We are a part socialist

The other evening I listened to Lawrence O’Donald talk about socialism. I think it was the best explanation of our current political state that I have heard ever. Lawrence O’Donald made the point that all of us are part socialist.  Many of the programs that we so heavily rely on are social programs.  Two of the biggest are Medicare and social security. I have not heard too many people, especially the elderly, complain about these programs and I doubt that very many seniors would give them up or refuse to be covered by them. Before these programs existed, when one was too old to work, there was no place for him in an industrial society. Many seniors worked until they died or spent the remainder of their lives living on the street. The point Lawrence made was this: there are many capitalist societies in today’s world, but very few are practicing pure capitalism. Most practice a hybrid of capitalism and socialism creating safety nets for the financially challenged folks struggling to make ends meet.

What other programs are run by the government? How about the mail system?  We all complain about the price of stamps, but think about what you get; you can send an envelope anywhere in the USA for under 50 cents. I think that is quite a deal.  Who do you think controls the price of electricity? If you are not sure what happens when no one controls the utilities, ask someone from California. Imagine what the price would be if left uncontrolled. I do not believe capitalists build our highways and bridges. The army is a government-run program. What if the government did not control such things as air and water quality; just think of all the interesting diseases you might have!

I am tired of groups who use the word socialist as if it is a poison dart.  They all rely on the same programs we all do and would be among the first to complain if they were discontinued!  Capitalism is a powerful force and like most powerful forces, left unchecked, will run amuck.  The key word here is balance.  We must balance the needs of the people, both rich and poor, with the needs of industry so that both may have a decent level of success.  I personally have no problem with people who make more than $250,000/year paying a little more tax. I still have not figured out how the republicans are going to balance the budget, stay in two wars, fund a larger military and reduce taxes.  I think they used to call that voodoo economics when people knew how to add and subtract.   Take one quick guess, who is going to suffer…you and me, the little folks.

So the next time you hear someone complain about our society becoming too socialist, ask them if they plan to use Medicare when they are older or draw from social security.  Ask them if they have driven their car on a PUBLIC road lately.  Sure we pay taxes and sure the government could be more efficient.  Here is a chart of how much tax we pay in comparison to other countries.

Sorry, the image quality was so poor I will just give you the link. I think you will be surprised when you see where we stand in relation to other countries.

U.S. Tax Rates Compared to Other Countries as a Percentage of GDP

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving!

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To Junk Or Not To Junk…

There is little doubt that we live in a crazy world!   Only someone locked in a room for the last 50 years would think that everything is honky dory. This brings me to the junk debate.  Do I want someone touching my junk?  My family is headed to the airport in a couple of weeks for a flight to Florida to see my daughter graduate from Physical Therapy school so this junk issue is very relevant to me.  First one must define the new age word, “JUNK.”  Not only does this word pertain to the stuff we throw away, it is a slang word for ones private parts.  Now, I have a possible solution to the problem. The young man who adamantly refused to have his junk inspected for bombs and other items capable of destroying a plane might not be so opposed to this practice if the inspector was a hot young scantily clad woman.  I think his objection was that a burly old man was inspecting his junk.  With this idea firmly in your grasp, we can expand it to cover other needs. We could create several lines designed to meet the desires of different people.  Our first line would be the hot young chick line.  The second line could be manned by a good-looking Chippendale man to serve the women in need of a pat down. For others of different sexual preferences, they could choose the line that best serves their needs.  There could even be elderly women for those comfortable with the mother image.

All joking aside, which would you rather be, someone who had to have their junk touched or a piece of jet fuel soaked, burning debris falling from the sky. Let me think, that is a tough one.  No doubt the airport security has its problem and no doubt some of their ideas are pretty far out.  I still think it is ridiculous taking your shoes off to check for explosives in the head but that is because someone tried to do that. The new scanners are extremely low-level x-ray capable of seeing through the clothes only. This means that if you place something internally in your body (use your imagination) it will not be able to see it.  You probably get more radiation from your cell phone anyway and I know the amount of radiation from the sun or a tanning bed is considerable higher!

So to junk or not to junk, that is the question.  I think we need to clean up the language a little.  If you’re junk is touched this would be called “junked.”  Used in a sentence it may sound like this, “I got junked at the airport or that girl who junked me at the airport was hot!”  Enjoy your flight.

 

Elections and Christmas


Yesterday I was in town doing some shopping and could not help but notice that the stores were gearing up for Christmas. I remember when I thought it was crazy to start hawking Christmas right after Thanksgiving. Well the hell with thanks, let’s get to the gifts!  Maybe we should move Thanksgiving to after Christmas so we can be thankful for all the wonderful things we get for Christmas. In fact maybe we should arrange all the holidays so that there is a natural progression up to Christmas. Let’s see, we have to start out with New Year’s as a beginning. This is a great time of year when even the non-drinkers have a few so they can forget about all the bad stuff going on in the world.

At the end of January we should celebrate Thanksgiving. There are so many things to be thankful for. Top on the list is: the collection agencies have not begun retrieve the money you spent on Christmas which you could not afford to pay back; computers have not taken over the world, the planets did not align to destroy the earth; we can also celebrate the end of all those stupid shows about the previous year.  Oh yeah, we can be thankful that it will be an at least eight months until we have to listen to GRANDMA GOT RUN OVER BY A REINDEER.

After a few months we will need a holiday, so let’s move Valentine’s Day and Saint Patrick’s Day to the same day. In this way we can give the wife some chocolate and she can give the old man some green beer.  This day should be sometime in late February to help us get through the winter blues.
I think we will leave Easter where it is. It is not a big gift day so it is of little consequence to the merchants. I am sure they do not make that much money on those little plastic eggs!

Next on our agenda are Mother’s day and Fathers day. I think they should be in late May. Having these two together ensures that neither spouse nor the kids can forget.  This also makes it easier for kids away from home to travel home for both parents on their special day.

There should be no holidays in the summer. We are too busy with little league, soccer, football, shopping and vacation to deal with distraction. This gets us all the way to October to celebrate Halloween which seems like a good time to scare people for some candy.

So at this point, it is two months til Christmas. The merchants can go hog-wild!  No Thanksgiving or any other holiday to distract us from the true meaning of life-getting things!

If you have enough time to waste in that you are still reading, my last topic is elections. I am sure you realize that politicians have begun campaigning for the 2012 elections!  That means that this campaign is going to last two years!  I am bothered that the Christmas season lasts two months!  I am not sure I can endure two whole two years of, ” candidate  Bobby Smith peed on a tree in public when he was three years old and therefore should not be president!”

I think the Brits have the right idea. Their campaigning last one month, not years!  The result is the same.  Somehow we have allowed seasons such as Christmas and elections to go well beyond their usefulness.  Here are some parallels that may help you understand: swimming for a while is fun but swimming across the English Channel is not. Flying in a plane for an hour is fun but flying to Australia is not. Elections and Christmas are fun but elections that last forever and a Christmas that last for three months are not. In summation, nothing I say or do, or you say or do will change this trend so…whatever…

Cutting My Own Hair

Before I go too far I will give you a little “hair” background.  I have very little hair:  it is silver ( gray is for old people! ).  There is a large circle of shiny bare scalp on top whose main goal is to spread across my entire globe.  I am 60+ years old, and nature and lifestyle have ganged up on me having taken way my beautiful mane.  In a way, this is somewhat humorous in a gene-trait kind of way, because I had incredibly thick, long, dark brown hair when I was young;  as every young person believes, it would always be that way until the day they laid me to rest.  In fact, at one point in my life it reached my shoulders.  In a society that spends billions of dollars on hair transplants, wigs, coloring, shampoos, conditioner and elaborate do’s, I kind of feel released.  If you have not noticed, many men have reached for this state of release and have taken the easy way out by shaving their heads!  For reasons that escape me, some men have decided that a completely shaved head is sexier than a halo of silver hair around the side or a comb-over. I have so far stuck with my look since it may be the closest I ever get to having a halo.

On to the title of this blog.  Over the last several years I have saved about $270 dollars by cutting my own hair.  I bought a pair of those inexpensive clippers with all the attachments, and after a few rather strange outcomes, became somewhat proficient at it.  I calculated the savings by assuming the cost of a haircut at $10 every two months for the last six years. I subtracted the $30 paid for the clippers and calculated my savings. I did not include the gas savings.  Now Sue, my wife, has decided that this is not OK.  She is insisting that I go to a barber to get my hair cut.  I am unable to understand her thinking.  She has complimented me several times on the quality of my work.  Of course there have been a few botch-ups which were quickly covered up with new hair.  I have told her that once a guy gets to be this old, no one is looking anyway, but that does little to stop her attacks.

After some thought I have decide that this is one of those, Men are from Mars, women are from Venus issues. I have written about this before in my own rendering of this idea, MEN ARE FROM MARS, WOMEN ARE FROM WALMART article. You can read this at:

https://streisel.wordpress.com/2010/01/14/men-are-from-mars-women-are-from-wal-mart/

So the battle of the sexes continues in every weird nook and cranny imaginable, of which one is my cutting ones my own hair.

Men, hold firm, don’t give up any ground because, if you give an inch, it will soon be a foot and so on and so on.  Before you know it you will be going to a spa to have the hair removed from your chest and legs as well as having your nails done…and painted.

ALL ABOARD…Geekton, Nerdville, Bordomtown and all points Cosmic…

After voting yesterday I headed to Winchester to get arthroscopic surgery on my ankle.  You may remember that I had surgery on the same ankle about 10 months ago but another problem cropped up so I went for another round of fun and games.  Anyway I am grounded for several weeks and must occupy my mind or go crazy.   The following link is to the previous blog on my first surgery if you are also in a state of boredom.

https://streisel.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=391&action=edit

IF you are still bored you can play a short skills game that is a lot of fun if you consider yourself intelligent and good with a mouse. The reason I like it is because it is Geometry related and challenges your brain. My score was 3.5. See if you can beat it and let me know if you do.

http://www.rocklerchallenge.com/?roi=echo3-7213559595-4765064-c468b34fad5e6e47b26fffd1573c74b6&

On another point, I woke up last night with this crazy question.

How many electrons in a D battery?  At one point in my life I could figure stuff like this out so I challenged my self to get the old physics book out and attempt it.

Here is what I got 100,440,000,000,000 electrons pass through a light bulb with a resistance of 1.5 ohm from a battery of 1.5 volts that last for 10 hours. I ignored factors such as temperature and wire length. I have some friends who are electrical engineers so I am sure they will correct me if I am wrong.

 

Have a good day!

Cosmic Remedies

Due to the many years I have spent circling the sun, I think I have some health ideas that might be useful to others. My best friend is salt, regular old table salt. You see, germs do not like salt, primarily because it kills them. The holes in our face in through which we breathe are corridors for germs to get into our bodies; there are lots of germs all around us, all of the time. In fact, one must view the world as a giant germ aquarium in which we swim about among the germs. Most are harmless because our body does a great job of fighting them off, but some of them are downright mean and can cause us a lot of grief. This time of year, our sinuses get very dry so that small cracks form where germs can get a foothold and multiply. Sometimes these germs can grow into a full-blown sinus infection, which as we all know, can be a real downer.  This is where salt comes in. Take a small spray bottle and place some salt in it (you will figure out how much you can stand).  Now add real warm water( but not warm enough to cause pain), mix well and spray it with force up your nose! Your first time will be mind-altering as you deal with salt water in your nose. After a while you will get more accustomed to it and it will not be so uncomfortable.

If you are not having any sinus problems you can do this once a day to help prevent infection. If you are in the midst of an infection, do it as many times a day as you can, to avoid going to the doctor and being forced to buy expensive antibiotics.

If this gives you some relief, please respond to the blog so that other readers can learn first hand of your results.