Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The image in your rear view mirror may be closer than you expect

The title of this entry is all too true when you look at everything that is going on. 

Think about it. all of the little sayings and you start to see that these few words cynics are are knocking out are entirely right.

No matter where you go there you are.
The light at the end of the tunnel is a train.
When you think it has gotten as dark as it can get that is when it goes totally black.
We have met the enemy it is us.

I could go on but you get the ideal. We are the biggest enemy of to our own self-preservation and hope for a brigthter tomorrow.

How this is so and what to do about it is the subject of future writings that will explore this subject. Truth it probably has already been a subject that I have covered inadvertently but will explore it more in depth.

It is not enough to merely put forward the problem without offering are asking for solutions. After all it is easy to point fingers but quite another to put forward a solutions as well. That is one thing I will try to do.

Reading and Projects

Started reading Joe Bageant "Deer Hunting With Jesus" and I got to tell you he has a refreshing view point on the class struggle that is going on. I strongly recommend it to anyone who wants some help in understanding what is going on today political and economic struggles.

Started my wife's salt and pepper shaker hanging display case yesterday with choosing a piece of Cherry to use and laying out the sections of it to be milled. It feels good to be out in the shop doing something productive for a change. The case right now will be 30 " tall X 15" wide and 5" wide..

It will have two fixed shelves that use through mortise and tendon on the top and bottom shelf with a arts and crafts look or least feel to it. There will be two adjustable shelves in between and use of a french cleat to hold it in place. I will post photos as I get further into the project.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Ike was Right

Recently there have been on PBS a series of stories on "Frontline" that discussed the private security industry. Now Frontline wasn't discussing the retired cop working as a bank guard. No, we are talking about a billion dollar industry that contracts to the US and international business including other foreign countries.

So how was Ike right?
In his last speech from the Whitehouse in January of 1961 he left us with the following warning

President Eisenhower  was right in his warning against the Military Industrial Complex that was bilking billions during the cold war or now taking billions in the name of security from an unknown terrorist threat. What is worse is that they are not being called to account for the money spent all in the name of national security.

Frontline inditified two different concerns in their expose as presented in a investigative artlcle from the Washington Post. One was the fact that General Dynamics, Lockheed and other defense industry contractors have assumed major resposiblity to provide both physical and intellegence security and second that some of that "spying" was on US.

The above link is to the article of the show that should be read and you need to  watche the Frontline video..

While you might assume that these specialized bussiness  would be located in the Washington DC area the Post found out that these highly evolved and growing business are also located in your backyard like branches of a creeping vine spying on us in order to protect us. Or so they say.

While you might say, "ah, you are just being parnoid." and you might be right but that dosen't mean it isn't happening.

Here is food for thought. Police are using homeland security money to buy drones for use in surveliance including cities as small as Arlington TX.

Now combined that with all of the security cameras that or hooked together or on-line and now you get some of the ideal of what my concern is about. Someone is watching you.

The big question is how do you stay off the radar. Well that is something worth looking into in my book and in the future I will.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Random thoughts from the middle of the night.

I don't know about a lot of folks but I intend to wake up in the middle of the night sleep, usually around 3 to 4 AM, with my mind at full speed. Thinking about everything and nothing. It's not worry so much as the proverbial light bulb above your head coming on.

Usually the thoughts will be about things that have been at the back of my mind or things that inspired me, or my sub-consious revealed to me. It is truly random thougths. The following is what woke me up at 3:37 am and only allow me to cap nap until I had put in my miniumn 7 hours in bed with my feet elevated per doctors instructions.

Bugging out.

The inspiration for this thought was because of the recent wild fires in TX partiularly in Bastrop County. So many homes burned in a flash with the home owners saying that they only had time to grab dog and get. That all was lost in their homes.

About this same time I was reading a guest columnist in the Atlantic who was talking about living within range of the twin towers on 9-11 with the winds carrying burning debris onto the top ot thier building and the dust cloud from the colapse engulfed their building as well. He talked about the sense of panic and their walk out to safety and the days that followed with life like a refugee.

So this moring I woke up and a random thought was I realize that we live in a rented house surrounded by very dry trees and grass that just need a spark and this neighberhood would be toast. If you were to pull up our house on google earth you would see that most the homes in our neighborhood are engulfed in trees. Our own home is hard to find because the roof is almost covered by trees. My point is that one good spark or house fire and our entire area would be another Bastrop County.

The point I am belaboring is this that the interviews of the home owners in Bastrop and Palo Pinto counties as well as the editorial of the guest columnist in the "The Atlantic" reminded me that when the shit hits the fan it is hard to keep from panicing and leaving essential items you will need behind.

So I woke up this morning and realized that I needed to make a bug out list. A list that would remind me to grab those essential items on the way out of the door after being told we have 5 minutes to get out or die. I am keeping this list on a 3X5 card in a card case that I always carry and on my Iphone that is always on me or within hand's reach.

On this list you will not find things like grab the pictures off the wall or grandma's cookie jar but rather pull out the spare sleep apetna machine, put meds basket in bag, grab insulin from refrigrator, grab bug out clothes bag, pickup messenger bag with Ipad and spare chargers in it. pat pockets for keys and wallet as you walk out the door. All this can be done by going to the back bedroom and walking toward the front door and all either carried in one hand or over your shoulder.

This is figuring out what it is that you need to live for the next few days untill you know what you need to do next before you actually need it. Some might call it parnoia but I call it being prepared.

Another thought that came to me during the night.

I have lacked a certain amount of intiative lately or for a better word inspiration. A certain malaise that has come upon me that I need to jerk myself out of before I become a vegetable known as a couch potato. 

In short I forgotten what I promised myself when I retired. So I am renewing this promise to myself and dedicate better use of my time I have on this earth. I will endeavor to no longer sit in front of the TV watching Netflx documentaries and the History channel that is when I am not playing Angry Birds games on my ipad rest of the time.

Rather I will dedicate my days to reading, writing , photography, woodworking or shop time and getting off the couch and living instead of taking up space. No more excuses as to why I can't or worse yet no excuses at all for not doing anything but leaving a butt impression on the couch.

So dear reader, if there are any, I hope to share in the near future on-going projects in the shop, photos taken and of books read. To live the life you have and not merely wish for is the ideal.

Enough for now.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Thoughts on Labor Day

What does Labor Day mean to you? This was the question I began to ask myself and like a lot things it lead me to my usual domino effect of thinking.

To be honest with you it has always been that holiday break between July Fourth and Thanksgiving and surprisingly that is exactly what it was meant to be for the labor when it was enacted into law. Reading about the labor day I realized the very same President Cleveland who on hand signed the act into law also sent Federal troops in to break the Union strike at mines and the Pullman strike in the late 1894. Talk about mixed message.

File:Pullman strikers outside Arcade Building.jpg
The striking Pullman car union standoff with National Guard

The US has always been a bit bi-polar when it comes to the common man. On one hand it will praise the common man as the backbone of the country by which it could not exist. Yet even today our government leaders elected by us will turn around and support big business interest to the determent of the labor force. Yet we continue to elect these people back into office. Makes you wonder about us.

I like to call myself a socialist. But, the truth is I am not really a true socialist and know that.
What do I believe though is this
  1. all public utilities should be owned by the people and not private Enterprise
  2. Public transportation should be owned by the people
  3. the individual has the right to decent affordable housing even if not ownership
  4. the individual has the right to WORK and expect a Living Wage
  5. the individual has the right to a universal basic health care
  6. The individual has the right to expect a safety net that protects the worker should they be disabled or reach retirement age or find their employment terminated without just cause.
  7. The individual has the right to expect food that is safe to eat and basic food that is affordable.
It all boils down to this. We come into this world naked and without when time comes to end no matter how we have prospered we go out from this world naked and without. After all we can't take it with us no matter how much we try. What about our heirs you might ask? Isn't that kind of up to them to decide for their self. But if you prospered by the country you live in then should that country have the right to expect a large chunk of the property you leave behind. I kind of that so.

Also we need to remember that we all live on this earth together and if one man prospers all will.  For if one man lays waste to mother earth all will also suffer. We are in this together and should act for the universal good of all and for the universal good of the individual.

Current Reads and Movies

Finished reading Simon Morden "Theories of Flight" I got to admit it was pretty intense. I find it amusing how the USA is represented as a self-righteous prig. Not to far from the truth. Looking forward to reading "Degrees of Freedom".

Until I get in though I think I will focus on reading some of the back log of magazines I have stacked on my end table and "Every book it's Reader" and "Nickled and Dimed".

Been watching a lot of Netflix on-line streaming. Beside the usual clap-trap I also watched PBS Inspector Lewis Mystery Masterpiece series along with a number of really good documentaries form Snag Films web site.

Final Thought

The weather finally has started to cool down. Still no rain  Here is a question for you can an area support a large population if you do not receive enough rainfall to supply the water to people?