I Am Tired Of Being Tired

This is my first attempt at writing a post in free verse. Please forgive me if it is not up to your standards.  I will try harder the next time.


Here I am in my 73rd year. 
How did that ever happen?
If my genes determine things, I have a handful left.
These times aren't what I dreamed them to be.
 
Hateful rhetoric is everywhere.
The spiteful rants stink beyond imagine.
How can people breath all this tainted air?
Trust has gone, truth is dead.
 
All the world is now a Mad Max movie.
The White House has turned into the Thunder Dome.
The spite coming from it  stinks beyond imagine.
Everyone who does not jump on command is the enemy.
 
The tipping point of climate change is likely past?
Why didn't we do something when we could?
Tribal mentality has swept over us like a tsunami.
 Future generations will have to clean up the mess.
If they even can?
 
I want to be a good citizen and stay involved.
But what does it really matter?
I won't be around to see the ugly aftermath.
Why do I allow myself to feel so distressed?
 
I seem to be consumed by the times.
At this point my time is precariously precious.
Why am I using it so badly?
Maybe I should find something else completely?
 
I am tired of being tired of these times.
Why don't I just say "Why bother?"
Just check out NOW!
But that is not who I am.
I don't give up that easily.

Snippets – Notre Dame, My Base, Facial Recognition, Stupid Things.

Notre Dame

Being a Hoosier, when I think of Notre Dame it is about the university a hundred miles north of me. Seldom does the 850-year-old church in France come to mind. When I heard that church in France was ravaged by a tragic fire, I felt a chunk of history was gone.

I hope the French people don’t start arguing whether to restore the building. I guess it was not entirely surprising that the church would eventually burn since it hadn’t been updated with sprinkler system or other fire protection. It will likely cost billions to restore it.

I see where there was a copycat nut in the US that tried tried to burn down St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. Thank heavens they manage to rip take his two cans of gasoline away as he entered the building.

My Base… To Hell with EVERYONE Else!

I see where the current Oval Office occupant says that pretending to be a president for all the people is an old-fashioned idea. He says he is “speaking to his people, not the people”. I wonder if this has anything to do with all the malaise in the country right now. 🙂

659 more days to put up with this idiot.

Facial Recognition

I recently learned that for less than $100 you can send any pictures you might have of people to find out a lot of info about them. Doesn’t matter who they are, you just need a picture of their face. This brings to mind my one of my “special projects” I am working on here at RJsCorner that will take words from the book “1984” and project them on today.

With millions of stationary cameras around the country and many millions more in people’s pockets, BIG BROTHER is here.

Broccoli, Mushroom, Walnuts & Bananas

The broccoli says ‘I look like a small tree’,

the mushroom says ‘I look like an umbrella’,

the walnut says ‘I look like a brain’,

the banana says ‘Can we please change the subject?’

– Anonymous

It Was The Best Of Times…

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

I think most of us remember the opening phrase of this famous book, but I thought I would show you the entire first paragraph, which is actually only one sentence, for this post. Even though it was about the French Revolution, it pretty much describes our current times doesn’t it? Let’s go through the words above one at a time to see how they relate to our times.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

BEST OF TIMES – If you have any doubt that we are in the best of times and there has never been a better time to be a human being then you need to read the book by Steven Pinker as shown here. “The world is getting better, even if it doesn’t always feel that way. I’m glad we have brilliant thinkers like Steven Pinker to help us see the big picture. Enlightenment Now is not only the best book Pinker’s ever written. It’s my new favorite book of all time.”—Bill Gates

WORST OF TIMES – If you have any doubt that we are in the worst of times then you need to look at the gross inequity taking place in the world. The top 0.1% of the world’s population has as much money as the bottom 90%. In reality, this type of dramatic inequality was also one of the reasons for the French Revolution. If not quickly solved, this could result in dramatic upheaval as happened then.

It was the age of wisdom, it was the epoch of incredulity

AGE OF WISDOM – Mapping the Gnome has insured us that medical advances are just around the corner. In the next ten years we will likely learn more in the medical area than we have in the last hundred years.

EPOCH OF INCREDULITY – Global warming is advancing faster than almost anyone could have imagined. Many of the countries of the world are attacking the problem with grave seriousness, but without the biggest polluting country in the world on board, it just may be too late. The current leader of the US absolutely refuses to accept that we humans could be causing the eventual destruction of our world. Will a “Mad Max” world prove to be a reality because of his incredulity?

It was the season of Light, it was the season of darkness

SEASON OF LIGHT – The internet will go down in history, even surpassing the printing press, as the most revolutionary tool. Putting almost all information in the hands of the masses will change everything.

SEASON OF DARKNESS -Humans just can’t seem to keep some of their basic instincts in check. Fear of others outside your tribe was a healthy response in our caveman days. It kept us alive. You would think that societies have evolved so much that fear would be driven into the background. Unfortunately, some have not evolved as much as others.

It was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair

SPRING OF HOPE – Equality and Justice has been a goal for mankind since its creation. We are making significant strides in those areas. The #MeToo movement and the recent prison reform legislation is giving us hope that real equality and justice are obtainable goals.

WINTER OF DESPAIR – Democracies are falling at a regular pace now and being replaced by autocracies. Even the US is not immune from this trend. The current Oval Office occupant has a dangerous affection for the autocrats of the world. If he has his way we will follow Russia and so many others down into an autocrat’s hole.

We had everything before us, we had nothing before us

EVERYTHING BEFORE US – Automation will soon make mind numbing manual labor for humans a thing of the past. That will mean that all of our human intellect can then be used to address the issues that currently seem unsolvable. We have it in us to fix most of the world’s problems if we just put aside our differences and put our minds to them.

NOTHING BEFORE US – Willful Ignorance is just too prominent in the world today. There are too many of us who just don’t want to believe that they don’t know everything already. They are stuck with traditions that belonged in the world of millenniums ago and they willfully refuse to accept that fact.

How we address these challenges of the 21st century will determine whether future generations live in the best of times, or the worst of times.

Snippets – Math, Brexit, Razor Wire & Tax Breaks

Anonymus

Math was never my strong suit in college. Because I graduated from a small rural high school, I didn’t have the required math courses going into the engineering curriculum. So, I had to take a bunch of remedial courses in my freshman year. What a pain! I like the idea of the Math family solving some of their own problems. Why put them off on all the rest of us.



The Week magazine is one of my favorite sources on what is happening today. The publication started in the U.K. I have been watching with fascination all the Brexit things that are happening. They seem to be driving off their own cliff so to speak. But there is something I just can’t figure our about it. Instead of driving off the cliff to a crash landing why don’t they just ask everyone if this is what they want? It is a democracy isn’t it? I don’t think their constitution would forbid such a thing?

If my State of Indiana decided to leave the USA I would kind like to approve the final deal on how it would happen. I always think of the Brits as being more level headed than us, so this just doesn’t make any sense to me?

I read this week that a good percentage of the razor wire the military is putting up at the border recently has disappeared. It seems that Mexicans are stealing it during the night and selling to local Tijuana businesses to protect their property. Now that’s what I call resourceful…

Remember that great Tax bill that promised so much? Well, thanks to it I can now use all the money to maybe get a Starbucks coffee once a week. That is if I drank coffee. I would gladly give that back if the 1%er did the same. Why put all the debt it generated on the next generations.

Old Age or …

For this techie Saturday I want to tell you a personal story about my techie world. But, before I do that I need to give you a pre-story that will help explain the post-story.

I never had a mid-life crisis as is often described in the social realm. When I turned forty, which is when most have their crisis, I was six months into my one and only marriage. So you could say I was still in the honeymoon phase and just didn’t remember that particular birthday was supposed to be a traumatic one. But, when I turned seventy it hit me like a ton of bricks! Before that I considered myself “mature” but not really old. The definition of old seemed to always be at least ten years older than I was. Seventy I just couldn’t ignore. I realized it was, given my genes, my last decade on earth, so I couldn’t put off the “old” image any longer. I am now in my third year of my seventh decade and have to say that I now have more “senior moments” than I care to admit.

With the pre-story done, now on the the the techie part..

I spend a lot of my day in front of my Mac computer. Writing daily blog posts here and weekly posts at a couple of other sites takes a lot of effort. But, since that is what I love doing, I don’t mind it all. Sometimes I just wish there were more hours in the day. Now, finally the main point of this post starts. A couple of weeks ago I noticed that Ginger, which is my new grammar and spell checker that sits in the background checking what I typed was finding errors was giving me more errors than usual. I’m not a great typist, but I am fast so finding misspellings were nothing unusual, except now I was seeing multiple errors on every line. My first thought was “Oh no! I’m losing it!”

Then a couple of other days past and all of a sudden whenever I was browsing through the New York Times website, my computer kept randomly selecting stories that I didn’t click on! On top of the spelling thing, I was convinced I had finally lost it. But then my troubleshooting side took over. I had to be something else. I knew the Google browser had been updated so maybe a new “hover” feature was added? Hover is where you pause with your screen pointer over an object and it does a “click” for you. I myself don’t like that at all. Now I have to always be aware where my pointer is! That’s not progress if you ask me.

Long story, short, I finally discovered that the space bar on my keyboard was not putting a space everywhere I wanted. The keyboard problem meant a new unit and clicking problem was solved by disabling some “new” features in the browser. I’m not senile after all. Well, not as senile as I imagined I might be…

Such is the world of a techie, no matter how old you are.

Common Bonds…

I don’t know exactly when this round of” Us vs Them” started, but it is proven to be flat out destructive. Let me spend a few minutes here trying to show you the damage it has done and what we might do to reverse it.

From what I can find making those who think differently than you do in the political arena started in earnest during the Newt Gingrich era of the 1980s. I like to blame Reagan for most of this stuff so I will add his name here too. Since that time partisanship has almost completely evaporated! It is now all about defeating your bitter foes on the other side of the great divide.

The problem is that today’s divide has become so wide and vitriolic that it comes down to friend vs enemy, politics is always war, and life in general is eternal conflict. We have it in our mind that if we can just defeat our enemy we can make a perfect world where everything goes our way.

Little do we realize that can never happen. Once that mentality takes shape in our mind it fashions enemies where none were previously present. All we do is peel the onion down to the next conflict level.

I would like to believe, whether it is true or not, that most of us don’t always live our lives in that mode. We manage to get along with our neighbors, even if they are different from us. Those of us in small communities actually enjoy those around us. Yes, there is the tribal instinct when it comes to family but there is also a community instinct outside of family.

The underlying problem in America, and much of the rest of the world, is division, or how we separate ourselves from others :

  • The widening gap between rich and poor
  • rural and urban
  • whites and people of color
  • educated and less educated
  • conservative and progressive

But I can’t help believe that somehow these divides can be conquered using things where we agree with each other. The first part of this very long journey is to find those things. Let’s look at a few possibilities here to get us started:

  • We all love our children and want what’s best for them.
  • We are bound by our work ethic and can find improvements we all want to see in that area.
  • We all want a sense of belonging so maybe we can find a way to pull the political power more to the local area.
  • We all have a shared sense of community. If only we can see that there is a diversity of poeple in that community that are not threatening to us.

We need all of these things to begin coming together as a nation. Let’s all try to take baby steps in these areas and before you know it we just might be taking giant leaps together.

The Us vs Them Mindset Just Might Take Down Our Country – Let’s Find Our Common Bonds To Keep That From Happening

Cocoons

I managed to get through twenty years of my work life without cubicles. But then it had to happen. When my job was moved from Indiana to New Jersey in 1996 I went with it. I really didn’t have a choice as I needed four more years of a full pension, so off I went.

Our new facilities there used to be a large warehouse previously occupied by the Manhattan Bagel Company, (by the way I ❤️ Manhattan bagels). For us, the empty warehouse was filled with cubicles to make offices for about 250 engineers and all their toys. Before the day I was introduced to this type of office space I had heard quite a bit of negative comments, so I was prepared for the worst.

Oddly enough, I loved the configuration! With just a few feet of moving to make everything within reach of my chair. The cube walls were about five feet high with about 60 square feet of floor space. The lighting about fifteen feet above provided just the right amount of light. Since I was deaf, I was not affected by the noises around me as my hearing friends were. Since my Aspie traits allowed me to totally focus on the job in front of me, the isolation was a big plus.

Before my beloved cube I always shared office/lab with at least a couple of other engineers usually pretty close by. This was a radical change. Hours would go by without any interruptions. I was able to become totally immersed into my work.

When I retired and moved into a 1927 farmhouse, my office / man cave was an 8 x 12 foot room. It wouldn’t be long before it was fashioned into a cubicle like space I had left behind. I gave my wife the larger room for her hobbies and gladly took the smaller one.

I guess there is just something personally comforting to me having my space wrapped around me. If I could talk my wife into it I’m sure I would now be living in a 400 square foot “tiny house” instead of the 2500 square foot one I have inhabited for almost twenty years now.

Since I left the workplace I know the trend now is to just have one large open floorspace and a large table for everyone to work from. I can’t imagine working under those conditions. The distractions would be intolerable to me.

I guess this is just another part of my life where I am pretty different from most others. I feel as-snug-as-a-bug-in-a-rug when I am in my cocoon.

1984 Revisited

I have decided to take on another “special project” here at RJsCorner and that is to re-read George Orwell’s novel 1984 and write some posts about the similarity to what is happening today. So much of what is coming out of the executive branch of our government seems to originate from Orwell’s novel.

I was fascinated by the book the first time I read it as an early teenager in the early 1960s. The book was written in 1944 but was not published until 1948. Here are some slightly edited words from Wikipedia to jog your memory and entice you to read this special series:

In the year 1984, civilization has been damaged by war, civil conflict, and revolution. Airstrip One (formerly Britain) is a province of Oceania, one of the three totalitarian super-states that rule the world. It is ruled by the “Party” under the ideology of “Ingsoc” and the mysterious leader Big Brother, who has an intense cult of personality. The Party stamps out anyone who does not fully conform to their regime using the Thought Police and constant surveillance through devices such as Telescreens (two-way televisions).

It is amazing how forward-looking this novel was considering when it was written. I can certainly forgive Orwell for not realizing that it would take 75 years, instead 40, for it to become virtual reality.

I look forward in trying to relate Orwell’s world to what is going on today, and I hope you do too.