Letter on Education

April 14, 2015

Letters Editor
Meriden Record Journal

Dear Sir,

I am writing this letter in support of Mr. Jean Pierre Bolat, a member of the Wallingford Board of Education and parent of a Wallingford student. As a former Connecticut teacher, it is very difficult to understand how, in a world where our national school system no longer leads the world and where it is not uncommon to find graduating students unable to use proper grammar, spell correctly, read to their grade level, write coherent sentences and other, that somehow we are intensely focusing on the topics of date rape, homosexuality and masturbation in English class. Are these the kind of topics that need to be taught by English teachers or are more appropriate for an after school counseling session held by certified experts? It seems ridiculous that teachers who went to school to teach English literature, writing and other aspects of this beautiful language, have now suddenly become expert Social Scientists. I also have a hard time believing that students in North Korea, Germany, England, Taiwan, Spain, Italy, India, France, Sweden and a host of other countries are focusing on date rape, homosexuality and masturbation instead of reading, writing, technology, science, mathematics and other such topics.

Our schools, here in Connecticut and around the country, desperately need to get back to ‘the basics’ inculcating our children with the necessary skills to obtain good jobs and support themselves and their families, to successfully compete in a domestic and world market. There is barely enough time now to fit in all the other ‘social requirements’ imposed upon our children that real education has almost been forgotten. We need to eliminate social programming and teach our children how to read, write and think logically. Education today is far too Liberal and far too off base. I believe we are actually hurting our children, not helping them. This needs to stop.

We should applaud the character and courage Mr. Bolat has brought to Wallingford. I believe the town has chosen well.

Serge G. Mihaly, Jr
Wallingford, CT

Policies not Personalities

Policies not Personalities
3/16/2015

We have a to think ‘big ideas’ not engage in petty, personal political wars. What policies will help our state and national economy, the poor and disadvantaged? It is the private sector, business and the middle class that need assistance through the intelligent application of ideas. Tax cuts, tax incentives for businesses large and small, economic enterprise zones within the inner city, making teachers, children and parents the primary focus of education not bureaucrats in Hartford or DC. We must improve our mental health network and not destroy our 2nd Amendment. We must allow the free expression of religion and stop the secular persecution of Christianity and other religions, cut government spending and promote self-reliance, eliminate ridiculous taxes and fees that burden everyone and reach out to all parties, all minorities to better understand their thinking, needs and perspectives and not be afraid to ask questions to end our stereotypical attitudes. We must have intelligent policies, not flashy personalities. If our current leadership is failing us then we need a change in both Hartford and Washington.

What are our problems in CT? What has been tried and are we trying now? Has it helped or not? Let’s change course, get back to Conservatism. Liberal ideology has been a failure.

Serge G. Mihaly, Jr
Wallingford, CT

Tweedle Dum or Tweedle Dee?

As a Connecticut citizen and a Republican I am very concerned, not just for my state, but also for my party. I don’t believe Governor Malloy or the Democrats have the answers to our state’s problems as government is still growing, taxes keep rising and many are still fleeing the state.

I was hoping the Connecticut Republican Party would finally get its act together and conduct a strong campaign. Instead, we saw timidity and confusion. It appears we are more concerned about personalities than sound ideas and their clear communication. I believe this is where we are making a huge mistake. I have to ask myself – What did we stand for this fall and how did we differ from the liberal Democrats who are destroying our state? I don’t think anyone knows.

Recently, the Republican Party held its State Central Committee meeting at which there was reported a lot of hand wringing and after the fact personal apologies, but little in the way of policies. Even an old college classmate of mine, who now serves in the Legislature, seems more focused on the ‘who’ instead of the ‘what.’ Nationwide, though, Republicans are far more Conservative and much clearer in their ideas, ideas that are designed to solve the ills that seriously trouble us. Ideas like creating jobs, the free market, the repeal of Obamacare, a strong defense, a clear and strong foreign policy, energy expansion, limited but efficient government, cutting waste, lowering taxes and many others, are all just a part of what won this fall. Yes, people ran, but it was their ideas and beliefs that carried them into office.

While the liberal media distractingly tries to focus on the personal flaws of potential 2016 presidential candidates, the new Congress will soon be filled with men and women who are far more inclined to enact policies which have been clearly spelled out before the voters and approved. I believe it is time Connecticut Republicans do the same. There is no excuse not to. Our families, neighbors and, most especially, our children and grandchildren need this.

A New Direction?

With the state and national elections over I can’t help but wonder just where the Connecticut GOP went wrong. In Connecticut, where the two main parties seem as one I believe there was really little choice for the average voter. Moderates rule our state, moderates who I define as politicians who believe in something, but not too much. With the nation finally understanding that big, know it all nanny like government simply does not work; here in Connecticut we have convinced ourselves it still does. If we have, we are wrong.

There are many hard working and sincere men and women doing their best to fix the problems, the high taxes and other issues that plague us, but without new thinking, it is difficult to see how we will do anything more than continue to drink the lukewarm water that moderate directions give us.

The nation has moved right, to a political and economic philosophy that has succeeded time and time again. I suggest our newly and not so newly elected officials take note.

Fishers of Men

According to the book of Matthew 4:18, The First Disciples, Matthew writes ‘And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. He said to them, “ Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” They immediately left their nets and followed Him.’

It is a remarkable passage as all passages are from the Bible for there is so much wisdom and so much to learn in every word. This one, for me, has had more significance especially in those moments of confusion, doubt or even in just everyday life. What do I mean? Well, as Christ called His apostles to follow Him, learn and then preach the Gospel, we, too, are called. While the first twelve Apostles lived their lives in devotion to Jesus, we can too in yet another way, a way that strengthens us all, those we know and those we don’t.

While the fishermen of old used nets to cast and gather their sustenance, we can as well but with a tool more personal and modern, a tool we are much more familiar with especially in the company of good friend and family. Today, most of the people I know use fishing poles to cast a line into the water hoping against hope to bring in a Large Mouth Bass, Trout or Bluefish. It is a simple tool, but an effective one. But how does this apply here?

My grandparents, my mother and father and Christ Himself put great weight in prayer and, as we all know, prayer is powerful especially in the light of Christ’s love and the Virgin Mary’s intercession. In this I make a suggestion: Cast a prayer.

Cast a prayer? Hmmm. Ok, let me explain. There are often times where I find myself struggling with my own troubles and crosses to bear, wondering how I am to overcome the challenges that I am facing. It is often in times like this that I see the ‘innocents ‘ and ‘poor souls’ that my grandfather and Christ Himself so often spoke of. The crippled old woman struggling to walk, the angry inner city youth fomenting hate, the persecuted Christians or others we see or hear about on television, a beautiful child in a wheelchair or the mentally ill that openly walk our streets, there are so many, all need God’s Grace. These are the souls that we are called to cast a prayer for and become the Lord’s ‘Fisher’s of men’ in our troubled world. This is not just another nice thought or vapid act. It is deeply real and doing so changes us into true followers of Christ for we stop being people who see just our own troubles. We begin to see the world Christ sees, a world full of innocents, those who need saving, those who are good at heart, who suffer far greater than we do, who are lonely and lost, who do not have the advantages of life we too often take for granted, those who hurt just like us and need our help, who so desperately need the love of Christ and hence, ours too. For what is God? It says in the Bible in 1 John 4:8: ‘He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.’ Love is indeed a powerful thing.

The other day, after Church I saw a man quite like one of the possessed souls in the New Testament Christ healed, cursing loudly with long uncut hair, talking to himself dressed in clothes that were too big and with what appeared to be his son walking painfully, but diligently behind. What problems they had I did not know, but I stopped and felt a great deal of empathy. I could not do much to help, but I thought that the next best thing was to ‘Cast a Prayer.’ I did, asking God to help him, his son and his family. To enter in their lives and heal the evil which had so evidently taken hold. I left it to Christ, to our Savior with His great love and strength to heal this man and his family. It was a small thing, but in a significant way it made me a quiet Apostle, what I would call a ‘Fisher of Men.’ Please note, I do not in any way compare myself to the true apostles. I am human and so full of my own faults. How this would strengthen Christianity, our faith and our world as well. We would no longer see ourselves as victims of our own personal troubles, but as the Lord’s soldiers doing Christ’s work. I don’t believe Christ’s always asks us to shout our faith from the mountaintop unless needed. He does, though, ask us to do so from the inner and private depth of our own souls and conscience.

Yes, the world can be a formidable place, but where there is love there is God, and where there is God there is always hope and, eventually, victory. How better to fight the ‘Good Fight’ by fighting for those who need it the most, for those who Christ came to save, the downtrodden and suffering souls for we all are, in some way or another. For when we pray for others we also pray for ourselves. It is in this humility, this honesty, that we practice our Orthodox Christian faith so well. We are never helpless, never real victims, but will always be victorious when we become Christ’s ‘Fisher’s of Men.’

Reverse Discrimination, A New Elephant in the Room

Discrimination is wrong no matter how you look at it. Racial, religious, cultural or in any other form, it is still ugly, ignorant and wrong. It is made all the worse when a corporation, who touts their stand on treating people equally, is not brave enough to do the right thing and face this forthrightly. I know there are many injustices and evils in the world, but reverse discrimination falls unfortunately on the same side. Born out of a sense of retribution for past injustices or blind anger, there is still no excuse for it. It is time for this to stop.

Bullying and harassment must not be tolerated in any form. One would think that with all the education and ability to set things right a corporation would do so given an opportunity to. Not so with a company I am very close to. It is sickeningly cowardly. I have brought this to the attention of those with the proper influence to change this, but so far they have not. I have sworn to tell the truth of what I have seen and I have been clear and honest yet my words have, as of yet, fallen on deaf ears. Is someone waiting for this to go away? Are they hoping this evil will just evaporate? Are they themselves too afraid to act for fear that the guilty will twist the truth by falsely claiming that an act of racial discrimination was instead directed against them? This whole situation is holding everyone hostage. It is creating and has already created a hostile work environment and made all the worse through inaction through a directive to suspend any appropriate discipline.

I have information myself, evidence to present before a court or newspaper or tv audience and even if my side does not reach anyone more than my family or neighbor I would be able to live with myself. I have to hold myself accountable as well. If I was there when Jesus was crucified would I take Christ’s side or the Roman soldiers who drove the nails into his hands and hung him from the Cross? There is a great deal of hypocrisy here. I am human myself, but to go along with this ‘evil’ is itself wrong. I have done nothing to be ashamed of or to be guilty about, neither has the victim or their manager. They know this, yet they continue to ‘pull the covers over their eyes while the wolf saunters across the bedroom floor.’ There is no excuse. No acceptable rationale for letting three young street smart and bullying women harass and ‘beat up’ on a young lady of another color. To do so is to act in collusion through inaction. May the Lord direct me and everyone involved. Life is too short.

The Passing

I knew sooner or later the day would come, but I did not want to admit it. With my mother now gone some 26 years, my father had become the center of our lives, except, of course, for the Good Lord. Serge Mihaly was a giant of a man, a lion some have said. He was the unmovable pillar that many tied their Carpatho-Russian Orthodox and cultural reigns to. My father was a man of quiet, humble dignity found in an honest, no nonsense view of life. Born out of personal tragedy with the loss of the two women he had loved, his focus was his family, his friends and his faith. My brother Luke, pretty much summed this up very well in his eulogy for our father.

My father’s wealth, though, was not in any earthly item, no fancy cars or investments or some other shining bobble. No, his ‘wealth, was in what could not be given a price. It was in his warmth and generosity, in his unique appreciation in the value of the ‘human condition’ he so often reflected on and sympathized with and his faith. For this man who so loved nature, there was a truly beautiful side to him. He loved the woods, the camaraderie of the hunt, the laughs and jokes that reverberated throughout the camp, the atmosphere, the good times and the continual creation of good memories. These and so many others things my father was concerned about and wanted so very much to continue.

I remember soon after his parents had died in the 1970’s he repeated something Minnesota Senator and Democratic Presidential candidate Hubert Humphrey who was dying of cancer once said. ‘Life is to be lived, not endured.’ There was something in those words that struck my father, something that reverberated within him that seemed to release some pent up pain and frustration. I remember soon after, he began to feel better as if whatever had plagued him, plagued him no more.

My father was a remarkable man. Good and strong, loving and gentle, but at the same time could be as tough as anyone standing on his principles until hell froze over and for my father, this was something hell wouldn’t dare.

It is late now and I am tired. I miss my father as I do my mother and so many others that have passed on. My father more so though, as his passing was such a short time ago. We owe it to him and to ourselves to be happy despite the pain and emptiness that still resides in us for he would not want it any other way.

God bless you Dad.

Hollywood and Our Children

So much of today’s entertainment is steeped in vulgarity and amoral violence. So much so it has dulled our senses. Movies that stunned a nation like ‘The Exorcist’ or ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ are now considered tame. Reality shows fill the screen modeling the worst of human behavior, and I fear, giving rise to a ‘new normal. What has happened to our society? It appears we are deteriorating to the basest elements of society. Why?

I lay much of the reason at the feet of a liberally progressive ‘all is relative’ Hollywood. Accidental or not, Hollywood creates impressionable images. What is depicted on screen is often taken as reality becoming a type of ‘social mirror’ far too many are influenced by. It seems real enough, but is it actually?

As we look deeper into this ‘mirror’ it becomes more like one from a carnival as it distorts rather than accurately reflect. Far too much of what comes out of Hollywood leaves little to the imagination. The Alfred Hitchcock Mysteries and morality plays of the 1960’s have been replaced. Homosexuality is promoted as normal. Adulthood seems pushed far too quickly on our children with few family programs on tv. Where such classic tv shows as the Beverly Hillbillies, Gilligan’s Island, Daniel Boone, Combat, The Carol Burnett Show or Happy Days have apparently seen their hayday, I believe there exists a strong desire for this type of programming and a lessening of the seemingly cloned detective dramas like CSI Miami, New York etc and , Criminal Minds among others. Where is the creativity? Where is the fantasy, the ‘get away from it all’ entertainment that uses our imagination? We even have cloned singing show – the Voice, the X-Factor, American Idol, etc. What has happened to American entertainment? Where have the brilliant ideas gone?

Our children need to be children, free in many ways, if not all, from the ugliness of the world especially in their formative youth for it is then that they shape their view of the world. No, we cannot and should not hide everything from them, but what good does it do to continually expose them to the cynicism of angry adults, depressed hopelessness when it is still, for many, a very beautiful world? Our parents and their parents knew creativity in their lives. They sung songs, told legends, looked up to heroes, knew  good and evil. What good is there portrayed today? What is so good about the dysfunctions of the Kardashians or Miami, New York or Beverly Hills housewives? What good does it do for anyone to see ugly family brawls and hate and cursing and general chaos? Is this how we want our children to be raised? Maybe some do, I do not.

I believe children need to build their confidence. They need to believe in the good of the world, to have a secure foundation as a conditional precept in the society in which they live. They need to experience their innocence, not be robbed of it. They need to see the world with wonder and joy, not through perpetually dark colored glasses. Instead we bombard them with garbage like dysfunctional reality shows or shows that make sex the prime goal in everyone’s life, faith a thing to be dismissed, God a concept for fools and we wonder why there are so many divorces. Is there a clue here somewhere?

For years now, Hollywood has been filled with relativity. Religion is mocked and violence and sex worshipped. The good guys are weak and the bad guys heroes. There are not many examples of strong men. No Bonanza’s, no Gunsmokes, not much at all. Yes, the sixties came and went and with it much of the American ideal, at least in much of our entertainment. We have had our theatrical gems though, all is not bad. Schinder’s List, The Titanic and other movies still show up, but there is a streak of liberal bias deeply imbedded in the psychology of Hollywood and deeply expressed in their products. Creativity, to many, is only a liberal quality. Conservative values and traditional mores are quaint and outdated, yet I submit they are not and on the rise in need and desire in a quiet general public and have been for a very long time. Our nation needs a return to what has always been good. Liberal apologists say they are only giving the public what it wants, but I disagree. This is a cowardly way of running from personal responsibility. It is quite sickening.

As a parent and as a former teacher I know the innocence of children. I know, too, like many who read this that it is how children are shaped that either robs them of their innocence or allows their lives to develop toward a wholesome maturity. In fact, I believe this is also an adult need as well. So many of us suffer from the same fate. Our children, though, are thrown into a deeper cauldron of hopelessness, of despair and dysfunction and that this is all they see and know even when looking outside their immediate circumstances. This only reinforces the hopelessness and despair. The lack of morality and the existence of right or wrong in our public entertainment is wrong and can be changed. Because it is not, Adults and children often wander aimlessly embracing a pervading negativity that breeds only more, often stooping to a sense of needless victim hood instead of a healthy, independent individuality. This needs to stop and it needs to stop now.

Our future, this nation’s future, depends on the positive and life affirming maturity of our children and a society built on the good, not an obsession with the darkest parts of our nature. Yes, they exist, but so does the positive and it a choice not a fate. While families are a key to the upbringing of children and must do their part, the men and women of the entertainment industry need to ‘man and woman up’ and do a much better job.

The Shame of Barack Obama

I once wrote a short article on the ‘Shame of Barack Obama.’ It spoke about the great missed opportunities of this young man as he focused so much of his time and effort in anger and retribution towards our society. Instead of directing us to a commonality of experience, struggle and redemption, he has purposely divided us tapping the very worst in our natures. As Lincoln drew upon of our ‘Better Angels’, Obama has called upon our cold and cynical self-centeredness, yet when he first entered office he made many references to Lincoln as if to say ‘I am the new Emancipator.’ As the first African American President he is an American political pioneer, but pioneer for what?

He has divided us into two camps ‘rich and greedy’ and ‘poor and victimized.’ If we read his mentor, Saul Alinsky, this is no accident. It is a strategy of ‘divide and conquer’, but what needed division, what needed conquest and why?

Just who are the rich he is referring to? Business executives living on millions if not billions of dollars? Is it the so-called ‘fat cats’ on Wall Street or software or energy giants? Maybe the Insurance companies or Big Labor? What is the definition of ‘the rich’ to the President? Is it only the ‘rich’ Republicans and not ‘rich’ Democrats that he refers to? What about George Soros, a foreign born billionaire who has donated millions of dollars to the Democratic party and Democratic candidates. As much as Hollywood millionaire movie stars flock to embrace the President, he strangely ignores their wealth. Why? It seems in Obama’s world of equality everyone is indeed equal, but as George Orwell once said ‘some are more equal than others.’

The President has unfortunately also divided us with regard to race. He has had yet another historic opportunity to bridge whatever social, emotional and cultural gap that may still exist in this nation and heal once and for all the sins of the past. How mighty and wonderful it would be to see a new Martin Luther King, Jr. Instead all races are pitted against each other creating socially paralyzing jealousy, anger and resentment.

President Obama was elected on the promise of ‘Hope and Change.’ As I saw it ‘hope’ was meant for the financially and socially disadvantaged and ‘change’ was the results of that hope in their lives. It was the liberal call to arms for the ‘redistribution of wealth’ that was to change everything for the better. So far, I do not see much of that change. In fact, in many ways, it has only gotten worse.

I hope I am wrong.

SGMJr

 

 

My Alaskan Caribou

There was a reason I chose the picture of the Caribou that heads this page. I searched the internet for something that represented how I feel about nature and much of what life means to me. I love the outdoors and pretty much everything in it. This love was instilled in me by my father who had it instilled in him while accompanying the late Bishop Orestes Chornock on many of his hunting trips to Sharon, CT. The bishop was a man who loved the outdoors and a man much in the tradition of the old country. It was his love for nature that my father passed on to his three sons and we are very lucky he did.

Over the years my brothers and I have hunted white tail deer in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New York, Virginia and New Jersey. We’ve also hunted black bear in Canada, both in Quebec and Ontario, and many types of small game from squirrels to rabbits to Ringed-neck pheasant. My father has had hunted deer in New Hampshire, wild boar in Pennsylvania and buffalo in South Dakota. He’s pursued caribou in Newfoundland and moose in New Hampshire. In doing so, we have experienced something refreshingly new, adventuresome and total independent from the claustrophobic wiles of society.

Whether it be in Canada or the US, hunting always afforded my family, quality time individually or together. Even my mom, a good sport if there ever was one, has been on the receiving end of this passion of ours. Being the youngest sibling growing up on an Upstate New York farm, she was well disposed to the rigors of the outdoors. She had the rare quality of waking up, brushing her hair and greeting the day with beauty and earthly grace. While she also enjoyed the ‘civilized’ aspects of life, she fully understood and lived the values she wanted her sons to inherit, love of God, country and family. It was the natural familial bond found in camping, fishing or hunting that she, my dad and her three young sons cherished so much, an independence from the rush of everyday life.

I still remember looking up at a star filled heaven, so clear that we followed satellites crossing overhead or seeing a great grey heron on a New Hampshire lake with my Uncle Nick or swatting millions of hungry mosquitos and gnats in the back woods of Canada while fishing for Walleye and Northern Pike. These experiences, big and small, have all contributed to mosaic of our adventures. Each richly filling us with awe and respect for the world that we both know and don’t know. There are many memories, many thoughts and many feelings that rightly accompany our love for nature.

My Caribou represents this. Both the physical beauty found in nature and the beauty found in life.  It is my intension to share these here and in so doing share with you one of the great blessings of my life.

SGMJr
9/13/2014

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