Monthly Archives: April 2016

Rosie: A Real Diamond

All of us have diamonds in our lives.  Maybe we don’t have diamonds on our fingers or around our neck, but when we slow down our never ending rush to get through life and shove the noise and clutter aside, the real diamonds, the ones that really matter, come to light.  Diamonds that are more precious and valuable than any gem mined from the ground.  Diamonds that can never be taken from you; they are the rocks on which your life is built.  They are mined from your life experiences, your heart, and your soul.  They are the people who stand above all others; people who make and made you the unique person you are; people who believed in you and still do; people who supported you when they would have been wiser to run; people who protected you from the storm; people you depended on when the world and even some friends turned away; and people who stood beside you when you were alone.  Most often these people are family and close friends who know your heart better than anyone, but sometimes that special person, that diamond, is someone you work or worked with such as Rosie.

Rosie and I are now retired, and rarely see each other anymore, but I recently saw her in a local store, and as always she greeted me with a hug and a smile that radiated she was truly glad to see me.  That was the same smile she greeted me with every morning of my fifteen years as an assistant principal and principal, but not just me, she greeted everyone with that smile, which didn’t cheapen it in the least since everyone knew it was genuine.  She was secretary for close to thirty years to the first three principals at Petal High School ending with me.  She knew every student by name, over a thousand of them at the time, served the teachers with passion, and kept the administration in line.  She had her hand on the pulse of everything from curriculum, don’t think for a moment that she didn’t  know what kids were supposed to know and be able to do, to discipline (If you ever get her alone, get her to tell you the “two socks” story).  For thirty years, Miss Rosie, as the kids called her, was Petal High School, or like I think of it – Rosie Kinard High School.  No one ever gave their heart and soul to a school more than Rosie.  Working at Petal High School was not a job for her; it was her school, her kids, her teachers, her principal and assistant principals – it was her life!

When I was named principal of Petal High School, Rosie became my life support.  She was my secretary, actually she was everybody’s secretary, but she was so much more than that.  To the kids she was a mama, a counselor, and a friend; to the teachers she was their biggest fan and supporter; for me, she was my partner.  Together we ran the school.  This tiny woman was a fireball of energy, still is, who knew more about the school in her little finger than I would ever know.  She was the glue that in many ways held the high school together; she certainly held me together.  I learned early, as I am confident the principals before me learned also, to bounce ideas off her.  As principal, I could often gauge how teachers would react to my ideas by her reactions.  If I ran an idea by her, and she said, “Oh, that is wonderful, why haven’t we thought about that before,” I knew the chances were good the teachers would be excited about the idea as well, or if she said adamantly, “That’s what is best for these kids,” I knew there might be a fuss, but it would be worth the fight.  However, if she responded with something like “You’re the principal, so I don’t see that there should be a problem,” I knew the odds were good the “ice cream” was about to hit the fan.  I learned to value her opinion and look for her insightful cues, and by doing so, she helped me become a better person and especially a better principal.

Rosie is what my grandfather called “good people,” to which I would only add “REALLY good people!”  She cared about people not because of their position, who they were in the community, economic standing, the color of their skin, or the persuasion of their heart; she cared about them because she truly loves and cares about people.  As school secretary, she was compassionate to all people – children, teachers, parents and school administrators.  She was not perfect; she could get feisty at times, but if she did, she would apologize for days afterwards.  In the history of Petal High School, there have been many diamonds that should not be overlooked, but I was there for 25 of the school’s first 40 years, and I can say no one was more important to the success and reputation of Petal High School than a little lady who made “peanuts” for a salary.  She gave her all to the school she loved, and when she retired, she took a piece of all us with her, but she left behind an integral part of the foundation Petal High School is built upon – her heart.

I am blessed to have many diamonds in my life, but Rosie will always be one of my very special diamonds.  She didn’t have to be there for me; she could have chosen to be a part of the storms, but rather she chose to take a young principal under her wing and protect him from the storms.  As a result, our time at Petal High School became a triumphant journey of adventure and fulfillment.  I always sincerely thank the students and teachers for that, but without Rosie Kinard, Petal High School would have been and would be today just another good high school.  Through her energy, courage, encouragement, passion, and compassion she helped mold the high school into the great school it is today.  Rosie is the real deal.  She is a diamond that I cannot thank enough for being there for me when I needed her.

So, if you see her about town, take notice of her infectious smile, and don’t be surprised if you get a hug.  Thank her for what she has meant to the Petal Community and the thousands of lives she has touched.  Tell her “Thank you;” she deserves it, and she has most definitely earned it.

Rosie, thank you for being a diamond in my life!

JL

©Jack Linton, April 30, 2016

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Four Practical Solutions to Transgender Choice/Use of Public Restrooms

I understand we should be sensitive to the needs of all people including transgenders.  However, is transgenders using the restroom of their choice truly worth all the commotion and uproar, especially when we are only talking about .3 percent of the American population?  I know that statement may sound insensitive, but let’s get real.  Where does all this stop?  There is some research that indicates that 12 percent of the population in the United States would consider visiting a nude resort, so even if we cut that number by half or divided it by 12 the resulting 6 percent and 1 percent respectfully are greater than the total number of transgenders.  So, does that mean we should be sensitive to those who identify as nudists and allow them to shop nude if they like?  Why not?  If laws are passed to address the needs of .3 percent of the population, shouldn’t laws be passed to respect the needs of the one percent practicing nudists?    Don’t get me wrong, I am all for being sensitive to the needs of all people when possible, but there comes a time when common sense has to take precedence over sensitivity as well as political correctness.

Unfortunately, common sense is not in great supply these days!  So, I am going to make this quick and simple.  I have FOUR common sense solutions to the current transgender bathroom fiasco that has people, especially daddies and granddaddies, fit to be tied.  I urge you to read these four solutions carefully, and share at least one of them with your local store managers and politicians.  Instead, of all the shouting and fussing, we need solutions; here are mine:

  1. Wire all women’s restroom doors with wiener zappers. Anytime anyone enters the women’s restroom, they are scanned.  If the person has a wiener, the zapper detects it, and a laser zaps it off right there on the spot.  Problem solved!  The guy who identifies as a woman is now truly a woman, and if he is a pervert, he is no longer any danger to ladies and little girls;
  2. Replace stalls and urinals in both men and women’s public restrooms with Porta Potties. Men and women stand in the same lines for hours at fairs and festivals to use the same potties with few problems, so install them in places like Target and let people do their business and move on to more important things;
  3. If everyone started wearing catheters attached to urine drainage bags and adult diapers under their clothes, there would be no need for public restrooms. Just think those stinky restrooms could be converted to snazzy restaurants or toiletry shops; or
  4. We could use a little common sense and require department stores such as Target and even malls to add unisex restrooms in addition to the traditional men’s and women’s restrooms. Unisex restrooms have been available in some places for years, with very few if any problems, so why not build more?

I know I will branded as insensitive, but it is time we put all this crap to bed!  And, yes, where my wife, daughter, granddaughters, daughters-in-law, sisters, sisters-in-law, nieces, and female friends are concerned, I sometimes may be a bit insensitive when their safety and privacy is placed in jeopardy, and it is doubtful I will become more sensitive until someone with some common sense comes up with a practical solution to ensure their safety and privacy.  Under the current situation, the safety and privacy of women and girls including transgender women and girls cannot be protected or guaranteed, and therein lies the true root of this problem.

JL

©Jack Linton,  April 26, 2016

Seven Traffic Signs We Desperately Need

We have all been there – (1)  you sit through three traffic lights because the idiot two cars ahead of you is texting and not paying attention; (2)  you are driving down the interstate at a comfortable 65 miles per hour and the spouse gets bent out of shape because you are not doing the speed limit of 70;  (3)  the guy merging into your lane from a side road has a yield sign, but he never once looks to see if the way is clear before he barrels his way in front you causing you to hit the brakes to avoid hitting him (there is large freight truck in the lane to your left, so you can’t change lanes;  (4)  you watch in horror as a pedestrian steps into the crosswalk and is almost rundown by an automobile accelerating through the intersection;  (5)  you have driven around Walmart five times looking for an empty parking space when you notice a SUV with a handicap sticker on the license plate pull into a handicap space where a woman jumps out and literally runs from the parking lot into the store – it is obvious the person does not have a handicap;  (6)  you are driving down the highway in heavy morning traffic when the car in front of you comes to a sudden stop causing you to hit your brakes, which causes the lady in the car behind you, who is busy putting on her makeup, to rear end your car;  or, (7)  the traffic light finally turns green and the line does not move until there is only enough time left for two cars to get through the intersection before the light turns red again all because Betty Diva was so engaged in singing and swaying to the radio that she did not notice the light change.  Can you spell “ROAD RAGE?”  These are the types of inconsiderate drivers who drive normally sane people to horrendous acts of rage!

Face it, people who text and drive, people who don’t have a clue as to what a yield sign means, people who are reckless around pedestrians, people who abuse handicap privileges, people who pay more attention to their makeup than driving, or people who think auditioning to the radio is their big break, need to take a bus!  They do not need to be behind the wheel of an automobile.  They can be dangerous to themselves and to others, so it would be best if a loved one hid their keys or better yet threw them away.  However, that is not likely to happen, so what can be done?  One solution that might help is to redesign traffic signs to meet the mindset of today’s drivers.  Updated signs might at least act as reminders to drivers that driving is serious and should not be taken lightly.

NEW and REDESIGNED Traffic Signs

TEXTING SIGN.jpg

Before you text and drive, take a moment to look at pictures of your family and say goodbye!

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Just because the speed limit is 70 does not mean you have to drive 70!

Yield sign.jpg

When merging into traffic always look; don’t assume traffic will stop or slow down for you!

Pedestrain sign.jpg

It is the driver’s responsibility to watch for pedestrians!  However, it is stupid for a pedestrian to assume drivers will watch for them.

handicap parking sign.jpg

Handicapped parking is for handicapped people!  It is not for people who are in a hurry or too lazy to walk a short distance.

No makeup zone sign.jpg

Morticians are trained cosmetologists, so ladies you can put your makeup on before you leave the house, or put it on while driving and let the mortician touch up those spots you couldn’t see in your rear view mirror.

singing in microphone.jpg

If you can sing in your car and pay attention to what is happening around you, then sing to your heart’s content.  However, if you are one those clods who struggles to do two things at the same time, give yourself and everyone else a break and don’t sing in the car!

Remember, when driving always pay attention!  You never know what is around the next turn.  May God always keep you and your loved ones safe and wise.

JL

©Jack Linton, April 23, 2016

People in Mississippi Would be Better off Minding their own Business

If you have been listening to Mississippi legislators and religious rights folks, you would think HB 1523 was written to protect Christians from gay exploitation. I heard one lady say HB 1523 protected her preacher. Really? What are the odds a gay couple will ask a preacher they do not know to perform their marriage ceremony? I would say slim to none. Just like heterosexual couples, they are going to ask a preacher they know and who supports their lifestyle. Another lady on the news said HB 1523 protected traditional marriage between a man and a woman. Again, REALLY? What harm does a gay marriage cause a traditional marriage? None, unless maybe the man or the woman in the traditional marriage has some sort of latent homosexual leaning. HB 1523 does nothing for Mississippi but show how backward we are as a people. As a Christian, I do not understand the gay lifestyle, but I do not feel threatened by it either, no one should.

Personally, I don’t understand the attraction of two like genders to one another, but that is probably because I think women are the most beautiful creatures on earth. However, some people insist gays are a threat to family values. How? If the mama and the daddy in the home are doing their job teaching family values to the children, the odds are very slim their family values can be corrupted by anyone outside the family. Also, I am not aware of any guys who are sweet on guys or girls who are sweet on girls going wild and committing home invasions in my neighborhood for the purpose of using my bathroom and molesting my wife and I until we convert to their lifestyle. The few gay people I know believe strongly in family values and do not actively recruit.

Could it be gays are not as dangerous as some people would have us believe? As for gays getting hitched and endangering marriage between a man and woman, I just don’t see it. Just this past weekend I passed two churches where a man and woman were getting married, and there was not a single homosexual man or woman standing outside the churches with a gun or protests signs trying to breakup either marriage. Shoot, everything in this world is about money, so do you really think divorce lawyers are going to stand by and let anything jeopardize marriage between a man and a woman? Of course not! As long as there are divorce lawyers, marriage between a man and a woman will always be protected!

As for God, I certainly cannot speak for him, but I have to believe, he has more important things to do than worry about who’s hitting on whom. Besides, if there is a sin involved, he doesn’t need help from me or anyone else buttering the ole “I gotcha rod.” He didn’t need my help building hell, and he sure doesn’t need my help deciding who is or who is not going down there to live. The bottom line is that I don’t have time to worry about the sins of other folks. I have enough to worry about figuring out when it is and when it is not polite to scratch in public.

Heck fire, if I was single, I’d be introducing gay dudes to one another right and left. As a single guy, I would be thrilled to no end if the entire male population turned gay; that would leave more women for me! But, with my luck, the women would take one look at all the gay guys, and then one look at me, and opt for a gay lifestyle of their own or join a convent in Tibet or France or wherever they have convents. But that is okay, I have a beautiful wife with poor eyesight, so other than being left alone and leaving other people alone what more can a person ask for or hope for in life? I guess I could hope that people would learn to mind their own business and leave everybody else to their business, but unfortunately, that ain’t gonna happen!

Straight from Mississippi,

JL

©Jack Linton, April 11, 2016

Shame on Mississippi: Hell No! We are Better than This! Ten Tips for Surviving Mississippi’s Apocalypse

Shame on Mississippi, shame on our state leaders, we are better than the backward, intolerant image they have painted for us!  State representative Karl Oliver summed up the state leadership’s attitude all too well with his response to a concerned Mississippi citizen, “I could care less.”  That attitude, that lack of concern for the state’s citizens, image, and future, has become evident in the actions and inactions of Mississippi’s leaders, especially the Republicans.  As a result, the state is trapped in a nightmare.  From education to religion, we have been bullied, led astray, frightened, and held hostage by state legislators, the lieutenant governor, and the governor who are dead set on recreating Mississippi in their image.  With dead end funding for education; brainless, reckless abandon for throwing away state money; introduction of laws that violate the First Amendment rights of teacher citizens, attention to frivolous personal agenda laws in lieu of addressing the state’s crumbling infrastructure; the passage of the most blatantly discriminatory law since the Jim Crow era; and an atmosphere of hate and fear married to a lack of common sense, Mississippians might think they are living in a Class B movie written and directed earlier in his career by Quintin Tarantino, or that they have been “hogtied” and dropped into the NBC TV series, You, Me, and the Apocalypse.  Mississippi is engulfed in turmoil and craziness like nothing it has seen in over fifty years.  Unfortunately, unlike a Tarantino film there is no end in sight, nor is there a bunker, like the one in the NBC series, for people to hide until the madness is over.

So, how can Mississippians survive the political and social craziness and injustice that is strangling the state?  That is not an easy question to answer, but here are ten survival suggestions that might at least save enough Mississippians to pick up the pieces and carry on if the carnage ever ends:

Ten Tips for Surviving Mississippi’s Apocalypse

  1. Trade in your flip flops for wading boots! More than likely, the crap is only going to get deeper as long as the present leadership has power in Jackson;
  2. Stay out of the sun! You don’t want to chance getting too dark;
  3. Never, ever, walk into a business in same sex pairs whether you are a couple or not;
  4. If you are gay and invited to a snipe hunt, DON’T GO!
  5. Incorporate yourself! State legislators may be reluctant to pay for the education of the state’s children, but they will give you the shirts off their backs if you can show you are a corporation in need of tax breaks and/or exemptions;
  6. If you are gay, buy a Ford or Ram truck, and become one of the boys (oops men);
  7. To steer clear of discrimination pick any sin you like except homosexuality;
  8. If you are an educator, I am sorry, but you might not survive. Under the present Republican leadership in Jackson, in the coming years, it will be easier for a pig to fart Dixie in a tornado than be a teacher in Mississippi;
  9. Speak out against being last, ignorance, discrimination, civil injustice, and abuse of political power! Okay, this one probably should not be on a survival list; and
  10. DO what Jesus would do and PRAY for the Pharisees.

Good luck friends!  We are stuck in this Class B movie by our own doing, or lack of doing!  With our vote and silence, we have allowed our elected state leaders to run our state into the ground by permitting them to prey on the people’s fear of rich, lazy educators, fear of government interference, and fear of tolerance for their fellow man.  Unfortunately, it won’t change overnight, and there is not a bunker deep enough to shield us from the damaging fallout caused by their pursuit of personal and party agendas as well as their mindless recklessness.  We are going to need people of action, a lot of luck, and a mountain of prayers to get out of this mess.  We need more Mississippians standing up and shouting, “Hell no!  We are better than this!”

JL

©Jack Linton, April 10, 2016

HB 1523: Mississippi is Better than This!

HB 1523 is discriminatory in that it singles out a select group of people, and it is contradictory to legislative claims that it protects the religious rights of Christians.   The religious right of a Christian is to love God and his fellow man, and HB 1523 protects neither of those rights.  The bill is little more than a cynical and biased shell game enacted by individuals with selective Christian beliefs.  The idea that such a bill could surface in what a growing number of Mississippians were beginning to hope and believe was an enlightened 21st Century shows that cynicism and bigotry in the state legislature and the state as a whole is alive and well.

If Mississippi legislators truly intended to protect the religious rights of Christians against the participatory sin of doing business with sinners, why didn’t they include adultery, murder, theft, bearing false witness, lying, cursing, coveting, breaking civil laws, laziness, divorce and deceit in the bill?  Could it be that some of those sins hit too close to home and are therefore exclusionary sins?  Legislators can quote the Bible and talk about religious rights all they want, but unlike the Mississippi legislature, the Bible does not single out homosexuality as the only sin.  If it did, HB 1523 might have some merit, but it does not.  Sin is sin; therefore, all sin falls short of the glory of God.  How Christian is it to place hatred of sin above love for the sinner?  Shouldn’t Christians, even Christian legislators, focus on love and witnessing and leave God to focus on sin and judging?

HB 1523 promotes a perpetual state of conservative self-centered sameness; the idea that everyone should be cut from the same template as the writer of the bill and those it claims to represent.  This does not mean the writer or supporters of this bill are bad or evil people; they simply dance a full beat off center, fearful of the changing world around them.  They live in a continuous state of self-flagellation of their human condition powerless to reason beyond their inherited convictions of what is right and wrong.  Their soap box of fanatical righteousness is nurtured by an astute conviction that their beliefs, even when fractional, are beyond reproach as they go about the business of molding the world in their image.  They embrace their phobias as a covetous crusade for their definition of the norm which often disqualifies their understanding of reasonable discourse.  Their belief system is frequently fragmented and soft core, leaving them prone to react angrily even violently when cornered, confused, or contradicted.  They live in constant fear of becoming irrelevant, and it is that fear that ushers them ever closer to irrelevance.

Although Mississippi’s past speaks volumes about its intolerance, Mississippi in the 21st Century is better than this!  Shel Silverstein said we should look at one another only if we first turn out the lights.  With no light to reflect the pigment of our skin or the brother or sister we choose to stand at our side, we are all the same.  It is time we turn out the lights in Mississippi and see our brothers and sisters with our hearts.  It is time we turn on the light in our hearts, and see each other through God’s eyes.  It is through that light that we can conquer the intolerant fear that once again threatens our great state.  HB 1523 is a serpent that should be crushed under the heel of Mississippians unified in supporting the humanity of all people, and in due time, it will be.  No one outside the state will believe this, but Mississippi is better than HB 1523!

JL

©Jack Linton, April 5, 2016

 

The How in the Hell did that Book get Published List

Just about everyone wants to write and publish a book.  They envision their life story or creative fiction on top of the bestseller list and making zillions of dollars.  Unfortunately, of the millions of people around the world writing their best seller, only a small percentage will actually realize the publication of their work, and a smaller percentage of that small percentage will make the big money.  However, despite the odds against publication and getting rich as a writer, true writers never stop trying.  Thank goodness!  Where would we be if John Grisham, Greg Isles, Stephen King, Frank McCourt, and J. K. Rowling, just to name a few, had given up on their dreams?

Nevertheless, sometimes books are published that leave readers and struggling writers asking, “How in the hell did that book get published?”  I am not talking about self-published books or vanity press publishers where the author pays to publish whatever he/she deems worthy of publication.  I am not referring to mainstream books such as Twilight or Fifty Shades of Grey, which consistently appear on “bad book” lists.  No, I am referring to such classics as It Hurts When I Poop by Howard J. Bennett and David Blanchard’s My First Cavity Search, which is described by its Amazon.com blurb with the caption, “This whimsical book will help teach your child what is about to happen to them now that they have been declared a threat to national security.”  Really?  How in the hell did that book get published?  Of course, in this era of ebook and traditional book publication, the line between self-publishing and traditional publishing is fast disappearing, which throws open the door for books of questionable merit to be published.

Some people may argue these books have credibility and should not be considered questionable at all.  They might claim such books are unique and come under the heading of novelty books which hold a legitimate and well-established place in the publishing industry.  I agree there are unique books that fit a specialized niche in the market such as Diane Muldrow’s Everything I Need To Know I Learned From a Little Golden Book; Stuff White People Like: A Definitive Guide to the Unique Taste of Millions by Christian Lander; and Max Brooks’ The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead. However, I am of the opinion that books like the “Poop” and “Cavity” books  defy all publishing logic.  Is there really a market for those books?  Is there really a market for books such as Do It Yourself Coffins by Dale Powers and Gobbling Proofing One’s Chicken Coop by Reginald Bakeley?  As mindblowing as it seems, apparently there is a market for such books.  Why else would Amazon.com sell them if there wasn’t a market?  If you don’t believe Amazon sells these books, go to the website and look for yourself.  While looking, you might want to look for the books in the chart below that can also be found on Amazon.  Who knows, seeing some of the bizarre books that have made it into print might be the motivation you need to finish that long overdue novel or non-fiction family history you have been dreaming of writing.

The How in the Hell did that Book get Published List

[All books are real and available on Amazon.com]

Book Title Description Author Publisher
Crafting with Cat Hair:  Cute Handicrafts to Make with Your Cat The title says it all!  Crafts you can make from the hair your cat sheds. Kaori Tsutaya Quirk Books
How to Avoid Huge Ships

 

This book was named “worst book ever” by Publisher’s Weekly, but you owe it to your kids to buy it.  You never know when they might be accosted by a huge ship on the way home after school. John W. Trimmer Cornell Maritime Pr/Tidewater Pub
How to Goodbye Depression:  If you constrict anus 100 times every day?  Malarkey? Or Effective way? The author claims consistent rectal exercise will result in a beautiful complexion and make you look twenty years younger. Hiroyuki Nishigaki iUniverse
How to Live with an Idiot: Clueless Creatures and the People Who Love Them According to the author 4 out of 6 people live with an idiot.  The other two are fledgling idiots. John Hoover Career Press
Knitting with Dog Hair

 

What makes more sense than harvesting your dog’s hair and knitting rover a sweater? Kendall Crolius St. Martin’s Griffin
Latawnya the Naughty Horse Learns to Say “No” to Drugs African American horses are lured into the world of illegal drugs by drug dealing Caucasian horses. Sylvia Scott Gibson America Star Books
The Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America This book contains photographic documentation of actual stray shopping cart sightings.  Get your camera ready! Julian Montague Harry N. Abrams
Walter the Farting Dog Walter is a great dog, but much to the delight of the kids, he has gas Kotzwinkle, Murray, Colman Frog Children’s Books
What Bird Did That? A Driver’s Guide to Some Common Birds of North America Use this guide to decode the bird crap on your windshield to track down the bird who soiled your car. Burton Silver Ten Speed Press
Who Cut the Cheese:  A cultural History of the Fart Yep, just what it says, a historical perspective on farts. Jim Dawson Ten Speed Press

How in the hell did those books get published?  I can assure you I don’t know, but I am seriously considering purchasing each of them to see if I can find a common denominator to getting published that as an unpublished writer I have yet to discover.  Hmmm?  I wonder if anyone has ever written a book about the “migratory habits of tics and the photogenic opportunities they offer?”  If the books in the list are an indicator, there is bound to be a niche for such a book.  There is one thing for sure, though, if this list does not motivate you to start writing, you are a dreamer and not a writer!

JL

©Jack Linton, April 3, 2016