How did I get inside this old body

I have to give Mark Twain credit for the quote in the title above. Something happened recently to make this quote “How did I get inside this old body”  jump in front of me.  In my youth, when I visited my grandmother the thing I noticed first was the line of pill bottles that were on her dresser.  She seemed to always be taking her medicine.

2018-05-28_15-56-44.pngFast forward to today, and given the fact that one of the most lucrative businesses to be in is pharmaceuticals,  it is no surprise that many people over 60 have medicine cabinets that dwarf my grandma’s. My myriad of pills started in 2006 just after I turned sixty.  I had a “heart event”. I didn’t know that is what it was at the time as no one in my immediate family ever had heart problems so I just didn’t consider it a possibility.

After a visit to the stent lab, I was given three prescriptions to help prevent another event. I have been taking them for twelve years now. But eventually, those three meds grew to seven I take now!

Getting to the point of this story, it seems my health is controlled by pills now! Recently my blood pressure has been lower than normal and when I mentioned that to my PCP she recommended cutting my blood pressure meds in half to see if that would help the problem. So now, in order for blood to flow through my veins in the correct manner, I have to take the correct amount of pills! I wonder how long I would last if I just quit taking any of them?

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We Are More Alike Than Different

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This post is about a recent report on the PBS Newshour about Senator John McCain.  I want to start off with a heartfelt belief that, unlike some of my viewers, I believe many and probably most of our representatives in Congress are well-meaning and compassionate people who are trying to do their best. John McCain is certainly near the top of that group. Yeah, they too often get caught up in the politics of their party and don’t speak up, and more importantly fail to vote their conscience when they should. The reason for that is that our present system is now skewed towards extremes so the middle ground in America sees an out-of-touch system.

Getting back to Senator McCain, I think all of you know he is dying from brain cancer. They always say that a “dying-breath declaration” is probably the most truthful words spoken by many of us. Here are some words from him that could be classified as such:

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Shared values are what has made our country great. I think most of us realize that fact but are just too fearful of the future to keep that belief as a foundation of our republic.  The next real leader in our country needs to make us realize that fact. We are more alike than different in so many regards but somehow have managed to shrink back to a tribal mentality where anyone who isn’t our friend is our enemy.

I will finish this post with Mr. McCains declaration:

We are more alike than different

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(WS) I Don’t Need The Annoyance Anymore…

canstockphoto2945108.jpgI have pretty much given up on the hope that those who are part of the Radical Right/Fear tribe will ever really understand my view of the world or that I will understand theirs.  All we seem to be able to do lately is to scream at each other across the red/blue abyss that separates us. Is that a fruitful way to spend the rest my life? Maybe it’s time go down a different path? That is the thought in this post.

We, in the United States, used to have a common bond but that seems to be fracturing now. There are two basic mentalities that currently dominate.

Red Tribe – There are those whose primary emotion is fear of the unknown. Fear of scientific advancements, fear of automation, fear of strangers, and especially fear that their way of life might be changing.  This group wants things to remain static. They welcome new products and services that make their life easier but still fear the technology that made them possible. They fear that their loss of majority status will mean others will lord over them as they have done over others in the past. Finally, they fear that their religion is losing prominence and therefore relevance in the world.

Blue Tribe – There are those who see one of the most basic things in life is “change”.  They are constantly looking for ways to do things better. They recognize that change often brings on apprehension but it also brings on much-needed progress.  They celebrate technological advances that help us live longer more fruitful lives. They believe that diversity is at the core of the success in our country.  They don’t fear the future but instead embrace it and the challenges it brings.

I think these two groups have always been around but the Us vs Them mentality is so dominant now.  Will we ever be able to fill the deep divide between us?

Getting back to my personal story, I am in my eighth decade now so I have decided to drop out of this war of different moralities and let those younger than me fight it from here on out.  I will continue to provide insight that my years of experiences have provided but I will no longer be a soldier in this war.  I will continue as I always have to vote at every opportunity but I will no longer try to convince those who I see as unconvincible.

My new mantra in life is “One day at a time” and each day is simply too valuable to waste on those adamantly opposed to the moralities that have driven my life. I pray that those who have many more years in front of them than behind take up the mantle I am dropping for I fear the consequences if they don’t…

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Getting Your News From Facebook?

2018-05-20_11-04-49.pngI read a statistic the other day that almost half the folks under forty say their primary news source is Facebook? That totally astounded me. Yes, Facebook is a nice tool to keep up with family and friends, and even some not-so-friends but a primary news source?

But maybe I am old-school when it comes to where I get my news.  I want my news to be verifiable and truthful, not just someone’s personal feelings.  I want it fact-checked before it is presented to me. It takes a lot of effort to accomplish this and that takes resources and organization.

Hearing what Uncle Harvey thinks about things just doesn’t rise to the “news” level for me. Hearing someone quote at best half-truths and often outright lies to reinforce their agenda is not news to me and many times those posts are from Russia or others who are trying to influence our thinking about America.

Maybe I don’t spend enough time on Facebook to be able to understand its validity as a news source. According to many sources many Americans spend about an hour a day on Facebook! I suspect the “Friend” count for those is probably in the hundreds if not thousands. I guess my 2 – 3 minutes a day on Facebook makes me almost a non-user!

How about you? Is Facebook the primary source for your news? I would love to hear from those who say “yes”as to why they give it that level of importance.

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When In Doubt, Vote For The Woman.

My new mantra for the coming election cycle is stated in the title of today’s cackle. We have pretty much given men control of our government for the last 242 years, it’s time for a change.  I think women generally are much more blessed when it comes to empathy and compassion, and that is what is sorely missing from our politics today and even the world in general.

There are a couple of ways to make some real changes in how we govern ourselves. One is to bring on a third party to eventually replace at least one of the existing two. The main problem with that as I see it is that the majority of the third party would likely come from the Democrats.  That would do nothing but give more power to those who currently so poorly running things.  I think eventually a third party is a primary solution to our basic problem but it has some negative short-term consequences.

Given the recent State primaries, it looks like I am not the only one to looks to the female of the species to get us out of our current mess.  They won big in several States and I am hoping that that trend is applicable in the remainder of them.

So, my advice to you is when in doubt this coming fall election vote for the woman. Let’s give them a chance to see how they do. It couldn’t be any worse than it is now.

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The Best Thing About The Worst Time…

2018-05-10_16-38-21.pngI think just about all of us can pretty quickly recall some of our worst times in our lives. For me, one of those times was the damage done to my wife when the small Evangelical congregation we belonged revoked my membership due to my failure to align with the belief that, among other things, the earth is only 6,000 year old and any seeming proof otherwise is just God trying to trick us.  My wife, who was recuperating from cancer surgery, was devastated by the rejection but even more so by the sudden loss of so-called friends there.  It would be the last time we ever had contact with most of them. The friendships that we thought were pretty deep ended up being very shallow!

I think experiences like this are somewhat common to most of us and as the quote above says they show us the true colors of everyone. Other similar but less stressful events were when we were forced to move to the east coast in order to fill out my pension.  We left friends who then just drifted away.  Retiring is another example. We for the most part forever leave friends who we have known for sometimes decades.

At least for me, it keeps me anchored to the fact that we are pretty much on our own in this world. Friendships, which are mostly pretty shallow, come and go as circumstances happen. That is just a fact of life it seems.

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Thank You For Your Service…

I seem to often get Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day mixed up. Aren’t they both primarily to recognize our American soldiers?  I think maybe it is time to broaden the concept of one of those days.  We need to recognize others outside our military who provide us with valuable services. That is what this post is all about.

2018-05-26_18-52-54.pngJust what is the definition of “memorial”? Isn’t it as shown here to recognize meritorious service to our community.  Surely no one can argue that meritorious service is provided only by our soldiers. Shouldn’t we be also recognizing others on this day? When I look at it, our soldiers stationed on the other side of the world dealing with local conflicts of one type or another just don’t seem to be providing an essential service to me.  Looking back, I personally can’t even see that any foreign war or military conflict in my lifetime that has really done much to ensure our safety here at home.  I could try to list all of those conflicts starting with the Korean conflict up to I guess Afganistan but I would surely miss one or two if I tried to do that.

Let’s look at some others who perform meritorious service.

Law Enforcement Officers –  This group includes local and State police and FBI agents who directly protect the homeland on a daily basis.  They, like the military, constantly put their lives at risk. One in 6,000 law enforcement officers were killed on duty last year compared to one in 33,000 in the military. Don’t they deserve our recognition for meritorious service on Memorial Day?

Teachers – Another group also needs to be recognized for their meritorious service is our teachers.  If you don’t believe they are on the front lines then you don’t know a teacher or have heard their stories.  I believe teachers are the most dedicated group of those who provide us valuable services. They are highly trained yet only make about 60% of what those who have similar educations make more in the private sector.  Given the number of teachers who have been slain due to gun violence in our schools they just might deserve recognition for that alone! Why not recognize their service on Memorial Day too?

Victims of Drunk/Drugged Drivers – While the specific statistics are hard to come by, I’m pretty sure people killed by drunk or drugged drivers rivals those killed in the military. While many of those killed maybe didn’t provide meritorious service to the community their deaths are just as tragic and should also be remembered on Memorial Day.

In the same but not direct vein, why do victims of certain tragedies get humungous compensation while those in other tragedies get virtually nothing?  All of the families of the 9/11 victims are now multi-millionaires while the family of the guy killed by a drunk driver has to fend for themselves? Isn’t that somehow saying one death is more important than the other?

So, to all the people serving in law enforcement, and teaching and the many other professions in addition to the military that provide meritorious service to us on a daily basis

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Without Pictures

I know this is Sunday and that is usually where I  do my weekly Squawk, but for this week I will squawk tomorrow, Memorial Day, on a topic that needs extended words.

All the blog pundits say to always include enticing pictures with each of my posts.  But is that really necessary? I see the opposite in some blogs I follow. One in particular always has a half dozen or so stock images strewn throughout the text. In my opinion, this blogger is a very talented writer and the images do nothing but distract from the story she is telling.

I guess images are supposed to be something to draw your attention to the post. Kind of like the headlines in newspapers. If they are unique and directly pertain to the topic of the post I can understand that idea and use it. But, I kinda think pictures are much overused in the blogsphere, even here on RJsCorner! Now I am not talking about my artsy or beautiful posts. The photo is the center of attention in those posts as it should be. Those posts are an important part of my neighborhood and will continue.

Should my words be able to stand on their own or do they need some reinforcement from graphics/pictures? I would like to hear from anyone who has a say on this topic? Would you read my posts if there were fewer graphics involved?

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Long-armed Selfie?

For this artsy Saturday, I thought I would give you a long-armed selfie from 30+ years ago. It’s kind of out of focus but it is one of my favorite early pictures of my hubby and me.  I really don’t remember where or exactly when it was taken but that doesn’t matter.

I know that you primarily know me by my avatar on my comments and blog posts. I wanted to show you that have not always been bald or had a white goatee. 🙂

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Part Of The Tribe…

“It doesn’t matter how sleazy they are if they are part of your tribe you support them.” Has our politics degraded to this? Some of the pundits say it has but I think it might not be so

2018-05-10_10-59-50.pngI was in college in the 1960’s and I can remember that the nightly news was all about campus protests and sit-ins. If you believed the reports back then every kid who was in college was a pot-smoking hippie. The reality of it, for at least Purdue University, was that the vast majority of us were just going to classes and doing what was necessary to graduate. Occasionally I came upon some kids who were carrying picket signs but that seemed like a pretty rare event to me.

Jump forward to today and if you believe the cable news reports, we are all hunkered down in our individual tribes throwing bomb across at the other tribe who is our dreaded enemy trying to destroy our way of life.  As long as you distance yourself from all the rhetoric that is spewed out you realize that most of us are just going about our daily lives almost oblivious of the reported times.  We have mortgages to pay, kids to feed, and jobs that demand much of our attention.

I don’t feel like a member of a tribe.  I try my best to form my own opinions about most things and remain pretty skeptical about anyone trying to seduce me to join their way of seeing the world.  Maybe the cable outlets are putting out that image to just gain viewers?

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Teaching An Old Dog New Tricks

I know the title of this post is a worn out cliche but it does kinda make sense for this post about WalMart taking on Amazon in the online market. Another worn out cliche that fits this scenario is “Better late than never”.

It is still kind of hard to think of Walmart as “old-school”. I can remember when there were none of them around. I think of McDonald’s in the same vein. Both are trying to hold on to the dominance they once had in their markets while others are quickly eating their dinner so to speak.  McDonald’s, at least in my area, are going through a pretty severe facelift.  The golden arches are for the most part gone except for a small one on the side of the new plain grey facade.  But in both cases, I kind of think its too little too late but I am getting ahead of myself here.

2018-05-17_08-15-25.pngWalmart is trying to bring up a strong online presence but from my personal experiences, it is a pretty meager effort. Their “new” website is well (yawn) boring. It just lacks the pizzazz and speed of response of Amazon. But I have recently given them a chance. I was in need of a new twin mattress for my microRV and found that Walmart has the one I want for about the same price as Amazon, so I ordered it.  They promised a 3 day delivery to my local store.  When I went to pick it up I found a pretty much untrained staff to handle the transaction. I wish them luck but…

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Just Sitting There…

2018-05-21_11-49-32.pngThis post is in honor of the new Will Roger’s quote in the header above. For those folks who might be viewing the post from the archive in the future, I will put the words here too.

There are some folks in the country that seem to believe that our best days are behind us and if we could just bring them back we would be in great shape. As Will tells us, the trouble with that is that they want to find that point in time and then just sit there forever. That simply won’t work as time has the habit of moving on whether we like it or not.  There is not going back, only forward.

Instead of reminiscing the good-old-days these folks should be preparing for the future in order to make it better than the past. Yes, that takes action which is certainly harder than just shouting words but in the end, it actually accomplishes something. If there was just some way to put these naysayers into that mode, our country and world would be better off.

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They Won’t Listen…

Sante Fe Texas joins the list of tragedies in local high schools. The scenario is all too familiar. A disgruntled teen is depressed and wants to go out in a flash of attention.  This time he got his weapons from his father’s stash but he could have just as easily bought them himself.  This national tragedy that very rarely happens in other countries continues…

2018-05-20_08-25-02.pngIt seems that a very real reality for teenagers now is to consider the possibility that they will be shot dead before they graduate.  I can’t imagine having that feeling when I was their age! But finally, they are ready to do something to stop the carnage.  They want regulations on guns to quit making them so easy to be obtained by disgruntled and depresses teenagers.  They want laws making those who supply guns to these assassins to be charged as an accessory to those murders, whether they be parents or just people selling guns to anyone with the dollars in hand.

The teens have marched by the millions to tell the legislatures to make this happen but the lawmakers seem to fear the NRA and the Radical Right more than them so they have now found another strategy.  They are registering to vote in numbers unheard of before. If the legislatures won’t listen then they will vote them out of office.

I applaud these activists for their initiative and wish them much success. Schools shouldn’t be war zones.  The extremely easy access to weapons of mass destruction needs to be severely throttled as it is already in most places in the world.

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