Please be patient

As I pass into my golden years, or in my case silver, I cannot help but notice the way folks treat us older citizens. Sure, I know we are not as quick or sharp as we once were, but I feel confident I still retain my complete faculties. When someone asks a question and the answer is not on the tip of my tongue, you might hear something like, don’t worry, I know that you are older and unable to remember some things. Well, you might be right, but I probably have forgotten more than you know. Have you ever considered the fact that the human brain remembers everything it sees, smells, hears, feels or thinks from the time it is born. Everyone likes to talk in terms of terabits and gigabits but can you imagine the amount of information stored in a senior brain? So, you can also imagine it may be a tad more difficult to locate information in such a large amount of data.

Ok, here is the deal. I want to be treated just like everyone else, yes I am older and yes, sometimes I get a little foggy on the details of an issue. I was born during the inception of black and white TV. Technology for me was turning on the TV, without a remote, or manually setting the thermostat on the furnace. Cars were very simple; a motor, steering wheel and mirrors to help you avoid running into other people. Commercials were dumb and not designed to creep into the inner working of your brain. Wars were fought with human soldiers, guns, tanks, big slow moving boats and very basic airplanes. The word computer was barely a known word! The fact that I can even turn a computer on should be commended, yet many of us seniors have become quite proficient with the new technology.

I think one of the advantages of being older is the wealth of mistakes one has made during one,s life. Yes, mistakes are what we learn from. I once heard a European laughing about all the guardrails on our roads. He said in his country there are very few guardrails because people know, many from experience, not to drive so fast in certain areas. Here in America we have learned to drive as fast as we want because the guardrails will save us from plummeting over a thousand foot cliff. Our schools do anything they can to force a student to pass a class, including dumbing down the curriculum and tests. Falling down, touching a hot stove or playing with sharp objects all generally have consequences which teach us not to do those things. If we take away the ability to make mistakes, we take away the essence of learning important techniques for staying alive.

I would like all my readers to send this to all their children and grandchildren to read. I would like to avoid hearing comments about my ability to remember. Chances are they heard something from their parents. Just remember, you will be old sooner than you think, and you will be the one who listens to little remarks about your abilities. The old GOLDEN RULE comes into play here, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Good rule to live by.

From the heart

Writing is a vehicle that allows me to go new places I have never been before. Often times I wake up in the morning with an idea or a place to visit in my thoughts that I have never been. Due to my meager writing skills, this is very difficult with many attempts ending up in the proverbial trashcan. Like all adventures, some are quite successful while others are full blown train wrecks. I feel that one of the main reasons to write is to promote thought.

In my last entry, I made a feeble attempt at reaching across the political barrier to many of my friends in hopes of bridging the massive divide that we have all been drawn into. As I expected, I received responses from many readers and friends, this is good. In this blog I used the word cult to describe how I envision what I do not understand. Let me rephrase that, I do understand the mistrust, resentment, anger and frustration that we all feel with our current and past system of government which, like us, is dealing with an ever increasing complex society. Let me be clear on this, sometimes we need to stand up to the powers and let them know what we are feeling and sometimes we may need to express emotion so that they take us seriously. But, if we are going to express our dislike of a current leadership, it is important that we fully understand what we are fighting for and against.

This is the part that pains me so deep. A large part of our population believes the elections were not fair. All elections have a winner and a loser. I am in no way an authority on many of the issues that are causing the turmoil, but I do believe in my heart that our elections are generally fair and honest representations of the people’s feelings. Is there a chance I am wrong, most certainly. Could my eyes be blinded from seeing some fact that disputes this feeling, most certainly. In my defense, having worked the polls for several years now, I doubt anyone who has worked a poll thinks our elections are not at least 99% accurate. The redundancy, the cross checks, the multi-party observation of every aspect of the process is approaching obsession. All these measures are taken to help insure that every vote is fair and counted. If you asked any person, regardless of political party, who has worked a poll, if the results are accurate, I feel resolute that the answers would be a resounding yes. In fact, I would seriously doubt if there were any poll workers attending the January 6 rally.

Folks, it is time to move on. If I wrote anything that prevents us from moving past this, I apologize. Most of us are weary of this hostile environment we live in. Of course we will never agree on all the issues, wouldn’t it be boring if we did, but we can agree to disagree and take one small step towards reconciliation. In math we have a principle called the butterfly effect. If a butterfly flaps its wings, it causes a change in its environment that causes an effect in a larger environment, which possibly could grow and grow until it alters the course of an oncoming storm. We must all be the butterflies to help make our world a better place.

Come on home my friend

The time has come to mend fences. For example, if you had a sibling who joined a cult and lived in the woods under the misguided leadership of some crazy guy who thought heaven was on a meteoroid and that if you died at a certain time, your spirit would travel to the meteoroid to live in harmony and peace for eternity, this is what we call a cult. Cults like this affect lives all over the world. When/if your child breaks away from one of these communities and finds their way back home, your job is to rehabilitate them back to society. You do not do this by insulting them or calling them crazy, you do it with love and it may take a while.

Over the last five years we have been exposed to one of the most successful cult leaders of all time, his name is Donald Trump. Before you get mad and walk away, please listen to what I am saying. First, in response to the line, YOU ARE BRAINWASHED, NOT ME, you may be right, but if you take the time to look at all the information available to you, you might come to a different conclusion.

I will try to present as much fact as I can muster.

  1. Yes, the media has been quit rough on old Donald, but remember he is the one that dubbed them fake news from the get go, not a good way to make friends. Yes, the media is relentless and yes, they often time harbor on the negative but many of them are honest reporters attempting to give you the information you need to make decisions. Fox news on the other hand was not allowed to broadcast in Canada because the Canadians decided that they distributed too much misinformation to be allowed to broadcast. Here in the states they have free reign to broadcast anything they wish, regardless of its validity.
  2. According to the Washington Post, which is considered a left leaning newspaper, but also world renown for their honest reporting and fact checking, Donald has lied to the American Public almost 20,000 times! I realize that some of these may be negligible lies but the fact that he lied to us that many times should be disturbing to most people. The only programing that supports these lies is the FOX channel, which by broadcast definition is an entertainment channel, not a news channel.
  3. Here is what a FOX lawyer said: By Scott D. Pierce  | June 21, 2020, 8:00 a.m.| Updated: June 19, 2020, 3:22 p.m. The drivel that Tucker Carlson spouts on Fox News isn’t factual, and the people who watch him not only know it’s false, but they don’t expect him to tell them the truth. Don’t get mad at me for that statement. It comes straight from lawyers who represent Fox News. What those lawyers made clear is that not only do Carlson and Fox News have contempt for the truth, they also have contempt for their own viewers. The Fox News legal team is defending against a slander lawsuit by claiming that (a) what Carlson says isn’t news; (b) he doesn’t necessarily do any research; and (c) what he says isn’t necessarily true. “Would a reasonable viewer be coming here [to ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight’] and thinking, ‘This is where I’m going to be hearing the news of the day’?” Fox News attorney Erin Murphy asked in a hearing-via-telephone on Wednesday, according to reporter Frank G. Runyeons’s story at Law360.com.https://94c6716a2c747741247ad48e402cbfd6.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html Did you get that? If you watch Carlson’s show and think it has anything to do with news, according to Murphy, you’re just not that bright. And in an earlier court filing, Murphy referred to “Tucker Carlson Tonight” as “hyperbolic opinion commentary,” not “sober factual reporting.” That’s not exactly a surprise — the only surprise is that Fox’s lawyers openly admitted that.
  4. Many of the people Donald hired to work for him are now in jail and many more may be in jail before this is all over. The state of New York is sharpening its teeth in anticipation of Donald being subject to regular laws.
  5. Donald told you over and over again that the election was laden with corruption. The state of Arizona is a republican state, why would they not want a republican president! This is one of the states that Donald swore was corrupt! Georgia is also a republican controlled state and he claimed that their election was not fair. I could understand if California were to be spotlighted because they are a democratic state. The two states that Donald planned on winning are the ones he targeted as being fraught with corruption.
  6. HE LOST THE ELECTION and every stone was turned and every court case was lost with absolutely no results! What would it take to help people see the truth? The fact that Donald told you again and again that the election was rigged does not make it true. Republicans and democrats confirmed that the election was valid.
  7. Look, I understand your distrust of our current political system. I’ve written much about the need for term limits and removing the money from politics and I believe that these two things could help us begin to turn the tide, but what we just experienced for the last five years is not the answer. No doubt, Mr. Biden is not the glowing light in the distance that we all want to lead the way, but he is a decent man with a service record that supports that. Mitch McConnel, your guy, says he is one of the most honest and decent men he knows!

So, where do we go from here? We must mend our wounds! No longer can we turn away from people because they are not of the same political party. Before Donald, we did not have this severe a divide. The left has not changed much over the last 20 years. Yes, we do want healthcare for all, that seems logical to me. We do believe that ALL people are created equal. A woman should be left alone, with restrictions, to decide if she wants to bring a child into the world. We do not want abortions any more than the conservative right. We should spend billions to help women not get pregnant and eliminate the whole problem.

These are the ideas that separate us and we must find a common ground if we wish to continue being the United States of America. I think many of us understand the frustration that many Americans have over the current state of the state, but we must heal. I feel many of my friends are a little lost right now and I do not mean this in any negative way, but we need to find our way home as a country of all nationalities, a mixing pot of the world. That is how we started and that is why we are so strong. We are white, brown, black, gay, male, female and all the wonderful diversities that make us Americans. The world needs to know that WE ARE AMERICA, THE LAND OF THE FREE!

Why are we in this mess?

You do not have to be a history scholar to know that civilizations have come and gone. Typically a civilization rises to power, exerts its influence on its surrounding area and then begins the gradual fade into oblivion. Of course, if you are living in one such civilization, it would be hard to see and realize that you may be heading down the same dark street. These here United States was, and still is a grand experiment in quasi-self rule. We have a government elected by the people to lead us through these unexplored waters. We have a constitution that is a roadmap, written by our founders to help us navigate through difficult times.

So, lets jump right in, what brings our country to the brink of civil war? What makes people so angry and troubled that they are willing to risk their lives to force home a point? Many of us would like to blame Donald Trump, and make no mistake, he has ushered in an age of violence and upheaval, but one must remember, our country, in a democratic process, elected him! That means that there is a sizable group of Americans that saw Trump as a vehicle to navigate them out of these troubled times.

A whole series of things had to occur for us to be in this realm. Number one on my list is our education system. We have failed to produce Americans who are able to dig through the mounds of crap that is thrown our way under the guise of news and information, and come to a rational position. As we continue to educate at subpar levels, we see less qualified people move up through the ranks of society. Less educated people are now occupying every part of our culture. Do not confuse education with going to college or even finishing high school, but being brought up in a normal home where love, acceptance, hard work and nurturing are the standards. We have become a greedy, materialistic society where home and family are an afterthought.

Second on my “to blame list” is technology. Technology is not the villain because there is no villain. What we are seeing is the merging of a primarily agrarian society with an accelerating technological monster with the very fabric of humanity in its sights. Make no mistake, as the machines get smarter, we will get dumber! The current crisis on social media is one example of our growing problem. This media, which started out as a benign entity, has grown into the Titanic heading for a large iceberg. This may sound naïve, but during social media’s inception, no one considered it a source of misinformation and manipulation of peoples’ thoughts. It has now become a vehicle for any whim or fancy, so much so that a pizza parlor in Washington DC is a child trafficking center run by Hillary Clinton, Elvis is alive, Walt Disney is frozen, micro chips in vaccines, the list goes on and on of the conspiracies around us. There are two ways to combat this craziness, educate the people or control the flow of disinformation, neither of which we are willing to do.

So, now we have a mass of people walking through the federal capital building, stealing, vandalizing and creating mass hysteria. Many of them are there in response to misinformation provided to them on social media. Some are there because the government is no longer accessible to them. There are many Americans who believe they have been forgotten by their leaders. Many of our leaders have become extremely wealthy and aloof and have little contact with their constituents, except during the election season. I read one passage that stated, conspiracy theories are a reaction to losing control over life’s situations. By creating conspiracies, one gains control of the situation, if only in one’s mind.

It seems to me that we must take drastic actions to turn this around, if it can even be turned around. We are going to have to make some difficult decisions in the near future. If we don’t, we are going to pay a price, a very large price.

Cosmic Charley Talks about racism.

Racism, tribalism, cultism, they are all the same ugly beast. Whenever one group of people decide they are better or more deserving than another group of people, racism thrives. After months of thought, I decided to approach this topic from my own upbringing.

Lets jump right in to this scary topic. I was born in an all white neighborhood in Prince Georges county, in the state of Maryland. A typical kid in middle America growing up with virtually no idea of what was going on in our country. There were no Afro-Americans in my elementary and as much as I can remember, there were none in my junior high. At that time there were very few Afro-Americans on TV. My parents did not express any racists’ views to me because there was no reason to. I had no racist points of view because I had never even been exposed to it.

When I entered DuVal High School, I was amazed to actually meet a black person. I went back to my yearbook and counted, there were about 18 Afro-American guys and 20 gals out of almost 800 seniors, about 6%! There were only four Afro-American women out of 120 teachers. Thinking back, I knew several black guys, like Mike Evans, Charles Flowers, Warren Carlton and several more, but I knew no black girls. I guess it was because of sports. One of the guys that I enjoyed most was Mike Evans. He was an amazing athlete, a great person, a good student and amazed many of us with his tremendous feats of athleticism. I have often wondered what became of Mike. Mike was everything I thought a person should be. He was polite, mannerly, smart and great fun to hang out with. Today I wonder what trials and tribulations he was forced to deal with, being an Afro-American.

After high school I attended the local junior college for a couple of years being not too serious about anything. During the summers, I worked at Greyhound as a baggage handler in the middle of Washington, DC which is a whole other story. I did meet many black folks in the city and had many friends at work. Somehow, I still did not think in terms of black and white.

Deciding that it was time to leave the junior college scene, I applied to Bowie State College which is a predominately black college. Now I was the minority and I truly believe I learned more about racism from that two years than any other time. Sometimes I was the only white kid in class and I was reminded of that many times. I decided to go to the gym and play some B-ball, and when I walked in I realized I was the only white guy in the gym. When the guys on the court saw me, they stopped dead in their tracks and one of them said, “what do you want?”. I said in my most humble voice, “next game?”. After the moans and mumbling stopped they proceeded to play their game. About 45 minutes later I finally got to play. I ended up on the floor several times but never showed any weakness and jumped back up ready to play. After my trial by fire, I was one of the guys and they referred to me as Jerry West, because I was white and I could shoot a little.

During this time at Bowie State, I asked a friend over to lunch at my parents’ house. He happened to be black. If you have read all my 400+ blogs, you may remember that I mentioned this in an earlier blog. My parents walked into the kitchen, mumbled something and walked out. After my friend left we had the argument of all time. I stormed off to my room and decided I could not live in the same house as these racist people. Two days later, I moved out to a low rent apartment in a predominately black neighborhood. I lived there for several years until I finished college with a science and math teaching degree.

After finishing college, I decided that city life was not how I wanted to live so I applied for a job in West Virginia and got it, took almost a 50% cut in pay, but didn’t care.

After living in West Virginia for a while I learned about the KKK which was alive and well in my area. Much like my childhood, racism was not a real issue in West Virginia because there were very few people of color in my county. The few black people lived in communities away from most white folks. It seems as if I have always stayed ahead of the real issues of racism and did not even realize it until later in life. I have been working on this piece for a while and yesterday, I witnessed a day that will be remembered for decades to come and find a permanent place in our history. I do believe that much of the unrest in our country is brought on by racism. I did not see any black folks in the demonstration held at the US Capital yesterday and I believe that speaks loudly to the deep seated fear that hides in the Caucasian race. I have said this many, many times, I am not religious, but I believe Jesus Christ, regardless of who you think he is, was trying to teach us to love our neighbors, whether they were the same color as us or not. I do consider myself a Christian.

Is this America?

We can all breathe a sigh of relief after today’s events in Washington, DC but in no way have we seen the last of these horrible people. I have a hard time thinking of them as Americans.

Let us remember we are all Americans and we can get through this if we work together, like we have so many times in the past.

It’s not about red and blue, its about me and you.

Human attention as a natural resource.

If you are one of the many who have not seen the movie, The Social Dilemma, you should make a point of taking the time to watch it. This movie dives into the dilemma of social networking and it evolution into a devastating yet controlled influence on the world society. Compared to social networking and Artificial intelligence all past discoveries pale in comparison. Partly from social networking, society is on the edge of a nervous breakdown. Our children, our most precious resource, are joining a social network juggernaut that is destroying their creativity, ingenuity, spontaneity, adventurousness and love of life.

So, what is the nature of all this destruction I am referring to? Why are some of the smartest people on the planet telling us to beware of what is coming? How can something as basic as a computer or a mobile phone change the course of human kind? The answer to this question lies in the reason capitalism is such a powerful force. The purpose or reason capitalism exist is to make money, and more important, create control over others through monetary means.

Lets begin with Face Book (FB), which is by no means the only player on the block, but certainly one of the largest. FB began as a way for people to meet online and exchange information and maybe even hook up. Over the years FB has learned to turn that simple model into a complex money making machine. FB is mining human time, much like a miner mines rocks from the ground. Here is how FB makes money. Every second you spend on a site is recorded and fed into a super computer to make decisions on what will draw your attention to the device. Adds are place periodically in the script that are paid for by corporations. Every second you spend watching an add is money for FB. FB’s job is to create reasons to keep your focus on the device while force feeding you information in a very strategic way. This alone would not topple the planet, but the concept of nudging the population in specific directions is very scary. Add this to the seemingly infinite production of falsified information along with young people being shaped into perfect consumers, able to be manipulated in whatever direction the powers wish and I believe you have a serious problem. What is real scary is the fact that some of the algorithms being used are capable of making decisions on their own. Said another way, these devices are the embryo’s of artificial intelligence! Currently many of the x-employees of FB are frightened with the potential of these machines and what they are capable of doing, or becoming. If the x-employees are frighten, I think we should be as well.

We humans are users. All things on this planet are considered a resource. We mine the earth, cut the trees, drilled for oil to feed our machines, fished the ocean close to almost extinction with little concern to the state of our planet. In the past we were the predominate resource when it came to war, but now we are a resource for capitalistic consumerism.

Look around you. Open your eyes wide. Dig through all the crap you are fed on a daily basis and see what is happening to us. We don’t trust our neighbors, we do not trust any news outlet, we are convinced that every politician is a crook , we do not know where to turn for truth and we are all hurting in ways we do not even understand. There is only one outcome from this course and it is not pretty. There is no way our society can continue in its present direction. If we do not reunite with our children, restrict social media in some way and learn to trust again, life here in the USA will head down the rabbit hole to places we would rather not think of.

I know that many people believe that the movie SOCIAL DILIMMA is just another designed to scare us. Yes, this movie should scare the hell out of you, but, more important it should warn you of a world none of us want to live in. These event are happening and placing your head in the sand will not make them go away. The NRA has convinced many Americans that we all need to fully arm ourselves for the impending dome, well, I am telling you to educate yourself on this approaching shift in the way humans live and interact. How many of you realize the effects cell phones are having on our children? Weight status, sexual initiation, aggressive feelings and beliefs, consumerism and social isolation are just the obvious effects of social media on our children. If we humans become nothing more than a resource to a capitalistic world it will be no better than becoming batteries in the matrix.

Christmas story retold…again and again…

This is one of my favorite stories and it helps me remember what Christmas is really about. If you read it last year or the year before, read it again and if you are new to my blog, I hope you enjoy this touching story. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! You can find Naotaka Maehara on Facebook. Maybe someday parents will sit around the fire and read this to there children…or maybe not…

Naotaka Maehara arriving in Augusta

The other day my friend Steve Bailes called me up to ask if I would be interested in housing a young man from Japan for the evening. He is riding his bike across America, having left from Vancouver 70 days ago. He was coming from Clarksburg and would arrive on Saturday if things worked out. I agreed, and contacted Nao (pronounced NOW which is short for Naotaka Maehara) by email to invited him to stay with us for the evening. He replied that he would like to stay with us Saturday evening. The next two days were interesting as I stayed in contact as much as possible via e-mail. If you remember, this past Wednesday and Thursday we experienced our first major snow fall of the season so Nao was right in the middle of it with the continental divide directly in front of him. To make a long, involved story shorter, he made it across the mountains to our home by 4pm on Saturday. I quickly suggested he take a bath to get warm. He agreed and headed for the bathroom. About an hour later he emerged, hungry, relaxed and anxious to get to know us. Steve had asked if he could come over and meet Nao so I suggested that we do dinner ; at about 6pm Steve and Terry arrived. It was one of those magical evenings that happen so rarely. We talked, exchanged stories and ate until we were ready to pop. Nao turned out to be charming, pleasant and a very gracious guest. I will remember the evening for a long time. With my fading memory that could be months from now. After dinner, us guys went down stairs to give Nao’s bike some tender loving care, which it needed badly. We reattached the front racks, cleaned and oiled the chain, pumped up the tires, and gave it a quick inspection. Later Nao and I went upstairs to spend almost two hours planning his route to New York City. He was ready for his journey to continue in the morning. After I went to bed, Sue stayed up until midnight talking with Nao about who knows what.

Resting after dinner

Relaxing after dinner

The morning came; Nao had several bowls of cereal and began to ready himself and his bike for his journey to New York City where he was scheduled to arrive on December 23. We created a Skype connection so that he could contact us with his computer, if needed. Shortly thereafter, Nao headed down the driveway.

After Nao had left, we found a note in his bedroom. In the note was a twenty-dollar bill. At first I considered getting in the car and catching him to give back the money but after reading the note I decided not to. This is written in Nao’s own words. He has only been learning English for three years. I’m impressed!

“I met woman in that time. (this is before he met us) She listened my serious talking and gave this $20 to me. She gave money and I received money. And also I received her kindness. She said, “I can’t help you now, but use this money and stay in hotel.

I want you guys (me) receive this $20. I mean it is not a staying fee, it means a woman’s kindness.”

I will keep this twenty and pass it forward when the time comes. Experiences like this one only intensify my belief that life is about the people you meet and the memories you take from those meeting. My only hope is that someday I will get to see Nao again!

I hope you all have a fantastic Christmas!!!!

The Age of Forgetting

One of the benefits of becoming older is being able to reflect on the past. Us older folks can say things like, ” I remember when…” or “In my day…” and sometimes people gather round to listen and sometimes they scatter like leaves in the wind on a fall day. Upon waking up this morning I was struck by the fact that so many skills are being lost to progress. I laid there thinking of the changes that I have seen in my life, some good, some not so good. When I was 16 and was hankering to get behind the wheel of one of those big hulking metal machines that gave me freedom to explore the world around me, there was an obstacle between me and my freedom. On the column of the steering wheel was a shaft that connected to a series of shafts and levers and finally connected to the transmission where it manipulated a large collection of gears and such which allowed the car to move. On the floor was an additional pedal that disengaged the transmission which in turn allowed one to move the shaft on the steering column to different gears in the transmission. This all sounds simple but it took a certain amount of coordination and timing to perform this action in the proper sequence thus allowing the car to move forward. When I took my first driving test and my tester had me stop on a hill at a light, with people lining up behind me, I came face to face with the deviousness of this system of changing gears. My left foot was on the clutch pedal attempting to keep the car from moving backwards. My right foot was pressing the brake to avoid moving backwards. There is a nerve at the bottom of the foot that began to protest holding the clutch pedal in that particular position. The vehicle began to jerk and bounce as my foot became more agitated from the pressure of the pedal After the test I asked her how I did, she gazed into my eyes and said, “I don’t think I have been that scared in a while”. I, in my adolescent stupidity said, “Does that mean I didn’t pass?”, she just walked away.

In todays world most cars have automatic transmissions, which I must say make it far easier to pass a driving test. They also allow the driver to better concentrate on driving the car rather than the mundane task of shifting gears, but, I sometimes think something is missing.

In the next couple of years driving will make another very large change. Cars are already becoming smarter and able to protect us from ourselves. Some cars already can drive themselves from one place to another. Who hasn’t dreamed of allowing the car to take over on one of those long interstate drives through the night? Before long we will be taken out of the equation and transportation will be safer and more reliable. Another mundane task taken away by a changing world, but, sometimes I think something is missing.

When I was younger, I bought an OM1 camera. It was the same camera that National Geographic used to make their amazing photos. I had to learn many things to use that camera. I had to understand aperture and how it affected the photo. Depending on the type of pictures I was taking I had to choose a film that was appropriate. Light, which is the essence of photography, could be the photographers friend or enemy. The length of time a subject was exposed was always an issue. To take a great picture, a photographer had to understand and utilize all these factors and adjust the camera to the appropriate setting. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t, but somehow I was connected to my camera and together we could make amazing photos by stretching the limits of the device. Cameras today are a marvel of optics and computer technology. Just point the camera and click, there is very little thinking involved. Since film is no longer used and digital is the storage medium, there is no concern with how many pictures one takes. Very few pictures end up in a photo album or on a wall but stay on one’s phone to show to friends when the occasion arises. Again, I think something is missing.

As we rush into the 21st century, there are many skills and talents that are being left behind. There are many folks holding on to these lost skills and attempting to pass them on to a younger generation so as not to be lost. I fear that as time moves forward their efforts will be in vain, and we will no longer see the need to know and understand these abilities. Above, I told stories about my experience and some of the changes that I have witnessed. Can you imagine what it must be like to be 100 years old, or what someone 150 years ago would say about our world? Maybe they might look around, ask a few questions and say, “not sure what, but something is missing”.

Letter to the next president

Dear President Joe Biden

             What an incredible election!  The amazing thing was how close the final vote was.  A mere 4% difference in votes. Mr. President elect, you have a lofty task ahead of you, how to bring a divided country together again.  With that in mind, I decided to write you and tell you how it looks from down here in the trenches.  I am sure part of you remembers growing up in a middle class neighborhood and going to public schools.

      I voted for you, not because I thought you were the best candidate out there, but because you were selected by the people to represent the Democratic Party. I do think you are an outstanding individual with a myriad of political talents, but like myself, you are getting old and I believe the job of president requires a man of immense stamina.  You certainly showed stamina during the campaign but you know as well as I that things slow down a little, as we get older.

    That said, here is what I see as your agenda;

  1. We must eliminate CITIZENS UNITED and remove the quasi-zillions of dollars from swallowing up our political system.  Not sure how you could do this, except legislation.
  2. We must pass legislation to eliminate lifetime appointments (term limits) to elected political offices.
  3. We must somehow ensure that a woman, through legislation, has the right to choose if she wants to reproduce. This is a personal issue, not a political issue.
  4. We must create a tax system that is fair to all Americans, not just the wealthy and industrial giants.

48% of the voting American people voted for Trump because they do not believe our best interests are being served.  Many of them are under paid, undereducated, under insured and have lost faith in our government to help them. They see the rich riding around in luxury cars and yachts and then read in the paper that they pay little to no taxes.  The fact that Trump was able to convince almost 50% of the American people that he should be re-elected is almost unfathomable to me.  The fact that he almost was re-elected scared the daylights out of many of us!  In his short time, he corrupted or ridiculed many long-standing government agencies and seemed bent on securing his position in office.  He is simply a sign that the people are fed up with the way Washington runs. If you want to gain the people’s trust, here is what I see happening.

  1. Ram a fair and equitable tax program down Moscow Mitch’s throat!
  2. Create a single payer health care program that covers ALL American!
  3. Explain to the religious right that you respect a woman’s right to choose and pass legislation to enact that.
  4. Create legislation to simply remove the money and shorten the political process, we would love that!  How about 6 months for an entire election season?

With the exception of the abortion issue, which is a little tricky, this is what many Americans like me want!  You claim that you are running one term.   If that is the case, you can tell it like it is. I think most people would love to hear the truth, said simply and quickly.  Fireside chats once a month would be a nice thing to bring back.  Much of what is happening in this country could be corrected if we were all on the same team.  I still remember what my hero, JFK said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”.  I do believe you can do this if you would allow yourself to trust the American people with the truth. We all want to be on Team America!