The American Tractor

In my recent theme for artsy Saturday of simplicity, I want to give a salute to the American tractor.  Two hundred years ago almost 90% of us were farmers who grew our own food.  Even a hundred years ago about 40% of us were in that same state. It took industrialization to drastically change those numbers.  Today, less than 2% of us are needed in that category.

So, this picture is to celebrate the American farm and the Ford tractor.

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Never Say You’re Sorry…

2018-05-17_13-58-48.pngIt seems that one of the strictest rules around the current White House, that is beside disagreeing with #CO3 on ANYTHING, is to say you are sorry. Even when crude and disgraceful jokes are made about a dying senator, never say you are sorry.  I certainly don’t understand that kind of logic? To me, that is downright disgraceful. But, then again, that kind of stuff seems the norm for them. How they seemingly hang on to their “base” is a total wonderment to me! Maybe, come this November we will see that for the most part they don’t.

On a lighter side, the very foundations of any marriage, especially for us guys, is to constantly apologize, even if you don’t know what you are apologizing for. 🙂 Too refuse to ever apologize would be the death knell for most relationships as all of us at one time or another do something that we deeply regret. I think saying a guy doesn’t matter because he will be dead soon should be one of those regretful moments. Come November I hope we loudly proclaim to the world that the actions from the current Oval Office are NOT what America stands for!

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#CO3 = Current Oval Office Occupant

 

Scarcity Mentality…

I truly believe that we are coming to a point in our country’s history where some very basic changes are about to happen.  One of those changes is the realignment of our political parties.  Another is that we will finally reject the idea that our best days are behind us.

Today, after the financial crisis, the shrinking of the middle class, the partisan warfare, a scarcity mind-set is dominant: Resources are limited. The world is dangerous. Group conflict is inevitable. It’s us versus them. If they win, we’re ruined, therefore, let’s stick with our tribe. The ends justify the means…

Source:  The End of the Two-Party System – The New York Times

I have probably talked too much for you about how a third party is much needed in our country in order to break the strangling gridlock we find ourselves in. So this post will not be about that. Instead, it is about the mindset of entrenchment or hunkering down against the big bad world.

There have always been doomsayers and conspiracy theorists around to try to spread a dark blanket over almost everything they touch. That population does seem to be increasing lately but I am convinced that they still make up a relatively small minority of this country.  Both political parties are now pandering to their radical fringes, but a time will come when the moderates will shed their allegiances to those parties and a phoenix will rise out of these political ashes. As they say, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

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I Get All The News I Need From The Weather Report…

2018-05-10_10-25-12.pngI didn’t realize how freeing it could be to disentangle myself from the political world. It used to be that I spent a good half hour every morning browsing my internet feeds for political stories.  That process now takes about five minutes or less. The PBS Newshour that I watch the morning after now takes about 10 -15 minutes of my time. The rest goes by at “super fast-forward”. Especially when #CO3’s picture shows up.

The title of this post is from the album by Simon & Garfunkel entitled “Bridge over troubled waters”.  I gotta do a post on that song soon. Getting back to the topic at hand, keeping today’s politics beyond arm’s length certainly is less stressful. I used to scan the daily news to get the latest Trump screw-up but I don’t do that anymore.   I’m sure they will continue to come with increased intensity as each day passes but I just won’t be reading them anymore. There is simply no use in getting upset about things that I have no control over.

For some, speculating what Meuller has uncovered is a way of life. For some, dissing Meuller and everything he finds is a way of life. At this point, it is not likely that any minds will change on this topic. Just tell me when the Special Counsel issues his report and when the impeachment starts and I might get engaged at least at some level again. But, until then I get all the news I need from the weather report.

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#CO3 = Current Oval Office Occupant

Coping With Dissappointments

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I know the quote above from Will and the title of the post seem kinda disjointed but hear me out before you pass judgment. 🙂 I have always been a dreamer in life. One of my favorite things in my youth was to lay back on the lawn on a clear night and gaze unendingly at the stars and dream of what my future life would be about. I had high expectations in those years.

IMG_0187I was abruptly introduced to the idea that your dreams and expectations are never as good as you hope or as bad at you dread.  Marriage is a compromise between two people of different personalities and desires.  It is not a “happy ever after” state as many, including myself, dreamt it to be. I and my future wife were both over forty and unmarried so we had developed our own methods of living and coping with life. After the honeymoon, we would eventually clash on many subjects.  Marriage was just not what we expected. But since we have survived over thirty years now in that state I guess we are a success at least on some level and our expectation and reality are now more aligned.

Politics is another matter. It has gotten to the point where a politician can outright lie to our face and not have to suffer any consequences. Some call our current political environment the “Post Truth Era”. I hope there comes a day where I can once again have high expectations about those I  vote for.

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What Other People Think About You…

2018-05-09_09-40-05.pngAre you a worrier? Do you worry about what other people think about you? If so, it just might be preventing you from being who you were meant to be. According to many studies, people driven by worry are some of the least happy people in the world. About the only thing that does more damage to your personal life than worry is an irrational fear.

Worrying about what others think of you will prevent you from being real. It will prevent you from taking risks that will make you a better person. It will prevent you from being what others need you to be (which isn’t always the same as what they want you to be).

At the root of it, worrying will prevent you from being at peace and that is what most of us seek in our lives. Let’s all be like Alfred E. Neuman and not worry about so much. 🙂

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(WS) A Filtered Version Of The Truth…

“Spin” is very dominant in the world today. Marketers and con-artist, not that they are one always in the same, both have those who make “spin” their occupation’s purpose. Spinsters take a topic and try to weave a narrow vision scenario. Spin becomes a “filtered version of the truth”. Thanks to a commentor on a recent post, I have the perfect example to use on this Squawk post.

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Yes, it definitely depends on where you grew up.

If you know history, you know that unions were one of the primary reasons we have a middle-class today. In the midst of the Industrial Revolution about a hundred years ago, the working class were living serf lives. Many lived in “company towns” where their employer took everything he paid them back in rent and limited groceries at the company story.  It took the willingness of some to suffer injury and death in order to form unions that would finally force employers to give the workers their share of the wealth they created.  Yes, I know that unions went on like most other institutions to be a self-focused thing.  But, just look at wages in the last 30 years to see the proof of what the lack of collective bargaining results in.  In a capitalist society, we need collective bargaining agents to level the playing field between the grossly rich and everyone else.

Whether Republicans like to admit it or not, having a job is what almost everyone wants.  But there are some who at one time or another in their lives need help. “Keeping everyone dependent on the government” is pure myth. But it does rile up the GOP base to spin the tale of the lazy welfare mom who cranks out babies for more money.

It would be great if neighbors were able and willing to take care of each other but that just doesn’t happen enough to meet the circumstances of our or any other time. Churches and other private institutions presently meet about 3% of the total hardship need. Where are the other 97% supposed to go if the government quits accepting its responsibility of providing for the constitutionally required general welfare?

Ending, I would like to believe that racism and bigotry have no place in America today but that is pure wishful thinking. So many people today are driven by an abject fear of so many things. A good part of that fear is the spin that is put on the subject by others trying to keep them in the “right” tribe.  If we could ever get over that, our world would be a more perfect place. You might even say that then God’s kingdom could come to earth like it is in heaven.

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Looking Up…

For this artsy Saturday, I want to once again keep it simple. How often you do take the time anymore just to look up. No, I don’t mean at the ceiling, but instead the sky. There is a lot of beauty there if you take the time to see it.  Lord knows there is enough ugliness in your world today that we certainly need a regular dose of beauty.

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A Country of Immigrants…

I want to start off this Cackle with the thought that we need to welcome a much higher number of people to our country than we presently are. Our immigration quotes are shamefully low.

Being a self-proclaimed progressive liberal, it might be a surprise to you that I am not as entrenched in the immigration debate as I’m supposed to be.  I can see some logic in both sides of the argument. One thing I ran across recently that pushed me a little to the conservative side is the following quote:

Giving amnesty to the “Dreamers” is like allowing the children of bank robbers to keep those ill-gotten gains

For the most part, I am a “law and order” type. I think those who break society’s laws should be held accountable for their actions. IllYes, sometimes civil disobedience is a necessary part of a democracy, especially for us progressives,  but even then we must be willing to pay the consequences of our stands.

Illegally entering the county should have consequences, even for those who were dragged here by someone else. When we quit rewarding illegal entry into our country we can finally get control of our borders and maybe then when #CO3 is gone in 2020 we can increase the number of people will be future citizens.

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#CO3 = Current Oval Office Occupant

Wild Inspirations…

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I don’t try to understand how my mind works. But, I am totally happy that I get quick broad streaks of inspiration on a regular basis. Sometimes I get quick mental flashes that interrupt whatever I was doing that demands my immediate attention. In the past, I would most likely decide to write it down when I got back to my desk. But, of course, most often the thought would vanish as quickly as it appeared.  So, now I immediately jot them down.

Getting to the point of the post, I have always admired those who can take a pencil/pen/brush and create something beautiful.  I think I do a pretty good job of that with words but just never accomplished it in another medium. To try it once again I am experimenting with different apps as possible tools. I know what you are probably saying, “just take a pencil or marker and do it. You don’t need an app!”  Well, there is truth to that but at least for me, more technology makes it more appealing.

So, here I am with Adobe Photoshop Sketch. Don’t ask me what the above “artwork”, if you want to call it that, is about. It was just letting my brain wonder wherever it wanted.  I kinda think the overall effect is interesting and colorful if nothing else.  Maybe my next project will be a Picasso style self-portrait. That is if that is where my mind wants to go…. 🙂

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Wisdom Is Wasted On The Eldery

canstockphoto26910135.jpgI don’t know if I invented the phrase in the title above, I kinda doubt it, but it does pretty much describe how I feel about the subject. Getting to the very core of this subject I wish I had learned most of my lessons earlier in life.  What good is that wisdom now that I am out of the mainstream and heading downhill? If I had just learned some lessons earlier I could have more successfully addressed the problems in my life.

I like to think that I am a better person as a result of looking at the world from a different view. At the time I didn’t realize that my Asperberger’s traits were not how all my classmates saw things.  I couldn’t understand why I was so clumsy with many interactions with others, especially female others. It would be years before I realized that there are many others out there in the same straits that I traveled. I could have learned a thing or two from them.

Many claim their legacy is the children and grandchildren they leave behind. Maybe due to the fact that I leave no heirs, I kinda think that is the lazy way to think of it.  Will I leave a mark on this earth after I am gone?  I think I will but with these kinds of things you never really know. But, that is kind of what RJsCorner is about. I always kid that I want to show others all the mistakes in hope that they can learn from them and not have to make the same ones I did.

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Orchids & Democracies

2018-04-08_15-31-46.pngThis being a primary election day here in Indiana, democracies are on my mind. Two of the most beautiful and delicate things in the world are orchids and democracies. They both need constant nurturing to thrive. An orchid needs the right light and temperature. It needs constant watering or it will die on the vine. The same thing is true for democracies.

Too many in this country seem to think that our democracy is as rugged as Rambo.  We can mistreat it and ignore it and it will always come fighting back.  If you want to see the fallacy of that belief just look around the world at various country’s attempts to maintain a democracy. The most obvious example right now is Russia.  When the iron curtain finally fell, Russia claimed that it would be a democracy. But that dream has pretty much been squashed.  One inept leader after another tried to make it so but since a former KGB agent took the helm, the idea of a Russian democracy pretty much has vanished.

Thomas Jefferson stated that an informed electorate is absolutely essential for a democracy to exist. Sadly, an informed electorate seems to have at least temporarily vanished from the American landscape. Too many latched on to one con-man or another with promises they can’t and don’t intend to keep. Too many of us are just too lazy to do the work to weed out the cons from the Patriots. We are currently living with the consequences of that most recent failure.

Being that so many still don’t seem to understand the threat is more evidence that we are not as stable as many believe. All of us need to get involved in caring for our delicate democracy.

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I Am A Rock…

2018-04-18_17-23-20.pngSince I was a teenager in the 1960s, one of my favorite musical groups was Simon & Garfunkel. One of their most popular songs was “I am a Rock”. Due to my Aspie traits, I was somewhat of a loner back then so this song just “spoke” to me.  My mother had abandoned me a few years before, so that probably had something to do with it too.

The song is basically about a desire to avoid pain and heartbreak. In order to avoid being hurt by relationships, the subject of the song refuses to make friends or fall in love.  Of course, this approach to life is very isolating and painful in itself. The last two lines are evidence that this way of living is more dreadful than the alternative of being hurt.

It would be several years before I fully understood that no one is an island and no one is especially a rock.  But, it was kind of nice to think that others had gone through what I did during my turbulent teenage years. 🙂

It has been over thirty years since I last heard this song, but I still keep a copy of the lyrics along with many others and read them on a regular basis.

 

 

Wk- About Humanists Part 2

There has been a very long-standing debate about the morality of man that I was not until recently totally aware of.  It has to do with where the goodness of man comes from. Is it an innate characteristic or one gleaned from our spiritual side?  That is the question of this post.  Who said I didn’t tackle the tough stuff here at RJsCorner (ha).

First, let’s see what the various Humanist organizations say about themselves:

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I remember in my Evangelical days that humanists were not called humanist but instead secular humanists. I wondered what the difference was? Here is what Wikipedia says is the history of that:

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So, secular means those who reject or at least not concerned about religion. Given the current state of humanism, at least what I have come to learn so far, you can be a humanist without being secular. To make sure we are on the same level, there is the definition of secular:

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Unlike my once Evangelical friends, I am not at all frightened by those who proclaim to be humanists. In fact, they sound like someone I would like to know more about.  I will be doing just that in future Squawks.

If you believe their words, and why shouldn’t I, then they are:

  • about adding to the greater good of humanity
  • we are all responsible for shaping our own lives.
  •  duty bound to oppose actions that violate human rights.
  • are not better or worse than others.

It sounds like a pretty good list to live by if you ask me.

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Spring Has Sprung!! Hallelujah

For this artsy Saturday, I want to give you a taste of Spring.  This picture was taken about a year ago at the Prophetstown State Park here in Indiana.  It is beautiful to me because of its simplicity…

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