Playing the National Anthem- Video LifeQuest Fundraiser Golf Tournament, Tanoan C.C., Albuquerque, 2019

The National Anthem is one of the most played songs in America. If you have played in school bands, military bands, marching bands, or are a musician who has performed at any sporting or public event, you have played the familiar melody since you were very young.

In America, individualism is worshiped, but so is big Government.

Most of us fall someplace different on the line that stretches from pure individualism towards the right end of the line to pure communism towards the left, in relation to how much government control of your life you want. It is no wonder that we shake our heads at each other, erroneously thinking we all fall on the same place on this  political line that crosses itself so often you don’t always know left from right. The tug of war between these opposing dreams describes our American dilemma.

After the National Anthem, some of us singing, the color guard marches off the putting green and we golfers all go to our assigned golf carts and roll out for a shotgun start to the golf tournament.

This golf tournament is a fundraiser for Lifequest, a group that mentors juveniles locked up in jail, believing that the Bible and good role models will keep juveniles from going back to jail after they serve their time and are released, often back into the same negative situation they were before they were incarcerated.

Regardless of where we are on any line, we all know mistakes are made and not every child has a home to come from, or a home to go too.

Listening to the National Anthem, I know where my battle line in the sand is drawn.

If politicians sons and daughters had to go fight in wars, we wouldn’t have so many of them.

 

 

 

Just Statues Lincoln and Reagan

At the entry to the Fountain Hills Park are a number of statues, some seated on benches, some standing, all with commemorative plaques and praising comments at their feet.The figures cast shadows, some longer than others. Most of the statues are of men and most have been Presidents of the United States.

Presidents, as we know from watching those we have voted for, have lots of good speechwriters, lots of philosophy and confidence.They enter office with one mindset and leave with another. Leading the United States, on a day to day basis, is like trying to keep water in a glass that keeps springing holes. You enter office believing you can benefit the country knowing that half the voters believe you are aren’t worth the time of day. Presidents leave office hoping they didn’t have to deal with war, a disastrous Depression, or any number of calamities that come upon a nation. You are glad, when your term is up, to let someone else drive the stagecoach.

This morning Lincoln and Reagan look like old friends and it would be revealing to sit on a bench on a moonlit night listening to their stories about unruly cabinet members, hostile Congressmen and women, an unrelenting negative press, and military misadventures.

There are those who would like to cart these two men and their memories away, store them in a warehouse providing props to the movie industry,

We  expect far too much from our Presidents, and our Government.

This country will rise and fall on the efforts of us who will never have a statue of ourselves in a park..

 

 

 

Flying Home Another trip into the books

Airports are transitional.

In airports we are moving to someplace new or returning to someplace familiar. We are waiting interminable hours then squeezing into airplanes that take us 35,000 feet above the Earth and show us movies. We are victims of delays, layovers, plane cancellations, Customs, paperwork, pat downs, x rays and questions. For some, these indignities are acceptable. For others, they are barely tolerable.

This trip, authorities with TSA, in Newerk, confiscate a small bottle of flavored rum that Scott is taking home to enjoy, legally bought at the Museo of Rum in Santo Domingo. The size of the bottle, according to the TSA limit, is “over the limit. ” The agent says ” leave it, or consume it now. ”  Figuring they will give me a ticket for flying drunk next, I give up and leave the rum behind and board my plane for home.

Are we to a point in this USA that this micromanagement is necessary, or even healthy? Is all this just getting us ready for other restrictive changes we are going to like even less?

Scotttreks likes flowers and singing birds, walking and taking pictures, but, this doesn’t mean we aren’t watching  more sinister things too.

Governments are, according to more than just me, too big for their britches. Instead of being lean, and somewhat mean, our government is overweight, nosy, passes too many laws and doesn’t prosecute its favorites that break those laws.

This trip is over, and, I hope, another is quickly to follow.

Even without my rum, which the TSA agents have already enjoyed, staying healthy and traveling is my Doctor’s best prescription.

Wild animals, and humans too, don’t like to be caged.

 

 

Camel Talk Smoking room, Santo Domingo Airport

Smoking has taken a beating in the United States.

Most smoking in America has been banned from public buildings. All tobacco packaging has to contain scientific warnings that tobacco products are not good for your health. Tobacco is taxed at an exorbitant rate. Television advertising of tobacco products has been curtailed drastically. Multi-million dollar lawsuits have awarded money to smoking victims in large class action health related lawsuits. Doctors advise all their clients to quit. Smoking in movies and on television by actors and actresses has trickled to a few puffs each season.

Camel cigarettes are one of the last surviving brands from the 1950’s.

As kids, we thought it funny to see the Camels on cigarette packs and wondered who would smoke them instead of Philip Morris, Lucky Strikes or Marlboro’s. The fifties were a smoking heyday with millions of vets acquiring the habit in the war and continuing when they got home. Our Dad smoked, but quit, once we were born, by eating tons of lifesavers he kept on a closet shelf where we couldn’t reach them. The Camels always made us think of the French Foreign Legion, men wearing funny hats fighting other men wearing funny hats.

In this Santo Domingo airport, on my way home, I find a plastic Camel lounging in a smoking room. It is a cool place to hang out while waiting for my plane to board and there are only a few people here this morning, a cleaning woman and a smoking man looking out the lounge window puffing intently on his Camel cigarette, the smoke making clouds in room thick enough to walk on.

Camels, might truly be cool, but I hear, from people who have lived with them, that they are nasty, have body order, and spit at people they don’t like.

Advertising always gets us to ignore product negatives,

I’m in this smoking room, hanging with a camel, and I don’t even smoke.

 

Calle Estrellita In the neighborhood

Yes, there is trash on the too narrow to walk on sidewalks. Yes, you have to watch your step because the entire neighborhood is a work in progress. Yes, people live close together with no yards,few garages, a myriad of empty buildings waiting for bank money and investors to fix them up. Yes, there is noise and congestion. Yes, this is an urban landscape with cement, tile, asphalt the main building materials.Yes, there are dogs and cats sleeping on the sidewalk. Yes,people speak a different language. Yes, getting around without a car is humbling.

On the other side of the coin, there is vitality and energy here. People are friendly. You see something new on every street, around every corner.

Back home I live in a covenant controlled community with all houses virtually identical and all projects having to be approved by an unseen board that sends out a newsletter and has compliance officers making daily inspections.

I love to walk here.

This is my neighborhood at home flipped inside out.

 

 

Mr. Postman utility bill delivery system

There is a Postal Service in the Dominican Republic but it is either not used, not trusted, or not helpful to the citizens in this old colonial neighborhood. 

In the United States, our Post Office is maligned with carriers driving expensive Post Office vehicles, wearing special uniforms, driving to each box instead of walking, possessing good government benefits and retirements, hard to get hired unless you know someone with pull on the inside or you are a woman or minority.

In the Dominican Republic mail goes missing, and, from personal inspection, houses and businesses here don’t even have mail boxes to deposit letters and bills even if someone was delivering it properly.

Therefore, utility bills are delivered, door to door, by a tall friendly man wearing a white shirt with an electric company logo over his left shirt pocket. He stops this morning to visit his customers as he delivers their bills personally, and, if no one is home, stuffs his electric company bill into their locked security doors, rolled up like a small handbill.

I know because I follow him half a block but can’t get the right situation for a photo.

No postal service is nothing new in the Caribbean. In Grenada, there were no house numbers so when you asked where someone lived it was always , ” up on the big hill,” or ” by the tire shop. ”

For those of us who like to mail ourselves a letter to tell ourselves how great we are, the Dominican Republic is not a good choice.

The best thing is you don’t read about Dominican Republic postal workers shooting up their former workplace with automatic weapons.

 

 

Fixing a Leak Plumbers are needed

The main water supply line from the street to the house is accessible from the sidewalk. You lift a little metal door in the sidewalk and quickly find a leaking coupling that joins the city part of the water line with the homeowners part of the water line.

This plumber has removed the old connection, a rigid piece of PVC, and is replacing it with a flexible, expandable, temporary PVC coupling. One end of the flexible coupling slips over the pipe from the sidewalk to the main city water line and the other end of the flexible coupling slips over the pipe from the inside the house to the street.

This plumber has an audience with the lady of the house watching him through her wrought iron front door, and a neighbor and me making sure he knows what he is doing.

Water continues to bubble out of the break as he works.

When he closes the little door, the leak fixed, he might be the only one in this entire city to solve a problem today.

What I’m wondering is when is someone taking out the flexible coupling and installing the meter that measures the water usage of this household?

Water, last time I looked at my bills, wasn’t free.

I’m guessing, as I leave, that, before long, a long bill will be sent and paid.

In the end, we always have to pay, and, leaks that aren’t fixed ,cost us dearly.

 

Independence Plaza Celebrating past greats of Dominican Republic

Independence is a goal many countries have waged a war to achieve, and keep.

The three men’s names engraved into marble at this commemorative site are Sanchez, Duarte and Mella.

Duarte was a writer, activist,poet, military man and liberal politician who was one of the founding fathers of the Dominican Republic, and, most interestingly, from Venezuela. Sanchez was a politician, national hero and founding father who helped lead the 1844 War of Independence from Spain. Mella is another national hero who joins Duarte and Sanchez as the most important figures in this countries fight for its freedom.

It is not odd that after so many wars for independence, one world globalists want us to go back to colonial days where a handful of countries and individuals control the entire world, it’s people and resources.

Freedom comes with struggle and keeping it means we commoners have to want it to keep it.

Independence won is a good thing to hold close to you.

 

 

 

Police Band Zona Colonial Plaza Santo Domingo Event

The last police band i saw was in Cuenca, at a celebration for ex-pats and foreign business development in that Ecuadorian city.

This Santo Domingo events aim is to support women and fight domestic violence in Latin America.This police band provides some of the entertainment. There are uniformed officers patrolling all the tourist destinations in this ” old City.”. and, except for getting hustled to buy things you don’t want or solicited to take a guided tour from one of the many guides in the area, the Zone is very safe.

The police band’s music is contagious, in a good way.

It is good for the police to show their gentle side since most of their job deals with locking up family, friends, and strangers who choose not to follow rules.

Police are still humans, we sometimes forget, who wear guns, handcuffs, badges, drive official vehicles. play in the police band, and put people in jail.

They can never lose their humanity no matter how much bad they have to clean up.

When public servants and institutions lose their humanity, we all lose.

 

 

 

Talking Man Newerk Airport

We listen to a lot of talking heads but this guy actually makes sense.

He is the perfect employee, as long as there is electricity and a place to plug in.

As an employer, you don’t have to pay wages, retirement, medical benefits or deal with his personal issues that bleed into the work place. Fred stays where you put him and does as he is programmed, for the hours he is programmed. He won’t steal from you, misrepresent what your business does, and always dresses appropriately.

As a traveler, Fred gives me information I can use, and, he is easy to walk away from if I am not interested.

As a watcher of trends, Fred  seems, to me, even as pleasant a cutout as he is, to be a harbinger of our coming  dystopian future.

When we listen to ” fake people ” we have already been positioned where someone else wants us.

 

 

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