RJ's Corner

The 550 States of America…

2015-09-12_09-39-57I think one of my favorite hobbies is playing around with reformatting the States that make up the U.S. with the goal of obtaining more equal representation.  It just seems that the present setup is so much out of skew with our times.  When 10% of the country’s population can control the other 90% simply due to having an vastly over proportionate number of representatives in our national congress things need to change.

  • I’ve made posts in the past explaining how the low population States became States mainly because of 200+ year old transportation methods or simply because of regional differences.
  • I have also had posts about given the fact that the Senate makeup is near to the bedrock of our constitution it is very unlikely to be able to change that.
  • So, here is another idea to get away from giving some of our citizens ten times the power of the rest of us.

Here goes….

Lets start with the State of Wyoming as the template. I seem to pick on them  a lot but since they are the smallest State by population per square mile it seems appropriate. I know some of you will tell me that Wyoming has 6 people/square mile and Alaska has only 1.3 so they are the smallest.  But, as I have said before Alaska is not really a State in my mind, they are more like a holding tank for our oil while Wyoming is in the center of the country.  Anyway I am using Wyoming as the standard for this post.

Wyoming has a population of about 580,000 people.  If we can’t force them to incorporate with their surrounding States then let’s join them.  Lets make a State by definition having no more than 600,000 people. Each of those 0.6 million citizens would have two Senators and one Congressperson as Wyoming presently does and is mandated by our current constitution.

My home State of Indiana would be split into 10 different States.  Just for fun I will try to name them. Of course there would be the States of North Indianapolis and South Indianapolis. Joining them would the States of Ft. Wayne, Gary, South Bend, Evansville and Marion, along with a couple of others yet to be determined.

The biggie would be California which would be broken down into 79 separate States.  I won’t even attempt to name all those.  As a total the United States would be 550 strong.  The tiny island of Manhattan would have to be broken up into three States. I’ll leave it up to them to figure out how to do that.

The overall result would mean 1100 Senators and 550 House representatives.  Having more Senators than Congressmen might just prove to be a good thing.  At least they would not have to be in a constant mode of re-election since they hold office for six years instead of two.  Maybe money would not be so prominent in national politics.

I don’t see anything in our constitution that says a State can’t split into more than one so it would not require a constitutional amendment to happen.  Having 550 States can’t be any worse than the 50 we now have.  Maybe we could even add a anti-gerrymandering provision to the new State makeup? Who know, as Martha Stewart used to say,  “it might be a good thing”.

But then again that would mean even more of those yahoos in DC to constantly be bickering with each other….

Grandpa Rambo???

2015-01-23_11-49-19After months of speculation, Sylvester Stallone has finally announced the title for the fifth (and seemingly final) “Rambo” movie, “Rambo: Last Blood.”

Stallone will be returning to another familiar franchise this month. He also tweeted that he’s headed to Philadelphia to play Rocky Balboa for the seventh time 

SOURCE: Sylvester Stallone Announces ‘Rambo 5′ Title.

Is there anyone really interested in an almost 70-year-old Rambo? Come on!!  He is older than I am for God’s sake. I wonder how many of the 17-29 year olds will flock to the theatre to watch Rambo 5? I think I can probably count them on my hands.

More likely that it will be us old folks who refuse to accept that they are now the seniors in our country who will put down their bucks.  But then again I can’t even see that one happening.  I must admit that I have never been much of a Stallone fan. I like action in my movies but I also like a little dialog too.

Come on Sly, you have made your millions milking Rambo already! Its time for Rambo to put down his side-arm cannons and let some younger folks play the macho parts. And to top it off as if just Rambo 29 is not enough he want to be known at that 68 year-old Rocky Balboa who won the national boxing title.. Geeez,  I wonder who the suckers are that are putting up the money for these two block-buster movies? Enough already….

About Those Super Heroes…

2014-11-25_08-00-27I don’t think I am the only one who notices all those new superheroes TV shows starting to flood the airways. I must admit that I am currently watching a couple of them. Gotham and Flash are now on my regular view list. It is nice to be able to escape reality once in a while.  It is also nice that these new shows are replacing the “reality” shows that have dominated so many networks. It didn’t take much for me to be filled up with that genre. They were anything but reality to me. Yeah they were cheap to make and some seemed to be addicted to them.  I am glad to see them go.

Why this sudden change in TVLand? I think there are a couple of reasons. One is that we all just need a break once in a while. It is nice to escape reality, especially today’s reality. But I think there is also a more deeply rooted reason. We desperately need someone to come into our world who will fix all the messes we have created for ourselves. We are just too splintered into an “us vs them” mentality especially in politics and religion. We seem to have totally shut down any communications between different opinions in these two areas of life. We need a superhero to drag us out of this quagmire.

Lacking a real option for superhero we, at least in our minds, can substitute an imaginary one. I understand that several new superhero shows are on the horizon including Popeye. I never thought of Popeye as a superhero but I guess he is being re-imaged as one now. Life in reality might not be getting any better but at least now we can escape that fact a few times a week and watch some run at supersonic speeds and such. But we do really need someone who will save us from ourselves….

Imagine: The Democratic States of America

2014-10-29_08-29-05Without the South, the country could very well be renamed the Democratic States of America. Secession would have numerous policy implications. The deficit would likely shrink, since despite the South’s fondness for anti-government rhetoric and ideology, the region benefits substantially more from federal programs than it pays into the federal treasury. Serious gun control legislation might actually make it through Congress. ObamaCare would probably work better (the South has led the way in refusing to expand Medicaid), but it might also be possible to pass the kind of sweeping reform of the health-care system (single payer) that proved impossible for Obama. In sum, the U.S. without the South would look an awful lot more like Canada and Europe than it currently does — while the newly independent Confederate States of America would likely look like, well, nowhere else in the civilized world. Rates of poverty, already among the highest in the nation, would probably leap higher still. Guns would be ubiquitous. Without a meddlesome Supreme Court to uphold reproductive rights, women in the New Confederacy might find it impossible to obtain abortions. Something similar would probably hold for gay rights (not just with regard to marriage, but even including sexual activity itself) and, of course, for African American voting rights. (Ten out of 11 states in the South have passed voting restrictions in the past four years. Imagine what would happen without what remains of the Voting Rights Act and the oversight of federal courts?) So what do you say? Is it finally time for us Northerners to encourage the South to go its own way? SOURCE:Imagine: The Democratic States of America – The Week.

I too have often wondered what the U.S. would look like if the southern States were to actually do what they often threaten to do and that is to secede from the U.S. The above words are an interesting take on that possibility. Yeah Obamacare would most likely work better as indicated by the map above. The vast majority of people without  health coverage are from those infamous States. The description above almost sound like utopia to me. So many of our current problems would disappear if you believe what the author says.

I must admit that I too have an ingrown prejudice against the South. I still blame them for our bloodiest war in history. I still blame them for their adamant opposition to civil rights of all our citizens. They just seem to be on the wrong end of history’s lessons so often.

The Democratic State of America sounds good to me but when you look at the maps my State of Indiana is more like the southern States then those above the Mason-Dixon line.  The Republican have a veto proof majority in our State government so they have pushed through some pretty radical legislation of late. And of course Indiana was a hotbed for the KKK about a century ago.  Would Indiana become the “new South” if the South jumps out of the union?

Silliness I guess but this kind of thinking keeps the brain cells active…. :)

I snagged this from a Facebook friend (thanks Joyce) With all the politics going on here I need some less serious posts. Not that weight gain is less serious :)  but Garfield’s rationality is very amusing. But then… Read More

All About Coveting…

When I think of the word covet I think of the tenth commandment. Here is what that says

2014-09-04_18-44-59“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”

I know covet is an old word so let’s be sure of the meaning.

Covet – wish, long, or crave for

So this last commandment means you should not wish for or crave anything that your neighbor has. But isn’t craving things that others have kind of foundational to the capitalistic system? We are all supposed to want the latest gadget, clothes, houses, you name it. If no one craves anything how can we survive.

Let’s face it, at least this commandment if very anti-American…

I’ll bet if I go through the other nine I will find others that just don’t jive with our current American culture. Things like loving money, cursing that is found in almost all of our movies, lying on the resume, or even war for that matter seem to be no-no.

Maybe we should put the ten commandments the law of the land. That would radically change things or at least change the makeup of our prison population….

They Don't Know My Name And I Don't Know Their's

2014-08-24_14-35-11I am getting up there in years (approaching seventy) and it seems I have a different sense of what is important to put into my brain now than I have had in previous years.

I spend about a half hour every morning going through my selected new feeds on the Internet. Several of those feeds have various stories about this person or that.  For the most part they are celebrities of various ages but they tend to be in their teens and twenties I think. The stories are usually about some outrageous thing they have done or worn lately. Some are heirs to vast fortunes and spend it like they don’t know the value of money or hard work and I’m sure they don’t. I just don’t understand why so many are so enamored with this crowd?

Another thing I just don’t get are selfies. Why would someone want to take so many pictures of themselves? I was recently on a New York City tour bus, you know the kind that has the open upper deck. We were  two rows behind a couple. He was in his seventies and she appeared to be about thirty or so.  She kissed and hugged him frequently. Getting to the point now, she took probably 100 or more selfies during the hour ride. I don’t think she ever took a “normal” picture during the whole time.  Now I must admit that I have an inborn prejudice about narcissistic things such as selfies because I had a very self centered mother who abandoned her young family to find someone with more money.  So, given this story you might understand why I groan whenever I come upon selfie people.

Getting back to the main story here, There seems to be hundreds of people who are followed by millions of adamant fans now days on Facebook, Twitter and probably dozens of other social network feeds. I take the view that they don’t know my name so why should I bother to learn theirs or spend my precious time reading about their frivolous activities….


Maybe We Got It Wrong…

2014-08-09_19-13-53This is probably not a good post for a U.S. national holiday but here goes anyway. Fools rush in where….

A few hundred years ago, which is a very short amount of time in world history, we were part of the Great British empire. We bowed to the king and paid our share of taxes. Then some hot heads came along and convinced us that we would be better off on our own.  They, like many Californians today, just didn’t like the idea of paying taxes and found every excuse to avoid doing that.

Long story short here we are today with one of the worst, and the absolutely most expensive, healthcare system in the world.  A murder rate and gun ownership one of the highest in the world. Of course those two items are not unrelated.  Spending more on our military than all the other countries in the world combined let alone being so stressed out we seem to have no time for family.

While over in England they were recently judged to have the best healthcare of a first world country. Their gun ownership is a small fraction of our and they have less murders per capita l in a year than we do in a month. They, like most other countries spend miniscule amounts on their military.  They take the time for afternoon tea and meals with family. Britain also seems to learn from their mistakes much sooner than we do. They outlawed slavery many years before we did. They never tried to get rid of their alcohol as they realize that it is an integral part of their culture. They didn’t practice segregation to nearly the extent we did.

Maybe we got it wrong all those years ago. We let a few hot heads convince us that what we had was not a good thing.  Canada which is our neighbors to the north also rate pretty much as well  as England in all the mentioned categories. It is always fascinating to me to consider the results of various decisions both corporate and personal and to think about the consequences if we went the other way.

I know you can’t unscramble an egg or re-join a country so the above thinking is a total fantasy but it is interesting to ponder about how different my world would be today if we had not listened to those hot head rebels so many year ago. Now before you begin to flame me please realize that I love this country but we could learn a few lessons about doing it better from some of our neighbors, especially our British ones.

Kids and Restaurants…..


Is the message on this sign outside Old Fisherman’s Grotto, a Monterey, California restaurant, clear enough for you? …. ”Cue the controversy. Since the local news covered the policy on Tuesday, it’s made headlines, prompted debate on social media, and produced a slew of new mostly negative reviews on Yelp. Most take aim at owner Chris Sake, with comments including “Good luck catering only to couples and groups of childless hipsters,” “Don’t go here unless you want to support Mr. Scrooge,” and “The sign is really low-class. Shame on you people.” Calls and emails to Sake and Old Fisherman’s Grotto were not returned. A few were positive: “KUDOS to this place!! Finally a place where we can eat in peace,” and “More restaurants need to follow their lead on the children policy.” SOURCE: Should Crying Babies Be Forbidden at Restaurants?.

A “No Kids” restaurant is an interesting idea. Now that I am deaf all the crying and gibbering doesn’t bother me but I only have to look at the faces of many other guests to know that I am pretty much alone with that immunity. It is only when the kids whose parents seem to have no control over them bump in to my table and as a result I get something spilled on me (yes, it has actually happened) that I am now annoyed. Wouldn’t it be nice to not have to face that annoyance while spending hard-earned dollars eating out?

But actually I put the fault of all of this on the parents more than the kids.  Let’s face it kids will be kids and that is how it should be. But they must be taught that like they will learn later in life their freedom to run and scream has some restrictions. Not being a parent I’m sure I don’t realize just how hard that lesson is to teach a kid. For some reason when we lived for four years in New Jersey this problem was significantly less severe.  Don’t know why?

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that families with uncontrollable kids don’t have a right to eat out. What I am saying is that those of us who don’t have or have already completed that task of raising kids have a right to have a peaceful meal out once in a while. Now that most restaurants are smoke free maybe set aside a “no kids” section of their establishments.

Waiting For Wife….


I had to clip this from a post of a friend on Facebook. One of the duties I didn’t know a husband had before I got married almost three decades ago was waiting for your wife. Shopping is just one of those areas where waiting is called for. When I go to a store I usually have a list of what I want. I find those particular things and then am ready to check out. My wife has a different strategy. She can spend 20 minutes looking at purses even though she has no need for a new one and doesn’t intend to buy one.  She could easily spend two or more hours in the store and leave with nothing. For that reason my wife and I seldom go shopping together anymore.

Another thing is that when dinner is ready she disappears for several minutes. I do most of the cooking for us and announce “dinner is on the table”. She usually comes in within a couple of minutes and then promptly disappears. Where she goes I don’t really know but I end up waiting for her while the food gets cold.

Waiting should be in some husband’s book of instructions to forewarn us naive suitors. They say patience is a virtue and you will need a lot of it waiting for your wife….




2014-06-06_09-54-41I wonder how many people know the requirements to be a member of the U.S. congress? I must admit that I didn’t until I looked them up for this post.  As usual here is what Wikipedia says about this topic.

U.S. House Qualifications: Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution sets three qualifications for representatives. Each representative must:

(1) be at least twenty-five years old

(2) have been a citizen of the United States for the past seven years

(3) be (at the time of the election) an inhabitant of the state they represent. Members are not required to live in the district they represent, but they traditionally do.

U.S. Senate Qualifications: Article I, Section 3 of the Constitution sets three qualifications for senators:

1) they must be at least 30 years old

2) they must have been citizens of the United States for at least the past nine years.

3) they must be inhabitants of the states they seek to represent at the time of their election

There only seems to be one thing that disqualifies a person from office and that is spelled out in the fourteenth Amendment and says a federal or state officer who takes the requisite oath to support the Constitution, but later engages in rebellion or aids the enemies of the United States, is disqualified from becoming a representative. This post–Civil War provision was intended to prevent those who sided with the Confederacy from serving…

There are more requirements to get your driver’s license than there is to be in congress.. So it seems that almost anyone beyond their teen years can be chosen as a representative. That in itself might explain why that institution is so dysfunctional.  I wonder how that body would change if we set up a few more qualifications?

There are 230 lawyers out of the total of 535 representatives in congress. They make up 43% of the total office holders. That kind of explains much of the mentality of this institution. It explains why they want to constantly litigate everything and why winning is the only thing important.

Wouldn’t it be interesting to see what would happen if we made being a lawyer a disqualification for membership. Maybe people there would start talking to each other instead of filing briefs to argue over. Wouldn’t it be interesting to try this noble experiment???

OK, now don’t start flaming me too quickly as this post is mostly in jest. But isn’t there an ounce of truth to it??




What Is It About Texas???

2014-05-28_08-05-59Tea Party cruises to wins in Texas Republican primary runoffs Texas Republicans aligned with Tea Party darling Ted Cruz were projected to win primary runoffs on Tuesday for two of the state’s most powerful posts, SOURCE: Tea Party cruises to wins in Texas Republican primary runoffs – Yahoo News.

What makes Texas so different from the rest of the U.S.? They seem to be off the edge in so much of what they do.

Maybe its the water? They have lots of two foot deep reservoirs built by a Democrat LBJ while he was in Washington. Maybe they have a one-of-a-kind fungus that affects the brain.

Maybe it is all that dust and sage brush? – I have been to Texas several times. A few of those trips were by car and I can say Texas is mostly parched land and sagebrush. Maybe something about that affects people?

Maybe it is those longhorn cattle? – You just don’t see those cows anywhere else.

I just don’t know what makes people who live there as strange as they are.  When the company I was working for shut down the Indianapolis facilities I moved to New Jersey for four years to finish out my pension.  My best friend of a couple of decades moved to Texas. But something happened to him and his wife. We kept in touch for a few years but their strange behavior caused us to go our separate ways.  We visited them once but they were just not the same people they were. Another glaring thing was that the house they lived in, although recently new construction, was falling apart. There were cracks in the walls, molding coming loose, paint peeling and the strange thing was they didn’t even seem to notice?

Ted Cruz seems to be the darling of so many of those folks. I just can’t understand that! What is it about Texas?

Sitting Pretty….

Corporation“This country is a thousand times bigger than any two men in it, or any two parties in it. These big politicians are so serious about themselves and their parties. This country has gotten where it is in spite of politics, not by the aid of it. That we have carried as much political bunk as we have and still survived shows we are a super-nation. If by some divine act of Providence we could get rid of both parties and hired some good men, like any other big business does, why we would be sitting pretty.” – Will Rogers, 1 November 1932

Many of us tend to think that all this putrid politics is a recent thing But Will’s quote above from 80 plus years ago shows us that is simply not the case.  Our political system has stunk for years but our country continues for the most part to thrive in spite of it. At least it thrives for some of us.

Now that the Supreme Court has decided that Corporations have pretty much the same rights a people maybe we should re-think how our country is governed? Is it time that we incorporated the country? That way we could hire and fire people when we want to. Most of my Republican friends seem to think that corporations are the real leaders in this country anyway so they should be on board.  Not on the board but on board with this idea ;) .

Forget giving all the folks in those very red and very sparsely population prairie States who have much more voting power than the rest of us. In the new USA Inc. we could all be equal stockholders.  States would disappear replaced by maybe some subsidiaries but still under control of the same CEO and board. If corporations are what makes this country great then why not go all the way and make the country a corporation?

OK, enough of this silliness but we do kind of have to do something about all this gutter politics of the last hundred years or so…. sooner rather than later I hope.

Baby Bush Type Politician….

This being April Fool’s Day I thought I would talk a little about politicians….

JesterThis is sort of political but not really. It is more in the line with personality types than about politics itself. Again, remember not to take life or this post too serious. I am mainly just poking fun of those who think they are different from us.

I have been thinking lately about the different types of politicians that I have seen in my lifetime and there is one particular type that caught my attention. No I am not talking about Republicans vs. Democrats or Conservatives vs. Liberals.  I call the group that is the topic of today’s post the Baby Bush Politicians. No they aren’t all Republicans or even actually even Americans. They are the type of politicians who have certain distinct set of personality characteristics. Here is my list:

1. Smirking — This is the ability of telling someone they are a bastard without actually saying the words.

2. Back slapping — You might call this the “good-old-boy” or maybe the “clubhouse” syndrome. This is where you give people the impression that you are one of them without really considering them to be so.

3. Strutting — This is a manner of presenting yourself as somehow superior to those around you. Of course John Wayne was the essence of this characteristic but all of the selected politicians in my group have a healthy doses of this walk.

4. Bravado — The dictionary calls this a pretentious, swaggering display of courage. Pretentious is the key word for these purposes. That is the feeling of being important.

5. Superiority — These guys just exude superiority. They think they have all life’s answers and the rest of us are just idiots compared to them.

There are a number of politicians that exhibit all of these characteristics but the epitome of them all, at least in my lifetime, seems to be our previous president George W. Bush. That is why his name graces the list. One characteristic I didn’t add is egotist. But of course that describes almost every politician who ever lived so it would not be of any value here.

Here is my list of members with their ratings (1 – 5 stars) in the order of their appearance.

Barack Obama  ***  Started out as a pretty naive president but has picked up several of these characteristics since then.

George W. Bush *****  Being that the group is named after him it is only appropriate that he get five stars.

Dick Cheney ****  The man behind the puppet

Vladimir Putin **** I had to include Mr Putin in this list. I don’t know about the swagger but he has all the other down pat.

Bill Clinton ***  Good Old Boy personified

Lyndon B. Johnson ***** The ultimate bully

Herbert Hoover ***

Andrew Jackson -*****

You would think that guys like Ted Cruz would be on the list too but since narcissism is not on the list and he is predominately the epitome of that trait he is not included. You might also wonder why I didn’t include Ronald Reagan on the list. He certainly had many of these characteristics but in reality he was more about standoffish, and folksy than anything else.

Neither Rain, Nor Sleet….

mailmanResidents waiting for their daily mail who haven’t shoveled out their mailboxes or sidewalks could be waiting for awhile, as postal carriers must have clear and safe access to make deliveries.

Letter carriers of the U.S. Postal Service are not to take risks trying to deliver mail, according to local Postmaster Deb Egemo. So, if a mailbox is inaccessible, either on foot or by vehicle, the carrier won’t deliver.

To ensure delivery:

-Keep walkways, steps and porches clear of snow and ice that can lead to dangerous falls.

– Clear enough snow from curbside boxes to allow mail trucks to approach the box, deliver the mail and drive away from the box without danger or the need for backing.

– Clear walkways of snow and ice to allow for enough traction, keeping particular attention to areas that can be affected by gutter runoff that can refreeze. – Keep steps clear of snow and ice and in good repair.

– Overhangs near mailboxes should be ice and snow-free, to avoid any icicles or chunks of ice from falling.

The words above came for my local newspaper. I certainly understand that postal carriers need to be safe when they deliver the mail but what about the most common quote about the post office.

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.

I guess this is another place where an updated mission statement is needed…

Now before you start flaming me, please realize this post is 95% in jest….but then there is the other 5%. ;)

When I Grow Up….

editorI have stated often on the blog that I have spent much of my life asking myself “What do I want to do when I grow up?” It just seems that I never really found my own personal unique way to put my mark on the world.  This question popped up yet again while I was sitting on my throne a while ago and suddenly the most obvious answer flooded my senses. I was meant to be an editor!!

This calling should have been obvious to me before now. I can’t believe I have lived this long without fully realizing it.   A big part of blogging for me is editing my first thoughts into a more coherent and nuanced version for the official post. This is usually a three or more stage process over at least a week long period. I try my hardest to get it down to just the right words.

Throughout my life even when I say things, five times out of six (don’t ask me why I chose that number) I end up re-voicing the same thought with different, more appropriate words. As a matter of fact I do the same thing when I am just thinking of something. I have been editing myself most of my life! How come I just realized that fact?

Regrettably I realize that his epiphany has come much too late to do me much good as far as an occupation goes. That time has come and gone.  It is kind of like the old saying of locking the barn door after the cow has already gotten out. I wish I had had a good guidance counselor in my high school days. I’m sure the above traits were there even then. I might have missed my calling in life as far as an occupation goes (I think I would have made a darn good editor).

But I do kind of think that my natural editing abilities have served me well in life. I don’t have a large following here even after more than four years at RJ’s Corner but I think I have a pretty loyal one and that certainly gives me a very pleasant level of satisfaction. You think enough of my editing abilities and the stories I tell to come back day after day to see what I have to say. Thanks for that.

Always looking for just the right words is a valuable part of my always questioning why things are the way they are. As Einstein said in one of his famous quotes

“The important thing is not to stop questioning.” – Albert Einstein

Even though I came to the epiphany too late to use it as an occupation I think it has served me well in this life. But I kind of wish I could have had the opportunity to try to become a world-class editor. :)

Taking It Back….

Baby GeorgePrince William and Kate Middleton have named the royal heir George Alexander Louis, Kensington Palace announced in a statement today.

SOURCE: Kate Middleton and Prince William Name Baby George Alexander Louis – ABC News.

So another big royalty event is past.  The future king’s name is George. Being a big U.S. history buff, not so much the royalty stuff, King George has some significance to me.

Let’s go back about 250 years ago. At that time another King George was battling with insurgent terrorists in some of his British colonies on the other side of the world. They absolutely refused to pay their taxes. They cowardly hid behind trees and killed many of his soldiers. They didn’t fight standing in long lines and shooting each other like they were supposed to. They were self-proclaimed insurgents but he deems them terrorists. In the end King George lost this battle and the treasonist Americans went on to form their own country.

Now lets flash forward from 2013 to around 2060 or so. It is necessary to go that far because those kings and queen being pampered as they are live quite long lives. So it will be about then that King William will be turning over Buckingham Palace to King George.

Nostradamus became pretty famous for his future predictions so, what the heck, I am going to make one here myself.  The name Walters just doesn’t have the ring to it that Nostradamus does but maybe it will be known throughout the ages as the prediction of all predictions.

I predict that around 2060 the British empire will welcome its long strayed children in the new world back into its family. By that time the U.S. will have spent themselves into total oblivion. They will have sent all their young men to live and die on foreign soils as soldier “peace keeping forces”. Their basic government unraveled years before in total chaos. As a last ditch effort they pleaded for Britain to take them back. Britain having sympathy for her long-lost children will take them in.

To one King George North America was a bunch of terrorists. Another would rescue them from their self-generated stupidity.  So, here’s to you the future King George may you live a good life.

Of course my prediction might just turn out to be totally inaccurate!  But I imagine the reason will more likely be that we will self-implode long before that time…

I Must Be Getting Old…..

EmmyEmmy Awards 2013: Nominations Announced

Source:  Emmy Awards 2013: Nominations Announced – ABC News.

I won’t bore you folks who swear you never watch television with the long list of Emmy nominations here. If you want to see them click on the source above. The point of this post is that excluding “Dowton Abbey” there were no other shows on this long list that my wife and I watch. Are we out of tune with all those other TV watchers?  Most of the shows on the list I put in the “stupid” category. They are for the most part just a series of quick one line quips to get us to laugh, cry, or whatever emotion the author intends.

When I watch TV I do like to be entertained. Those two hours or so a day that I spend in front of the boob tube are when I want to quit thinking about all the troubles in life and just be entertained. But, since I have a brain I don’t want to insult it with what my eyes see. Fortunately having TIVO allows me to pick and choose from the thousands of hours out there to record for future viewing. Dowton Abbey, as I said at the beginning of this post, is part of that list. The Wonders of Life is another one. Many of the shows on the list are from the BBC. I wonder if that says something about me or the Brits who produce them?

Yeah, this post so far seems to say that I am taking the “high brow” approach to TV. But at least I admit that I watch on a regular basis. Some of my friends won’t even admit that. :)  But, my wife who has made it her life’s occupation to show me where I am wrong, points out that I watch the Three Stooges on occasion and “isn’t that the same thing as all those shows you disdain?” There is probably some truth to her words but I kind of see a difference.

Getting back to the Emmy list, I know that most of the shows in TV are intended for the 18-29 year-old people as somehow the advertisers think they spend the most money. I have two issues with that belief. First when I was that age I didn’t have nearly the amount of money to spend later in life. I was pretty much living hand to mouth in those days. Second, is the drivel in this list really appealing to even that age group? If so I kind of have some concerns about these kids taking over the country in the not too distant future….

A Little Vanity Goes A Long Way….

You’re so vain I bet you think this song is about you, don’t you?  

This quote came from a song by Carly Simon in 1972.  I don’t think of myself as being very vain, but aren’t we all vain to one degree or another?  What is vanity? According to one dictionary I have it is:  characteristic of false pride; having an exaggerated sense of self-importance.

All of us take pride in our accomplishments and rightfully so but when that we get carried away with it then it becomes a problem.  An excessive degree of vanity some say is the root of all evil.  We must all realize that for the most part we will be long forgotten soon after we leave this earth.  Most of us just don’t leave a very deep footprint on this world.

One of the places where I see my vanity surface has to do with my blogs. I look around at some of what I consider totally frivolous blogs and see that they have thousands and thousands of followers while my blogs seldom get more than a hundred views a day. How could those sites be more relevant than mine? Don’t I talk about some pretty serious issues that need addressing? I must admit that when I was doing more posts of a partisan political nature my blog visits were quite a bit higher. It is tempting to continue to do more of that but I decided to take the high road so to speak.

My “followers” increase a little every week but never enough to satisfy my vanity.  I want to be famous!  It is only when I can tamp down my false pride that saner thoughts occur. I am not trying to win friends and influence people as the old saying goes. Instead I blog for a higher purpose. I blog for an enlightened audience so to speak. I blog for quality not quantity. :)

Feedly 2Putting all this vanity stuff aside, the original purpose of this post is to give you an alternative to the Google Reader that so many use.  Google announced that they would cease that app in a few months. I have been using it for several years now so I went on the search for another app to fill that void. I found one that is even better than Google and that is Feedly.  You can import your Google Reader stuff and quickly add others as you come across them.  Then simply click the “Feedly” button in your browser and up comes snapshots of all the unread posts that you follow.  It also has the capability of saving posts you want to keep for the future.  Click on the picture to the right to try it out.

Now to connect these two seemingly unconnected discussions. I can rationalize that my “follower” count does not reflect my total number of dedicated readers on my blogs since many are probably connected via readers such as Feedly which my blogging software doesn’t account for. So, maybe I am more popular than I think. At least that is a good way of rationalizing my exaggerated sense of self-importance.

About The Stock Market….

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BreakfastYesterday, while we were at breakfast at the hotel on the last day of our vacation there were several business men at another table complaining this or that about President Obama. They were talking about things that were reported on Fox News about him. It seemed they can’t wait until he is out of office.

My wife being more of a political person than me (go figure) started “talking” to me about all the good things that have happened under the Obama administration. She signed to me without voicing it what was going on so I joined in.

“If you want to live like a Republican you must vote like a Democratic. I said that when Mr. Bush became president he came into office with a stock market at flourishing well above the 10,000 mark and left eight years later with it was barely above 8,000 and now that Obama has been in office a little over four years it has almost doubled from what it was on that fateful day of January 20, 2009.  The stock market is booming because the real business men know that our economy will soon be flourishing again as it was during the Clinton years and almost all Democratic administration before that.  “If you want to live like a Republican you must vote like a Democrat”.  (For all you doubters out there I put a few graphs related to this subject at the end of this post).  I continued with A recent report found that if you get your news totally from Fox News you are actually less informed than those who do not listen or read any news at all.  In other words, Rupert Murdock’s version of the world has little or no reality to what actually is.

It wasn’t long before the table of business men, or at least I suppose they were, became suddenly quiet and started quickly vacating the restaurant. I guess they had heard enough from us “liberal freaks”.  We have been known to do this before while on vacation. Its kind of fun to rattle a few chains once in a while.  :)

Democrat Admins

The Pledge….


It was nice to see that Rand Paul’s standing filibuster bringing additional attention to the military drone issue in this country. Our country is based on check and balances and the current drone program has neither of those characteristics. The possibility of serious abuse scares me and should scare all of us. But, that is not what this post is going to be about. Instead it is about our pledge of allegiance and our national anthem.

I think it is time to replace both of these “sacred documents” to align us with twenty-first century thinking.  We need to get away from our obsession with wars and conflicts. As pointed out by a recent post here about Einstein’s quote about world war four being fought with stick and stones.  Our technology devoted to making war has advanced so much that we will soon be capable of annihilating ourselves many time over.  Even considering the ancient stockpile of nuclear weapons stored away in the previous Soviet Union could even do that job.

We need to start pledging to try to get along with each other and to prevent wars, not celebrate them at all our public gathering and sporting events. The “rockets red glare” just needs to go.  Most people think that our current national anthem has been the same since the war of 1812 where it was penned. In reality it was changed in 1931; a mere eighty-some years ago. In fact it has been changed a number of time over the years.

About the time the current song was made the national anthem the one I propose to replace it was being written by Woody Guthrie. His song was entitled “This land is your land”. I suspect most of you know the song so I won’t repeat it here. Woody’s song allow us to share our  pride of being an immigrant nation and our astounding geography. “This land is your land. This land is my land” has a nice ring to it.

Going on to the pledge of allegiance, no I don’t propose the above change.  The current pledge was adopted in 1942. Here is what Wikipedia says about that:

The Pledge of Allegiance was written in 1892 by Francis Bellamy (1855–1931), who was a Baptist minister, a Christian socialist, and the cousin of socialist utopian novelist Edward Bellamy (1850–1898). The original “Pledge of Allegiance” was published in the September 8 issue of the popular children’s magazine The Youth’s Companion as part of the National Public-School Celebration of Columbus Day, a celebration of the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s arrival in the Americas…. 

Bellamy’s original Pledge read as follows:

I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

The Pledge was supposed to be quick and to the point. Bellamy designed it to be recited in 15 seconds. As a socialist, he had initially also considered using the words equality and fraternity but decided against it – knowing that the state superintendents of education on his committee were against equality for women and African Americans.

I wonder if my conservative friends realize that our pledge of allegiance was written by a socialist. I can’t imagine that they do or else they would have demanded it be replaced years ago. :)  The words “under God” were added in 1954. The Catholic organization The Knights of Columbus promoted this change as they had been using it for several years themselves.

Maybe it is time to change both again…….

Two Scenarios….

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I want to do a followup of this morning post with a little more whimsical frame of mind.  As I see it we are looking at two different world views when it come to our energy needs.

One of our political parties theme seems to be “Drill Baby, Drill”. They want to extract absolutely every drop of oil out of our planet. They adamantly insist on building the Keystone pipeline so that we can take the dirtiest oil around and send it off to countries with little or no environmental regulations. They want to send our kids over to foreign countries that have oil so that we can “teach” them how to run their governments and in the process get more of their oil. They want to drill baby drill no matter the environmental impact. They deem all this global warming stuff as just a conspiracy to prevent them from getting their way.

The other political party sees all the damage that the “Drill Baby, Drill” philosophy is doing to  our country and the world. They see our temperatures warming and our arctic regions melting. They see catastrophes in our future if we don’t change our ways. They see how dependent we are on one year hundred old plus technologies and think it is time to move on to another way of accomplishing our energy needs. They see cleaner solar and wind technologies as at least part of that future.

Mad MaxLet me boil this down for those of you who might have drifted off.

One party, and I think you know which one I mean, is the party of Mad Max. They see our future as a battle to control a dwindling oil supply. They see us like Mad Max  with a gun on his hip fighting for every last drop. They thank heavens for our second amendment rights so they still have their weapons in this war for oil. While the world is spinning out of control around them they still cling to century old technologies instead of searching for better ways of doing it. They see it as a battle of “us” vs “them”.  They see Thunder Domes as a necessary part of our future.

JetsonsThe other party, and I think you know which one I mean, is the party of the Jetsons. They see that we can move beyond our dependence of a dirty source of energy to something much cleaner and healthier for our kids. They see that our future lies in getting our energy directly from the sun and wind which is available almost everywhere. They see a bright future for us as a country and a world. There are no Thunder Domes in their version of the future.

Ok, its your turn. Are you the party of Mad Max or the Jetsons?

I Think I Am Losing My Technology Edge…..

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TechieI may no longer be an official techie (or whatever the latest term is). I haven’t bought a new “latest thing” in about 18 months. That is an eternity in the tech world!  I don’t know what has happened to me. I used to keep up on all the latest trends and often splurged for some of them.

Maybe I have just finally found the stuff that makes me happy. Now that I am fully in the Apple camp (MacBook, iPad, iPhone) and now have a couple of versions of Kindle I have finally reached my tipping point of needing something else!

Or maybe I am just getting to be old and forgetful! I think mentally I am still pretty sharp but aren’t we the last to know when we have lost it?

Maybe I have just replaced my technology urges with other things now. As I get more and more active and donate more and more to feeding the poor maybe I am just changing my priorities? That one finally sounds like something I can settle on as the reason for losing my technology edge. But in reality I kind of think it is probably something else.

I have been a techie all my life and it is kind of hard to lose that moniker even in my old age… :)

Power To The People….

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I enjoy making predictions. Don’t we all. And since I am probably no worse at it than any of the so-called expert, here I go again. I predict that within the next twenty years the true power brokers will be the temp employment agencies and their eventual workers unions. I know, as usual I am way out in left field with this prediction but again as usual hear me out before you change channels so to speak..

Most businesses now rely on employment agencies for their workforce. Corporations are no longer  willing to provide any perks except to upper management. Employee health insurance, stock options, and such have become a thing of the past. I don’t think all these CEOs who now are getting their workers from employment agencies realize where things are headed. They claim to be smart but they sure don’t have much common sense. Soon there will likely be only a couple of companies that actually employ people; everyone else just hires from them. When that happens the concentration of workers will be higher than it has ever been throughout industry.

The workers will eventually unite like they did a hundred years ago and form Super Unions the likes of which the big shots  have never seen. When that happens the works will finally have the leverage to demand their share of the profits as their grandparents had many years before. Everything that couldn’t be outsourced to another country will be under the thumb of the super unions.

But I’m just a simple guy so what do I know…

Being Against…


againstIf I was a President and wanted something I would claim I didn’t want it. For Congress has not given any President anything he wanted in the last 10 years. Be against anything and then he is sure to get it. – 5 May 1923  — Will Rogers

I can’t understand why each president seems to have to learn this lesson on their own. But, I think President Obama finally gets it.  If he wants something to happen the best thing he can do is to remain quiet about it. Mr. Boehner is constantly harping that the president is not involved enough in the legislative process but what I think he really means is that he wants to know what the president is for so he and all the other sheep in the GOP led house can line up against it.

I imagine it is hard sometimes to put together a list of what you are against. Especially for those House Republicans. They just get lazy on occasion and don’t want to do the work to make up their own “against” list. That is when they insist that President Obama do it for them. A perfect example of that is the immigration reform plan leaked by the White House. It was certain to be “DEAD ON ARRIVAL” before it even left the White House door.

I am waiting for Mr. Obama to evolve into the next phase of Will’s strategy. I expect that soon he will come out with a list of things he is against. If he is good at it the conservatives will want to get everything on that list into law as soon as possible. But the secret is to make sure that Mr. Boehner and company are convinced that he really is against them.  Mr. Obama is a pretty smart guy so I pray that he get good at this game so we the people might be able to get something good from the 113th congress.  But in reality I kind of doubt anything productive will come from that bunch….

But, I’m just a simple guy so what do I know……

About Conservatives…..


MizerI am have been thinking about the word  “conservative” lately and how I thought it defines me as far as fiscal things go and how it seems to define many of my friends as a general philosophy.  I know  like everything else you can’t put all conservatives in the same box but there seems to be some common traits I assign to that label.  Let’s start out with the basic definition:

  1. a person who is reluctant to accept changes and new ideas


  1. resistant to change
  2. having social or political views favoring conservatism
  3. unimaginatively conventional
  4. avoiding excess • a conservative estimate 
  5. conforming to the standards and conventions of the middle class

In the past I have identified myself as a fiscal conservative. From a governing standpoint I want to make sure that the money I send to Washington in taxes to do the people’s business is wisely spent. I don’t treat my money haphazardly and I don’t want my government to do that either. But after looking at the basic definition above maybe I think I need to find a new label. I am definitely not reluctant to accept fiscal changes or new ideas about monetary policies, in fact I would embrace one if I thought it would solve some of our problems.  I definitely would not call myself unimaginatively conventional when it comes to money  or anything else for that matter! If you have read much of what I have said in the blog I’m sure you would agree with that. Definition 5 is kind of muddled and without meaning to me so I won’t go there. The standards of the middle class seem to change on a daily basis especially as the conservative group continues to shrink.

But the definitions above do seem to describe many of my friends. They, for the most part, fear change instead of  embracing it.  Many seem to continue to live in the limelight of the Reagan years.  They hate all the change in the last twenty years; especially change brought on by the “liberals”.  Yeah, many of my friends are unimaginatively conventional.

Well, I seem to have decided that the traditional definition of the word “conservative” does indeed describe many of my less than progressive friends but doesn’t hack it when I apply it to myself for fiscal matter. :)   So, what should I call myself?   Maybe fiscally prudent progressive.  That has kind of a nice ring to it. From this day forward I am a FPP. Conservative describes those who hate or at least adamantly resist change and that is definitely not me. But I will kind of hold on to that label for some of my less progressive friends….

An Aerobic Workout….

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aerobicI was just watching something on MSNBC that got me to thinking. Yes I do on occasion watch that “liberal trash” as some of my conservative friends call it. Of course if I were to make the same comment about anything on Fox News they would act totally shocked. :) But what got me to thinking had nothing to do with the matter being discussed.

I drifted off the topic here so let me get back to my thoughts. When I watch some of the people talk they are constantly waving their arms in one manner or another. At times they almost hit the person sitting next to them.  It seems as if being on some of these shows is almost a contact sport.

If these guys and gals had to sit on their hands I’m not sure they could even get a word of out their mouths. One of my favorites on MSNBC is Chris Hayes. He definitely gets an aerobic workout during his two-hour broadcasts on Saturday and Sunday.  He gets plenty of upper body exercise on the show and that does not even include his riding his bike to work from Brooklyn to Manhattan each day.

Since I am deaf I know that the sign for the word “english” is to  put one hand quietly on top of the other will little or not movement. Almost all sign language signs are made up due to a particular characteristic of the word.  It is generally known that the English seldom move their bodies while they talk. To them it must seem undignified to be waving their hands around like their Italian neighbors do so frequently.  I don’t think Mr. Hayes is Italian but given that he lives in Brooklyn I am sure he is around many Italians on a daily basis. When I lived in New Jersey the common joke was that there was never an Italian in New York City that didn’t think he and his brother could open up an Italian restaurant and be a big success. :) Believe me there were many in NJ.

I guess my English/Scottish roots show through when I discuss something as I don’t frequently use hand motions to emphasize what I am saying. In order to get my aerobic workout I need to get from behind my desk to take my Bassett hound Beulah for her daily walks and that is exactly what I intend to do right now.  I sure am hoping for an early Spring and at least a little rain this summer…..

Ahead of Civilization…


I have always regretted that I didn’t live about 30 or 40 years earlier, and in the same old Country, the Indian Territory. I would have liked to got here ahead of the ‘Nestors,’ the Bob wire fence, and so called civilization. – Will Rogers

mountain manI have mentioned on the right column of this blog that I am part native American and proud of it. Sometimes these roots seem to come to the surface on this blog. This quote from Will did that.

Many times in my life I have dreamed that I was a mountain man in the Rocky Mountains. One of my favorite movies is Jeremiah Johnson which is about those folks.  I have watched it so many times I can just about quote the dialog before it is said.

So, I am kind of like Will here; I wish I had been around before civilization polluted this “good old country”. I live near a small town of about 2,000 people but that even seems crowded now and again.



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Kick MeI couldn’t help but laugh out loud when I saw this cartoon. Thanks Gary Varvel for the laugh. And an Indiana guy at that.

I know the GOP is desperate to rebrand their party into something with a broader appeal. But for some reason the Democrats just don’t seem to want to cooperate in that endeavor. :)


Guys Bonding….

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bondingI know I have a sizable percentage of women who follow this blog so I thought I would spend this post telling you about how guys bond. At least the guys I know.  I’m sure you all know and that guys bond differently than women.    When a woman feels emotional about something it is usually very obvious.  Not so much for us guys.

I think I am more girly, as Arnold puts it, than most guys. I readily admit that I shed a few tears during some movies and such when something bad or even good happens to a good guy. But I am very much a guy when it comes to male bonding. A grunt here and a grunt there when I am with my best buddy is about all you are going to get from me.  We just take it as an unspoken truth that our best buddy has our backs so to speak. We don’t need words to get in the way of that trust. We seem to bond more emotionally with our pets than we do with our buddies. Read More


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