Sunday, January 27, 2013

The War Between The States Redux!!

After three months of job searching and errand running and lacklustre attempts at House Husbanding, I think I will try to get back into the scholarly pursuit of the American Civil War. The old job wore me out, down to a frazzle. In the past an old buddy of mine Christine L. rekindled my desire to get back into Civil War research after a similar period of exhaustion on the job. Also I lost a lot of enthusiasm for Civil War research when my long time Civil War buddy Roger Cary passed away from a bout with cancer. I've decided to retrench and see what if anything I can do to rekindle that flame of curiosity I once had on the subject.

To that end, I contacted another Civil War buff, I know who lives near Saratoga Springs to see if we can form an alliance because in my experience it is always a lot more fun when you know someone with whom you can share every discovery. I will try to help him out with his projects in between my job searches. Lance Ingmire is working on a history of the 95th New York Volunteers, a unit that I wrote s short blurb on back in the 70's so I am familiar with many of the guys in the unit. Moreover, assisting Lance, I decided to create a Yahoo Message board related specifically to the 95th to see if we can catch anyone out there who may possess written material from wartime by or about them.

Also I contacted Paul Martin and found out that the  Rockland County Civil War Round Table still exists. I used to be pretty active in it til work consumed everything. Will rejoin at the next meeting on February 6th.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Another Day, another Whatever!!

Let's see still looking for a job, no one wants a 64 year old former property manager except stupid computer programs that keep sending me job opportunities for Bank Tellers or Buyers of Women's fashions. I even got a note from a loan company that specializes in retirement loans. At least they got the age right. 

My daughter introduced me to a country singer named Tift Merritt. She's not bad, sort of like a younger Mary Chapin Carpenter. She will be going to a concert in the city to see her on her birthday. Hope she has a good time.

On other fronts, my wife is trying to train me into becoming a house husband. Boy this is tough work. I can't seem to do anything right  :-) At least I'm getting better with shopping lists except that sometimes I think i suffer from brain farts. The other day, while at Shop and Stop, I saw Entenmann's chocolate donuts. So I thought that this would be a nice surprise. Regina used to love them. I come home and she says, why did you buy these, I was making banana cake with chocolate icing? Oh well, I try.....and I sure have clean fingernails from the dishwashing too.

I'm not much at cooking, that will never happen, but at least I make a mean tuna salad. She even complimented me on how crunchy it was. Onions, celery, mayo and tuna. Even I can figure that one out!! And they say you can't teach an old dog new tricks!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Mixed Blessings dealing with NYS Labor Dept.

OK, so I'm laid off (reduction in force) and on unemployment. I have gone to a couple of NYS  Labor presentations, met with their people, who by the way, have all been fantastic. But when you wind up talking to their voice mail or working with their automated systems, I really get frustrated.

There is a young lady who is helping me that is in charge of helping Veterans find jobs. She is a Vet, herself so there is a kindred spirit thing going on here. I told her that I wanted to work again but not in the field that I was laid off from. I've had it not just with being a property manager, but also the insane 80 mile commute daily back and forth to New York City. The other day, I got a newsletter called Smart 2010 from the NYS Labor Department telling me about a bunch of property manager positions most of which were located in New York city. I emailed my connection at Tomorrow's Work Place and queried her as to why that happened when we had discussed my feelings about a new job.  Well it turns out that this Smart 2010 Newsletter is not so smart after all. It scans your resume, picks out key words and tells you what is available up to 25 miles from your zip code.

What am I looking for is a job related to purchasing in NORTH JERSEY. As a property manager, I gained extensive experience in biddding, sourcing and purchasing. I want a 9 to 5 job, not 24 by 7 recall which is what I was subject to in the past. Natalie sent me a list of keywords to use in the resume which the scanner would pick up and hopefully direct the right job my way. So I will retool my resume, tell her where to insert the new key words and keep my fingers crossed.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

42nd Wedding Anniversary

Today is our 42nd Wedding anniversary! However due to  my recent layoff, Regina and I will not be showering each other with opulent gifts. Still looking for a job and still on unemployment. We will be exchanging small tokens of appreciation/affection and having a small dinner at a local favorite of ours, Lynch's Restaurant in Stony Point. So after 42  years we have three great kids and three grandchildren on the west coast. My daughter in law is always updating us on the most recent important event and lots of photos. It is hard to believe that its been that long. Seems just like yesterday that we were walking up the steps of St. Catherine of Genoa in Brooklyn.............

Monday, January 7, 2013

Rocco Smirks!!

Latest Photo of youngest grandchild Rocco!! Cute little guy. Looks like he has a joke on the world and not telling anyone.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Killing Time With Books!!

While on the job I was extremely busy. Saturdays were filled with errands and I collapsed on Sundays watching DVD's with Regina to get ready for the grind ahead for the next five days, translation, there was little time to read. While exploring rooms and bookcases crammed with books, I came across a bunch I had purchased but never had the time to read. Also I've run through a stack of books that my old boss Faye gave me to read.

I finished all the fiction  books I owned and was not in the mood for nonfiction so Regina and I started swapping books. She's reading a lot of my Robert Parker novels now; however, she's not into Jack Reacher and his adventures. For the life of me I can't figure it out. I know tons of people, male and female who can't get enough of the Jack Reacher character.  I asked her if she had anything other than romance stuff. It turns out that an author named Nora Roberts who writes romance novels also writes mystery novels involving the FBI, etc. So I took a chance and read a couple. 

Ms. Roberts can turn a phrase to be sure. The books were entertaining. However, I could do without some of the steamy scenes. They didn't add much to the book. Roberts could take a hint from another of my favorite authors, Louis Lamour when it came to romance. In his books, it was always implied, never raw. I'm old, I don't need raw,

Last night I read the last one and went into the front room where we store a lot of books, I picked up a couple and brought them into the room to read, only to discover that it was the romance version of Ms. Robert's books, Yuch! So I asked Regina to find me a couple more mystery books. She did and I'll plow through those next.

I have a whole bunch of political type conservative books which I was reading a little at a time, but to be honest, since the election, I lost interest in what's going on out there. Of course being laid off due to a reduction in force didn't help,  I don't need to be depressed anymore than I am.

I guess some of my history nonfiction books will be next. I have plenty of them around the house that I haven't read yet. Many years ago, when we were first married, I joined the History Book Club. I was always forgetting to stop the monthly selection so I wound up with them anyway. Eventually I gave up and just accepted whatever came.

 Finally, about 20 years later, the house was overflowing with hardcover Historical books and I had no choice but to surrender. I sent a letter to the History Book Club and resigned my membership. I actually received a letter from them asking me not to quit. They said they would just suspend my membership for a little while. Supposedly, they didn't want my streak to end. I knew better though. I'd be a sucker and get right back in it so I said thanks but no thanks.

Consequently, we have quite a diverse library in the house. Everything from William Rufus to Marriage in the Middle Ages, the Plague that swept across Europe, Roosevelt, Stalin, Churchill, Hitler, Francis Drake and the Spanish Armada, the European Discovery of America, the American Civil War, the Korean War, you name it, we got it! The other day we were talking about holding a yard sale in the spring to see if we could sell any of them along with other detritus we've accumulated over the years. Something tells me that if any of my books go, older folks will buy them. I don't think the younger generation gives a hoot about history. It's their loss for sure.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Second Amendment Opinion

Due to the recent Newtown, Ct. killings, the nation is once again up in arms over the lack of gun control. This is a subject that for the most part, I have avoided over the years especially in the work place, because it usually creates angst and arguments amongst normally friendly folk due to such diverse opinions. This time I am compelled to yield to the Newtown tragedy and say something. On the one hand, I firmly believe that the second amendment was authored by our founding fathers as a method of self-defense. The militia issue being the central point to me. That is what the commons was for in most frontier and country towns. The militia would gather for drills and inspections on a periodic basis. 

However, in my opinion, the need for a militia of that type is no longer relevant. except for a few archaic statutes in some states, it no longer exists, we now have the National Guard, Air Guard and other reserve components to be called up in the event of emergencies providing they pass the muster of the posse comitatus act. Opinions vary, but some of the Founding Fathers believe that everyone is still militia based on the fact that we civilians would need to overthrow an oppressive Federal government if it did not operate in the best interest of the people. We have evolved beyond the same kind of thinking that wanted to insure an ability to through off the tyranny of a Kinge George III.I think that is never likely to happen, however many kinks in the armor we have, our form of a constitutional government is still the best on earth. I just wish the  present politicians realized that; but they're too busy raking in the dough to pay attention to the people that elected them..

Being a military history buff and a veteran, most people assume I am an ardent supporter of the Second Amendment. That assumption would be incorrect (as the amendment stands). While, I believe in the ability to defend one's home against invaders, I also believe in other things that would make a gun lover cringe. 

Below please find a link from the Athens Banner-Herald to a recent article about the 2008 Supreme Court Decision which clarified/certified the intent of the 2nd amendment as it now stands.

Moreover, I believe that gun control should be modified, not by congressional law because that can usually be overturned at the drop of a hat. It would constantly change along party lines depending on who is in power. I sincerely believe that the Second Amendment should be modified and re-ratified if that is possible, since an amendment is a much harder obstacle to overcome than a law driven by lobbyists and congress people interested only in advancing their own careers.

A rewritten second amendment should:
  • delete a reference to a militia.
  • provide lengthy jail sentences to those who possess automatic weapons (no parole).
  • require a 3 month waiting period upon application for a license to allow for adequate background checking.
  • require training in the type of firearm purchased to be signed off by the local police department
  • Limit the size of clips,magazines, etc
  • Gun smugglers or sellers of illegal fire arms, life imprisonment with no parole.
  • Do not allow sales at Gun shows where  background checks are not implemented,
These are a few suggestions that may lessen or prevent a Columbine or Newtown or Virginia Tech shooting. There are probably other things that can be done as well. Bottom line is that the politicians need to do something right for the people for a change and not for the lobbyists. How many young people were prevented from developing their potential by the above mentioned incidents, how many parents, siblings, spouses or grandparents have to suffer such horrible losses before those knuckleheads in congress do what is right instead of what is convenient for them?