Thursday, December 29, 2011

End of 2011--Some important things

There are 3 days left until New Years Eve. Sunday begins the New Year!

It has been an interesting one for me. I have covered events up to summer. Our end of summer came with Hurricane Irene. It brought work. Work brought machine repairs neglected for 4 years with more in the wings as each machine still has a major problem: truck / Bobcat / Chipper / Stump Cutter. Nowhere near profitable yet after 4 years in a wasteland economy.

My 93-year-old mother has moved to a more round-the-clock care facility. Thank God she wisely bought a Long Term Care Insurance policy which protects what little nest egg she has from the busted economy and investment delines in the 40% range! Anyone not having such good sense is guaranteed to be, either poorly cared for, or a serious burden on the family trying to supplement the cost of care or provide it themselves.

We celebrated Christmas with our daughter and her 4 boys. It was the first one in 3 years in the "normal" range. The boys are much improved. They still have Lonya helping. She is giving a stability their mother cannot provide. Sara became manager of the Bed, Bath, and Beyond store in Greenville, NC. This means longer travel hours and more time away from her boys. They are slowly becoming a little more responsible for helping with the house and TC loves to help prepare the noon meal when everyone is at home. They are lucky to have such a caring Gam! With Sara's disturbance she needs a mother as much as the boys.

The sun is now rising on a beautiful and calm Pamlico River. The glory of the sun rising and setting on this river is beyond verbal description. You would never imagine the terror and destruction of the Hurricane a few months ago.

Our cottage has been here since the early 50's. Never, in all that time, has water gotten closer to it than 3' beneath. We were right here as the eye of the hurricane passed across the river from us. It was wind in the 80 mph range, but it slowed down and pushed water from the Pamlico Sound up and under us. This time it came within 1" of the sub-floor. It took out all the insulation we had painfully installed. Water was splashing under the door facing the River and against the asbestos siding! We were going outside every 20 minutes to raise the generator higher and higher. The pictures are posted on Facebook---and they are dramatic!

As the water finally started receeding, we had 4-6' breakers crashing in the yard. A number of houses at lower levels had water going through them. Just up our street toward the Sound water was almost waist deep. Toward Bath it was the same and we were almost cut off from escape! There was still a route out, but limbs and trees were obstacles there. It was comforting to know I had my machinery and saws right here if I had to make an emergency exit!

We know our house must be raised by 10' to be safe in the future. We had no insurance including flood so we are in clear FEMA coverage territory. Thus far we have gotten $700+ in emergency funds. Our damages required an application to the Small Business Administration for help---that was denied. This puts us into FEMA Grant territory which is now in the processing stage. We are asking for $52,000 to cover the cost of the required high water survey / engineering plans for the raising / a concrete slab with hurricane resistant support and new roof. The details will kill you to put together plus the cost in money we do not have for the already done survey and engineering. It is a journey into faith for us!

I had placed a zip line for the boys last summer. The starting post on the beach reaches some 12' into the air and ends at a large post in the water. They enjoyed it at end of summer. Dilyn is the only one with courage enough for the full ride! When he hit the water for the first time he rose sputtering, "Pa Pa is a genious!!!!" Music to any grandfather's ears!

The high water survey mark is half way up that 12' post! It surveyed to exactly the same height of the actual flood. It was based on old records for high water plus some extra feet to insure safety in building margins above old water records. The inland marker is at the base of a light pole half way to the street from our house. That was exactly where the water reached after going under the house.

We have a good contractor giving us a reasonable bid for the process. Our greatest fear is that we have to live in it as it is raised. Thus far, most of the houses raised have sat for weeks on temporary supports until concrete could be poured, supports set, and the house lowered to its final resting position. When finished, we will have a bird's eye view of the River from the deck that must be built. We have a total ultimate ending point above $100,000 to be worked out---again in faith.

My work dramatically increased as trees were on houses and stumps uprooted everywhere. It paused abruptly 3 weeks ago as Christmas wants exceeded tree needs.

Across the River from us, near Arora, some communities went totally under with houses washed off their foundations. Bridges are having to be rebuilt. The areas of greatest destruction were on points of land closest to the Sound. Compared to them, we are more than fortunate! Most of the riverside cottages around here belong to working folks like us. We can't afford them without keeping them up ourselves. It is a "poor man's paradise."

For sure, next year will be another adventure when life should be stable and slowing down to a retirement pace. I doubt that will ever be the case for us. On the other hand, who wants to just sit and rust away playing cards and drinking youself to death's door?

As Dumas wrote: "It was the worst of times and best of times."

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Turning Age 65

It’s 3:00 am, March 23, I’m actually turning 65 today. There ought to be something profound to say so what is it? (first sign of Alzheimer’s)

I am by myself. My wife is with our daughter whose husband is gone by way of divorce. He was invited out because he loved his drugs and himself more than his wife and 4 boys. They are recovering and will be OK. Our son is in Oregon with the USCG. He has some family troubles, but it is well within reason. Life is never as perfect as we wished!

It is a good time for reflection. The computer makes typing go at the speed of light. Soft music is playing on the TV which is receiving a signal from a satellite flying in space high overhead. The moon is at it’s closest point to earth since 1993. It is full and bright. Spring officially came 2 days ago. My hemisphere is warming. Flowers are blooming. Breezes are blowing. Beautiful women are putting on their sunny clothes and removing the total cover of winter. March is a good month--at least the end days!

I am beside the Pamlico River in Eastern NC. I started my journey at a hospital in Greenville, SC. My father was Pastor of First Baptist Church of Liberty, SC. My mother and he had married in April of 1945. All the ladies of the church were counting the months to see if she was pregnant when they married. The townspeople were disappointed they didn’t have one on the Preacher. My parents were rejoicing at their first child being a boy. My mother was livid that church people are so judgmental.

Over the space of 12 years they would have another son born the following March 3, a daughter born 6 years later and another born 12 years later. So I grew up with a brother chasing my tail. For 20 days he rejoiced in being the same age as me. We have fun with that every year. I am the eldest and most of the time it was fun. All of us are well. My brother lost his wife to a rare cancer. My oldest sister got lung cancer, but has a good prognosis. My youngest sister has gotten super religion in recent years. I’m not sure which is worse: severe religion or severe cancer. My wife and I have added to the Scarborough / Williams clan a total of 9 grandchildren. Those children are all producing their own families so we are all grandparents now. We are the Baby boomers!

Life has changed over 65 years in the United States of America. Some things never change. 1945 brought the end to WWII with 2 atomic blasts to Japan. In the last few weeks Japan has suffered a terrible earthquake and tsunami. They have 4 nuclear reactors badly damaged with fears of meltdown. Such could send the reactor cores to the core of the earth, but, by the skin on their teeth, it seems to be under control. What would happen if the molten core of the earth suffered such an human assault? Could it explode? That would take care of all the predictors of the end of time for us humans! Our country is now at war in the Middle East. Nuclear weapons are all over the world. Terrorists hijacked 4 commercial aircraft and flew them into the World Trade Center / Pentagon / through passenger bravery the 4th did not hit its intended target, The White House. The Middle East and Japan were troubled areas when I was born and they still are now. Hitler and Germany had been conquered. The Japanese had been nuked. America was at the height of its world power when I was born. Roosevelt had died in office and Truman was my first President. I didn’t know much more than nursing my momma, dirtying my diaper, and developing my ability to make my hands and feet do as my brain told them. They didn’t always do as commanded, but I was trying!

Things have changed, but not really all that much with the basics: new babies born / old people dying / mankind trying to cope with---well, just being human as God created us.

So what can I say about change and life in my 65 years on this “3rd rock from the sun?” I have had 3 careers: Minister / Life Underwriter / owner of a Tree Surgery Company. I am the father of 2 children / husband of one wife / broke in a busted economy / living in the oldest town in NC / sitting beside the river where Blackbeard came to visit---and before him explorers came to the New World. Indians lived on the same dirt I occupy now. They had no clue there was another Old World across the ocean and people from that place would bring them dread diseases and conquest. The Pamlico tribes lived a life of gathering food / making babies / fighting other tribes / having a religion / knowing how to use the things of nature to survive and fight their own diseases. People are people who live, love, hate, eat, make babies, die. Life has not changed at its core from the dawn of mankind. A land bridge brought humans from Asia to America. They spread from the west as the white man had spread from the east upon sailing a dangerous ocean to escape from the bad things going on in England and Europe. The poor were being used. The rich were trying to get richer. Governments wanted all their people to be obedient and submissive. They were not!!!

If the earth were a movie attended for an entire year and watched by us, the presence of man in that movie would take place in the last 10 minutes! My time here would be a nano-second in comparison, but it has been interesting and it’s not over yet!

I am a citizen of the Southeast: born in SC / lived in NC / settled in Atlanta, GA, in 1953. It grew into the largest metropolis east of the Mississippi and south of the Mason-Dixon Line. The little caution-light crossroad of Clarkston is now engulfed with people. The same school which graduated 63 in 1963 now graduates some 400 each year. We were all “lily white” in my day. There was a beautiful Japanese girl, Patty Kato, in my class. In the 7th Grade someone called her a Jap and the teacher ate us up for using a term of prejudice. The black kids of that community attended their own school and churches. No one there was a foreigner. Now Clarkston is populated with people from India / Mexicans and Puerto Ricans and a large black contingent. Simple white folks from the mill village and working classes are now a conglomeration from around the world. Life goes on with people seeking a better opportunity.

After Clarkston I finished Emory University with a degree in Psychology. I was going to be a PhD Psychologist. I had preached to my teddy bears just like my daddy, but I had seen him brutally treated and fired. I watched him initiate a ministry to the Fulton County Juvenile Court as well as a new mission church. He refused to become bitter nor stop being a minister. He calling was real and lasted to his final day on this earth. He was my idol and hero. He lived what he preached and insisted I do the same along with my brother and sisters. He has such high ideals. He was the son of a dirt poor Tenant Farmer. He hitch hiked to Mercer in Macon, GA, from the farm near Athens, GA. His great grandfather was reputed to the be wealthiest man in Madison County as the official “brewer of spirits” for Federal troops stationed there before the Civil War. He lost everything and my grandfather, Charles Newton Scarborough, played with chests full of worthless Confederate money. He died a premature death and daddy had to drop out of school and run the farm. His ideals were un-stoppable. They were deep in debt, but in 3 years they became solvent with his spendthrift and hard management. He literally went from rags to riches in his lifetime. He left mother comfortable with an investment portfolio and her own retirement. That money has been split between us 4 children now. Some of us are secure. Others are still struggling. I am a struggler, but I am happy.

Daddy was obsessed with getting far away from poverty. I have done OK, but I have tended to be more generous and have very little in riches. I am rich with friends and people I have helped along the way. I am the example of the American Golden Dream becoming a nightmare. I was told if you got a good education (graduated a year early from High School), worked hard (I cut grass from age 10 to save for college and worked as a trim carpenter, Nurses Aide, Director of Juvenile Rehabilitation with the Wake County, NC, Juvenile Court), and be honest = success.

Well, honesty in Baptist church ministry got me fired twice. Honesty in Insurance kept me from being the “best salesman in the company,” but I did OK. Hurricane Floyd ruined my insurance business so I started a company to cut and heal trees. It did great for 7 years until the “Recession” hit in 2007. For me it was a “Depression” since my earning suddenly became 30% of what they had been previously. I lost my house, but was fortunate to have the Bayview Cottage as a result of early distribution of my inheritance. We went from a 3 story brick home on 4 acres of land with a beautiful artesian-fed pond in the woods. It was our dream home. It is “Gone with the Wind” along with my private retirement savings. I have had it proved to me that dishonesty wins / telling people what they want to hear from the Pulpit is safe / chucking and jiving in money management makes you a member of the Million Dollar Roundtable (for some).

In every field of work there are some who are crooked and “succeed” while there are others who are the “real deal” and may or may not succeed. I have known both honest and dishonest people throughout my life. I will still stick with doing your best to be honest. At the least, you sleep good at night and die with a clear conscience!

It is almost 5:00 a.m. and time to draw this treatise to a close. Reading about other people is most interesting to the one writing it, but gets tedious for those having to read it. Camus in “The Plague” had Jean Paul Clemence utter a famous sentence: “I have had one great love in my life---of which I was always the object!” Rudyard Kipling wrote “IF” which has been a source of inspiration and guidance. Tielhard de Chedan wrote: “Life is either a daring adventure---or it is nothing!” Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and mind---and your neighbor as yourself.” Those tidbits come to mind.
Man, age 65 sounded so old back as I grew up!

My granddaddy Williams was in his fifties when I found him to be the “best old man I knew.” He loved his farm, mules, cows, children and grandchildren. I remember the smile on his face as he drove into the yard at noon for lunch riding his mule-drawn cultivator. He could do wonders with that implement and 2 mules. He was a master farmer and the first County Agent for Pickens County, SC. He turned gullied red clay hills into productive farm land. He came within a hair of going under during the Depression, but his wife’s family, the Kays, loaned him enough to survive.

My daddy became 65 some years after I got married at age 23 in 1968. He was always the apple of my eye and my greatest source of man inspiration. He failed as a big church preacher, but he ministered with integrity throughout his life. He was gossiped about in his second church because he went to a Roadhouse and ministered to a prostitute who had a botched abortion and almost died, had he not taken her to the hospital. They called him to comfort her in death, but he did things to assure her a future life.

I have worked hard with the same integrity of my forefathers. I have succeeded in some things and failed in others. I had a stroke at age 50 from burning the candle at both ends and in the middle to be successful. After that experience working hard as both a Life Underwriter and Minister, I decided it was time to take better care of myself. If I’m tired, I take a nap. If people aggravate me, I will tell them where to stick “it” in more certain terms. I have learned you don’t have to be nice to everybody nor take it from anybody.

Just do your best and trust God for the rest. Be glad when you have a good wife and children who bring you joy and pride. Especially be glad and grateful when your grandchildren are born healthy and are getting big enough to push in the swing and ride a go-cart and bike. If they love to hunt and fish, be even more grateful. I am blessed with 5 boys and 1 beautiful girl as another generation grows toward adulthood.

Be glad we live in a free country where eventually right prevails over wrong. Our country has failed in Viet Nam and with the assassination of men like JFK / MLK / RFK. War and killing is a bad way to “win the peace” Money is far better spent on medical research and job training than trying to control other countries and nations. We now must find alternative resources for power as oil runs out. Maybe we don’t have to travel so fast and do such much to be happy. I can walk into Bath and have my basic needs met right here beside the River. My grandkids love it and that is what is most important!

Let’s see----when will I be 100!!!! It will be fun as long a I am loved and respected by people I love in return. I am a millionaire more times over than I thought: Health / no wealth / plenty of stories to tell / a God who loves and forgives me / people I can love!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Why Fundamentalism Grows Today

Why were so many Christians so dedicated to the Republican agenda? What makes the fundamentalist mega-church such a draw? Where have the servant pastors gone? Why do people want to be told what to do and do it with such passion?

I have been asking myself these questions for years. With an eye to the Bible and modern psychology, I think I have some answers.

The first answer is FEAR. Whenever people feel threatened they tend to look for something, real or imagined, to cling to. In the same way a drowning person will grab a small twig or drown the person attempting a rescue him, people have a psychological disposition to look for something to grab in trying times. Jesus saw it in his day when he said, “Fear not,” in so many circumstances.

Jesus saw this tendency and warned against it. The Pharisees saw it and offered burnt offering for a high price in temple money. As religious leaders in Jesus’ day sought power and prestige demanding absolute obedience, so the fundamentalist preacher declares himself the king of the church. No longer are most Baptist schools training servant pastors. Instead students are taught to be preachers of the word commanding others to do the dirty work of ministry. Even in the counseling mode they want to tell the distressed person simplistic steps rather than admit life has hazards and uncertainties. According to them, “the word” has it all and Bible verses (often taken out of context) give the answer.

Jesus would answer: “Fear not, I hold the keys to the kingdom. Trust me as savior. Follow me as a servant to your brothers. Love one another as I have loved you.”

My second answer is HOSTILITY. The natural reaction to frustration is either aggression or regression. In other words, a child who stubs his toe, sinks to a fetal position and cries has gone backwards. One who sniffs a little and gets back up to play and run is attacking the hurts and learning to keep on in spite of frustration.

A parent who fondles a hurt child and tells him not to play again with rough children does the child no favors. Such actions make the child dependent to a fault. A wise parent tells the child what he needs to correct and solve the problem.

Some years ago when my son was small, a bully picked on him every day at school. He almost hated to go and it took some time for him to tell me the truth. My response could have been: “Just stay home or tell your teacher on him.” He told me the teacher knew, but would not control the bully. I gave him this advice since he was the only one who could help himself: “The next time he approaches, don’t cower. Give him a smile and then a punch as hard as you can throw it just under his breast bone. He will go down and he won’t be able to breath for a little while. If he tries to get up, then kick him right where boys can’t stand the kick. Whatever you do, don’t let him get up!”

My son returned that afternoon from school with a confident smile on his face. “I did it, daddy, just like you said. He went down to the ground and started to cry. I won’t have any more trouble from him anytime soon!” Instead of throwing up his hands and quit at every one of life’s frustrations, my son learned to figure out a solution.

Anymore, the fundamentalist leads people to hate things and people defined as “sin.” They use simplistic definitions, usually based on the old Baptist adage: “We don’t dance and we don’t chew, and we don’t go with the girls that do!” People are encouraged to associate only with church members. Some, such as Houston Second, have a “God Mall” where Christians can go to Christian stores, eat in Christian restaurants, and even enjoy a Christian hot tub only with fellow Christians.

Where has Jesus’ word to be “in the world, but not of the world” gone? Jesus saw a world filled with frustration and people tending to hostility (racial, cultural, intellectual) against anything defined as “unclean.” Into that world he spoke the word of love and forgiveness. He dared to associate with and tell stories of Samaritans being helped by one of a Jewish background.

If you give a hostile person filled with frustration, something to hate (abortion, homosexuality, liberals, etc.), you do him no favors. Fundamentalism appeals to the lower human emotion of hate rather than the higher form of aggression, active love of one’s enemy. The current popular religious bent is bowing to aggression and turning it in horrible ways of righteous indignation.

My third observation is our tendency today to desire GROUP IDENTITY. Where Jesus called for individuals to decide for themselves if he were the Christ, today’s religious fanatic insists all who call themselves Christian do it in a certain narrow way. Some years ago they castigated a missionary in Las Vegas who gave up his pastorate, put on a sports coat, and dared to minister to topless dancers, bartenders, and card dealers. His theory was, “I tell them of Christ. I encourage them to trust him and read the Bible for themselves about his way. Then I leave it up to their conscience to decide what they will do in the work world.” The conservative ministers among Baptists couldn’t stand that he could witness to women who were topless having just done an exotic floor show.

North Carolina Baptists, a few years ago, refused to receive funds and thereby prevent participation of the McGill Baptist Church in Concord. Their reason: the church allowed two men to join who live together in the same house and appear to be homosexual. No one yet can prove what goes on behind closed doors. They are not pushing any agenda of homosexuality. They just accepted people who desired a relationship to Christ. A few members left the church assuming they must be gay. Upon their complaint to the new church they joined, the local association and then the state convention, without any real investigation, kicked them out. Is this hostility or not? A righteous crusader who wields a sword against “infidels” is hardly what Jesus had in mind when he said, “Love one another and forgive one another as God has forgiven you.”

Why this bent to social conformity? I believe it is the “kindergarten mentality.” By this I mean today most children are reared in a communal environment known as Preschool. In that situation everyone must grab the rope and fall in line to go to the bathroom, play-ground, or dining hall. When children have the image of total conformity drummed into them, they lose the ability to think for themselves.

Even our toys thwart individuality. Barbie has, not only her clothes and cars, but she now has a CD which tells the child the story and a voice module speaking the same canned talk each time you pull the string! Video games force the child’s mind to guide the little figure through the same mazes and moves. Everything in the game is preset in the circuit board and total conformity to the program assisted by eye-hand coordination gets a win. Where is there room for imagination and individuality in the life of children today?

This same child becomes a 30-40 year old adult expecting the church and preacher to tell him what to do. God help the one who says, “I think there is another way to look at things.” Our old insistence that each church operate without interference from others and each member make up his own mind before he votes, is all but lost. Thanks to the mob mentality constantly enforced on the child’s mind since the late 50’s.

What I am saying is life is hard, but not really any harder than it was in Jesus’ day. Human basic emotions and responses are the same as 2,000 years ago. The basic responses have a common core in survival. The fundamentalist, like the Pharisee, uses these imprisoning emotions to add weight and chains to an already frustrated soul.

Jesus, on the other hand, offers freedom and love as the alternative. The Jesus way brings freedom and a willingness to “live and let live” in a world prone to conformity.

At one time Baptists were gaining ground from their segregationist and ignorance-of-the-Biblest chains. Now these handcuffs go on again for the sake of having the biggest church in town with the biggest congregation and the most highly paid, firm and sincere (narrow) preacher. Jesus offered the keys to the Kingdom to those who would follow. Today those Baptist keys go to heavy ball-and-chain imprisoning systems rather than doors that let in fresh air and give the captive a light and joyful recess where the child’s mind can run wild and dream the impossible dream again! Think about it!

May the spirit of Christ set us free once more. May our ability to see through the surface of modern religion enable us to see the truth. May that truth set us free to love again!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Free at Last--Free at Last!!!!

Tuesday, 1/11/11, is a day to go down in our Scarborough history---Our daughter had her divorce papers signed by the Judge and IT IS OVER!!!

It has been a long year and 2 months. We have shed tears / feared reprisals / been escorted from her house by police protection / missed much of our marital time together for such a long time, BUT IT IS OVER!!!!

Sara knows she needs to move a distance away and has her house on the market. Lonya and I have spent many hours doing repairs and cleaning which should have been done through the years. We are both "weary in well-doing," but the healing is worth it.

4 boys, now ages 13 / 10 / and age 7 twins, are emotionally healing and we didn't have to send them to a Child Psychologist. Gam's presence, listening ear, and refusal to dismiss bad behaviour has worked miracles we thought would not happen.

Sara has reverted to her childhood state of dependence on her mother, but how do you tackle a demanding managerial job every day and full-time demands of parenthood without a momma to help? She is lucky to have such a mom, and is ever telling of her gratitude. Her genuine smile of contentment is starting to show again.

In the last month some new male friendships have developed, but the package has great demands attached. The odds for a woman with 4 boys attached are strictly against her, but who knows. Few men have the maturity to handle such responsibility along with a woman. Just a woman who is in early middle-age has enough changes and adaptation on her own. When that goes with boys not quite sure of any man, it is more than magnified. It will take a big man to handle it all wisely.

In all this we are most fortunate. No one got hurt or killed in a volitile situation where drugs were involved. A good divorce lawyer showed more compassion than his fees require. His office assistants pitched in as well. She got a reasonable settlement and now has no more legal incumberances with her former husband. He even traded cars in December and her name came off the last joint debt!

We are anxious to see what this next year holds. You think when children get married you just have to be spoilers of grandchildren.

We just never seem to get the "easy road" you expect as careers end and retirement looms. The bad economy has deprived us of our nest egg, but we have a nice little cottage by the Pamlico River. Money can't buy such bliss for it comes with joy and peace only Faith can bring about.

We are not living on "easy street," but we are BLESSED!!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

SBC Spending God's Money

Stop Baptist Predators: Spending God's Money

The above link details some of the corruption with finances which has crept into the SBC and its churches.

We are having problems right now with finances and there is major restructuring going on = major positions are being vacated and early retirement is being given some 1/3 of the employees of the North American Mission Board (NAMB) located in Atlanta--actually "Affluent Alpharetta."

My father pioneered their work of Juvenile Rehabilitation in the late 50's. I served in the same capacity with the Juvenile Court of Wake County (Raleigh, NC) 1969-70. Dr. Claude Scarborough was the first Baptist Chaplain to the Fulton County (Atlanta) Juvenile Court. His work was an experiment which developed to a full-blown ministry in several states.

In that day the Home Mission Board was located downtown on Spring Street and near the Atlanta Airport via a 20-minute taxi ride. Now it is far from the street people of downtown Atlanta and the neighborhoods of poverty which were served "in serious ministry days" by Mission Centers of the HMB around the country.

Now, with its location in Alpharetta on a magnificent campus, it is 1.5 hours from the Airport. The remote location from public transportation (much of the work is division leadership traveling back and forth to missionaries) Dr. Bob Reccord found it important to have a private corporate jet on standby at the Charlie Brown private Airport some 20 minutes from Alpharetta. We won't talk about the big CP bucks involved in that "mission endeavor." It ended with his leaving, but is was only one of many excesses still haunting their budget.

Be sure to read the article along with the comments submitted about it. They speak volumes about how we got in this financial mess. It started in the 80's and has led to current problems we can't seem to solve without more major expenditures and getting rid of valuable employees who got there by proven success on the mission field first.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sexual Confusion in a Confusing Age

This is one of the most cufusing times I have ever seen when it comes to sexuality!

I guess by not knowing GLB (Gay-Lesbian-Bisexual) and being from Atlanta, it shows I was raised a preacher's kid. In a few words above is an expose of how man wants to play with what God gave us and manipulate a body made female into one with broad shoulders and a telephone pole!

Such stuff is hardly the kind of conversation we have at the Bath Store!!

Years ago I was doing research in the Medical School Library at Emory. Having tired of the statistical research on psychosomatic illness, I picked up the "Anals of Plastic Surgery." In it was contained step-by-step procedures to alter the human body with case studies and pictures. Being 21, my research was immediately drawn to breast augmentation. A magic surgeon could take oversize ones and make them smaller. Through the magic of silicone, they could now take tiny ones and make them into basketballs. Most interesting!!!

They had to excise the nipple and place it into a nutrient bowl for a while. They would remove fatty tissue or borrow some from the butt and insert it pre-silicone. Put rulers and surgical markings on it so that when sewn back together with ever so fine micro-stitching the viewer could not detect it was man-made. HOWEVER, they had problems with that beautiful new boob having its nerves cut and never quite being as sensitive as it was before. There was also a problem that it could not now nourish a baby because the milk ducts had been cut as well! Complications could also occur where it could become hard or tissue did not heal properly and the downward cut became a valley instead of the rounded curves of the pre-surgical breast! God made it right, but man can't quite get the same result!

There was a segment on Androgyny as well. That is the situation where the baby has 3 chromosomes instead of 2. "It" is both male and female or female / male (so the ladies don't think I always put men first). This situation was a great mystery of which I had never heard. In fact, even medicine keeps it hush-hush. How do you tell a parent they have a he/she????

Did God mess things up in his creation of something odd? We must now rush to make a "gender assignment" because we can't have a male-female. According to the fundies, we are either male or female, but never both. Life must be just as the Bible describes and homosexuals are an "abomination." Sodom and Gomorra prove it! REALLY????

This single oddity of sexuality blows away a simple view that one is either male or female, but cannot make it both or "the opposite" of how I was born. "God made them male or female created He them!" In a way, it is the same as it saying: created in 6 days (24X6) hours / having 2 accounts of creation few want to admit / a cracker floating beneath the heavens and beneath it water off of which one will fall into nothingness.

If we grow up and face facts, we discover that "yam" translates "indefinite period of time" / earth revolves around the sun and is not the center the Bible depicts nor a cracker / the 2 accounts of creation are not identical = the Bible is a witness to "why things are as they are with the leap of faith that 'God did it!'"

The account of mankind eating fruit from the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil is another important one. Satan tempted Eve with the statement that "God is just fooling you and wanting to keep his special knowledge to himself---if you just eat, you will know what God knows!"


When micro-biology and endocrinology are added to the picture, we discover that all humans have both estrogen and testosterone balancing one another in the system. All humans have both. Further, embryology show us step-by-step how the sperm and egg unite in a single cell. Depending on the X (male) and Y (female) chromosome combination (XX / YY / XY / YX) that chemical combination directs that cell to form a being where the genitals either become an indention for the female or an extrusion for a male. The same tissue with forms testicles producing sperm---form ovaries producing eggs. At one stage of fetus development there is a tail and gills which give us an evolutionary clue as to our origins--none of these mentioned in the Bible!

So here we are arguing about sexuality and whether homos are going to hell when we hardly understand God's creative process. What we know for sure is that religious people seldom can handle complexity nor can they admit God does things we don't understand. We would rather destroy a queer or gender-assign a new baby which is androgynous by the hand of the Creator. We have a hard time with things not simple as we think the Bible is.

Now, in Baptistland, NC, we have decided that a church ministering to homosexuals is not worthy of having its money accepted. In GA a female-pastored church must be excluded from fellowship because BF&M 2000 (Baptist Faith and Message = a creedal statement) states women must be submissive to men and are not worthy of ordination. Other denominations do it different, but the majority rules among Baptists---now taken over by the Fundamentalist Mindset. Something in this reminds me of "Planet of the Apes."

In current politics, the same seems to be the case = "Don't ask / don't tell." It is the next reason for Democrats to hate Republicans. It is just another diversion from the fact that non-enforcement of financial policies has led us to economic ruin. We are spending $10 for every $1 taken in with taxes. Every citizen has the right to plenty of food / work as they please / live in a fancy house with 2 cars / 2-5 TV's / go on exotic vacations paid by a credit card charging 18-23% interest / having the most exotic military destruction toys costing billions just to produce in Texas / etc.

Diversions are good. They keep us fighting which translates to billions spent on election campaigns producing a media-sensitive candidate who never tells us anything about his real position of taxation / honesty / service to his electorate / producing more laws so lawyers can fight and the judicial system can set OJ (and others like him) free to kill again!

This one thing I can safely conclude: We love being stupid / prejudiced / simple so we can bask in the sun on a desert isle and sip our beers in comfort without having to work.

Sound anything like the Garden of Eden from which we were cast for eating of the fruit of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil???

Monday, July 26, 2010

Small Business -- Help at Last!!!!!

If you have been reading from my early blogs, they dealt with the problems I am suffering from this bad economy and trying to run a Tree Surgery business: Affordable / Professional Tree Surgeons.

AT LAST---I am getting help!
Did you know that some 2 years ago the IRS put in a new tax break for large corporations? They did!!!!

What is it?

A large corporation which establishes a Foundation whose funds are available to struggling small businesses gets a break!

Small businesses, like mine, which are suffering a 30-70% reduction in earnings over the last 3 years can apply for help. I applied for $50,000-$1,000,000 in relief. Last week, I got a grant for $50,000+!!!! It will be coming to me in 30-45 business days.


How did I get it?

I was contacted by phone as a cold call some 3 months ago. The outfit is named Turnaround Business Group, Inc. They are located in Henderson, NV, about 50 miles from Las Vegas. They said they served as the liason between small businesses and Foundations waiting to fund them.

For a fee of about 1.8% of $50,000, they serve to get together your request / represent you to the corporation / get the funds you need. Their original financial cost for services provided is $2,999.00. Send the money and they start their work with a promise that nothing further is needed until they secure, at least, half of the funds requested. At that point an additional $4,790 is needed to pay for the Sears-Roebuck size catalogue of paperwork / legal details / web site with the promise of money delivery within 30-45 days. You can repay your initial costs out of those funds.

Now you are saying, "This sounds like a scam since money is required up front!" NO!!!!!!!!

First, they provided me with contact information for the Attorney General's Office in the state of Nevada, should I wish to check them out. I was also encouraged to contact the local Chamber of Commerce and Better Business Bureau. I did! They are real and have no complaints against them.

When I could not come up with the entire $2,999.00, they were willing to accept the $2,500 I could borrow to start the process. Needless to say, when you have been operating at 30% of earnings for 3 solid years / lost your home to foreclosure / had your water and electricity turned off several times during this Depression--er, Recession--as long as you listen to government pontificaters!

It was a real struggle to find that initial money, but a kind Baptist friend who owns a finance company was willing to take the risk--as long as I secured the loan with my truck and an expensive Chipping Machine. My family had been "loaned out" trying to help me keep my house 3 years ago. This is the reality for far too many of us small business owners since our economy took a "slight" nosedive under the Bush Administration's fine regulatory practices. I say this in jest, of course!!!

I was convinced of their legitimacy the second they offered to take less than the stated fee. In addition, in the course of conversation via phone, I discovered these people have religious convictions--and it is real rather than another "come on" using religion to fake you out!

Within the stated 90-180 days they produced!!!!

Now I am finishing questionares to formulate a small part of the Sears catalogue of documents.

Here is how this Grant works:

(1) I am required to set up a non-interest-bearing checking account into which the funds go.
(2) I must make a 6-month report to the Foundation which includes copies front and back of all checks issued to fulfill my request.
(3) The Grant comes with an IRS tracking number, lest I run afoul of the taxman. It is non-taxable as long as it is spent to secure my business.

The rationale for helping small businesses to compete again:

(1) I hire and secure employees whose families get income so they can, again, support the general economy and pay their taxes.
(2) I buy equipment so the providers of such have an income. For example, Bobcat of Wilson is struggling with reduced sales and repairs. I still owe them $1,000 for repair of my A-300 machine last year. My income is such that I can't pay it. Now I can---and I am ordering a new machine with trailer to carry it! They are getting much more happy with this struggling customer! I am tired of transporting my maching with overdrive kicked out for 2 hours to service my customers in my local Beaufort County home/office.
(3) I repay accumulated debt which amounts to some $120,000. They are happy!
(4) I am able to build/lease property to house my business. Construction and Real Estate people are happy!
(5) I am able to have several billboards to fill the many which are vacant these days. The billboard/advertising people are happy!
(6) I can now bring quality tree care to people who don't yet know me. They will be happy they met me and get quality work at affordable prices!
(7) I can buy a tractor-trailer rig to get to Hufficane/Storm relief needs. They will be happy to not have a gouging contractor in place to help them recover!

I hope, by now, you see the first wisdom I have seen in this whole economic mess. At last, someone is helping small business get back on its feet! My earliest blogs were about my attempts to get federal help through my 2 NC Congressional Representative---not a single thing came my way except more of "we must help Corporate America and the Banking Industry.

Folks--Trickle Down Economics doesn't work!!! If you haven't figured that one out yet, ask a question: "If we own 61% of GM as taxpayers, why aren't all their products 61% cheaper to the taxpayers whose money was used to bail them out???"

Don't you think if the above were true, we would be buying GM products right and left so they could put their assemblyline workers back to work--plus the sub-assembly companies providing goods to that line? Check out the economy of Michigan to see if anything happened---other than Corporate Executives getting bonuses I could run my small business on for the next 5 years! IT HAS NOT HAPPENED.

The same is true of the Financial Industry: Has anyone who lost some 45% of their investment value been restored? Have any of the lying/cheating pencil pushing/creative accounting thieves gone to the Federal Pen over their clearly unlawful securities practices?

I have a Series 6 Securities Liscense and know whereof I speak. You are fingerprinted upon getting it, and the laws/guildelines are clear: "Tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth" to anyone trusting you with money management. It's just that simple, or "Go To Jail-do not pass GO" as the Monopoly game card reads!

So here is my truthful story and my encouragement that you do something besides moan and groan about "how bad things are!" You have to have a little faith and trust in an environment where "if it is too good to be true--it probably isn't." We are being totally put into a prison of doubt by illegal practices which don't seem to get punished or controlled.

If you have some controlled trust and check things out so any doubts are alayed, you might find some help. I am sure there are some schemers out there. I get emails every day from folks promising Federal Grants/education/etc.

I don't respond because I don't want all the red tape attached to Government Grants. This, however, is a Private Foundation trying to get money into responsible hands. It has some IRS controls, but I am sure there will be illegitimte grantees trying to scam the system assuming "Wall Street and Detroit got away with it and so will I." Worse becomes even worse if we give up on the promise of the Free Enterprise System, properly competing, to give hard-working people in small business a chance to succeed or fail---according to their wisdom and hard work.

Where would you rather invest---Corporate America, where books are cooked and accounting has become more than creative / where long-term experienced personnl get the age 55 "golden parachute", OR your own business which provides good services at a reasonable price????

The ball is in your court now!