Archive for category current events
The weather, like everything else in life, has been a rich source of material for comedians stretching back to antiquity. Times have changed. We have to do more than laugh at or complain about dear old Mother Nature. With each passing day, Mother nature is losing her sense of humor. She’s also losing her temper.
I have fond memories of the weather as an old friend. It always had its good moods and bad, its ups-and-downs, but it always seemed to be there for me, especially in the spring and summer. I remember walking down tree-lined fairways, under a bright blue sky and a warm sun. In those days, a weekend round of golf was a walk in heaven. No one worried too much about UV radiation because the ozone layer had yet to become a swiss cheese.
Flash forward to 2018. Weather nightmares assault millions of people. Drought victims, flood victims, tsunami and hurricane survivors; anyone who has had their home demolished or their livelihood destroyed will have trouble feeling safe again. Weather victims have every right to think of the weather as an enemy rather than a friend.
I think of the weather these days not as a friend or foe. I see it as a messenger. I believe it is trying to warn us, like a biblical prophet.
Who is the messenger? Nature Herself. If you persist in pissing someone off, that person is going to turn around, sooner or later, and slug you in the face. If you hurt someone, you will face retribution. Call it Karma. Call it whatever you like. We get what we give.
Nature has finally run out of patience. Nature is very angry with us. You have to watch out for slow-to-anger types. They usually pack one hell of a punch. We picked on the wrong person when we started mistreating the biosphere. The human race is famous for under achievement and stupidity, but this latest blunder of ransacking the environment is an award-winner. If we don’t act quickly and decisively, the pooch will be permanently screwed. We are cutting our own throats.
Winters are already beyond cruel in northern climates. The sun has become a grim reaper in tropical climates. Weather conditions around the globe have become capricious and downright vindictive. Glaciers are melting. Rivers and lakes that once provided life-giving water are drying up or dying from pollution. The seas are rising and flooding coastal cities. Marine life is dying in our acidic oceans. Destructive forest fires are becoming a weekly occurrence. In twenty years, we may not have enough fresh water to drink.
We have to heed the weather’s warning. The time to act is now. Don’t wait for the government to do something. The U.S. government has been dragging its feet on carbon dioxide emissions for over thirty years. We the people must accept the responsibility for global warming and the water crisis. We are like little children who have to grow up quickly because no one is there to protect us. Little steps can make a big difference, if everyone makes the effort.
Read about the environment. Make your next car a hybrid or an electric car. If nobody buys conventional gas cars, they will disappear from the earth like dinosaurs. Conventional gas cars have become a bad habit, like eating a steady diet of junk food. For an informative look at the current crisis and a concise list of things we can do to reduce our individual carbon footprints, go to www.climatecrisis.net. The power is within us. Let’s use it!
Do you really need four blades on your razor? I might be talking mostly to guys here, but maybe you gals have the same problem.
I’ve been shaving with a two-bladed Gillette Sensor Razor for about ten years. (I think it’s been ten years but time starts to warp after age sixty). I’m sure the Gillette Razor Blade Company hates me, and in fact, I think lately they’ve been doing something shady to move me up to a more expensive blade.
The Sensor blades I bought recently aren’t as good as the ones I used to buy. They don’t last more than a few days. I think blades that cost $1.80 each should last for a week. The “old” ones did. The new ones cut my face if I’m not careful. And they’re even a different color. I think Gillette has outsourced the Sensor blades to a manufacturer they very carefully researched to find the cheapest alternative with a reputation for making slightly inferior blades.
I say “slightly” because Gillette doesn’t want a consumer rebellion on their hands. They just want to irritate guys (and maybe gals) like me enough to move up to the four-blade turbo charged product that sells for about thirty-two bucks and change for a box of ten. That’s something like three bucks and change per blade. Are you getting my message?
I’m not going to be shamed or cajoled into buying more expensive blades. I’m going to fight this. My first response to this situation has been to buy a standard razor, the old-fashioned kind your Mom or Dad used. I get a closer shave, but I’ll admit it’s a little scary. I have to be really careful. It’s a lot easier and safer to use a modern plastic razor. And I have to use my Sensor razor to get the spot right under my nose. So now I’m using two razors.
The blades that come with my new old-fashioned razor cost seventy-seven cents each. That’s a big savings over the new improved technologically advanced models. But the problem is that now I have to use two razors. I clearly can’t go on using two razors.
Conclusions: I’ll have to go on using some version of the lower priced “modern” blade. I’m not going to fall for the lure of the four-blade model because I’m sure this “advanced” technology exists solely to satisfy the thirst for increased corporate profits.
I hope all of this helps.
I enjoy reading words of inspiration as much as you probably do. I believe in the power of positive thinking. I love practicing the art of creative visualization. (My man Jordan Spieth, last week’s winner of the US Open Golf Championship, is the ultimate practitioner of creative visualization.)
Having said this, I have to say something more. You probably guessed I’d go on for a bit in this week’s blog. It takes more than a stranger’s words to affect lasting, positive change and success in any endeavor. It takes loving support from caring mentors. The ideal personification of this support comes from a set of caring, loving parents. Let’s take Jordan Spieth again as an example. He seems to have an ideal relationship with his loving, caring, teaching parents plus a monumental talent that have helped him to win two major golf titles in his young and promising career.
Jason Day, a young professional golfer from Australia, battled bravely through dizziness and nausea caused by vertigo to finish high in the US Open final standings. Jason, unlike his contemporary Spieth, did not have a strong connection with his parents while growing up. He had a troubled youth before meeting Colin Swatton at Kooralbyn, a golf-centric boarding school in south-east Queensland. Jason’s mother had to borrow money to send her son to Kooralbyn in a desperate attempt to do something about his delinquent behavior after his father died of stomach cancer when Jason was 12.
Colin Swatton was a golf instructor at Kooralbyn when he first met the head-strong, rebellious Day. Swatton’s non-confrontational style won Jason over. When Swatton moved on to teach at Hills International College, Day followed him. From there, Swatton became Day’s golf coach, mentor, close friend and full-time professional caddie. Jason Day is now one of the top-ranked golfers in the world with a family of his own and the admiration and affection of his peers.
After I’ve read a self-help book the inspiration and advice usually fade within forty-eight hours. Formulaic self-help exercises quickly become dry practices that yield little or lasting benefits. I picked up a few Wayne Dyer books a year ago and two things became immediately clear: (1) Wayne has a lot of nice things to say and (2) I could not practice or live what Dyer says if I tried for a million years.
So what does it take to move forward, achieve, and grow? To amplify what I said earlier, it takes a special personal relationship. It is a relationship that always accepts and honors who you are and where you are. It can be a parental, mentoring, teaching, romantic, or friend to friend relationship. In the case of the first three, the relationship begins with the child, mentee, or student receiving more at first. I’ve learned that over time the best of these relationships blossom into mutuality where both parties reap significant rewards. There’s an energy and information exchange in these relationships; call it love, call it caring and concern, call it chemistry. Whatever it is, it’s a radiant, magic elixir. It produces extraordinary human beings; some famous and others who live and work quietly outside of the limelight.
My coffee maker died yesterday. It was six months old. It died of the mechanical equivalent of a grand mal seizure or a massive heart attack, I’m not exactly sure which applies. One thing is certain; the death was premature.
For the past two years, I’ve been trying to find an upscale coffee maker to replace my old, reliable, cheap Mr. Coffee. I am in search of a more aesthetically pleasing machine that makes better coffee. I’m not talking about a ridiculously priced espresso machine. I’m talking about a good-looking machine in the neighborhood of seventy-five dollars including tax that makes yummy coffee. I don’t think that’s asking too much, especially considering the premium coffee I use. If there’s anything my daughter and I agree upon, it’s the importance of good coffee in large quantities to start the day. For the record, my wife does not drink coffee.
There are not many coffee maker brands available in retail stores. Besides Mr. Coffee, there are only three or four other major brands on sale in major retail chains When my search began, I thought these brands represented the “best of the best” using the theory of Darwinian Economics. So far, I’ve chosen two of these brands to try with disappointing results.
I bought a sixty-nine dollar Cuisinart with high hopes. Unfortunately, I chose the color white, which turned out to be a bitch to clean. Within a few months, I grew weary of the futile struggle to keep the Cuisinart free of ugly coffee stains. Two months later, the clock broke. I was actually happy this happened. It gave me an excuse to buy another coffee maker.
I bought another Cuisinart, this time in black. It broke down nine months later. To add insult to injury, I did not notice any real difference in the quality of the coffee it made, except when I replaced the charcoal filter. The better taste lasted two or three weeks, then it went back to “ho-hum” quality. I will never again buy anything made by Cuisinart.
Due to my stubborn preference for cone-shaped filters, I was left with only one viable alternative in my price and shape range. I bought a sexy-looking Krups coffee maker. I expected the German reputation for precision and quality products to hold true for their coffee machines. As reported above, my Krups machine expired after six months. I’m sure the damn thing was made by a tragically underpaid worker half a world away from Germany. What is this world coming to?
It occurs to me that we are faced with much larger problems than poorly made coffee makers. I would gladly buy a coffee maker every six months if it helped to solve the problems in Ukraine and Iraq, for starters.
At 4:30 am last night, I began praying for the light of reason to switch on inside the heads of our congressional leaders. To be fair, my prayers applied specifically to a small, right wing segment of the Republican Party. I’m sure these individuals are acting out of what they consider their “social conscience.” I choose to call it something else: selfishness and irresponsibility.
Just in case you’ve been glued to re-runs of “Grey’s Anatomy” for the past month instead of the national news, the issue that has caused our congressional leaders to tear each other into little pieces and culminate in an unthinkable government shutdown is the Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as “Obamacare.”
I do not “have it in” for Republicans because I happen to be one myself. In addition, I am not an advocate of “Obamacare.” In my situation, the only “benefits” I stand to reap from the law are higher insurance premiums and a longer wait to see my doctor. But there are a couple of things I realize and accept that the “Tea Party” Republicans choose to conveniently ignore. Obamacare is now the law of the land. It was passed by both houses of Congress and ratified by the Supreme Court. I’m not sure if the majority of citizens in this country favor the law, but certainly our elected leaders favor it. The last time I checked, the majority rules in a Democracy, and we are bound to follow the laws of the land.
In time, I hope amendments to the law will be passed that will allow everyone in this country to live with the Affordable Care Act in peace. Perhaps a future administration will dismantle the law if we find it does more harm than good. Whatever the case, we have no reason to panic. Life will go on. Affordable Care will live or die on its own merit or lack thereof.
Instead, we have a few people holding the government hostage and causing untold suffering to hundreds of thousands of people in addition to disrupting financial markets and an economy finally showing signs of life.
In 1995, a political party impasse caused a government shutdown. It cost taxpayers 1.4 billion dollars to stop and restart the engine. Here are a few examples of people affected by the shutdown, paraphrased from an article by Fred Grimm in the October 1, 2013 edition of the Miami Herald.
Somewhere between 800,000 and a million government employees cannot go to work. Nine million mothers-in-need will be denied supplemental food and nutritional education for their infants and children. The shutdown disrupts research by the National Institutes of Health and by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Environmental Protection Agency will go dark. 1.1 million Head Start kids are affected adversely—and on and on.
The Tea Party faction of the Republican Party will no doubt view the plight of people directly affected by the government shutdown as collateral damage in their holy war against the “Affordable Care Act.” For these compassionate souls, I pray the law of Karma will kick in to apply swift and sure payback.
* Although “Don’t Panic” is a public domain phrase, I’d like to give the brilliant writer Douglas Adams credit for his use of the phrase as advice for space travelers in his novel “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.”