Transitions

I hardly remember my college years now, but I know it was a joyous time in my life.

Life is about transitions. We start out with a total dependence on our parents, and then, except for the homeschooled, we start interacting with others in a school environment.  Our teenage years are a tumultuous period where we are supposed to grow from being a kid to an adult. This period is the first trimester of our life.

The second trimester is mainly about our work and social world.  We choose an occupation that hopefully gives us a purpose and enough income to have a comfortable life and to be able to save for our retirement years.

The third trimester is about our post-work world.  It is about those years where we finally have a choice of doing whatever we want. In some ways that freedom in the most taxing time of them all. But, that is a topic for future posts


Life is all about transitions, and RJsCorner is no exception. This blog has been in existence in various forms for about 12 years now. During the past two years I have allowed RJsCorner to become more and more involved in the dark side of life. That certainly includes our wretched political environment and the fear and isolationism that invade far too many of us. I am ready to change that in a dramatic way going forward.

One of my core instincts in my life has always been to “fix’ things. I am a fixer.  I see the problems of the world and think I can in some small way help to fix them, but of course that is usually total folly on my part. Yes, I know the Gandhi quote about doing little things, but I’m just not sure I want that to be part of my third trimester anymore.

I have spent the last couple of weeks working on the next transition for this blog. I have some more to do, but the foundation is now complete. I will let you know more about that soon. I promise I will be back with an even more enjoyable place to visit. Please be patient. 🙂

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.

PWV#1 -Poetry at RJsCorner??

I have always been fascinated by poetry. But in my early years I was taught that poetry was for sissies and no young boy wants to be a sissy. As typical with many young people, I was introduced to poetry by Edger Allan Poe and particularly “The Raven”. The words of that poem certainly painted a vivid picture. Most of Poe’s works were dark in nature, but as I learned that is not what poetry is necessarily all about.

It’s hard to put a definition on poetry. It seems there are about as many definitions as there are poets. Some want to put strict rules for writing, and some say you make your own rules. There are also a myriad of types of poems. Some rely on cadence, some on rhyme, some by just content.

If you want to give me your idea of what a poem is I will certainly welcome it. But to me “The rules of poetry are in the eye of the beholder”. So, here are my general rules:

A Poem

  • Is painting a picture in words.
  • Focuses on one primary emotion
  • Has an identifiable cadence
  • Has more than 15 words on a line
  • Has 4 lines to a stanza.
  • Has around seven stanzas.

At least getting started, I am trying to live by my rules. The type of poetry I will primarily be attempting is called “free verse”. That means it doesn’t necessarily rhyme.  

My first, and only poem so far here on RJsCorner brought on some concerns about my level of depression. That was exactly the picture I wanted to paint, so I guess I was successful. The poem was meant to be depressing, but not necessarily at my current my depth.

What I mainly like about writing poetry is that it demands a greater level of thought. At least starting out, I am going to use a photo from my portfolio as the focus. The poem will paint in words what I give you in that corresponding picture.

I don’t know how successful I will be but I am going to give it a serious try. Of course, you will be the judge of my accomplishments in the new endeavor.


Poetry is painting a picture in 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.

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.