Part Of The Tribe…

“It doesn’t matter how sleazy they are if they are part of your tribe you support them.” Has our politics degraded to this? Some of the pundits say it has but I think it might not be so

2018-05-10_10-59-50.pngI was in college in the 1960’s and I can remember that the nightly news was all about campus protests and sit-ins. If you believed the reports back then every kid who was in college was a pot-smoking hippie. The reality of it, for at least Purdue University, was that the vast majority of us were just going to classes and doing what was necessary to graduate. Occasionally I came upon some kids who were carrying picket signs but that seemed like a pretty rare event to me.

Jump forward to today and if you believe the cable news reports, we are all hunkered down in our individual tribes throwing bomb across at the other tribe who is our dreaded enemy trying to destroy our way of life.  As long as you distance yourself from all the rhetoric that is spewed out you realize that most of us are just going about our daily lives almost oblivious of the reported times.  We have mortgages to pay, kids to feed, and jobs that demand much of our attention.

I don’t feel any like a member of a tribe.  I try my best to form my own opinions about most things and remain pretty skeptical about anyone trying to seduce me to join their way of seeing the world.  Maybe they are putting out that image to just gain viewers?

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Teaching An Old Dog New Tricks

I know the title of this post is a worn out cliche but it does kinda make sense for this post about WalMart taking on Amazon in the online market. Another worn out cliche that fits this scenario is “Better late than never”.

It is still kind of hard to think of Walmart as “old-school”. I can remember when there were none of them around. I think of McDonald’s in the same vein. Both are trying to hold on to the dominance they once had in their markets while others are quickly eating their dinner so to speak.  McDonald’s, at least in my area, are going through a pretty severe facelift.  The golden arches are for the most part gone except for a small one on the side of the new plain grey facade.  But in both cases, I kind of think its too little too late but I am getting ahead of myself here.

2018-05-17_08-15-25.pngWalmart is trying to bring up a strong online presence but from my personal experiences, it is a pretty meager effort. Their “new” website is well (yawn) boring. It just lacks the pizzazz and speed of response of Amazon. But I have recently given them a chance. I was in need of a new twin mattress for my microRV and found that Walmart has the one I want for about the same price as Amazon, so I ordered it.  They promised a 3 day delivery to my local store.  When I went to pick it up I found a pretty much untrained staff to handle the transaction. I wish them luck but…

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Just Sitting There…

2018-05-21_11-49-32.pngThis post is in honor of the new Will Roger’s quote in the header above. For those folks who might be viewing the post from the archive in the future, I will put the words here too.

There are some folks in the country that seem to believe that our best days are behind us and if we could just bring them back we would be in great shape. As Will tells us, the trouble with that is that they want to find that point in time and then just sit there forever. That simply won’t work as time has the habit of moving on whether we like it or not.  There is not going back, only forward.

Instead of reminiscing the good-old-days these folks should be preparing for the future in order to make it better than the past. Yes, that takes action which is certainly harder than just shouting words but in the end, it actually accomplishes something. If there was just some way to put these naysayers into that mode, our country and world would be better off.

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They Won’t Listen…

Sante Fe Texas joins the list of tragedies in local high schools. The scenario is all too familiar. A disgruntled teen is depressed and wants to go out in a flash of attention.  This time he got his weapons from his father’s stash but he could have just as easily bought them himself.  This national tragedy that very rarely happens in other countries continues…

2018-05-20_08-25-02.pngIt seems that a very real reality for teenagers now is to consider the possibility that they will be shot dead before they graduate.  I can’t imagine having that feeling when I was their age! But finally, they are ready to do something to stop the carnage.  They want regulations on guns to quit making them so easy to be obtained by disgruntled and depresses teenagers.  They want laws making those who supply guns to these assassins to be charged as an accessory to those murders, whether they be parents or just people selling guns to anyone with the dollars in hand.

The teens have marched by the millions to tell the legislatures to make this happen but the lawmakers seem to fear the NRA and the Radical Right more than them so they have now found another strategy.  They are registering to vote in numbers unheard of before. If the legislatures won’t listen then they will vote them out of office.

I applaud these activists for their initiative and wish them much success. Schools shouldn’t be war zones.  The extremely easy access to weapons of mass destruction needs to be severely throttled as it is already in most places in the world.

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A Broken Clock…

2018-05-10_16-52-17.pngI like the old saying that even a broken clock is right twice a day.  Of course, that only applies only to analog clocks as the digital ones just go blank. What brought this thought is some of the actions around #CO3 recently. I certainly enjoy making fun of some of his daily screw-ups but in the same light, I have to also give him credit for good things that may happen because of his occupancy. Let’s get on to that in this post.

If it is true, and I am VERY skeptical about it, #CO3 should get some credit for the possible reunification of Korea.  It took a person who is even more unstable than the North Korean leader to scare him into a reconciliation that has been waiting seventy years to happen. It looks like Kim Jong Un blinked.  If it happens I hope that we can finally get all our soldiers and war machines out of Korea and let them take care of their own business from then on.  Maybe it will even cause a trend to remove them from other parts of the world? Wouldn’t it be GREAT if we could pare down our military spend to something comparable to the rest of the world?  Right now we, 5% of the world population, spend more than the rest of the world combined on our war machine. All that money could be used to provide universal healthcare for our citizens and even a better safety net for those who fall on hard times.

Thanks #CO3 for outcrazing the craziest in the world. Your skills are good for something after all. 🙂

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#CO3 = Current Oval Office Occupant.

I Am A Writer…

I am once again trying to get you to understand my obsession with writing. Or maybe it is to help me understand myself, I don’t know.  But, here goes.

I am such a writer. It’s not even funny. I’m rarely blocked. If anything, I have more material to write, than I have time to write. That’s been the prevailing theme of my life: So many words, so little time. And some of the words are actually pretty decent. I devote my waking hours to noticing things and thinking about them in ways that few other people do. When other people have read what I had to say, at times they’ve been amazed. If I felt more comfortable about it, I’d brag a bit on that point. But other people’s respectful notice of my ideas puts me off. I can’t help wondering, “Why is this so amazing to them? It’s just common sense?” And I can’t even begin to discuss it all, because I often come off as arrogant or stuck-up or condescending.

via Working towards #Invisible #excellence – Aspie Under Your Radar

2015-08-08_10-15-26.pngThe words above were written by a person like me with significant Aspie traits. They so mirror my feelings as to be almost eerie. At the present time, I have 10 days worth of posts here on RJsCorner that are scheduled for publication and another forty-five drafts waiting to be fleshed out. There are also over a hundred titles in the trash that just didn’t pan out. My usual process is the take thoughts that cross my mind and write a quick title and a few words for future expansion and edification and then let my brain stew them over in the background. I don’t know how I can keep so many things tumbling in my mind at the same time?  Sometimes I get several thoughts a day and a few days go by with nothing but I am rarely blocked.

Why am I obsessed with putting my thoughts on virtual paper? Do my Aspie traits have something to do with it? I imagine they do but I have never really delved into that possibility.  It is just part of me now I when it gets down to it, it really doesn’t matter what the source.

For the most part, I have always been a writer. I would do book reports of all the books I read in my youth. No one saw those reports but me but I just felt I had to consolidate my thoughts after each book read. When I went to college to become an engineer, my writing quickly stopped. Except for technical type reports, written in the third person, engineers just don’t see the need for liberal arts stuff like composition or short stories.  My obsession with writing should have been a clear signal that I was heading into the wrong profession but sadly I was just too unsure of myself in those years to give much validity to my personal thoughts.

I have kept journals throughout my life but it wasn’t until I retired from the corporate world that I took up sharing my thoughts with others.  I had several different blogs starting around 2003. RJsCorner in its first iteration started in 2006 and the present version in 2010.  A couple of the reasons I went public with my writing were to share my experiences and to let others know that whatever they are struggling through in life they are not alone. There are others who have been down the path they are taking who might be able to help them along their journey.

I jokingly say that I want to put all my life’s faults and mistakes out there for others to see so maybe they can learn from me and won’t have to repeat them. 🙂  In my final years, I have finally recognized and conceded that  I am a “weird bird” who sees the world differently than most around me. Instead of hiding that fact, I finally take pride in being the person I am. And that is a good thing for each of us to realize. Just be the person you are…

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The American Tractor

In my recent theme for artsy Saturday of simplicity, I want to give a salute to the American tractor.  Two hundred years ago almost 90% of us were farmers who grew our own food.  Even a hundred years ago about 40% of us were in that same state. It took industrialization to drastically change those numbers.  Today, less than 2% of us are needed in that category.

So, this picture is to celebrate the American farm and the Ford tractor.

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Never Say You’re Sorry…

2018-05-17_13-58-48.pngIt seems that one of the strictest rules around the current White House, that is beside disagreeing with #CO3 on ANYTHING, is to say you are sorry. Even when crude and disgraceful jokes are made about a dying senator, never say you are sorry.  I certainly don’t understand that kind of logic? To me, that is downright disgraceful. But, then again, that kind of stuff seems the norm for them. How they seemingly hang on to their “base” is a total wonderment to me! Maybe, come this November we will see that for the most part they don’t.

On a lighter side, the very foundations of any marriage, especially for us guys, is to constantly apologize, even if you don’t know what you are apologizing for. 🙂 Too refuse to ever apologize would be the death knell for most relationships as all of us at one time or another do something that we deeply regret. I think saying a guy doesn’t matter because he will be dead soon should be one of those regretful moments. Come November I hope we loudly proclaim to the world that the actions from the current Oval Office are NOT what America stands for!

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#CO3 = Current Oval Office Occupant

 

Scarcity Mentality…

I truly believe that we are coming to a point in our country’s history where some very basic changes are about to happen.  One of those changes is the realignment of our political parties.  Another is that we will finally reject the idea that our best days are behind us.

Today, after the financial crisis, the shrinking of the middle class, the partisan warfare, a scarcity mind-set is dominant: Resources are limited. The world is dangerous. Group conflict is inevitable. It’s us versus them. If they win, we’re ruined, therefore, let’s stick with our tribe. The ends justify the means…

Source:  The End of the Two-Party System – The New York Times

I have probably talked too much for you about how a third party is much needed in our country in order to break the strangling gridlock we find ourselves in. So this post will not be about that. Instead, it is about the mindset of entrenchment or hunkering down against the big bad world.

There have always been doomsayers and conspiracy theorists around to try to spread a dark blanket over almost everything they touch. That population does seem to be increasing lately but I am convinced that they still make up a relatively small minority of this country.  Both political parties are now pandering to their radical fringes, but a time will come when the moderates will shed their allegiances to those parties and a phoenix will rise out of these political ashes. As they say, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

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I Get All The News I Need From The Weather Report…

2018-05-10_10-25-12.pngI didn’t realize how freeing it could be to disentangle myself from the political world. It used to be that I spent a good half hour every morning browsing my internet feeds for political stories.  That process now takes about five minutes or less. The PBS Newshour that I watch the morning after now takes about 10 -15 minutes of my time. The rest goes by at “super fast-forward”. Especially when #CO3’s picture shows up.

The title of this post is from the album by Simon & Garfunkel entitled “Bridge over troubled waters”.  I gotta do a post on that song soon. Getting back to the topic at hand, keeping today’s politics beyond arm’s length certainly is less stressful. I used to scan the daily news to get the latest Trump screw-up but I don’t do that anymore.   I’m sure they will continue to come with increased intensity as each day passes but I just won’t be reading them anymore. There is simply no use in getting upset about things that I have no control over.

For some, speculating what Meuller has uncovered is a way of life. For some, dissing Meuller and everything he finds is a way of life. At this point, it is not likely that any minds will change on this topic. Just tell me when the Special Counsel issues his report and when the impeachment starts and I might get engaged at least at some level again. But, until then I get all the news I need from the weather report.

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#CO3 = Current Oval Office Occupant

Coping With Dissappointments

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I know the quote above from Will and the title of the post seem kinda disjointed but hear me out before you pass judgment. 🙂 I have always been a dreamer in life. One of my favorite things in my youth was to lay back on the lawn on a clear night and gaze unendingly at the stars and dream of what my future life would be about. I had high expectations in those years.

IMG_0187I was abruptly introduced to the idea that your dreams and expectations are never as good as you hope or as bad at you dread.  Marriage is a compromise between two people of different personalities and desires.  It is not a “happy ever after” state as many, including myself, dreamt it to be. I and my future wife were both over forty and unmarried so we had developed our own methods of living and coping with life. After the honeymoon, we would eventually clash on many subjects.  Marriage was just not what we expected. But since we have survived over thirty years now in that state I guess we are a success at least on some level and our expectation and reality are now more aligned.

Politics is another matter. It has gotten to the point where a politician can outright lie to our face and not have to suffer any consequences. Some call our current political environment the “Post Truth Era”. I hope there comes a day where I can once again have high expectations about those I  vote for.

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What Other People Think About You…

2018-05-09_09-40-05.pngAre you a worrier? Do you worry about what other people think about you? If so, it just might be preventing you from being who you were meant to be. According to many studies, people driven by worry are some of the least happy people in the world. About the only thing that does more damage to your personal life than worry is an irrational fear.

Worrying about what others think of you will prevent you from being real. It will prevent you from taking risks that will make you a better person. It will prevent you from being what others need you to be (which isn’t always the same as what they want you to be).

At the root of it, worrying will prevent you from being at peace and that is what most of us seek in our lives. Let’s all be like Alfred E. Neuman and not worry about so much. 🙂

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(WS) A Filtered Version Of The Truth…

“Spin” is very dominant in the world today. Marketers and con-artist, not that they are one always in the same, both have those who make “spin” their occupation’s purpose. Spinsters take a topic and try to weave a narrow vision scenario. Spin becomes a “filtered version of the truth”. Thanks to a commentor on a recent post, I have the perfect example to use on this Squawk post.

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Yes, it definitely depends on where you grew up.

If you know history, you know that unions were one of the primary reasons we have a middle-class today. In the midst of the Industrial Revolution about a hundred years ago, the working class were living serf lives. Many lived in “company towns” where their employer took everything he paid them back in rent and limited groceries at the company story.  It took the willingness of some to suffer injury and death in order to form unions that would finally force employers to give the workers their share of the wealth they created.  Yes, I know that unions went on like most other institutions to be a self-focused thing.  But, just look at wages in the last 30 years to see the proof of what the lack of collective bargaining results in.  In a capitalist society, we need collective bargaining agents to level the playing field between the grossly rich and everyone else.

Whether Republicans like to admit it or not, having a job is what almost everyone wants.  But there are some who at one time or another in their lives need help. “Keeping everyone dependent on the government” is pure myth. But it does rile up the GOP base to spin the tale of the lazy welfare mom who cranks out babies for more money.

It would be great if neighbors were able and willing to take care of each other but that just doesn’t happen enough to meet the circumstances of our or any other time. Churches and other private institutions presently meet about 3% of the total hardship need. Where are the other 97% supposed to go if the government quits accepting its responsibility of providing for the constitutionally required general welfare?

Ending, I would like to believe that racism and bigotry have no place in America today but that is pure wishful thinking. So many people today are driven by an abject fear of so many things. A good part of that fear is the spin that is put on the subject by others trying to keep them in the “right” tribe.  If we could ever get over that, our world would be a more perfect place. You might even say that then God’s kingdom could come to earth like it is in heaven.

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Looking Up…

For this artsy Saturday, I want to once again keep it simple. How often you do take the time anymore just to look up. No, I don’t mean at the ceiling, but instead the sky. There is a lot of beauty there if you take the time to see it.  Lord knows there is enough ugliness in your world today that we certainly need a regular dose of beauty.

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A Country of Immigrants…

I want to start off this Cackle with the thought that we need to welcome a much higher number of people to our country than we presently are. Our immigration quotes are shamefully low.

Being a self-proclaimed progressive liberal, it might be a surprise to you that I am not as entrenched in the immigration debate as I’m supposed to be.  I can see some logic in both sides of the argument. One thing I ran across recently that pushed me a little to the conservative side is the following quote:

Giving amnesty to the “Dreamers” is like allowing the children of bank robbers to keep those ill-gotten gains

For the most part, I am a “law and order” type. I think those who break society’s laws should be held accountable for their actions. IllYes, sometimes civil disobedience is a necessary part of a democracy, especially for us progressives,  but even then we must be willing to pay the consequences of our stands.

Illegally entering the county should have consequences, even for those who were dragged here by someone else. When we quit rewarding illegal entry into our country we can finally get control of our borders and maybe then when #CO3 is gone in 2020 we can increase the number of people will be future citizens.

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#CO3 = Current Oval Office Occupant