Ahh, the mysteries that will be solved during the merry month of November are many.  We will know shortly if the Cubs will take the World Series, a life-time dream for many of us. By Thanksgiving morning, we will receive a rough count on how many friends and relatives will be showing up around our dinner table. And, based on who actually shows up, we can only guess as to how many arguments will erupt over the outcome of this year's election.
This has been a very rough election year for all of us in the US.  Conspiracies, allegations of wrong doings, attacks on family members and spiteful “he said, she saids,” that we wouldn’t have allowed our own children to say about one another, run like a raging river of muck throughout our daily news outlets.  Do any of us really care anymore?
Regardless of who wins the big race, little will really dramatically change.  The President is still bound by the checks and balances our forefathers wisely incorporated into our Constitution.  Thomas Jefferson said, “In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”
The House originates and sets the wording of bills that, after their membership gives their approval, are then sent over to the Senate.  In other words, they're the money makers.The House is set up to represent the people in their home state based on population.  The Senate, on the other hand, is there to advise the President and approve or disapprove his or her appointments and foreign treaties and to follow through with bills sent from the House.  The Senate also has the sole power to try all impeachments.
Those elected to the House of Representatives have only two years to get their work done before their jobs are up for re-evaluation by the people who sent them there.  If we aren’t happy with the way we are being represented, we can vote them out and replace them with those more to our liking.  Senators are voted in for a term of six years with one-third of the terms up every two years so your vote is a much longer investment in this candidate.  Remember that each state, no matter how large or small, gets just two of these public servants. 
The President can appoint a judge to the Supreme Court but must have the approval of two thirds of the Senate.  We get to vote on our local judge,s so as long as we do our part, we have control.  If, for some reason a local judge gets out of hand and does some unjudgely stuff, many areas of our country have Judicial Qualifications Commissions that can take them aside and explain to them to either get their act together or leave the bench before they get themselves in bigger trouble with the law.
Now having said all this, I realize that we don't live in a perfect society where laws are kept and those who represent us stay true to their promises, but our ancestors didn't come here to create a nation controlled by professional politicians either.  If that were the case, it would have been a lot simpler to continue to live under foreign rule.
We have learned that we can't count on those who we elect to always do the right thing.  We can't count on them to do their job, which is to represent the people who put them in power.   We can't count on them to place our needs above their own political and power/money-driven agenda.  The only thing we can count on is something we should have been doing all along.  Instead of relying on others to take care of our families, control our health care and education and to spend our money we need to take upon those jobs ourselves.
Occasionally we screw-up big time like our choices in the primary elections earlier this year.  We have nobody to blame since we went out and voted for our candidates to run as our choice in both federal, state and local elections, although in some cases, especially at the federal level, the pickings were not too spectacular. Sometimes we vote on local issues and amendments with no clear idea about what is at stake and assume that if it's on the ballot it must be good so, we vote YES.  Maybe you did the right thing this time, but it could be you just voted to lessen the power of your local government and gave control of your child's schools to politically appointed groups outside your community.
Many of us are uncertain of the outcome of the Presidential race and what will happen after the election.  Hopefully those checks and balances will hold and nothing too disastrous will happen; regardless who wins we certainly will need them.  While we're waiting for the next election lets try to keep informed and work out issues closer to home and to find those among us who might be intelligent, honest and willing to serve the will of the people and not the whim.




After living in Georgia for many years, I’ve got to admit that this had been one heck of a long, hot, humid Summer.  Halfway through the Winter, I remember wistfully looking forward to the warmer temperatures and sunshine that were sure to come, ready to welcome sweet Springtime with open arms and a song in my heart. Instead what we got was a cold Winter, a very short Spring and then around seventy days in a row of above ninety degree temperatures.  Remember to be careful what you wish for!

                I guess the same can be said about politics.  A lot of people here in the States are not happy with our national government.  Career politicians run Washington however they see fit, regardless of the wishes of the voters back home who elected them to serve as their representatives.  Agencies that were set up to help those in need have become nothing more than bureaucratic cesspools of inefficiency and wastrels of taxpayer dollars.  Those who serve to protect us are stymied by lack of adequate funding and the means to put money where it’s needed instead of where it’s politically favorable.  Some special interest groups have wormed their way ahead of the line, demanding particular treatment for some and denouncing the rights of others, tearing our nation apart into various factions. Respect for our government is dropping at a fast rate both here and abroad.  Maybe all we need to do is bring about a change in leadership and all things will get better.  Yeah, that’s it!

                Remember when we started weeding though the candidates to determine who would best represent us?  Weren’t we looking for someone who would change the way our government did business, change priorities, change  the way it protected our civil liberties as citizens, make things the way they should be?  We wanted a leader who would embrace the Constitution and acknowledge the rights given to us through it. We wanted a leader who would stand up for our country, the United States of America, defend it and not let our flag bow down to any country on this earth.  Do you remember the results of that search? Do you remember when it occurred? That date was November 4, 2008.

                Once again we are looking forward to a change.  Be careful what you wish for.

             “All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.”

                                                                Thomas Jefferson





I’m so happy that the first book in the series, CAMP ZERO by Sean Ellis is finally available.  As the children of John and Emma Rourke, Paul and Annie Rubenstein and Michael and Natalia Rourke have grown older in The SURVIVALIST series, Bob Anderson and I felt that they needed room to spread their wings and have adventures of their own.  How will they survive in a world that once again is on the brink of imploding?

            You realize serious steps must be taken when your children are in danger because of who they are.  The adults have been able to carry on for over six hundred years through planning ahead and continuing to hone survival skills brought to the table by John Rourke. Their children have up to now lived in a relatively safe environment, protected by their family and living a pretty normal life considering that Michael is the President of the United States and the rest of the adults are famous throughout the world.  As things take a darker turn and the pizza gets closer to the fan every day, the six kids are sent off to learn how to survive on their own. This summer camp is more like boot camp, no slack given because of age or gender.  Everyone must learn how to pull together as a team and at the same time learn how to think and act by themselves if necessary. Are they, as modern teens, capable of doing whatever needs to be done to stay alive at all costs?  Who can they trust?  That hasn’t been an issue so far living in a world sheltered by a loving family.  Now, it’s a matter of life or death.

            Every parent knows how it feels to send your child off to school that very first morning – a mixture of pride and happiness with a dose of fear that something out there could hurt them and they won’t be at their side to protect them.  You rationalize that the other adults that are in charge will carry on with the same vigilance that you display and will be there in case of danger. Still, when they give you that last goodbye wave you feel a pain deep in your heart and wave back to them with a smile frozen on your face.

            Is it any easier when you send them off to attend after-school activities, their first sleep-over or when you drop them off for a day at the local mall with their friends?  Will there be boys?  The anxious wait the first time your child drove off on their own with that hours old driver’s license which somehow coincided with the new patch of grey hairs on your head. These kids are sent off to a summer camp where parents are not allowed! 

Are you sure you want your babies to grow up?  The Rourkes have no choice and neither do we. What’s important is what they grow up to become.





 Usa, Flag, America, American

America – “The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave”

I remember sitting on the front steps of our house in Chicago waiting for it to get dark enough for my dad to light the sparklers, those wire sticks that when lit produced tiny explosions of light that hissed and if you weren’t careful spat hot licks of fire onto your hands and bare legs.  Everyone in the neighborhood was outside or would be shortly.  Some neighbors had firecrackers ready to ignite and some had railroad flares set into the ground that would glow a hot white or red. Neighborhoods across the country were doing these same things, getting ready to celebrate America’s Birthday!


I grew up in a neighborhood that was heavily populated by German and Lithuanian families.  Many of the older members of the households barely spoke English and relied on their children and their grandchildren to help them communicate but we all got along – except this one woman who was just a crabby old bat.  But that’s another story. When Jerry and I moved to suburban Chicago to start a family we were surrounded by neighbors of various ethnic backgrounds – Russian Jews, Chinese, African American, etc. 


We had a friend that was an actor from Spain, two friends who were journalists who fled Cuba early on during the Castro regime; a young friend was a French Armenian who wanted to be a well known hairdresser like his older brother.  Once he practiced on Jerry, giving him a haircut that resulted in Jerry losing the tip of his ear. Another friend was sent to America as a child after watching her mother being raped and killed by German soldiers in occupied France during the Second World War. A student/aspiring theater actor introduced us to the AIDs epidemic as we watched him fade away before he had a chance to play a staring role. 


Diversity is what America is.  We are a mixture of all nationalities, religions, races and political beliefs; this, I believe, is what makes this country strong.  In past years other countries have labeled us a nation of cowboys, loud-mouthed, uncouth barbarians who answer threats with action. Maybe we did but those same countries thought twice before pissing us off. 


Our strength lately has been ebbing at home and abroad, in part because we have been allowing our differences to divide us instead of making us stronger.  We are taking away certain freedoms from one to give to another in an attempt to be politically correct or to quell the louder noise of one group over others. Yes, we are different but we all need to stop destroying that gift so many people have fought and died to give us.  We owe our independence to those who united together to gain our freedom from England and to those who protect us today. 


Just like any large family we will always find something to fight over but when it comes to America, love it or leave it!  





Years ago when Jerry and I still lived in the Chicago area we became friends with a gentleman who had emigrated here from Spain.  Juan had been an actor, not a movie star or anything like that but a working actor on Spanish television and radio.  He was a good looking, late middle-aged gentleman with a terrific dramatic speaking voice.  His audio version of Count Dracula would have put Bela Lugosi to shame. He gave up his career to come to America, his land of opportunity, to work part-time teaching Spanish as a second language at a well knows language school.  This gig barely paid his bills while he struggled to improve his ability to express himself in English in order to get a better paying job.


Juan’s misadventures with the English language were numerous and, humorous but his good looks and gregarious personality were enough to usually let him slide.  Because of his accent and struggle to find the right words sometimes we would have to actually stop and listen and concentrate to fully understand his message.


There were no war or terrorism attacks or famine  that made Juan’s journey to America imperative.  He wasn’t escaping anything but rather he wanted to go forward and carve out a different path.    He realized that it was his duty by coming here to learn the rules set out in our Constitution, abide by them and respect the symbol of our country – our flag. 


Juan took the classes necessary and eventually became a citizen.  He kept up on current events, got involved in local government and was a positive and active member of the community.  Unfortunately his accent, no matter how hard he tried, still presented him with some awkward moments; one was when he told a neighbor that he had blue shits on his bed. Our friend made a point of being informed of all issues and diligently investigated those who ran for office before casting his vote.  To Juan the person who would be filling the position had an extremely important role.  That person was responsible for carrying out his or her duties in accordance with the will of the people as long as in office. 


The “office” to Juan was more important than the person who filled it.  People come and go and some will do a good job, some not so good but the office is a symbol of what our country stands for.  We have the right to vote for those we wish to oversee our well being whether it is the local school board or the highest “office” in the land. 


This year in particular we have seen and heard grown-ups acting like spoiled rotten children climbing over each other bodies to attain the chance of holding one particular high office.  Because of all the mud slinging and other slime they are generating, that mountain to the top has become difficult to navigate and their antics to grab our attention has run the gamut from amusement to outrange among those of us who must choose who we feel would represent us best.


I can’t help but think back to Juan and how hard he worked to become a citizen of  the United States and how seriously he took his responsibilities as a voter.  He was proud of his new home and proud of its Constitution and flag.  He looked up to our governing officials to oversee our country and its laws with dignity and strength and to maintain our place as the greatest nation in the world. 


RESPECTRESPECT is something earned, not given.  You DON’T get RESPECT by degrading your opponents, nor do you get it by lying, cheating, bullying or back-stabbing.  You DON’T get RESPECT for going with the variable, fashionable trends of the few. You DO get RESPECT by at least trying to do what’s right for America.  You DO get RESPECT for listening to the people you’re supposed to represent.  Do you see anyone out there in the running that Juan might consider?  We need to put RESPECT back in the office before it’s too late.


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