Each year, the Memorial Day Weekend is very important to our wine sales.  We have a big open house, garden, and vineyard and do wine tasting for about 100 people a day for each of the three days.  We sometimes lose the importance of Memorial Day.  To help us remember, below are a couple of things sent to me by a friend with whom I was honored to serve in the Air Force in the late 60s and early 70s.

A five minute tribute.

Memorial Day

I’m not an English Major.  I don’t spell well (but I get better the more that I read).  I don’t even write particularly well.  I’m not a linguist, definitely not a semanticist.

I do, however, observe, and listen better than some.

First a quick story, then on to the pet peeves.

In 1961 when our family moved to Hawaii, I found myself in a High School Hawaiiana course to learn something about the beautiful new state in which I now lived.  I learned a bit of Pidgen English (“Hey bruh, neva spock you long time.  Where you stay be?” which loosely translated means “Hey, man.  I haven’t seen you in a long time.  Where have you been?”).  I also learned some history of the Islands.  But, what stood out was local customs and colloquialisms.  I remember being told that anyone who was born and raised in the Islands invariably said “yousta to” instead of “used to.”  Fast forward to 2004 when we moved from California to Oregon.  We learned that “Spendy” meant expensive, that a “motorsickle” was a motorcycle, and a “rig” was your truck.

So what does all this have to do with Pet Peeves?  I don’t like what I observe to be “lazy English.”  Here’s a  list.  It is only a scratch of the surface of a much deeper and most distressing change in our language.  Please add yours.

  1.  “then” (time or order relationship) and “than” (referring to a comparison) are two different words with different meanings.  I find lazy people only use the word “then” regardless of the meaning.
  2. Similarly, “there (place),” “their (possessive of they),” and “they’re contraction of they are)” are three different words with three very different meanings/uses.I find lazy people only use “there.”
  3. “Irregardless” is the ultimate double negative used by lazy people to mean “regardless.”   It is not a word and it also seems strange that lazy people would add to a word rather than condense or shorten.
  4. “Exspecially”  which is related to “Expresso.”  Like “irregardless” neither is a word.  Now if you “especially” like strong coffee drinks, “espresso” may be for you.
  5. “Affect” is the verb while “Effect” is the noun.
  6. Lots of lazy folk say “I could care less” which means that you do care.  Try “I couldn’t care less” which actually means that you don’t care.
from sacredjourneyoftheheart.com

from sacredjourneyoftheheart.com

I first posted this 5 years ago but with a different video.

Please watch this video.  Then remember that the soldiers, sailors and airmen who have sacrificed have done what was asked of them by their country.  We should honor their service, not give them lip service.


Each year at Memorial Day we honor the lives and sacrifices of members of our Military Services who have passed on. On Veteran’s Day, we honor the lives and sacrifices of those who are still with us who have served in our armed forces.  I always wonder why we can get the emotion up to honor an overpaid athlete or entertainer and yet when we see a soldier, sailor, airman or marine in uniform, we often look the other way.

I have always appreciated the slogan depicted below.  This Veteran’s Day, why not make a point to say thank you to a veteran of the Coast Guard or Merchant Marines, or Air Force, Army, Marines or Navy?

To me, two of the most significant words in the language are Responsibility and Respect.  Veteran’s Day is a good time  to show Respect for those who have taken Responsibility for Protecting our Freedoms and have sacrificed on our behalf.

If I were a Democrat, I’d be very embarrassed by the people who represent my party in the Senate, not to mention that I’d be similarly embarrassed by the Democrat occupying the White House.  You ask why.

thanks to Derryckgreen.net

thanks to Derryckgreen.net

Today, the Democrats in the Senate, backed by the President’s threat of a veto, blocked a bill that would   punish cities that failed to follow Federal immigration law or cooperate with Federal Immigration officials.  The purpose of the legislation was to force certain cities to obey Federal law.

My guess, from how the Democrats framed the debate, is that they had two main objectives both of which were intended for political gain for their party and neither of which was for the good of the people they purport to represent.

First, they labeled it the “Donald Trump anti-immigrant bill.”  They did that because they are scared to death by the popularity of Mr. Trump and how his message is resonating with many “rank and file” Democrats.  Second, they think that immigration law enforcement loses votes in Hispanic precincts.  Oh, yes, there is the fact that almost all of the cities which claim to be ‘sanctuaries’ are controlled by Democrats.  At last count, 31 major U.S. cities call themselves sanctuaries and, at most, four are not solidly in control of Democrats.

If you are a member of the Democrat Party, please tell me why this doesn’t embarrass you.  I would love to understand or at least know one good reason to oppose such legislation.

Memorial Day is a time to remember the sacrifices made by those who have helped preserve our freedoms and our way of life.  The video below is of a 91 year old Veteran of World War II remembering and being thankful for his friends, lost in the war.  We should all be so lucid at whatever age, let alone at 91 years of age.

Thank you Jerry and a hat tip to Jim who sent me this video.

Happy Memorial Day.

I wrote the following as a draft post on February 20th of this year.  Since writing it, the sick pay bill was passed and signed into law.  The minimum wage issue did not make it to a vote because of disagreement among the Democrats as to the actual amont of a minimum wage, $12/hour, $15/hour or more.  Here was what I wrote then (the last paragraph was just finished today when I decided to publish this):


I am a member of the Oregon Winegrowers Association.  It is a group that lobbies on behalf of the wine grape growers, winery owners and related business people in Oregon’s wine industry.  With the exception of a few government sponsored schools and research facilities, the members of the OWA are independent business people.  In fact, most own or operate (very) small businesses.

Yesterday, I received an email from the OWA with an included poll.  The subject of the email was to notify members of some key issues on the docket for consideration in the current session of the Oregon State Legislature.  The included poll was intended to collect member opinion on some of the proposed legislation.  Since 57 of the 90 legislators are Democrats, the agenda of the Democrats as a party becomes the de facto agenda of the state legislature.

Two of the Democrat’s key issues are Minimum Wage and Sick Pay.  These are key union issues and it is no surprise that they are key to the Democrats as well.  Oregon Unions (mostly teachers and government workers unions) give almost exclusively to Democrat causes and candidates.  The Democrats want to increase the minimum wage from the current $9.25 per hour to $15.00 per hour by 2018.  They would also like to require all employers of any size to have a sick pay policy that includes a minimum or 56 hours per year of paid sick leave.  Only if an employee has missed 3 consecutive days would the proposed policy require the employee to show the reason for the “sick time.”

In the late 70s, our company was unionized.  After almost five years of working for two bosses (us and the union) and paying dues to the Union for almost nothing in return, the Union was tossed by the employees (all but three voted to decertify the union).  One thing they did get that was forced by the Union contract was 5 days of paid sick leave each year.  When we studied the sick leave usage, it will not surprise you to learn that right at about 90% of all sick days were taken on Fridays and Mondays.  Almost all were taken one day at a time.  Our analysis showed that “sick leave” was nothing but an additional 5 days of paid vacation.  This was a big addition to our overhead and made us less competitive with similar non-union companies.

Our company, both before and after the Union period had a policy that had zero days of paid sick leave.  We did, however, make some policies to soften the blow when employees were sick or needed to see a doctor during the work day.  One policy was that an employee could make up lost hours by arrangement with his or her supervisor to replace the lost income when attending a doctor’s appointment, etc.  Another policy was that employees could take vacation pay to make up for lost work time due to illness.  These policies were not perfect, but they provided some relieve without punishing everyone by increasing company overhead.

I’d be curious to hear how your company deals with sick time missed by employees.

from watchplayread.com

from watchplayread.com

Make Lemonade.

Sony Pictures Entertainment has received more publicity for its movie, “The Interview” than it could possibly have purchased using traditional advertising.  This may be the public relations opportunity of the century.

So here is what they need to do:

Issue a press release saying approximately the following:  “In light of the threatened 911 style attack on U.S. Theaters that show “The Interview”, Sony has decided not to release the movie to theater audiences.  The risk of an attack on a large audience is an unacceptable one to Sony.  However, we will not be blackmailed by bullies of any sort.  Bullying at any level, whether international, corporate or in the schools is unacceptable.  Therefore we plan to immediately distribute the movie for home viewing.  We have made arrangements with Amazon.com (or NetFlix, etc.) to have the download of “The Interview” available beginning  Monday, December 22, 2014, with DVDs available by December 24, 2014.  It will be available for rent in High Definition for $4.00 and for purchase for $15.00.  We at Sony feel strongly that bullying is a serious issue and we plan to deal with it in a serious manner.  For every purchase, $1.00 of the purchase price will be donated to The AntiBullying Initiative.  We will also lend our full support and cooperation to the FBI and every other agency investigating the source of the cyber attack recently conducted by bullies against Sony Pictures Entertainment.

I am certain that Sony is very concerned about further leaks of private information much like what has already been publicized.  They are being blackmailed (bullied) to not show the movie or further damaging information will come out.  The only way to deal with a blackmailer is to face the music now.  The information will come out, so why not stand up to it and deal with it?  If Sony does that, it will be back in (damage) control of the situation.  Time will pass and Sony  will get over it.  A number of big stars will have their feathers ruffled.  Some execs will look like fools.  Both are short-lived issues.  Were I a shareholder in Sony, I would demand that the company face this issue now.

My bet?  If Sony does this, they will be seen as strong.  Most fans will forget that some execs were stupid and who cares, anyway?  They will think less of a few big stars.   Sony will not lose audience or brand awareness in the long run.  In fact, Sony will get so much good, free press out of this that the movie, “The Intrerview” will be one of their highest grossing films ever.

Also, this could be the start of the end for ‘traditional’ movie theaters.  Who needs them? Today, in the comfort of your home you can have a full “big screen” experience without getting gum on your shoes or paying $10 for a bag of popcorn.

A Rasmussen Poll conducted December 5 and 6, polled 1000 likely voters who were asked five questions, the first of which was:

Do you have a very favorable, somewhat favorable, somewhat unfavorable or very unfavorable impression of the new health care law? 

The response was 17% had an opinion of the law that was Very Favorable, 27%, Somewhat Favorable, 16% Somewhat Unfavorable, and 36% Very Unfavorable.  That means that only 44% saw the law in a good light while 52% saw it negatively.  Most other polls have seen similar results.

Why would a majority view the Affordable Care Act unfavorably?  It was sold as an economic savior.  We were told that the ACA would help reduce the National Debt.  And, it would lower your cost of health care costs as well.  We were promised that we could keep our current health care plans, and doctors, if we wanted to do so.  The government has failed to deliver on every one of these promises.  You could either say we were lied to, or, the architects of the bill were “too stupid” to understand well enough to foretell the actual consequences.

There was a great deal of negative press about Health Insurance Companies in the lead up to selling ObamaCare.  It continues today (witness last Sunday night’s hit piece on health insurers denying mental health services) and many say it is as a diversion so people will blame private industry (instead of a failed government system that dictates most of the private insurers actions).  With all the hard-sell of a government run health care option, I have often wondered why the government is not taking more flack about the lack of performance of the ACA or ObamaCare as it is often called.

James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal and The Best of The Web said it best:

“Had ObamaCare actually delivered on its promises—providing good coverage to those who lacked insurance, and permitting those who liked their plans and doctors to keep them—it would be wildly popular. By contrast, a private corporation that marketed a defective product via fraudulent promises would soon go out of business, and its decision-makers would face civil and perhaps even criminal liability.”

To me, there is a clear double standard.  What we were sold was something most of us would favor.  What we have gotten is a bad case of bait-and-switch that in almost any state would be prosecuted by the Attorney General (or Department of Consumer Protection, etc.).  Should the architects and builders of ObamaCare face civil charges?  I think so, if for no reason other than to signal to other politicians and bureaucrats that this sort of activity is unacceptable and will be punished…..just like it would be in the private sector.  What do you think?

from http://pearlsofprofundity.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/obamacare-repeal-11.jpg

It is a better question than it seems.  Most Americans know precious little about Iceland or Thailand, or, for that matter, any country not called the USA.

Who is the Prime Minister of Canada? How big is the Mexican economy compared to the U.S. economy?

Most Americans wouldn’t come close to answering these questions.  We are not very interested in anything outside our country.  In fact we know little about America apart from the first 48 states.  Our knowledge of Alaska and Hawaii is mostly from travel advertisements.

Canada is our closest neighbor, speaks the same language (mostly) and we share our longest border with the Canadians.  Canada is our biggest trade partner.  You would think knowing that Stephen Harper and the Conservatives lead Canada’s government would be important, or at least of interest, to Americans.

Mexico is our third largest trade partner (after Canada and China) and our other close neighbor.  Mexico’s economy is about the 15th largest in the world even though it is less than a tenth the size of ours.  You would think that would also be of interest to most Americans.  It is not.

If our two nearest and most important neighbors are unimportant to us, why should we blink an eye at anything going on in Iceland or Thailand?  Because true government change has occurred in those countries in the past few years and our news media has chosen to report little if any of it to us.


Between 2003 and 2008, Iceland’s three largest banks basically bankrupt the  country.  “Rescued” by an IMF loan, Iceland’s citizens were expected to repay the loan at an average cost, per person, of about 100 Euros a month for at least 15 years.  Not to put too fine a point on it, Icelanders were pissed off.  Between 2008 and 2011 they revolted.  They refused to be pushed around and by 2011 had themselves a new constitution and a new government.  You can find a very good overview of it here – well worth a read.

Our Media gave travel warnings but no news.

Our Media gave travel warnings but no news.

In May of this year, the Royal Thai Army took over the government of Thailand. As well, it took control of all media and the courts.  Since 1932, Thailand had been ruled as a constitutional monarchy, the result of a revolution and coup ending about 500 years of absolute monarchy.  Put simply, the key reason for the takeover of the Thai government in 1932 was that the people were tired of paying for the excesses of the monarch and his family.  Now, just over 80 years later, the Army has effectively taken back what the revolution of 1932 won for the people of Thailand.

And, our media reported almost none of this….not the amazing Icelandic revolution nor the Thai Coup.

Do you wonder why?  This might lead to an explanation.  What we are not meant to know won’t hurt us, or will it?

If you have read the two links in this post and are not concerned, then I’m concerned.

As a graduate of the Air Force Academy, the following is especially poignant to me.  I have great respect for the graduates from West Point, the Air Force Academy and Annapolis.  This graduate of West Point gives an excellent perspective regarding our veterans.

Thank a Veteran on Veteran’s Day, November 11. Each and every one deserves it.

Thank You

Thank You

I remember the day I found out I got into West Point.  My Mom actually

showed up in the hallway of my high school and waited for me to get out

of class.

She was bawling her eyes out and apologizing that she had opened up my

admission letter.  She wasn’t crying because it had been her dream for

me to go there.  She was crying because she knew how hard I’d worked to

get in, how much I wanted to attend, and how much I wanted to be an

infantry officer.

I was going to get that opportunity.  That same day two of my teachers

took me aside and essentially told me the following: “David, you’re a smart guy.

You don’t have to join the military.  You should go to college, instead.”

I could easily write a theme defending West Point and the military as I

did that day, explaining that United States Military Academy is an

elite institution, that separate from that, it is actually statistically much

harder to enlist in the military than it is to get admitted to college, that

serving the nation is a challenge that all able-bodied men should at least

consider for a host of reasons, but I won’t.

What I will say is that when a 16 year-old kid is being told that

attending West Point is going to be bad for his future then there is a

dangerous disconnect in America, and entirely too many Americans have

no idea what kind of burdens our military is bearing.

In World War II, 11.2% of the nation’s population served for four (4)


During the Vietnam era, 4.3% of the nation’s population served in

twelve (12) years.

Since 2001, only 0.45% of our population has served in the Global War

on Terror.

These are unbelievable statistics.  Over time, fewer and fewer people

have shouldered more and more of the burden and it is only getting


Our troops were sent to war in Iraq by a Congress consisting of 10%

veterans with only one person having a child in the military.  Taxes

did not increase to pay for the war.  War bonds were not sold.  Gas was

not regulated.  In fact, the average citizen was asked to sacrifice

nothing, and has sacrificed nothing unless they have chosen to out  of

the goodness of their hearts.

The only people who have sacrificed are the veterans and their

families.  The volunteers.  The people who swore an oath to defend this

nation.  You stand there, deployment after deployment and fight on.

You’ve lost relationships, spent years of your lives in extreme

conditions, years apart from kids you’ll never get back, and beaten

your body in a way that even professional athletes don’t understand.

Then you come home to a nation that doesn’t understand.  They don’t

understand suffering.  They don’t understand sacrifice.  They don’t

understand why we fight for them.  They don’t understand that bad

people exist.  They look at you like you’re a machine – like something

is wrong with you.  You are the misguided one – not them.

When you get out, you sit in the college classrooms with political

science teachers that discount your opinions on Iraq and Afghanistan

because YOU WERE THERE and can’t understand the macro issues they

gathered from books, because of your bias.

You watch TV shows where every vet has PTSD and the violent strain at

that.  Your Congress is debating your benefits, your retirement, and

your pay, while they ask you to do more.  But, the amazing thing about

you is that you all know this.  You know your country will never pay

back what you’ve given up.  You know that the populace at large will

never truly understand or appreciate what you have done for them.

Hell, you know that in some circles, you will be thought as less than

normal for having worn the uniform.  But you do it anyway.

You do what the greatest men and women of this country have done since 1775

YOU SERVED.  Just that decision alone makes you part of an elite group.

“Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many

to so few.” -Winston Churchill

Thank you to the 11.2% and 4.3% who have served and thanks to the

0.45% who continue to serve our Nation.


– This was first attributed to General David Petraeus, West Point Class of ’74.  According to the comment send by my Academy Roommate, the actual author was Nick Palmisciano, co owner of Ranger Up, a very interesting web page.

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