RJ's Corner

Hannibal, MO – Mark Twain

Samuel Clemons, otherwise know as Mark Twain was perhaps the first truly well-known American writer. While I was not particularly impressed with Tom Sawyer it was a popular book. If you are ever in Hannibal MO you should visit his boyhood home there.

7 Out Of 10….


Nearly all of 2014’s best-paying jobs require an advanced degree, according to a new ranking from the job portal Careercast.com. Seven of the 10 most lucrative positions are in the health-care industry. SOURCE: The 10 best-paying jobs of 2014 – Yahoo Finance.

It is interesting to see that seven of the ten highest paying jobs are in our unsustainable healthcare sector. I doubt that this relation is coincidental. Note that the numbers above are the average. Many make much more than this. We seem to always knock the lawyers but they are pretty far down on the list. The guy dispensing your prescriptions at your local pharmacy like makes more than the guy who might one day defend you in court.


Norfolk, VA – USS Wisconsin

Like it our not the mighty guns of the battleship USS Wisconsin is part of what it means to be American. Those guns wreaked havoc when they were fired. About the only good thing I can say about modern-day drones is that they cause less collateral damage (ie innocent deaths)

I Can't Get No….

2014-09-15_10-57-03I know the Rolling Stones song goes “I can’t get no satisfaction” but for purposes of this post I am going to change it a little. I have been fully retired for about eight years now and was semi-retired for six before that. One of the things that I have found the most difficult to keep a handle on in these retirement years is stimulation. In other words for it “I can’t get no stimulation.” and without stimulation my life sometimes seems to just be spinning in place.

In the corporate world of the 1990s it was always about doing more with less. We saw our fellow employees being laid off and their duties dumped on us to do as well as our own duties.  There was certainly no lack of stimulation during the final decade of my work life. But when that door was abruptly closed in the Spring of 2000 I found myself in a very different mode.

Stimulation in our senior years is pretty much left for us to find. Regrettably some get their stimulation just from the struggle of day-to-day life trying to live on a fixed income when food and healthcare costs increase substantially every year. Some have on-going serious health problems that plague them in the senior years that push out almost everything else. But for those of us who have managed to save enough meet their needs and have relatively good health (of course that is a very subjective thing) we need to find things that stimulate us.

It is very easy in our senior years to get stuck in a rut and to give over to a couch potato syndrome instead of finding stimulating things to do with our time. It is easy to just sit back and suck up oxygen and very little else. We must struggle to keep life stimulating. That is especially true for those of us who have very sedentary spouses. We need to find something that stimulates us that is separate from those close to us. For some that means maintaining a “man cave” where we are do our things. For some it means fishing or camping in a Walden style.

Without stimulation life is hardly worth living. Without stimulation depression can get a massive grip on our lives. Don’t ever fall into the mantra as I do sometimes that I “can’t” get no stimulation. It is not a good place to be….

57 Varieties…

ISOA (35)

Pittsburgh PA – H.J. Heinz Company Museum

It is unclear just who invented ketchup but as usual an American perfected the process. As shown in picture taken of a mural at the museum H.J. Heinz was making it on a large scale.  Here is a little about it from Wikipedia:

Tomato ketchup was sold locally by farmers. A man named Jonas Yerks (or Yerkes) is believed to have been the first man to make tomato ketchup a national phenomenon. By 1837, he had produced and distributed the condiment nationally. Shortly thereafter, other companies followed suit. F. & J. Heinz launched their tomato ketchup in 1876. Heinz tomato ketchup was advertised: “Blessed relief for Mother and the other women in the household!”, a slogan which alluded to the lengthy and onerous process required to produce tomato ketchup in the home.

If you find yourself in Pittsburgh the museum is well worth the visit….

Before Becoming A Christian…

2014-09-20_08-08-101) Christ is perfect but “Christianity” is not. Don’t mistake Christian Culture as God, they aren’t the same thing. Churches, pastors, theologians, and other believers will inevitably fail you, but Jesus never will.

2) It’s OK to change your beliefs. You’ll never have Christianity fully figured out. You won’t have an answer for everything. Theology is a journey, a Pilgrim’s Progress. Life, relationships, and experiences form, shape, and change the way you see, experience, and understand God. The disciples didn’t understand God much of the time, and you probably won’t either.

3) Christianity Isn’t Easy. It doesn’t magically fix things, make you more popular, wealthy, or healthier. In reality, it’s not a form of escapism but a lifelong process of dedication, service, sacrifice, and humbly loving others. It’s very, very, very hard, and not for the faint of heart.

4) Christianity Is Complex. Nobody believes the same thing. There are hundreds of denominations. Doctrines, practices, and traditions are as varied as the people that represent them. This diversity of faith should be appreciated and celebrated. The goal of Christianity isn’t conformity, but an honest and intimate relationship with God.

5) Christianity is ultimately about loving God and loving others. It should never be co-opted by a political movement, a religious institution, gaining power, obtaining control, spreading influence, enforcing laws, or becoming rich and famous. It’s about a relationship with God—never let anything supersede this

5 Things You Should Know Before Becoming A Christian.

I am going to do something here that I don’t often do and that is to reblog an entire post from a blogging friend. This one’s name is Stephen Mattson. He is near the top of my blog reading list as he seems to have just the right words to express what I am feeling about so many issues. He is a trained and practicing theologian but I won’t hold that against him. :)

My big complaint is that too many people try to make Christianity a sit back and wait religion but Christ told us he was about anything but that. This list should be read and practiced by all of us who are just approaching it or have been in it for a while.  At times in my life I have almost succumbed to number one.  I took a serious look at Christianity as it seems to be practiced today and found it to be anything but perfect.  That almost turned me away but as Stephen says the institution of Christianity might seem to fail you but Jesus and his words won’t.  That is what keeps me coming back to the well.



Salina, UT – Home Cooking

The backbone of America is our small business owners. Mom’s Cafe, which we visited in 2009 is a prime example. It was a good place to eat and inexpensive meal while on the road.  We stayed at a small motel just outside of town and ate our supper and next day breakfast there.

Celebrating Native Americans….

Another quick snapshot of my blog InSearchOfAmerica. Visit it by clicking on the mosaic map just to the right of this post.

Rapid City Composite-crop

Rapid City, SD – A City of Sculptures

I love all the sculptures in downtown Rapid City. Many celebrate our Native Americans. What could be more American than to celebrate the original inhabitants of this great country. Too bad it took us so many years to realize that…..

Juneau, AK –  Red Dog Saloon

I’m not sure of the history of the Red Dog but it is now a big tourist spot in Juneau Alaska. Good beer, good burgers but not really unlike many mine in the “lower 48” as they say. I know Alaska residents don’t pay any taxes to speak of, in fact they all get paid by the government. It is a beautiful State in mid-summer when we visited but I just don’t think I could tolerate those wicked winters with no sunshine.

You're So Vain, You Probably Think This Post Is About You…

2014-07-15_16-07-58This is a continuation of last Friday’s post about why I blog and why I have been around longer than many of my blogging friends.

The above title with a slight modification is from a song from Carly Simon in the early seventies.  I am not really taunting you here it is just that like so many of my blogging buddies have been doing lately I sometimes wonder if I should go on with this blog or just hang it up? Last Friday I mentioned some of the reasons that I blog.  I thought I would finish the thought with this post.

It comes down to the basic question “Why do I blog??”

  • Do I do it for fame or fortune?
  • Do I do it because of an inflated ego?
  • Do I have just too much time on my hands?
  • Do I do it because I am always right and need others to know that fact?

I can emphatically answer NO to all of these thoughts. I have been offered some monetary gain by allowing advertising on this blog but have reject that as I might feel restricted in what I say. Most of my life I have suffered from an inferiority complex that my father, rest his soul, probably inadvertently taught me. My ego was thoroughly bruised by those years. Too much time? I can’t seem to get everything done on my to-do lists for any given day so that is not the reason.  Because I am always right (Ha). I don’t know many answers but I do have a lot of questions. Nope, don’t blog because of any of those reasons….

When it comes down to the root reason I blog it is just who I am at this point in my life.  I am a person who is full of questions.  I am a person who instinctively doesn’t go with the crowd but instead seek an alternative paths. I also blog in order to get all these things out of my head. :)  If I don’t do something with them all the unanswered questions would probably drive me crazy…

For a good part of my life I saw myself as a guy who thinks about things when others just take them for granted. It made me weird and sometimes less than sociable. In my old age I have come to discover that these characteristics are actually of some benefit.

No, I don’t have all the answers but that is OK. Sometimes I just get it wrong and have to learn otherwise and that is OK too. The root reason for  why I blog is probably more for me than for you my loyal readers. It keeps me sane… ;) More thoughts on that next Friday….


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