Saturday, April 28, 2012

Advantages and disadvantages of being older

       For the record I am age 64 and a male.

            First the advantages.

                        1) Cloth diapers, diaper pins, and diaper pants, and cleaning them. I know what to do since I've done it, mostly because I had to.

                        2)  Using gas cooking without pilot lights, or even the newer electronic ignition (which of course must be maintained). We used matches to light the fire for cooking. Pilot lights used to be normal to me after they came in to use. People that use propane cooking grills today are probably familiar with electronic ignition, by the way.

                        3)  Saving energy was a concerted Family effort, like not disruptive, but certainly thought about, like even turning off lights when we didn't really need them, or putting on long johns in the cold season. Yep, in the 5th grade this made the 1880 house look like a dungeon, but it did save energy.

                        4)  Walking and even riding bikes and using bus public transportation, to include interstate travel. Yep, I've grown up on that, too. Now that I am older, much seems like good exercise to me, that is the walking and riding a bike stuff. I even delivered newspapers this way, to include using pulled shopping carts.

                        5) Rural electrification came in where I now live within the last 100 years, and I like the benefits, though not the expenses. As a Marine, I have lived without electricity, and it was not a fun experience for this spoiled American.

                        6)  I can remember when most houses had clothes lines for drying our clothes outside. Now that is a skill we can readily bring back, if need be. I suspect most houses don't even have clothes pins, these days.

                        7)  I appreciate being able to use toilet paper. Even splinter free toilet paper was not manufactured until the 1930's. And many places in the world don't have toilet paper, and still do just fine with their own customs. I even remember in Japan in the 1980's having to carry my own toilet paper as a sightseer.

                        8)  I remember living with my Grandmother circa 1951 who used an ice box for refrigeration in the city, and the ice man came twice a week with new blocks of ice. And she and my Grandfather were well off enough to even have this service. Now I think most every home has an electric refrigerator and freezer. But I also know there is a Plan B, like sharing food before it goes bad.

                        9) Telephone party lines are when we share one line, and if somebody talks a lot, then I can't even get on, even for a life and death emergency. So I appreciate things like having my own telephone line, and even 911 services these days. Mostly, though, it was the women on the line who just gabbed, and hogged up the line. Now I could have listened to them, but was too bored in the early elementary school part of my life.

Now the disadvantages.

            1) Being a male, I still don't recognize all the things females do in the feminine hygiene side of things. And I have been twice married, so I must be a slow learner in this area. And I love both of my Grandmothers, but don't wish what they put up with on my present female relatives.

            2)  At age 64, my ego exceeds my strength, which is declining. And I still exercise, mostly in walking around my land, but mother nature has an effect to. I even accept help with groceries, which at one time I would never do.

            3)  I actually think about death since I am on the downhill side of the usual life spans.

I suspect others can add to this discussion with their own experience about getting older.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Just a personal story about where I live

            Where I live is the Cumberland Plateau in east Tennessee.

            And I drink spring water and use it too for waste water treatment, like using a septic tank which is where the poop goes when I flush.

            And my caretaker's wife asked me to test the water about ten years ago, which I agreed to do at Tennessee Tech, whose results I trusted. All this even though in a century preceding nobody has gotten sick on the water here.

            Now I have a GIS (call it a computer map) of the place, and all the water in the springs comes from the place, or so I hope and think.

            Well, to make things simple, the water I drink here is better than public water.

            So then I looked at selling all this wonderful clean spring water, and bottom line, was it would set me back about $250 K about 5 years ago just to start the whole thing. I don't know what the prices are today.

            So I went to Plan B, which is to use the same water to make electricity, which is what I am doing today. Now that has set me back about $18 K, so far.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The die has been cast
       What a shame this has had to happen, like the probable collapse of life as we enjoy it.  The good news is that life as we enjoy it will get better in a few years, or more. I suspect the adjustment period will be painful, though.
            In other words, we can change things, but it does take time to take effect.
            Now even I bought the political advertisement/idea of "hope and change". But, in my mind, I never bought the idea of hurting myself and my Family. Now change is definitely due in the new world USA, given the present circumstances in the new world USA. So to me, it is just a matter of timing, like to do this "change" in 4 to 8 years, or to do this "change" in like 50 to 100 years?
            What upsets me is that many USA fellow humans are imposing their ideas and timing on me, and I don't get much choice about what happens to me and my Family.
            So by the title of this post, I object to what is happening to me, thanks to our elected Federal politicians, and their hired minions, like even bureaucrats.
            Yet the die is cast, so even I assume the consequences of the leaders we have elected to date in 2012, and their decisions to date, to include those of their hired minions, which will adversely affect me and my Family between now and the near future, like the next year or two. Hopefully, it will affect them, too.
            Now maybe I am wrong, mostly about the timing.
            What does that mean to me?
            Mostly it means I going to have to suffer for five to ten years, hopefully until future leaders and their decisions can take effect, like to even affect me, to include being warm and fed.
            Last, let me be practical, like I enjoy being able to turn on electric lights and heat during the cold season, and am willing to pay for it. Now that is a choice I enjoy these days in 2012. And I do enjoy being able to go to the grocery store, and purchasing fresh foods chilled or frozen by public electricity. Let me add, I also enjoy being able to take reliable deliveries to my home.
            Well, in my opinion, this choice has already been taken from me, like the "die has been cast", and it did not have to happen. Never the less, it is already going to happen to me and my Family, like I am going to be cold and hungry. Think rolling blackouts, and what that means for refrigeration, freezing, heating, cooking, lights, and cleaning. I've lived that way, so I know, and I did not enjoy it, but I could put up with it. Even canned foods are pretty good, to me. And I even got used to day on day off water supply, but after all, I was a Marine.
            And the consequences will take time to revert to the present high quality way of life we common citizens enjoy, today in the new world USA, like being warm and fed.
            Even I no longer debate with my much younger liberal friend, since the die has already been cast. He'll have to learn the hard way, now, if he even survives.  Right now, he doesn't even have a clue, though he has related he is thinking about all this.

PS  I have some advantages, which thanks to the Marines I recognize. Mostly, I have a good source of over a century of clean spring water, and a long working waste water treatment system, so I don't expect to go through a cholrea epidemic, for example.  And I do make some electricity  from hydro power so I can extend the shelf life of stored food , or food I grow later, and even have a basic security light to make the trespassers a better target, and some extra electricity left over for some LED lights so I don't have to live like Abraham Lincoln, and even charge up some AA and AAA eneloop batteries, which I suspect will be popular. And of course I have the land to do all this on.

Monday, April 23, 2012

It is our government

One should not make a post when emotional about a subject, so this post is an exception. In other words, it is not by accident, but on purpose.

And when I think our Federal President believes it is "his" government, then my blood boils. After all it is "our" government, and whatever we make of it; good, bad, or indifferent.

Now for an old Marine, I am pretty liberal in my politics, mostly on the domestic side of things. So, in my mind, I sense the frustration over the apparently deliberate inaction of so many of our elected Federal Representatives in the legislative side of things, and from both of the present national parties.

 But the alterative that appeals to me most is to get new Federal Representatives, vice work around those we have elected to date. In others words, vote for those who best represent our American selves and our values. It might even take a third party for hope and change to reassert itself.

Just how the two present national parties voted enough authority for some future Federal President and his hired minions to have all this king like authority to rule is still amazing to me, both that they did it, and that some Federal President would exploit it. And of course, we Americans have kept electing these types of Federal Legislators that did all this.

What does not appeal to me is a royalty way of governing, which still exists in many places around the world. I still prefer having a written constitution, and the rule of law, and a checks and balances method to keep both the idealists and power mad people in check, and provide for the common people to succeed when they work hard and go by the rules. In other words, I still want to think I have some influence over my and my Family's future; and through the vote is my method of choice in spring 2012.

Now if we have a Federal President who wants to be a King, for whatever reasons, and to even have his hired Court, then it is time to vote him out, as well as all the others who persist in maintaining the status quo that has gotten us where we are, today. Yep, hope and change is still alive and well, at least to me.

Last in my emotional rant, I still wonder what will happen if Obama is voted out? My imagination is fertile ground for mischief. And so I do worry about mischief, and its probable effects on my Family.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Just my lens

I think our present USA federal President is not too smart. I offer as evidence his many statements to date.

I also think, that while he has good educational pedigrees, he is not too well educated, like he has frivoled away his advantages when he went through these schools.

Last, I also think he has poor ethics, like he will lie to rule, vice just to own up to the facts. In that regards, one can suggest he is a con man, though in my lens he is just not that smart, though his handlers may be that smart.

Maybe even in the old time royalty method of ruling, those who he has hired just play up to him for their own reasons.

Now in his defense, he is a devoted Family man, mostly to his kids. I also think his wife is like him, like a fellow lightweight who got canned in her first job out of Harvard Law School, and who even mentored him for a while, too. And he is in an eloquent speaker.

So, in my lens, we have a crummy president, whom we have elected in 2008.

Our Country deserves better.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The cupboard is getting bare

Let's start restocking it.

Of course this is an analogy to present day USA, at least in my mind.

After over a century of progressive/liberal ideas that we voted for in electing our representatives, and also fighting some major wars, the results may be the culprit. Now it may be the ideas, or it may just be the timing of implementing these many wonderful ideas as time as dealt out, especially since World War II.

And it is worse if one looks at it like I do, being an experienced and worldly history nut, who has lived inside the beltway in D.C. to boot, both in high school (the 60's) and later in professional life (the 80's).

Can we new world USA types "kill the goose that lays the golden egg?" The simple answer is yes. My evidence is the present situation.

Now as a setup for a way to "restock the cupboard", I offer the following problems we voters can correct, if we want to.

For a start, we have been poorly educating our kids, to even where in some locations publically funded schools' curriculums have been skewed to include indoctrination, kind of like a Madrasah does. So now, when I hear the most stupid statements from our elected leaders, I still wonder if they are just lying, acting like they are in some kind of debate club, or are just plain poorly educated enough to believe what they say. Even when President Obama stated we had 57 States is an example of what I mean. Is that how we want to be ruled? The local politician in Michigan also comes to mind when she did not even know about border states, like which States border Mexico.

Second, morals and integrity count, like knowing the difference between right and wrong, to include the humans where you live, and your own Family. In this idea, most of this is taught at home. So if it not taught, imbued if you will, then we are just taking sustenance out of the cupboard. If not taught at home, just where?

Third, and again obviously to me, are the two present day national parties in the USA are doing a poor job, like offering us more of the same that has presented us with the present situation we have today. Again, in my analogy, they have been making the cupboard bare, like draining the well, which can go dry in the end, and we have been electing them. Hence it may be time for another political party to better represent us, we Americans.

Now most third party attempts are considered to be failures in the long run, going back around a hundred years. I agree with that history. Mostly these past efforts have depended on personalities. This time the financing is more idea oriented, and may stick, like be around for one or two decades, or even start replenishing the cupboard for an even longer period. Only time will tell.

An fourth, and last, we in our new world USA are truly blessed with wonderful land resources that will help our fellow new world USA people, and I sure hope, and think, over time that the exploitation of same will balance out with common sense. Again, only time will tell. I myself, think it will balance out OK.

So to conclude, it is easy to bitch, but to me that means also offering solutions. Hence, what is offered is another way to think about our common future, to include old time expressions like "the cupboard is getting bare".

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A special time in our American history

Much like waves washing ashore, or the tide ebbing and flowing, we Americans may be approaching a "Rubicon" that will affect us all.

How it all sorts out, I don't know, and have often been wrong in my forecasts in the past, though more about the when...not the if part.

There are two obvious forces coming up that will influence our near term future, like in the next 10 or 20 years.

The obvious one, to me, is the idea of an entitlement society in the USA. Said another way, when the have nots can vote themselves benefits from the haves, then the question comes up, will the haves keep putting out, or do something else?

The other obvious one is what happens when fellow humans quit loaning us money, and we have to live within our means. Said another way, if this happens, which it may happen, then times will get hard during the adjustment period. Now presently our tax means are considerable, but what happens if we have a breakdown, and have to build up from scratch, which I am confident we will do. And this will take time, like a few years probably.

Last, there is a minor "other" obvious one. Suppose mother nature throws us some kind of wild card event. Just how well are we humans in the new world USA able to respond, mostly through our elected governments, by the way.

Now in the recent past, like the last 50 years, I was more confident and comfortable about our collective future than I am now. Hence this is a special time in our American history, to me.

One more last, I have lost trust and faith in many of our institutions that have always done well in our past in our 200 year+ history. Hence, it may be time for a new political party to better represent many Americans than what is happening today through our present political parties.

Even weirdoes like me are worse casing things, and even preparing to live off the land (I have around a square mile). Now that is a silly alternative to me, since I would rather go the grocery store. In other words, I like what we have, already, and will fight and vote for this idea.

But, and again, if this present day silliness doesn't end, mostly thanks to our federal politicians whom we have elected, then I will have to experience " a special time on our American history".

This idea includes just wanting to know the news about fellow human beings. If I wanted opinions, I would rather go to the local Hardees than read other well written opinions that are on the internet these days. The local Hardees opinions are pretty good, too. What is a shame, to me, is that even reading the foreign news about the same events seems to reflect more and more opinions, and not just the news, which is all I seek.

Last, and truly last, an awful lot of fellow Americans are doing a good job in their positions to lead and manage. So "good on 'em", like I want to enhance them, by the vote, mostly. That's part of my hope for my future before I die; again, "in our American history".

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

It is funny about fads

The subject is the various kinds of cars to purchase in 2012.

To me, a Ga Tech geek I guess, I would summarize the choices. There are three, to me.

All choices, alternatives if you will, are to maximize the miles per gallon.

Of course, there is the American way, which is pretty much hybrid, some combination of high tech batteries and simple gas engines.

But there is also the European way, which is pretty much maximize the use of diesel as a fuel.

And last, there is the Japanese way, which is pretty much to maximize the use of gasoline as a fuel.

Only you can decide what is best for you and your Family and quality of life.

Now I am ruthless, in my mind, so fads don't affect me, and I am going with another alternative, like wait a year or two to see how it sorts out to my advantage.

Right now my older Japanese made car (circa 1999) runs just fine. And of course I'll drive less when I can, to include using UPS and FedEx and other such services to help my quality of life. I hope they are better than me in maximizing the energy cost of getting things I still want to have.

The analogy I make is like living in a major city, like New York City, or Tokyo, or Paris or Istanbul, or wherever, and deciding whether to buy a car and pay all the associated expenses, or just use public transportation to include taxies. I, myself, have done both.

But for sure, I act in my own self interests, and don't follow fads, or even respond well to any politician's coercion.

In other words, I can think for myself, and spend my money for myself, too.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Connecting the dots

This post is somewhere between worse casing things, and psycho babble stuff. Yet I post it, anyway...even at the expense of seeming crazy, which I might be in my old age, maybe even in my younger years, too.

Apparently, enough people are figuring the same way, my evidence being the National Geographic TV series on Preppers. I even think it is going into a second season, also.

Now I have the advantage of time, like being old, so I even remember the bomb shelter craze that went on around 1960 and nothing came out of that; though in the 9th grade during the Cuban Missile Crisis when my Dad said you and your brother are on your own, like live on the streets and try make your way in life, that got my attention. At the time he worked at the Pentagon and they were prepping to go to the bomb shelters in the Blue Ridge area, like the next day. My Mom was in Tennessee taking care of a sick Dad, by the way.

So here we are again, different times and different situations, but the same human fears, foibles if you will. Even in medical talk, I understand the placebo effect ideas; and also have been to High School and understand the idea of group think, like fads and cliques.

So when I connect the dots these days, I get nervous for my own reasons, carefully thought out, I hope, and in my mind of course.

For the record, I am a retired Marine Lt.Col. and a graduate of Georgia Tech.

So at this time in my life, and America's history, I sense, connecting the dots if you will, that the poo poo is getting ready to hit the fan, like in the next year or two.

If this connect the dots idea is correct, then we humans will still survive, though many may also die along the way. Think Little House on the Prairie, if you will as a way to survive.

And if this connect the dots idea turns out to be correct this time, I also think we humans will survive, though more like the old days than most want to go through. It won't be fun. There, I said it again, and in another way.

There are so many unknowns that worrying is probably a waste of mental time. Yet I am a human, too, so I worry, too.

And in the triage idea, where I live will probably be last on the priority list, so I will have to depend on myself if I still prefer to be a future voting citizen, rather than a serf. But even that may be up for grabs, depending on how long all this terrible time takes to sort out. In my mind, it might be like 5 to 10 years, I read.

Last, and only if times get truly hard, an awful lot of idealistic people are going to suffer. What's the classical phrase...good intentions but poor judgment.

Whether mother nature, or humans, mess up our present way of life as we know it is of little consequence to me. I am prepared to die, worse case. Rather I connect the dots as to how the present political leaders will act, or more likely react. And I am not hopeful.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

We all have alternatives

In most of our cases our choices are most simple, like a choice of a spouse, a choice of a job, or etc. etc.

This post is about health care, posted as one who is age 63 and a male.

I still want a choice, and I don't like the alternatives today in the new world USA. Just where I live in rural east Tennessee my monthly bill has gone up from $20 a month to $70 dollars a month.

After all, most of us want a better way to affordable health care than what we have had in the last few decades. While the science is up, so is the price. Now even people like me know we can't live forever, but while we are alive I think most people don't want to be a burden to their Families, either.

Hence affordable health care, not just to extend one's life, but mostly to extend one's quality of life, and personal independence. Most of us just don't want to depend on our descendants to help in our old age. I think most would rather die off, than be a burden who also loses independence in old age. I call it the human factor.

So what do we do? Mostly I think about my descendents who may be burdened.

I would suggest focusing on affordable health care these days, with the other obvious alternatives in mind. In this idea is one of values of governments. The kicker is the obvious choices, like alternatives, and maybe the present group of federal politicians in charge have voted on a poor alternative. We do have other alternatives.

Let me be specific. One alternative is catastrophic health insurance to keep from bankrupting Families taking care of decrepit old people. Now that idea seems to be a good reason for paying taxes to governments.

Like why don't we vote for politicians who vote for other ways to achieve the goals, whatever they are.

Last, assuming Obamacare fails in the Supreme Court, then we still have a health care problem as a new world USA population, and I sure hope we think about the alternatives, and elect those who best represent these other ideas. In this idea, even I have alternatives I would recommend.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

We pesky humans

Logic suggests to me we should always do the things that will benefit us. Unfortunately, this logic avoids the human element, like it may not be logical but that is just what we are gonna do, anyway.

Make up your own mind, to include how your ideas affect you and your Family.

And then there is the human element. I've heard the expression "the art of the possible". Here leadership and management skills go a long way, helped often by a lot of experience, some good, some bad, but a good dose of experience either way.

For the younger person, time and often some targeted education always helps in increasing one's experience and skills. After all, there are few natural leaders; most of us have to be taught or seasoned over time.

I good teacher who can actually teach leadership and management skills is a rare commodity, pretty much in all days and times. One with good ethics, to, is especially rare these days.

One good example of that is parenthood. Most parents often will say something like I wish I knew then what I know now.

The key point, to me, is to at least recognize and try honestly capitalize on the human element of any plan or program or intent. Now that idea alone makes for an experienced, and pesky, human.