All posts by John Botscharow

Happy birthday, Heidi

Today is my daughter’s 26th birthday. Although I have had no contact with her in over five years, I do want to wish her a happy birthday. Hopefully someone who knows her will see this and relate a message for me. It would be nice if she and I could get together and talk. Maybe we could resolve our differences and go back to talking again. I know her mother and her brothers would love for that to happen. They miss her probably more than ideal, and I miss her a lot.

Also, happy birthday to my niece Margaret, who is 45 today. She is my brother’s Tom’soldest firstborn, just as Heidi is my firstborn. Kind of a weird coincidence that they share the same birthday! What are the probabilities on that one? Anyway, happy birthday to you as well, Margaret.

Peace and love!
John you are

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The Barbarian

According to the Oxford English dictionary, the origin of the word barbarian is from “Late Middle English (in barbarous (sense 2)): via Latin from Greek barbarous ‘foreign’ + -ous.” Since I am technically a foreigner in America, that makes me a barbarian. I also am a barbarian by ancient heritage. I am descended from one of the Germanic tribes and one of the Slavic tribes, both of which are not Roman or Greek in origin. That certainly qualifies me as a barbarian, something I am very proud of.

 

The word barbarian has the same root as the word barber. Mostly, from the Latin word for beard. If you are a student of Roman history, you know the Roman men were pretty much always clean-shaven. It was only the “savage and primitive” tribes that the Romans warred against and usually conquered who had beards. Well, I have a beard. I guess I qualify as a barbarian on that count as well. 🙂

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A Voice Crying in The Wilderness

I did the original draft of this post close to two weeks ago, but decided to hold off posting it for reasons that will become clear as we go through the new version below. I want to dedicate this post to those former high school classmates who were on my Facebook “friends” list with whom I have had an interesting exchange of comments in the last week. I’m not going to name names. There is no need for that because the relevant parties will know who I am talking about, if they happen to read this.

 

The whole thing started over a week ago when one of my friends called me Bernard instead of Bernhard. You would think that someone that I went to school with for six years and whose brother I considered my best friend would know my name. At least he did not call me Bernie, which is the name that most people called me back in high school. That is the name I absolutely hate. Even my mother really disliked people calling me Bernie. She often asked me why I put up with it. I explained that I had tried to get people to call me Bernhard when we first moved to Willow Grove, PA, and I started attending North Willow Grove elementary school. That was an exercise in futility. Back in those days I did not enjoy banging my head against the brick wall, so I gave up and resigned myself to being Bernie. I also swore to myself that the first chance I got I would change my name to something people would have a hard time screwing up.

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Another Lone Crazed Gunman

That’s the expression one of my Facebook friends, and former high school classmate, used to describe and referred to the shooter in Las Vegas last week. I commented that we have far too many of them and that lone crazed gunman seem to be endemic to American history. We have an unnatural love affair with weapons, the more destructive and easier to use the better. This madman was not happy that his rifle was a semi-automatic. He bought a conversion kit to turn it into an automatic rifle. That’s why he could kill so many people in such a short time before taking his own life. It is apparent that this man put very little value on human life, both the lives of others as well as his own.

 

My friend Dan responded with the usual “gun control does not work because criminals will always be able to get guns.” I totally agree with that sentiment. I said, in my original comment, that we needed to make some drastic changes in the hearts and minds of humans. Apparently, Dan missed the point. So, I responded to his comment about gun control not being effective.

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Pigeonholes and Language

Yes! Yes! I know. It has been over a month since I have written anything on either of my blogs. Rest assured, I am well and doing fine. So, what was the problem? I guess you could say that the stream of creative juices slowed down to a mere trickle. I guess we all have spells like that from time to time. Unfortunately, it seems the older you get the more frequent the droughts are. I guess it’s just something I have to live with. The alternative does not excite me at all. I kind of do want to live forever.

 

I guess I’ve been a creative person, more or less, all my life. I took up acting when I was in kindergarten, but then did not do anymore until our junior class play way back when. I took one more stab at acting my senior year in high school. Doing “the Mouse That Roared” was one of the major highlights of my high school career.

 

I have also dabbled in the visual arts. I did cartooning starting in junior high school as the art editor for the junior high school newspaper. I did cartooning posters for my mother’s bakery shop back then as well. In my 20s, I took up photography rather seriously. I even did exhibits at several local art fairs. I still have a 35mm single lens reflex camera but have not used it in a very long time. My isolate just doesn’t permit me to do that anymore. I have never been much for cameras that do all the work. I do not like giving up creative control. However, I have finally given up and ordered a simple digital camera online that should be here next week. Hopefully, I’ll be able to make that one work and you all will see an occasional photograph on this blog and on my Facebook page.

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The Madness of King Donald Part Two

It seems that our Emperor who has no close is at it again. Apparently, he is not happy with the people he chose as his Presidential advisors. So, he is employing that phrase that has become closely associated with Donald Trump: “You’re fired!” He is firing his advisors right and left and it appears that more firings are imminent. Sorry Donald, this is not your reality show. It’s time you realize that and started acting like a President of the United States and not the driver of the clown car in a circus!

 

I may be wrong on this one. After all, I have never been the greatest judge of what qualifies as mature behavior. But, it appears to me that Donald is acting like a spoiled immature little rich kid. Wait a minute!! Isn’t that what he is?

 

It seems to me that the American people have lost touch with reality themselves. After all, more often than not, we seem to elect total idiots to run this country. Either that, or complete megalomaniacs like Trump or – my favorite megalomaniac – Richard Nixon. He claimed he was not a crook after the Watergate story broke and he was forced to resign or face impeachment. If being the authority figure behind a criminal burglary is not being a crook, then I have no idea what qualifies you as a crook. In my estimation, Richard Nixon should have faced criminal charges for his part in authorizing the Watergate break-in. He escaped prosecution thanks to his good buddy and Vice President who succeeded him -Gerald Ford. Ford always struck me as a nice guy. Not too bright, but a nice guy. Maybe too nice. We have to eliminate Presidential pardons before the disgraced President is even indicted, let alone convicted. These crooks need to assume responsibility for their actions while in office. Being the President does not give you license to commit larceny, murder, burglary, treason, or any other criminal action while in office.

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Oh Well

When I was in high school back in the mid-60s, my favorite rock groups were the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, as well as the Beach Boys and the Four Seasons. When I went off to college in 1966, my taste in music changed. I became a huge fan of Bob Dylan, the Kinks and Fleetwood Mac. Not the Fleetwood Mac that became very popular 15 years later, but rather Peter Greens Fleetwood Mac. You see, although the band is named for the drummer and bass player, it was originally a Peter Green sub-band. How Peter lost that band is a very tragic story which I will tell in just a few minutes.

 

Fleetwood Mac from 1967 to 1970 was predominantly a blues band. In fact, had Peter Green not suffered his “tragic accident”, I think Peter would be discussed in the same breath with Eric Clapton as the greatest British blues guitarist. To see what I mean, click here. The first song you will hear is “Black Magic woman.” Most people associate that song with Santana hat I mean, go to YouTube and search “Fleetwood Mac live 1970.” But it was Peter Green who wrote this song and Fleetwood Mac who originally recorded it. To this day, Fleetwood Mac’s version is still my favorite version.

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A Call to Action

There has been a great deal of commotion on both sides of the political aisle regarding healthcare in the United States, especially the Affordable Health Care act passed a couple of years ago which is euphemistically referred to as Obamacare. Trouble is, calling it Obamacare is a misnomer. The final form of that act as passed by Congress is a far cry from what then Pres. Obama and the Democrats in Congress wanted. What we got with that bill was a compromise between the Democrats and those relatively moderate Republicans, a compromise that could be passed in Congress. 20 million people who were previously uninsured could get healthcare coverage. So, I think it is time that the Republicans took their share of responsibility for what both sides consider a relatively bad bill. The conservative Republicans think it smacks too much of socialism and they want to eliminate any signs of socialism in this country. That would include Social Security, Medicare, labor unions, and just about all regulation of large corporations. The Republicans want unbridled capitalism. That may sound like a good thing, but I suggest you read the novels of Charles Dickens to get an idea of what life under unbridled capitalism would really be like. The conservative Republicans tried to paint a rosy picture of the benefits of unbridled capitalism. They are either absolute fools or absolute liars. Either one should preclude them from making the laws that govern this country.

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For God and Country

I don’t talk about religion very much on this blog anymore. I tend to save religious discussions for my Christian Heresy blog. I do however often discuss politics here. Since this post is about both religion and politics in the United States, I thought it was better suited for this blog.

 

Yesterday was the Fourth of July – our Independence Day. Last night I watched the movie version of the Broadway musical 1776 on Turner Classic Movies. The movie was actually better than I expected, mainly because it was less of a musical than I thought it would be. I found the dramatization of some of the debates in the Continental Congress rather interesting. I don’t know how historically accurate those dramatizations were. At one point in the movie, our Founding Fathers were recommending the various and sundry changes to the original wording of the Declaration of Independence. One of the delegates from the South asked for the inclusion of the phrase containing Divine Providence. He felt that the colonies would have no chance winning a war against Great Britain without divine help and that our declaration should acknowledge that. That’s certainly makes sense given the times and the culture of the colonies in 1776.

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The Great Pretender

Writing this post has been very difficult. I’ve rewritten it several times, which is something I don’t normally do. Normally I’d just write it and then let Michael edit it for me. But because of the emotional investment that this post requires, I have had a hard time putting my thoughts and feelings into words that make sense to anyone other than me. After all, isn’t that the goal of any writer worth his salt? Making his words make sense to his readers.

 

As some of you may know, I am now 69 years old. That is a lot longer than I thought I’d ever lived. I probably have spent more than 50 years of my life pretending to be someone I am not. Actually, I think a lot of this do that. No matter how much we pretend, there always is a core that is the genuine you or me. Sometimes that core gets so buried that you lose track of who you really are. That’s what happened to me. I spent so many years being one different me or another, that by the time I got to a point in my life where I could actually be myself, I really wasn’t sure who that was. It took me probably almost 20 years to really figure out who I was and to get rid of all of the sides I had accumulated over the first 40 years or so of my life. It is and has been the love of my wife Elizabeth that has made it possible for me to undergo a rather torturous and lengthy reconstruction of myself.

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