Fat Americans…

Let’s face it, America is becoming a nation of fat people. Everywhere you look you see people who are many pounds heavier than they should be. They say that four in ten of us are significantly overweight.

2018-04-08_11-27-52.pngThe experts say one of the major causes is a poor diet. While fast food sales grew almost 25% in the last five years so did the American waistline. It has become a rarity that a family actually dines together anymore.  Everyone with an IQ over that of a mushroom knows that fast food is high in fat and calories and low in fiber and vegetables.

I personally struggle every winter season with putting on a few extra pounds. I exercise too little in the cold weather months and it is about the only time I eat sweets to any degree. I jokingly tell my wife that I have SAD (Seasonal Adjustment Disorder) but sometimes I really think I do. At least I have the seasonal depression that goes with it.

I don’t know if depression brings on weight gain or the other way around. I often wonder if those people who are way overweight are concerned about it? I know there are actually groups who now celebrate being fat! I guess that rationalization is just plain easier than trying to take off the pounds.

One of the saving graces to this trend is that today’s teenagers are faring better than adults. Only 20% of that age group are fat with only  5% are morbidly so.

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Cutting Taxes Is The Easy Part…

2018-04-23_18-51-12.pngAs the new header says the GOP just loves to cut taxes but that is the easy part.  They just don’t seem to be up to the more difficult part of cutting spending, or at least cutting it where a majority in Congress will agree.  They most often propose to cut entitlements as they call them.  Those are things that help the average citizen along in life. Things like Social Security, food for the poor, healthcare for those who can’t afford it are near the top of the chopping block list for them.

They don’t seem to realize that we are a nation that cares for the welfare of our citizens.  We, as our constitution says, promote the general welfare of our citizens. We care for each other.  The ironic part of the enigma related to this is that most of the GOP claim that the US is a Christian nation.  Jesus, who is the foundation of Christianity, said the two most important things in life are to love God and to love each other.  It’s hard to make anyone believe we love them while at the same time stripping a safety net out from under them.

I saw something the other day that shows that for the last forty years or so the Democrats have been more fiscally responsible than the GOP.  One of the biggest flaws of the GOP is that they can’t stop throwing money at our war machine, even when they don’t need it.

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The Enigma

2018-04-18_08-28-11I am starting yet another series this week about the giant enigma of our times. Just so we are clear on what I mean, I will give you a definition. For you who are observant, I’m sure you have already figured it out from the new header above. The Republican party was one of Will Rogers favorite subjects. He just couldn’t figure them out a hundred years ago, and not much has changed in that respect with them since then. In this series, I will take Will’s words about the GOP and see how they fit with today’s party.

canstockphoto31485978The GOP has almost always been about the most affluent among us.  There are probably hundreds of reasons for that, but I kinda think that funding politician’s careers is near the top of the heap.  Why grovel for ten thousand $10 contributions when you can get the same amount from just one person.  All you got to do is to promise that you will look out primarily for that guy and he will open his overstuffed wallet.

But the thing that really gets me about all of this is how so many folks who struggle through life are strangely in the GOP camp? It just doesn’t make sense to me.  That question will be one of the driving factors in my study of the GOP enigma in the coming weeks. In reality, I don’t think this enigma will ever end anytime soon. It will just have to be pushed aside by the rest of us.

I hope you enjoy my attempt at explaining an unexplainable enigma…

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(WS) I’ll Tell You What the Bible Says…

While waiting for my car to be serviced recently I browsed a Barnes & Noble store.  I don’t do that often anymore as most of my purchases are now e-books. When I came upon the Bible section it suddenly caught my attention as to the number of books by people who propose to “tell” me about what the Bible says.

all-saints-2887463_640.jpgFor those who are unfamiliar with my history in this area, I spent several years diligently reading the Bible from cover to cover desperately trying to glean everything I could from it. Of course, before I even started that task I had to sort through the dozens of different version of the Bible. It has been written and revised so many times throughout its history as to make that task difficult onto itself. If you are interested in the details of what I found go to RedLetterLiving.net.

Some prefer the King James version which was written 400+ years ago under the tutelage of a British king. I chose the NIV version because it was used modern day language, not the “thee” and “thou” of the KJV.

After an extensive year-long study, I would say that I had trouble seeing how at least 90% of the text might be even remotely applicable to today.  Much of the old testament was written as a historical account of the Jewish nation and was almost gibberish to me. One king begot another… etc, etc.

The conclusion that I came away with at the end of the study is that the Bible is a very difficult document to fathom. Yes, there are snippets here and there where taken out of their context, might be seen as a reflection of what life today is supposed to be about but they are far and few between. Of course with over 2,000 years of parsing most of those snippets have been claimed by one theologian or another much like Luther latched onto the “faith without works” idea to prove is disagreements with the Catholic church.

Coming back to the original point of this post, we can now find thousands of different authors who will tell you what the Bible says. Folks like Joel Osteen see it as God wants all of us to be a millionaire and you will become one if you send Mr. Osteen a contribution.  I’m sure he has found a snippet or two buried in biblical text that backs up his claim. Some in the past have used to the Bible to proclaim among other things that slavery was instituted by God.  Whatever you want to believe there is bound to be at least one theologian/author around to confirm your beliefs.

There are very few people around who will readily admit that the Bible is an extremely difficult document to comprehend. I personally suspect that if God had really written it, it would be 100% understandable and enlightening.

I must close by giving credit to the Roman Catholics who are about the only religious organization who don’t put all their spiritual eggs in the Bible basket.  I admire them for that fact.

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Patterns

All my life I have been inexplicably attracted to patterns. I  never understood why until one day in the last year or so I discovered that a strong attraction to patterns is one of the characteristics of Asperger’s Syndrome.  At that time I discovered that I have many others. Now that I have a name for so many of the things I was troubled about in my youth, it gives me a peace that I have been searching for all my life.

Walls, such as this one in Galena Illinois are simply beautiful as far as I am concerned. They, like the lines on my face, show my life’s experiences.  So, for this artsy Saturday, I give you another fascinating facade.

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Over The Hill…

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Will Rogers BookmarkBeing over the hill is probably the most often used phrase for getting older. When you turn forty, at least for my generation, you were considered over the hill. My hero Will Rogers certainly was an inventive guy. The way he looked at life such as the words above is what inspires me.

I have never really thought about it much, but I never did get the feeling that I was on top the hill.  My life has just been happening day-to-day.  Uphill-downhill seemed more like potholes in life. When I finally reached retirement, or should I say when it reached me, I knew my life was on a downhill glide but it was a pleasant glide and it was high enough to say out of the gutter.

In fact, the downhill side of life has proven to be more enjoyable and fulfilling than the other side of the slope.  You could never have convinced me of that in those uphill years.  My main negative about being over the hill is my loss of stamina and strength. I know that is something I could do more to partially alleviate but don’t choose to use much of the time I have left to do that.  I can’t lift up a 40-pound birdseed bags anymore with some serious grunting but that is OK.

Being over the hill is kind of peaceful. You don’t have to worry about competing with anyone.  Instead, you can just enjoy life. That is a great place to be 🙂

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My Life Sucks…

I think there is a pretty fair part of the folks in this country who think their life sucks. They haven’t had a raise in umpteen years. They have to have someone to blame and that person is often those they see as getting the “breaks” in life.

2018-04-07_16-07-22.pngIt’s pretty hard for them to admit that for the most part “my life sucks because of me”. That reality just doesn’t sink for most of us.  They say they are stuck in an area with no good paying jobs but they never consider moving to a more prosperous area.  They say the only good jobs are those requiring an education but never consider the need to learn anything beyond what they presently know. It’s just too easy to blame others for their problems.  The morbidly obese guy says “poor me” and then consumes 6,000 calories per day and just doesn’t seem to see the connection.

Those of us who have had some success in life have for the most part worked to get it.  It wasn’t handed to us on a gold platter like it was for #CO3 and others like him. For us, the adversities in our life have reinforced our character. We did something to change our circumstances instead of just moaning about them.

I want to close this post with an anonymous quote:

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Quit blaming others for your circumstances in life. It is often just that simple.

 

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#CO3 = Current Oval Office Occupant

A Nice Change…

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Since this is my “aging week” here on RJsCorner, I will flat out tell you that I am thoroughly enjoying my “golden years” and yes they are proving to be golden.  All my life I have fretted about the future.

  • What will I be when I grow up?
  • Is there some other occupation that I was really built for?
  • Since I am a weird person, should I remain a bachelor?
  • Should I try to get another job or just retire?

So many questions about life when you are young. Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed every minute of my time so far. Well, almost every minute. But I often suffered to one degree or another with depression.  I perceived myself as always dreaming of more but accepting less. Those worries and frets are finally behind me.  From here on out, all there is left to do is enjoy it and I am determined to enjoy each and every day as it comes.  One day at a time is my new motto in life.

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Turning Back the Odometer…

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canstockphoto38063363.jpgI like old cars and I am kinda proud of passing on some of my experiences in life here on RJsCorner. Yeah, there are things, actually quite a few, that I would like to have been different but even the undesired things are an important part of my life’s experiences, that looking back have made me who I am.

If I hadn’t been deaf I wouldn’t have the level of empathy that I do. If I had not grown up in a single very stoic parent household I wouldn’t have the understanding of such things as I do. As another quote from Will says “Adversity builds character”. It made me who I am and I am quite proud of that fact.

I see so many people today that try to turn back their odometers.  They get hair transplants or cosmetic surgery to hide their years.  I can truthfully say that I am proud of the way I look. It does indeed show I have traveled a long way and some of the roads weren’t paved.

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Bragging About It…

This and the next few posts are to honor of the new header above about Will’s quote on old age.  I don’t know quite what the definition of “old age” is but I kinda think I might be getting there.

I just don’t understand how I got all the way to this point in my life? It seems like yesterday that I was in college working my butt off to pay for school and to graduate. Admittedly my high school memories are pretty sparse now. I played those years out in the background as a shy kid who was totally clumsy in a social environment.  How have almost sixty years gone by?

I don’t think I have that many years left so I best be getting to the bragging point before it is too late. I know all the sociologists tell me that I will now remember the past not as it happened but as I wanted it to happen.

When I did finally start coming out of my shell in the late teens I now mostly remember the lost opportunities where if I had just done something different my life might be much different than it is.  If only I had told Ginny how I felt about her. Instead, I held back as I always did and let it go by.  Maybe when I start bragging I can change that and a couple other stories of my life?

I kinda like to believe that my bragging here on RJsCorner is to pass on the wisdom from making so many mistakes during my years on this earth. 🙂

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(WS) Breaking Down The Myths About Deafness

On my post a while ago entitled “Life’s Lesson” I said there were ten things that I have learned in my life that I aim to put forward for your consumption here on RJsCorner. One of those is the title of this WeeklySquawk.  It is important to me and I kinda think it should be important to each of us that when we come across myths about living we should do what we can to dispell the ones that are false.

2018-04-10_15-34-23.pngThe three primary myths I have encountered that demand my personal attention are related to are deafness, autism, and old age. Of course, I am intimately familiar with each as they have demanded much from me at some time in my life. This post will focus on the deaf myths. I could give you dozens of them but I will concentrate on six that absolutely drive me crazy.

Deaf & Dumb –  This myth goes back many decades, if not centuries.  It is basically that a person who is deaf can’t learn anything. Of course, this myth has been thoroughly busted but there are still many people who when they come across a deaf person just assume that the deaf person is dumb. Maybe that feeling is unconscious but the deaf person definitely perceives it.

Deaf People Can’t Speak – It is true that for some who are born deaf, they never learn to speak. But for the vast majority of us, especially those who went deaf later in life, we usually maintain the ability to speak to one degree or another. But since we have don’t really hear our voices we have problems with the volume of our speech and sometimes the quality suffers as we get older.

Deaf People Have Low IQs – I can’t tell you how many times I have been subjected to this myth.  Deaf people generally have the same IQ spread as hearing people. Some of us are geniuses and some of us struggle with daily life.

All Deaf People Were Born That Way – As a matter of fact, only a small minority of those of us who are deaf were born that way. More than 80% of us went deaf later in life. Many in their senior years.

All Deaf People Know Sign Language – Only a small number of us who are deaf know ASL (American Sign Language). That version of signing is very different than spoken English in its word order and complexity.  Most of us who were not born deaf, if we can sign at all, sign in English.  But even those make up a less than one out of ten deaf people.

Deaf People Can Read My Lips – Less than 20% of the English language appears on the lips, so even someone who is very proficient at reading lips only has access to one in five words spoken.  The rest of it is a guessing game that we generally get wrong.  If it is important information that is being passed NEVER assume that the lipreader really understands what you are saying.  This is especially true for those communicating critical health-related info.

These six myths are important to understanding but they are by no means the totality of myths about deaf people.  I will cover more in future posts. I will just leave it by saying that for the most party deaf people pretty much mirror the general population in their abilities and intelligence.

I hope this helps…

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Simplify

“Simplify” is my current theme for living. I don’t need complicated at this point in my life. So, for this artsy Saturday, I want to give you a very simple scene.  It was taken several years ago at my favorite Shaker village near Lexington Kentucky.  What could be simpler than showing the very basics of Shaker life.

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Repeal The Second Amendment

Now before you jump on me with your rants, I am not trying to take your guns away from you.

Repeal 2.pngBeing a history nut I realize that the second amendment is presently not interpreted as it was when it was originally written.  The primary part of it was the first words “In order to establish a well-regulated militia.” The underlying fear back then was that now that the federal government has a standing army it poses a threat to the security of the separate states, so each state needs its own standing army, just in case.

But today, conservative courts have morphed the second amendment to mean that every citizen has a right to own whatever weapons they want. The idea that the second amendment is about guns and not militias, makes ANY legislation for gun control or even the studies on the social effects of guns next to impossible.  If it were gone we could treat guns like we do almost everything else that damages our society.

Repealing the second amendment would finally make it possible to give the kids what they are marching for and would finally make the sellers of firearms accountable for the damage their product does to society just like every other market in the world already is. It would make our schoolchildren safer than they have been since 2008 and honor the memories of the many, indeed far too many, victims of recent gun violence

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The Passing of Sneezy…

2018-03-19_08-09-40I regret to tell you that the Snow White team recently had a death among its members. Sneezy, after years of sneezing, had a heart attack. His system just could no longer take the stress. But the good news is Snow White has already found a replacement.

The new member is, like the other six, is a little man but he has the illusions of being a giant. He also doesn’t seem to have the ability to tell the truth about much of anything. We don’t know if his untruthful ways are the result of just plain ignorance or maybe some childhood trauma but we will try to love him in spite of this malady.

Please welcome Trumpy as the newest member of Team Snow White.  Long live Trumpy along with Sleepy, Happy, Doc, Grumpy, Dopey, and Bashful.  With this new recognition, I certainly hope Trumpy joins the other six on the German mountain where they live and leave us alone so we can get back to something resembling normal. We will even make him head dwarf if that will make him go.

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A Lot Of Noise Goin On…

Cackle Banner.jpegI don’t know why I seem to be so fixated on sounds lately let alone poultry stuff.  My daily and weekly posts here are RJsCorner are now named after sounds (cackle and squawk) that chickens make. I need to get to the underlying reason for this. 🙂  I lost my hearing thirty years ago, and since then my brain has forgotten what many sounds sound like.  Sadly one of those areas is musical instruments.  I used to play the guitar, not terribly well but to my own satisfaction, and I really enjoyed that pleasure. Now when I see a musical instrument being played, I struggle unsuccessfully to remember the sounds they make.

I was never around chickens that much, but they did make a big impression on me when I first visited my grandfather’s farm as a small kid. I loved the fresh eggs that grandpa had but didn’t appreciate being chased by the rooster when I went to feed them.  So, why this sudden infatuation with poultry sounds?

Maybe it is all Freudian? Sigmund was pretty famous a hundred years ago during my hero Will Rogers’ time but has gone out of favor since then. Freud was a big believer that the unconscious (dreams) was where the mind put things we can’t openly deal with. Maybe I am in a second mourning period for my loss of hearing?

When it comes down to it, I guess I really don’t care that much, but it is interesting none the less. 🙂

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