Embracing Change at RJsCorner

My Mexican friends take the end of the year to seriously look for needed change for the new year. It is a time when they change to jobs with brighter futures for themselves and their families. In that light, I took the time to look at my digital world and found several changes that I want to do to make them better in this new year.

  • I am shutting down my photo oriented blogs and returning to Flickr as the primary tool for my photo portfolio. If you read a previous post you know that my attempt at separating them into a stand-alone thing has not proven successful. It is time to admit that and try a different approach. I plan to get seriously involved in the Flickr community going forward. If you are interested in seeing the photographs of my travels around America, you can now access them through Flickr via the “Photo Portfolio” button at the top of each page.
  • I am bringing up yet another blog, this one focused on creativity. Its title is CrackingCreativity and it will focus on my 2019 year long project of trying to become a more creative person. I am excited to finally get this project underway as it has been on my bucket list forever. I am a methodological guy so it will include a preliminary approach along with much reading on the subject. It may be embarrassing but I will also be publicly challenging myself with many exercises. I hope I see a definite improvement as the year progresses. If you have the courage to follow this new blog I think you might glean some info about maybe becoming more creative yourself. See a link to Cracking Creativity on the right side of your screen.
  • I am bringing my RedLetterLiving blog out of hiatus. I have not posted there in almost five years now but, I am proud to say it still gets a good number of daily views in spite of that fact. I think it is time to continue where I left off and to also add a new, more encompassing spin to it. Being a follower of Jesus has remained a high priority in my life but I have been somewhat reluctant to put much attention to it here. Given the ugliness of our times, I believe even more sincerely than ever that politics and religion should be separated. That is what will happen here. But then again, it does deserve a site of its own and can be accessed via the icon on the right side of your screen.
  • Filling the Saturday hole in my blogging schedule – Since Saturday and Sunday topics have been moved to their own sites my blogging schedule here will change. Saturday will become “Tech Review” day. I am a techie and have been since the invention of the Mac. Since I know that many of my viewers are senior citizens I thought I could help you out by keeping you abreast with the gadgets of the world or at least enough to have an idea what your grandchildren are talking about.
  • Filling the Sunday hole – To fill the Sunday vacancy created by moving religious things to RedLetterLiving, I will be adding a This & That category which will basically be my-week-in-review type thing. It will also include snippets from the scribbled notes I have collected during the week that just don’t deserve a post of their own. In other words, it will be a mishmash, much like my constantly churning and cluttered mind. 🙂

I hope you enjoy all these changes, I know I will enjoy embracing change and trying to improve myself and the blogs.

May we all have a prosperous, creative and happy 2019.

American Myths – American Exceptionalism

For this Question Everything Friday I want to bring you another dangerous myth that is ingrained into our country. That is that we are so exceptional that you can’t be compared to any other country.  Here is my quote for the day about that.

We can’t compare America to any other country! Especially not strange, dangerous countries like Scandinavia or France! We can’t? Why not? How else do you suppose that nations make progress — if not by learning from one another? Americans have been told that other places are “homogeneous”, so America can’t be compared to them — but “homogeneity” is not the reason they are successful societies. There are many more “homogeneous” societies which are failures than successes, just look at Asia and Africa — so homogeneity can’t be why some societies succeed, self-evidently. This myth is exceptionalism, only in a negative form — no comparison is possible. But it is a comparative analysis which teaches us the most when it comes to political economy. Have you ever wondered why you don’t know (probably) how exactly the French retirement system works? How the British healthcare system works? How the Swiss government works? Americans still haven’t learned this stuff because no one teaches it to them — and no one teaches it to them because the myth of exceptionalism says there’s no reason to learn it. 
via Eight Myths Americans Need to Unlearn About America

The way I personally learn almost everything is to see how others are doing it better them me and to try at one level or another to emulate them. If you have been around for a while you have probably noticed that the general format and look of RJsCorner seems to frequently change. I do that because I am constantly looking for ways to make the site more pleasant to visit and to give you my view of the world in more concise stories. If I didn’t have something to compare this site to improvements would be far less frequent.

In that same vein, we as a country need to constantly look at others who do things better than we do. Our reluctance to do that greatly hampers us from creating better and better processes. It has allowed other countries to leapfrog around us when it comes to healthcare, retirement systems and such. It was almost an epiphany to understand we are never taught to look outside our country for ways to do things better.  That is a lesson we MUST learn…

Be Artsy

For this Artsy Saturday, I want to present to you the tag banner that will be used for future Artsy Saturday posts.  I have had an artistic tsunami this week so I now have graphics for each type of post going forward.  🙂

My header above shows the seven daily topics going forward here at RJsCorner.  I am trying to diversify my neighborhood so it doesn’t fixate on all the madness inside the beltway.  I made a promise to you that I would do more to offer hope in these trying times and that is what this new diversification is meant to provide. I hope it works and if it doesn’t I will make more changes. Embrace change is one of my  10 pillars of life and I certainly live up to it here. 

Next week I will be rolling out all the tag banners for your perusal. Closing out, no, I didn’t totally create the picture above but I did “enhance” it and added to it.  

Inspiration

I am still refining my new format for RJsCorner and that will probably be an on-going process for months to come. 🙂 When I first set up the weekly post categories I deemed Thursday as American Heroes but pretty quickly decided that was just too confining for what I intended.  After a couple of days of contemplation, I decided to make Thursday the day I post about the people and things that inspire me.   Being that I obsessively search for just the right phrase, I want to give you my definition of Inspiration.

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2018-11-12_10-01-01.pngSo, for this first Thursday Inspiration post, I give you Emmanuel Macron. I admit that I don’t know a lot about him yet but what I do knows makes me think that he is a world leader for the 21st century.  He is young (41) but appears to have wisdom beyond his years.  Maybe that is because he, like me, married a woman considerably older than him. 🙂

His recent interview on CNN’s GPS piqued my interest to learn more.  During that interview, he laid out his 5-year plan for bringing France into a leadership roll in EU and the world. I would highly encourage you to watch that interview. For those who don’t have the time to do that maybe my quick very edited transcript which will give you an idea of why he is inspiring to me.  Click here to see that.

I certainly hope that if and when the US falls out of dominance that EU will be ready to take up that mantle. This gives me hope that just might be the case.  But, I also hope that other young forward thinker like him will rise from the swamp of current American politics.  I am just tired of this country being run by old white men.

Here’s to you Emmanuel, viva la France.

Myths Americans Need to Unlearn…

Umair Haque over at Medium.com certainly gives me much to think about lately. His recent blog post about the myths Americans need to unlearn will be the centerpiece in coming posts here are RJsCorner. I want to start out this series with the end of his post.

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Source:  Eight Myths Americans Need to Unlearn About America

I certainly get my share of those screamers who call me names and tell me if I don’t love this country then I should GET OUT!!! Some think I am a bleeding heart liberal and others, believe it or not, think I am a Trumpster? They evidently feel so threatened by what I have to say to get them to attack me for one reason or another. I, like Umair, want to pronounce here that I am no threat to them. I am just an old guy who is primarily an observer of life with no power whatsoever to change what I am observing other than my single vote at the ballot box. Yeah, I have some loyal readers who might be swayed to a very small degree but that is about it.  You don’t need to feel that I am threatening to you. Now on to the topic at hand.

2018-10-28_11-02-50.png“We don’t need to listen to people who are critical of America! They’ll never help us!!” Some people consider progress and particularly the change almost always associated with it to be a bad thing. I do believe that the last couple of years are the most tumultuous of my life as far as social things are concerned.  We seem to have lost our ability to tolerate anyone with different views than ours.  The second most agonizing period that I have lived through was the 1960s but I was much younger then so I could tolerate it better than I do now. More than 50,000 of my generation lost their lives in a seemingly meaningless war.  There were riots in many major cities, soldiers killing kids on a college campus, African-Americans being attacked by police dogs and high power fire hoses. Some were dragged through the streets by white supremacists all because they were demanding their civil rights.  If ever there were a period where people were critical of America, it was during those years.

But look what came out of that same period and see many great accomplishments.  More on that in a near future post.

Time Just Flies By

I don’t know how many times I have heard the expression in the title of this post. I don’t know how many times I have said it myself. I have always wondered why time seems to fly by now but in my youth a year seemed like an eternity.  It wasn’t until I got a glimpse of the short article below from the AARP Magazine that I came to maybe understand this time warp a little better.

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It’s interesting if I at least partially accept what the article says that the reason is stale experiences.  That is, as we get older, especially in our senior years, we pretty much do the same things over and over again. That lack of new experiences leads our brains to lock up.  Being a “Question Everything” skeptic that I am I’m not sure I totally accept this logic, but it does ring true at least at some level.

If you want time to slow down then you need to constantly experience new things or “fresh experiences” as the article describes them. Doing the same thing day after day is not only pretty boring but it causes the end to come sooner, so to speak.

So, I guess my “Embrace Change” life pillar is maybe making the days go by a little slower. But given the political atmosphere at the moment I kind of wish 2020 would come tomorrow. 🙂