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THE ADVENTURES OF SCUBA STEVE

I am many things to many people, but I am and will always be … ME.

Two-Thousand Seven Hundred Eleven Weeks

Yes, that is over half of a century.  Two-thousand seven hundred eleven weeks to be precise and I won’t even tell you how many seconds that is.  What does it take to stay married to the same person for over 50 years?  I can tell you for certain, just researching a little to write this, that MANY things have changed in the past 50+ years.

For example:

In 1965, the average household income was $6,900.  In 2017, it is just about $70,000.  I think we can all agree that politics today have changed drastically compared to that of 1965.

What about Technology:  LED screen smart TVs, smartphones, virtual reality video games and self-driving cars; these are a few of so many new personal technological advances in the last few years. So many things have changed technologically in the past half-century that it’s almost impossible to list them all.

Life Expectancy:  The average human life expectancy in 1965 was approximately 70 years of age: 74 years for females and 67 for males. In 2017, the average human life expectancy is approximately 79 years: 82 years for females and 76 for males.

Total U.S. Population:  In 1965, the United States Census Bureau recorded a total U.S. population of 194.3 million citizens. By the end of 2017, this number is estimated to reach approximately 372 million. That’s a lot of people.

That is one certain thing in this awe-inspiring thing we humans call “LIFE” … times change, the world changes and so do the people along with it.

What hasn’t changed? Unconditional Love.

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Today marks another year in the history book of my parents 50+ years of marriage.  I honestly do not know how they are able to survive it.  Marriage back in their day was a true promise and commitment, whereas, in today’s world, it appears to be less respected as a permanent bond.  Today, marriages are often counted in months, days, even hours, sometimes … but, I think that whatever marriage formula it is, it works for my parents.

Like all relationships, a marriage takes great effort to ensure each day is great … NOT at all made in heaven, or a “Fairytale” one – rather I would aptly call the marriage of my parents as a “Marriage beyond all Differences”.

One of great love, respect, and admiration and surely God has intervened to keep them together, in spite of, and despite everything they’ve endured as a couple, and we all have, as a family. Not only have they been able to love each other, unconditionally, but they extended that love to their children, and now grandchildren.

Not only have they been able to love each other, unconditionally, but they extended that love to their children, and now to the next generation, their grandchildren, whom they love and adore.
Mom & Dad: Thank you so much for showing us, your kids, and the rest of world that love can endure all of

Thank you so much for showing Michele, Robert and I, and the rest of world that love can endure all of life’s struggles, great hardships and sometimes, immense pain, and great fear of loss and the grief that would follow it.  Great love like that is NOT a faded thing of the past and no matter what, if you stick together, anything is possible!
I love ♥ you both more than words can properly describe.  You mean the world to all of us, and I am truly grateful to God that I have had the honor of loving you both for 39 years (so far) and I look forward to much more. (That’s an order!)
I wish you the Happiest of Anniversaries and I am thanking the Lord for aligning the stars for me to be home with you.
On a side note: these 50+ years of marriage have resulted in 3 loving children and 7 equally loving grandchildren … who ALL love you more than we’ll ever be able to show you.  We hope you know that.

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Do You Use the 5-Second Rule?

The five-second rule, sometimes also the three-second rule, is a western cultural food hygiene concept, that states that there is a defined window where it is permissible to pick up food (or sometimes cutlery) after it has been dropped and thus exposed to contamination.

Some may believe this assertion, whereas most people employ the rule as an amusing social fiction that allows them to eat a dropped piece of food, despite the potential reservations of their peers. How many and what type of bacteria would stick to a piece of dropped food depends on many factors, the food or the floor being wet or dry among them.

There is also a social dimension as dropped food in a restaurant or when guests are around is simply unacceptable, but in a family or private situation it may be still tolerated.

A survey of 2,000 Americans found 79% admitted to eating food that had fallen on the floor.

There appears to be no scientific consensus on the general applicability of the rule, and its origin story is unclear.

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What Is Freedom?

What does the word “freedom” mean to you? What image is representative of this word in your mind?

Some say that being an American means having the utmost pride in your country. Others argue that it means to follow the ideals put forth in our Declaration of Independence — the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. All of these definitions are valid. But here are a few other things that I think describe what it really means to be an American.

To say simply that an American is whoever is born here or who have taken an oath of citizenship is like saying that the Bible or a contract is just ink markings on paper. It is true that a Bible is ink markings on paper, but it is not just that…it is, and we are much, much more. Some people focus on the idea that we are a nation of immigrants, that America is not based on a particular ethnicity. When you say you have to be Japanese to be Japanese, you are not making a false statement. But you can be Japanese and still be an American.

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We are truly a “melting pot” of cultures. It doesn’t matter (to most) if you are Latin, Asian, Arabic or Russian…if you are here, you are an American. The same goes for matters of social class, sexual orientation, religion … and the list goes on, and on. We are all American’s. Every day, my fellow citizens amaze me with their ideas, opinions, and random acts of kindness, enforcing the common connection we all share as Americans.

19668116_10155077250733183_648856053_nIt is not as though we do not have our imperfections, flaws and domestic atrocities. We are an ever-evolving work-in-progress. That is the wonderful thing about life, we have the opportunity to shape and mold our existence. As an American, who has traveled the world a bit, I can say that we, as a country, are not liked and accepted as a “Good People” in all parts of the world. Many see evil, selfishness and an excessive need to impose our way of life in the need to be the “World Police”. Unfortunately, this too makes us uniquely American.

And what about the collective respect and admiration for those who choose to risk their lives defending our very way of life … our freedom. Regardless of how they feel about war, they protect our freedom – so we can have the right to voice our opinions, attend a public education, vote for our leaders, and travel freely from one place to another. Not having to worry about roadside bombs or being shot walking to the store. This is definitely what makes us uniquely American.

DocumentWe have ideals, morals, traditions and a way of life that are different from any other place on this little blue planet in the middle of the existence. That is what makes us unique, that is what makes us united, and that is what keeps us free.

So, today and every day, enjoy our way of life. Our ‘right’ to life, as we know it, Our liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. For these ideals are what make us GREAT.

Happy Independence Day, America!

 

Military Vets, PTSD and the 4th of July

The number of U.S. Military Veterans with PTSD varies by service era (According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs):

Operations Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Enduring Freedom (OEF): About 11-20 out of every 100 Veterans (or between 11-20%) who served in OIF or OEF have PTSD in a given year.

I know how much I honor and respect our Veteran’s, but something I DO realize is how much I take our Veterans for granted when it comes to daily-life-circumstances, like fireworks on the Fourth of July.

A simple sign I saw today renewed my attention to this matter, and I wanted to share it, in case you too hadn’t thought of this.

The simply sign reads:

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__________________________________

Combat Veteran Lives Here

Please Be Courteous With Fireworks.

www.MilitaryWithPTSD.org
__________________________________________

Some think the signs are offensive because they put a damper on the fun of the holiday, trample rights and are unpatriotic. Nothing could be further from reality.

“Negative. It’s counter to everything we stand and fight for to hamper patriotic celebration or impose views upon anyone taking part,” one person commented on Twitter.

I think most people will find that we can all celebrate without causing these real-life Heroes any more pain or anguish than they already suffer daily.

What these Veterans are asking for is just a little consideration on a very special day.  July 4th marks Independence Day for ALL Americans, but for hundreds of thousands of Vets from many eras, the fireworks can be a trigger bringing very difficult and traumatic memories back to life. For the many veterans dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder, the sound of the fireworks exploding are all too similar to the sound of gunfire, IED’s and other explosions they encountered during wartime.

PTSD is a serious condition … many soldiers find it unmanageable; others only find solace with the help of daily medication, therapy, and support from service dogs.  PTSD greatly contributes to the overall suicide rate, that is skyrocketing, for returning Veterans.

On a holiday meant to Honor those who fought for our Independence in 1776 and everyone who’s defended that Freedom since, please do them a small kindness and keep them in the forefront of your thought as we progress through the holiday.

I’m not one to usually ask you to share anything, but please be sure to SHARE this story to spread awareness about this very important issue facing our Veterans.

After all, one of your unknown neighbors could be a Veteran with PTSD!

Just enjoy your Freedom …

We come, not to mourn our dead soldiers, but to praise them.

Memorial Day Weekend, the unofficial kickoff to summer. Barbecues sizzling. High school marching bands tooting out Stars and Stripes Forever. Red, white, and blue hanging in every city, far and wide and on TV, you will inevitably hear a recitation of Lt. Col. J. McCrae’s most popular and most quoted poems, “Flander’s Field”.:.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below. We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and were loved, and now we lie In Flanders fields. Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders fields.

As we navigate through this weekend toward Memorial Day, I want to take another opportunity, not only to remember another brave soul lost, but to tell you the story of his final journey home.
In the days and weeks leading up to every Memorial Day weekend, for the past several years, an ever-popular photo takes control as the most circulated photo, not only among members of the military and their families, but across the entire world. It can be found on blogs, various social media platforms, print publications and across the airwaves in many countries … it has been “shared”, “favorited”, “re-tweeted” and “liked” over and over, hundreds of thousands of times, since it’s emergence in 2007.
When 2nd Lt. James Cathey’s remains arrived at the Reno–Tahoe International Airport, several United States Marines climbed into the cargo hold of the plane and draped the flag over his casket as passengers watched the family gather on the tarmac next to the aircraft.
Major Steve Beck, 2nd Lt. Cathey’s military escort described the scene as one of the most powerful in the process. “See the people in the windows? They’ll sit right there in the plane, watching those Marines honor their brother. You have to wonder what is going through their minds … knowing that they are on the plane that brought him home for the final time.” “They’re going to remember being on that plane for the rest of their lives. They’re going to remember bringing that Marine home.”

Honor after the fall. USMC Major Steve Beck prepares to open the casket of 2nd Lt. James J. Cathey.
When his body arrived at the airport in Reno, USMS Major Steve Beck prepared for the final inspection of 2nd Lt. James J. Cathey’s remains, just days after notifying 2nd Lt. Cathey’s wife of the Marine’s death in Iraq.
Taken by the photographer Todd Heisler for The Rocky Mountain News series, “Jim Comes Home”, the story documents the journey home and burial of Second Lt. James Cathey.
The night before the burial, Katherine refused to leave his casket, asking to sleep next to her husband for the last time. The Marines standing guard made a bed for her, tucking in the sheets below the flag. Before she fell asleep, she opened her laptop and played songs that reminded her of James and one of the Marines asked if she wanted them to continue standing watch as she slept, to which she replied, “I think that’s what he would have wanted.”

When a soldier dies, everyone close to them gives their all as well.

While there are proponents on both sides of the “How to Honor/Celebrate/Remember/Pay Tribute To” Memorial Day … I have to agree with one of the BEST opinions in regard to this very topic … If I may quote a VERY wise man and an all-around great guy, whom I am Blessed enough to know (Nicholas Rahn)
“People have a lot of views on Memorial Day. Here are mine:
1. Dont feel guilty for hanging out with your family. 2. Have a few beers and hang out with your friends. 3. Dont shame people for having a BBQ on a day we remember the fallen. Everyone pays tribute in their own way. 4. Yes, I am a Veteran. No, don’t thank me for my service. This day is for the fallen, not those still around. 5. If you feel the need to visit a military cemetery, then do it, but dont feel obligated. 6. The folks who fought and died, did it for Freedom. It is your American right to do what ever the f**k you want on Memorial Day.
Have fun, drink a beer, hug your kids, dump a beer for your dead homies… just enjoy your Freedom.”

Just enjoy your Freedom.

Have a wonderful rest of your Saturday.

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Waiting on the World to Change

It’s Monday, and as we move headlong into this final week of April, a few bits to ponder …

The great Albert Einstein once said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

That quote, in my opinion, directly encourages trying new and/or different things. You don’t have to alter yourself and your ways completely, but understand that eventually you need to do things a bit different, if the things you are doing aren’t giving you the results you think you should have.

Similarly, it’s well known that persistence is the most common trait characterizing most things labeled a “SUCCESS”. Sometimes doing the same thing repeatedly when it hasn’t worked the first 100 times, is most certainly foolish. Sometimes it is also shrewd. Wisdom consists, in part, of knowing the difference.

Flexibility is a virtue. But in most matters, flexibility only rears its head when persistence has already been given a fair shake.

While it is good to keep all this information in the front of your mind, you need to remember that ultimately you only have control over yourself and your actions.

While it is vital to remain optimistic, the true reality is that you cannot change the course of a 🚢 cruise ship with a single wooden ore.

Keep striving for the best, remain optimistic and have a great week!

http://www.pbs.org/program/escape-nazi-death-camp/

Being a lover of history, I am of course watching this program on PBS…it is so well done and as most programs about the Holocaust, extremely emotional and moving.

I personally process all information, recollections, testimonies and stories I experience about the Holocaust, not as mere history, but actual, individual human lives. Children, Women and Men, erased from existence due to the dark hatred of fellow human beings.

This is a very inspiring recalling of Jewish prisoners, who worked in the Death Camp and planned a well-organized and successful escape, saving many lives.

It is important for the world to know that many people of all religions, races, sexes, creeds, sexual orientations did fight back against the Nazi murderers and were triumphant in heir survival.

In this documentary, four of the survivors of the Sobibor Death Camp return to the place where they were held prisoners and their families killed. Now a country field with no sign of atrocities that went on within it’s fences, this is a testament to the witnesses of such vile, savage violence.

Even though it is very difficult for me to watch subject matter about the Holocaust, I strongly believe to honor all those souls who perished and celebrate all those who resisted and survived against all odds, all generations from here forward MUST know and bear witness to it all, so it never happens again to humanity.

We are such a cruel, vile, vindictive species.

 

The Sinking of the Unsinkable …

Today marks the 105th anniversary of the sinking of the RMS TITANIC and we remain just as fascinated by the tragedy as the people were in 1912, when the event occurred.

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Numerous tragic ship sinkings happened before Titanic and many occurred afterward, yet this is the one people research, write novels about and depict in blockbuster movies.

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On 14 April 1912, the Titanic hit an iceberg at 11:40 pm ship’s time. The glancing collision caused the ship’s hull plates to buckle inwards along her starboard side and opened five of her sixteen watertight compartments to the sea; the ship gradually filled with water. Passengers and some crew members were evacuated in lifeboats, many of which were launched only partially loaded. A disproportionate number of men were left aboard because of a “women and children first” protocol followed by some of the officers loading the lifeboats. By 2:20 am, the mighty ship broke apart and foundered, with well over 1500 people still aboard.

The Deck and Deck Chairs on the
ca. 1912 — Passengers stroll past neatly arranged deck chairs on the deck of the . The struck and iceberg and sank on her maiden voyage on April 14-15, 1912.

History can be awful, yet truly inspiring, and has always fascinated and amazed me.

I love to learn, explore and share.

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