Tuesday, December 28, 2010

New Year Resolutions Suck

Christmas is over and it is natural you start to think about the New Year that is rapidly approaching.

You think about time wasted. Money wasted. You tend to think about the general confusion you seem to be in but in truth it has been just another year.

Yet we inevitably think about what we want to accomplish, of the year's past resolutions we failed to live up to and think about what we want to try to accomplish next year.

Good friends and readers let me make a pre new years toast if I may

It is simply "Thank God we survived another year."

I mean really this has been one really strange time we are living in right now. So forgive yourself not living up to or accomplishing your goads you had set for yourself. It is a miracle you survived no thanks to the powers that be.

Bu what the hell. I tell you what I'll do I start out with this last post of the year with my New Years' Resolutions.
  1. I will continued to be the best person I can be and when I fall short I hope I recognize my failure and ask for forgiveness of those I offend. and strive harder. For I will fail for I am not perfect.
  2. I will continued to strive to protect my family and fiends and expect minimum help from my government.
  3. I will strive to think before I speak and hopefully make fewer idiotic statements and give less foolish advice.
  4. I will try to hid any money that comes my way from those who wish to part it from me. Although I figure that is a lost cause I still will try.
  5. I will try to enjoy each day as it comes and accept it for what is is.
  6. I will accept the fact that there is a sour grape in every bowl of grapes. When I get one I promise to spit it out and not let it spoil the rest for me. That goes for whether it be a bowl of grapes or a room full of people.
  7. I promise to holler out my war cry and  stand firm against the injustice and abuse of power and privilege.
Well that is enough for now.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Domino Effect

One of the things I like watching on you-tube is the guys who spend a week or more setting up dominoes so that when they tip one over they create the cascade effect that  is unique and creative.

But unfortunately in life the domino effect often is not that unique or creative. You would think that folks would realize that by this time the simple law of physics that guide the domino fall creators effect all walks of life. But no sadly our leaders haven't a clue.

They say they do but as of yet I have not seen any proof of it. They keep setting up the same old dominoes up and then they say that it will last a life time or until someone sneezes and they all fall down.

You can understand why the activist become so dispirited no matter what they do it never seems to change. You elect the first black president. You put a overwhelming wave of vote out that says get off your duff and do something different. Then when the people we elect get into office what happens?

More of the same old s@#$ or SOS.

We think that means save or ship but for a activist it means more of the same old S%^&.

The problem as I see it is that the people we elect are either not honest with us as to how they really feel or who their allegiance is with or their butts hit the seat in the chambers of power and their mentality totally changes. Remember Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

So what do we do?

A good question and the answer can only be one and that is to never give up.

If Martin L. King and the NAACP had given up because of the seeming no changes to attitudes or laws from previous generations of Civil Rights activist do you think there would be the Civil Right Act. I don't think so. Rather it is the steadfast pressure that will lead to the changes that will make the diference.

We must keep active. We must keep pushing no matter how ineffective we think our efforts are. It is the combination of the all the protest and letters and non-viloet acts of civil disobedience that will eventually lead to change. Just like it did with Civil Rights.

So we must keep on setting up the dominoes so that eventually and rightfully they will fall into something beautiful and righteous. It is only a matter of time.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Solyent Green

“It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at best, knows the triumph of high achievement; and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
Theodore Roosevelt, Citizen in a Republic

I couldn't help but start this blog but with this blog.

Sometimes I believe that we become so overwhelmed by what we hear on the TV/Radio/Internet Blog sphere/print media that we start to feel why are even trying.

 Because we have to. The alternative is worse.

To give up and lay down and allow the powers to be to run over us is exactly what they want. Who are they?

I guess it is who ever you want to blame for the feeling of oppression. For me it is the nameless  Ultra-rich. Those who feel that they know what is best for me and I just need to accept. This I can not do. Someone once said that the best revenge is to live well and I believe that it up to you to  decide what is living well means.

For me it means not worrying about the what if's on  my health , food on the table, clothes on my back, and a roof over my head. Simple things it may be until it is thearthen then it becomes a major issue.

It is that way for many.

Right now folks are worrying about their job, mortgages, how they are going to put healthy food on the table on a beans and potatoes budget. How are they going to just get through the day.

This daily persistent and unrelenting concern becomes so overwhelming I believe we end up making mistakes. It makes us too cautious when we need to step up to the plate and swing for the fence. We may strike out but at least we tried.

Great things never happen or even the smallest things unless we are willing to take that chance. I believe President Obama has forgot that .That he has people whispering into his ear play it cautious, don't take chances. If it goes wrong you may loose the race in 2012.

Now you are thinking but we must have realistic expectations. You would be exactly right. why shouldn't you. You tell me that we must be willing to give up something for our security. I say security means nothing if you don't have your self-respect.

To me to not hold people accountable for what they do is to find our self in thar classic Sci-Fi movie "Soylent Green"  where we are eating ourselves.

It is time we stop consuming our self's. It is time we take back control of our lives.  Stand up for what you believe in. Take responsibility for what you do.

As i was finishing this article I found myself thinking about my Dad and his first heart attack.

He was laying semi-conscience in the Intensive Cardiac Care Unit. and he had been giving the doctors and nurses a difficult time .

It was about 2 in the morning and Dad had come too and I asked him to be patient with the staff that all they wanted was to help him. While it was the morphine talking he told me "I rather be shot for a wolf then die like a sheep."  Totally disapproved but I understood what he meant.

He might be in a hospital bed, semi-consciouses but as long as he could he was going to have a say over his life. That is all I am trying to say.
We, as a nation, may be on life support,  As a individual we may be gasping for air struggling to find a moment of respite. But Never give up. Live your life as a wolf for it is better than dying led blindly to the slaughter.

In the Shop

Well this week I need to spend some time in the shop at the wood lathe. One of my sons has ask me to turn some wine bottle stoppers to give to a few of the folks at work as Christmas presents. 

I think today I will glue up some turning blanks out of red oak and mesquite. Should make a interesting combo. I see about posting some photos when I get through.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

"It anin't over until it is over"

Yogi Berra was one of my favorite baseball players. More so because of his witticism that seem to just pop out of him. One of my favorite is "It ain't over until is is over."  Why? Because that is just it "it ain't over until it is over.

We tend to forget that. Just because something doesn't go our way we think that's it. It is all over. But that is far from the truth. It is over when we draw our last breath. When they put the pennies on our eyes to pay the ferryman is when  it's over.

So do you just give up when things don't go your way? Of course not

Does it change the reality of the day? Of course not.

To paraphrase another great philosopher of our time Popeye "It is what it is and that is all it is"

Since Cain and Able there have been someone trying to gain favor over you at the destruction of your person. Let me put it to you heathens this way. Ever since man has stood upright there has been one man tying to put his bare foot on the neck of another. So why should now be any different.

Obama accepted a compromise with the republicans, for what I truly believe he felt out of necessity, that would extend the tax cuts another two years. He did this he said for the working people not for the rich but to do so he had to accept the republicans trickle down economy BS and extend it for the very wealthy. This compromise also extended the unemployment compensation for those who were about to run out of them. This in itself would of hurt the economy.

Either way it has not ended it. It has to still be approved by the congress and senate and the democrats. particularly the more progressive are livid that they are being forced to accept this compromise. Yet at this time I think they have no other choice. They gave up the high ground for fear of being called Tax and Spend democrats.  About the only thing they can do is take the moral high ground and point their finger at the republicans and say "for shame". They need to do this and make their case at the same time. One with out the other is useless.

What does this mean. Will it means another two years of nothing happening .Another two years of our economy tanking and maybe never having a chance to stabilize. That is why it is even more important that you vote. That you make known your beliefs and positions. for not to do so is to give up an that is unacceptable.

Later in the Week

The Pres has come out with a little more fight to him. About time. The word is that he intends to work on getting the tax code changed into a more balance system with fewer loop holes. States that the current agreement if passed he has hopes will not stand for the entire two years. "It anoint over until it's over"

Reading Material

One of my favorite type of literature is the Essay form of writing. It is a interesting way of looking at different ideals and has been a boost to my mental acuity by making me stop and think. Currently I am reading the "Writers on Writing -The New York Times Collected Essays. It is just what it says Different writers of all kinds and genre talking about what motivates them. Common theme is it is all they know what to do and driven to do it. Makes for a interesting read.

Just started "The Devils Hatband" by Robert O. Greer. set in Denver, Co. new author for me.  A type of mystery that works for me are those that are regional in nature. Writers such as Tony Hillerman, New Mexico - John Dunning, Colorado - Jean Hagar, Oklahoma - James Burke, New Orleans La.  are a few of the type of authors I am talking about. Hopefully Greer will be one of those regional authors that will introduce me to a whole new way of looking at an area.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Robert Reich is he right?

Is the TEA party the reactionary independent party that Reich warned us about in his book "The After-Shock"?

Can we as he optimistically believes rise above our self interest and make the necessary changes in our economic system that he proposes such as
  1. extend EITC for those not traditionally thought of needing them. His proposed for example $15K for those making between $20K to 30K and 10K for those making between $30 to 40K a year and $5K for those making $40 to 50 K a year.
  2. Step back to the tax status that made us a economic power house from 1946 to 1975 where the ultra rich carry a tax burden more proportionally to their income
  3. stop giving tax breaks on capital gains and treat it as income to be taxed.
  4. Get rid of our current unemployment insurance and instead create a employment insurance that would would cover you better should you be laid off and by subsiding you should you find yourself taking a lower paid job until such time as your income came up to 90% of your previous pay rate. Thereby encouraging the unemployed to take a lower paying jobs.
  5. Create a real Carbon Tax that would begin at the point of entry or source and would increase annually to encourage greater conservation and investment in renewable resources. This he admits would increase fuel cost by a minimum of $1 per gallon at the fuel pumps and $0.06 per kilowatt hour for our electricity yet would have side effects of improving our environment and put more emphasis on better mass transit systems. 
  6. Make Medicare available for all as more cost efficient than the current system of for profit health care. States that the new legislation is a insufficient start and does not do any real changes due to health insurance and pharmaceutical companies influence. Instead it should be a public option available to all. States that cost of running medicare is 2% of it's cost while private insurance programs looms at 30% of cost. Mentions that right now 45 million people are uninsured. Of which reader I am one of them. That polls by the Wall Street Journal and NBC show 76% people are in favor of such action.
  7. Change the way we look at education and fiance that education through the use of school vouchers, charter schools for K thru 12 and improving the pre k educations. Change the way we look at staying educated or current in the work place. Make it easier for someone who has become unemployed due to industry changes to be retrained. Change the way we repay student loans so that people our encouraged to take on what has been traditionally underpaid profession in  social services and education.
  8. Change the way we fiance and run political campaigns. by one to put into a blind trust any contributions to a candidate so that he will not be influence in anyway legislation that might be of importance to that contributor. This is a great ideal. Also increase the public contribution to a dollar per dollar amount.
  9. increase the money we invest in public goods such as museum, parks, community centers, public insitution anything that gives people a sense of ownership and stop the fees that so often stop people from using these facilities.
The ideals presented by Reich has one basic premise and that to stop from happening such things as the TEA party come to fruit.  To initiate changes for basically redistribution of wealth. Not so much as to take from the wealth but rather to increase a more level playing field.

He goes on to say that he believe in the near future as the economy continues to stagnate the very hedge fund/bank CEO and major corporate players will see this for their self and will put their influence to bear. No so much because they want to but because not to will only lead to stagnation of their profitability.Better to give up a dollar to make two. For it was the working  middle class that created this nation wealth thru their ability to afford to buy what they were producing. Failure to not be able to as they are not now able will lead to even more layoffs and a shrinking economy.

I ask if Robert Reich is right in his book "After-Shock" both his analysis and in his steps for a cure. Well for me hs is. I do and will suggest you read this short 147 page manifesto. I say manifesto because I believe that is what it should become .

In 1944 Franklin D. Roosevelt proposed a middle class bill of rights. I think it is time we re-examine his proposal.


Aftert Words

Take a moment and read Reich's blog post for this Friday the 3rd

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Permancy is greatly overated.

It seems at times that life is about playing the game. You know the game. Go to the right school. Have the right degree. Work for the right company. Drive the right car. Live in the right neighborhood. Not to do any one leads to diminished your achievements.

I never have been one to follow the rules. In fact I have it on good authority that I don't play well with others. Never have I been considered a team player. Always considered following the herd a bad ideal. Therefore when I tell you that to do as I have done will lead to  failure based on the formula for success set by others I speak from experience.

Even so let me urge you to follow your own instinct. Define your own sense of success. for failure to do so will only lead to a bad end. /The ideal of he who dies with the most toys wins is bull shit.  All it means is that he who dies with the most toys ends up with the most crap.

My wife once told me that while I was not a gypsy for birth I was one in spirit. When she told me this we were talking about allegiance to a home church. She said that I was one of those who home was where ever I was at the time. She was right in so many ways.

In the movie "Heat" the professional thief character played by Robert DeNiro taught his protege Val Kilmer, and I paraphrase to  never be so involve that he couldn't walk away from it in 30 seconds. For me that has always been a way of living.

I guess that is why I like things like laptops vs. desktops. digital cameras vs. film because they are portable. When my wife bought me my first MP3 player and was able to download all my music.I immediately fell in love with it. I mean no big box of CD's rather one little memory device in my pocket ready to go where ever i went.

Years ago I read a SciFi short story by I think Greg Bear in where the character never identified by name and told in the first person of a traveler in the future that involved catastrophic environment, scavenging and trading. where people used technology both high  and low tech to carve out what ever little existence they needed. By it self the story was not dramatic but it was a life that could be.

On that same line John Dunning wrote a novella or short story publish and sold by the association of antiquarian booksellers to help pay for book events. It told of a old man who had partnered up with a mentally challenged man and were making their living as book scouts.  As the story ended with the old man telling his partner that it was time for them to move on down the road. Point?

The point is sometimes and particularly in these times we live in I am wondering if we need not to be more mobile. To be more gypsy like means to me to know when we need to pickup and move on down the road.  To develop life skills that do not tie us down to one location.

My father for all of his faults was a lot like that gypsy. Loyalty to a company or a community he didn't trust as they had often let him down. Rather for him loyalty was to his paycheck and when it ended he moved on. His occupations were what ever he needed to do. I can remember him being a trader, card player, cabinet maker, finish carpenter, furniture restorer, welder. and tool and dye maker. But mostly I remember him being able to take something that someone didn't want and trading it or selling it to someone who did want it for a few extra bucks. I was 16 before my mother made my Dad decide on one place to live at least until I graduated from high school.

So what am I trying to say?

It is just this. I do not believe the economy will ever return to the same level it was at one time.  I believe we need to be more adaptable. You may be a programmer today and a book store clerk tomorrow and next month you may be repairing tires and by the end of the year you may be working the flea market circuit. Whatever it takes to put a roof over your head that night and food in your stomach that day.

You may live in a Mac Mansion in a suburb today but a apartment tomorrow downtown in the big city  and a travel trailer next month  in a RV park and a small house in small town by years end.

Bottom line don't lock yourself down mentally to thinking you don't have options. As it has been said think out side of the box and that will be the way we survive the times to come.

Current Reading

 I have been reading Robert Reich's book "After Shock" rather slowly for me. I find myself stopping and going back to reread passages to make sure I understand his point.  Not because it is difficult but rather I think he is saying something important and needs to be said and I want to be sure I understand so I do not get it wrong.

Basically government intervention to redistribute wealth by use of taxation of the ultra wealthy and expansion of earned credit to include more of what in past were considered middle class. Again I haven't finish the book and I will try to give a more detailed report


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Didn't we just Celebrate Christmas

Wow! We are already at Christmas and it seems we just got over the last one.

Then there was all the hype of the Black Friday Sales. That was exactly what it was hype. The effort to drive the buyers into a shark like feeding frenzy.

My wife and I almost got caught up in all of this hype but at the last moment we realize that one we really do not have all that much more to buy and two the stuff that Wal-Mart and the big box stores actually are pushing are inferior product.s that we would be embarrassed to give.

So we stayed home and did our shopping at a reasonable hour and found not too surprisingly that the crowds had died down and we really had the stores more or less too our self's. Found everything we wanted. So my advice is ignore the Black Friday nonsense and just enjoy the holidays.

In The Shop

You get what your pay for. This saying was driven home to me the other day when a Skill 2 1/4 horse power router reminded me why they are so much cheaper then most. In trying to round over the edges of the end table tops the depth adjustment slipped and I managed to ruin the edges and by the time that I cut off the ruined edges well they proportionally would be wrong.

When I bought the router new 5 years ago I thought I was buying a tool that was of the same quality represented in my Skill saw I have had for 30+ years. Boy was I wrong. I have struggled with this router to no avail and rarely have I managed to get it to do what I needed and it should have been able to do. So out the door it goes.

I console myself with the knowledge that by the middle of the month I should be getting the Bosch palm router out of lay-a-way from the pawn shop and I will continued to look for a heavy duty router like a Bosch or Dewalt in the pawn shops and Craig's List.


I don't know how you reader feel about used tools and just about everything else but for me many a time it is the way I go. I buy used for several reasons.

One, reason is that the price of a used item is such that it becomes affordable for something that might otherwise not be. The palm router I mention above for example normally cost $120 in the stores on sale sometimes at $100 but I was able to get it at $60 and since I didn't have the cash with me able to put it on lay-a-way at the pawn shop.  The router came with everything including the original package but also had 6 router bits that at $10 average price minimum made ti a even better deal.

Another example i offer is the power chair I now own. As you may know I have had to retire because of wore out joints and arthritis kept me from being able to the job I had done for 40 years. I also kept me from being able to visit folks at the hospital (very handi-cap unfriendly), grand children's programs and going to the flea market. Well kept my eyes open along with a friend who told me about seeing a power-chair in a pawn shop. When I went there I expected it to be wore out. But it wasn't and the asking price was $300 used VS $2700 new. I tried it out and realize that It would do for me and I put it on lay-a-way getting it out in a 2 months. Now I am able to go into hospitals with my wife to visit family and friends as well as go to the flea market. All because I don't have to have new.

Here is another reason I buy used a lot. It has to do with the fact that buying used I do not contribute too unnescessary use of raw materirals and energy in the manufacturing process. I recycle by restoring the product to useable status. Finally a product that otherwise might end up in a land fill doesn't. It might not be all that much of a enviromental reason but every bit helps.

Here is another reason I buy used a lot. It is the character or history that shows on the product. Take a old leather chair you saved from the dump. You fix the uphostery tighten up the joints, and cleaned it up. Even so it stills shows the scars of life on it. But that is ok because I look at it and think it might be beat and scared up but it is still useable like me.

It all depends on how you think.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Feeling the Aches and Pains

More than ever I seem to be feeling the aches and pains of a hard life. Of course it is mostly to do with the weather changes that my old joints are aching but your know that is all right for I got here on my own. I choose the work I did and do not regret it. How many can say that?

My only regret would be the times that I allowed work to step between my and my family. I believed in what I did mattered  in the long run. Was I right? Well yes and No.

Yes in that I believed that be there I held the contractor to a higher standard that he would not of followed if I hadn't been there to inspect his work. When found wanting then I was there to drive home the point that the client had specified a Cadillac not a Chevy Nova and at the same time to let him know by my actions I wasn't looking for a Rolls Royce either. I just wanted the Cadillac agreed upon in the contract documents and specifications.

I also believed I presented unnecessary waste of our natural resources by preventing the contractor from having to do the job twice. in catching the mistake before it got out of hand. I also believed that I protected the environment  by stopping the dumping of construction wast and stopping storm water runoff from the construction site into our drainage system. A job I took seriously.

But I didn't just hold the contractor to a higher standard but also the engineer who designed the project. I never hesitated in bring to an engineer attention errors that had made in their design either in pre-construction review of the plans seeing something specified that by experience told me would not work as designed. Also by never being intimidated by the professional who believe himself infallible merely because they had a PE after their name.

While saying this you should understand dear reader that I also held myself to a high standard. Hence the long hours and dedication to be on the job. I never told the contractor he had made a mistake until I had verified that I was not wrong myself. I was once asked by a contractor if I didn't trust him my response was "Absolutely" not for if I didn't trust myself why should I trust him." He looked at me and responded good answer.

I once had a supervisor, a Chief inspector,  tell me I needed to ease up on the contractor because it was just concrete curb. i remembered I looked at him and told him that if he felt that way then he could watch it himself because I was not going to accept the work in it;s current condition. 

In my 40 years as a inspector I never took a bribe. Never allowed myself to be intimidated by a contractor or crew member either physically or mentally.

What do I have to show for the 40 years I spent as a public works inspector.For the 10 to 12 hour days and occasionally 36 to 48 hours straight. What do I have to show for the wore out knees and hips the diabetes from eating crappy food for the lympedima from standing on my feet for for the 6 and 7 day weeks?

Nothing but my pride and self respect and a dis-ability check from SIS. So when the old knees and hips keep me up at night well I have no one to blame but myself and that is all right by me.

In The Shop

Absolutely did nothing as usual life got in the way while I was trying to do what I had planned. I did get a set of ramps made for the used power chair I bought to help me get around in the stores. and flea markets.

I also continued to work on the tops ot the end tables but no where near happy with them yet.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Where has the year gone?

I went out into the shop yesterday morning and was surprised to realize it was on the cool side. Of course it warmed up quickly but wasn't just yesterday that I had two fans going trying to keep cool?

Of course that led me to realize that the it was almost a year since I had retired in mid December of 2009. That during that time I have seen things absolutely stay the same. I mean almost no change in what been going one.

Think about it.

Unemployment is still holding at 9.5%. Flat lined seem to be determined stay that way,. The political right seems determined to lead us down the path of destruction and with their majority in the US Congress it was just enough of a shock to the Democrats that they will stay absolutely in the middle of the quagmire that the Republicans have led us into and the Democrats determined to allow us to wallow like a bunch of pigs in a pig pen. Why you may ask.?

That is easy to answer. Fear! Fear that if they do anything someone may take offense and not give them the monetary support to be reelected . Again I will say it we do not have in the progressive/liberal tradition men and women with sand in their boots willing to offend people by doing the right thing.

So where does this leave us?

Up a creek without a paddle and the boat has holes and taking on water on fast. It will be interesting to see what happens next. Will the democrats realize that they lost not because they did something but because they didn't do anything they said they were going to do when the were elected. That they allowed the right to high jack the discourse and not likely to give up the bully pit without a fight.

So we will see another year i m sure if not another 2 years of democrats trying to point the way and the republicans shouting and screaming there goes the big government big taxation democrats and they will stymie and put road blocks stopping any hope of discussion or improvement.

To paraphase the Grateful Dead song "I may be going to hell in a bucket but I am difintly not enjoying the ride."

In the shop

Well yesterday I managed to find a palm router for my shop that look realitvely unused in a pawnshop so I made a deal and got it for half price. It wil lbe a great addition inot my shop.

Continued to work on the end table tops hope to get them done by Thanksgiving along with the legs.


Well I am still reading Robert Reich's book "After the Collapse" and tell you the truth I am finding it informative and waiting to see what he thinks will be the result of our current direction.

I am also reading "Writer's On Writing" it is interesting to find out how a lot of writer's work.

What's is New.

Well I and my wife have taken on writing for the Internet how to article for pay. The ideal is the money we receive will be used to help fill out the niches in what we need in trying to prepare for geezer hood. So far we seem to doing OK. But you know I found out it is one thing to know how to do something it is another to write it down on how to do something in 500 words.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Just Another Day

Just another day is what I told myself after the election. Did it go as I figured? Yep!

It was not a absolute toss out of the democrats but then again it just made it worse with the democrats now more than ever batting down the hatches fearful of doing anything least it come back to bit them. The blue dog democrats who are nothing more than republicans in sheep's clothing, will be encouraged to vote with the republicans believing that in doing so it will be less that the republicans can use on them in the next election.

After all it is the next election that they are already thinking of. Rick Perry, governor of Texas, a man who makes George Bush Jr. look like a genius has already begun posturing for the 2012 election as a presidential candidate with a book tour of a book he most likely had ghost written nothing more than a recital of old John Birch Society rhetoric and now TEA party slogans.

For now, the best ideal I think is to sit with your back to the wall, know where the exits are, and remember never let them see you sweat.


Finally received my copy of Robert Reich's new book Aftershock and I am finding him as engaging and informative as usual. I am looking forward to reading onward to see what his belief of what kind of economy is coming. But like any good mystery you should never jump ahead to the end to see how it ends for if you don't read the beginning and the middle how can you see where he came up with his ending.

Those who are finding his book informative might also like Warren Johnson "Muddling toward Frugality". Written in 1976 it is still applicable today as it was then. While waiting on Reich's book to be delivered I reread the book and took hope from his work.

One theory he postulated was that congress our government does nothing until the people by action make it so. For me it was a call to take responsibility for your actions without regard to what others are doing are think of what you are doing. The only thing that matters is that you take responsibility for what you are doing.


Watched the new TV series on AMC cable channel called The Walking Dead. Yeah I know another Zombie movie but I got to tell you it is a step above the average well worth watching. A side note after watching it I felt the need to watch a comedy to get the intensity of the last scene of the first show out of my head before bed time.

in the shop

Well I haven't had much time to spend in the shop but plan on getting into the shop to finish the end tables for my son's. I will post some photos after I finish them.

Monday, November 1, 2010

November 2 just another Day?

Here is a questions for you when it is all said and done is it just another day November 2, 2010?

If you have been listenting to talking heads on radio and TV and by last count an average of 10 e-mails a day form the Democrats then it is the seminal event of our lifetime. If, depending on who you are, believe if they win then we all lose then I guess it is. But is it really?

Now I am voting and I am voting both my pocket book and my conscience and that means I am voting Democrat. But in the back of my mind I can't help but feel it really want make any difference in the long run.

I have been voting since 1972 and I have wittiness Presidents come and go and thought what it meant for as long as I can recall 1960.  So what do I know or have come to expect?

Well first most of what they say is just political get your vote rhetoric and changes nothing. I also know that under the Democrats first my parents, father a cabinetmaker and mother a housewife, and then myself a construction inspector until retirement in 2009 that we did overall better financially.

Second under the Kennedy and followed by LBJ we saw great social changes in the Bill of Rights and fight on poverty. Yet under Nixon the economy began to stagnate and experience the first oil crisis yet he initiated changes in EPA laws and improved relations with China and got us out of Vietnam. We also saw under Nixon how "Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely". Under Nixon the US went off of the Gold Standard and we began printing money that had no physical value.

Under Ford I saw a man who was just trying to get us over Nixon's chicanery and not much else.

Carter was a president who confused me. On one hand I saw where he faceted the interest of the banks who helped him get elected by some deregulating of money and banking laws yet was truly bothered by the lack of moral fiber in our country in our inability to make sacrifice to improve our fuel situation. Under him we saw inflation increased over 10% and our second fuel crisis. He was a greater ex-president then he was a president.

Ronald Regan was the president who had one main goal and that was to initiate the Conservative agenda and that inculuded the destruction of trade unions, destruction of social and enviormental  programs, and deregulation of business and industry.  When inflation continued to grow the indicators that determined inflation were changed and consequently the readjustment said inflation wasn't as bad. Under Regan we saw the slow and purposeful destruction of the middle class begin.

Under Bush we saw more of the same as Regan other than involvement in the middle east in the Gulf war I. Again oil was the reason and 10 years later the Iraq war began and counties still over oil.

For eight years we prospered under a democratic president, Clinton, or so it seem. Yet in my opine he really did nothing other than what look liked a strong start with the health initiative but was scared off by republican and big business (insurance) resistance. Consequently while initiating lowering of national debt and pushing Free Trade Agreements he also cooperated with the republican controlled Congress to systematically destroy social services and anti-poverty programs while doing nothing for the working middle class. By increasing the number of FTA's the Clinton and Republican Congress systematically dismantled what remained of our manufacturing sectors and pushed the very jobs that had created a working middle class overseas. In my opine Clinton was nothing but a closet republican.

That brings us to GW Bush this president finished the middle class off. Under him we saw it the economy unravel with big business scams some that began under Clinton but came to full fruit under Bush with banking and fiance scams that were morally wrong if not legally wrong.  Bush has involved us in a war in Iraq
that has bankruptted the nation and destroyed the military and brought us to be hated by Muslim world and seen as the cause of their repression and worthy of destruction. So we elected Obama

What has Obama done with his window of opportunity to enact programs that would truly change the face of this nation. Absolutely nothing. He waffled under the pre-tense of it is congress responsibility to initiate laws and did nothing to support the ones in congress who were struggling to do just that. Result once more the big international business won and the US American people lost and could be said the world lost.

So here we stand on the eve of another national voting day. Will you vote? I will and I will once more vote Democrat even though I want to vote for he Green party in Texas. I just can't stand the ideal of my voting for a independent party candidate allowing for a republican win. I feel like we are caught between a rock and a hard place without much choice. May God have mercy on us for big business oligarchy representatives will not.

by the way the cartoon came from a blog worth reading check it out.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

One Day at a Time

There is no better advice than "to take it one day at a time."

The old cavalier advice of "eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die" is also another bit of advice worth noting.

My Dad used to tell me to "never walk when you can ride, never run when you can walk, never stand when you can sit, never sit when you can lay down, and never stay awake if you can sleep. For you never know when something might happen and you not get a chance to ride, walk, sit or sleep for a while.

Other roadside philosophy I like are
"First, do no harm. Second, see first."
"It is better to be taken advantage of then to take advantage of"
"the more things change the more they stay the same."
"If not I than who."

Most of these are simplify fies version of larger concept but ultimately are complete and beg only for the reader to meditate on. Second all of these are related and connected. For example beginning with the first to the last.

Plan but remember take it one day at a time for life has a way of happening as you plan. so take whatever joy you can from this day for it may be your last, and don't forget to rest step back and smell the roses when the opportunity  presents itself because life does have a way changing on you in the most unexpected ways. So do good when can taking responsibility for your actions understanding that while folks change they really don't. they are really still the same folks.  In the end when your days end "I want to be justified in my own house".


Well the vote is coming quick and the rhetoric is becoming more virulent with each passing day. My only big regret is that there is not a toggle to pull for "NONE OF THE ABOVE"

Yesterday on NPR Morning edition in discussions with two of their political commentators that if the democrats loss control of the Senate and of the House that there would still not be enough of a majority in control to move legislation of to take action.

This made worse in that both parties were finding themselves becoming even more polarize by labels of liberal and right wing Conservative with election to office of these demigods. That in short they were seeing fewer moderates being elected in fact they were the ones losing office thereby making it harder for bi-partisanship.

In short to the next two years will be even worse than the last two years. But then what did you expect when at the very beginning the Republican party made it obvious that they had no attention of agreeing to anything the Democrats proposed even at the risk of being seen as the party of No.

Combined the fact that they will have gained a few seats in Congress but not enough to drive the legislation will only make them more determined to unseat the current sitting Democratic President even at the risk of destroying the very thing they are elected to protect.

In the Shop

I am embarrassed to write on what I did but I am going to.

Yesterday I was cutting pieces for the table tops of course I was in a hurry so rather than measure and mark each piece as I cut I just took the first one used it then took the one just cut and used it to mark the next and so forth for the 16 pieces I needed. Then I put on my dado blade on the table saw and began making mortise and tendons.  This can be a tedious job and requires attention to detail.

When I was done my oldest son who was helping me and I began to dry fit the pieces together to make sure it all worked. Imagine my embarrassment when the mortise;s were good but the length of the 16 pieces used to make up the table top were at incremental difference in length. so that there was no way for them to square up.

By using the preceding cut piece to measure by I had built in a error caused by increasing the length with just the width of the pencil and as small as that sounds it adds up to a significant difference. I had always told my boys never ever do that because that is what happens and when I called my youngest that night and told him what I had done he laughed and reminded me of what I had always told them not to do.

Now I get to go through the pieces and make minute corrections until I get them all uniform. Sin at haste, repent at leisure.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Random Thoughts

I know based on some of my recent writings that you might think this is a more or less and off beat political blog like we need another right. But the original purpose was to write about my interest or things that catch my attention. But recently that has been what has been on my radar.

So forgive me if I do post on what was on my radar yesterday. My family. Sunday was a traditional family gathering at our house and it was grand. Instead of cooking a big meal my wife and I stopped on the way home from church and picked up chicken and fixings for everyone. All I can say it was a very good day.

Even with all of my family gathered around the world had a way of inserting it's ugly head.

On one hand there was my daughter who has been unemployed now for almost two years. There was the warning I had given my kids that some of the finical aid we have been giving various one at different times might come to a end that the non-profit as most non-profits were having difficulty of meeting their budgetary needs and their mom's hours might get cut. Both of my son's were talking about how tight things were in what they do and how little work exist. So what am I trying to get at.

So what was my advice to the adults of my family who were expressing their concerns. To my boys and wife I would and have said focus on what you are hired to do not let the office gossip cause you to do something you might regret. To my daughter I have told her the work she did has fled to third world countries and she needs to rethink what she wants to do for work. To think outside the box.

To all of them I told them to keep it simple and to live simple. Now is not the time to buy without a purpose in mind. Sweat the small stuff for it may very well be the thing that gets you through this life we have found our self in.  I told them when they tell me how they are sure looking froward to when this bust cycle is over that there may never ever be the boom cycle we all had gotten use to. Don't assume their paycheck will continue forever.

Yeah, I know real gloom and doom right. I didn't mean it that way for I truly believe that we will get through this but not in the traditional way of a boom cycle.


With the vote coming up the radio and TV are running rampant with political adds. But it seems to me as I watch, read, and listen the only person who seems to be winning are the Ad agency who produce this vomit of political rhetoric that does not seem to bear anything relevant other than elect me I will represent you better than the other guy.

But the truth is as candidates come depend on these political demagoguery to get elected they come to depend even more so on political action committees to fund their campaigns. What worries me and reader I don't think you can deny the plausibility of my worry, is the influence that this money buys.  Influence the average voter and citizen can't hope to have with the candidates.

An example that I know of is one political action committee called The Concerned Taxpayers Committee. This it turned out was just two men who had used the influence of their money and the PA C's as a way to get around the maximum contribution amount, for them right at half a million.

 Kind of makes you wonder about your twenty dollar contribution for like it has been said "Money talks the rest Walks".

By the way  I will vote.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Zero Growth

Yesterday I read a article from Utne magazine that said there are more economist coming out to state that the world must stop thinking in growth the only way the economy can be sustained. It argued that instead there are economist out there who believe in Zero Growth as the future of the worlds economy.

What is Zero Growth?

It is simply the ideal that there are only so many of anything you can utilize or use and overproduce of any one item results in wasted resources which leads to environmental suicide for us by using up our resources and polluting the world we live in.

It went on to say that zero growth while scary and new sounding really is not. that even Adam Smith the father of Capitalism said that eventually you would hit this wall where growth would stop. So where did this ideal of the only way for the economy to be sustained is by increased production? They said the concept came from big business in the 19th century and was propagated by government economic pundits.

Wait a minute if this is so then why do I recalled in my high school social studies class and then later in my college economic and history class the statement both read and lectured on that there is only so many of any one thing can be produced before you reach market saturation and the resulting saturation of that market leads to market failure or stagnation.

The ideal is then if you build refrigerators without concern as to what the market can bear then sooner or later the refrigerators you are building becomes so much clutter in the warehouse. That leads to factory producing said refrigerators slowing down or shutting down (layoffs) which leads to less ability across the economic scale to buy said refrigerators which leads to a recession or worse depression. This over production was what lead to the depression of 1929

Does this ideal sound familiar. Think the recent building boom in Mac Mansion driven by uncontrolled mortgage brokers and suddenly you see why there are so many foreclosure of Mac Mansions and subsequently the failure of our finical institutions. The key word here is speculation, another way of saying gambling.

The economic theory of Zero Growth has to do with the ideal of producing only what you need and nothing more. This they say will lead to at first to layoffs and shortfalls but with adjustment and doing what FDR in 1933 had proposed but was shot down by wall street and that is instituting a 4 day work week we will see actual drop of unemployment to the 4% acknowledge to be expected.

Of course this is extremely simplified view of Zero Growth but if you add to that a more progressive income tax, and yes I am talking about increasing the tax burden across the board but more so on the ultra-rich. Then what you eventually see is a more balanced economy of employment, resources and environment. One proponent of this concept went on to say if we initiated this theory that the economic models indicate that the 4% unemployment could be reached by 2020 and the Kyoto agreement on the environment met as well while increasing social services.

From Wikipida I found this definition and leads to the model used and other sources.

Interesting thought isn't. Might just be worth our urging our leaders to study and act responsibly if not elect someone who will.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


The scariest thing that ever happen to me personally up to now was when visiting my Mother sent me out on a errand when I got back it was dark and as I approached the door she  ambushed me from behind squirted by a garden hose. Totally surprised it was flight or fight and I choose flight with only one way to go was through a solid wood door. Of course my mother who was hysterical with laughter by now gave it away that it was her and I calmed down.  Never did get her back.

But now I can say it is the space of two years that I have to endure without medical insurance that will be the scariest time for me.

When I retired I lost my employer provided  health insurance so I have been trying to watch over my health as best as I can. I do not qualify for any kind of medical assistance provided by a government agency as my wife and I make about two thousand too much to qualify. That left the burden totally on me and in our for profit health care system it means I am making bets that i will not suffer a seriously illness during this time until I qualify for Medicare in June 2012.

Now that would be ok if I did not have health issues. One I am a diabetic. Two I suffer from lympedima,  Three I have a enlarged prostate typical of a man of my age. That means a whole horde of medical issues can come up and one has this week.

I with a weaken immune system as a result of diabetes and  as a result acquired a urinary tract infection this past week. Now that is treatable with heavy dose of anti-biotic ($126) and frequent visit to the doctor to verify it is Cleaared up ($80 per visit with a minimum of 2 visits). I also had to renew my meds to shrink the prostate and that is $106 per month this is to allow for more flow and thus flushing your system out of the ecoli that causes the infection. I am fortunate in that my Doctor is aware of my financial situation and therefore asst me with free med samples when possible. Even so if you are on a fix income you can see how you can run through your savings or money set aside real quick.

The reason why I call this my scariest time in my life is that with our medical for profit it can limit my options real quick to a catastrophic situation as I would not be able to afford medical assistance. What does that mean it means folks like me become frequent flyer's at the local hospital emergency room.  Because of the cost of emergency room care if becomes one more bill that goes unpaid and the cost then is passed on to the taxpayer.

Ultimately you pay for universal heath care one way or another with catastrophic care being the worse choice for the tax payer to make as you only see folks when they are in their greatest and costly need. Where if simple routine preventive health care and reasonable price meds would of kept the health of the  individual from escalating to that point.

To me before I found myself in this situation and even now I have always believed we needed universal health care for all with coverage from cradle to grave similar to what all modern countries have with the exception of third world  or the US has.

In the Shop

Well I have not been able as I hoped to get into the shop but I have planned out what and how I am going to build the 4 end tables from dimensional lumber  The top will be 21X24 inch in size with glued up 2X4 and bread board style ends. The finsish will be natual or antique pine stain. I am hoping this afternoon to get out into the shop and cut to length the pieces in need and get them ready for milling down.

I have picked up from Craigslist  a almost new benchtop Delta 10" bandsaw for $75 and need to get new blades on it and adjusted ready to use. I say almost new the previous owner used it one time and broke the blade in not knowing how to use it. I am recycling a portable tablesaw base pulled from street side trash for it's base.


I began rereading of one of my favorite travel writers Bruce Chatwin "Songlines" his last book before he died. I waiting on getting Robert Reich's newest "Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future".

I am courious to see if his ideal of what is coming similar to what was forecasted by the book "Muddling through Frugality"wrote back in the 70's

Sunday, October 10, 2010

On a Lighter Note

Well today I started working on the end tables that my youngest needed while I am at it I will probably make my oldest a pair as well.

They are made of what I have in my shop available which is 2X4 and 2X6 dimensional lumber left over from building loft beds for two of my grand kids. The ideal came from a web site called Anna White

Most of the furniture is made by people new to woodworking and the plans and ideals are offered free for all.

After warming up with the end tables i am going to start working on a promised dresser for my daughter put off mostly because I dread making drawers. But there is only so long before I must breakdown and do it.

All this is because I have found more time on my hands as the grandson I was watching is being watched by my daughter his aunt for now at his home. I got tell you I admire those grandparents who find their self raising their grandchildren at the age you usually have grand kids it is no easy task I complain and I only watched him during he day while his Dad was at work.
5-2-10 Adam's stepstool4-26-10 Gustav Stickley style plant stand

I am slowly rebuilding my shop and will post a few photos of it and the work I turn out of it. preceding photos are a couple of shot of some of my work.

Side note.

Been thinking about buying me a Ipad along with a wireless keypad for it. Hoping by doing so I will free myself from carrying around a 6 pound notebook. Most of my work is either saved to a site like flickr or to this blog so a large memory isn't totally necessary Provided that is that I can find the apprioate apps.

If anyone has thoughts as to recommended size 16 gig,32 gig, or 64 gig or if it would be better to stick with a laptop let me know your thoughts.

Also would like suggestion as to how to or were to get some good soil for container garneing. Containers are best for us in we are renters and need to be able to move them with us. So far haven't had to best results with standard potting soild.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


I was listening to NPR Weekend Edition this morning and with the big election coming up in a few weeks they mention that the biggest issue was the economy in particular the fact that the unemployment rate was holding at a steady 9.5% for the last 14 months. The highest rate since the 1933. But what is not reflected by this number is the number of folks who have given up or quit reporting to the unemployment office as their benefits have run out. This number if added to the actual unemployed could well bring it up to 15% and that is not a stretch of the imagination.

Of course the two parties and their different factions within their parties ie Tea Party in the Republicans and the liberals in the Democrats were pointing fingers at each other accusing the sorry state of affairs on the other watch.

Of course they are both guilty. We used to tell our kids that when they pointed fingers at someone they were pointing 3 fingers right back at their self's.  Perhaps in that the parties are acting like big children it is time to point out that old saying to them.

The biggest problem as I see it is that their is no one willing to say 'Yes they are to blame but so am I and we need to quit pointing fingers and begin to point out solutions instead.'  But will that happen? I seriously doubt it.

We haven't had serous political leadership since LB Johnson led the conservatives and southern democrats by the nose into the Equal Rights Amendment.

Or Richard Nixon out of the quagmire of the Vietnam War and the reinforcement of the Environmental laws to establishment of diplomatic relationship with China.
While you might justly argue that these men were flawed. I would argue though that on more than one occasion they stepped forward and said this is the right thing to do. It is this willingness to take a stand and lead the people to do the right thing is the only thing that will lead us out of this economic free fall we are in.

While descended from the elite the Roosevelt's both Theodore and Franklin were men of the calibre we need. to day. Theodore took on the monopolies in the turn of the centuries that set standards of fair play in our economy and Franklin led the people out of the depression. setting in motion Social Security and belief in he right for all who want to work to work.

The below link is to a  fireside speech he gave as to a proposal for a bill of rights for all.
It is probably too late for this amendment but tell me after you listen to the speech calling for fair education, jobs, housing and medical care for all that we might be in a different place if it had been adapted.
It was his untimely death that kept this from becoming possible. For those who are believers in conspiracy some believe his death soon after giving this speech was because of this proposal.

The Election is coming up soon. I will vote and I will vote Democrat. At least that way I can complain I participated in the political process. 

As to the 9.5% unemployment. well I don't see it really improving anytime if ever In fact I see where it might be only the tip of the iceberg.  We could easily become a nation of has-beens. Patted on the head by the world powers but never ever taken seriously again.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


My youngest grandson when I am watching him for his Dad likes to crawl up beside me on the couch and take his afternoon nap. Now I tend to get criticism from his Dad and aunt in that I should insist that he lay down on a bed so as to get uninterrupted sleep. They tell me I am spoiling him and I might very well be. But you know I don't care if that is what they think.

For me it is about trust. All of my grandchildren when they were little would crawl up beside me or onto my lap to take a rest or nap and I felt blessed. Why Blessed?  Because I knew that they trusted me that they were not in a room alone and that hopefully knew I would never allow anything or one to harm them while they slept. Grandpa would keep the monsters at bey.

Trust to keep the monsters at bey I think has to be earned and yet our political parties Deni-gods  constantly keep reminding us how we can't trust the other side.

My email box daily is deluges with emails from the democrats telling me how we are headed to destruction if I don't send right now money so that they can respond to the republicans campaign of fear-mongering. On the radio and TV I am bombarded with ad's on how the democrats or leading the country to destruction.

One of my favourite quotes is

Every two years the American politics industry fills the airwaves with the most virulent, scurrilous, wall-to-wall character assassination of nearly every political practitioner in the country - and then declares itself puzzled that America has lost trust in its politicians.  ~Charles Krauthammer
It is exactly like he said how can they wonder about our lack of trust in them.

If they put as much effort in resolving this countries problems as they do in their almost endless campaign then maybe just maybe we would not be sinking into a third world status. A country driven by greed and fear.

Maybe it is time for a new constitutional amendment to limit congress to two four year terns in office and the senate and to one six year term in office. The ideal is to keep a office holder from deciding he owns that office and encourage more productive work since they are limited as to how long they can get legislation past.

Yet I know that this is rather naive ideal. That the base nature of man and of the nature of power to corrupt that what ever process is chosen the elite few will take it over for their own contrivance. I maybe pessimistic but this tends to be the way of the world.

Bottom line is this if the political parties want me to have  faith in them then they need to show me their works  and from that work faith and trust will come. For now I see is people afraid of being voted out of office for taking a stand or for acting on a just cause. Fear that it might keep them from obtain power, prestige and the money it attracts.

I would like to be like my grandchildren and have faith to allow them to watch over me while I sleep but they have not earned that right. Until they do I will look after my own self. and of the ones who the ones I love.

Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence.  Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear.  ~William E. Gladstone, 1866
Trust your own instinct.  Your mistakes might as well be your own, instead of someone else's.  ~Billy Wilder
Comment of TV shows

Isn't strange how one of the most conservative media station, Fox, produce some of the most unusual show.

Example of a couple of my favorite "Fringe" and the now defunct "X-files" along with "The Lone Gunmen" were shows that question authority and raised questions on media manipulation

The last two were and are still great TV but the recent replacement of the sci-fi thriller "Fringe" has become one of my favorites with reasonable good acting combined with fantastical if not controversial subject matter much like X-files did.

Also if you get a chance catch the series on AMC cable channel called "Rubicon". Based on the ideal of conspiracy theories and elite domination of our society it tends to make one think.

Also if you want just good entertainment then keep track of a few show on the cable channel Sci-Fi. shows such as "Haven", "Eureka" and "Warehouse 13" shows which I have become fans of.

Hopefully someday one of the independent cable channels will come up with some shows based on "Blade Runner" or "Johnny Menomic"
Until then at least there is something to watch on the boob tube.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Real Value

I read a number of blogs and listen to NPR talk radio and do the old time thing of reading actual paper publications (Utne, Mother Earth News, Mother Jones, and Texas Observer). The ideal is to try to keep a balance in my life. To neither panic nor go blissfully thought life.

Your are probably saying as you read this that "I knew it he is a bleeding heart, Knee Jerk Liberal" and you would be right. But it is not that simple. No one tells me what to believe and just because it is written down or comes over the air waves does not make it so for me.

Only after I have set down and reviewed and confirmed by personal experience or by those I trust, and they are few and far between, do I then accept what accept a statement or event or situation as fact. This is what I suggest to your reader to do as well.

There are people and organization who want you with them to add you to their numbers whether it be the Tea Party or Green  Party and they will appeal to your base instinct or survival in order to add your money or vote to their cause. Trust no one be paranoid there is someone out to get you.

Wow. Do I sound paranoid or what.

But even recognizing this as being paranoid does not keep me from sitting with my back to the wall,always carrying a pocket knife, never going into a place without acknowledging the exits,  and the people who are sharing my space. To me this is just common sense.

I guess I am writing about being paranoid because of recent readings and news I have heard on the radio.

In Utne Reader the recent articles were about food and food production. When all the articles were boiled down it is essentially that we are producing enough food to feed people but it is a matter of who controls the food and the distribution of food . Second that the food we are eating are way too often genetically and chemically modified to the point of possible extinction of that particular food source with the ignoring the natural growth and production of our food.
On NPR the comments on the economy are that the middle class is shrinking and the majority of middle class income either have not gone up and most likely have decreased. in all states with the exception of one North Dakota. Starting Wednesday more broadcast on this subject is coming. About North Dakota I believe they have laws and regulations that favor banks and credit card companies.

Enough on this subject.

On personal note I was sitting at my dinning room table this morning drinking a cup of my favorite coffee looking out at our small container garden and what a shambles it has become. Between my retirement and helping family it has like my shop fallen it to a disreputable shape. But whit things starting to stabilize I hope to rectify this situation ASAP.

Beginning with the garage/shop I will clean up and straighten replace and renew tools as needed and begin again to work on delayed projects. In our small container garden I will asst my wife in reviving dying plants and beginning a vegetable section come this spring. My Dad and Mom were believers in idle hands or the devils workshop and Lord knows I get into enough trouble on my own.

Current Reads

Current recommended  a magazine called Utne Reader and alternative magazine that collects articles from the world publications and publishes the articles at one location making it easier for a person to get a overall perspective and allowing you to pursue an issue by giving you obscure publications that you might not have a chance to read.

Enough for now

Sunday, October 3, 2010

You Just Never Know.

It is easy to fall into the ideal that you are the only one who thinks or see things like you do. I know it is for me. So, it was surprising to me when in a e-newsletter from our local congregation our minister mention how he felt that the control of fiance and government rested with the elite few.

Those who GWB refereed to as "my people" (see Michael Moore "Fahrenheit 911" those who according to the republicans we need to give a tax break to so that they will be more inclined to create jobs and capital in their belief of "trickle down economy." As they get richer the money will trickle down to the less fortunate as they spend.

In 1969 one of the few times I came close to winning any kind of lottery in this case draft lottery for 1970 I found myself with a low number (70) and quickly received my induction notice in to report for induction on January 17, 1970 at 6:00 am at the induction center on Jackson St. Dallas, TX.

My Dad on New Years Day took me aside and talked to me about being inducted. What surprised me was his offer to pay for my bus ticket to Canada to avoid the draft.

I mean here was a man who was a Vet of 42 months in the  Pacific Campaign from the Aleutians to the Philippines had received 3 purple hearts, a bronze star and a silver star along with a battle field commission and served until 1948 when he married my mother and he was telling me I should run to Canada to avoid the draft. I could not believe this. Then he told me why.

He said wars or not fought over ideology or freedom but over money and property.  That the ideal we were defending people's freedom or rights was just the excuse given the truth was there was something of value that the powers to be decided we needed to protect

My response to him at the time was I had rather take my chance in two years in hell then never being able to come home again. I worked out ok for me though as I went in for induction was told right off with 6 other inductees we would be leaving by MAC flight from love field at 6 pm for Fort Lewis Washington.  But what the Sergeant had not counted on was the large number of other draftees who had volunteered so they could choose the service and duty they wanted. The 6 draftees and I were given after processing us through a six month deferment as they had their quoted for the day and  were told we would be called back when they needed us and to stay in touch. But right after that the military began emphasising the volunteer and de-emphasing drafting to fill their ranks. It was a  political thing.

Anyway I digress. Years later about the time that military recruiters were harassing my kids to join the Military the movie "The Thin Red Line" came out and the opening scene aboard a troop ship on it's way to relieve the Marines on Guadalcanal and finish the cleanup had Sean Penn character a 1st Sergeant telling a recruit to take the colonel's offer of a discharge from service.

This speech was almost verbatim the one my Dad had given me back on January 1st 1970. This scene was so intense and so right on as to why countries fight that I made my children sit down and listen to his speech and tell them the story. It truly is the reason I believe we go to war has to be about the economy.

Look who has benefited the most from our war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Black water, Halliburton, Bethel, and Kellogg Brown and Root our a few of the companies who literally had containers full of money provided by the US Government for use in looking after the welfare of our troops.  Yet our troops were often neglected provided unfit quarters and not to mention water and food.  Then they come home bloodied and beaten by a war in Iraq that never was and has yet to be proven needed. What do we do we ignore them for there is no money for their care or needs. 

This past week 4 Iraq War Veterans committed suicide on separate occasions at Fort Hood.in Texas. Their reasons I must admit I am not aware of individually but just a sign of the overall failure of our leadership and government to provide for our troops after they did their duty.

Don't mistake me for a flag burner. I am not in fact I think it is disgusting when we use the flag of The USA for anything but what it was meant to be for to be honored and respected for what it represents and  the men and women who died for what it represented.  This respect for the flag was taught to me by the same man who offered me a bus ticket to Canada in 1970.  I have nothing but the highest respect for our Military people. But, let us remember that the ultimate organization they belong ot is the Defense dept and not the Offense dept. Let us make sure that we do not waste the dedication and esprit de corp of these men and women for the bottom line of our corporations.

So What am I ranting about. Take nothing at face value our government or leadership has to say. Trust them no further than you can throw them and believe that their basic motivation is what or how can they profit from it.

Call me my sour puss and I very well might be but it is still they way it is.

After I had posted the above I decided to post some of my favoirte quotes here they are for your pursual
"The individual is handicapped by coming face-to-face with a conspiracy so monstrous he cannot believe it exists." J. Edgar Hoover
We have restricted credit, we have restricted opportunity, we have controlled development, and we have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated, governments in the civilized world--no longer a government by free opinion, no longer a government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and the duress of small groups of dominant men. Woodrow Wilson
The ruling class has the schools and press under its thumb. This enables it to sway the emotions of the masses. Albert Einstein
It was not accidental [the 1929 stock-market “crash”]. It was a carefully contrived occurrence. ... The international bankers sought to bring about a condition of despair here so that they might emerge as rulers of us all. Louis McFadden
The task is to covertly lower the standard of living, the whole social structure, of America so that we can be merged with all other nations. Rowan Gaither
“Whoever controls the volume of money in our country is absolute master of all industry and commerce…& when you realise that the entire system is very easily controlled…by a few powerful men at the top, you will not have to be told how periods of inflation and depression originate.” 2 weeks after making that statement, President James A. Garfield was killed
The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the [public] is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.' Edward Bernays (Father of modern media and nephew of Sigmund Freud).
"The real truth of the matter is, as you and I know, that a financial element in the larger centers has owned the government since the days of Andrew Jackson." FDR

Sunday, September 26, 2010

My Dream Reteriment

When I decided the doctors were right and I needed to retire and began working toward that eventual day ten months ago. I had definitive ideals as to what my retirement would be like. Somewhere along the way while ass deep in alligators I forgot the original goal was to drain the swamp.

It wold be easy to blame the government, big business, the medical industry and even you dear reader for my retirement not being what I intended. But the truth is it is my own damn fault.

The government did their part without hesitation and agreed that I was no longer fit to work and granted me disability on the first attempt. They could of strung me along for years as they did to my daughter in law. But I had paid in to the system for 45 years and therefore had earned the right to my Social Security.  My only wish is that I did not have to wait until June 2012 to be eligible for Medicare.

As to the medical industry well what can I say I always knew we didn't live in Canada or a modern European country so I should of not expected anymore than I received which in truth I am better off than a lot of folks forced to retire. I have a doctor who charges me minimal amount for a office visit and put any test he needs on a corporate account with a medical test firm. By the way surprisingly cheap makes me wonder about medical charges in general.

Ah but I am straying from what I expected of my retirement days.

When I was prepping for retirement I thought I would find myself living a full life. Days filled with a few productive hours in the shop making beautiful furniture reflecting dedication to craftsmanship. I would then do my three times a week at rehab in the pool. maintain what flexibility and muscular strength I have. I would meet with my wife a couple times a week for lunch. I would be Grandpa's to the rescue from day care on occasionally

I would spend a few hours a day reading, writing , working on my photograph, or simply spending time mediating on life in general while taking my coffee on the patio. But"life happens as you make your plans."

I could blame my family, I could blame the economic bust cycle we are in, I could blame the government for not passing a health care program that will work, in the end though I must blame only myself for becoming at times morose over what my retirement has turned out to be.

I knew a guy who was a list keeper. He would keep a list of things he needed to do that day, that week, that month, that year, and to before he died and would check it off as he completed a task or item he wanted to do.  At the time I thought what a waste of time. That it didn't allow for flexibility and I eventual asked hm about it.

I remember his response he said my list is written on paper in pencil not chisel in stone. It is constantly changing as my priorities change. The list he said keeps him focused and on task.

When I was working as a inspector I kept a short list of things I needed to do that day and would check them off as I  completed the task. By doing so I stayed focused and completed my work assignments I think it is time to start doing this again. To keep a list of things I need to do that day.

To get back on target as to what I expect from my retirement and quite whining about it. To make my to do list but remember it is not chisel in stone but written on paper in pencil. 

It is what I would suggest to anyone thinking about retirement. To think on what you expect. Plan out your days. Make you list of things to do. But stay flexible because life will be what happens to you as you make your plans.

Oh and don't forget to laugh occasionally at your sense of importance.