Intellectuals, ghosts, sports, free spirits, fun, and children

July 3, 2017

I’m a sucker for flags and patriot days. So naturally, I love the 4th of July.

A good friend didn’t quite agree with my atheist-knocking-life-after-death blog, He emailed, “Although the majority of paranormal experiences are pure fiction, there is a small percentage, perhaps 1 to 2 percent that do appear to be supernatural, particularly clairvoyance and ghostly visitations. ”

I mailed back that Hamlet said much the same, ‘There are more things in heaven and earth Horatio than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” I agree with Hamlet and Shakespeare.

Jane said it better in low fog prose. “Ghosts are sneaky.”

Patriotism comes this year with sad news. My beloved brother-in-law, Barney Otten, has died!

He was 92 so it is not a shocking surprise. Nevertheless it is a very sad event, especially for my younger sister Pat, his children and grandchildren, and his many friends and admirers. I remember well their wedding sixty or so years past and their reception in my parent’s home. Funny, it doesn’t seem all that long ago!

Pat and Barney seemed solid fixtures that would always be there. Pat will no doubt live on for more years but Barney is gone. Pat and her seven children and fifteen grandchildren (and four great-grandchildren!) will no doubt remember him and children and grandchildren will make up for the loss by having more children as countless ancestors have always done.

Barney was always deferential with me. Which bothered me a bit. After all, he was the college football star! He was also the father and loving mentor of seven talented and beautiful children. By all rights, I should have been the deferential one. I do have two fine sons whom I love dearly, but like Abe Lincoln, not a single grandchild!

I’m not sure where this blog is headed but I think it is in the direction of the inevitable conflict between people fascinated by intellectual ideas in history, philosophy, science, economics, and politics and people into small talk, puzzles, games, sports, babies, pets, puzzles, clothes, style, smart phones, personal photos (with lots of smiles and action), and free spirits, friends, charm, fun, and warmth. The truth is I like all of these things too. But I like ideas more!

Guess which side is the winner?

I have usually been on the losing side. I don’t do well with small talk and personal photos, but I do fine with gloomy (boring to many) philosophy, history, economic, and political talk—and, if need be, loud argument. I don’t go quite as far as W.C. Fields who once said, “Anyone who hates dogs and children can’t be all bad.” But close enough.

Sports can sometimes be a good compromise. Both sides can appreciate playing tennis, golf and going swimming and skiing, or watching football, baseball, basketball games and horse races.

Barney himself was himself a good athlete and he sired some fine ones. Two of his sons, Chip and Mike, were football stars at Bowling Green University. His other son, Danny, was a high school runner’s coach and ran himself in quite a few marathons.

Their five daughters were all athletic. Many won blue ribbons in swimming and gymnastics, and all were charming, free-spirited, and loving. As an aside, successful coach Barney was once fired for his too aggressive defense of women in athletics!

Chip followed his father in an outstanding coaching career. His high school football teams have won many Ohio State Championships! As Ohio football fans know this is no small feat.

One would think after such real-life success I should be the deferential one. But no, I’ll stick to my guns on the intellectual side and confess I do feel some sadness, and at times bitter regret and depression, that so few of my extended family have moved beyond the clichés of the lliberal clergy and understood the power and scope of my original ideas in history, economics, philosophy, science, sociology, and politics. As explored and explained in my books, blogs, and videos.

I admit this is not new. My growing up family was also more interested in style and sports than they were in ideas. My first wife, Virginia, was and still is a fine artist, but she has never been much interested in politics, history, economics, or philosophy. In fact, she was famous for using jokes to change the subject whenever social occasions veered too far in the heavy idea direction.

And then my second wife, Jane, as well as most of her family, can be caring, free-spirited, intelligent, charming, and fun. But she, and most of her children, don’t apologize for much but stay firmly on the non-intellectual winning side. In short, my families, both married and growing up, have much preferred sports, sex, children, friends, and fun to my specialty, what I consider the deeper waters of philosophy, history, economics, science, and politics.

I really shouldn’t complain since that my preference for ideas has served me well in my career and now in my old age. Like W.C. Fields and Abe Lincoln I admit that fascination with ideas sometimes brings with it bouts of depression! Even now it leads to loneliness. I don’t have many people I can discuss or argue with.

On the other hand, I can sit happily for hours on end in my wheelchair in front of my computer—researching, writing, and polishing my weekly blogs. I am also happy to report the readership of my blogs is slowly increasing! Other oldsters my age may languish in nursing or retirement homesnbeds sans sports, sex, children, pets, personal photos, clothes, style, puzzles, games, smart phones, charm, free spirits, friends, or fun i plan to continue my love affair with ideas.

Not a 100% win I grant you. But close enough!

Bill Stonebarger, Owner/President

P. S. For the minority who do want to know details on my journey through the philosophic and political idea waters from devout Catholic to left-liberal clergy to conservative libertarian, I seriously suggest you buy, curl up on the couch, and read slowly—Twilight or Dawn: a Traveler’s Guide to Free-Market Liberal Democracy, EEast Gilman Street, or Bill’s Blogs.

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