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Opinion

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    I was glued to the television Thursday – scheduling the testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and the Honorable Brett Kavanaugh was the only thing the Republican senators did right because that’s the one day I have to myself. Moreover, of course, it’s all about me.

    Neither party is blameless in getting us to this point because both parties want to win the midterm elections and more than a few on the Senate Judiciary Committee aspire to run for president in 2020 – including Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz.

  • One thing about being in the military is that when there is nothing else to write about, there is always the Navy.

  • What’s this world coming to?

    BLU3, a Pompano Beach Company has developed a line of ultra-portable tankless diving systems using surface-supplied air. The system supports a diver at its maximum depth of 10 feet for about an hour and it is compact enough to carry in a backpack.

    The first in the line is NEMO, which is in the Kickstarter phase. NOMAD and NEPTUNE are scheduled for launch in the summer and winter of 2019. Those two, which are still in development will allow divers to go deeper depths. NEPTUNE will enable multiple divers on a single system.

  • Words matter.

    It was February 1972 when Gunners Mate Guns 1st Class David Clayton Thomas, sir, marched his first bootcamp company to Luce Auditorium at Naval Training Center, San Diego.

    The base theater didn’t look very big from the outside, but inside, it was cavernous, almost dank. It contained more seats in one place than I had ever seen in my life. Company 062 was one of that last to enter. There must have been 2,000 recruits in their seats, waiting for the cultural awareness program to begin.

  • It is early Sunday morning; Mother’s Day.

    I do not need a special day to remember momma. I miss her being around. I wish she were here right now to do my laundry, fold my clothes and put them away.

    I think of my momma every morning when I straighten my bed and especially on laundry day when it is time to change the bed clothes. 

    I wish the smell of sausage, eggs, biscuits and gravy came from the kitchen every morning, but it does not.

  • Back in the dark ages, as the younger members of my family call it, we used to type stories on manual typewriters.
    We typed on 8 1/2- inch paper, usually with carbon paper in between, so you would have a copy of what you wrote when you handed it in.
    At the bottom of each page you typed -more- so the typesetter on the Linotype machine knew there was another page.

  • There are two weekends that I despise every year. Many others talk about changing them, but one is here again. Can you guess what they are?
    Here’s a hint: Did you turn your clocks ahead this weekend.
    I have railed against the time change for years. I want it one way, I don’t care which, just be consistent.
    The state Legislature has taken up the cause, and this year considered different proposals. However, I was not in favor of any of them.

  • It’s a little tough to write anything that hasn’t been said after Valentine’s Day’s terrible shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, in which 14 students and three faculty members were killed. But I’m going to give it a try.

    Fifty-five years ago, the Supreme Court, under liberal Earl Warren, ruled against prayer in the public schools. Since then public school educators are almost paranoid about teaching any type of morality in the schools, lest some misguided parent go after them if they do.

  • The Marion County School Board has decided to put the renewal of a local tax on the primary ballot in August.
    So if you’re a snowbird who will leave to go up north this summer, and you’re registered to vote here, make sure you get information about absentee ballots before you leave.
    The issue will be decided before you come back.

  • Every year news media all over the state publish the rules of the road for school buses.

    Here they are as simply as they can be put:

  • Go back in time about 500 years or so and pretend you’re one of Marion County’s native inhabitants.

    You get up one morning, and your biggest worry is about getting some food. You don’t worry about traffic or pollution or North Korean bombs.

    But suddenly your day changes. It’s getting dark very early, and you stare up at the sky and there is a black circle moving across the sun. You watch mesmerized as the son disappears and you think that this is some sort of omen from the gods.

  • For years, I’ve been questioning some of the moves made in downtown Ocala. I wondered whether some of them serve the majority of residents in this area.

    When I moved here almost 20 years ago (and my folks lived here long before that), the Square was the focal point of downtown. There were some great gatherings and festivals, crowds abounded and the area seemed to flourish.

    Gradually, things started to change, not necessarily for the better. Not necessarily in chronological order are:

  • This is a yearly column, updated with latest information.

    This week is big for many young people in Marion County, as they leave high school and move on to the next phase of their lives.

    Graduation ceremonies are scheduled for local public high schools, a landmark day for a few hundred young adults who are ready to venture out into the world.

  • Last week was a bad one for two major airlines, United and American. Both had incidents that make you realize how arrogant some of the personnel who work for these companies are, and why they need to be reined in. Both raised all sorts of questions.

    First, United. Take your favorite and biggest sports facility.Let’s say it seats thousands of people for baseball and basketball, more for the National Football League, or the University of Florida football for about 80,000.

  • Vacations are a good thing. They give you a break from the routine and let your mind and body get refreshed while you supposedly spend some time doing some activities that you don’t normally get to do.

    Vacations are also a bad thing. Why? Because they end.

    Last week I spent a few days in the Clearwater-Dunedin area. If you know me at all, you might guess that it had something to do with baseball. And you would be right.

  • Way back in the dark ages, when I was a little kid, I lived in northern New Jersey. Nearby, at the Cresskill-Dumont border, there was a tall Washington Monument-like obelisk called the Camp Merritt Monument.

    It was centered in a large (at least to a little kid it seemed large) traffic circle where two low-speed roads, Madison Avenue and Knickerbocker Road, intersected.

    As I got older and got a driver’s license, I learned to hate that circle.

  • The Marion County Commission has gotten itself into a bind in a situation involving a proclamation for Black History Month.

    One group submitted a proposed proclamation, but commissioners, led by Chairman Carl Zalak, changed the wording.

    That didn’t go over very well.

    I’m not going to dwell on this one proclamation, but I will dwell on the whole process. For the most part, I don’t understand why we need proclamations.

  • The gathering of the Florida Department of Transportation recently at the Ocala Hilton was a case of a nice dog-and-pony show (pardon the cliché) but completely lacked substance.

    In case you missed it, DOT is going to add two left turn lanes to the intersection of Interstate 75 and State Road 200 with some other lanes to help with right turns.

    If you think this is going to help, come on over to our office and we’ll sell you the Brooklyn Bridge (we used to say we’d sell you swampland in Florida, but that swamp is now worth millions).

  • It’s a heck of a way to spend a holiday weekend, yet that’s what I did … reading the attorneys’ report on the conclusion into the investigation of Ocala Police Chief Greg Graham, all 35 pages of it.

    While clearing Graham of harassment charges, thereby allowing for his reinstatement, it contains descriptions of some other activities that are not what we should expect of our city employees, whether or not they are police officers.

  • By Sheriff Billy Woods