Wednesday, November 29, 2006


The title and picture are intended to help get your attention as I present ideas and thoughts about the draft.

There is discussion in the media and in politics about military preparedness, the accomplishment of recruiting goals, the socio-economic make-up of those actually serving in the Armed Forces, and draft reinstatement. One U. S. Congressman said that he plans to present legislation in the next Congress to reinstate the draft. I won't write his name here because I don't want my upcoming views to be considered political. My view of why I believe we need the draft has nothing to do with Democrat, Republican or current administration.

I have read a couple newspaper editorial pages and listened to a radio talk show about the reasons we don't need the draft. Specifically, I've read the Winston-Salem Journal, The Wall Street Journal, and listened to the morning commentators on 101.1 FM. Brad and Britt on WZTK in Burlington, North Carolina discussed one morning a GI Bill equivalent to the one following WWII as an incentive to recruit more volunteers. They correctly pointed out the great investment in America this entitlement produced following the Great War. They raised the question: "why shouldn't anyone who serves in the military get a full scholarship to any college of their choice if the veteran qualifies and gains acceptance to the college?"

The Winston-Salem Journal editorial wrote "No to Draft" on November 22 because "A draft would not end socio-economic disparity in the military....unless it was a universal draft with no volunteer forces." The editorial writer also reasoned that a draft "carries with it a whole new set of problems, the worst being the weakening of the American forces, ...".

The Wall Street Journal editorial on November 25 quoted statistics from a recent Heritage Foundation report that state 97% of enlistees are high school graduates, the poor are underrepresented, and Hispanic Americans are overrepresented in the military. They further quote the Heritage study author and Air Force veteran who says "the military doesn't want a draft. What the military wants is the most effective fighting force they can field."

My view is different. It is bad public policy to staff the military with all volunteers and then send these volunteers on three tours of duty in Iraq over six years, as we're doing with the Third Infantry Division. These soldiers and their families are repeatedly put in harm's way and are required to make sacrifices beyond reasonable expectations. We should not defend our country's interest with a minimum force of military volunteers and contractors. Our Armed Forces should reflect the make-up of our society so all of us have an interest in where our troops are deployed.

Return here on Friday, December 1 for continuing thoughts about the architecture of a military force.

Have a good day!


Monday, November 27, 2006

One Faith

I read every word and processed every sentence in the non-fiction eye-popping book about the emergence of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) beginning in the early 1800's. The book, pictured above, is about Joseph Smith starting the religion, the process of writing The Book of Mormon, plural marriages, the growth of the religion and the movement of its followers in the Southwest, Mexico, and Canada.

A few self-proclaimed prophets emerged from within the believers with instructions from God to kill certain people. Gruesome murders were carried out by a few prophets. Some were captured, convicted and now are inside the prison system.

An interesting presentation of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) was put forth in expert testimony at the trials of brothers Dan and Ron Lafferty.

This is a very interesting and alarming book you may want to read.

Return here on Wednesday, November 29 for an update.

Have a good day!

In future blog updates I plan to write about my vision and concept about how to staff the armed forces of the United States. Stay tuned.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Edward Briggs Shamel

Edward Briggs Shamel, 9/5/30 - 11/14/06

age 76

Ed, thank you for the many hearty laughs we enjoyed together. Your tales, stories, jokes and perspectives made me laugh to tears. I will miss you.

Farewell, my friend.

Return here on Monday, November 27 for an update.

Have a good day!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Thank You, Golden Corral

When someone wants to do something nice for you, let them. That's the mindset I embraced when I went to Golden Corral on 11/13/06 to join other veterans for dinner. For several years now the Golden Corral has honored veterans by feeding us a dinner meal around Veterans Day.

This free meal in 400 restaurants in 40 states is an incredible expression of appreciation extended to vets young and old. This was the second year I've joined them for this evening dinner of anything on their menu. The line of veterans and sometimes their spouses extended into the parking lot. The line moved quickly considering the large number of people eating. The wait- staff hustled in the dining rooms as the kitchen staff kept replenishing the food bars. It was service with a smile from all employees of the restaurant.

Due to another commitment, my wife couldn't join me this year so I went alone. I walked up to the end of the line behind a lady who recognized me as one who grew up in a neighborhood with her in the 1950's. I hadn't seen her in 40 plus years, I suppose. I talked with her and her husband, who served in Vietnam, as we slowly advanced to the inside. It was good to get reacquainted with this former neighbor and schoolmate who is now retired from a career at RJR Archer.

As I moved to the cash register inside, I collected my tray and water. The cashier handed me the receipt. (see above receipt which reads "military appreciat" Total $ 0.00) I progressed into the dining area where all tables were occupied by veterans and families eating all they could hold. I found an available seat where another veteran was eating alone so I joined him. We ate and talked about our military service experiences. He was in the Navy for four years in the late fifties and was from Connecticut. His name was Woodrow Wilson II. He said there would be no Woodrow Wilson IV because his son, the 3rd, had recently died without a son.

Anyway, we had an enjoyable talk and a wonderful meal compliments of Golden Corral. I hope you will patronize this restaurant throughout the year.

I thank the Golden Corral Corporate Office team as well as the restaurant managers and employees in Winston-Salem.

Return here on Tuesday, November 21 for an update.

Have a good day!


Friday, November 17, 2006

What Do You See

The top picture is what I see every morning when I look outside before daylight. I always rise from bed around 4:30 AM and after bathroom duties I venture to the window to look outdoors to see about weather conditions. I use a wireless remote switch to turn on a light that shines onto the birch tree beside our deck. I leave this light turned on until daylight so I can see outside as I walk past the window two times as I move from my computer to the coffee pot.

If you look at the top picture closely to the left of the tree trunk about one-third the way up you may see a white dot. A closer view of the white dot is shown in the bottom picture. This is a recent addition I made to illuminate the outdoors further away from my house. I added a 100 watt light bulb under the patio roof over the spring which is about 300 feet behind my house. This bulb is on a 24-hour timer and is set to turn on for a couple hours after dusk and again before dawn. A United States flag hangs underneath the roof's edge which adds color to the surrounding darkness. Click here to see daylight view of shelter in bottom picture.

This look-see to the outdoors is one way I eagerly begin each new day.

Return here on Sunday, November 19 for an update.

Have a good day!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A Trail

It has only been a few years ago that I really began to understand the magnitude of the displacement of the American Indians during the early eighteen hundreds. This enlightenment occurred as a result of reading and travels. Jimmy Carter's book The Hornet's Nest (2003) and my visit to Chicago gave me a sense of the vast numbers of Indian tribes that existed in this country in the past. A mural about the growth history of Chicago displayed on the top floor of the John Hancock building shows Indians who lived in the Midwest. A play directed at children I happened upon while in a museum in Chicago was about Indians and buffalo.

Our vacation in Seattle and my attendance at a Powwow there further opened my eyes about Indian culture in the Northwest.

A trip to Fort Smith, Arkansas and my visit to the National Historic site in that town showed the graphics in the pictures at the top and bottom of this posting. The top picture shows Indian populations represented by the lights on the map in the year 1810. The bottom picture shows the Indian movement and the concentration of their habitation in Oklahoma by 1838.

The middle picture is a sign I photographed at Blue Springs in Arkansas.

This exposure to information has enhanced my awareness of some history that I was somewhat familiar. I knew about the Lost Colony and the theory that Indians were responsible for their disappearance. I had heard of the Trail of Tears and knew a lot of places were named after Indians.

I suppose this enlightenment is an example of results that can happen from reading and traveling. I've been told all my life by teachers, family, friends, and others that there is value in reading and travels.

I'm sure you have examples of enlightenment in your life that parallel descriptions like mine. Perspectives, points of view, and experiences are worthy of time and study.

Return here on Friday, November 17 for an update.

Have a quality-filled day!

Friday, November 10, 2006

November 11, 2006

To: All Veterans

From: Mike Mabe

Thank You!

Return here on Wednesday, November 15 for another post.

Have a good day!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Meeting New People

When traveling on vacation, my wife and I meet interesting people by inviting respectable looking strangers to join us at our table at meal time. The three men in the picture above were sight seeing in Costa Rica. Two of them were electrical engineers from Spain on assignment in CR to help start-up power generation equipment and to train operators. The third gentleman was from Honduras and was there as an economic consultant.

The picture below shows four women we met. Two were a mother and daughter from Lima, Peru. They worked as economists for banks in their country and were on vacation in San Jose, CR. As for the other two ladies, one was a clothing designer and dancer from New York City. Her friend worked for a chemical company and lived in New Jersey. They flew to Costa Rica for a long weekend getaway trip.

The ladies from New York and New Jersey paid for a round of drinks when they learned my wife and I were there to celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary.

The pictures were made by the waiter or waitress.

Return here for an update on Friday, November 10.

Have a good day!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Wonder Sights

I've seen awesome sights in Chicago, Costa Rica and many other places. The top picture is a view from the top floor of the John Hancock building taken when my wife and I visited there in 2003. The next picture was made of the same building at ground level.

The third picture is a view from the rim of Volcano Poas as we visited a national park in the mountains of Costa Rica, the country we toured in 2004 to celebrate our 35th anniversary. I'm reading the park's sign in the bottom picture.

I've seen some equally awesome images since I took these photos, but I wasn't able to capture them on film. The reason I couldn't is because these sights were in classrooms where I "subbed" for teachers in high school. I have stood in front of classes of high school teenagers explaining the day's assignment, relating a story, or expressing to them how they should think and reason about certain aspects of school, learning and growing up.

I've seen faces among these crowds looking back at me admiringly. These fleeting moments can't be captured on film, but they are recorded in my memory. I now know one reason teachers teach.

Return here on Wednesday, November 8 for an update.

Have a good day!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Classic Bed

The pictures here show a bed made of solid walnut. I followed the plans which were published in Woodsmith magazine in December, 1996. This is a sturdy bed which does not sag or shake when weight is added.

This bed is one of four I built following this design. Two were built with walnut, one with quartersawn red oak, and one from cherry. Three beds are full size and one queen size.

I used lumber that I milled from logs. After one year of air curing, I processed the boards to build these beds for our family.

Return here on Monday, November 6 for an update.

Have a good day!


Thursday, November 02, 2006

Appreciating Time

Have you thought about the notion that in one-hundred years every person alive on earth today will be dead? In 2106 the world will be inhabited by people not yet born as of today. This transition is taking place day-by-day as people die and babies are born. I know, a few people will live beyond 100 years but only a few. The significant turnover of people will more closely be around 80 years of life span.

This leads me to say what we all have heard before -life is short. Life is about human relationships and nurturing those relationships every day with everyone we encounter. With immediate family these encounters should be frequent and lengthy. It amazes me how many people don't seem to understand quality of life. Watch the video link below. It will take about 15 seconds to buffer, then a 20 second ad (somebody has to pay for this neat technology) then another 15 second buffer to view and hear Joel Satore's experience. The total video is about 5 minutes and is probably worth your time.


Relationships and quality of life have little to do with worldly accomplishments, trophies, status, power, money, and fame.

The more we learn this message, the better we will become.

Return here on Saturday, November 4 for an update.

Have a quality day!