I Hate The Masks, Too

At the beginning of the pandemic, I heard what people were saying about wearing masks.  I even had a friend in Europe ask me, “Why does your leadership say not to wear a mask?”  I quoted the story told in the press, but it did seem both sides of the pond had a different take on wearing or not wearing the “smile-blocker.”

When Texas jumped on board with the “mandatory mask” rules, I hated it from the very beginning.  Although, I had started to wear a mask when going to the store.  I could make an argument, “I am healthy and not sick.  Why should I wear a mask?  I had a negative COVID test 6 weeks ago.  I should still be good, right?”  While all of that may be true, I am a rule follower.  If the governor or someone else who has legal standing can say, “No more shopping without your mask.”, then I will comply.  I will wait to put the mask on until just before entering the building.  And, as soon as my hands are free and I am outside of the building, I will remove the mask.  Maybe I think I am getting away with something by not wearing the mask for one second longer than necessary.  Regardless of my dislike for the mask, I recognize the store’s authority.  If they say, “No shopping in our store unless you wear a mask.”, then I guess I am naïve enough to take them literally.  Could they possibly mean that shopping without a mask within their establishment is not to be tolerated?

This brings me to today.  (And a week ago when I went to the same store.)  Today, as I walked behind a couple, (were they a husband and wife?  Were they a mother and son?  To my untrained eye, they did not scream, “I am healthy and I don’t care who knows it.”), I noticed they didn’t have a mask on.  I thought, “If they walk in that way, that is pretty brazen.”  After being told at the same store last week that, “The manager really doesn’t like enforcing that rule.”, my spider senses started tingling.

If it is a rule, it is a rule.  Or, is it a rule unless someone ignores the rule, then it isn’t a rule for them?  But, if it isn’t a rule for them, who is it a rule for?  As I inquired of the gentlemen offering additional sterilizing services of my cart as I walked in, “Why can’t they order online and pick up their order?”  Smaller retail stores sometimes have signs on their front windows, “Call ‘this number’ for curbside assistance.”  They want your business.  Yet, they realize consistency is important.  If they let customers decide whether a rule applies to them, then isn’t that a step on the road toward anarchy? (In fairness, I get irritated when dog owners have their dogs off the leash in mandatory leash areas, too.)

Unfortunately, nearly everything is political these days.  As you evaluate what governments do and don’t do, realize the factors you need to consider when you receive your ballot on election day.  (If you vote early, it is the same difference.)  One party favors more government.  The other party favors less government involvement.  Neither party may be offering you an ideal candidate.  As a Christian, I see both of the major party tickets being flawed.  Despite this fact, I will vote.  And, I will encourage others to vote for the candidate that best expresses their values.  If they don’t know who does, I will tell them. 😉


Cusp of Indecision

I noticed the video on my Facebook page and other places today.  I watched most of it.  I agreed with the part about voting and its importance.  I agree with it being YOUR decision.  I agree with the role of those who are influential inviting others into the process.  After this point was made, my disagreement began.

When those who are rich and famous (not everyone in the video was famous or rich, but the implication was these people care deeply and are smarter than you) want you to do something, you should do it.  They believe you should not do your own research or make decisions based on your socio-economic status.  You should do what they say.  Whoever wins the elections won’t make these people less famous, but maybe a little less rich.  Whoever wins the election is very important to them because they are willing to draw pictures or use their acting ability to fill their voice with heart-tugging emotion.  If they are willing to call somebody a “racist”, you should accept their accusations on its face.  Their failure to critique the other candidate as a liar or a “Washington insider” or any of the other labels that could be assigned to the women running for the highest office in the land is not important.  What is important is they REALLY, REALLY want you to NOT vote for one of the candidates.

While I applaud the  use of celebrity to get people to do what they are obligated to do as American citizens, I am offended when this same status seems to give celebrities license to tell people who to vote for.  The candidates are not making it easy on us.  While I have given money politically in the past, this year all such calls (thanks, caller ID) are ignored.  As debates approach, I would not watch to have my opinion swayed.  I would only watch to see if my candidate delivers a blow or if either of the candidates delivers a self-inflicted wound.  I plan on voting early and taking a clothes pin to the voting booth.  The clothes pin when firmly affixed to my nose will allow me to throw the lever one direction.  To throw the lever the other direction, I would need to be in negotiations with the devil.  I would need to be willing to sell my soul (can you sell a fractional part of your soul?  Of course not.  You can’t serve 2 masters.)  Frankly, I have no idea what I would even consider selling my soul for.  Since “soul-selling” implies an eternal contract, the deal is off.  I am going with the clothes pin or nose plugs.

Insights At The Barber Shop

Not really a barber shop and not really very insightful, but here goes….

As I walked into the local Haircuts R Us, I was very grateful for the pause I took in the driveway.  Remembering the online app offered by my “barber”, I found out there was a 3 minute wait at the location.  Since I live about 4 minutes away, registering on line worked out well.  It worked out even better when I saw the woman walk in with her two sons who had NOT signed in online.  The receptionist/scissor-slinger walked me immediately back and began her work.

I had spoke with this woman before.  She has talked about her growing up in Romania, and the ongoing problems the country faces.  Having spoke to her about religious things in the past, I launched into some issue (maybe LGBT-related) where I was frustrated.  After she politely let me finish (the scissors and trimmers shearing me the whole time), she let me know in a whispered voice about the new policy at this establishment.  I was told they are no longer able to speak about religion, politics, or any other controversial topic.  In hushed tones, she spoke slightly louder than her tools.  Since our relationship predated the policy, I was a trusted person she could talk more openly with about those “crazy” subjects that are far more interesting than the weather….

I wish this was an isolated incident.  I wish I was confident there was not a shift coming where conversations will need to be deeply guarded to prevent “offending” anyone who feels like they are being ridiculed.  As my confidence dwindles, the foundations that our society is built upon are also crumbling.  As Americans we all have rights.  But, no American has more rights than other Americans–regardless of how loud they yell.  I can pridefully say, “I am an American.”, but I continue to wonder if my country will soon be recognizable.

Proud With a little “p”

This country is not the country of my youth.  I am not blaming either political party.  I know it is easy to blame others who don’t think like you for changes you don’t want to in any way be associated with.  I know it is easier to assign a scapegoat than deciding to be the change you want to see.  Regardless of any blame I must personally accept, I find it hard on national holidays that honor our military-whether they were killed in active duty or lived to be a ripe old age-to be as patriotic and proud as I used to be of this country.

Out of high school, I joined the National Guard to pay for college tuition.  (NOT going to college was not really a choice.)  Even though I received an honorable medical discharge due to injuries, it was something I am proud to say I did.  My father even signed up in the Army Reserve as he anticipated retiring in 12 years.  (He already had some National Guard experience in the early 60’s.)  Although I didn’t love everything about National Guard weekend drills and I may have even thought some of the exercises were not very productive, it allowed me to look in the mirror and see a guy who made some small attempt to make his country a better place.

Now, in 2016, it would be convenient to blame the party of the President, but it isn’t fair to do that.  Being “pro-country” is easy when the country is unified, despite some left/right differences, to make the country successful.  In the past decade (9/11 did unify for a brief period), individuals have felt no satisfaction trying to compromise.  They have ran to the edges of the spectrum.  (An argument could be made that compromise becomes more difficult when the “center” is quite a bit further to the left than it used to be.)

One thing I think it is very fair to blame the President for–a lack of leadership.  If you define presidential leadership as, “doing what you personally want to get done despite what campaign promises you made, despite what you have clear constitutional authority to do, and despite what is consistent for all Americans not just for Americans you feel deserve more attention and affection,” then you are probably pretty happy with the state of the country.  I don’t take this approach.  I accept a leader is going to be flawed.  And, I accept a leader will not always make decisions I will like.  What I have a hard time accepting is a “leader” and his sycophants who constantly tells me my opinions, faith, and priorities have no value.  (I also shy away from the “talking heads” who align themselves exactly with me–I have arrived at my opinions and have NOT been programmed.)

Why am I a proud (with a little “p”) American?  I still use the word proud because I believe in many of the things this country and has done and the people who sacrificed everything so I might be able to express my opinions and have the opportunity to listen to those of others.  Having pride in my country and the dream it once offered is something every American should have the ability to do.  Maintaining the pride is a different matter.  And, it is for this reason the “p” has been demoted to lower case.  I would like to hold out hope my country will again emerge as the “last bastion of hope” for those in the world who seek freedom.   The past few years have nearly smothered this hope within me.  The divisive nature of the political bickering has left me with a plan many may call “quitting”.

Fortunately, as I walk and as I talk to others, there are those capable of bigger hope than I am.  They still put their flags-both small and big-with pride in their front yards.  They see it as a responsibility to have a flag near the tombstone of every veteran.  And, they realize despite the countries current path, our path would have been a far different one were it not for those who gave it all.  Thank you to those who did not make it back when the US went to war.  And, thank you to those who daily remind us that every life shed for the sake of our country is one worth honoring.

Politically Correct Sign?



Even though I REALLY like to talk politics, I believe it is better to focus on what is better for our nation than doing excessive venting. For this reason, the Gruenbaum house is choosing to promote something non-political.  (Whoops!  Forty years ago, this sign would have been much less political than it is now.  In today’s climate, choosing to think differently then some politicians makes you VERY political regardless of how vocal you are.)

Our church offered these signs for pickup after the service.  Besides our house, there are 3 or 4 other houses that also have this sign up in our neighborhood.  (My dad’s excuse for not telling people how he voted or being on the church registry was, “What if the communist get a hold of the list?  What will they do then?”) Besides the few signs out in peoples yards, I am guessing there are a few sympathizers in other homes.  (Living in my part of Texas makes me pretty certain of this.)

Other homes have signs encouraging you to vote “yes” (Are you a Backer?) or “no” on the school bond. (The “yes” signs seem much more popular–I guess a visible “yes” for kids is much better than a visible “no”. )  I have not seen many political signs for candidates in yards.  Off of the main roads, I see a few.  I get the feeling the enthusiasm this year is not there…(The “…” is all of the political things I want to say, but since I have already likely shown my political hand, it probably doesn’t matter.)

Regardless of where this election or this nation go, the sign points us to Whom we need to put our trust in.  The Senate may change hands, or it may not.  The evils of the world may infiltrate our borders and make us feel less safe than we have felt in many years.  Chaos may reign internationally, nationally or on the local level.  But, in your household, commit to a focus on eternal things.  You will be rewarded with a peace that will survive any election process.


Voting On Primary Day

I haven’t voted on “election day” in quite a few years.  Sometimes, there is nothing on the ballot to even vote on.  Well, this year being an even numbered year, Texas re-elects everything but President and one of our Senators. (I put myself somewhere between President Obama and Senator Ted Cruz politically.  I recognize the two extremes, but it won’t take much work to figure out which one I am closer to.)

As I voted today, I voted early for the first time at the library. (At the other early voting place, they are pretty sedate.  Before I even signed in today, I was warned to watch what I say to “these guys”.  Normally, I would have rubbed my hands together in anticipation.  But, with the need to be so careful what you say when voting, I felt a little paranoid.  They realized my apprehension and made jokes about knitting and drinking too much coffee.)  As I put my code in and pulled the ballot up, I was all good on the first few candidates.  Out of the first 10, I had a cheat sheet covering 8 of them.  Once I got past the “big” candidates, my cheat sheet lost its effectiveness.  (I tried to do some Google searches to find all of the candidates I would find on  my ballot, but the list was not easily available.)  When struck with this predicament, I fell back on my most basic rule:

If they are of my political persuasion (its a primary election, so my respective ballot mostly met this description) and I don’t know anything about them, I will vote for the woman or the person with the “non-white” sounding name. (i.e. a minority)

There are too many white men in politics!  I believe my party (and the other one as well) would benefit by having a less stereotypical politician.  Our demographics show we are becoming less white, so I used my finger to make the voting booth dial more minority friendly.  I realize my little voting game has losers.  I also realize the whole country wins if my politicians in Washington have more mascots of many different minority groups.

President Obama smelling cowardly again…

President Obama does it again!  He makes a decision and won’t be man enough to be there to answer questions.  The “teleprompter-President” will not be going to the coming Olympics–there is no time in his schedule. (He was able to find time to go to Mandela’s funeral and fit a selfie and handshake in…)  Or, could it be that he is sending a gay person to represent the US and he doesn’t want to be there to address any of the issues that it will bring to light?  I do think more and more people are waking up.  They realize he hides behind his decisions and only comes out when he has to….for no other reason than his title forces him to.
Maybe if they come out with special Google glasses or some other glasses that will allow him to fulfill his need for a teleprompter without tripping over his previous lies when having to adlib…..oh, there is that problem of him not wearing glasses.  If he starts wearing them, watch for it! 😉

Weak Leaders Smell Differently

I don’t enjoy reading stories like this!

Chinese naval vessel tries to force U.S. warship to stop in international waters

I know some people (read: Presidents) think that they are respected and loved by the world.  But, I believe there egos are getting in the way of their discernment!  Of course, this is not a Democrat only issue.  But, right now, it is VERY MUCH a democrat issue!  When the US negotiates with countries who are more than dabbling with acquiring a nuclear bomb and holding Iran-Americans in prison for trumped up charges, then we know we know our “smell” as a country has changed.
I will China would be nicer, but they are a godless country and they see an opportunity. Why not see how far they can push things with the US?  We are indecisive on foreign policy and when are indecisiveness goes the wrong way, we recommend our contractors and state dept employees don’t talk about our mistakes.  (Benghazi)  We are reaping what we sowed.  Unfortunately, the true reapers won’t be the present sowers.  May God provide leaders for our children’s generation to help them navigate the every-more-complicated world!