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Snapshot of "Stone Cold Country Review" Band

“Stone Cold Country Review” July 28, 2023

“Stone Cold Country Review” recorded live at Oconee Brewing Company is Greensboro Georgia on the evening of July 28, 2023. Featuring my friend Bill Cunningham on steel guitar.

Concert at Oconee Brewing Company 07282023

At about 6:50 pm I received a message from Bill Cunningham saying he was currently playing at Oconee Brewing Company in Greensboro Georgia and would be there until 10:00 pm. My friend Doug Nelson and and I decided to go and take in the show. The show started at 7:00 pm and ran until 10:00 pm. The video above is a collection of short clips from a few of the songs they performed.

Recorded on my iPhone 13 and edited with “Open Shot Video Editor” on desktop computer running Linux Mint 21.2 OS.

Gun Violence – A Typical Diversion

There has been a lot of rhetoric in the media and in the government lately about the latest political diversion catch phrase; “gun violence”. Yet again the government and the media are attempting to divert our attention away from the real problems with present day society and the unacceptable increases in violence in the American society.

There is no question that violence in the US has increased over the last 100 years or so. It seems like each generation is more violent than the last. There are hundreds or thousands of reasons. The list below is a tiny part of a much longer list:

  • uncontrolled bullying in schools
  • increasing violence in the media
  • the decline of the positive influences on children by a stable family life
  • the decline in religious affiliations
  • overcrowding in the schools
  • a country that is constantly declaring war on countries and governments they don’t approve of
  • peer pressure from social media
  • the US is the most adept country in the world at training every new generation for war then sending them to foreign countries to kill foreign nationals for esoteric political views
  • the almost uncontrolled rise in the illegal drug trade
  • the almost uncontrolled rise in the membership in violent gangs
  • a lenient court system
  • Cabin Fever as a result of a multi year government lock down of the entire country

Citizens are demanding that governments act to control the the violence in our society. However, as mentioned, it is a multi faceted problem that will take years and fundamental societal changes to solve. Therein lies the problem. Politicians do not tackle difficult problems. Their horizon ends at the next election. Any problem that can not be solved in one term will likely be ignored.

So, classic diversion tactics, when the people are demanding immediate action on a problem that can not be immediately solved, you divert their attention to another issue that you can address. In this case, you coin the term “gun violence” then put the emphasis on the “gun” instead of the “violence“. Then you rush through a bunch of new, ineffective laws against the gun instead of addressing the violence in our society. Let the next administration deal with that because it is hard and if you try to fix it you may fail, and failure is not good for your chances in the next election.

For nearly the last hundred the government has passed ever increasing levels of gun laws to address the “bad gun du jour”. Yet in that same period, “gun violence” in the US has steadily increased. Hmm, what does that tell you, new laws do not fix the problem with violent people in society! Yet we just keep doing it. This sort of reminds me of the old military adage; “in the face of imminent defeat, retreat and declare victory”.

  • In the 30s it was machine guns and sawed off shotguns that were the bad guns causing all the violent crime so lets tax them out of existance.
  • in 1968 it was mail order guns, under age gun buyers, and unregulated gun dealers i.e. easy access to guns was the problem to be solved. So the government passed the most complem and sweeping set of gun control laws ever. This was to be a permanent fix to the “gun violence”problem.
  • Also in the 60s lets not forget the dreaded “Saturday night special” i.e small cheap handguns were the thing to be hated for causing all the violent crime. So we enacted laws to prevent small handguns from being imported or manufactured domestically.
  • in 1994, the problem was cheap SKS rifles being imported from China. SKSs could be imported from any one of the other countries that manufactured them, but not from China (a real common sense violence control measure ?). Owning an SKS rifle is OK as long as it costs more.
  • Also in 1994 the ill fated Clinton Assault Weapons Ban. Banned a hodgepodge of rifles that the government had defined as assault rifles. Magazines with capacities of greater than 10 rounds of ammunition were also banned. This law was allowed to expire in 2004 since it had no measurable effect on violent crime
  • The 2022 Gun Safety Bill . The latest and greatest diversion by a government who avoids the real issue because it is too complex to even contemplate.

A number of shootings in Atlanta appear to be related to warring rival teenage gangs. There has been a number of instances of a shooter, trying to attack a rival, and spraying multiple bullets into a crowd of innocent bystanders killing or wounding several people, including small children, who just happen to be in the wrong place. When we have people without the smallest amount of moral character, to the point that they have zero regard for human life; how does anyone believe the new laws will fix that problem. That’s the problem that needs to be fixed, a whole generation of young people who have never been taught moral values and value for human life.

Following is a Chronology of Gun Control Laws Over the Last 100 Years

National Firearms Act (NFA) of 1934

The NFA of 1934 was the first attempt at federal gun control legislation in the USA. The “Roaring 30s was a period of rising “gangster violence”. The government determined that short barreled shotguns and “machine guns” were the source of the problem. But, rather than ban them, the decided to tax them out of existence. See this link for more info :

Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA or GCA68)

The law was prompted by the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963 (with a mail order gun). The a further push for passing this law in 1968 was in response to the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr and Robert F. Kennedy, both in 1968. The bill :

  • bans the mail order sales of rifles and shotguns and
  • limits interstate shipment of firearms
  • mandates the licensing of individuals and companies engaged in the business of selling firearms
  • prohibits most felons, drug users and people found mentally incompetent from buying guns.
  • limits the sale of any rifle or shotgun or ammunition for rifle or shotgun to any individual less than 18 years of age,
  • limits the sale of any handgun or ammunition for a handgun to any individual less than 21 years of age.
  • bans the importation of a number of small handguns which the government deemed “not suitable for sporting purposes” i.e “Saturday night specials”.

In the sixties, the number one bad gun was the so-called “Saturday Night Special.” The righteous in our society hated them before the learned the hate Assault Rifles.

For more details on GCA68 see :

The Chinese SKS was banned for importation on May 26, 1994 by President Clinton.

in 1994, importation of SKS rifles from China were banned. SKSs could be imported from any one of the other countries that manufactured them, but not from China.

1994 Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act

Commonly called the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, or the Clinton Assault Weapons Ban, which was a part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. It was passed into law in September 1994.


The ban was law for a decade before expiring in 2004, but the effectiveness of the ban has been debated ever since.

  • banned the “transfer or possession” of large-capacity ammunition devices that carried more than 10 bullets
  • banned more than a dozen specific firearms and certain features on guns
  • contained a sunset provision of a decade, meaning that it would automatically expire in 2004 unless renewed through another vote

There was a lot of commentary on the effectiveness of the ban, but no conclusive evidence that it reduced violence. It was not renewed

green rice field

My Formula for Life After Retirement

I am 74 years old and mostly retired. However I did recently start a part time job at Home Depot, a large building supply dealer. After 12 years of retirement and having my schedule totally under my control it is a bit difficult to adjust my life around the demands of a time clock. But I see it all as part of my goals to keep my retirement life varied and thus interesting and stimulating.

Having had several years of retirement life, I thought it was time to reflect on the ideal retirement strategy for achieving a fulfilling quality of life. I am talking about achieving a satisfying and fulfilled life physically and mentally. Building your financial health in preparation for retirement is a different topic and not contemplated in this post; books have been written about it by people more expert on the subject than I.

Ideally you will have internists (passions) during your working life that you would like to focus on after retirement, now that you have the free time. The saddest thing is a person who retires and is totally lost. No interests or ambitions and simply sits around feeling lost and sorry for themselves. It seems like this type of person is more likely to contract more illnesses and even possibly pass away within a few years of retirement because they have lost the will and passion to live a fulfilled life.

As well as preparing for a fulfilling retirement on your retirement “homestead” it is also important to a satisfying retirement to cultivate outside activities to get you involved with your new community and make new friends. Join a club, a service fraternity, a local church, or volunteer at a charitable organization. Find an activity that takes you outside the house and that you can be passionate about.

My leisure activities in retirement involve:

  • tinkering with computers; building them, repairing them, experimenting with various operating systems
  • maintaining my property; 14 acres of lawn, hay field, and pasture.
  • cutting, splitting and stacking firewood; I heat my house with wood, not because I need to but because I prefer to.
  • getting involved with my local church by: volunteering for various committees, designing and maintaining their web site and Facebook page, and setting up audio and video equipment as required.
Fire in the Wood Stove
A Warm Fire

During my working life I lived in urban areas to be close to my work. However, as retirement age approached, I knew I was going to move to a rural area to retire. So, while I was still working, and had disposable income, I started acquiring the trappings of rural life:

  • I bought 14 acres of land in farming country.
  • I purchased an ATV
  • I purchased a used farm tractor
  • I acquired various tools that I would need for rural life such as gardening, grass cutting, and firewood processing

So, when I retired, I was ready to sell my urban house, build a more modest house on my rural land, and start living like a person who enjoys retirement.

Creating a happy and fulfilling retirement takes planning but it is well worth the effort.

Oak Tree Down
Hurricane Damage

Ready for Firewood

Sometimes the Good Lord provides a helping hand. When it was time to cut some more firewood, along come a hurricane and knocked down this large oak tree in my back yard. He layed it down on the ground for me and all I had to do was cut it up, split it, and stack it in the wood shed for next winter.

Litigation Processes – The New Norm

The new norm. Criminal cases must be tried in the media before going to the courts.

The recent presidential election spectacle in the US has brought home one disturbing fact of the new normal in America. The press are demanding that criminal cases be tried in the media before they go to the courts. Several high profile cases in the last few years have been tried in the media long before the cases went to trial. Then, when the case went to court; and if the court ruling differed from the media ruling, there were massive public outcries and demonstrations.

In the 2020 presidential race, President Trump refused to accept the election results and vowed to take the issue of election fraud to the courts. Nobody knew at the time if his claims had any basis or not. A lot of people assumed that his claims were baseless, and they possibly were. However, as soon as he made the claims, several news media organizations stated categorically the he had no proof (they were already reporting on the outcome of litigation that had not yet begun). They said that, he had not submitted his evidence to the press, therefore there was no proof. Again, they reported this as absolute fact, not speculation. They continued to demand that he submit his legal proof to the press BEFORE he submitted the evidence to the courts. And the general public seemed to agree!

What a shocking change in the rule of law! It used to be that you presented evidence of criminal wrong doing to the courts for adjudication. Now it seems the the accepted legal process is that you present you evidence to the press and they must adjudicate it before it goes to the courts. The standard, and accepted, response to the press by lawyers and principals in a case used to be “we can not comment on pending litigation”. Seems that is no longer a valid response. And should you fail to bow to the press’s demands to disclose all your arguments before you present them to the courts, you do so at your own peril. They will punish you with relentless public attacks on you character; again all presented as absolute fact.

In this particular case, the media predictions of the legal arguments not standing up in court may come true. However that does not excuse their penchant for reporting speculation as fact. We are heading down a slippery slope of subverting the legal process by the media.

I can still remember the “old days” when there was something called “investigative journalism” but that died with the proliferation of social media which fueled the public’s demand for instant reporting of events, even before there was any facts to report.

The outhouse

Oh well. I guess I will head to the outhouse and read a newspaper and see if I can find some “real” news.

Rainbows and Unicorns

Image by maneya from Pixabay

This COVID-19 pandemic has spawned an even more dangerous set of twin pandemics of silliness.

First – a certain faction of the USA population is advocating (very vocally) that the government should cease to govern in the interests of all citizens, and instead abdicate all political decisions to the “medical professionals”. This, they claim. will make COVID-19 magically disappear (figuratively it would vanish into thin air without further intervention). Of course the economy would collapse, the newly healthy population would experience a lower standard of living that they have had in 100 years, and the democratic processes and freedoms that used to be guaranteed by the US constitution would be long gone.

Additionally – a faction of that population is advocating that the government should take over the operation of the health care system. This would, they say, make make health care free to all and the world would be filled with rainbows and unicorns. If you want to see what government run health care looks like in America, check out the VA system of health care. People dying waiting months to see a doctor, never seeing the same doctor twice, diagnostic testing severely limited.

To paraphrase an old and revered document, these truths should be self evident; doctors should not run the government, and politicians should not run the medical system.

Do Politicians Lie?

Politician speaking on podium with microphone, about liar election concept

We are in the midst of campaigning for a federal election here in the US. This means that we are being blasted with virtually nonstop TV commercials by all the candidates for federal political office. It seems to me that the word lie, and lair are being used even more this year than in past campaigns. Everyone that is campaigning is saying that every other person that is campaigning is a liar. If we are to believe all these campaign adds on TV (and surely everyone believes every word) then we must conclude that everyone running for office must be a lair, all their opponents said so, and they wouldn’t lie. Such a dilemma, should we vote for liars? Is being a liar a prerequisite for political office?

Some fun trivia on liers:

If You Only Have a Hammer

On reflecting on today’s “new normal” of shutting down countries to control an infectious disease, an old adage came to mind. If your only tool is a hammer then every problem looks like a nail.

When confronted with the Covid-19 problem, politicians consulted their “infectious disease experts” for a solution. If you are an “infectious disease expert” your logical response is that the sure way to control the spread of infectious diseases is to isolate and quarantine everybody, forever. They have to say that, it is the only arrow in their quiver.

One would have thought that the leaders of the countries of the world would have considered all factors related to shutting down a country such as:

  • How will people earn a living while locked down.
  • How will businesses survive without workers or customers.
  • Once the companies have shut down, and more people are out of work than those still working, how will we finance social welfare programs for all the newly unemployed people that we forced out of the workplace.

Obviously the leaders of the various countries are more savvy on such things than me, and have this all figured out, and have considered all factors for the greater good of their populations. I am patiently awaiting the results of their secret master plans to fix all this and end up with society better off than when the pandemic started.