More & More.. and then the Chinese Way..

HavingMySay Banner   I guess I shouldn’t be surprised since our American culture is now almost totally geared around consumer spending. We simply can’t keep the paradigm going if we spend less this year than we did last.

It seems that houses today MUST have  master suites with at least 150 square foot closets and 200 square foot bathrooms. The general rule is that the family now needs 1,000 square foot of house for every member.  Two kids = 4,000 SF minimum.

But a point of this post is one of the items that kind of sneaked up on me was that apparently, at least to the semi-affluent folks, it is unacceptable for kids to share a bedroom with their siblings! I don’t know when this happened but it crops up on more and more on the house flipper and fixup shows and such that my wife is addicted to.  They say every child needs his own room so that he/she can grow their own personality.  Now, I know I am going back to the “good old days” when I say I didn’t have a bedroom of my own until I graduated from college.  How did I manage to become a real person apart from my siblings and roommates? In other words, I think this new trend reeks of alternate truth. Or maybe it is just another way to continue to consume more and more.

canstockphoto36017688.jpgNow finally getting to the main point of this post and that is how China looks at things differently than we do, or at least as the Trump administration does.  I would highly recommend a BBC-America TV series entitled “Tales from Modern China”. That series is an eye-opener for how China is doing almost everything right in order to become the next world leader. Their infrastructure improvements dwarfs our and a high percentage of it is in solar/wind/water renewable resources. Of course we know that at least the leadership of our country has decided that this approach is dead wrong.

To see all the giant advances that China has made in the last decade alone makes it pretty obvious they will welcome their new role as world leader and put the US into a follower mode as we did for England.  I wonder if all those Evangelicals who put Trump in office will ever realize the mistake they made.  But more importantly, I wonder if all those who stayed home on election day and allowed 25% of the voting age population to choose a president will realize the mistake they made.

Is is too late to reverse this change in world leadership? Maybe… maybe not…

 

 

Just Because You Can Doesn’t Mean You Have To…

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Slow down you’re moving too fast,  got to make the morning last…

2017-06-18_10-41-14.pngThe above words come from an old Simon and Garfunkel song entitled “59th Street Bridge Song” otherwise known as Feelin Groovy.  Even in the 1960s many people thought that life was just moving too fast. Can you image what they might think about today?

Getting to the title of this post, just because you can do things faster now doesn’t mean you have to. We can all slow down to what feels comfortable to us. At least when we are not on the job.  🙂  I am not a person who mourns the advancements in technology but there are things that bug me because they just move too fast:

  • There is an ever increasing number of TV shows around that spend no more than one second on a particular scene. The picture is constantly flashing from one to the next. There is simply no time to appreciate what you are seeing.  I don’t know if this has anything to do with maybe the editors having ADHD. There just seems to be more and more of these types of shows that I have quit watching lately.
  • People simply drive too fast and road rage is getting out of control. With our increasing sense of “us” vs “them”  we seem to be making our lives more dangerous as the years pass.
  • My light at the end of the tunnel of life is coming into view. For that reason time is just moving too fast. It seems like yesterday that I graduated from college and started dreaming about the future and ignoring the present.
  • Racing through life to get to the end. That thought is very prevalent in my Will Rogers quote at the top of this site.  We all rush through life in order to get to our retirement years and then spend those years trying to figure out what to do with them. 🙂 If that is not irony I don’t know what is.

But let’s bring some logical to this discussion. The fact is we all still have the same 24 hour day as our very distant ancestors had. That hasn’t changed one iota. The other thought is that things only go as fast as you allow them to. In my day, kids spent most of their time with the other neighborhood kids in doing this and that.  Now it seems that it is a never ending job to transport our kids from one activity to another. If you complain about that please realize that it is a result of a choice you made and doesn’t have to be so.

It is a difficult lesson for too many of us to learn that life is not about yesterday or even tomorrow, but instead about today. Take it from someone who wasted much of my seven decades on this earth and slow down and live it each day at a time. Learn from the past, try to do better in the future, but live your life in the present.  I can’t think of any wiser words to end this post.

 

“Checks & Balances” Were Meant For Our Times…

HavingMySay Banner    When our government was formed over three hundred and fifty years ago the founders were concerned about someone usurping total power. To prevent that they wisely instituted a pretty severe form of checks and balances. No one person or group of persons could take over without trampling their newly formed constitution. That was a good thing and it still is today.

If there was ever a time when the principle of “checks and balances” in our government processes were meant for it is certainly now. With the current Oval Office Occupant having so little knowledge of government process, or much of anything else for that matter, we need a way to prevent him from destroying our American Democracy. Checks and balances appear to be doing just that, at least for now.

2017-06-12_10-22-05.pngMr. Trump seems to thinks he is a autocratic king with all his daily signing ceremonies, many of which are totally meaningless.  He seems to  believe all he has to do is to sign a document with his lavish signature and it will happen.  (Why does he think we need to see his signature each and every time?) 🙂

I have heard he just doesn’t like to read or study much as he thinks he is already smarter than anyone else but maybe someone should try to give him a high school level civics lesson in the basement of the White House. Someone needs to convince him that he is not a king that he apparently thinks he is.

Yes, he has managed to unravel many of the progressive things accomplished by his predecessor but the Judicial system has stopped him from putting a religious test on those who might come to the USA and now congress with the help of a special council is trying to make sure he is not trampling on the Constitution in a number of areas.

I’m sure the Evangelicals who so adamantly and ignorantly give him their 100% support are screaming that he is being treated TOTALLY unfairly but I think he is just reaping what he has sewed for so long. I don’t know how parents can explain to their children that it is ok for the president to tell obvious and outrageous lies on a daily basis but their  children must always tell the truth? That would be a toughie for me..

I also can’t understand how the Evangelicals cling to this guy. Don’t they understand that by doing that they are irreparably damaging their religious brand? To me, it is almost as if they have morphed from a religious institution into a political one.  And that is sad…

Yes, at least for now checks & balances put together by our founders seems to be working. We can only pray that they continue to work for however long this guy stays in the Oval Office. I hear the world famous Irish oddsmakers say he has a 50/50 chance of surviving his first year in office and the odds go down after that.

The Alienated…

HavingMySay Banner  I read an interesting article in the New York Times recently trying to figure out the alienated voters who put the current guy in the Oval Office. There were some aspects of the article that I had not fully considered.

canstockphoto2803671Angry voters made a few things abundantly clear: that modern democratic capitalism is not working for them; that basic institutions like the family and communities are falling apart..

The alienated long for something that will smash the system or change their situation, but they have no actual plan or any means to deliver it. The alienated are a hodgepodge of disparate groups. They have no positive agenda beyond the sort of fake shiny objects Trump ran on (Build a Wall!). They offer up no governing class competent enough to get things done.

canstockphoto13269971.jpgNow I will admit that American Capitalism has morphed into something different in my lifetime. In the 1960s the majority of the GDP was generated by government spending for the common good.  The Interstate highway system was one of those things. Then sometime in the 1980s people started thinking that spending for the general welfare of the country was a bad thing and that  resulted in the move more to depending on individual consumerism to drive the economy.  That along with the corresponding unwillingness to pay taxes inevitably resulting in a sharp disparity between the rich and the poor in our society. Those with large disposable income ignored the old saying “with wealth comes responsibility”. American Capitalism just isn’t the same as it used to be. So now in order for the American economy to continue to prosper each of us must spend more and more as each year passes and of course with the current situation that means we go deeper and deeper into unsustainable debt.

The main eye-opener in the quote above is that in reality the disenchanted that resulted in our current president is by no means a homogeneous group. Instead it is, as the article said a hodgepodge of many different groups.  The neo-Nazis and other anarchistic groups who are looking to take everything down were one supporting group.  At the other end of the scale are perhaps those who for the most part are uneducated and poorly trained for today’s competitive society. They want America Great again and to them that is to mean high paying jobs for unskilled and unprepared workers.

In between are other diverse groups who feel left behind by all the progress of the last three decades. Many live in once prosperous rural areas where jobs have continued to erode due to automation and the simple fact that producing food for the populace requires significantly less labor.

Some others are senior citizens who just want the world to stop spinning so they can get off.  Being such a wide variety of dissenters these disenfranchised have no particular agenda nor any representatives who has any hope of achieving them even if they could be identified.

I hope that these times will become a lesson for future voters to realize that you need to be for things more than you are against.  In other words, you need to have a dream of what might be and not just scream about how bad things are. I don’t know if that will be the lesson learned or if we will continue to spiral downward until democracy is no longer sustainable? That is the question for our times.

 

Epilog:  A ranter who tried to comment on this post reminded me of a group that I did not include.  That is those people who are so entangled in their current mindset that they will vote for ANYONE who even kidnaps their party’s nomination.

The Good Old Days??

HavingMySay Banner   Everything has two sides, a good side and a dark side, a happy side and a sad side, but nothing is totally black and white.  How’s that for an opening sentence. 🙂

canstockphoto30875540.jpgThe main crux for this post is about all those who want the “good old days” back  as to mean when we didn’t have so much technology in our lives. They constantly complain about how so many people seem to be glued to their cell phones and such. But if they thought it through would they really like to go back fifty year or more?

Would they give up all the medical advances that technology has provided? I personally recently had a traumatic brain event that would more than likely killed me if it were 50 years ago. Today, with all the advanced imaging techniques they could precisely determine the locations and severity of my brain bleed and fix it with a two hour surgery.  So, personally I can answer that I am very grateful for all the technology advances of the last fifty year. Especially in the medical field.

I can remember in college when I had to write some papers on a subject I had to spend hours going through the card files at the university library and then spend even more hours finding and studying the sources that were on those cards.  Writing a routine paper was usually a twenty hour event.  Today most questions can be answered with a Google search which takes seconds to do. We can all learn about almost any subject at least enough to be dangerous in a matter of minutes. 🙂 How many of us would give all that up and return to all those dusty 3 x 5 index cards?

I can remember as a kid living close to the “Army Finance Center” in Indianapolis. It was a HUGE building containing about 4,000 desks and probably 50,000 filing cabinets. The job of all these people was to issue the monthly paychecks to military personnel. Today that job is probably handled in closet sized space and a couple racks of computers.

For at least us guys out there I know we wouldn’t want to go back to having our wives nag us to ask for directions when we are traveling.  Even when we did stop most often those directions were either wrong or too complicated to remember.  Then there was the time when we were visiting a southern State and they gave us completely bogus directions because they saw our plates were from a northern State.  I thank God for GPS and would never want to go back to what is was fifty years ago.

Ok, just one last example and I will let this all rest.  Fifty years ago an average car lasted for about 40,000 miles before it was a complete junk.  It probably got no more than a dozen or so miles per gallon and broke down on a monthly basis.  Fast forward to today and my little 2012 Chevy Sonic gets 35 mpg and has had nothing but a few very minor problems. It should easily last for 200,000 miles or more. And it has twelve airbags to protect me in case of an accident.

If you really want to give up all these and thousands of other things then by all means do it.  But, don’t ask the rest of us to join you in your retrograde desires.

Celebrating Bad Grammar??

HavingMySay Banner    canstockphoto21440849.jpg I ran across a blog site today that celebrates bad grammar.  The author claimed that using proper grammar was just too conformist. He wants to be a radical so he uses bad grammar. I kinda think that he has a deeper underlying reason?

Celebrating our mistakes in life leads to nothing more than going deeper and deeper down the well. Eventually we run out of light to even find our way back.

It’s kind of like that cable show that celebrates obesity. I think it is called something like “My Big Beautiful Life”. The star dances around, at least until she runs out of breath, as if to celebrate that she is 100 lbs over weight.  She claims she never wants to be “normal”.

Next thing you know someone will show up celebrating cancer or pedephilia.

I have always said the the true source of these kind of things is simply laziness.  Too many of us just don’t want to do the work to make ourselves better than we are. It seems that is a sad fact of life in today’s world.