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I want to thank each and every one of my readers,

especially those who go back to the very beginning.

<b>THANK YOU!</B>

THANK YOU!

I will continue to write things from time-to-time and I’ll post them on

RicMorgan.com

Check there every once in awhile to see if there is something new.

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So Long, Farewell, Auf Weidersehen, Goodbye

For those you have been with the column from the beginning, you’ll remember that I said the first day that this was meant to be an experiment. That first week I had 22 readers and did four radio interviews.

The numbers grew quickly to around 6,000 readers per day, and the radio interviews continued, sometimes one or two a week. The heights were two days when the column was about the death of a young woman in Iran named Nada. Readership exceeded 11,000 each day.

Then something happened. No one knows what…I have been on the telephone and sending e-mail messages back and forth at a furious rate. Readership began to drop, slowly at first, then pretty quickly, until now there are less than 100 readers per day. This column takes quite a bit of work and over the Labor Day weekend I did a survey and the overwhelming response was to let it go, for now. Since most of the columns for September had been done, I decided to wait until the end of this month, just in case the readership numbers began to climb again. But alas, then have never been higher than 100 all month.

The staff at My Daily Column ;)

The staff at My Daily Column ;)

One of the things I wanted to accomplish was to fulfill a dream of being a daily columnist, and I believe I was able to do that.

Another was to improve my love for writing, but that didn’t happen. I sit find it hard, painful and I still hate it as much as ever. But I am very gratified by the wonderful comments I received for the last seven months about my writing talent. I have been told I am a good writer, and that I need to write more. Those are some very generous thoughts, and I am humbled by them.

The final desire was to learn to be a tighter, more concise writer, and I do believe I have been able to do that.

Well, this experiment is over…for now. When I figure out a few things, then perhaps I’ll be able to make a comeback. Check every once in a while to see. Those on the e-mail list will be notified if it happens. And if you would like to be put on the e-mail list, send me a message to ric@ricmorgan.com and let me know.

One part of me is sorry to see it end, and another is glad it’s over. I live in paradox daily, so divided feelings like that are not unusual for me.

If you have any ideas, let me know.

God bless all of you who have stuck it out. I hope there were one or two columns you liked well enough to consider them favorites.

Bye.

If you take pride in your work...sign it! - © 2009, Ric Morgan and SimpleWords Communications. All rights reserved.

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My Food Groups

Graphics - MDC - Food PyramidI know, I know, the Federal government has guidelines for a healthy diet. Formerly called food groups, it’s now called the food pyramid.

While there are many groups doing the same thing, the Center for Science in the Public Interest is the faction that is in the public eye the most frequently and has earned the name the “Food Police.” Founded in 1971 by its current executive director Michael Jacobson (a vegetarian, by the way), CSPI wants to take all the joy out of eating for reasons only they know. This is a case of “do as I say, even though we have been proven wrong a number of times, and because we are good at getting headline attention in the news.” The worse part is people listen to them, go into panic mode and things begin to happen, like the conversion to trans fats in restaurants. These are also the people who told you popcorn and ice cream are deadly.

Well, I have created my own list of food groups. (WARNING: If this gives the Food Police a heart attack just reading it…I am not responsible.)

Let’s start with a meal food group. I love breakfast in it’s thousands of forms: eggs, bacon, sausage patties, sausage links, omelets, pancakes, waffles, biscuits and a whole assortment of other goodies. I think I could eat breakfast three times a day in some variety and not get bored with it anytime soon.

A derivative food group of breakfast: donuts, Danish, pastries—you get the idea. I love a good plain donut that is crispy on the outside, particularly inside the hole, with a slightly greasy interior. Second favorite: chocolate frosted crème filled, glazed or unglazed.

The next major food group is meat, mostly chicken, beef, pork and seafood. I have taken up eating a lot more chicken and less red meat, but that’s a choice I’ve recently made. I wish there was a good seafood market near me with reasonable prices, because there is a whole lot of it I like. But an occasional steak is good.

Another derivative food group is what I call variety meats: bacon cheeseburgers, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, BBQ pork or beef, and fish sandwiches.

In the vegetable group the predominance is peas, corn, green beans, baked beans, potatoes (in a thousand forms, but especially fries, tots and coins—baked at home, fried out in the real world), sweet potatoes, yams—you get the idea…anything starchy. However, I do like salads, especially made with iceberg lettuce and several healthy toppings with a very moderate amount of Thousand Island dressing. Cole slaw, plus potato and macaroni salads are good, too.

Next, comes the dessert category. Brownies (without nuts) are tops and I am fond of pies of just about any type, and tolerant of cakes. Cookies (oatmeal-raisin) are great, and so is pudding.

Grapics - MDC - Plain Pizza

But the best food group is pizza. This may sound strange but my favorite is a thin-crust double-cheese, double-sauce from Pizza Hut®. After that would be Supreme-type pizzas from just about anywhere. Another favorite is double-pepperoni, with light onion. MMMMMMMMM!

Finally is the miscellaneous group. Again you may be surprised at how limited this is: ice cream snacks (especially ice cream sandwiches), Snickers®, JIF® peanut butter (eaten with a spoon and not on bread), Mounds® bars, xxx

The beverage category is limited to water, 2% milk, and Diet Rite Zero®.

But I have been behaving lately, and it’s making a difference. I am making different and better choices, HOWEVER, I do reserve the right to occasionally take a small, short trip through my groups for a treat. It’s all about choices. I no longer choose to eat certain things, not that I can’t. If you feel you can’t have something, that’s when you want it the most.

(Are you hungry just reading this. No joke, my mouth was watering as I wrote this column.)

Let me know what some of your favorite food groups are. Now if I could just find a good, gooey brownie without nuts I’d be a happy man right about now!

Graphics - MDC - Frosted Brownie


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SHUT UP!

This column supports no political party, political philosophy
or the opinions of any one else but the author.

I think I’ve finally figured it out…I’m not real sure, but it makes sense to me. Everyone just needs to shut up and listen for a few minutes, days, weeks…

Graphics - MDC - Bull Horn

There are a lot of people who have something to say and aren’t really saying anything of value. They are passing along personal opinions and beliefs, and loads of misinformation. And, unfortunately, we have become a nation of people who have trouble discerning the truth from misinformation.

For example, the Obama administration has been saying all along that if you have health coverage that you like, just keep it. But oppositioners are stating that everyone will have to give up what health care they have and join the government health care program or else.

Republicans on the other hand have been complaining, and rightly so, that they have been pushed aside in the development of a health care program that will benefit everyone, yet the Democrats have said they invited them and no one showed up.

Then we have these blow-hard pundits like Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck and others telling us how to think and that we should follow what they say because, by God, they’re right and everyone is wrong. They talk to their audience like they’re children who don’t have a lick of sense, and are too stupid to know what’s going on. Don’t you get it folks? The way these guys stay on the air and make big bucks (bigger than you will probably ever make) is being controversial in order to get high ratings that attract advertisers with deep pockets. Even Bill O’Reilly has admitted in David Letterman’s show that it’s all an act.

No one thinks or speaks for me except me. A friend, author Elfreda Pretorius, calls the people who blindly follow along with what others think and believe, sheeple.

I am basically no smarter, and I don’t feel like I’m better than anyone else, but if we don’t get a few million more independent thinkers in this country, the masses, of all sides, will be led to the slaughter, and that’s just what the leaders and pundits want, so they can say, “See, I told you this would happen, but you didn’t listen to me.” The need for them to be right is more important to them than what is right for the people and the country.

Every time you open your mouth to speak you represent yourself on a lot of levels. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Who you are speaks so loudly I can’t hear what you’re saying.”

Graphics - MDC - Ear

I’m reminded by the song lyrics: “Everybody’s talking at me, but I don’t hear the words they’re say,” by Harry Nilsson.

Why don’t we all just shut up for a little while and let the leaders and the pundits talk themselves out, put their feet into and try to get them out of their mouth, then maybe when all the dust has settled, then we can get back to work on what’s really important?

If you take pride in your work...sign it! - © 2009, Ric Morgan and SimpleWords Communications. All rights reserved.

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An Honor

The idea for today’s column came from Craig Crusickshank.

You take 21 steps, click your heels, turn, click your heels, wait 21 seconds, turn, change hands, wait 21 seconds, and take another 21 steps, and repeat the whole process for the next thirty minutes in summer, every hour in winter, and every two hours at night. Your uniform is immaculate; there are no wrinkles, folds or lint. You spent eight hours preparing your uniform for duty and dressed in front of a full-length mirror. While the shoes you are wearing are standard issue military dress shoes, they are built up so the sole and heel are equal in height. This allows you to stand so that his back is straight and perpendicular to the ground and allows you to move in a fluid fashion. If you do it correctly, your hat and bayonet appear not to “bob” up and down with each step. The soles have a steel tip on the toe and a “horseshoe” steel plate on the heel. This prevents wear on the sole and allows you to move smoothly. Then there is a “clicker”. It is a shank of steel attached to the inside of the face of the heel build-up on each shoe and allows you to click your heels during certain movements. The gloves you are wearing are wet so you don’t lose the grip on the rifle you are carrying.

To qualify for your honored position you have had to exhibit certain physical traits. You height is between 5′ 11” and 6′ 4” tall and your waist size cannot exceed 30 inches.

The average duty of duty is one year, though some stay longer and others a shorter amount of time; there is no set time limit. Rumors that you cannot ever drink or swear in public are false.

Who are you? You are one of the numbers of Guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, just across the river from Washington, D.C.

Graphics - MDC - Tomb Of The Unknowns

In preparation to take this position you have been trained and driven so hard, the washout rate is 80%. Only the best, the elite of the Army, get the honor to serve as you do. You don’t mind the heat, the cold, the wet, because only a few handpicked people have done what you do. As the result of your training you know how to flawlessly perform seven different types of walks, honors and ceremonies.

And besides the training for what is called “The Walk,” you have to intensively studied the 176 notable people laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. You had to memorize who they are and where they are interred. Among the notables are: President John F. Kennedy, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, President Howard Taft, the world famous boxer Joe Lewis, and Medal of Honor winner Audie Murphy, the most decorated soldier of WWII and of Hollywood fame, and recently Senator Edward Kennedy.

A Tomb Guard Identification Badge is awarded after the Sentinel passes a series of tests. The Badge is permanently awarded after a Sentinel has served 9 months as a Sentinel at the Tomb. Over 500 have been awarded since its creation in the late 1950′s. It is to be worn on the right pocket, and not on the lapel as believed by many. However, the badge can be revoked for very serious offenses, such as the conviction of a felony.

Stories came out in the news that during Hurricane Isabelle in 2003, Guards were ordered to stand-down and refused, but no such order was ever issued. However, in spite of the dedication of the Sentinels to their job, their safety is first concern. Commanding officers keep a watch on a lot of variables like lightning, blizzard, high winds and other hazards and will do what is necessary to ensure the safety of the Guards.

The Tomb has been patrolled continuously since 1937. To date there have been three female Sentinels.

The Guards even have non-profit organization called the Society of the Honor Guard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. They state their purpose is, “expressly for and wholly committed to protecting and enhancing the welfare and image of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the soldiers who stand guard, past and present.”

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A Higher Standard

As I was watching the funeral services and remembrances of Sen. Edward Kennedy, there were critics voicing their opinions about his life and the mistakes he had made, like the 1969 accident at Chappaquiddick resulting in the death of Mary Jo Kopechne.

During the endless hours of television and radio programs devoted to the death of Michael Jackson, detractors did the very same thing, constantly reminding us of the many legal battles he had to fight over his alleged affection for boys.

Every day we get reports of sport figures being caught up in the use of steroids and other enhancement drugs to improve their performance on the field.

Graphics - MDC - Standing - Pedestal

At the same time we are denouncing these people, we put them on pedestals of admiration. For whatever reason a person may have, these “stars” become heroes.

That’s a load of poppycock as far as I am concerned.

My heroes are the men and women who put their life on the line daily in the military or law enforcement. They are the fire fighters and EMT workers who risk their lives and devote themselves to saving others. They are the teachers, who have to work many hours outside of the classroom during what should be their personal time to prepare class materials, and grade assignments and tests. They are the doctors and nurses that stay up many hours, wracking their brains for the answer to some medical quandary. And they are the average man and woman who works hard, long, hot hours to bring home enough money to support their family—keep a roof over their head, meals on the table, medical care, and hopefully a few extra dollars to take the family out for a pizza and a movie once in awhile.

These are heroes. They don’t ask for glory or honor. They simply want to do their job the best they can, and never give a thought to the praise they deserve and never get.

Graphics - MDC - Paul Newman

Paul Newman, a very talented actor, and a noble philanthropist said he never understood celebrity. To paraphrase him: “I act and I am paid very well for it. But that’s all I do. I don’t understand the adoration. I’m no better than the average guy or girl. I do my job, collect my money and go home. That’s how it should be.”

We place people on high pedestals, and when they tumble we are horrified and quick to complain. Rarely did they place themselves there. We did it, and we hold them to a unrealistic higher standard.

There is not a person reading this that hasn’t led a life that would seem less than ideal under the x-rays of investigation. Everyone has his or her skeletons. At times it seems like I need more closet space built just to house them in.

Maybe it’s time we stop holding anyone to a higher standard. They are just plain folks like you and me that have been given the opportunity to do something extraordinary, and placed, many times unwillingly, in the limelight.

If you’re a parent, you are a hero to your child. If you are the friend of someone desperately in need of a friend, you are their hero. If you reach down to help someone up, then you are a hero. And if you stoop down to give aid, or comfort for someone in need, someone with a disability or perhaps a child, then you are a hero.

Let’s tear down all the pedestals. Let’s see those we place there as the same as us. After all, that’s all they are.

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Doing Nothing

Doing nothing is very hard to do…

you never know when you’re finished. – Leslie Nielsen

Graphics - MDC - Sitting Under A Tree

Doesn’t it feel great to just do nothing? And yet I think that is even becoming a lost art. As Leslie Nielsen says, it’s hard to do.

Not saying this is necessarily a bad thing, we have become so connected with cell phones, e-mail and the Internet that it’s like we live in the middle of a spider’s web, with multiple strands leading to and from us to thousands, maybe even millions, Worldwide. And it’s very hard to disconnect and turn it off.

It seems like just about everyone has a cell phone, and at times it looks like everyone is talking to someone at the same time. Last summer I was in a Ruby Tuesday® having lunch, and four young ladies were seated at a table next to me. After giving their drink order, they all picked up cell phones and called someone they felt the need to connect with. When the waitress brought my food I asked her, “Do you think they’re talking to each other over the phones?” She laughed, stared at them for a minute and replied, “Could be!”

At no time that I was there did they disconnect and talk to each other. As a matter of fact, one wouldn’t stop talking long enough to give the waitress her order. And when conversation ended they would just call someone else. Now, that’s taking it to the extreme, but it does happen.

Graphics - MDC - Bluetooth Headset

In an airport I noticed a man wearing two Bluetooth® earpieces. I heard a phone ringing and he pressed one headset to disconnect, as he pressed the other to make a connection with someone else.

Another incident is the guy in a McDonald’s® at the table next to mine eating breakfast, typing e-mails and taking a multitude of calls on his cell phone.

What would the lives of these people be like if suddenly all these things were taken away from them? Could they handle the silence? Could they do nothing?

Over the years I have learned the ability to turn off my mind and think of nothing. Just sit there and enjoy the quieting of my mind. To be still, and yet be able to function. This was hard to learn how to do, but well worth the effort. And it frustrated my late wife. She would ask, “You’re very quiet, what are you thinking?” and when I replied, “absolutely nothing,” she would sigh and puzzle how I could do that.

Can you do it? Can you just totally disconnect from the World and take a mental vacation? Can you still your life and your mind? Can you go on vacation and leave the cell phone and computer back at the hotel, and go out and have a good time without the need to stay connected? Can you? For the sake of your mental health, I hope you can.

If you take pride in your work...sign it! - © 2009, Ric Morgan and SimpleWords Communications. All rights reserved.

If you take pride in your work...sign it! - © 2009, Ric Morgan and SimpleWords Communications. All rights reserved.



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