Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Lies, Lies, Everybody Lies

If you have never in your life told a lie, not even a itty bitty one, then this post isn’t for you because you are either delusional or you have told the lie so often that you actually believe it. If you can read this you probably know the difference between a lie and the truth, but teaching that to young children is sometimes difficult. As Christians we know that lying is a sin and something we are not supposed to do. However, sometimes we try to justify it by saying we lied so we wouldn’t hurt someone’s feelings.

So what constitutes a lie?

White lies, acceptable or not? Supposedly told to someone for their own good and doesn’t really hurt anyone. But isn’t it still a lie? Does this dress make me look fat? No dear, Rubenesque figures are now in vogue.

Is not disclosing all the facts considered a lie? Our current Governor in WI didn’t mention while campaigning that he was planning to do away with the union’s right to bargain. I was told I should have know that by what he did in Milwaukee, where I haven’t lived for 17 years. I cannot tell a lie. I didn’t vote for him and I signed his recall papers.

Half truth’s - intended to deceive by leaving out half the facts, includes some truth, but also leaves some out on purpose. Very similar to the last paragraph.

Lying to manipulate others. Many politicians promise anything and everything to get elected and then come up with excuses why they couldn’t provide what they promised.

Consequences of lying - You could loose your wife, family, job, even become incarcerated and lose your freedom. Oh, and your self esteem if you had any to begin with. Those that think they will never get caught surely are not thinking about consequences. Do any politicians come to mind?

Getting caught and trying to explain the lie. Whoops! Some don’t think getting caught is that big of a deal. They say they’re sorry and promise they’ll never do it again. Don’t bet money on that one. Too many people in all walks of life to list.

Lies hurt both the person telling it, the person it’s about and those it affects. Yes it will catch up with you eventually. Just like all crooks will get caught sooner than later.

Tell me the truth and I won’t punish you and then you do. We better not be doing this with our children or they will be encouraged to tell those lies with the hope of not getting caught because they learn that punishment will come either way.

How many times do we lie to ourselves? Are we sometimes held captive by our lies?

Compulsive liars - a psychological problem. We have to hope that they recognize their problem or someone points it out and get help.

Government lies to protect us or keep us in the dark? After being out of the Naval Security Group for over 40 years I know there are still things I can’t talk about. It’s for the good of the nation. Is it really or is some one or some group just trying to protect themselves. If this peaks your interest then I know you will love my book entitled, “The Coded Letter”, which is going through it’s first edit as I write this.

Some people get so good at lying and are so convincing that many are taken in by them, especially the elderly and those with mental conditions. Nigerian scams, etc.

Lastly are the lies that are in newspapers, magazines, online news sources and on TV. We should all become more aware that this type of information is commonly influenced by who owns the outlet that is publishing or producing the information. So many things are now taken out of context just to manipulate the truth and confuse us. Is it fair? Many in politics say it is because both sides do it. Is it OK to do something just because everyone else is doing it. How many times have your children pulled that one on you?

This was not written to be judgmental of anyone, just to make you think about what you say and how it affects others. I hope it also gets you to carefully evaluate all that you read, see and hear.

Thanks for continuing to read “ Just Connecting Words”

Monday, November 28, 2011

Reddi Wip

Age, up to this point, has never bothered me. It was just a number. I’ll be turning 65 in about two months and trying to figure out how I got this old so fast. No physical problems except for the normal aches and pains that accompany getting older. I sometimes feel like my wife and I are supporting the people that make Ibuprofen all by ourselves. In our minds we don’t even feel old enough to utilize the senior center in our little town. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people joking that I’m older than dirt. Well I am older than a few things, that I didn’t realize I was older than, but dirt isn‘t one of them.

I have been the breakfast cook of the family for as long as I can remember. Due to dietary concerns and common sense we try to limit my big breakfasts to twice a week and special occasions. I have even cooked a breakfast buffet twice for the entire family when we celebrate Christmas together, usually the Saturday before the 25th. Two of the families favorites at home are blueberry waffles and chocolate chip pancakes. A couple of us have even taken to cutting up the waffles and pancakes and putting a squirt of Reddi Wip on each little piece.

What a shock when I found out the other day that Reddi Wip was invented in 1948 a year after I was born. I may not be older than dirt, but I am older than Reddi Wip. After doing a little research I found many things, we now take for granted, that I am older than. Other things invented in 1948 were the Frisbee and Velcro. Passenger jet airplanes and cake mix in a box were introduced in 1949; 1950 brought the credit card; 1951 super glue; Mr. Potato Head in 1952; tea bags in 1953; fish sticks in 1955. I could go on and on, which I’m very good at, but I’m sure you get the idea by now.

Was there a purpose in all of this rambling? For me there was. The next time someone comments that I’m older than dirt I can come back with, “No, I’m not, but I am older than Reddi Wip. I can’t wait to see the expression on their face. It might even get them to think about what they’re older than. What are you older than?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

It's All About Being Thankful

Like most of you I don’t have everything I thought I would have at this point in my life, but I’m sure blessed and thankful for all that I do have. As part of the “Baby Boomer” generation I’m as guilty as most with thinking “I Gotta Have It” and “I Want It Right Now.” How many of us have gotten in trouble following that philosophy? Many of those “wants” are simply that and not something we “need.” I’ve even gotten some things that I really thought I wanted and after I got them didn’t really want them so much. As we sit down to our Thanksgiving dinner we can find at least something to be thankful for because there is always someone who has less than us. I know times are tough for many.

I’m Thankful For:

Family and extended family - especially my wife of 42 years, wonderful kids and grand kids. Extended family that made me part of theirs from the start.

All of my Faculties - Just waking up each morning and being able to get out of bed and take care of myself. My sight, hearing, taste, smell, mobility and a memory that is still pretty good.

Friends both old and new - especially some that have been friends for 40 years and some even over 60 years. The new ones we are making in our new community.

Our Church - Making us feel at home there from the first time we walked through their door. Also the fact that I can worship where and how I want to.

Living in the U.S. - I have so many freedoms and simple things like clean water, safe food and great medical care that I sometimes take for granted.

The Right To Vote

Those In Service
- Protecting me so I can sleep soundly and not worry while I’m awake.

There are so many things to be thankful for that I could go on and on, but the point is that no matter how bad or desperate things seem I’m sure we can all find something to be thankful for. I believe we would be so much happier if we simply learned to be thankful everyday for all that we have. Oh yes, I’m also thankful that I can write what I want to write and post it for everyone to read. Life is Good and I Am Thankful!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Do You Remember November 22, 1963?


John F. Kennedy was shot and killed on November 22, 1963 at 12:30 pm Central Standard Time. I was a freshman at Nicolet High School in Glendale, Wisconsin when he was elected as our 35th President and a junior when he died. It is one of those times, as it is for many, when I can tell you exactly where I was, even though it happened 48 years ago. I was in a social studies class when some one came to our class room door with a note for our teacher explaining what had taken place. I think our teacher read that note two or three times before he told us a great tragedy had taken place. I remember him choking up as he told us that our President, John F. Kennedy, had been assassinated, shot and killed, in Texas.

I remember many of the girls being in tears and our teacher trying to reassure us that we weren’t in any type of danger because he had been killed. Our teacher also told us that we would remain in his class room until it was time to leave at 3 pm, our normal dismissal time. He asked if anyone objected to having a radio news feed come into our room over the loud speaker and no one did. It was probably around 1:30 when they announced that all after school and weekend activities were canceled. The loud speaker came on with the radio feed and the everyone immediately became silent. I also remember our teacher explaining that the Vice President, Lyndon B. Johnson, would be our next President.

I don’t really remember too much more about that weekend except that we were glued to our television sets. We were also off on Monday the 25th so we could watch JFK’s funeral on TV. We went back to school on Tuesday and were off the rest of the week for Thanksgiving which was on Thursday November 28th. I also seem to remember that most of the conversation at Thanksgiving was about the assassination and about the killing of Lee Harvey Oswald, the man accused of shooting John F. Kennedy, on Sunday November 24th.

I still wonder why someone who seemed to have the ability to do so much good died so young. I also think about what might have been if he had not died. Lastly I wonder if, in my life time, I will find out what really happened and who or what group really orchestrated JFK‘s death. Or maybe you believe the conclusion of the Warren Commission. I do know that day will live with me for ever.

If you’re old enough, do you remember where you were on November 22, 1963?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Not Inspired To Connect The Words Today, But

Nothing to offer today except to direct you to another blogger, John Skipper, from Iowa, who writes “The Writing Life.” As I get closer to my next birthday, my 65th, I feel more and more like one of his Haiku’s :

My Mind Is Alive
It Tells Me To Get Moving
My Body Just Laughs

He’s an author, newspaper reporter, columnist and creative writing teacher who gives writer’s workshops. Please check him out at :

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving Past And Present


I don’t know the exact age when I started remembering family events, but it was probably when I was about five. Holidays were all spent at Grandma and Grandpa Baumann’s house which was only 10 minutes from our house. It was always there because they were my only set of grandparents. Our family wasn’t very big. There were only my grandparents, my parents, me, my aunt and uncle and two cousins. We always spent the major holidays together having a home made dinner. Easter was ham, Thanksgiving was Turkey and Christmas was German Sauerbraten with potato dumplings. Holiday meals were always served at noon even if the football game was on the TV. No TV tables, we all sat together around their dinning room table set with the “good dishes.” The men wore suits or sports coats and the women dresses and us in our Sunday church clothes.

Then came my high school years when I didn’t appreciate being with family as much as I should have. After a year of college I joined the Navy and spent four Thanksgiving’s and three Christmas’s over seas and away from family. You really don’t appreciate what you have until it’s gone. Whoops, another cliché! But this one was true. My wife was in Japan with me for a year and one half and had to spend our first Thanksgiving alone, far from family and friends, while I was out to sea. There were some other Navy wives that lived near us so she had some company and they were all experiencing the same pain of being separated on a holiday. We did get to spend our first married Christmas together in Japan, but far from our parents in the states. We just kept telling ourselves we would spend the rest of our holidays together with our families.

This is another one of those, “you have to watch what you ask for.” November 1970 was our first Thanksgiving back in the states with our parents and we got more than we asked for. You know what’s coming, don’t you? You probably even experienced it. We had a complete turkey dinner at my parents house at noon and another one at my in-laws at five pm the same day. I’ve never been so full in my life. It took us a couple of years, but we did finally arrange a schedule so we wouldn’t be eating two holiday meals on the same day.

Jump ahead to Thanksgiving 2011. We have lost the grandparents and all but one parent and one aunt over the years, but we have gained a daughter and son-in-law with three grandchildren and a son and daughter-in-law with a grandchild. As they say life continues, the cycle goes on and we celebrate with different family members, but pretty much the same traditions. We have lost the German sauerbraten on Christmas along the way, but I might even try to bring that back this year.

I treasure all the memories of those past holidays, miss the relatives that have passed and only hope our children and grandchildren will have fond memories of the holidays we still celebrate together as family. Enjoy the day and make some memories. Happy Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Back To Blogging

The “Scuttlebutt-Jim” blog is back now as “Just Connecting Words”. I’ve finished my book and I’m about half way through the first edit which leaves time to return to writing a blog. Thanks to my daughter for giving me the original push to start one. Some of my followers told me they missed my daily offerings and even asked when and if I would start a blog again. Well I’m back, not necessarily by popular demand, but more as an outlet for the ideas I feel I have to get down on paper. I probably won’t write everyday, only when I feel inspired to share something that’s on my mind. Or in other words, as spirit moves me.

“Just Connecting Words” seemed like a good title because that’s all writing really is. The hard part is choosing the right words and getting those words in the right order. The goal of course is to end up with something that will interest someone enough to read what’s written and then come back for more. Hope some of my writing is interesting enough to do just that.