Sunday, December 31, 2017

Time out.....

       Well, it’s 2018. I’m sure that doesn’t mean a lot to the younger folks out there, but to those of us who thought making it to the year 2000 was a big deal, it’s a big deal. My Father was born in 1928, so it’s an even bigger deal for him. He mentioned the other day that if someone would have told him when he was a child that he would ever live in a house with indoor plumbing, reliable heat and electricity, he would have thought they were crazy. Of course, televisions, microwave ovens, and computers weren’t even on the radar then. Come to think of it, radar was barely on the radar then.

            Technology moves along pretty quickly once it gets started. They used to say that more technology has been discovered or developed in the last 10 years than has been discovered or developed in the previous 1000 years. I don’t know if that is the case, but I suspect it is. In the last few years the television antenna was mostly replaced by satellites and the internet. Then the new and improved antenna made a comeback, just in time for a lot of televisions to be replaced with laptops and smartphones. “Replaced” may not be the right word. Probably “added additional options” would be the more correct description. A lot of people in my generation and the one previous still carry flip phones. I think sometimes change is based more on generations than on years.

            This year will mark some personal milestones for me, just as I’m sure it will for many of you. 2018 marks 30 years since I’ve had a drink of alcohol, and 7 since I’ve had a Mountain Dew. I’ll have been married to same woman for 42 years if she keeps me around until June, and Bell Contracting has been around for 44 years. I thought we were the oldest continuously owned business in town, but then I discovered Dance with Cindy had been around for 48 years. While we’re both shooting for 50 years in business, I’ve conceded that she will probably get there first.

          So while we’ve reached some goals this year, I imagine there are more ahead. As I mentioned, Dad turns 90 this year, and he and Mom will celebrate their 70th Anniversary, if she keeps him around until September. A worthy goal, no doubt, but I’ll have to make it to 94 before we reach our 70th, and I’m not in any big hurry for that to happen, although I imagine if we make it, it will get here sooner than we think.

            Time has a way of moving a little faster as we get a little older. I suspect that’s because the older we get, the smaller percentage of our lives a year represents. 2017 was just 1/65th of my life. 2018 will be 1/66th of it.

            Some of what’s going to happen in 2018 is going to happen no matter what we do, but some of the goals we set for ourselves are going to take some time and effort. And concerning those goals that require time and effort, we had better get started.

            2019 will be here before we know it.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Since you asked...

       A good friend of mine recently became engaged. Before that came about, he asked his future bride’s father for his permission and blessing. It’s something men have doing for centuries, clear back to Old Testament times, I’m told. Sometimes the father would sweeten the pot with a couple of goats and some chickens, just to make sure his daughter’s suitor didn’t back out. I don’t think fathers do that so much anymore, and I’m not sure how many men still ask these days. I know I skipped that step when I was courting my wife, mostly because I was pretty sure her father would have said “Absolutely not!”, or possibly something a bit more colorful to express his displeasure. And I knew he didn’t have any goats or chickens anyway.

            But, regardless of my father-in-law’s thoughts and opinions (he often said the devil owed him a debt and paid him off with son-in laws,) I’m satisfied I made the right call in not asking. My wife and I have been pretty evenly yoked for nearly 42 years. It seems often times you’re better off asking forgiveness instead of permission.

            Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill recently decided (and Governor Eric Holcomb backed him up,) that cannabinoid oil, or CBD, is illegal in Indiana. CBD is a medicinal oil made from hemp, which is related to marijuana, and therein lies the rub.  Although CBD doesn’t contain THC, the active (or inactive) ingredient found in marijuana, it still has managed to incur the wrath of the pharmaceutical industry and by extension, the hierarchy in our Hoosier government. CBD has shown positive signs of healing or relief in many people from the symptoms of Parkinson’s, anxiety, seizures in adults and children, diabetes, and numerous other health problems some people face every day. Even if not every person benefits from its use, there is certainly enough evidence to allow people to use it if they feel it helps them or a loved one.

We shouldn’t have to ask the government’s permission to use a medicine or anything that improves our quality of life and doesn’t harm anyone else. If you stop and think about it, for a free people, we spend entirely too much time asking the government for permission in all areas of our lives.

            Luckily, we have a few options for relief until the politicians and their sponsors can be convinced to do the right thing. Whenever the government charges a person for doing something without permission, and puts that person on trial for their supposed offense, jurors have the option of finding that person not guilty, even if they have in fact violated a law. It’s called jury nullification, and the Indiana Constitution provides for it in Article 1, Section 19, stating “In all criminal cases whatever, the jury shall have the right to determine the law and the facts.”

            Thomas Jefferson said that it is the natural progress for liberty to yield and government to grow. We have no doubt witnessed that. It has become increasingly difficult to name three things that the government doesn’t tax or regulate, and with every session of congress the list of things that require government permission continues to grow. And some judges will rule that jurists don’t have the right to nullify bad laws.

            But you do, and you don’t even have to ask.