THE MANIFEST

Eternal hell fire.  Burn forever.  Scary at age 7.  Fear still in there at eighty.  Doubting Thomas?  “Looking for loopholes”(W.C.Fields).

Madeleine Albright just described herself as religious  with doubts.   Someone suggested one couldn’t be genuinely religious without some doubt.

Don’t know why the Pope’s declaration that there is no hell got so little attention. That’s great news for some of us.  More than anything said in America lately.

It is hard to know who to listen to.  No first to politicians.   Or radicals of either ilk.  Religion was the bedrock of my youth.   I remember people saying about one going to college that “…that will take their beliefs away”.   Christopher Hitchens said one “…can be an atheist and still have beliefs.”  There is a difference between religion and spirituality. There are countless religions world wide and in our country.  There is no telling how many varieties of Baptist churches there are  the South.

Are they all right or only one of em? Which one?

I have collected a lot of  “stuff”.  To follow are a lot of plagiarized comments. And/or unidentified  presentations.   The one below is a  comment on unusual religious beliefs.

supernatural-beliefs.jpg

I read somewhere there are at least a dozen religions that feature virgin births.   I can’t help wonder if some father didn’t forward this conjecture to save face for ‘”…my precious baby girl”

I have tried to read some writers who seem to be data based in their speculations.  Hard questions arise.  Was there God before humanity?   One of the eye openers from a few years back was A SHORT HISTORY OF NEARLY EVERYTHING by Bill Bryson. 

One example therein explains modern life this way;  the big bang occurred about 13.5 Billion years ago.  Bryson says if you open your arms to full wingspan that the distance from the tip of one middle finger to the wrist on the other hand is the time earth exhibited no life. From that spot to the middle fingernail, as one files off one simple file, represents life as we know it on the earth.

Anything but a “writer”, I consulted THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE, by Strunk and White. Please understand my amateur editing and typing attempts.

Maybe the “glitches” don’t matter as much as Strunk and White’s final advice: “Your whole duty as a writer is to please, satisfy yourself, and the true writer always plays to an audience of one”. It appears that 2000-2008 (Bush 2 administrative years) caused us to “choose sides”. And it seems that feelings were so deep that once committed to their view, very few were willing to listen, much less alter their stance. Winning the argument seems more important than learning the truth of the matter.

“Wicked sins” are racism, war, violence, murder.

“People who fight wars are not the ones who benefit from them”

Dick Cheney is a chicken hawk.  (see above).

“War has a long tail.”

Rush Limbaugh on Obama (“I hope he fails!”)

We butchered 200,000 Iraqi citizens.  Forget hell.

“…you are right from your side and I’m right from mine”. ONE TOO MANY MORNINGS—Dylan.

  • ALOT (A LEVEL OF THINKING) by Tom Parham was published in 2015.  I tried to cover serious topics (war, race, poverty, religion, politics) that seemed to trouble me more and more.  Below I snipped parts of ALOT and placed them in a some what “order”.  Here is a link to a PDF of the full book – https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4Gm-uQHsPd8ZDhJZmJFQy1ZX2tlVDNtYWYwUzJDY3djR1VF/view?usp=sharing
  • I am trying to read Stephen Hawking’s A  Brief History of Time.   Too much for me.   But I did read the conclusion.  The following is pretty clear:

    “ Then we shall all, philosophers, scientists, and just ordinary people, be able to take part in the discussion of the question of why it is that we, and the universe exist.  If we find the answer to that, it would be the triumph of human reason…for then we would know the mind of God.”

Some of these protesters seemed to be reasonable people. Dr.C.H.Hamlin was a pacifist professor. A Southern gentleman, Dr. Hamlin firmly states “…we got no business messing with those “VIANESE”.

I had a son in New York City on 9/11. We didn’t know his whereabouts for several hours. I shared America’s anger over this tragedy and I can understand the desire for revenge. Any good coach knows the adage “don’t get mad, get even”,but it seems the administration at that time could not wait to join in a new war.

If you go in the Middle East you will own it. (Scowcroft)

My years of watching told me to be cautious about getting into war. And the Bush Administration was moving way too fast for me. It was obvious that not much listening was going on. I doubt my conservative friends would know who Jello Biafra is. Jello said …”even the most Bush-happy, flag suckling jack-arse knows deep inside something is wrong”. Were these guys stupid? Evil? Was it pure hubris? E.L. Doctorow referred to “…hierarchal warrior nonsense”. Was it for money? Was it to protect the oil industry? Was this a headlong leap before you look?

They bought a guy named “Curveball”. Chalabi wasn’t it? Never in my life and in certainly no more important moment, or with more surety, did I know someone was lying to the country than the “sixteen words”. (“The British Government has recently learned that Saddam Hussein sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa”…George W. Bush in the State of the Union speech). The main source, “Curveball”.

From Clinton and a rare surplus, to a trillion and a half in the red? Someone explained a trillion dollars this way: If you could initial a dollar bill every second, non-stop for 32,000 years you would have a trillion dollars. The wars “off the books” and the collapse during the Bush W. years created debt that will long be with us, no matter who or what.In the words of the great philosopher, POGO “…it happened during my administration”.

In the impending days before the 2008 election there was at least one agreement. Commonly heard was the statement “…well no matter who wins things are so bad they won’t be corrected in one term, probably not in two”.

Coaches live and die with their win/loss record. George W. Bush was 0-10 for eight years in a row on the economy. Don’t kid yourself. The multi-trillion dollar runaway galloping deficit has its origins in 2000-2008. Don’t forget it.I would have fired Bill Clinton. His total disregard for the dignity of the presidency was grounds for divorce from any number of institutions. And yet it begs the question: Oral sex or the Iraq war and a bankrupted country?

Still I wonder what could have been accomplished if the OBAMA administration had not had to deal with “…harsh partisanship and a GOP leadership interested primarily in improving the fortunes of the wealthy…”The Department of Veteran Affairs announced that we are experiencing 22 suicides daily by veterans of these two wars. This totally shocked ancient me. That is almost one veteran per hour. Similarly, they reported an estimated 1800 total of similar suicides in the first quarter of 2014.

To me, this is among the most startling, sad, and truly disgusting among facts that have accrued from a decision that was so flawed and ill advised. Not one dime for our veterans wounded physically or psychologically should be begrudged, and yet the cost of all this damage, personal and financial, has to be borne by our country. This mistake was colossal. It was wrong. And the message is clear: The decision to go to war must be made with the utmost caution from our leaders.

I am on the”burn and scatter” plan, Cremation, and I have my urn picked out my urn.  Tennis trophy, the cup style. All I have to do is scratch out some engraving and —ready to go. Matter of fact this might be a source of income. Lots of trophies that really are sort of useless.

And Bob, from ALL ALONG THE WATCHTOWER—a ray of hope:

“But you and I have been through that

and this is not our fate.

So let’s stop talking falsely

The hour’s getting late.”

Faith may come casually. “She said, tell me, are you a Christian, Child? And I said, “…Ma’am, I am tonight!”  WALKIN IN MEMPHIS.

Pete Segar:  “The best thing for the economy is no war!”

“WHY CAN’T I FREE YOUR DOUBTFUL MIND AND MELT YOUR COLD, COLD HEART?”–Hank Williams.

I have always lived in North Carolina. I am a true son of the South. I take great pride in the South. A young man commented on a beautiful, full, “southern moon” to Oscar Wilde. Oscar replied “….yes, but you should have seen it before the civil war.” Southerners are unique people. Lots of characters. Some good and some bad. Racism is a part of our heritage. One cannot be from the South and not feel its sting. Sadly too, we have learned it is not limited to our area of the nation.

Someone suggested that racism is the “pox of the nation”.

Dr. Mildred Hartsock was the Head of the English Department at Atlantic Christian College.I became an English major and took 22 hours under Dr. Hartsock. She changed my thinking any number of ways. Non more so than on the subject of race. And nothing she said shook me like a statement she made in class. “If you have a child that you you would not let marry a member of the black race, you are prejudiced.”

As a young instructor in college one of my teaching assignments was First Aid and Safety. Located near both the ocean and the woods—sharks and snakes were subjects that college kids feared, probably to the extreme. I would warn them “…hey, forget the snakes. Worry about those Marines coming down U.S. 301 hell bent from New York for Camp Lejeune, with a dozen beers in them”. Drunk driving, racism and war were the big problems then and now.

2020 is different from all of it.  I was proud of our  country and Barrack Obama and easing off of “Bush bashing”.  I began to try to find better reading.  No one directed me better to current books than my son, Dan.  “You ought to read SAPIENS by Yuval Harari.” SAPIENS consequently stayed on the NYT best sellers list for sixty plus weeks.  Bill Gates and President Obama listed it as their top book recommendation..  Harari since has written two more significant books on humankind.  I can’t do justice to the several sources I am to  mention.  Do you own homework (…the hour is getting late”)

NUTSHELLS––SAPIENS dealt with humankind’s past.  HOMO DEUS, the future.  21 LESSONS for THE 21ST CENTURY, the present.

First SAPIENS.   Harari points out that no much human history occurred before 1500 bc.  Neanderthals showed up about 70k years later and in another 70k were extinct.  Replaced by us, Homo Sapiens.   He contends Sapiens evolved,  and eliminated Neanderthals due to the “ability to gossip”.  Conversations led to groupings, who concocted rules, laws, governance, religion.

Sapiens are the deadliest species in the annals of biology.

HOMO DEUS.

Biological knowledge x computer power x data is producing rapid change.  Data reveals truth, not religion or “my gut”.   Data can reshape and reengineer humanity.

“Mankind’s quest to upgrade humans to gods.”

Mankind has almost, and will, conquer the three remaining super problems–famine, plague, and war.

The main task will be to find happiness.

Homo Deus is where mankind is headed.  Artificial intelligence is on its way.

Harari contends the Sapiens may be more like Neanderthals than Homo Deus of  the future.

Terrorism will be dealt with. No reason for war.

Theology is not true enough to survive.

Algorithms rock.

Religion:  All the people think it is true.  All the philosophers think it is untrue.  Magistrates often find it very useful.”

’21 LESSONS for the 21st CENTURY

Present problems to be dealt with:  War, ecological problems, fake news, climate change, dying liberal democracy, immigration, the meaning of life today.

“…the reliance on the heart may prove to be the achilles heel of liberal democracy.”

The truth (accurate data) will set you free.

christians

Jared Diamond authored best seller GUNS, GERMS AND STEEL

Another, UPHEAVAL, lists these reasons for religions:

  1. Explanation 2. Defusing anxiety 3. Providing comfort  4. Organization and Obedience 5. Behavior towards strangers  6. Justifying war.

Michio Kaku  (speaker at High Point University’s TV show.  Author of THE FUTURE OF HUMANITY. )

Another bright one.  Maybe one of the best TV interviews.  Nido Quebein is moderator.  Run it down through PBS

There are three waves of science–mechanical, electrical, technology.

Are we the last generation to die?  Immortality a real possibility?

Advanced civilizations seem possible.  But we will have the courage to leave this home, knowing that we won’t see it happen.   An uninhabitable  earth looming?

Malcolm Gladwell (2 books of many)

OUTLIERS  are not outliers at all.  They are products of history and community, opportunity and legacy.  Their success is not mysterious or exceptional.  Due to advantages, inheritances, luck–some earned, some not, variables critical to making them who they are.

Why were Canadian hockey all stars more apt to have a January birthday?  Bill Gates and computers?    10,000 hours?   Thought provoking.

DAVID AND GOLIATH concludes David was not an underdog at all.  Accurate as a modern .45 with his sling shot.  A near blind giant  ( “…come nearer, David”).   Acromegaly.  Chip shot for David.

Bill Bryson wrote A WALK IN THE WOODS among many books.

A SHORT HISTORY of MANKIND is a godsend for  science teachers.

THE BODY is newer:

***one sliver from a cadaver, one millimeter thick from the epidermis is all that influences skin color.

***a teenage driver adds one more teenager.  Odds of a wreck go up 400x.

***Tie your fitbit to your dog’s leg!”

Exercise—-Average weight for women in 1960 144, up  to 166 today.  Men 166 to 196.

Sitting too much is a killer.

One guy had the hiccups for 67 years.

Others suggested, MY READING LIFE by Pat Conroy.

What is an anti-theist?  Try Christopher Hitchens.  Hitchens concludes that extreme religious suppositions require thorough scienfic support.

Thinking from “my gut?

Religious leaders, politicians, warriors, fox news, history itself reveal mistaken wars, imprisonments,  race, civil rights, lawyers, business tyrants, have led down some dark alleys.  Lying seems an all time high.   Too many to keep up with.  Cadet “Bone Spurs” suggested his attendance  at NEW YORK MILITARY ACADEMY prepared him as commander in chief.  I was on the staff one summer at NYMA.  We had a camp water fight.  The only time battle was mentioned.

Hannity rudely bludgeoned Mark  Cuban with the repeated “what has Biden done?

If for no other reason OBAMA/BIDEN worked our way out of the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld catastrophe of a war off the books (fade to trillions) and blood loss indefensible.

By  the way,  They got Osama Bin Laden.  History has and will shake all this data down.

Prescient?  Alexander Hamilton warned democracy of one who would “…throw things into confusion so he may ride the storm and direct the whirlwind!

Bob Dylan quotes:

May you have a firm foundation when the winds  of changes shift.

 

Strap yourself to a tree with roots.

 

It is not he or she or him or it that you belong to.

 

I gaze into the doorway of temptation’s angry flame,

and every time I pass that way it always calls my name.

 

Most of the time I am strong enough not to hate.

 

Don’t hate anything but hatred.

 

I would be kinder.  (Given another chance.)

 

Sometimes it is stupid to get into any kind of wind.

How did I do?  A quick look at some fun and correct choices

If  you list these you better put your Wife first. Check.

Bear Bryant said “coaching is only for those who can’t live with out it.”  Check.

And, “…if you do, get in a league you can win in.”  Tennis rather than basketball.  Check.

Got up with a hangover to go hear Coach Jim Leighton.  Check.

Tried to do  what he said.  Check.

Read DIE BROKE upon Retirement.  Check.

Quit resisting technology.  Semi check.

Embrace religious doubt.   Out the “snake handlers”   Check.

THE EARTH

disaster.jpg

 

*****College ideas I pushed:  CPR, VIDEO for athletics, women’s sports (Title 1X).  Women’s soccer.  Start varsity soccer- hire David Adkins.  Pushed men’s volleyball as a varsity sport for southeast, high schools and colleges.  Exposed “spearing” as an unsafe tackling technique.  Bought O. Charles Olsen’s THE PREVENTION OF FOOTBALL INJURIES (1972)   E=1/2 times mass times  v squared.  BIGGER, FASTER, TOUGHER PLAYERS INCREASE FORCE, INJURY TO HEAD AND NECK, DEATH.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

B. Grandmother’s Advice (18)

We required an “Exit Interview” for all teachers at Atlantic Christian College.   I asked one question of Clifton Black, our first black basketball player.   He was from a rural Eastern North Carolina town.

“How did you do so well athletically, socially and academically?”
“Coach, when I left Conetoe (home village) my Grandmother said, ‘Clifton Earl, you know the difference between right and wrong.   Do right!’ That’s about it.”

I saw Cliff this past fall for the first time in thirty years. What struck me was how proud he was of his children.

C. long range planning (103)

I noticed Sam Erwin IV got elected recently. That reminded me of Watergate Sam, and specifically his comment when the North Carolina legislature banned the teaching of evolution in the state’s public schools. Sam concluded that the one good thing about that law was that “…it absolves the monkeys of the jungle of any responsibility for the human race in general, and the North Carolina legislature in particular.”
Given the extreme political intransigency in this century one can only hope. I did notice Michelle Bachmann just recently has changed positions on “gay marriage”: “…boring! Plus homosexuality is hard wired, naturally.” That is evolution! And at a quicker rate than usual.
Author Bill Bryson put evolution in perspective in his A SHORT HISTORY OF NEARLY EVERYTHING. Comparing the earth’s total age to one’s human wingspan, Bryson notes from the tip of one’s middle finger to the opposite wrist represents the time from the earth’s beginning (approximately 14 BILLION years ago) until the very first sign of life showed up. One nail file off the opposite middle finger? “The length of time mankind as we know it has existed on this earth.”
Maybe the gay issue isn’t such a big deal. Or prayer in school. Who gets to gun tote and where, the price of gas or the stock market.
Jared Diamond spoke at Elon University about the last two hundred years. One question from the audience was what about the next 100 years. “If we aren’t better stewards of the earth there may not be another hundred!”
As my friend, Jim Toney–retired Economics professor, often demanded,”,,,we need a PLAN!”
Where to start?
Try this: Google “unusual religions”. I wonder how many innocents have died by “…killing in the name of the lord”? But the bible says “…there will always be wars and rumors of war”. Really? No changing things? Hellfire—we used to be cannibals. And not that long ago.
How about greed. How is that working out in America? Corruption in 2000? Carolina basketball your big worry? How about hunger? ISIS AND GAS PRICES? Too close to talk about?
Do we really want to dis climate change? Green and clean energy a non-issue?
The dog has caught the bus. We don’t need any more gridlock. We need a plan. A GOOD LONG RANGE PLAN.

“…so let us not talk falsely, the hour is getting late.”
ALL ALONG THE WATCHTOWER–b.dylan

CHATEAU LOW RENT (74)

I wasn’t a good drinker.   Not that I didn’t drink a lot, I just didn’t handle it well.    Some do, some don’t.
So I quit years ago.
As a non-drinker you have some advantages, some disadvantages.   One of the things I’ve observed is a shift in the beverages consumed.   And the consumers.
When I left the “participant” category, hard booze and cocktails were in large part consumed by males.   Boone’s Farm and Lake Country Red were about all I knew about wine.
Maybe Allison Krauss was right: “… you’re drinking whiskey when it should be wine.’
This seems to have happened. And probably for the greater good.   More men drink wine today
Are more women drinking too much now?   “After the third glass the wine drinks man (woman too?).”
Maybe its because I’m some what of a tightwad, but it bugs me to split a restaurant bill with three 60$ bottles of wine on the tab.   Once, after the main meal, I ordered four different desserts.   “Trying to even things up”, I threatened. Vetoed again by my Bride.
Many say legalizing pot would be a bad decision : A” gateway” drug that would lead to bigger problems?   Have you seen the movie HOW TO MAKE MONEY SELLING DRUGS?
     No one seems to be getting anywhere toward solving the number of young people jailed on pot charges.   Would legal pot take the money out of the criminals hands?   Maybe save some salvageable young people. Isn’t it worth a try given current failures?   Bet our North Carolina farmers would love it.   Plus “sin tax” revenue.
Some of us have trouble with “moderation”,   I’m still fighting ice dream and BBQ.   Is that a “word to the wise”, Moderation?

Allison again: “He put the bottle to his head and pulled the trigger” (WHISKEY LULLABY).

E. SHOULD I RETIRE?

On retirement:
 Don’t say you are retired, say you’re unemployed. The volunteer
chasers won’t bother you.
 “Everynight is Saturday night,and Saturday night is NewYear’s Eve.”
 The “Big” paper comes on Sunday.
 I’m down to two keys – Home, Car.
 “I don’t do nothing and I don’t start ‘til noon.” Bum Phillips
When people ask you about retirement wanting to know (1) what do you do with your time? And (2) do you have enough money? They are really wondering about themselves.

Read DIE BROKE.

F. CHOOSING SIDES?( )

Serious Stuff: Politics, Religion, Race, Poverty, Education, and War.
A friend of mine suggested that I was politically a “liberal”. Truly I have not thought of myself as political. In my college days, a fine professor, Dan McFarland, said there were really four political parties in America: Liberal Democrats, Conservative Democrats, Liberal Republicans, and Conservative Republicans. My guess is like most Americans, I am a “blend”. If liberal means free, or open, or excepting of individual differences, or generous, then that seems acceptable to me. I do not think one can be “… so open-minded that your brain falls out”. Therefore, caution, respect for tradition, and many conservative approaches are often ideas that appeal to me also. Haste and waste are not conservative in my thinking. .
So, probably I am a” Conservative Democrat”. Okay with me!
It appears to me that politics and religion are a lot alike in that they often “splinter” into different
groups. The current tea party Republicans are certainly different from blueblood Republicans. And it seems each threatens the other more than the opposition. My guess is the tea party will do more damage to Gov. Chris Christie than the Democrats.
I know the North Carolina people and politicians I was proud of were considered either liberal or Progressive (Bill Friday, Terry Sanford, Jim Hunt, and then like). But I also revered Sam Ervin. Jesse Helms was one I felt represented the mean-spirited segment of our state’s people who were frightening and all too real. And often race was the issue.
I know that the” other side” feels just as strongly that I am wrong. Perhaps only the Civil War represented a more divisive time in America.
It appears that the 2000–2008 (Bush 2 administrative years) caused us to “choose sides”. And it seems that feelings were so deep that once committed to their view, very few were willing to listen, much less alter their stance. Winning the argument seems more important than learning the truth of the matter.
•“…you are right from your side and I’m right from mine”. ONE TOO MANY MORNINGS — Dylan.
Where do your strong beliefs come from? Nature or nurture? Choice or chance? Having grown up as the son of a Southern Baptist minister much of my early influences came from my parents and the church and it’s Community. I was in the church for various sermons and programs three or four days a week. For a youngster there were some pretty heavy questions. Heaven and hell? Right and wrong? Bible verses, teachers, religion from all angles.

G FATHER’S SIDE

THANKSGIVING
March 9, 2016
My wife is named Margaret Parham. So is the lady pictured on the cover. My father’s mother was living when I was born, but died shortly thereafter. This picture is the only one I have ever seen of her.
As a matter of fact I never have even thought of her much until this fall. I turned 75, but more importantly two grandsons arrived, somewhat surprisingly so, to accompany the first grandson.
My one sibling does remember the older Margaret Parham: As a youngster I asked her what she knew of this woman. She revealed that this mother-in-law had earlier lived in my parent’s home. Much to the consternation of my Mom, who simply summarized her feelings by saying: “We didn’t get along too well. She didn’t think anybody was good enough for E.T.” (My Dad).
OLD GOLF JOKE:
Golfer 1: Hmm. A son-in-law chip
Golfer 2: What does that mean?
Golfer 1: Not bad, but not what I’d hoped for.
My Dad never said much about his family. “Pretty rough times.” I reacted like anyone denied information and persisted to the point of finding out more of the story.
North Carolina “Parhams”come almost exclusively from the Oxford/ Henderson area. Dad said due to the depression his father moved
them to the mountains of North Carolina, around Hendersonville, NC (Ironically). I have never known the original bunch.
Pressed by me, and in small doses, my father parceled it out to me. There were four girls and E.T.,the only son and the youngest child. The depression bore down and the farming didn’t do much. My grandfather, ostensibly, left the family to try to find work. He never returned. One sister survived. My father never quite said it as such, but implied the other three sisters more of less starved to death.
I am glad I had these conversations, painful as they were. And I think it also helped my father to unload some darkness. Two memories he
had stand out in my mind. With no small amount of pride he said “…I
8
was behind our mule, ploughing, at age 9.” He never went without
a garden that I can remember. He was never happier than in the garden. He never bought a “machine” to “turn the earth”, rather found someone with a mule who would lend it to him to prepare. Later he found an older Black gentleman with a mule who helped him in his late 80s. They smiled a lot.
His recollection of this, brought tears from both of us: “…you know, I somehow always valued education. I would not miss school
if possible. After the girls died there was nothing. So,as I grew, or wore out my shoes, Mother would go to the closet and hand me the next sister’s vacant pair. The other kids made fun of me, but I went to school.”
My Dad and our name survived. As I now reflect on the fact that there are now six living “Parham Boys”, I can’t help wondering if we don’t owe my Dad’s mom some thanks.
Having piece-mealed an education together, E.T. Parham and his mother traveled though out North Carolina to 14 different one room schools in 18 years. Dad laughed at the fact that, “… I was a school principal at age 18. They survived. So have I, Tee, Dan, Andre, James, and Lennox.
My guess is that old lady WAS “tough”. And thank God she was. Belated, but sincere thanks, from us all. And thanks for a deep belief in education.
I never knew either Grandfather. Not much of a mental picture there. I am gonna try extra now, to see what happens with the Parham boys.
This is my fourth amateurish attempt at writing something I hope will survive, and that one day the little ones will have some “pictures” they can find helpful.