Maymont Mansion, Richmond, VA

This is not just a historic site. 

The Maymont Mansion is much the way it was when the original owners passed away and left the mansion to the city of Richmond 1925.  Whether you are a history buff, someone who appreciates fine craftsmanship, a collector of antiques or love elegance, the Maymont Mansion tour is a must!  The grounds sport several gardens with plants dating back to the late 1800’s making Maymont Mansion park awesome!

With 100 acres to explore I recommend planning on spending the whole day. A lot of walking is involved but there are plenty of open fields and benches here and there to take a break if you need to.  If you are not up for a lot of walking, there are several parking lots located around the park to get you close as possible to your desired entrance.

Sounds expensive?  It’s not!  Upon entering the park, there is a request for a donation, a suggestion of $5 per person.  The same donation is suggested for touring inside the Maymont Mansion.
This is not a historical site as with many places in VA; it is not the site of a major Civil War battle or the home of a former president.  The mansion was one of the first homes in the state with electricity and indoor plumbing and was built in the late 1800’s.  The mansion contains original furniture, fixtures, china, clothing; not items that were brought in because they were popular for the era and may have been used by the Dooleys (original owners/builders).  To me that is a big part of what made the experience so great.  We were looking at items from the late 1800’s to early 1900’s that were actually used by the Dooleys.

Being of great wealth, the Dooleys had access to items only societies elite could afford.  The craftsmanship of all the wood work, done by hand (remember the era) and hand paintings on the ceilings are unbelievable.  Even our 10 year old granddaughter was amazed and extremely intrigued by the tour and information give to us by Susan S. our tour guide.

The park is a work of art in itself.  Cement pillars and blocks, cobble stone, numerous water features, and gazebos; exotic trees, bushes, flowers and herbs throughout the park even including a rose bush planted in 1911.  Most of the plant life were brought into the country by the Dooleys from many of their trips to Europe.  We are talking plants, not just trees over 100 years old!

And don’t forget to stop by the petting zoo for the kids. Plus there are a few outbuildings including the stables and carriage house.

Remember, to tour the mansion!  You have to sign up in the little gift shop in the basement of the mansion.  Also, once you spend the time exploring, think about donating again.  It is very inexpensive yet loaded with information, entertainment, and breath taking sites.  Visiting Maymont Mansion and park was the best we experienced during our VA vacation.

Rmartin

Trump Won, Are You Packed?

If Trump wins, I’m going to do this or that or the next thing.  Many quotes from celebrities, actors, sports stars, politicians, you know, the high profile, outspoken, snotty, Clinton supporters encouraging the entitlement generation.  Granted, many Trump supporters said the same thing, however, they are not in question since Trump DID win.

How many of these high profile people have moved?  Or in the process of moving?  Was all of that talk suppose to be a threat?  Do these individuals really believe they are “all that” that their threat to leave would really make a difference?  Well, obviously it didn’t so get over yourself and leave already!  Oh wait, that’s right, several of those high and mighty individuals have already reneged on their promise to leave the country should Trump win the election.

Some of these people have said, “I already own a house in England, Spain, France, Italy, etc. So I am prepared to leave as soon as Trump is elected.  Again, where are you now; still packing?  Bought your tickets yet?  Or was it all just an idle threat?

Get over it… err, yourself.

Well, Trump won; are you packed?

Lena Dunham said she knows of a lovely house in Vancouver, BC which would become her new home.  When?  Or will she back out?

Amy Schumer said she would move to Spain if Trump won.  He did, but did Amy move yet?  How’s your Spanish?

Chelsea Handler said she already has a plan and in fact according to her, she has already bought a place in another country.  Are the moving vans loaded yet?  Is your passport current and do you have correct documentation to live in whatever country you promised to move to?

At least Whoopi Goldberg left the possibility open-ended saying “maybe” she would move.  I personally hope she does not.  Why you ask?  I have respect for Whoopi.  I don’t agree with some of her views, but when she is not on a rampage, if you actually listen to her, her statements, thoughts, ideas should at the least make you think.  That is, if you have an open mind.  Therefore, I hope she does not leave, but becomes more of a public speaker/activist regarding topics that are wrong AND right in this country. 

In closing:

I hope those people threatening to leave this country because Donald Trump is now our President-elect, actually leave.  Those people are not part of the solution in bettering our country, those people have become part of the problem.  Just because they didn’t get their own way so they are going to leave, they are going to give up on this country, they are quitters.  It’s like a little kid playing a game, loosing then running home to mommy because they lost and didn’t get their own way.

This country is in dire need of reform.  To make this country great again, positive reform will only come from all sides of the aisle, republican, democrat,  independents; everyone needs to work together, with an open mind and ask themselves what is best for this country.  And then follow through and support the best ideas for rebuilding, reforming and changing this country to be great again.

Rmartin

The Election, It’s Not Over

The recent post Presidential Election for the United States has been one of the most controversial in history.  Final results:  Donald Trump receives enough electoral “votes” to win. Hilary Clinton receives the most populous votes to win. Donald Trump has become President-elect, since the electoral “votes” are what decide the winner of the Presidential election. A little known fact, the electoral votes also decide the Vice-President. A little more about the VP further on.

However, the election is technically… NOT over.

What we saw on TV was the media tracking the populous vote as well as the electoral “vote”.  But the media was NOT tracking the actual electoral vote; the media was tracking electoral pledges (the person electors are planning on voting for). With this in mind, you need to know the actual electoral college does not meet until December 19th at which time the electors actual submit their votes.

Bind Electors

In most states, electors are required to vote according to the populous vote (winner takes all).  Therefore, one can project if a state’s populous vote for a candidate, all electoral votes will be given to the populous candidate.  In theory.

Unbinding Electors

In some states, electors are not required to vote according to populous vote.  Although in most cases the electors vote according to the majority of that state.  Again, one can project a state’s populous vote for a candidate, all electoral votes will be given to that candidate.  In theory.

Congressional Electors

There are a few states, electors vote according to the populous vote, but are not a “winner take all”.  If 3/4 of the state votes one candidate, then said candidate gets 3/4 of the electoral votes and other would receive 1/4 of the votes (if there is a third party runner that person may get some of the electoral votes also).  Congressional electors are normally Binding Electors.

December 19th

At this time, all elector votes are not really votes.  The “votes” are actually pledges.  Although Donald Trump has been deemed the President-elect, it is possible he may not be President after the electoral college meets and electors place their actual vote.

But that won’t happen right?  It is possible Hilary Clinton could be voted in as President of the United States on Jan. 6th when the results of the electoral college are made public.

What happens if electors don’t vote according to the public’s wishes, the electors could be fined $1,000. But that does not mean the electoral vote would not stand because it would still count as a vote, the would not be changed to match the populous vote or whatever vote it should have been accordingly.

If Trump wins Pence wins

Most people think if the elector votes for Trump then his vice presidential pick automatically wins if Trump does.  This is incorrect. Electors are not voting just for the next president, but also for the next vice president.  That’s right, they vote for president and vice president separately.  In theory, electors could vote for Trump as President and…. lets see, Clinton for VP?  Yes, that is actually a possibility. 

It is legal, it is binding and it could happen during the conclusion of the 2016 election.

In 2004 one elector voted for Mr. Johnson (an independent on the ballot) for President and also voted for Mr. Johnson for VP.

In Closing

Do I think the electors will become “faithless” and not vote according to their pledge?  No, I think that is highly unlikely and would turn this country upside down at a time when there is so much turmoil already.  As in years past, electors are claiming they are receiving emails, phone calls and media post telling them to change their pledge.  Some have claimed threatening and harassing emails and phone calls. 

Who would think they even have the right or that is morally and ethically appropriate for this to happen?  It’s not!  Electors should vote as outlined by their state guidelines and represent the people of their state.

Want to change the electoral vote system?  If so, the only fair change would be for all states to become a congressional electoral vote splitting the votes according to the percentages of the populous vote.  Changing the electoral college system will be saved for an up coming blog post.

Rmartin

Weiner, Hillary and the FBI

Ladies and gentlemen, this is just a sham.  While investigating Anthony Weiner, the FBI confiscated his laptop and his soon to be ex-wife’s laptop.  Trying to regain trust and save face, FBI Director Comey notified congress the email probe against Secretary Hillary Clinton has been reopened.

Why? Is there a connection between Weiner’s emails and Clinton’s emails?  Is there a connection between Weiner’s wife – Huma Abedin Secretary Clinton’s former Deputy Chief of Staff. No, well, nothing confirmed but…. Director Comey thought he should be prudent and notified congress.  However, at the time Comey’s memo was sent, there had not been a review of Weiner’s and Abedin’s emails.

Comey says….

“At the same time, however, given that we do not know the significance of this newly discovered collection of emails, I don’t want to create a misleading impression,”.  Meaning although the FBI found emails on Weiner’s and Abedin’s laptops, Director Comey does not what to give the impression there is anything wrong with the email nor connected in any way, shape or formal to Secretary Clinton.  So why reopen the investigation into the Clinton email server and use at this point?  Director Comey is trying to save face.

No he does not want to “create a misleading impression” what he wants to create is an impression or illusion his handling of the original investigation of Secretary Clinton was not a pay to play, or a favor for a friend.

Director Comey is only worried about himself, not the public nor the truth.  He is only trying to appear nonpartisan and not under the Clinton Mafia.  It is well-known Comey IS a strong supporter of Secretary Clinton.

Today’s public announcement regarding Director Comey’s memo is nothing more than trying to appear he has no favoritism or alliance with Her Highness Secretary Clinton and her corrupt followers.

Folks, it’s just smoke and mirrors.

It is not just Secretary Clinton that is corrupt and “above the law”.  We are talking about heads of government departments including the FBI, DOJ, and congressional elected officials.

IF what Director Comey says is true, a concern there maybe emails containing classified documents, why not suspend Clinton’s security clearance?  As what should have been done during the original investigation.  Why?  Because this time it is too early to know if there is any breach of security in the subject emails.

Director Comey is trying to save his job.  It has been suggested Comey originally blind sided the first investigation to the benefit of Secretary Clinton which in turn would ensure his position as Director of the FBI.  Showing favoritism towards Clinton, who some believe was a shoe-in for President would guarantee his position however, the polls are to close to tell for sure who will be our next President.  So Comey is playing both sides, trying to show there is a chance of impropriety with some of Abedin’s emails, going public and out of normal protocols notified congress.  Comey is trying to save his job; by going public regarding reopening the Clinton investigation he hopes to gain a visible show of supporting the law not a candidate incase Trump wins the election.

Rmartin

The Good In Life, Report it!

Remember the good old days?  Where did they go?  What happened to them?  Do they still exist?

I remember the times when people were willing to congratulate, give a compliment or even a smile and nod hello to strangers.  To see a “boy scout” helping someone across a street, to see a someone stop to help a stranger fix a flat tire or go out of their way to get a person help, is rare these days.  Or are those instances not rare but rather rarely reported in the news?

They called them “fluff” stories.

I remember as I grew up, each evening watching the news with my parents (requirement if I wanted to watch a show after the news).  The news broadcast was a simple format; first tops stories and national news, second was local news, third of course was sports, forth was weather, fifth came the fluff story, and last was the editorial.  The first four, I believe should be self-explanatory however, the fifth, which seems to have gone by the wayside, may not be.

The fluff story was always the good news which seemed to be a mandatory segment.  A long lost love reunited after years and years, so and so turning 100 years old and still out working in their garden, a lost puppy found and returned to their family and of course each story displaying pictures that made you want to go “aw, how cute”.  Where are those stories now?  Do those types of stories even exist?  Yes, those stories exist, but they seem to be either few and far between or the good deeds themselves are rare.  Or is it just news reporting?

You take the good with the bad.  Please note, I did not say take the bad with good, implying there is more good so you must take a little bad along with it.  No, as it seems in the news, you have to take the little good with a whole lot of bad.

Inundation of bad news causes stress and depression.   Stress and depression brings on anger, hatred, fear, low tolerance, low self-esteem, and low self-confidence.  Is it any wonder people are lashing out in fits of rage and hatred towards others? No not really, unfortunately.  Suicide and violence rates are up… way up.  Again, any wonder why?  No not really, unfortunately.  Do not! even try to say I am minimizing suicide or violence, I am not!

What is the majority cause of suicide? Depression.  Granted the reason for depression could be caused by many factors, however I venture to say, all of the depressing news does not help.  All of the violence in the news does not help either.

When was the last time you watched the news, read a newspaper, or an article online?  Remember what was about?  Was it good or bad?  Depressing or uplifting?  Or was it one of those “geez, not again”.

From here on out, I promise to do my part.  I will blog about at least one “fluff” piece before I blog about any bad news or media hype.  I will tweet at least one fluffy, feel good, aw so cute tweet before and after any bad tweet I make.

Here is what I do now to promote a feel good day.  I smile.  When I go shopping, I smile at people, at least five; that’s right, complete strangers get a smile from me.  I tune out of my own little world and pay attention to the people around me and smile.  Think that’s silly, right?  Think it doesn’t make a difference?  It does.  I’ve seen it make a difference.  Try.  Give it time, smile at enough people and you might even have someone smile back and say thank you.

People in general need to stop being so self-absorbed they don’t see what is going on around them.  Someone drops something when they have their hands full, bend over and pick it up for them.  And remember to smile when you hand it back to the person.  Open the door for a couple who are walking hand in hand; let them go first.  It’s not like you aren’t going to get into where ever it is.  Are you really in that big of a rush?

In other words, do something nice for someone.  It doesn’t matter how small or big it is, do something nice, smile, spread the word of a “fluff” story.  Repost it, share it, re-tweet it, email it, spread the news of something fluffy!

Rmartin

The Worst of Two Evils

So here we are again, a nation readying ourselves for a presidential election.  Bantering back and forth, accusations flinging left and right, top to bottom, lies, half truths, misdirecting and insinuations; like many years of elections we are left to choose the worst of two evils.

A man who eleven years ago was recorded saying and admitting to sexist comments, disrespectful to women and actions towards women in most case any other man would have had legal charges brought against him.  Some call him a chauvinist, womanizer, sexist and/or racist.  A man’s arrogance, quick speaking before thought sometimes gets him in trouble and chances are it will in the future.  The man…. Donald Trump.

This same man says he will stand up for America, it’s people and the constitution. 

A woman who over the last few years has been riddled in controversy even as lately as a month ago, actions showing she believes she is above the law, doing this “her way” whether than following protocols and laws if her ideas went against her oath.  A woman who has bought her way through favors and a “pay for play” lifestyle to support her political ambitions.  A woman who has been caught in lie after lie, wrong doing after wrong doing, supported by not only big money but my media outlets twisting the lies verse truth even more than the woman herself.  The woman…. Hillary Clinton.

This woman says she will continue with current policies provided by our current administration which she so proudly reminds us, she was part of.

So here we are again, this should NOT be the norm.  The behavior and attitude should not be tolerated.  This is no longer just politics, it is laced with disrespect, holier than thou attitudes and actions, speeches only designed to give the people, us, the voters what we want to hear, words to convince us to vote for them, the elite, the powerful, hiding behind their money damned the laws we the people live by.

So there you have it, a choice as poor as it is, to choose between the lesser or more convincing of two evils.

R martin

They Do It Right! NOT!

I have a feeling right now Kaepernick is patting himself on the back saying, look at all my followers taking a knee.  Kaepernick may have started protesting by not standing for the anthem, but he is not the only reason our young are following suit.

Some parents, teachers and education administrators are also to blame.  History has taught us the reason for showing respect to the flag and the anthem. It is because of the men and women who have fought for our freedoms, fought for our rights, fought for our constitution, fought for our country and the justice, fairness, morality of our fellow beings and fought for the freedom and continuing change.   It is because of what this country stands for and part of what this country, our flag and anthem stand for is the opportunity and freedom to change the country to be better for all of it’s citizens.

Taking a knee or refusing to stand during the National Anthem IS disrespecting those who fought for YOUR right to protest.  You say you do support those people who have died for you?  The best and biggest way to show that support is by the most public display this country has and the display is the anthem and the flag.

There is an appropriate time and place to protest.  Forcing your protest on a captive audience or an audience that paid to be at a sporting event is forcing your protest on them.  And it is not appropriate or respectful.

Marching in protest, leading to riots and violence is not appropriate and it distracts the focus from your protest to the hatred and anger you inspire by protesting in an inappropriate manner.

Honestly, there is no simpler way to put it than: get over yourself, grow up, think about what you are doing; are you really drawing attention to your cause?  Or are you just drawing attention to the inappropriate behavior you display?

Look at the media reports regarding your strive.  For the most part the reports are broken down into three categories.  What is the news toting?  Is it the fact you took a knee during your sporting event?  Is it the fact more and more people are being vocal about how disrespectful you are?  Or is the news filled with the reason for your protest?

If you are honest with yourself, read the news, it is not the latter of the three options ranking high in the news reports.  The news if filled with the fact you took a knee and all the people who are disgusted by your lack of respect.

Radio stations refusing to air a football game because band members took a knee during the anthem.  Sponsors backing out, people refusing to buy tickets to events, fans not so much anymore, alumni immediately calling for students and faculty to be punished, the list goes on.

Kneeling for the anthem is not furthering your cause, it is hurting it.  Your cause is not being heard.  Your actions are being seen and heard but nothing by any means is drawing support for your “cause”.  The words of your protest are being lost in your actions, your disrespect and hatred for this country and for which it stands.

R martin