The Visions of Youth

Generations

I can still remember my view of the 1960s when I was in college. They were primarily about how the old guys in Washington were messing things up. College campuses were raging with demonstrations against a senseless war in Vietnam that eventually cost us over 58,000 my generation. The Chicago police were beating up peaceful demonstrators at the 1968 Democratic convention. Inflation was running in double digits.  And then there were the gas shortages. There was a lot that we Baby Boomers were upset about and we were determined to make a change.

Fast forward to today and the same thing is happening, except this time we are the old guys screwing things up. We have now been mired down in wars in the Middle East for the past 20 years. It seems like an eternity. The rich have gobbled up a  giant share of the prosperity.  Job insecurity reigns. The idea of being loyal to one company and retiring with a pension is now non-existent.

So, it seems the same things are happening with the Millennials.  They are unhappy because of the way the old guys in Washington are messing things up. But this time the “old guys” are us Boomers.

The emerging divisions between the young and old may once again become a cultural fracture.  We Baby Boomers were an audacious bunch. We moved through society  doing a lot of grabbing. Wages were rising, cheap houses were readily available.  We may not have been rich, but at least we felt secure in our jobs. And, we really screwed up royally when we let a proudly ignorant, extreme narcissist take over the Oval Office. Too many Baby Boomers voted for him because they were fed up with politics and simply didn’t know how to fix the problems.

If only we had used some of that power we obtained  in our early years to help make our society stronger. We did a lot, but there was much we ignored in favor of self.  We could have done much more about climate change we were warned years ago about it. We could have done more to insure that our country followed the rest of the developed countries and provided health care for all our citizens.  We could have done more to regulate a runaway capitalism.

The young Democratic party hopefuls are shouting loudly about things they want to change.  There is Alexandria Oscasio-Cortez and her Green New Deal. There is 37 years-old Pete Buttigieg who thinks it’s time to bring common sense back into Washington. Almost half of the Democratic candidates are below 50. They want to take over deciding what America will look like in the Post-Trump years. I kinda think they should.

It’s time for us to let them try to do better than we Baby Boomers did.

Painting with Words – 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.

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.

Embracing Change… Again??

One of the ten pillars that drive my life is to embrace change and I certainly do my share of it here at RJsCorner and my life in general. The coming changes include looking both forward and backwards.

I know one thing for sure, and that is, I have had my fill of things political. It does nothing but bring dread into my life now. I have better things to do than to worry about all those who fear just about everrything and seem to be everywhere now! So, with the stroke of the pen I say “Politics Be Gone”. Well, maybe not entirely. When the current Oval Office occupant does something INCREDIBLY STUPID, I might give it a word or two in my weekly snippets.

During the winter months I have a lot of time on my hands. My lack of physical balance due to my deafness makes it dangerous to walk where there might be ice. So much of my time is on a home detention from mid-November to mid-March. 🙂 That leaves me lots of time to think and read and that automatically generates ideas for daily posts here on RJsCorner. I sometimes have to remind myself that I shouldn’t post more than once a day. I don’t want to become a pest to all my followers.

And then when Spring finally happens, sometimes quickly, but often tragically slow, it is time to go into my “Summer mode”. The first thing on the agenda is to try to shed the extra 8 lbs I gained from the lack of significant exercise during the winter months. That is getting harder and harder to do as the years go by.

The “Summer mode” also means lots of work taking care of the of the 2+ acre homestead and the one-hundred year old farmhouse that sits on it. It also means I pull the uRV (micro RV) out of the barn and get it ready to hit the road again. There is always something I have dreamed up during the winter months that needs improvement in my little home-away-from-home. This year it is designing and fabricating a new lower storage unit. I gotta show you some pictures of that.

Lot’s of things to do in the “Summer Mode”


Now let’s spend some time looking backwards at least as far as this blog goes. I have done a lot of different things in this ten year stretch of its existence. Maybe I should bring back some of those things to fill the vacuum from avoiding the ugliness of politics? Maybe you can help me with those decisions.

  1. When I decided to move my photography work to another venue, I really didn’t intend to make it disappear entirely from RJsCorner. Maybe I should bring some of my favorites back here?
  2. The blog that eventually morphed into RJsCorner was entitled InSearchOfAmerica and a serious part of that were my “On The Road” reports while traveling across America. I really enjoyed talking about the historical part of my trips. Maybe I should bring some of that back?
  3. I have been dabbling in poetry. No, you didn’t read that wrong! As a young teenager, I thought I was pretty good at that, but since none of my works from that era survived I can’t verify that with a more mature eye now. But I have been learning and experimenting with it lately. Maybe I should publicly try my hand at that?
  4. This winter I have accumulated painting apps that use a picture I have taken to make them into artworks of several different styles. I think I would like to try my hand at that?

As you can see, I have ideas for lots of changes here on RJsCorner. I know I will be limiting my posts to two to three times a week, but I haven’t really decided which new items I want to tackle. What would you like to see from this seventy-three year old deaf guy in the coming months?

I would certainly welcome your input.

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

Sunday – April 7

Senility??

I can remember in the late 1980s thinking that the then president just might be in the beginning stages of senility. He just seemed to forget so many things and was forever depending on Nancy to finish his thoughts. Is that happening again?

It seems that the current Oval Office occupant can’t even remember where is father was born. Is this the beginning of senility or is it just another of the VERY LONG list of lies he has told? I don’t know? But I do have a post coming out this week with several explanations of why he says so many untrue things. I didn’t make up this list but I think each possible reason has some validity. I think you will be suprised by it.


Speaking of Telling the Truth…

It seems that Attorney General Barr is telling a story much different than the authors remember writing it. Some members of the Meuller team say his four page summary is not what they wrote. I guess we will never hear the end of this stuff until we hear the end of Trump.


Don’t Go Away Mad…

I see everybody is picking on Joe Biden again. It turns out that there are many people who he has hugged and embraced in different ways over the years that didn’t appreciate it. I know that is just the way he is but on a deeper level I think its time for him to go away. He shouldn’t put himself through the agony with no hope of reward. His time has passed and it’s time to let a younger generation have their change to screw things up.

Don’t Go Away Mad, Joe… Just Go Away..


Everything is Great Again

Now that we finally have the perfect person leading our country, everything it GREAT Again… Or is it???

But all the MAGA folks see here is the American Flag descecrated.