Fear vs Hope..

Banner Having Y Say It seems my recent brush with death has left me with a different attitude toward life.  We are tragically wasting our lives with our obsession with fear when instead we should be celebrating all the reasons that hope is on our horizon.

This should be an age of hope. We are advancing so rapidly in the areas of medicine and technology as to make our future a bright one. Soon we will no longer have to worry about cancer or any number of other infirmities. We will be solving those puzzles with our knowledge of the genome.

Technology is replacing the need for human manual labor in so many areas. Once we text-2055651_640.jpgrecognize that a person does not need to put in a 40 hour week to be determined valuable we can move beyond that 100-year-old paradigm. Voice recognition has made major improvements in the last year or so. For me, that means closed captioning is almost real-time and more accurate than it ever has been. Anyone that uses a smartphone knows that voice-to-text is also getting much more accurate. I suspect that in the near future a universal translator will be on the scene. That will mean that we can go anywhere in the world and fully communicate despite language barriers. Our future is bright indeed.

fear-2083653_640.jpgBut for far too many of us our world is a world of fear. We fear others that are different from us. We think their overlying purpose is to do us harm. Republicans hate Democrats, progressives have conservatives. Our fear list is almost unlimited. The current U.S. Federal administration is all about fear. They are seriously considering drastically increasing an already absurd military budget while making some draconian cuts to brother’s keeper issues. Everything seems to be about fear now. Hope has moved to a back burner when it should be on the forefront.

What will it take to turn this around? A paradigm shift probably. Generally, you can’t decide to do a paradigm shift, it just happens when the right circumstances occur. Instead of letting our fear dominate our lives we need to just “get over it”. We were much closer to armageddon when I was a child in the 1960s than we are now. Almost everything was more dangerous then. I am a big believer in learning from history so we don’t have to constantly learn the same lessons over and over again.

Yes, a handful of bad guys killed a few thousand of us almost seventeen years ago but that is a very small number considering many other things. Let’s not fixate on bad guys, they have always been around and always will, be but being paranoia consume us is really letting them win. A terrorist’s sole purpose is to strike fear in those they hate. We are giving them exactly what they want by our obsession with fear.

Tiny Houses…

One of my favorite type shows on TV lately is about tiny houses. That is home less than 400 square feet. It seems that tiny houses are becoming a strong national trend and I can certainly understand why on several levels. They are simply more attuned to 21st century living than the current monoliths that most of us at least in the U.S. live in. Let’s start out with some words from Wikipedia:

The tiny house movement (also known as the “small house movement” is a description for the architectural and social movement that advocates living simply in small homes. There is currently no set definition of what constitutes a tiny house; however, a residential structure under 500 square feet is generally accepted to be a tiny home.

2016-12-09_20-30-11.pngIn the United States the average size of new single family homes grew from 1,780 square feet in 1978 to 2,479 square feet in 2007, and to 2,662 square feet  in 2013, despite a decrease in the size of the average family. Reasons for this include increased material wealth and prestige.

The small house movement is a return to houses of less than 1,000 square feet…

Sarah Susanka has been credited with starting the recent countermovement toward smaller houses when she published The Not So Big House (1997).  Earlier pioneers include Lloyd Kahn, author of Shelter (1973) and Lester Walker, author of Tiny Houses (1987). Henry David Thoreau and the publication of his book Walden is also quoted as early inspiration.

Source: Tiny house movement – Wikipedia

Even with the near zero interest rates of today the average house in the U.S. costs in excess of $250,000 and that is a large chunk of most people’s income. When the utilities needed to support these structures is taken into account along with taxes and insurance they cause a major burden for most families.

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Click on the image to see a more readable version

I was forty years of age before I bought my first house. Back then you needed at least 10% down before you could qualify for a double digit mortgage so that kept many of out the housing market for years. I was also a bachelor and having a mortgage just didn’t appeal to me. To the right is a graphic that helps explain why the movement is gaining so much traction. But I kind of think it makes sense on even more levels. It has been widely stated that the average person will change jobs seven times during his working live. Since job markets move pretty frequently from one part of the country to another it makes no sense to buy a house and then take a 7%+ hit along with closing costs when you need to sell it. Having a portable small house allows for more easy movement to where the jobs are.

I have this strong feeling that we, especially in the U.S., are now much too addicted to our “stuff”. We never have enough.  One of the most successful small businesses now are the personal storage facilities found in almost every community in the country. Even our 2,000+ square foot houses are not big enough to hold all our stuff.  We need to get over that feeling and living in a 200 square foot house would go a long way toward that happening.

I wish I could move into one but my wife has too much stuff that she is not willing to part with. 🙂

Stifling Competition..

Snippet Banner  My Republican friends seem to think that competition is the only answer to reducing healthcare costs. That logic is used as their reason to try to privative Social Security and basically eliminate Medicaid.  But in reality the GOP seems to be just pro-business in all regards. Whatever CEOs want they should get is their mantra.

It is nice to see at least one major politician that seems to be pro-people and think that business should NOT get everything it wants. There has to be someone looking out for the average guy in all these business transaction where profit is the king and everything else comes in a distant second.  That current person is Elizabeth Warren. Here is a Facebook entry about that:

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Thanks Elizabeth for having our backs….

VACANCY — Looking For a Leader of the Free World..

For the last 70 years or so the job of “Leader of the Free World” was automatically bestowed on the person occupying the Oval Office. That just doesn’t seem to be possible this time around. The person in that room is simply too erratic in his nature to assume that mantle even though I am sure HE thinks it is a worthy of that title. Yes, we in the U.S. somehow elected him but he was not the choice of the rest of the world.

The world leader needs to be someone who doesn’t fixate on pettiness of such things as how many people came to his swearing in ceremony. The leader of the free world is a person who tells you the truth when he speaks and doesn’t state beliefs that have absolutely no basis in fact such as illegal votes by the millions against him.  He is aware that even his off-the-cuff remarks can cost lives. He is a person of believability and trustworthiness. Who in the world can take up that mantle now? Certainly not the person in the Oval Office…..