Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Live Free and Be Happy - Part I

Today, after taking a leisurely walk for my daily physical and mental health and adding to my step count, I decided to write about my mantra, “live free and be happy.” While walking, I was listening to some soothing music emanating from the ear buds, plugged into my smartphone (my 21st Century multi-tasking device). This music was streaming from the Internet on Pandora through my wireless phone and data service. It was all conducive for my mind to wander to my life and my mantra.

How miraculous this life is. I was born 12 days before Franklin Delano Roosevelt died, a few months before Harry Truman gave the command to drop two atomic bombs on Japan and change the world in ways no one could imagine. Like everyone, my life has been a journey. A journey I could not have dreamt in my wildest dreams. I'm walking down the street in a small rural town, next to a flowing river that goes all the way through and past our nation's capital more than a hundred miles away. I'm connected to the entire world with a palm-sized device many times more powerful than the computing systems that took men to the moon and brought them safely back to Earth.

For those of you in your third half of life, like me, the wonders we've seen and experienced would be hard to enumerate. For those who lived before us, the same was true, except it has all accelerated. And for those currently in their first and second halves of life, you guys ain't seen nothing, yet. I can't begin to guess what this country and world will be like in 2045, my 100th birthday. And since the fastest growing demographic in the U.S. is the centenarians, there is a nominal possibility, I might see that birthday.

That being said, this morning I shared a picture on my Facebook page (another of the miracles of Internet magic) that depicted two groups of children. It's a “then and now” scenario. Here's that impression. I believe most of the people reacting to this on my Facebook page recall the days depicted by the group on the left.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

To Consume or Not To Consume – That Is A Choice

That statement presents a Catch 22, a conundrum, if you will.

We live in a capitalistic society. Capitalism is defined as “an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market.” Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

More simply stated, we the consumers have choices and in most cases, with the exception of certain monopolies, we actually control the economy and whether certain businesses succeed or fail. That's pretty awesome power. And, as with virtually everything else in life, there are advantages and disadvantages, benefits and abuses with this kind of system.

We live in a Democratic-Republic, as far as the governmental facet of the U.S. society. That means (or is supposed to mean) that the government operates under the power and authority of the citizens (democratic), but laws and day to day operation of the government is delegated to elected officials elected by the citizens to transact the business of government for the citizens. It's not my intention to make this a civics lesson or talk politics. I'm simply stating the definitions.

China has also embraced a Capitalistic economic system. It hasn't always been that way. China became a country operating under the Communist governmental model in October 1949 defined as “a way of organizing a society in which the government owns the things that are used to make and transport products (such as land, oil, factories, ships, etc.) and there is no privately owned property.” Additionally, in most Communist countries, the citizens don't own homes, they are assigned where they will live. They are assigned jobs and paid what the government chooses to pay, etc.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Some Light On The Commemoration Of A Dark Day

Something light for you on this day, September 11th, the 15th anniversary of the worst foreign attack on U.S. soil since the beginning of this country. Remember those who died then and since then due to long term injuries or illness caused by that event, all as a result of a creed of hatred

A friend sent this to me as an email. I've seen it before. It passes around periodically. It's attributed to the late 60 Minutes contributor, Andy Rooney. I tried to vet it since so much of what passes around on the Internet is attributed to people who had nothing to do with it. Whether Andy Rooney had anything to do with these thoughts or not, I hope they lightened your heart a little on this darkly commemorative day.

I've learned....
That the best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person.

I've learned....
That when you're in love, it shows.

I've learned .....
That just one person saying to me, 'You've made my day!' makes my day.

I've learned....
That having a child fall asleep in your arms is one of the most peaceful feelings in the world.

I've learned.....
That being kind is more important than being right.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Compartmentalizing – Part II - Shelter

A couple months ago I was sitting in my campsite in the Umpqua National Forest about 15 miles from the north rim of Crater Lake in south central Oregon, As I sat there, I was reminded of the people who are intrigued by my simple, living free lifestyle. Most want to look inside “My McVansion,” my tiny house on wheels, to see how one can actually live in 50 square feet. That's about the size of a small walk-in closet, to give you a bit of perspective.

In my first article on compartmentalizing I listed ten areas we humans, especially those of us living in “Western” developed societies, compartmentalize to varying degrees. In this article I'm going to focus on “shelter” compartmentalizing. Our early ancestors probably didn't have words like house, home, abode, residence, cabin, cottage, apartment, condominium, villa, townhouse, mansion and, one of the newer terms, McMansion or any other descriptors we currently attach to our variety of shelters. The list doesn't include portable, mobile and other alternative forms of shelter. But, as you can see from the list I just made, we compartmentalize the array of forms shelters may take.

And, to add to this, there are subdivisions (and I don't mean communities, that's another form of compartmentalizing) broken down into the varieties of the listed shelters. There are cape cods, split levels, bi-levels, colonial style, ranch homes, bungalows, garden apartments, high-rise apartments, brownstone walk-ups, tenements. I could go on and on, but I'm sure I've made my point. But, there is more.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

I'm Still Alive.

I know it's been a couple weeks since my last article. Life has been very, very busy during this time. I spent about a day or so in Yucca Valley, visited Joshua Tree National Park, stopped in Cathedral City and spent about four and a half days in Los Angeles. In Cathedral City I visited my former wife, Cynthia, and still one of my good friends. In Los Angeles, I hung out with my son, Pete, and did some LA things with him.

Then it was on to Clovis, California for a family reunion and birthday celebrations for my former mother-in-law and two of my former brother-in-laws. We must have had over 50 people in town from all over the U.S. for the festivities. All of those events covered a week. I stayed and relaxed for two more weeks enjoying the California sun and the company of my former mother-in-law, BJ Gardner and one of my former brother-in-law's and his family. Then I was off and running again.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Compartmentalizing – Part 1

I came to a startling realization during the past few weeks of trekking around the U.S. Well, actually, it's not such a startling realization. I've understood this most of my life. What am I talking about? In a word, “compartmentalizing.”

I write of simplifying and minimizing life. M. Scott Peck, author of the classic bestselling book, The Road Less Traveled,stated it this way in his first paragraph – a three word, single sentence paragraph. “Life is difficult.” Indeed it is. And it has become exponentially more difficult over the past 50+ years of my adult life. I dare say, everyone walking on this planet, especially those living in developed, “western nations” has and continues to experience this.

Humans have learned how to compartmentalize virtually all aspects of life. Compartmentalizing is one way humans have invented to cope with the ever increasing complexity of modern life. Those of us living in advanced developed societies in the West enjoy, both, the benefits and and advantages of high-technology and the challenges, complexities and (often) the mind numbing addiction that can take control of parts of our lives.

Less advanced, more primitive societies still compartmentalize, however, to a significantly lesser degree. The less complexity we have to cope with in our lives allows us to live freer, simpler, happier and with less compartments.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Beaten Down By the 8,000 Pound Gorilla – Amazon.com

You've heard it said you can't fight city hall? Well, In today's world, you can't fight city hall, the county government, the state government, the federal government and now – apparently, Amazon.com has joined the ranks of the oppressive powers thwarting small businesses at all kinds of turns. M. Scott Peck, began his best selling book, The Road Less Traveled, with this three word sentence, “Life is difficult.” I will add to that, life is complicated and getting more so everyday.

You may notice, and if you haven't, please do, that I no longer have Amazon.com links on my blog sites. Amazon decided to terminate me as an Amazon Associate because I am in violation of the Amazonian Laws of conducting business.

Now, please understand. I've had an Amazon Associate agreement since about February of 2005, that's approximately 11 years. I read their agreement (which reads like most legalese documents forced on anyone wishing to do business with global mega corporations). It's long, make that LONG, in some ways incomprehensible without a Yale lawyer like Bill or Hillary Clinton or Harvard lawyer like Barack or Michelle Obama as your attorney, can be confusing and, to me, smacks of some forms of restraint of trade and unfair trade practices.