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.

Thinking Outside The Box On Education

crayon-banner  “Thinking outside the box” is a new sub-category within the Crayon Marks category. The term “thinking outside the box” entails a thinking process, which uses an unusual approach to a logical thinking structure. It´s a process which aims to escape relational reasoning,  and rising to another level.

school-1465744-640x480 copy.jpgThere is just too much stuff today where people say “That’s the way we have always done it.” To me, that is just an excuse for being too lazy to try to find something better. One of those areas is in our educational processes. I recently read some articles written one hundred years ago that show we really haven’t made much progress in education reform. We are stuck facing the very same issues without really trying alternative methods.

Most people, especially progressives are pretty upset that Betsy DeVoss is the new education secretary, but I welcome the radical change in leadership. Maybe some basic change will finally happen in this area. I have several retired teachers who read RJsCorner and they often vent their frustration with the educational systems today. I hope some of them chime in on this post to give their opinions.

The public school system as it is currently set up seems to be biased against a child who really wants to learn. Instead, it is about handling the ones who just don’t seem to care about their educations. That attitude likely comes from their parents for any of a number of reasons. For teachers, it is mainly about keeping control of their classrooms and not actually teaching students.

I am a Hoosier and I’m pretty sure that Indiana is toward the front when it comes to charter schools and vouchers.  I know there are a number of charter schools in our adjacent county which includes a major university. We are told by our government representatives that having a choice allows those who really want to learn to find a venue to accomplish that. I kind of buy into that.

Teacher’s unions just seem to be more interested in teachers than educating students. That is another basic problem that needs to be addressed.  How much will Mrs. DeVoss end up accomplishing in this area is very much the question at hand? But I think it is finally time to do some destruction so that maybe a phoenix can rise from the ashes.

I know that educating future generations is and should be a top priority of our country.  I also know that the vast majority of my property taxes and even my State taxes go toward that purpose and that much of that money is currently being wasted. Right now change, any change is better than kicking the can down the road. I wish the new education secretary success in changing the status quo.

 

 

Antonito Colorado

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Antonito Colorado is without a doubt one of the strangest towns I have ever been in. We went through the town on our way back from Mesa Verde two years ago.According to the statistics, it has a population of about 800 people, we didn’t see more than a handful while we were there.

Destroying The Work of Past Generations..

My wife is an avid watcher of TV, especially the ‘flipper’ shows where someone buys a house for $20,000 and puts some paint on it and then sells it for $40,000. To me, that very idea is WRONG on so many levels:

It Gives People The Wrong Idea — It is kind of like sports in my mind where a kid decides that he will be a professional in basketball/football, you name it. He then spends literally all his waking hours playing that sport to the exclusion of everything else. As a result, he is totally unprepared for life when he is among the 1 in 50,000 people to get that one job. To me, sports just wrecks too many people lives with false hopes to have much overall value.

The same can be said for the flippers. They leave the impression that easy money can be made for little or no effort. There is certainly a vast proliferation of these types of shows in cable/satellite channels now encouraging naive people to spend their hard earned dollars on something that will eventually bury them.

On another level, many are demolishing history — On my trips through the living room where my wife watches her shows I frequently see two twin brothers who are trying to convince people to let them remodel their homes. These guys just seem to have a way of dissing all the work of past generations. They snicker and sneer at anything that is older than 10 years old. They say “how can up possibly live in a house like this???” They then go about showing their potential customers that for a mere $50,000 or $100,000 they can make their home look “modern”. They are tearing down or remodeling older architecture instead of appreciating past generations of work!!

It amazes me that every home they, and so many other copycats, redo seems to look exactly the same when they are done. I wonder how many years will go by before another generation of flipper disses their work as being cookie cutter?

But in some way I guess I was a flipper too. When I retired from the corporate world we bought a 1925 farm house that had already gone through three bad renovations and flipped it for ourselves. The difference was that about half of what we spent was behind the walls. Much of the wiring had been done without a code inspector and was just plain dangerous. The well went dry after running only 5 minutes and required another 15 minutes to refill. duct work had to be added along with a new furnace and air conditioner. Since most of the period features of the house had been destroyed by the previous remodels we spent quite a bit of money to recreate them again.

We are in our 17th year living here now so according to standard flipper rules, everything needs to be updated. We have too much carpet, not enough granite and only two bathrooms. That’s just plain unacceptable by today’s standards. The trouble at least for them is I like it just as it is. Especially since I built much of it myself.