their own free will and for the benefit of society and their neighbors, take recommended precautions, but those precautions of six feet distance, which would be reasonable and logical even for a simple outbreak of the flu, should not be imposed on citizens by their government. We are reasonable people, and it is in each person’s right, power, and freedom to exercise the recommendations of healthcare specialists and scientists. It is even in their own right, power, and freedom to intentionally become sick if they so choose, perhaps as in the case of caring for or visiting others from a sense of concern or moral obligation.
And when the government selects to control its citizens' actions and movement saying that it is for our own protection and safety, beware. That is the mark of an authoritarian government that is not acting on behalf of its citizens but instead acting on its own self interest. We must value liberty above the government’s urge for control under a false assertion that such a system is acting for our own good. We as individual free people are responsible for our own health and safety, not a system of government.
We the people have the ability to act on our own behalf, and this is not just an ability, it is a set of rights outlined in the Constitution of these United States. No system should violate those rights, and if it does, it is a good citizen who stops and questions such violations. The rights are not hard to understand or access. They are all beautifully outlined in 38 simple pages that everyone can buy for a dollar or read for free on the internet.
These rights and liberties are the reason my father traveled an ocean and escaped a communist, oppressive, and unjust system of government. Let us not repeat the mistakes of the past. By all means, let us remember our Constitutional rights which our Founders fought, died, and carefully ensured for all citizens.
In the back of my book "The Greatest Moment In Human History," I offer the reader ideas about how each one of us can positively contribute to improving the state of the planet. One of these ideas is raising the blades on your lawn mower.
Now, how can raising the blades on your lawn mower help the planet?
The first way is by reducing water usage. When you have a higher turf, more water is retained in the soil. It does not evaporate as it would if the water were sitting on top of the mud or dirt. The water is absorbed deep into the root system and into the turf where it can be absorbed into the ground more gradually. This means less need for irrigation and human intervention. By simply allowing the rain to soak into your soil and maximizing what nature is already providing, you will reduce the time and money you are spending on watering your lawn, particularly in the hot summer months.
To do this, my general rule of thumb is this:
Beyond reducing your need to water, you will find that raising the blades also reduces and may even eliminate the need for any chemical application. When the turf is thicker and taller, you will find less need for chemical intervention to keep your lawn looking green and healthy. This is because trimming the lawn very short creates more stress on the grass, thus creating an unhealthy appearance. Many people then want to improve the quality of the lawn, so they reach out to a variety of chemical processes to make the grass appear greener. If you are doing this, please reconsider. The problem may not be the grass. It may be the way you are maintaining - or rather over maintaining - it. When the turf is allowed to grow, it is thicker. The extra height will improve the grass quality, making it hardier, and, therefore, reducing the need for anything extra to help it grow.
A taller, hardier turf also means more life and protein in your lawn. If left a bit taller, you will find that insects favor grass that is a bit taller. Crickets, ants, grasshoppers, helpful beetles, worms, and other vital insects will grow and thrive in a thicker turf. These insects add vital proteins to the soil which will feed the grass organically, without the use of chemical fertilizers and other man-made products. We may not like these insects, but they’re actually very helpful for the soil. Not only do they "feed the grass," they also create tunnels through the roots and turf which aid the growth of the grass and improve soil quality through natural aeration.
Insects also act as vital food for birds. If you’re a bird watcher, having a taller turf and more insects will organically and naturally attract more birds into your lawn without the use of feeders or seeds which require more work and energy on your part, and can also disrupt the natural migration of certain species. Why not take a break and let Mother Nature feed the birds without any help from you? You may find that a taller turf can save time, money, and energy with the added benefit of allowing for the natural cycle and migration of birds as they feed off the beneficial proteins in your lawn.
Think that a shorter lawn means that you need to cut it less often? Think again. Consider that by raising the blades on the lawn mower, you may be able to cut the grass less frequently. This is because a turf that is only an inch or inch and a half tall will look like it’s growing faster than grass that may be a couple of inches taller. Therefore, the shorter the turf the more frequently you will be tempted to cut the lawn to maintain that even appearance, versus a taller turf where you won't notice the slight imperfections as much.
As if all of this isn't reason enough, cutting the lawn when it's taller and less often results in less gasoline usage. Since lawnmowers create a great deal of emissions, cutting the lawn less frequently lowers the amount of pollution emitted. When you cut your lawn, you are creating more pollution per gallon than driving your car. Cutting less often equals less environmental pollution. It seems hard to imagine, but this one simple trick of raising the blades reduces water usage, reduces gasoline usage, lowers emissions, and makes your lawn look better and healthier with less work on your part!
A taller turf also results in more water absorption into the soil, reducing run off into sewers, ridding your lawn of puddles and mud, and lowering the amount of erosion. This improves the overall aesthetics of your yard and your home.
To really help your lawn, you may also want to try planting a tree or two. Trees draw more water into the root system which pulls the water down into the soil and can, in turn, aid the surrounding grasses. I found this out one year as I planted a tree in an area of my lawn that was experiencing extremely poor soil quality. After planting the tree, I noticed an immediate improvement in the quality of the soil, the health of the grass, and the overall quality of that area which previously looked terrible with a great deal of water runoff and erosion. The tree provided vital shade, reduced water run off, and increased water absorption. That part of my yard is now healthy and thriving, just by planting one tree, and the tree itself adds beauty and variety to what was previously an area that was sparse and underutilized.
One final thought for those of you who are dog lovers like me. When we chemically treat our lawns, animals ingest those chemicals. Scientists are finding that golden retrievers are dying earlier, and over 80% of these deaths are related to cancer. One of the possible culprits are chemicals that are being applied to residential lawns. Golden retrievers in particular like to eat and walk on grass. When they ingest these chemically treated grasses or walk on them with their paws, these chemicals are absorbed into the golden retrievers' bloodstream and overall physiology. Some scientists are finding that these chemicals are linked to cancer and early deaths and that certain breeds such as golden retrievers are particularly sensitive to these chemicals. If you love dogs and are concerned about the health and well-being of animals and even children who may be more susceptible to chemicals, consider halting the application of chemical treatments and at the same time advocating for the adoption of some natural methods - like raising the blades - which improve the condition of your lawn organically.
Bees, butterflies, and other pollinators are also adversely impacted by the application of these chemical treatments. They feed off of those chemicals, and this may in part contribute to what is termed "colony collapse disorder" in bees, a term which seems to imply that the bees have something wrong with them when it's really the application of man-made chemicals that is at least in part responsible for their declining numbers. Want to help vital pollinators? Well, it's easy. Raise the blades!
To summarize, if you want to see more birds, help critical pollinators like bees and butterflies, have a more attractive and healthier lawn, save money, have more time for things you actually enjoy, lower emissions, decrease water usage, and reduce the amount of pesticides and harmful chemicals, consider this one simple trick. Raise the blades, and you'll be amazed at how working fewer hours and spending less money on your turf actually improves it!
Imagine if everyone today who is over-cutting their lawn used this one simple idea. It would have a huge impact on the planet. One person can make a difference. It just takes doing things differently. And just think when your neighbors see you do this how much more inclined they will be to do this as well.
Still think one person can't change the world? Think again.
It's a good day for staying in. I love days like this every now and then. Rainy. Dark. Still. It reminds me it's okay to take it easy. Nature has its seasons and its cycles, and so do we. There's no need to rush all the time. Change is coming. It always is when it rains like this. Sometimes it snows. The trees are saturated. every inch of their bark is wet. That must feel wonderful to a tree. They seem happy in the rain. They can take a long pause and let their processes flow effortlessly.
The rain brings change without force and without self-will. And so it is. It's not a sharp ending. It's a gradual shift, and every increment is a reality. There is a very profound meaning in that if you meditate on it. We are more tree than IT. We are happiest in the flow. Humans created four seasons. We like knives and boxes, don't we. But that is random. It's just language. Categories are language, and most "disciplines" are nothing more than language and motor skills.
You know how to impress someone? Speak a language they don't understand. Nature has many languages we don't know and are, apparently, uninterested in observing. Because we don't speak them, we dismiss them. We destroy them, just like the colonists destroyed the indigenous peoples, just because they were different, just because they didn't understand them. It is a great tragedy and misfortune, the destruction of a species or group of people.
When will we seek balance? When will we allow species to roam free as they were divinely intended to do? Control and eradication are nothing more than fear. We put the orangutan in a prison to observe because we fear. We study. Why do we do this? Even the crocodile has the same basic skeletal structure as a human. Even a frog and a rabbit has the same basic form and symmetry. Ponder this some time. You will see that all categories and sub-classifications are nothing more than language, and that they are totally unnecessary.
The Native Americans understood this. Some used the term "brother wolf." The settlers found this naive. But the Native Americans tribes were right. And they had a better understanding of the wolf because they comprehended the similarities instead of fearing the differences. They did not fear the wolf, though the wolf was a different species, but the settlers feared the Native Americans though they were so much the same.
We think nature is fear. Nature has no fear. In nature there is only threat and response, or complete and total repose. That's it. Humans fear. Why? Because somehow our evaluation went the path of reinforcing differences over similarities. We think it's intelligence. It really isn't.
My favorite art form is pen and ink. In pen and ink, you see the form and structure. There is no distraction. When observing skeletons, it's much the same. Walk through a natural history museum, and you will see the form and structure. Try it sometime. Walk around and see if you observe the pattern. Look at two human skeletons side by side. There is no black and white. There is no male or female. There is no hair color, eye color, etc . . . You won't notice them on a dog or cat or dinosaur either. But what you will notice is that we are not so different. We are essentially the same. Then what gives us the right to over-populate the planet, conquer, displace, or eradicate another species or even another group of people so much like ourselves?
Some day we will scale it back. That would be the true march of progress: get our trash out of the ocean, clean our air, sleep like normal human beings again, eat actual food with seeds in it, and, for God's sake, let other species live where they were intended to live.
Water is amazing. Yes, water, that magical substance that we all seem to take for granted. I was thinking about water one day and why humans need water. When we look at the chemical composition of water, it’s H20. That is two hydrogen molecules and one oxygen molecule. It seems obvious what we use oxygen for, as it drives every major process in the body. We also breathe oxygen. Because we breathe oxygen, it seems to make sense that we could also drink oxygen.
But hydrogen? What the heck do we use hydrogen for? And what the heck is hydrogen for that matter?
For those who remember their history, you may recall that the Hindenburg was a blimp that the Germans flew sometime in the early 1900s. The blimp was full of hydrogen. Why did the Germans fill the oversized hot air balloon with hydrogen? They did it so it would float. You see, hydrogen is over 90 times lighter than air. Not only that, it is far lighter than even helium, which is used to fill mylar balloons for birthday parties. Hydrogen floats. That's great. However, there is one major drawback to filling blimps with hydrogen, and that problem is that hydrogen also burns . . . really fast!
When the blimp launched, there was spark or flame somewhere on the blimp that triggered a fire. Because hydrogen is highly flammable, the entire blimp disintegrated in a matter of seconds. Film from the incident shows the zeppelin disintegrating in about 37 seconds! The hydrogen made the blimp go up in an unbelievably short amount of time, far less than you would expect. Why did it burn so fast? Because hydrogen is not only super light, it's also a super fuel. Oh yes. It's like a can of pure weightless energy. Hydrogen can be used to power race cars and rocket ships . . . provided they don't explode or catch fire.
If this fuel is more potent than gasoline, why would our bodies possibly need hydrogen? This seems strange. It would be like drinking liquid gasoline which would poison and kill us. And yet all life relies on water, and, therefore, hydrogen. Very odd indeed.
When we (or trees or birds or insects or other mammals) drink water we are consuming two hydrogen molecules to every one oxygen molecule, and that hydrogen is more flammable than gasoline. Amazing that it is made stable by the single oxygen molecule, and amazing that we are able to drink it and actually use it.
How do our bodies use hydrogen? Hydrogen is a lubricant like many other forms of fuel such as gasoline and petroleum products. Therefore, it lubricates our joints and muscles. Beyond that miracle of chemistry and biology, hydrogen also serves a very important function as it is the major fuel for life.
Scientists estimate that over 80% of the universe is made up of hydrogen! It is literally everywhere. When you are flying an airplane over the ocean, you are actually witnessing a huge pool of hydrogen.
When we talk about being thirsty, we say we are "dehydrated." The words hydrated and dehydrated come from the word hydrogen. What does it mean to be dehydrated? It literally means that your body doesn't have enough hydrogen in it!
If hydrogen is a super fuel, a super powerful form of energy, then it serves to reason that many electrical and neurological processes in our bodies require hydrogen to operate optimally. In fact, hydrogen may even be the thing that generates our inner "spark," the actual essence of life itself. Perhaps it is the real fountain of youth. This may even be what Nikola Tesla was referring to when he said that energy is literally all around us all the time. If he was talking about hydrogen and hydrogen makes up 80% of the universe, then he was right!
Why is water the most perfect liquid for all life on Earth? It is because of oxygen and hydrogen, so drink your water, because water is energy. Your body needs it.
Water, . . . so simple and yet so powerful. It is quite possibly the most perfect, most potent energy energy drink known to humans.