Sunday, December 4, 2016

Bahhhhd at Math

There was once a shepard
Who was bad at math.
For he would leave the many
To trod the rocky path.

The other shepards mocked him
As he climbed down the steep
And added to his flock
A solo wayward sheep.

But after much time had passed
And it was time to go
The shepard called to his lambs
And his voice they did know.

They had learned to follow.
His voice they did love.
And gladly went where he did call
As gently as a dove.

Some shepards kept many sheep
And flocks and herd did shove.
The sheep that follow the shepard's voice
Do so out of love.

So when you are a shepard
And many sheep you hath,
Follow his example
And never do the math.

- by Roy Hayward

Friday, November 11, 2016

Pressing thoughts

Pressing Thoughts

I press my nose against the glass
And try and peer inside
There is someone I long to see
And hold and love with pride.

I press my ear against the door
And try to hear his noise
There is a voice I long to hear
And wish I had that choice

I press my hands in to the gap
A hand or foot to touch
There is a touch I've missed so long
And l still miss it so much

I press my lips together
And remember my last kiss
There wasn't time to do it long
And it's a thing I miss

I press my hands together
And silently I pray
That where you are you feel my love
And I'll be with you someday

-Roy Hayward 


Monday, October 24, 2016

Arbor Colony has a Cover

I've been working on getting this book finished for the November 25th launch. And now it has its ebook cover ready to go.


I'm unreasonably excited about this. So I thought I would share. This book will be ready for pre-order soon on Amazon and Smashwords. When it is, I'll be forced to announce it.

Also, I'm adding this as a paperback on create space so that I'll be able to hold it in my hand and maybe even sign a copy. I'll be posting pictures of that as well when I have them.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Just a Word

What are words to you?
Are they the seeds of your thoughts
and the glimmers of your meaning?
Or just sounds that you make
to keep me from your door?

What are words?
What are they good for?
What do they make you?
What do they make me?
What are words? 

What are words to me?
Are they the seeds of understanding
and glimmers of the world all around?
Or just noise from everywhere
to keep on the floor?

What are words?
What are they good for?
What do they make you?
What do they make me?
What are words? 

What are words to us?
Are they how we know our fellows
and glimmer of the truth inside the heart?
Or just the first of many weapons,
the coming sounds of war?

What are words?
What are they good for?
What do they make you?
What do they make me?

What are words? 

Are they just words?

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Sith Attitude

At the end of Star Wars - Revenge of the sith, Obi-Wan and Anakan are fighting. Anakan says, "If you're not with me, then you're my enemy." To which Obi-Wan replies, "Only a Sith deals in absolutes." And despite the absoluteness of the statement, "Only a Sith deals in absolutes." it is a lesson in the persuasion of evil.

This has definition and its one of the classic logical fallacies: The false dichotomy.

Basically it works like this, a question of which of two options will you choose is presented. And accepting the question leaves you will only the two stated choices.

"Are you going to work or are you staying home?" As if those are the two choices and all other avenues are closed and impossible. But there are multiple choices. Working from home, going to the park, calling and coming in late, and more. The real choice is, "Are you going to work at this time, or not?" Because there are many other options that just saying home.

But in an effort to be persuasive, people state these dichotomies with one choice being the one they prefer people choose and the other being something they know or hope that no one will choose.

 "Give me liberty or give me death!"

"Well, we don't want to kill him, so I guess we have to let him go." Really? These are really the only two options. We can't just lock him up and wait for a better option? Or we could torture him or make him watch reruns of Happy Days until he breaks. There are truly so many options here.

If you accept the set of choices as finite and only two. And you accept the choices placed before you, then you will have to pick one. And if you then pick the least terrible choice, you have been persuaded.  Congratulations.

"I clearly cannot choose the cup in front of me."

"So you've made your choice then?"

"Just wait till I get started."

And as we see in Princess Bride, he distracts his opponent and then switches glasses. Thus proceeding to pretend to drink until he sees his opponent drink. A brilliant move unless your opponent is immune to iocane powder.

For the last several months, and almost on a daily frequency, someone has told me that if I don't vote for Trump or Clinton, that I am voting for the other one. This dichotomy of options is false. If you have ever voted, you know there are more than two candidates on the ballot. So factually, there are multiple choices.

Then there is always the option not to vote. This is an important option that I support for people that choose it. (And yes, they still get to complain.)

There is the options to immigrate to Canada. It is an option.

There are so many, I'm not listing them all. But to pretend that if you're not voting for my candidate you're voting for the enemy is a Sith attitude.

I am not a Sith. I will not choose the candidate in front of you or the candidate in front of me. I will make my own choice and will not be bullied into making a choice for what I see as evil. Even the lesser of two evils is still choosing evil.

I know that, "All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing." but I tell you know, that voting for someone other than a Democrat or a Republican is not doing nothing. It is most certainly doing something.


Sunday, August 7, 2016

Harry Without Voldemort


Now that it was over Harry felt differently. And he expected to. "He is dead." Kept running through his head. "Voldemort is dead."

The castle of Hogwarts was in ruins, and there were so many wounded. So so many. But inside Harry there was both an aching and a numbness. Aching for Professor Lupin and Tonks. An aching for George and so many other of his friends from school that were no longer here. He walked among them, grasping a hand here, saying an encouraging word there.

People who he saw looking at him, smiled and looked away. There was an overriding sadness to the interactions. People were elated to know that Voldemort was gone, and elated that Harry had lived. But there was so much loss of life, of so many precious friends that it was hard to sustain happiness. That, and Harry was still, and again, the focal point both the sad and happy feelings. Even gone, Voldemort would leave his mark upon everyone and every life that he had touched.

Harry started to leave the great hall again to escape the jumble of feelings, when there was a hand on my shoulder. "Where do you think you are going Potter?" demanded Madam Pomfrey. "You need healing as well before you head off again."

'No. Please." Harry objected. "There are so many others that need so much more than me."
"You only get to be a martyr once per day." She said sternly, but there was a smile at the edges of her mouth. "Come over here and sit down with the others."

Harry did as instructed feeling a bit fraudulent as his injuries were not serous. Ron was brought over and he sat next to him. Ginny and Hermione where given jobs tending to injuries that required more skill.

"How are you doing Mate?" Ron asked. "You look like someone stole you broom, not like someone that just defeated Voldemort."

"Actually Ron, I think I look exactly like someone that just fought Voldemort."

"I suppose you're right." He looked around at the debris. "You wouldn't think to look at it, but this isn't the first time Hogwarts has been nearly destroyed."

"What?" Harry asked raising an eyebrow.

"I do read." Ron objected, and then conceded to Harry's expression of disbelief. "Right, Hermione was telling me about it. Honestly we have to read 'Hogwarts a History' or she is going to keep this up forever."

Ginny and Hermione were led over in tow by Madam Pomfrey "Okay boys, I want you to each drink some of this with each meal for the next few days." She said handing us both a bottle of Wizard Whisker's Restorative. "I have instructed Ginny and Hermione both on what to so if you present any adverse reactions."

"Reactions?" Harry asked.

"Never mind about that now." She hushed. "We need to get those with minor wounds out of the way so that we can care for the more serious cases. Do you four feel strong enough to apperate?" We nodded. "Well then off to the bridge. Mr. Weasley asks that you all go to his home. There will be some funerals to prepare for once people are feeling better and are strong enough to help out."

We headed to the remains of the bridge that Nevil and Seamus had destroyed. Harry held out his hand, and Ginny, Hermione and Ron placed their hands on top of his. Then he tightened his gut to keep from being ill and pushed the spell into his mind to apperate.
And nothing happened. He felt a little tingly in his hands, but that was all.

"Whats up mate?" Ron asked, at the same time Hermione said, "Harry, is something wrong?"

"I dunno. Just tired I guess." Harry answered. "Ron, will you do it."

"No problem." He said or started to. The apperation charm cut of the end of his sentence as we vanished and reappeared in the garden of the borough.

The damage was extensive.

The tent that had been erected for the Bill and Fluer's wedding was still there.  No one had tried to remove it.  But instead of floating in the air it was in shreds.  Parts of it were wrapped around trees and generally making a huge mess out of what would otherwise have been a huge mess.

The lawn and garden looked as if a giant had lifted up the house and tried to shake the contents out.  And the house had that look about it as well.  Every window was broken, the door was missing, and there were extra holes in the wall and roof.

We all stood there a moment looking at the wreckage.  Harry looked down and saw a garden gnome.  It wasn't moving.  Hermione followed his stare and gasped.

"Blimey!" Exclaimed Ron.  "They even petrified the gnomes."  He looked ill.  "They're a bloody nuisance but to attack them is just, wrong."

Hermione knelt down and taped the motionless gnome and said, "Finite Incantatem." Releasing the gnome from the curse.

The gnome was so grateful that it spat at her and then dove under the ivy vines to escape.
"There's gratitude."  Observed Ron both disgusted and amused.

"Poor little creatures."  Said Hermione as she moved to another gnome to free.  "Trapped for maybe weeks.  No wonder they are distrustful of wizards."

Ron, Ginny and Harry left her to her mission of mercy and moved to the house.  Bill stuck his head out of a hole in the kitchen wall as they approached.  "Hello Harry." And then to Ron, "About time you showed up to help out."

"About time?"  Ron said incredulous.  "Hogwarts is still smoking, but somehow we are tardy coming home?"

"There's loads to do if we want to have places to sleep for the family tonight."  Bill continued ignoring Ron's outburst.  "Mum and Dad will be wanting us all back together tonight and we don't want them coming home to this."

Ron and Harry entered the kitchen that was a surprising mess considering how much of what should have been there was out in the garden.  Fleur appeared from the other room with cauldron and and arm full of vials.  Ginny pushed her way over and cleared a spot near the stove for her to deposit her load.

"Right," continued Bill.  "Harry, Ron, follow me."  And he turned and headed into the house.  Ron gave Harry a tired look and both followed.

"Okay boys, we are going to get a lot of work out of a simple spell."  Then with a flick of his wand he shouted. "Reparo!"  The half dismembered sofa righted itself.  Its stuffing pulled itself back into place and the rips in the fabric rewove into the previously warn pattern.

"As you know there are some items that require specific additions to the 'Reparo' charm.  For the most part just use 'Reparo' on everything, if it doesn't work, and you don't know what the modifier is, just move on to something else."  Bill paused to look at each of us. 

 "Any questions?  No?  Good, Ron you will take the stairs to the top floor, and Harry will start on the bottom.  Meet in the middle and come find me if I haven't found you yet."

With that Bill turned and headed back toward the kitchen.  Ron looked at Harry and said,"Bit bossy don't you think."

Harry just pulled out his wand and opened the nearest door.  It was pitch black inside, so he said, "Lumos!"  The tip of the wand glowed just a bit, and then faded.

Ron snorted, "What are you playing at mate."

"I dunno whats wrong Ron."  Harry said a bit concerned.  "I can't understand it.  First when I tried to aperate, and now this."  He flicked my want again.  "Lumos Maxima!"  The wand stayed dark and so did the room.  Harry felt a bit dizzy.

Ron grabbed his arm and directed him to a seat on the newly repaired sofa.  "I hate to admit it, but something is wrong and we need to ask Hermione what it might be."  He said.  "Stay there a minute."

He dashed out and was back in a moment with both Hermione and Ginny.  "Ron says that you can't cast spells."  She started.  "And that you nearly fell over."  Harry just nodded.  "Well, lets have a go."

Harry flicked his wand, "Lumos!"  Again the tip flickered and went dark.
Ginny's hands flew to her mouth, but Hermione looked fascinated.  "What is the last spell that you cast?"  She asked.

"Expliomous. When I disarmed Voldemort.  Right before Nevil killed Nagini."  Harry recalled the last spell he had cast right before Voldemort had died.

"And after that, you didn't try to use magic until just now?"  She continued her interrogation.

"No, he tried to aperate from the stone bridge.  Remember?"  Ron interjected.
"Of course."  Hermione responded a little impatiently.  "Loss of magical ability can be caused by a few things.  There is a potion or two that can impair magic.  Some wizards lose the ability if they are drunk."

"I don't think Harry has been drinking."  Objected Ron with a smile.  Ginny punched his arm and scowled.  "I was joking."  He muttered rubbing his arm.

"There are also some curses that can do the same thing as the potions."  Hermione continued, ignoring Ron's input.  "But I don't know who would want to, or bother to try either of these.  The Death Eaters were fleeing, and no one at the Great Hall would have done it."

"Wizard Whisker's Restorative."  Ginny declared.  She fumbled in her bag for the bottle.
"Ron drank some too."  Harry said.  "He can still do magic."

Ron flicked his wand.  "Reparo!"  And a small table and lamp hopped back up in the correct orientation and some bits of glass few back into place.

"But not from the same bottle."  Ginny said.  Then she looked at Ron and Harry for confirmation.

"I don't think Madame Pomfrey would do this to me on purpose."  Harry said.  The very idea was pretty absurd.

"Ginny is right."  Hermione countered.  "We have to approach this logically.  The last time you used magic, was in the battle with Voldemort."  She swallowed.  "After that there was a bit of commotion as the Death Eaters fled and the Aurors pursued them.  You destroyed the Elder Wand, and we all went back to help out in the great hall with the wounded.  None of that should affect you, but drinking a potion could have."

Hermione turned to Ginny and held out her hand.  "Lets have a look at it shall we?"
Ginny handed her the bottle.  "How long after drinking 'til we went to the stone bridge?"  Hermione asked.

"Only a few minutes."  Harry said, "Barely any time at all."

"So it works fast."  She uncorked the bottle and took a drink.

"Hermione!"  Ron shouted.

Hermione removed the bottle from her lips and smiled.

"Are you completely bonkers?"  He asked. "What are you thinking?"

With a flick of her wand she said, "Lumos"  and a brilliant light sprang from her wand and settled it self in the center of the ceiling.

"I am thinking that the potion has not been altered and that Madam Pomfrey is not out to get Harry."  She said matter of factly.

"Any way rejecting the Elder Wand could effect him?"  Ron asked.  Everyone looked at him.  "I'm just saying.  The wand has belonged to the most powerful wizards since legends were news, and Harry just breaks it.  That's bound to have an effect of some kind."

Bill entered the room.  "Whats this about trouble with Harry?" he asked.

Everyone was a bit unsure of how to say it, so Harry just said it strait.  "I can't seem to do any magic."

Bill didn't seem nearly as shocked as everyone else.  "Might be shock."  He said unconcerned.  "Shock, nerves, self doubt, they are all common obstacles to magic.  Harry just killed Voldemort, and Dad was saying they had a connection."  He tapped his own forehead where Harry's scar was. "I'd say if there was anyone who deserved to have shock it would be Harry."

Everyone else seemed to accept this and a collective sigh was released.  "I should have thought of that."  Hermione muttered to herself.

"Right then, new assignments.  Ron, Hermione, you two repair the rooms.  Ginny and Harry will work on getting the tents setup.  Harry can do the non-magical work."

After that there was just a lot of mundane work.  Harry pulled the tents out, and Ginny used magic to raise them up.  It was hot and sweaty work for Harry.

But it was also good, clean work that allowed him to think about the days events. Sometimes his brain just needs time to process things and it needs his hands to be busy with work.
It was something he had needed to do after Dobby had died saving everyone.  And it seemed that he needed it again.  So many people and good friends had died this day fighting Voldemort and his Death Eaters.

He thought about his friends that were lost.  Lupin. Tonks, and Fred but his thoughts kept going back to Tom Riddle.  To Voldemort.  In the last couple of years he had explored the memories of others about him.  He had tracked down the horcux and destroyed them, and he had gotten to know him better than he knew anyone.

This wasn't regret.  He had been deeply saddened by Dobby's sacrifice.  Voldemort had deserved death many times over, and he had to help kill him to protect his friends and the world from the evil that Voldemort represented.  For the most part he was elated that Voldemort was dead.

But Voldemort had been an ever present danger his whole life, and a focus of it since he was 11.  Now that Voldemort was gone it felt like an anchor in his life was missing.  Harry hated to think it, but it felt in some ways the same as when Dumbledoor had died.

Ginny and Harry finished with the tents.  Hours had passed, and he could see that she was as tired as he was even though he had been doing physical labor and she had been using magic.

Ginny reached out and took Harry's hand.  "It has been a couple of hours.  Do you want to try again?"

"I guess there won't be any harm."  He replied.  He removed his wand and pointed it to a small bit of paper.  "Windgardium Leviouso" and then flicked his wand.

The paper twitched, but didn't float.

"Its no use."  He said dropping his wand hand to his side.  "It feels like trying to breath through a wet blanket."

"It doesn't mater."  Ginny stated, and then she grabbed the back of his head in both hands and pulled him into a kiss.

They both felt a rush of wind and pulled back.  Looking at the lawn, all of the debris were rushing up into the air like a giant vacuum was sucking it up.  But more than that.  Harry could feel the magic in him.

"Finite Incantatem."  Harry said, and the once floating and flying detritus fell once more to the earth.

"What was that noise?"  Hermione asked sticking her head out of a hole in the wall half way up the house.

"Harry can do magic again."  Ginny called up to her.

"Really? That was you?"

"Still so surprised?"  Asked Ron somewhere behind her.

The both came down and Ginny and Harry met them in the parlor.

"I knew it was just temporary."  Declared Ron.

"How did it work out?"  Hermione wanted to know.

"Well, um, Ginny tried something that you, um, didn't think of, and it seem to work."

Ron and Hermione looked a bit confused.  "I kissed him, if you must know."

Hermione looked startled and pleased at the same time.  Ron just looked a bit ill.  But he met Harry's eyes and asked, "So is it like that."

"Yeah."  Harry answered.  "It has been for a while."

"Well, then."  Ron cleared his throat.  "Lets see it."

He was still holding Ginny's hand, so he had to retrieve his wand a bit awkwardly.  Then he flicked it and said.  "Lumos!"

This time a small ball of light popped out of the end of his wand and started floating lazily around the room.  It flickered a bit, but didn't go out.

"Not all that impressive really."  Ron observed critically.  Hermione hit his arm.  "Ow!"
"Well we are just holding hands."  Ginny said wickedly.  Then she leaned over and blew in Harry's ear.

Harry felt the magic surge.  There was a blinding light for a second and then a crack and the ball of light was gone.  But a new hole had appeared in the wall.

"What are you four playing at."  Shouted Bill's voice from the other room."

"Wicked!"  Declared Ron.

"Well we know one thing."  Hermione observed.  "Harry still can do powerful magic.  I don't think I have ever seek the Lumos charm used to do damage to anything before."

"But it is strange."  Harry said.  "Like I have something in the way, and I lack much control."
"Thats putting it lightly."  Said Bill entering the room and examining the new breach in the wall.  "I asked you to help fix the house not finish what the Death Eaters started."

"We are trying to help Harry."  Ginny defended.

Bill put up a hand.  "Settle down Ginny.  I'm not angry, but there is a reason that Hogwarts is a stone castle.  If you four are going to help Harry, please do it somewhere away from anything that you can break."  Bill looked after the ball of light that was still receding towards the horizon.  "Or catch fire."

Harry slept very soundly that night.  No doubt that the hard work and effort the day before helped.  But there had been a ball of anger that had been in the back of his head for years, that suddenly wasn't there anymore.  In spite of his difficulty with magic, he just felt happy.
The next day it wasn't much better.  The whole Weasley clan seemed to have arrived, and there were many people that Harry had never met.  But Mr. Weasley found him and pulled him aside soon after breakfast.  "Bill has explained that you are having some difficulties since Voldimort's death.  Is it still the same?"

"Yes sir."  Harry replied.

"Oh none of that 'sir' business.  You are a man now, please call me Arthur."  He smiled.  "There are a couple of people that I want you to see.  If you are feeling up to it.  Heaven knows if anyone deserves a rest it is you."  He looked back at his large family gathering.  "But if I know you at all like I imagine that I do, you will want this resolved right away."

"Yes, sir, I mean, Arthur."  Harry stumbled saying Mr. Weasley's name as it felt awkward in his mouth.  "I do want to know what is keeping me from using magic like I used to."
"Right, then.  Take my arm."

Harry took it, and they apparated.

They re-apperated on a corner of Diagon Ally.  It looked like a lot of celebration had gone one the evening before and there were still tipsy witches and wizards staggering out of the Leaky Cauldron.

"This way."  Mr. Weasley said.  And they headed across the street into Olivanders Shop.  Or what was left of it.  It still showed the signs of the Death Eaters last visit.  But Mr. Weasley knew where he was going, and they entered and went up the side stairs to a set of rooms above the shop.

Before Mr. Weasley could knock, the door opened and Olivander beckoned us in.  "I have been expecting you. And I do apologize for the mess down stairs.  Its been all I could do to get a couple of rooms back in order."

And in order they were.  The rooms above the store looked spacious and well kept.  Indeed it looked as if nothing had ever been or ever would be allowed to be out of order.

"I believe that you know Horace Slughorn"  Olivander said.

"Harry."  Professor Slughorn said, setting a tea cup on an end table and rising to greet us.  "I am glad to see you again so soon.  Garrick and I have been most concerned about you since we heard of your condition."

"Yes sir."  Harry replied as he shook his hand and directed him to a chair.  "I am glad to see you again Professor."

"What is this?"  Professor Slughorn objected.  "We are not in school.  You must call me Horrace.  You can't go around being so deferential in your state or prominence."
"I'm sure Harry will get used to it soon enough."  Mr. Weasley stated finding a chair for himself.

"Can I get either of you some tea?"  Asked Olivander.

"No.  I mean yes.  Thank you."  Harry stuttered trying to calm his nerves.
Olivander waved his wand and the tea set poured a pair of cups and the hovered to their hands.

"Now if you don't mind, I would like to see your wands."  Olivander said.

"Yes sir."  Harry said retrieving both his wand and Draco's former wand from his jacket.  "But if you don't mind my asking.  The wands seem in good order, isn't the problem with me?"

Professor Slughorn shifted to give Olivander a look.  "Harry may need some additional training in wands I think."  Then turning back to Harry.  "You are completely right."
Olivander interrupted.  "And you are completely wrong.  You know that a wand is much more than just a tool.  Wands have a will of their own.  They have a bond with their witch or wizard.  A good wand master can tell a great deal about the wizard by examining the wand.  More than you would expect.  Much much more."

Olivander took both wands and looked at them holding one in each hand.  He looked from one to the other and back.  "Remarkable."  He said looking at Harry's wand.  "Horrace, this wand was broken, but has been mended.  Look at this."

Professor Slughorn took the wand and looked at it closely.  "Did you repair this wand yourself?"  He questioned Harry.

"Yes sir."  Harry replied.  "Hermione and I tried before, but the Elder Wand was powerful enough to do it."

"The Elder Wand."  Toned Professor Slughorn solemnly.  "Do you have that with you as well."

"No."  Harry replied, but Olivander cut him off.

"The Elder Wand does not have allegiances to any one wizard now Horrace.  And it is no longer available."  Then he continued.  "Harry, I have good news for you.  There is nothing wrong with you.  You are still the same young man that I first met 8 years ago.  And your wand still recognizes you as its master."

Professor Slughorn interrupted.  "But there is a change in Harry.  He has lost control I think."
"I was getting to that."  Replied Olivander, sounding a little annoyed with Professor Slughorn.  "Harry you remember we talked about the link you shared with Voldimort.  And that link was reflected in the connecting of you wands.  And this connection seems to have been much deeper than I suspected.  And it will take some time and training to recover from its loss."

"Are you saying that my connection with Voldimort gave me my magic?"   Harry asked in alarm.

"Merlin's beard no!  Dear boy."  Interjected Professor Slughorn.  "You got your magic from your parents.  They were both great wizards and there is no doubt that you inherited your magical abilities from them.  But when Voldimort tried to kill you as a baby and formed the link between you, some things were shared.  I think you are aware of that in the facility with parsle tounge that you have."

"Yes."  Harry replied.  "Professor Dumbledoor explained that.  There was also a link between our minds.  Sharing of dreams and emotions.  But it is gone now.  I can tell.  It is such a relief to no longer have Tom's anger in the back of my mind all of the time."

The three of them shared a look.  Mr. Weasley spoke next.  "Harry, I would like to explain it this way.  You know the feeling you get after you have been flying on your broom for a long while.  Like through a whole Quitich match.  And once you are on the ground, walking seem so slow, that you stumble a bit getting used to not zooming off just by thinking about it."  He paused and Harry nodded that he understood.  "Well it looks like your connection with Voldimort was like that in the way magic responded to you and the control that you had.  Now that that is gone, you are stumbling a bit, learning to control the magic with only your own abilities."

"So your are saying."  Harry paused, looking at the three of them with growing apprehension.  "What are you saying?  I have to go back to being a first year at Hogwarts?"

"Harry Harry."  Olivander soothed.  "That would hardly be necessary.  The knowledge of magic is still in you mind.  And the power of magic is still in your soul.  But the loss you are encountering is like many other types of injury.  It will pass temporarily, and as it does, you and everyone else will forget that it was ever any different."

"But now I'll be weak?"  Harry insisted on pressing for the worst news.  "I'll be like a, a squib."

"Get a hold of yourself."  Professor Slughorn commanded.  "There is no reason to panic.  Squib indeed.  Have you not been listening to us at all?"  He paused and everyone took a breath to calm down.  "What we are saying is that you need some magical therapy.  It will be a while before many things return to normal.  I understand that you wanted to join the Ministry's Aurors.  But that is going to be very difficult in your condition and given the current state of the Ministry at present."

"So we have a proposal."  Continued Mr. Weasley.  "Oliver and Horrace would like to apprentice you.  This will give you a chance to get their guidance and help while you regain your control.  This will also keep you with an occupation that won't announce to the wizarding world that there is anything wrong with you.  Voldemort is dead, but there are quite a few dark wizards left that would jump at the chance to make a name for themselves if they learned that you were in any way weakened."

Harry looked at each of them.  "Look, I don't want to seem ungrateful.  But this is quite a bit of stuff to have chucked at you all at once.  Can I think it over?"

"Of course."  Said Professor Slughworth, rising to his feet.  "There is no rush."


Thursday, June 30, 2016

Patriotic Movies

This is a list of movies that would be great to watch on Independence Day or leading up to the 4th of July. Criterion for these movies are that they are positive, inspiring, USA patriotic movies. Does not have to be military. Should not be critical of USA. And should not be preaching an agenda other than USA patriotism. 

This should be a constantly growing list as I discover new movies that fit. 

I will be ranking these movies based on my personal tastes.  (I may explain rankings, or I may not.)

Movies:

  1. Mr. Smith goes to Washington
  2. Yankee Doodle Dandy
  3. The Alamo
  4. Sands of Iwo Jima or [almost any John Wayne movie featuring military service]
  5. Patton
  6. Casa Blanca
  7. The Patriot
  8. Sargent York
  9. Apollo 13
  10. Miracle
  11. National Treasure

Doing research on this list I found a lot of movies. Many many movies that I liked. But I’m feeling pretty good about this paired down list.

There were a bunch of movies that I liked but didn’t make this list because they were more action movie, and not more patriotic movie. The popular movie Independence Day seems like a good candidate for an Independence Day movie list. Hollywood agrees as they are releasing a sequel for, you guessed it, Independence Day.  But it’s not really an patriotic movie. There is a quality of pro USA that is missing from the movie. I like it, but it doesn’t make this list.

There are also a bunch of movies that I liked but didn’t make the list because they can’t be watched by a broad audience. Many people like Saving Private Ryan, but its rated R and has some really graphic scenes. So as part of a patriotic movie list needs to be the ability to watch them with your children. So rated R movies are out, and many PG13 movies will be out for graphical content.

There are also a bunch of movies that I liked but didn’t make the list because they had a preachy or political message that I don’t share or don’t want to mix with my patriotism movie list. I like The American President, but the undercurrent of politics that are the backdrop for this movie taints the patriotic quality. Not to the point where I don’t enjoy the movie, but to the point I won’t include it in the list. That is just an example, and there are a bunch of movies that would have contended for this list if not for that one thing.

Some friends suggested movies that I don’t know why they thought they were patriotic. To be clear, there is a common, pro USA quality that needs to be present for an Independence Day movie list. This is not a list of fun movies to binge watch on a day off of work, or a list of movies that cause us to feel anger or guilt over slavery, treatment of native americans, Japanese internment or some other introspective message. 

So if you are ready to set down with your family and watch a movie that will make you feel proud to be an American and put you in the mood for fireworks and hotdogs, this is the list of movies that I would recommend. This is that list. There should be something here for everyone, or if you are like me, they are all for you. 



Sunday, June 12, 2016

A Tiny Hand to Hold

I have climbed the mountain
And I have touched the sky,
I have nurtured children
And taught them how to fly.

There is something special
in a child’s embrace
To hold their tiny hands
and gaze into their face.

I have walked on beaches
And watched the sunset dim,
I have nurtured children
And taught them how to swim.

There is something special
in a child’s voice
To hold their tiny hands
and help them make a choice.

I have climbed in branches
And scaled the tallest tree,
I have nurtured children
And helped them to be free.

There is something special 
 in a child’s love
To hold their tiny hands
and teach of God above. 

By Roy Hayward


I started writing this poem yesterday as I sat in the Provo City Center Temple waiting to be sealed to my two newly adopted children. I didn't actually write anything as I wasn't somewhere that I could write and didn't have anything with me to write with.  So I played with the words in my head. 

Most of the time when this happens, I get to the place where I can write, and the words don't work on the page the way they did in my head, or I am missing part of the mood that inspired me. It takes a lot of work to try and write the poem then.  

But this time, I wrote the first line, and the rest of the poem started to fall into place. I guess I'm still riding pretty high on the joy of being in the temple. I don't know how long this feeling will last, but my wife and I are very happy. Our kids seem pretty happy. And I think I'm gonna have a stupid, sappy grin on my face for a while. 

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Why Switch to a Third Party

If you know me at all personally, you know that for many years I've been a strong republican party member. I've gone as a delegate to state conventions. I've debated with friends and colleagues, and defended republican candidates for all of my voting life. And if you are a friend on Facebook, you just learned that I switched from being a Republican to the Libertarian party. 

Let me start by saying that I don't think the Libertarian party is the best party for everyone. Of the parties that I have studied, they are now the one that represents my political views the closest. But what I'd like to discuss here, is why a person would switch parties.

Here are 5 areas that I invite you to consider in understanding why I did this, and why I did it at this time.

Voting:

Some people think that they want to be in the Republican or Democratic party so they can vote on candidates. I'll admit that this kept me in the Republican party for a long time. But when the party selects bad candidates in spite of my membership, I have to objectively look at what good I'm actually doing there. 

By supporting local and state candidates because they were Republicans, I was telling them to support the national politicians because they were Republicans. And this means I was telling my local representatives that I liked what the national party leaders were saying and doing. 

I don't. And this was a mistake.

And when it comes to the general elections, party affiliations don't keep you from supporting good Republican or Democratic candidates. (If you can find any.)

Local politics:

Many important political things are done in local offices. Mayors, city councils, county and state offices. When these governments change to a party that represents their populations it lets them act in harmony with their populations and not the national party interests.

It's uncomfortable for a republican mayor to oppose a governor of his party, but it's not difficult for a mayor to oppose him when they aren't the same party. Thus having a local government that reflects the views of the local population makes it possible for that government to stand up to state or national party positions and laws that are wrong.

Support:

Even if you don't contribute to your party financially, the influence the party has comes from it's numbers. Denying a party your membership tells the local and national party that you don't agree and won't support them. 

As third parties are smaller, it's easier to get involved. And as third parties get big enough they become a group of special interest voters that can influence governments and laws. So instead of being spread out across many issues like a larger party, they can focus on fewer issues like smaller government or states rights.

In Utah right now, the Libertarian party is growing and doing some interesting lobbying at the state level. Laws are getting changed and some of our freedoms are getting better protection because of it. 

Legitimacy:

Because the majority of voters are republicans and democrats, they are seen as the only legitimate options for leadership. This has happened in the past, where a major party lost enough membership that it stopped being a party and disappeared. If enough people leave the republicans and democrats, they won't seem like the only options. And once there are viable alternative options, better solutions and better leaders are possible.

Timing:

As a former republican, my old party seems to have just selected a non-republican, non-conservative, totally unqualified candidate. His likely opponent is just a bit lower than a mafia godfather. Or if its not her, then a communist. All the "major party" candidates are losers. So the timing is perfect, we have nothing more to lose.

So unless you are in a state that still has a primary coming up, you can switch to a third party. If your state's primary is still to come, you should wait and do what you can there before you go. But now is the time that I'm leaving. 

I'm leaving with a group so the message is clear. I'm not going to go along with a party that selects the greater of two evils. I'm not going to vote for tyrants. I'm not going to be a party to the voice of the people that shout "Barabas" 

A political party is not a suicide pact. 



Monday, March 14, 2016

Making a Better Time Machine

When you say “Time Machine” to people most of them with think of some vehicle like Doctor Who’s Tardis or the story adapted many times from H. G. Wells. But I have a time machine on my wrist. I have another on the wall. And yet another works passively on my computer and on my phone. 

Most cars have time machines built into them and have for years. (No, this is not just DeLorean’s with Flux Capacitors.) I see time machines on church towers, and on the blinking marquee of the bank. In fact, clocks, I mean time machines have been around since before the time of Christ.

Time is something that we have a machine to live us acetate measures of and to tell us when we are supposed to do something. We wake up when a time machine by our bedside tells us to. And we go home from school or work when a different time machine tells us to.

In fact, if you are worried that someday we will be ruled by a computer or robot or other technology, well that time has already arrived. We are ruled by a variety of time machines. And it's time to take a stand.

A Time for Change

All over the world, there are people that wake up at 6 AM. But because of an artifact of history, these are not the same time. To begin with we had a bunch of people decide that when the sun was at its zenith, or highest point, that this should be noon or 12 O’clock. Because the earth is round, the highest point changes as you move to different positions on the globe longitudinally. (We’ll talk about latitude later. Maybe)

Today, we have created lots of technology to correct for this problem. We have time zones. And we have devices that automatically detect what time zone they are in and alter their display of time. We have tables to calculate what time it is or will be in other time zones. (Don’t get me started on Daylight savings times. I’ve never met anyone that actually likes it and can explain a benefit to using it.)

The technology is supposed to help us when we move from one time zone to the other by changing our clocks to the local time. But this is just a hinderance if we wanted to be notified of the time in our home location. And if we have devices that don’t automatically update as well as those that do, then we are getting conflicting information that forces us to constantly adjust one and reference the other.

Not to mention people that live on the edge of a time zone and get updates back and forth wreaking havoc on knowing what time it is, ever.

Stop Waisting Time

All of this causes us to build bigger and more complex technology to try and solve this problem. When the problem is easy to solve. It's such a simple solution that at first it might sound like a dumb idea. But these ideas of time zones have outlived their usefulness. So we should stop trying to fix them, and like the broken tool that they are, we should throw them away.

UTC or what used to be called Greenwich time is what technology uses to tell time. Then we do this archaic conversion by plussing or misusing hours depending our time zone. But if we just stop using the time zones, then everyone is on the same time. 

We also throw out the AM and PM and just use a 24-hour clock. Here in the Rocky Mountains, I’ll wake up at 12:00.  Back in Tennessee, I’d wake up at 11:00. In California, I’d rise at 13:00 and so on. I’d adjust the time I did something to the location instead of pretending that waking up at 6 in NY is somehow the same as waking up at 6 in London. it's not. So let's all stop pretending. 

Bucking a Calendar

So some of you have counted on your fingers and have realized that if I go to work at 14:00 as work for 8 hours, plus lunch, it will be 23:00, so at about dinner time, it will be 00:00 and the next day. This might confuse you, and make you think this won’t work. But really this won’t matter at all. 

First of all, just because a new calendar day starts doesn’t mean you have to do something new. Over the years as a student and as a professional, I’ve worked thru the day change quite a few times. It really doesn’t change anything. And if you have ever stayed up for the new year, then you know that other than a bunch of fireworks and kissing, the world keeps on spinning all thru the change. 

In fact, it will be a totally new and fun celebration to ring in the new year right after dinner. No need to send kids to bed after a fake celebration. And no need to be tired the next day. You can still stay out late and act like an idiot, but then you can do that almost any night. 

Time is a Matter of Habit
 
For the most part, how we measure, and interact with time is a matter of habit. And for our ancestors this method of marking the passage of time was sufficient. But in our increasingly connected world. A world with faster travel and communication, we need to update our habits of time. 


We need to build a better time machine and remove the old, archaic, useless and time-consuming methods of the past, and move into a faster, simpler, easier time. A time where the time machine works for us, and not against us. No longer being held hostage to an algorithm of the machine to tell you what time it is. But having the freedom where everyone on Earth can have the same time, at the same time.  

Friday, February 26, 2016

Horror Show Politics

When I watch a bad movie or read a badly written book,  I sometimes find myself in a position where I am rooting for the monster or the bad guy. When the main characters or hero of the story makes dumb choices like opening up the door to see what that sound of death and gore is, or wandering out into the night because they heard a scary noise, I want them to lose.  I hate stories like this. In good stories people may make bad choices, but they should be doing them for good reasons.

While I was discussing politics today, I discovered that I have similar feelings about our 2016 election choices. It seems like voters are so intrigued by the loud noises coming from the other side of the door, that they are willing to open it up and see what a Trump presidency would look like.

This is a dumb idea. And its likely to get us all killed. (Okay, so its not really a horror movie and we won't all die, but it will be bad.) We don't really need to open the door to see if that sound like a chainsaw is a chainsaw. Even if its not a chainsaw, it won't be something we want as a president.

On the other side, it is even worse. The voters have wandered out into the darkness and are have a werewolf on one side and the creature from the black lagoon on the other. There are no good choices at this point. Both Sanders and Clinton are horrible options for the presidency. I'd rather have Joe Biden or Harry Reid, but they're not running so we are stuck with the monsters.

At this point I feel like I'm watching a really badly written horror movie. You have a couple who have wandered out into the darkness for no good reason. People told them not to go out there, but they just had to find out what happened to their puppy and what all the noises in the darkness were. Now, no matter which way they turn, they will be eaten my a monster.

And the dude that stayed back in the house, is hearing the noises of breaking bones in the basement. And even though the door was bared and locked, he has decided he wants to know what those noises are and is about to open the door to find out.

I'm sure that the writer of this horrible movie had a plan to save these people when he started, but at this point the characters have made such poor choices, they deserve what they are about to get. If the American voter puts Trump, Clinton or Sanders in the White House.  Then America is like the stupid characters in the movie that should not survive to be in the sequel, but should be killed and eaten by the monsters.



Sunday, January 31, 2016

Fostering Love

I try not to hold my breath
while waiting for the time,
when all of my children
will legally be mine.

When each child came home
and with us took their part
God placed another bit
of love within my heart.

I never really knew
what was happening to me
or how my heart would grow
and love would come to be.

But God knows each of us
and where we will be best
and sometimes places children
in someone else’s nest.

Soon it will be time
for everyone to see
that all of my dear children
should always live with me.

-by Roy Hayward