KEYSTONE

KEYSTONE

The proposed Keystone Pipeline is kaput, thanks to President Obama. I am relieved.

Congress was suspect when they pushed for construction of the humongous pipeline to be built by foreign entities––either companies or governments––smack through the middle of America from Canada to Mexico, allegedly to carry dirty fuel for sale to nations overseas.

Supporters like my own U.S. Senator, James Lankford (R-Ok), said the Keystone Pipeline would provide jobs for Oklahomans. What? Digging a giant trench and laying pipe? That kind of work brought Chinese laborers to America two hundred years ago to build railroads, work few settlers wanted.

As a novelist, the proposed pipeline initiated wild imaginings in my head.

Here in Oklahoma, landowners negotiate with companies drilling for gas and oil, for “taps” in the lines to allow residents to siphon some of the production for personal use.

What if Keystone had provided similar taps for enterprising souls? I remembered the inmate whose people dug a tunnel directly to his jail cell and provided a small motor scooter to transport him through the tunnel to freedom. He has not yet been recaptured.

What if owners of the Keystone facility inserted outlets along the pipeline, then sent Isis insurgents into the tunnels to pop up randomly throughout America?

Why not? No security checks at either end.

What if a line like that ruptured and blew up buildings or ignited fires like residential gas lines that have erupted in U.S. cities recently, or broken waterlines that wreaked havoc?

All than conjuring gave me new ideas.

Last February, “Morning Rundown” showed a U.S. Coast Guard cutter breaking up ice on the Hudson River. The report said those efforts keep that passage open for barges that carry 70 percent of the heating oil that supplies the Northeast United States. I supposed barges have been providing that oil to those states by that method since before the birth of the nation.

If politicians want to get in the pipeline-building business, perhaps they could run a domestic line alongside the Hudson River to New England, replace those barges with new, more dependable infrastructure.

How about a pipeline from America’s wetlands out to often-drought-stricken California?

Americans are encouraged to think outside the box. That’s how we’ve come up with so many inventions, medical cures, etc.

I write novels––fiction. If you like how I think, you might enjoy my books. Check them out at www.amazon.com/SharonErvin/e/B001JP4NV2

 

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INNOCENCE LOST

INNOCENCE LOST?

Have deviants always raped small children or is that something peculiar to society today? It seems to happen often now. Right here in Smalltown, Oklahoma, a young, not unattractive man, raped a nine-month-old baby girl. He was her mother’s boyfriend and was baby-sitting, left alone to protect the child.

A man sentenced to die in Oklahoma (execution delayed by problem with the lethal injection meds) had raped and murdered a one-year-old girl.

Is this new––this lack of regard for innocence––or have these perversions occurred in other places and throughout history, neither reported nor discussed?

Lines of cars at local schools deliver and pick up children who live mere blocks away. The schools are securely fenced, gates padlocked to prevent intrusions, also the ingress or egress by everyday parents, students, and pedestrians.

Bicycle racks sit rusting, abandoned and unused. Thus protected from natural exercise, American kids battle obesity.

With both parents working, I walked my older grandchildren to school. Now, however, with the newer batch, we cannot cut across the school grounds. We have to walk two additional blocks around to enter the front door of the schools and register.

One afternoon, when my own children were in elementary school, they complained that some of my daughter’s eighth-grade male classmates were harassing them on their way home. I loaded our baby boy in his stroller and walked over to supervise. I took my trusty paddle. School personnel had stopped using corporal punishment. I had not.

When I arrived at the trouble spot, I laughed at my own silliness. The “naughty boys” rode their bicycles round and round the moving, giggling gaggle of girls, flirting. Their methods not yet refined, the boys did it clumsily, but the efforts were recognizable.

Embarrassed by my arrival, my daughter and her cronies introduced me to two new girlfriends, and to the “annoying” boys.

I smiled and we visited a minute before my daughter said, “Mom, what are you doing here?”

“You complained about the boys giving you a hard time on the way home. I came to check on you. I didn’t realize you were just dealing with grown up young men trying to get your attention.”

“Yeah,” the biggest boy, the son of an acquaintance of mine, said, and he grinned like he was embarrassed. “You won’t tell my mom about this, will you?”

“No.” I couldn’t help smiling. When had I gotten to be such an old fraidy cat?

Normally, I do not assume evil motives. News coverage of horrendous behavior has changed my American naivete to fear. I think that’s a shame.

Contemplating how we are changing, I wrote my most recent novel, JINGO STREET. It is about a modern American thug and the society that created him. It’s sort of a modern day love story. You can find it at http://tinyurl.com/mkt2tz2

Sharon

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ON HIS SIDE

ON HIS SIDE

When the resource officer picked the smart-mouthed 17-year-old girl up out of her classroom seat and hummed her across the floor, I said, “Good for him!”

Some people sided with her.

The officer was fired.

“He should have handled it differently.”

“Oh, yeah? How? She was disrupting the class, refused to cooperate, hand over her cellphone, or leave the room. She refused to follow rules everyone else had to follow.

“What should the teacher or the officer have done?”

Three days of pondering, one woman said, “They should have called her parents to come to the school to deal with her.”

I was skeptical.

As a parent, I got my bluff in early. By the time they were 17, my children had regard for authority. At age 12, my sons did not point toy guns at approaching police officers, or get shot and killed. Stopped by a traffic cop, my children spoke with respect and showed driver’s licenses on request. They did not have to be tazed out of a car, cuffed, and hauled off to jail.

My children got swats at home and in school. They needed judicious corporal punishment. We loved them enough to provide it. Little bottoms are engineered for spanking.

Scripture says a father disciplines the child he loves. Mothers do too.

Toddlers who learn respect at home do not have to be yanked out of a high school classroom. Let’s put corporal punishment back in our schools. American kids need it.

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INTEGRITY

McDonald

Robert A. McDonald, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, in an effort to draw a veteran on the street into conversation, asked about the man’s military service. Encouraging the man, McDonald said he, too, had served in the Army. When the man said he had been in special forces, McDonald went along, saying he, too, had been with special forces.

Today, McDonald said he had misspoken, that he had not served in special forces.

Newscasters suggested the reaction of veterans to McDonald’s misstatement should determine his future with the VA.

The story went on to say that, after graduating from West Point, McDonald served five years of active duty in the U.S. Army where he completed Army Ranger training before becoming part of the 82nd Airborne.

The Vietnam veteran at my house, after hearing McDonald’s record, said: “Good enough.”

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Motivation

ENERGY

Tuesday, February 24, 2014

“Morning Rundown” today showed a U.S. Coast Guard cutter braking up ice on the Hudson River. Their efforts will keep the passage open for barges that carry 70 percent of the heating oil that supplies the Northeast United States. I imagine barges have been providing that oil to those states by that same method since the 1700s.

Meanwhile, controversy rages over the Keystone Pipeline that is to carry Canadian oil down the length of the U.S. to Mexico for sale to customers in other countries. My own U.S. Senator, James Lankford (R-Ok), says the Keystone Pipeline will benefit Oklahomans.

Both stories made me curious.

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Adrian Peterson and Parenting

Adrian Peterson is a righteous man who takes responsibility for training his son.

I believe respect for authority begins with toddlers and small children in the home. A devout Christian and the mother of four terrific kids who grew into responsible adults, I trust biblical admonitions on parenting children. Scripture says a father disciplines the son he loves.

Four-year-olds require attentive fathers and mothers. You won’t find a young man who grew up respecting authority firing random gunshots into passing cars. He doesn’t strong-arm aged merchants, or try to grab a weapon out of the hands of a law-enforcement person, or race from the scene of a hit-and-run accident for which he was responsible. He has been taught better.

Years ago, so-called experts on child rearing added spanking to the lists of forms of child abuse. I didn’t agree but decided to try not spanking.

We tried time-outs, but with four children, it was hard to keep track of what punishment went to which kid. Spanking was clear and decisive and we could all get on with our days as soon as swats were meted out.

I wanted to be kind with the eight eight-year-old cub scouts when my lovely friend Carol and I agreed to be den mother and assistant. The first meeting was a nightmare. The little boys romped and stomped and took full advantage of our tolerant selves. Before the next meeting, I called Carol and told her I disliked the boys and their behavior. More than I wanted the boys to like scouting, I wanted to like them, so, no more Mrs. Nice Guy.

The next week, one kid burst through the front door, ran to the den and leaped onto the sofa in his muddy shoes. It was early in the year and he was in shorts, his fat little thigh fair game. I smacked his leg with my open hand and told him he was to behave in my home as he would in his own, then warned them I was going to treat all eight of them like they were my own children, that I was a spanker and they were going to mind me or else.

They all stood quiet, wide-eyed and nodding.

We had adventures together, fun, laughter and achievements. I hugged them often. There were occasional swats. Late in the year, other dens began to fold. The scout master called to ask if Carol and I would take more than eight boys. Every kid in Troop 2 wanted to be in our den.

Not a chance.

I was den mother two years for our older son and two years for our younger one. With talk of child abuse, I feared getting into trouble with someone for treating the boys like they were my own, but we got no complaints and none of the boys quit scouting. I loved those kids then, and still like them as adults.

Our sons outgrew both Bill and me when they were teens. One afternoon, when our older boy was 16, he thought he was big enough to take me on. He was taller and heavier than I was. I don’t remember the infraction, but I was his mother and did not intend to put up with a smart mouth. The new wrestling coach had rented a house across the street. He said he had never seen anything funnier than our big boy scrambling, backing out of the house, trying to defend himself from my flying hands as I smacked first one muscular bicep then the other.

Our older son was a fine athlete. Coaches complimented us, saying how great he was to coach. He learned regard for authority early. He was an all-state football player and attended college on scholarships.

Our second son stayed with scouting and earned his Eagle. He is in law enforcement.

Both of our daughters are great moms. The younger one is a certified early childhood teacher who complies with school policy and deals with children in her classrooms without corporal punishment. At home, however, with four children of her own, she follows patterns set when she was growing up. Her children are respectful, thoughtful and good students.

I believe that disciplined children grow into adults with respect for authority. They learn to control tempers and tantrums. They take responsibility. They become outstanding athletes, statesmen, judges, and parents. They do not become thugs and thieves, or abusers.

Sooners appreciate Adrian Peterson. He was one of us. Most Viking fans probably do, too. In him we see a disciplined athlete, a leader of men, and a responsible father. Anyone who has parented a four-year-old boy knows the challenge. A child needs to know the rules and he needs to learn them early, especially from a father who is not afraid to love him enough to discipline him.

A final thought: I’ve seen Peterson run. If his son has his genetic gifts, catching and switching the little rascal probably was no easy task. As a parent, I am proud of Adrian Peterson.

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NIGHTINGALE

NIGHTINGALEScullery maid Jessica Blair, 18, calms the runaway stallion, then backtracks to find his missing rider. Injured, the arrogant duke, Devlin Miracle, 28, is waiting for daylight to begin his trek home, but for the duke, there will be no daylight. The attack by thieves has left him blind.

This is Ervin’s tenth published novel, her first historical. It will be released as an e-book from Crimson Romance on May 20, available for e-readers everywhere. Paperback to follow.

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WEALTH

Does wealth generate greed?

Remember when, to boost the tanking economy, the government approved stimulus packages to provide banks money to loan? Instead, many of those banks invested the money to profit themselves. Some increased bonuses to their officers. The money was supposed to trickle down, was intended to help people refinance home loans to boost the housing market.

Today business reportedly is sitting on an estimated three trillion dollars, frightened about investing in America or Americans. 

Mr. Romney boasts of his prowess as a man who made himself rich. He implies his success in business will somehow help our national economy. Instead of allowing his accumulated wealth to “trickle down” to provide jobs, however, Mr. Romney sent his wealth out of the country, to Switzerland and the Cayman Islands, and other places, for safekeeping. 

Some people believe if you make a rich man rich enough, he will share. Not always.

My husband is self-employed. He provided for himself and me and our four children with the income he generated. My husband is also a generous man. We paid taxes and gave 10 percent of his net earnings to church and charities. We are not wealthy. It took us 30 years to pay the mortgage on our home. Our children had scholarship help with college, and they worked. 

My husband and I now draw social security, to which we still contribute. He continues working. Medicare came as a huge relief. Before that, nearly a third of our income went for health insurance premiums on $10,000-deductible (catastrophic coverage) policies. All our medical and prescription costs came out of his pocket. 

President Obama knows about doing without, about the importance of scholarship assistance. Even a smart student worries about maintaining grades and class standing to keep financial assistance. His education prepared him to be wealthy. Hoarding wealth is not what he’s about. Our financial investment in him is trickling down. One of us, he has our votes.

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WEALTH

Does wealth generate greed?

Remember when, to boost the tanking economy, the government approved stimulus packages to provide banks money to loan? Instead, many of those banks invested the money to profit themselves. Some increased bonuses to their officers. The money was supposed to trickle down, was intended to help people refinance home loans to boost the housing market.

Today business reportedly is sitting on an estimated three trillion dollars, frightened about investing in America or Americans. 

Mr. Romney boasts of his prowess as a man who made himself rich. He implies his success in business will somehow help our national economy. Instead of allowing his accumulated wealth to “trickle down” to provide jobs, however, Mr. Romney sent his wealth out of the country, to Switzerland and the Cayman Islands, and other places, for safekeeping. 

Some people believe if you make a rich man rich enough, he will share. Not always.

My husband is self-employed. He provided for himself and me and our four children with the income he generated. My husband is also a generous man. We paid taxes and gave 10 percent of his net earnings to church and charities. We are not wealthy. It took us 30 years to pay the mortgage on our home. Our children had scholarship help with college, and they worked. 

My husband and I now draw social security, to which we still contribute. He continues working. Medicare came as a huge relief. Before that, nearly a third of our income went for health insurance premiums on $10,000-deductible (catastrophic coverage) policies. All our medical and prescription costs came out of his pocket. 

President Obama knows about doing without, about the importance of scholarship assistance. Even a smart student worries about maintaining grades and class standing to keep financial assistance. His education prepared him to be wealthy. Hoarding wealth is not what he’s about. Our financial investment in him is trickling down. One of us, he has our votes.

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MOTIVATION

I met an otherwise healthy 20-year-old Oklahoma female recently who doesn’t drive. She has no desire to learn. 
 
Of the people I know, this young woman is rare. During our brief visit she showed totally indifferent on the subject. As a big sister with six siblings, and four children of  my own, I’ve never  met  a person her age who was so disinterested in driving. She wouldn’t mind learning and probably would someday. Maybe. 
 
Her lack of interest in such a primary human activity prompted thoughts about motivation: its source, its thrust, where it gets its energy? 
 
Most people feel motivated about something, wealth, fame, a desire to be first. Some long for speed or heights or depths or achievements. Olympians devote themselves to one objective, dedicate themselves entirely to a goal.
 
Where is their desire born? What nurtures it?
 
Writers need to know these things.
 
My habit is to read the first three chapters of a book.  If I’m not hooked by then, it goes to  the library box to progress to a reader who may love it. What criteria determines keep or toss?
 
 
A characters’ motivation is a biggy.
 
The woman detective in spike heels lured to  the darkened warehouse alone, at midnight, to “check out a lead” turns me off in a heartbeat. A coward from birth, I am not so  much horrified by the moxy motivating her as I am by her stupidity.
 
How about the sexy dolly who leaves the bar with the gorgeous hunk at closing time? Motivated by muscle? Good grief!
 
The creators of a reality show that send the handsome, dumb-as-a-post guy out with a diamond ring to audition a dozen lovely ladies has got to be kidding. Beautiful people eventually have to cook and clean and earn a living. Reality  about marital love would be better served by challenging a  couple to find a creative way to come up money to pay an unexpected bill, or show kindness toward a mate who just rear-ended another vehicle. 
 
Now we’ve come full circle. 
 
Probably not everyone needs to drive.
 
But everyone DOES need believeable motivation for whatever they do.
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