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Samuel E. Warren Jr., The Prophet On Word Press

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Samuel E. Warren Jr.,

The Prophet

On

Word Press

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

Every writer wants to make his mark in the world. Ernest “Papa” Hemingway, William Faulkner, P.D. James, Barbara Cartland, Agatha Christie, Erle Stanley Gardner, L.Ron Hubbard, Stephen King, Samuel Langhorne”Mark Twain” Clemens,Thomas Wolfe, John Ernst Steinbeck Jr., Robert Frost, Edgar Allen Poe and, now, Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

The traditional way, of course, is to work as a newspaper reporter, editor, magazine writer, columnist, movie script author or playwright.

 

Thanks to the Internet, social media, software, hardware, computers,streaming video, cell phones and the electronic inventions from the 1970s through 2013 – tradition has changed.

 

Writers Write

 

I love to write.

 

My philosophy as a writer is simple: “Writers Write.”

 

Blog writers or authors may never be invited to book-signings like novelist authors.

 

However , blog writers electronic articles are posted in the vast never closes Library Of The Internet just waiting for someone to use a search engine – to find the listing tucked away in the virtual card catalog.

 

Lessons Of The Sam I Am Blog

 

I began my Sam I Am Blog around 2005 as a basic one person, weekly, and sometimes daily electronic newspaper.

 

It was never intended to be the “Dear Diary” of many websites but a collection of my writing and photographs.

 

I post stories,anecdotes, photos, opinions, editorials, commentaries, news reports, feature stories, short stories and a collection of my life experiences revealed in a variety of different formats.

 

I had toyed, for a few months, with the traditional stereotypical writer challenge of “The Great American Novel”.

 

I actually completed two novels written out in longhand in two different notebooks. The experience was fun, but time consuming. I put them on the shelf.

 

On my “Sam I Am Blog”, as of March 6, 2013, I had 275 post of articles and photos under my belt on that blog, This post, naturally, changed the number to 276.

 

I decided to try another writing project to add flexibility to my writing.

 

I wanted to do something controversial.

 

Politics And Religion

 

From the time I was a small boy my mother had always warned me, “Never Talk Politics And Religion In Public.”

 

On the surface, it is wise advice.

 

In a democracy like the United States Of America, you should find a way to talk politics and have your opinion heard. I believe what President Thomas Jefferson said about an “informed citizenry.”

 

Once you begin working you pay local, state and federal taxes, which means you pay the salaries of those politicians. Since you are putting their groceries on the table, there has to be a way to tell them what you think.

 

You should “talk politics”, but be wise about where you express your political views.

 

In the Real World, anytime you talk Politics or Religion, in public, you can sometimes watch an ordinary person transform before your eyes into a raving fanatical, lunatic.

 

Talk politics and people get upset. Their faces get red. They raise their voices. Their sentences become overloaded and bloated with dictionaries of cuss words and their tones climb well up into the decibel range.

 

Regardless of the political topic or issue, at the end of the day, a Democrat is a Democrat and a Republican is a Republican.

 

As long as alcohol and firearms are no where near the discussion area, most people will grumble away and come back another day to discuss or argue the merits of their issue, candidate or party.

 

When the dust has cleared all you have really done is waste time and found out ,in no uncertain terms, where a person stands.

 

Alas, Politics is essentially the age old Chevy versus Ford discussion.

 

Farmers who own Chevy and GMC pickups seldom have a nice word for Ford owners. Likewise, the “Ford Faithful” look down on the Chevy lovers.

 

Dodge and the owners of Japanese made pickups are looked at by the good ole boys of Chevy and Ford like, “What planet did you say you were from ?”

 

The Internet is a wonderful location. You find a virtual street corner and put down your soap box to stand upon. Then, you go into your best Voltaire and Robespierre

 

I, Sam The Democrat, keep my politics on my “Sam I Am Blog”. . .for now, anyway.

 

Momma The Mentor

 

 

I, Samuel E. Warren Jr., proudly proclaim myself a

 “Momma’s Boy.”

 

I could ask my mother any question and she would give me her honest opinion.

 

Momma never pull punches with me. If I was “In The Right”, then, she supported me tooth and nail.

 

If I was “In The Wrong”, Momma did her best to try and be the first one to tell me.

 

As a young man, I even asked Momma my “birds and bees questions” and she answered them.

 

My mother was a truly unique human, who lived her beliefs.

 

There was just one subject I could not get Momma to discuss with me: Religion.

 

I could never get my mother to discuss religion with me.

 

I did enjoy tossing out ideas and watching her shift around in her chair and try to change the subject.

 

Momma had been exposed to the Pentecost beliefs as a little girl, but, did not really practice those beliefs as an adult.

 

Every Human’s Achilles’ Heel

 

Thanks to Momma, I discovered The Achilles’ Heel Of Every Human On Planet Earth – Religion.

 

As a young boy, Momma had told me she would never tell me what to believe when it came to religion.

 

She held true to her word.

 

Through the years, I would run various religious ideas by her and her Midwest Ozarks upbringing made it obvious that Momma wasn’t fond of the idea, but, she never told me, “No.”

 

Through childhood, into the International Order Of DeMolay, into college and on to active duty in the United States Armed Forces, I came in contact with various people of numerous religions and faiths.

 

Through my life experiences, I have visited various churches, sit through sermons, Mass and lit incense in temples.

 

I never found “The Religion”, but I did discover “The Spiritual” in my Life.

 

In my Quest, I had to move past the salesmen and the recruiters and I did.

 

Religion’s Cereal Salesmen

 

Religion is like cereal, there are many boxes on the store shelves and they all come in different packaging and flavor. They all meet the minimum daily requirements.

 

I just never appreciated the self-righteous “salesmen” and the “quota recruiters”, who always tried to strong arm their way into my Immortal Soul.

Award a man or woman a sheepskin in religion and suddenly that person acts like they are “God’s Little Brother” or “God’s Little Sister” and they have all the answers.

 

The “Witnessing Religions” are the worst because they lead their religious associates to believe that they have to “spread the word” and carry out the “ministry”, so a man or woman starts to talk.

 

You listen. You can ask questions. But, if your questions have humor or any cynicism, sarcasm, or skepticism; then,”Lo, you are a disrespectful sinner”.

 

If one of your questions hits the aspiring apostle’s nerve or the devout disciple’s ego the wrong way, then, their facial expression changes and usually their voice rises and the person seems more offended and aggressive.

 

The serial salesmen don’t appreciate it when you call them on their “testimony.”

 

Their faith usually sends them out to do “testimonials” like a vacuum cleaner or a tractor salesman and you are suppose to be the good customer and not question company advertising and marketing.

 

After all, the salesmen and the recruiters have memorized the serials of stories and weren’t suppose to know if the product or service actually worked.

 

These testimonial people are serial salesman they can tell you an episode of Psalms, Deuteronomy, or whatever, but, they can’t actually tell you if Jesus ever went out on a date with a woman or Saint Peter’s wife’s middle name.

 

Through the years, I have learned, rather than risk teasing a hungry dog, who I will invariably,make foam at the mouth and angry – I smile and shut the door.

 

 

The Human Computer

 

Sometimes though Religion forgets it is “Food For The Soul” and not the Universal Hardwired Programming Of Each Individual Human On Planet Earth.

 

People can always choose to reformat their mental hard drives with Operating Systems of their own choosing and select or reject various upgrades to their programming based on their Life experiences.

 

The World’s Old Traditional Religions forget they are the FORTRAN, COBOL, assembly, and machine languages of past generations.

 

The sprite, peek and pope graphics of the early humans who were flesh and blood pizza boxes that were amazed by flashing cursors of light from lighting and swamp gas to St. Elmo’s Fire,

 

Like computers, people evolved over the years and Prometheus, got tweaked with enough intelligence to carry his own cigarette lighter and maybe even learn how to wire up a house.

 

Prometheus like other humans sought to expand their human programming on their own to reach out beyond Global Positioning Satellites to interface with God.

 

Meanwhile, while the old religions are still scratching their heads over the Apple IIe and the old Packard Bell 386 in the church, synagogue or mosque basement, people out in the Real World is glance at their Kindle readers, i Phones, and cell phones.

 

While religious officials may worry that they are becoming The 8 Track Tapes Of Humanity, people in the Real World wonder if they have the latest state of the art portable electronics to keep up with breaking news and check their email without switching their Internet Service Provider and upgrading to another cell phone plan.

 

The Vatican got Pope Benedict XVI a twitter account, which got canceled when he became the Emeritus Pope.

 

The old religions are working with the electronics, but they have yet to grasp the ASC II understanding that their doctrine and dogma has got to be upgraded to be saved into the evolving servers of the human mind.

 

Despite the technology of the Real World, there are humans, who get that Amiga formatted floppy and the MS-DOS 5.0 floppy loaded into their minds and they do not want to challenge or risk accidentally overwriting their religious beliefs.

 

Therefore, they backup their religious beliefs to a hard drive in their heads and ward off any ideas they consider worms, trojans, viruses or back doors to their hardwired religious beliefs.

 

Nuclear Religious Reality

 

A Religious discussion can get you hurt, hospitalized or, based on some news stories, in the United States and around the globe: DEAD.

 

The topic of Religion is essentially the equivalent of realizing that you are in possession of nuclear material and realizing that you have to handle it carefully otherwise you are at Ground Zero of Three Mile Island and Chernobyl.

 

Nonetheless, Religion is an important issue to every human on the planet because it always leads to a belief of some sort in an Afterlife.

 

I believe Religion is far more Nuclear than Politics.

 

Politics makes people angry because it takes money out of their wallets and purses, but people know they have to have some semblance of public order provided by government.

 

Otherwise, Life is a never-ending chaos of neighbor against neighbor for property and goods, which results in the legendary Hatfield and McCoys feuds that last for generations.

 

Politics ends at the tombstone.

 

Religion is one of those personal issues that goes to the core of the individual and challenges a person to examine their Immortal Soul.

 

Politics can lead to War; Religions start Wars.

 

Samuel The Prophet

 

I knew a religion blog would serve my curious and controversial needs.

 

 

I needed a catchy title. I got it.

 

I needed something to catch the eyes. I got it.

 

I posted some articles. I did it.

 

I post to the blog and wait for feedback and comments.

 

Publicity is always hard to achieve because it costs money.

 

Free publicity is rare.

 

Now, I have decided to do some publicity for my religion blog.

 

The Samuel E. Warren Jr., The Prophet” blog is on a Word Press website.

 

Word Choice

 

I decided the word, “Prophet” would probably take some religious people to “Defense Condition One status and have a klaxon going off inside their heads.

 

At DEFCON ONE, I would like to believe they will visit my blog and read through some of the articles.

 

In the Midwest, Moses is an old respected Holy Bible prophet.

 

For someone in the early 21st Century to use that hallowed, revered, respected, sacred English word, “Prophet,” would be ?

 

Heretical. Not really, because a word is just a word, but the meaning gives the word Life.

 

To call oneself a “Prophet” is Blasphemous ? Not really, because financial publications have run articles on “Profit Prophets” of Wall Street through the years.

 

However, the word, “Prophet” does catch your eyes and stimulates your mind.

 

The word choice of “Prophet ?”

 

I done did it.

 

The Samuel E. Warren Jr., The Prophet blog is a platform to look at religion.

 

I know I will not change anyone’s religion.

 

The purpose is not to convert anyone.

 

The purpose is to challenge religious ideas.

 

The purpose is to ask people to think.

 

The purpose is to inspire people to seek a religion that helps them in Life.

 

I challenge the traditional religions.

 

I’m the writer, editor and publisher, so I get to be “The Devil’s Advocate.”

 

Feel free to hit me with your “The Beast,” “The Anti-Christ”, “The Blasphemer,” “The Heretic” and other not so nice comments.

 

I have on my asbestos underwear, so I’m ready.

 

Keep in mind though that I do respond to comments left on my blogs.

 

If you want to look at other than traditional religious views, please, visit my “Samuel E. Warren Jr., The Prophet” blog on Word Press.

 

Sam

 

Link

 

Samuel E. Warren Jr., The Prophet

 

https://samuelewarrenjrtheprophet.wordpress.com/

Written by samwarren55

March 7, 2013 at 6:25 AM

Posted in Bloggers, Blogs, Business, Current Events, Editorial, God, Holidays, Money, Mythology, New Age, Observances, Opinion, Religion, Religion, Sam I Am, Soap Box Religious Opinion, Spiritual, The Ozarks

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“ Should I Join The Military ? ” Editorial

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The Samuel E. Warren Jr.’s

Should I Enlist In The Military ? “ Editorial

 

Salute Your Military Veteran

STAFF SERGEANT RANK_resized

 

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

A young man or woman, who reaches “the age of enlistment” has a decision to make: “Should I join the military ?”

 

Only you can make that decision.

 

I guarantee you “military service” will change your life.

 

Your mother loves you and brought you into this world, so Mom will “Pray” that you don’t enlist because people die in War. It is to be expected that your Mom would prefer you choose another line of work.

 

Everyone forgets “civilians”, the ordinary citizens of the world also happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and also die in War. War is an event that does not “check I. D.s” or decides only “people in uniform” can die in War.

 

Your father loves you and, probably, would prefer you to choose a different job. Unfortunately, for “Dear Ole’ Dad”, centuries of world history have embodied the “Macho Mythology” that a man is suppose to live for War.

 

Horsefeathers !”

 

No one lives for War.

 

War is an event that ends lives in the blink of an eye, leaves land in rubble and contributes to generations of negative emotions, “hard feelings,” suspicion, and in some cases “down right hate.”

 

Your father will find it hard to express his emotions and views on whether he believes you should or should not “join the military.”

 

But, even if your father never finds the words – look in his eyes. Respect is a virtue that shines out through the eyes.

 

Family members will all have an opinion about whether you should “enlist.” Be polite and courteous and listen to their words, which reveals their feelings.

 

Friends will tell you their “fad of the moment reaction.” Throughout world history there are times when the perspective of military service or a military career is popular or unpopular.

 

The Vietnam War was extremely unpopular so the military was called, “The American Military Industrial Complex.”

 

And, “The Draft” made sure enlistment age men did not have to make the decision; the decision was made for them by the politicians of government. You either reported for military service or you went to Canada, Mexico or ran the risk of being sent to jail. No choice.

 

The Gulf War was a popular War. United States Government politicians learned a “War has to be marketed.” The advertising campaign worked. Enthusiasm, adrenaline and patriotism had young Americans lining up to “die for oil”.

 

Global governments can remain dependent on oil – the “Dead Dinosaur Stew.” No one has to think about the War cost of human life, in terms of, “Marines Per Gallon.”

 

Youth to middle age is the “Time Of Life About Passion” and your decisions are made to reflect the “heat of passion” and “to live in the moment.” Youth is about optimism, hope and idealism. Youth is the passion to want and work for a better world.

 

Middle age and older is the reality that Life is about paying bills, buying groceries and raising kids. Middle age means you learn to temper the passion of youth with the reality of daily life and the practical responsibilities that come with it.

 

In the United States Armed Forces the traditional term of enlistment is four years. A lot can happen in your life in four years.

 

You can join the military in “Peace time,” but, War doesn’t use a day planner. War can happen at any time. If you are on active duty or the reserves, when War begins. . .”Here are your orders. Get your gear and report to the flight line.”

 

In making your decision to join the military, forget what your girlfriend or boyfriend has to say. Unless, you are walking down the aisle and, then, into the military recruiter’s office to raise your right hand.

 

A girlfriend or boyfriend’s opinion means “Nothing” because you can change your mind about the person and end the relationship at any time.

 

A “new husband” or a “new wife” is a opinion that you should listen to about your consideration to join the military and the decision to enlist or accept a commission, if it sounds like that person is going to stand beside you and share your life.

 

In the United States Armed Forces, a spouse is as much on active duty as the military member because “Uncle Sam’s” decisions will affect the both of you.

 

Uncle Sam ain’t a family man.

unclesam

 

The mission of the government and the military always comes first.

 

If you want to be the best Little League Coach In United States History and influence generations of little bat swingers and base runners, then, pursue your dream, but: Stay Home. Don’t enlist.

 

The Real World military is not some silly baseball, basketball, football, soccer or golf game; it is a serious,professional calling that saves lives and carries forward a nation’s domestic and foreign policy in no uncertain terms.

 

At the end of the day, it will be you, who signs your signature on the forms and raises your right hand to recite the oath of military service.

 

I joined the United States Air Force because I needed a job.

 

I had been a professional “college student” long enough. I had taken the courses I needed and the “underwater basket weaving” courses that I found interesting. I still didn’t have a clue what I was going to do with “MY” Life.

 

I wanted to make a positive difference in the world.

 

I could never imagine “Mr. Warren” teaching history at Galena High School in Galena, Missouri.

 

Teaching history was never going to put me in the history books alongside General MacArthur or General Patton.

 

Mark Twain had already done the Missouri writer, author and newspaperman routine.

 

Missourian Walter Cronkite was still doing the “CBS Evening News” at the time and as a newsman ranked up there right alongside the president of the United States and all world leaders when it came to being an “international celebrity.”

 

Cronkite’s “credibility” as a newsman and a human being put him shoulder to shoulder with the pope.

 

Like all young men and women, I wanted my shot to help change the world.

 

It is nice to think someday some bored teenager is going to be looking at a photo of you in a history book and scoff, “What did you ever do that was so great ?”

 

All the great jobs and wonderful slots in history had already been taken when I decided to go “eyeball to eyeball with the world.”

 

Missourian General John J. “Blackjack” Pershing had already become the highest ranking American General after General George Washington, so, earning a place in US History or Military History would not be easy.

 

The reality is “Every man or woman, who earns the honor to wear their nation’s military uniform becomes a world leader, even if no one ever publishes their life story or pictures of the person in a history book. Day to day, military service has you carrying out tasks that carry your nation’s policies forward into making a positive change in the world.”

 

Everyone who wears a military uniform and works on behalf of their nation is a world leader.

 

If I were to walk into a room with the Queen of England, the pope, a president, a prime minister and a person in uniform. I would be respectful and polite to the people in the room. I would go to “The G.I.”, the person in uniform to talk and socialize because a military person is a unique person, who has a definite view and understanding of life.

 

The G.I., understands that life is about nobility, honor, credibility, loyalty and hard work. The G.I., understands courage and patriotism are virtues inscribed in your DNA and those virtues have to be lived and not taught or talked about.

 

A G.I., hopes to live long enough to tell “war stories” to his grand kids, but realizes Warribbon_small2 is the event that might require him or her to sacrifice his or her life for their fellow man.

 

Your choice to enlist in the military or accept a commission has to be your choice because it will affect your life from the day you enter “boot camp” until the day they fold and present the flag to your next of kin.

 

AIRMAN FIRST CLASS RANK_resizedA beautiful busty redhead United States Air Force buck sergeant once told an enthusiastic, gungho, flag-waving patriotic, energetic, Airman Warren, “Sam, you were born a civilian. The day will come when you take off the uniform and return to civilian Life.”

 

I grinned, “Not me.”

 

Time has proven we were both right.

 

I did retire from active duty and returned to civilian life – “Officially.”

THE GLOBE_resized

 

 

Global Family

 

I no longer put on the “blue suit” each day. I love to misplace my razor and go for days without shaving. Sometimes, I even take my time strolling into a barber shop for a hair cut.

 

Airman Warren was also right in his youthful arrogance and passion.

 

Staff Sergeant Warren did officially retire. Staff Sergeant Warren returned to “civilian life” and got accustomed to being called, “Mr. Warren,” or “Sam.”

 

But, after a career of military service, you never “truly” return to “civilian life” because you gain an international perspective of Life.

 

You realize Ramon Q. Saldana Jr., of Barangay Baras, Leyte, Republic of the Philippines works hard for his children and wants them to have a good life, while you know that Brenda Martin, of Abesville, Missouri, United States of America is still going to college and working at making her place in the world for a happy and successful life.

 

In the Family Of Humankind we are all related. A national policy of “Isolationism” is unrealistic – Thanks to World War II, which proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that no matter where you are in the world, War can find you.

 

Back in Missouri, I would hear friends remark, “American foreign aid is a dumb policy. We should keep that money here at home.” Money is like water; it has to move. When water stands in a hole, it stagnates and breeds mosquitoes, which carry disease.

 

The Message Of Money

 

When money stays in a bank and doesn’t move, it stagnates and breeds hostility among the citizens, who need the money for their businesses, pay their mortgages, car payments, buy groceries and pay their electric and water bills.

 

Eventually, Citizens get tired of reluctant banks and some citizens decide to carry guns to “liberate” the funds of banks and get the money moving.

 

I read an interview with a famous American bank robber and the interviewer asked, “Why do you rob banks ?”

 

That is where the money is,” replied the robber.

 

American foreign aid recognizes that money has to circulate to keep the world in business at home and abroad.

 

People or banks, who sit on money are only kidding themselves because everyone on the planet affects someone around them and an ocean or a mountain is no longer a permanent barrier,

 

Effective Economics

 

An economic crisis in China will affect Americans in the Ozarks. Before my wife and I sold Warren Land in Missouri, one of those walnut logs from Stone County, Missouri had been selected to be shipped to China to be manufactured into a table.

 

The Occupy Wall Street” and “The Arab Spring” movements are over . . .for now. People are no longer content to be peasants. People, now, expect a decent living wage, and an acceptable standard of living.

 

Thanks to facebook, tumblr,Twitter, Google, Yahoo, Word Press, Blogger, Flickr, Picasa and the Internet – the world is now a neighborhood.

 

Real time communication allows people around the world to check on friends and family wherever they are on the planet, so breaking news is now only seconds or minutes from reaching people.

 

Citizens Of The World

 

No longer is a person just a citizen of their barangay, county, parish,province,state,republic, country or nation. Now, every citizen truly is a Citizen Of The World.

 

Governments are aware that the citizens no longer expect to be treated like children, who are given candy and told to sit in the corner, while the world moves on.

 

International and national change is an element of life. Change is not always welcomed and sometimes, even governments are reluctant to accept change. Change is not always gradual or peaceful, sometimes change becomes violent and War erupts.

 

A person can choose to join and serve in the military or they can just hope that War will not happen in their lifetime and that they will not end up getting “drafted.”

 

Peace Is Unstable

 

For the record, Peace is unstable. Periods of peace on the world stage are few and far between.

 

Until the day comes when Israel’s Arab neighbors are no longer trying to destroy Israel, the idea of world peace will remain a childish fairy tale.

 

When you take the time to read the news and think about Life, you will realize that now you have to have an “international perspective” that goes beyond your city, state or nation.

 

The G.I., can “retire” or get the “honorable discharge”, but, you never truly return to civilian life because you have changed and now realize that you see and understand the world differently than the “civilians” around you.

 

In retirement, you maybe an “ordinary citizen” again, but, your choice to serve in the military changed your life. Whether you realize it or not; you now know what is truly important to you in your life. You know and understand your personal values.

 

The Choice

 

What makes a retired G.I., different that the citizen beside him or her ? The choice.

 

Joining the military is never about “getting a job”, “payment of college tuition”, “free medical or dental care,” or any of the other bogus justifications that we rationalize to our minds.

 

The decision, “to serve”, means that you hear a calling in your heart or mind that tells you: “This Is Who You Are ! ”

 

Heroic Heritage

 

Anyone can put on a uniform or Halloween costume and pretend to be in the military.

 

A veteran or retiree knows what it means to “wear the uniform” and “do what has to be done” to be worthy to wear that uniform and honor the memories of the legions of men and women who have worn a variation of that uniform down through the centuries.

 

A military veteran, a military retiree, a military reservist, and a military man or woman on active duty are simply citizens, who understand the importance of standing up for what you believe and having the courage to wear a uniform that proclaims I will go anywhere, anytime to defend my right and your right to live our lives as we see fit.

 

Citizenship In Action

 

Your decision to join your nation’s military always has to be your decision.

 

Whatever nation you live in and are a citizen of, then, the honor to serve your country is never a responsibility to be taken lightly. You represent your government, but, your heart and soul should always rest shoulder to shoulder with your fellow citizens. The government signs the paycheck, but, the citizens pay the taxes that allow the government to pay the troops on duty.

 

For what it is worth, if you do decide to enlist or accept a commission of military service, then, you have the admiration of one retired American sergeant. I salute you.

 

Welcome To The Immortal Legion !

 

 

Samuel

Word Warrior Warren

 

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Written by samwarren55

November 13, 2012 at 11:38 PM

Posted in Bloggers, Blogs, Editorial, Family, Holidays, Opinion, Patriotism

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Trials, Tribulation, Triumphant Tale of the Old Computer Geek

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Trials, Tribulation, Triumphant,Tale

of the

Old Computer Geek

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

My birthday is only a couple of days after Microsoft Founder Bill Gates. Computer software made Mr. Gates wealthy.  Computer software gave me gray hair and, probably, ulcers,  Nonetheless, I am an “Old Computer Geek.”

United States Air Force “Buck” Sergeant Bill Law, a KC-10 crew chief, of the 2nd Bombardment Wing of Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, did his best to bring me into: The New Emerging Computer Age Of The 1980s.

I was a Junior in Galena High School, in Galena, Missouri, in 1972, when Wes Ashcroft, my math teacher, gave me a 8 by 10-sized paperback book with about a hundred or so pages in it. I forgot the title of the book, but, not the story inside. It outlined the ongoing development of computers.

The Book

In the 1800s, while Thomas Edison and Luther Burbank were working on various inventions, some people were determined to discover a way to capture light to make pictures that would become photography and devices called, cameras. Still, there were other people in the 1800s, that knew there had to be knowledge and a method to build a “Counting Machine.” The overall idea was beyond adding machines, cash registers and calculators.

The technology of the day, of the 1800s, had the refined and polished parts of the Industrial Revolution to work with. But, the polished parts of sheet metal and forged metal arranged together only resulted in abacus type functions that did not allow for the “counting” that the inventors had hoped for.

Those original “counting” machine ideas were the first rough ideas of computers. Alas, while the ambition, passion and innovation of creative people was rampant; technology did not provide a way to combine the metal, mechanical machine functions with a power source to create a computer.

After all, the hard charging newspaper reporters of the 1800s were still pounding out their breaking news stories on heavy manual typewriters to make the morning, afternoon and evening editions of America’s daily newspapers.

The Math Teacher

The book, Mr. Ashcroft gave me, outlined how development of electronic parts had allowed these transistors to be used to build huge room sized contraptions that performed simple mathematical functions. And, the book theorized that someday the “computer”, especially, the popular, expensive game computers built for use in homes might become as common in American homes as televisions and automobiles.

I always remember Mr. Ashcroft because of his smile, sense of humor, and he was the only math teacher I ever had that made me “like” math. I hated math. To me, math was boring. Mr. Ashcroft teaching method helped to allow me to want to understand more about math.

Most people in southwest Missouri, remember, Wes Ashcroft, the math teacher, as the brother of John Ashcroft, who became a United States Attorney General.

The Sergeant

While I never forgot the book that Mr. Ashcroft gave me, it was Sergeant Bill Law, who did his best to convince me that computers would make a difference in the future. He would put a cassette tape in the Tandy Radio Shack cassette recorder and we had to wait for the electronic bits to travel along the cords to wake up the TV or the crude monitor.

Then, the electricity would allow pixels to appear on the screen to reveal childish art that looked like rough cave paintings on the screen, The words at the bottom of the screen were text and described an adventure story that you were suppose to push buttons on the keyboard to play the game.

Bill Law was an early computer gamer. Me, I would shake my head and wonder why anyone would be willing to spend all that money, the time to connect all those cords and pieces of equipment to spend a few minutes to play a computer game.

My First Computer

I told myself I bought my Commodore 64 to impress people and learn computers. It sat on the coffee table in my barracks room and I gave it a light dusting each morning, just in case the First Sergeant (i.e., the “First Shirt”) decided to pull a surprise barracks room inspection. I know, now, I bought the computer to keep my friend from always giving me his “used car salesman computer pitch” and his prophecy that someday computers would change the world.

Bill’s Computer

Bill had a Tandy Radio Shack Color Computer II that he thought was the “Cat’s Meow.” We were two young, single American G.I.s interested in airplanes and girls.

We understood airplanes and we did our best to understand the girls. A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker crew chief, who took the additional training to become a KC-10 crew chief, Sergeant Bill Law knew that computers would change the world.

I bought Bill Law’s old “Trash 80,” computer so he could upgrade to the “elite of the fleet” the Tandy Radio Shack 1000. I took my orders to Kadena Air Base Okinawa and said “Good Riddance To Computers”

How could ugly green screens with dim yellow flashing dots ever hope to change the world ? They did.

Meet The Frankenstein’s Of The Future

My favorite philosophical uncle, “Uncle Sam” had sent me to Kadena Air Base. Day One, The large, long, rectangular, heavy, beige, plastic encased, IBM Selectric III typewriter, with it’s 12 pica elite and courier balls, I had used at Barksdale was not on my desk at Kadena.

A ugly, squat, dark plastic gray box that looked like a cheap, pregnant, TV sat on my desk. It was an NCR computer.

It was a physically ugly machine that looked like it had been born. not in a hospital or laboratory, but in the back seat of a junked car in a salvage yard. It was a gray, plastic electronic head, missing a pike or a body.

The machine was a Frankenstein of the Future that looked like it should of remained in the horrific nightmares of a mental patient in an asylum, rather, than leeching space on my desk.

One look at the ugly machine and it was all I could do to keep my breakfast at the chow hall in my stomach. The only good thing about the ugly machine, it didn’t take up much space on the corner or my desk.

The Miracle Of Newspapers

To be able to publish a newspaper is always a Miracle. There are so many factors that have to happen to be able to get “a newspaper out on the street.”

A good manual or electric typewriter had become the Global Support Beam Of A Worldwide Publishing Industry.

Computers were toys – plastic boxes of electricity and wires for people who were “gamers.”

The idea of “Desktop Publishing” in the mid-1980s seemed to rank right up there with “Unicorn Farming.”

We were suppose to be able to publish a weekly military newspaper. While we had the usual duties of coming up with story ideas, contacting people, setting up interviews, doing interviews and writing the stories and arranging for pictures to be taken – we still had to work with an electronic life form that seemed better suited for the autopsy table of a mad scientist’s laboratory than in an office.

We, military journalists, were the Ernest Hemingways and the Ernie Pyles of the United States Armed Forces, who were expected to moonlight throughout the day as Doctor Frankenstein’s hunchback assistant to try to get our electronic Frankenstein abominations on the desk to do something remotely like typing and publishing.

It was not exciting to me to be at the forefront of a new technology.

I was a newspaper man, who just wanted to get the story in print and out on the street. Of course, global technology proved to be the “ultimate speed freak” because it took off and did not stop.

Computer Curiosity

My contempt for computers changed to curiosity. By the time Uncle Sam handed me orders for “The P.I.,” I had become a neophyte in the Celestial Cosmic Order of Global Geekdom.

I knew how to get into DOS and use wild cards, forward slashes and back slashes to wake up a “Windoze pizza box” computer and get it to blink back to life.

Uncle always had all his “official” policies about computer repair, alas, as the clock on the wall ticks off the seconds to a newspaper deadline and the pizza box on the desk is schizophrenic – it became “red S on the chest time” – and I would hear, “Get Sam !” I never popped the buttons off my uniform shirt to reveal a big red S on my chest, I would just smile, slip into the chair and type my way into MS-DOS.

Deadline Dollar Delays

Uncle Sam, of course, would have been livid at me not waiting for the “blessed, sanctified, certified, official computer US Government repairman”, but, when a newspaper is late getting out on the street; it affects the “credibility” of the publication.

Uncle Sam’s “bean counting, number crunching, regulation writing, regulation reading, penny pinching bureaucrats” could understand, an even more important concept, – miss a newspaper deadline and Uncle Sam has to “pay for the delay.”

And, the delay was never the pocket change of a few dollars, but several hundred dollars that could quickly rise to several thousand dollars as minutes became hours and printing presses sat idle waiting for the news copy to be delivered to the publisher.

When I solved a computer problem, I felt good. I had gotten into the head of the “electronic dumb animal” and jump started it’s mustard seed mind. I had us back at the keyboard ready to “beat the clock” and make the deadline.

Whether the shadowy bureaucrats appreciated it or not, I had saved Uncle “money” and “time” – no need to schedule an official repairman, who would most likely try to give us the song and dance act of, “Umm.  I can’t get to it today.  I’ll have to work you in later in the week.”

Back Burner Bureaucracy of Computer Repair

The “official” computer repairmen, who were usually contracted from a computer company by Uncle Sam never understood a primal instinct of human nature.  Like hungry cave men and women, people have always had a barbaric hunger for information.

Newspapers, dailies, weeklies, military –  were all the “real-time, streaming information” equivalents of the day.  In Society, before facebook and Twitter, people still had an insatiable lust and hunger for the latest factual information on issues that interest them and affected their lives.

When CNN first went “On The Air” it was “The Second Coming of Television Broadcasting,” I, and other Americans did not seem able to get enough of the constant news coverage from around the world.

“The Passionate Priesthood Of Public Publishing”

When the first issues of USA Today came “hot off the presses” in the early 1980s, “The Messiah Of American Newspaper Publishing Had Been Born.” 

The clean layout, colorful design, large, action oriented photos and the “fast” publication of the daily newspaper in what was considered “remote” places in the world made USA Today the facebook and Twitter of the American Newspaper Publishing Industry.

In technical training school we were required to look at the stories and overall design of USA Today each morning before classes.  Instructors were teaching us USA Today design concepts probably as quickly as editors at the newspaper were publishing the ideas.

CNN had transformed American Television News Coverage and USA Today had transformed the American Newspaper Publishing Industry.  Thus, any delay in getting “news out on the street” was an unforgiveable sin of the highest order.

Computer repairmen simply did not understand “The Passionate Priesthood Of Public Publishing.”

Deadline DOS Dancing

When I had succeeded in tinkering and typing around with the DOS codes to get a computer back up and running, I would smile, “The Fate Of The Free World” and more importantly, “My Newspaper” had been on my shoulders and I had “Saved The Day.”

Thus, I “tinkered” and “played” with Windows DOS computers, marveled at the expensive Apple computers and took every opportunity to “dabble” with Amiga computers.

Now, that I am retired – I just want to write, shoot photos and publish my articles and photos.

GIGO Chromosomes

Personal Computers still have too many “GIGO Chromosomes.” GIGO is an early computer term of the 1970s and 1980s, which reminded the early nerds and geeks of a common sense commandment – “Garbage In; Garbage Out,” which meant if you input in the wrong information, then, you would get bad information out of the computer.

Some things Never Change – Love-War- Computers.

Computers have been programmed to be “smarter”, but the flaw remains “intelligence.” Like some people, ALL computers “lack Common Sense.”

A computer can still not think for itself. There are all types of “artificial intelligence” schemes, projects, initiatives and various undertakings ongoing, but – computers still rely on the “human” to input data at some point.

In retirement, I have fixed friends Windows PC computers to get them up and running. I smile at my Filipino and Filipina nephews and nieces and amaze them with my computer knowledge to resurrect the “Lazarus” laptop computer back to life and duty.

I leave the “illegitimate children of computers” – cellphones –  to the fertile young imaginations of my nieces, nephews and future generations.

After my passionate interests in telephone operators “Barksdale 18” and an Offutt telephone operator of my young, single days, I lost my interest in “Ma Bell’s” frustrating ringing device and chose to stand beside Mark Twain, in his conviction, that telephones are annoying, nuisance devices.

Nonetheless, I am an Old Computer Geek. When a computer issue comes up, good reporter that I am I find my metaphorical Ma Bell phone booth, step inside, and emerge “Up, Up And Away” to save the day for “Truth, Justice. . .And A Working Computer.”

Sam

Article published using Windows Live Writer 2011

Written by samwarren55

July 28, 2012 at 8:04 PM

Posted in Bloggers, Blogs, Current Events, Editorial, Family, Opinion, Sam I Am, Stone County History

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