RJ's Corner

Snow Birds…By Necessity..

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I don’t know whether to give credit to El Nino or global warming for the forecast above but I welcome it whichever it is. I always dread mid-January to mid-February here in the Midwest as it is for the most part bitterly cold, windy, and often snowy and that is a combination that gets me down.  I am one of those who get pretty seriously depressed during this time of year but maybe it won’t be so bad this year. I know global warming is a bad thing but I kind of appreciate it this time of year.

I wonder if we will hit that turning point in our atmosphere due to global warming where we would not be able to recover. They say it will happen quicker than many people want to admit.  I don’t know, but this warmer weather  in the depth of winter has got me to thinking. If it is going to be so warm in the winter in the northern States will that mean that the southern ones will have a much hotter summer?

Will we become snow birds, going in the opposite direction in the coming years? Will those living south of the Mason/Dixon line be forced to move to the north during the summer months?  If that is the case maybe we need to re-term this trend to something like “Road Runners”.   I guess I would welcome all my southern friends to have summer homes in my area. We do have some pretty places where they could stay for the summer.

Global warming is a very serious issue that we just can’t seem to convince some to even think about.  But personally I don’t think I have to worry about it too much so having some fun because of ignorance of it helps some. If any of you “road runners” want me to send you some tourist info about Indiana let me know…   :)

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…..

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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.

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