Sister Gwen van Kleef with Saluki Pups

Sister Gwen van Kleef with Saluki Pups

Scanning in some old photos(slides) and came across some of my sister Gwen with a friend's Saluki pups.  One of the oldest breeds. Beautiful dogs. The photos are from the early 70s - the last one is the mama - not being very co-operative.

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Recent Family Trip to Palm Springs, CA

Recent Family Trip to Palm Springs, CA

Family Christmas 2015

Spent Christmas with my boys.  Had been a few years since we were all together.  Went to Palm Springs for a few days.  Got to take a few pictures.  We had a blast. Dylan Glyn Jones, K Spencer Jones, Gareth Glyn Jones. 

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Hiking with my granddaughter

Hiking with my granddaughter

Here are a few more pictures from our hike in Glendale(Los Angeles).  I asked Peyton to go sit on the bench so I could take a few pictures.  The posing was all her:

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Hike with my granddaughter in Glendale

Hike with my granddaughter in Glendale

On our hike last Saturday we went up an ‘in town’ mountain a few minutes from where they live.  Nice hike. Beautiful sunny day.  Lots of friendly people and lots of dogs for Peyton to pet.  She is so friendly and outgoing.  Peyton and I were able to catch some interesting shadows.

She will say hello to anyone and everyone.  

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My Granddaughter

My Granddaughter

Five years ago tomorrow I became a grandfather.  Opa to my little one.  Due to various complications of life – living in different countries and some other factors I hadn’t been able to see her until this past week.  Believe me the first few days were a little emotional.  I’ve been sending her books for the last two or three years and have been able to read to her – makes me so happy.  Tons of Dr Seuss, Harry the Dirty Dog and lots more.  She is so outgoing, will talk to anyone and I’m so happy that her parents allow this and don’t make her afraid of her environment. 

AND I’m just so happy…

Here are a few pictures from our day at the park up the street.  More hiking shots later.

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Global Warming – Scary, isn’t it?!!

Global Warming – Scary, isn’t it?!!

Governments are generally about controlling populations.
The media feeds off controversy.
These two things work together hand in hand to keep a general population – particularly in the US of A believing pretty much what they are told to believe.  Throw out information that is alarming and made more alarming by repeating it and repeating it and having the same information come from numerous sources, then it gets pretty easy to point a populace where ever you want.  
Two of the biggest controversies that I end up seeing on Facebook and the media in general are 
“Global Warming” and the ‘Gun’ controversy.  
If I want to alarm a people or get them on my side the simplest thing to do would be feed them a piece of information and not compare it in any way to other information of similar value.

Warning: Anyone reading this likely has made decisions on the above subjects one way or the other and many people won’t want to hear that there are rational arguments on both sides.  All I’m really trying to do here is get people to step back and not get sucked into media/government agendas.

If you were to tell your child constantly how bad they were and not point out successes, I’m pretty sure that you would have a pretty unhappy and recalcitrant child.  
Most of what I hear on ‘Climate Change’ or ‘Global Warming’ is how bad it all is.  Here is a success against pollution.  After the World War II, Los Angeles started a program to fix their  pollution problems.  The smog was getting worse there and there had been numerous deaths due to smog in Great Britain.  They did not want the same problems in LA so started a program to handle it.  
Here is a graph of improvements up until 1997:
You can find information on the whole project here: 
I was in Los Angeles in 1979 for a few months.  It was still pretty bad.  Again I was there for most of 2005 and part of 2006.  No comparison.  Completely different.
I agree with the fact that we need to take care of our planet. It will never happen by throwing alarming information at people.  Why not “Hey, look what they did in Los Angeles, isn’t that cool?”  
I’m trying my hardest here to not argue one side or the other of Climate Change or Global Warming.  
People freak out about deforestation in the rainforests of Brazil.  Here is a quote from an article on the subject.  
“Since 2004 the rate of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon has fallen nearly 80 percent to the lowest levels recorded since annual record keeping began in the late 1980s.”
It is not remotely perfect yet, but there is improvement.  We have been and are fixing the planet.  If you listen to the media and Facebook, we are about two days from going to hell in a hand basket.
Here is another one that will stir the pot.  “30,000 gun deaths in the USA in 2014!!!” (I’ve seen several memes on Facebook with this figure.)   
There are a couple of things wrong with fact.  One, it doesn’t compare it to anything.  This could be double what it was 10, 20 or 30 years ago or it could be half.  It could be the worst in the world compared to other countries – which if you ask, most people will be sure that this is true – or it could be that the USA isn’t even in the top hundred per capita gun murders in the world.  The problem is a datum, any data, is useless if not compared to something else.  
The other thing about the ’30,000 gun deaths in the USA’ is that it is NOT TRUE!  It is completely false.  
Per a website called Gun Violence Archive the gun deaths in 2014 were 12,576.  And per US Department of Justice Statistics:

“Firearm-related homicides declined 39%, from 18,253 in 1993 to 11,101 in 2011”

So, you see, things are actually getting better, not worse.  
BUT, can you see some media whore saying, ‘Hey folks, things are going really well right now, there is no reason to be alarmed.’   Or ‘Things have improved so much, that we are not going to pass any new laws this year…’ 
I’m sorry, but that is not going to happen anytime soon because it doesn’t keep a population in fear and it doesn’t keep people hooked so that advertising can be sold.  
So, take a fact.  First check to see if it is true.  Check it against other facts.  Then take a look at what you can do about it.  By just passing it on, true or not true, it will likely just upset someone.  If you have a cause that you feel strongly about, then get your facts straight, find a starting point and do something about it.  
And here is a secret: posting shit on Facebook is not ‘doing something’!!  If you are going to change society or a part thereof, you are actually going to have to go out there and talk to people.  
But that is the subject of a whole different article.  The point of this one to check and compare your facts.  Governments and the media make money and control populations by keeping people afraid and upset.  
Do you want to forward their agendas?
It can be seen, if one looks that there are a lot of things that have improved in the world.  Believe me, I know there is a lot of shit in the world and a lot of evil.  
You will get further by making your environment calmer and show people how they can change things a little at a time than forwarding media alarmist hype.
We were put in this world to help.  Go out there and find a project – and help.  

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Agree, Disagree – It’s up to you Or ‘How to Communicate’

Have you ever tried to communicate an idea to someone who is very angry with you?  Probably didn’t have much luck getting your idea across did you?

I watch people on Facebook and in real life arguing about guns or religion or some other political issue and they are trying to communicate their ideas into the face of someone who is in complete disagreement with their view.  If you break this down a bit you know that they don’t ‘like’ the other person and really don’t know much about them.  So, there is no real communication.  Mostly both sides are shouting at a wall.

I had a friend that did not like her daughter-in-law(nothing new in the universe, eh?). Anyway, the son and the mom had a grand falling out and mom is always wanting to get back in touch by ‘sorting out their disagreement’.  I have advised her to not continually go in on a point of DISAGREEMENT.  Trying to discuss all the details and who is right, etc. gets nowhere.  It would not be that hard to find things to agree upon that are completely unrelated to the mom vs daughter-in-law disaster.  And talk about that.  

When one finds points to agree upon, they will find they start to like each other more and more and will communicate – real communication, where they actually are willing to receive each others ideas.  99% of the time the big thing that was creating the massive upset becomes insignificant.  Or they will now have enough willingness to communicate and not just tell the other how wrong they are.  

My observation is that most people will think that the person on the other side of the fence is just stupid and not listening.  Guess what, they think the exact same thing about you!! 

Shouting and directing more and more volume of data to try and convince the person you are right and they are wrong will just create more of a rift and make things more difficult.  You will like the person or person’s on the other side less and less; you will think less of them to the point of doing harm to them is not too difficult to conceive. 

You can see this every day in the world. 

Just calling the other person an idiot, really doesn’t solve anything.

So, if you want to get your point of view to someone that has a completely opposite view to yours you will need some real communication with them. This means that you will have to find points of common agreement.  If that person does not like you at least a little bit or have some kind of respect for you(which is a type of liking) then there is no way in the world that are going to ‘get’ your communication.  

So, if you want to change the world, if you want the person on the opposing ‘side’ to understand your point of view, you are going to have to ‘get in communication with them.  This does not mean throwing more volumes of data.  It means finding who they are as a person, what makes them tick.  You will probably have to like them at least just a little bit.  The goal is not getting them to like you but you liking them – it will never work the other way.  If you can’t get yourself to the point of being willing to hear who they are and their side of the story then they will never listen to yours.  It doesn’t mean you have to agree with everything they say.  I am sure there will be points of agreement.  Maybe not on the subject of guns or religion or abortion but maybe it will be on muscle cars or crafts, who knows.  

This can apply to individuals and countries.  

There are a small percentage of people that will refuse to get in communication – they are a real minority.  
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The toughest, most difficult thing really is to tolerate the intolerant. To resist the urge to throw all the bigots on a small island somewhere and let that island float away. I guess if I did that I would have to go with them.

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Religious Tolerance and Religious Intolerance

This ‘rant’ could easily fall under the subject of manners.  
I have, this summer, been exposed to a couple of interesting examples of religious intolerance or what we minimally could call ‘bad manners’. 
The first was when a Sikh man came to my booth with his wife while I was working at the Calgary Stampede.  He started to chat with me as his wife was finding out about our skin cream from one of the other sales people.  Somehow the subject of religion came up and I mentioned mine  He immediately made a comment ridiculing an aspect of my beliefs.  I was taken aback and was a bit slow to respond.  After this he started to pitch me on his religion – Sikhism.  I was really sorry I did not call him out on this – he was actually a pretty nice young guy and I’m quite certain he would not have done this again if I had pointed out his hypocrisy.  
The second incident occurred more recently with a devout Christian friend of mine.  There was a Sikh man near us with a turban.  My friend made some very denigrating remarks about this man and his beliefs.  Thank god he was too far away to hear her.  At least I hope he didn’t hear.   My friend was quite vehement in her comments.  Saying things like ‘those people should dress like us when they come to our country’ and ‘they make their women cover their faces’ and similar comments.  (I will clarify the difference between Sikhism and Muslims and Hindus in a moment.)
First of all, I really don’t care how a person worships or what they believe as long as they don’t propagate fear and hate.  From anything I have read, Christ, Siddhartha, Nanak and Muhammad all preached tolerance for others and the beliefs of others. This was a very big part of their teachings – all of them.  It is only the subsequent teachings and interpretations that create hate and intolerance for the beliefs of others and their cultures.  
It is always a very small part of any group that promotes hate and fear.  The majority of people that I interact with in any group or culture or religion are good, decent people.  It is all to many people that criticize another culture or religion without actually finding out about it first.  I have been guilty of this in the past and generally feel like an idiot when I realize what I have done.  
As to the comments by my Christian friend about the Sikh, let it be known that the Sikhs are not Muslim or Hindu.  As one example, the Sikh religion allows for women to be equal to men in all aspects of life.  And there is no caste system in the Sikh religion.  There are many more differences and there is a link below if you would like to find out.
I have my own beliefs and religion.  But I respect that another person can have those different than mine.   But I do hope that even if you are a complete atheist(and that is OK if you are) that you will respect and allow me and others ours.  

To find out a bit more about the Sikh religion check this out:
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Gun Control vs Deaths in USA and Australia

When one reads statistics one must not look at too broad or too narrow an area.

I recently watched a comedian online (who was quite funny by the way) talking about gun control and violence in Australia vs the USA.  He pointed out that in 1996 there was a violent shooting in Australia that prompted laws to be put in place to remove guns from the people of that country.  This action is believed to have resulted in a 50% decline in gun deaths in the 15 years following. 

More details on that event here:
Australia and gun control

I thought that maybe I should compare the same period in the United States.  That makes sense right.  The above article assumes that gun violence is rampant and increasing and pretty much out of control in the States. 

Well, lo and behold, lookey here… This surprised even me: From 1993 to 2010 the gun homicide rate is down 49% in the United States of America.  (In the same period of time non-fatal firearm crimes are down over 70%.)
Here is an article with some of these stats:
Trends in homicide rates USA

So, I’m thinking that there may be some other reason for the decline in gun violence in both places.  It might not have anything to do with guns.  Or not guns.  But it may not be controversial enough for the media. 

Would it not be better to find what is actually lowering these rates and reinforce that than bandy about one’s own version of the stats.  Maybe by actually figuring out why we could reduce this violence even more. 

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