Roy's Blog

As can be seen in other parts of the web site, I like to write about things I find interesting/important. All of those things that interest me are not all significant enough to warrant a full essay; therefore, I've decided to create a Blog for myself. It will not be like most blogs in that I'm not using any blog software. If you want to comment/argue/disagree with anything in the blog (or anywhere else in my web site) just send me an email and if I deem it appropriate, I will post it. Be aware, I do not believe commercials are appropriate, nor language that isn't PG. (Okay, I'm a prude - but I'm an old prude!) That being said, I'd love to hear your comments especially if you disagree. By understanding why you disagree, perhaps I will see the errors in my thinking.

A word of warning before going on regarding proof reading: if you read any of the following you will soon be asking, “Doesn’t he proof read this stuff?” The answer is yes I do proof read it and that is why there are so many errors. You see when I proof read my own work, I see what I meant not necessarily what shows up. Sometimes when I reread things weeks later, I will catch some of the errors and correct them. Until then, my apologies!

Date Posted: Tuesday, November 21, 2023

General Area: General

Title:  Belief

I like to think of myself as being open minded. My philosophy is if you want to believe in something that’s your business. Unfortunately, lately I find myself contradicting my own philosophy.

If you want to believe in Christianity, Judaism, Islam, or any other religion or lack thereof, it’s fine with me, if you let other people have the freedom to do the same. Granted, there are the extremists in almost every one of the religions who feel that everyone must conform to their way of thinking. I have a problem with that and that may be hypocritical. How can I say it’s okay to believe what you want, but say it’s not okay for you to believe everyone should believe what you do? I don’t really think it’s hypocritical. I think I remember someone saying, “your rights stop at my nose” and that seems to fit this.

Lately I’ve been finding myself contradicting my philosophy about belief in an area that isn’t really religion, but, in my mind, some are beginning to treat it as a religion. It’s called science. People are saying we should or shouldn’t do things because the “scientists” say so.

I have two major concerns with this. I’ve been an engineer for some time and found science to be reliable to a point. My initial concern with blindly accepting what the “scientists” say, is which scientists? Having dealt with academic scientists, I found it common for them not to agree with each other. The answer to the question of which to believe then becomes which version is sold best to media and becomes “what scientists think.” Not a very satisfying answer for me.

My other concern is science is always evolving. What scientists believe is true, is only so until it is proven false. According to what I was taught, at one time scientists thought the world was flat. Newton proved “what goes up must come down” until we learned how to escape earth’s gravity. Even more recently, some of the practices believed to prevent the spread of Covid were later shown not to be effective/needed. That’s not a criticism of requiring the practices. They were logical to me at the time because we had to try to stop the spread.

I guess the crux of this is that if you want to believe in science that’s fine with me; however, I hope you also believe in the dynamic nature of science.


Date Posted: Monday, October 16, 2023

General Area: General

Title:  Judge Not

I’m afraid my mind has been influenced by that well known philosophical commentary “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.” In that movie, Dr. McCoy criticizes the barbaric treatment patients are receiving. Of course, the treatment the patients were receiving was state of the art for when the movie was made (1986). Not long after that, I was reading about some of the treatments psychiatric patients received 100 years ago. We certainly look at the shock treatments, lobotomies, and other treatments as being barbaric now and, I’m afraid, the people who performed them as barbarians.

The psychiatrists and other medical professionals we see in the movies depicting those days are usually shown as evil, twisted, sadists. I’ll bet that’s not accurate. Do you think all of the people who put all the work into becoming professional medical people did it to inflict pain and do nasty things? I don’t. Some of them may have enjoyed the pain they were inflicting, but most were merely doing what they were taught and believed to be the best for their patients. Just as we do today.

The social issue failures of the past are even pointed out more frequently. Slavery, child labor, animal cruelty, religious intolerance and other issues are brought up frequently to point out how bad those people were. Were they bad or were they merely conforming to what they were taught and was normal for the time?

While religious intolerance is still a problem, it is better than it once was. I can remember my grandmother telling me not to play with a friend because his Italian sounding name most likely meant he was Catholic and ‘good protestants don’t associate with Catholics.” The negative adjectives describing that statement are unending, and like I indicated we’re a little better now, but am I to label my grandmother a bad person because of her issuing that warning. She was just parroting what she’d been told. Does that make her bad? I’m sure some of you readers are saying, “Not bad, but stupid.”

Be careful, I wonder what we will be considered stupid, barbaric, or worse for saying or doing. Will we in the future learn to fully communicate with animals and get to hear their versions of the way they have been and are currently being treated? Will we find some breakthrough proving how we are concentrating our energies on what will be deemed trivial matters in the future? Or maybe, Dr. McCoy was right and we’ll find out we are still using barbaric treatments of our ill.

Date Posted: Friday, September 29, 2023

General Area: Salaries

Title:  Something to think about

With the automotive strike going on, there has been a lot of conversation about the CEO of GM making $29 million a year. That's an astounding number! On my way to showing myself what an astounding number it is, I came across something that bothers me a little.

 When I was gainfully employed in manufacturing, we talked about how much more a supervisor should make than his subordinates. (In my line of work and era, it was all guys) The consensus was the supervisor should make about 10% more to make the extra responsibility worthwhile and to “ensure” the respect of the subordinates (like that worked). From the google machine, I learned the average wage for a UAW worker was $28 per hour. Assuming 40 hours per week and 52 weeks per year, that’s a little more than $58,000 annually.

When I took the GM’s CEO’s salary and reduced it by 10% sequentially, I had to do it 59 times before I got to a salary under $58,000. If I did it the other way and added 10% to the $58,000 sequentially, it would take 65 times to get above the CEO’s salary.

Depending on how we do the numbers, if each level receives 10% more that means there should be about 60 levels in the GM salary structure. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find how many levels there are in the GM salary structure.

By the way, the 10% increment was a number we kicked around as being “right”. I don’t think that number was real. I know way back when, there were times when the hourly employee made more than their supervisor because of time and half for overtime, etc. If we cut the 10% in half, it means there should be about 120 levels between the CEO and the average worker. (That should not be a surprise, take half steps and you need twice as many to get there.)

While 60 levels between the CEO seems like a lot, GM is a big company. 120 levels gets a little harder to swallow.  I'll bet the increments get higher the higher you go.

Date Posted: Wednesday, September 27, 2023

General Area: Politics

Title:  Another shutdown

It seems we’re facing another government shutdown. Once again, our extremely intelligent(?) congress seems to be taken by surprise of the upcoming deadline and crisis.

If I was running a department or operation and knew a problem was coming up and didn’t do something about it as soon as possible, I would have been fired.

Maybe, it’s something we should all think about.

Date Posted: Saturday, September 23, 2023

General Area: Football

Title:  Grateful

With the upcoming game with the Chiefs, the pundits are once again pointing out that the Bears passed on Mahomes. We selected Trubisky before Mahomes in that draft. Bears fans have bemoaned the choice for a few years now.

I wonder if the shoe isn’t on the wrong foot. Maybe it’s Mahomes who should be grateful!

Date Posted:  September 21 , 2023

General Area: Immigration

Title:  Who should I be mad at?

I noticed a headline on MSN about a 3-year-old dying while crossing the Rio Grande. Of course, as frequently happens to me, after doing what I intended, when I went back to read the article, I couldn’t find it. I wonder who the author wanted me to be mad at.

I’m sure the author of the article wanted me to be mad at someone. It may have been the author thought the parent(s) were terrible putting their child in such a situation. I can see that. Would a “good” parent endanger their child that way?

On the other hand, the author may have wanted me to be mad at the government for having laws preventing the family escaping the conditions they were fleeing. I could see that too. How many years have we been struggling with the immigration issue? It seems to me it has been a problem for decades and our government doesn’t seem to be any closer to resolving it.

It seems rare to me when an article comes down on both sides; therefore, I’m pretty sure the author had a slant. Since I can’t find the article again, I’ll just have to be mad at both – and maybe that’s the way it should be.

Date Posted: Tuesday, September 19, 2023

General Area: General

Title:  What are you worrying about?

I find we common people in the U.S. rather humorous when I’m not frustrated with us.

We are about to have another one of those debt ceiling things that has the potential to shut down the country and do nasty things to our IRAs. The city of Chicago announced the projected budget was only ¾ billion dollars short of being balanced much of it because of the immigration issue. Chicago has had 418 homicides this year so far (but it’s down from last year).

I get most of my news and commentary from the internet. With all this stuff going on, I’d expect there would be all sorts of cries for our elected officials to be doing something about these significant issues. What do I find instead? Paragraph after paragraph about what’s wrong with the Bears. Line after line explaining why Ross shouldn’t be the manager of the Cubs as they fall. Of course, if you do a little digging, you can find reviews of movies, plays, and restaurants.

I guess our priorities are different than I’d like them to be.


Date Posted: Saturday, September 16, 2023

General Area: Religion


 Heaven or Hell

Some time ago I was doing some reflecting on heaven, and I realized what others describe as heaven doesn’t sound like heaven to me. Streets of gold, no worries, no challenges sound great initially, but for how long? I realized I enjoy when things are running smoothly, but I’m happiest when I’ve solved a problem. If there weren’t problems to solve, I think I’d get bored and become apathetic. That doesn't sound like heaven to me.

Obviously, my heaven needs some problems to solve. To make matters more frustrating, the bigger the problem I solve, the happier I am. Therefore, I need big problems in my heaven.

Wait a minute! I face big problems now and occasionally solve one. Am I in heaven now?

On the other hand, hell has been described by some as a place where you would constantly regret your past actions or inactions. I would add to that hell would be a place where I’d recognize problems and not feel powerful enough to do anything about them.

Again, that sounds like how I feel now. Am I in hell now?

Date Posted: Monday, May 29, 2023

General Area: General

Title: Racism?

Pam and I went to the play titled "Beyond the Porch" at Northlight recently. As usual, we enjoyed the performance. Their plays are typically well produced and acted. This one met those standards, and as many others have done, got me thinking.

It was an original said to be about racism and “down home”/hootenanny music. The young adult heroine was estranged from her grandparents. She was an Asian-American. Her mother was from rural North Carolina and her father was of Korean ancestry. They had moved back to North Carolina when the heroine was a very young girl. Obviously, there were not many Asian-American in the rural area. According to my interpretation of what I saw in the play, there were not any overt acts of racism with the girl or her father until one day at a picnic. The kids were playing a game of tag. The heroine while small was fast and agile and on three occasions tagged the local kid jock. He was not used to be beaten by anyone his age much less a small girl and yelled a racial curse at her.

Was that racism, or was it merely a brat being a brat? I think it was a brat being brat. If she wasn’t of Asian ancestry, he would have yelled at her for being a girl, for being small, or some other aspect of her personage. Let’s face it, her race was an obvious characteristic for the bully to blame. Being a girl or small were not as unique characteristics as her ancestry. I’m not saying the bully was right in doing what he did, but I’m not sure it was racism.

What transpired after that was, according to the play, what led to the estrangement. The heroine was upset at the comment and came running to her grandparents for support. While the grandparents consoled the heroine, they did not reprimand the brat for his racial comments. (I don’t remember whether it was said in the play or my attempt to justify the grandparents’ actions, but I believe the bully was the child of an area leader.) The heroine’s mother became incensed that her parents didn’t protect her daughter from the racial insult. (Why didn’t the mother react if it was so important?) The heroine’s mother then immediately moved her family away from North Carolina.

I understand there is racism. I don’t understand why there is racism, or what it causes racists to do what they do, but I do think some of what is called racism are jerks (cleaned up to stay P G) being jerks.  

Date Posted: Wednesday, February 15, 2023

General Area: General                

Title: We Need Some Good Parents

We are again entering a cycle congress battling over raising the debt limit. There’s some good news here in Illinois, it appears our credit rating has improved, but we’re still deep in debt. We are listening to the pros and cons of college debt relief. Then there are the constant ads for debt consolidation, lower interest credit cards, and bankruptcy. It seems being deeply in debt is the norm.

Personal debt is one thing. Contrary to some’s thoughts, the kids aren’t responsible for the debts of the parents. So, in theory, if you rack up all sorts of debt before you kick off, it’s not your kids’ problem. (Of course, there is the guilt you may be laying on them for not taking care of you while you’re waiting to kick off.)

Governmental debt is a different story, in a way. Obviously, if we kick-the-bucket before the debt is paid, we won’t have to pay it off; however, our kids (and theirs) will. We are leaving our progeny with massive debt.

I don’t think we should leave our kids and theirs with massive debt. So, what’s the solution. I think it’s fairly simple. There is a phrase that I was taught by my mother that I heard a lot. We need to learn again – we can’t afford that!

It may be simple, but it isn’t necessarily easy. I’m a good person. I’ve worked hard. I deserve it, even if I can’t afford it. But I think of what my mother dealt with and if anyone deserved it, she did. She knew what we couldn’t afford, and I think she raised her sons to be just as smart.

Public debt is an even more complicated issue. The people who decide what we can and can’t afford must be elected. What complicates everything is it’s hard to get elected by promising to cut programs or say we can’t afford things the electorate wants or what campaign contributors want. I’m not optimistic about finding the answer to solving the problem. How do we get the electorate to vote for people who have the courage to say, “we can’t afford that?”

Ideas PLEASE!!

Date Posted: Friday, February 3, 2023

General Area: Reading                  

Title: Series – Good or Bad?

When I find an author I like, I generally read everything the author has written. It’s now to the point that if I’m looking for a new author, before starting the first book I’ll research what the author has done previously. If I find the author has older books, I’ll start with the oldest.

I noticed something in the author I’ve been currently reading and in reflection, I’ve seen it with other authors. I’ve currently been reading Micah Hackler’s Sheriff Lansing series. I really enjoyed the first, second and third in the series; however, I found the fourth not to be as good. I’ve seen this happen before. It’s almost like the authors think they developed a system to keep their readers happy and about the third or fourth in a series they pay attention to the system and forgo their own creativity.  

The good news is that after a downer in a series, the author frequently comes back with their normal good works.

So where does that leave me? I’ll take a break from Sheriff Lansing to return to an old favorite. Paty Jager has written book 10 of her Gabriel Hawke series and I’ll hopefully rejoin old friends in the characters in that book. After that, I’ll most likely go back to Sheriff Lansing and see if Mr. Hackler gets back to writing what I like.

Date Posted: Saturday, January 14, 2023

General Area: Media                  

Title: Where was the media?

In case you’re reading this when it’s no longer news George Santos was elected to the U S congress after fabricating his past. He lied about where he went to school, where he worked, and awards he received among other things. The thing about this that bothers me is that it all came out after the election. That’s not what I would have expected in this day.

If this had been when I graduated from high school, it may have been more understandable. It was hard to get information back then. Verification took time. Telephone calls had to be made, and they were expensive. Places needed to be visited and people needed to be talked to. Now, much of this can be taken care of while sitting in your easy chair watching TV with a laptop in your lap. But, that didn’t happen.

According to the Republicans the media is always after their blood. If the way the media treated Santos is an example, the Republicans should come up with another line.

On the other hand. If media contends they are the watchdog for America’s society, they better start showing it and not after the fact.

Date Posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2023

General Area: Sports        

Title: Chicago Bears

The Bear’s season is over. A new GM and head coach, and gobs of new players led to one of the worst seasons we fans have had to endure. I must admit the watching wasn’t as painful as their record would indicate. Watching the progress of Justin Fields made it more interesting.

That being said, the Bear’s did win the first pick in the draft, and there’s a lot of talk about how wonderful that is. I urge caution in the euphoria. It is one pick, and the team needs a lot of help. I can’t remember seeing the Bears with a worse defense. Fields was sacked more than most other quarterbacks and his receivers were underwhelming. Is one pick going to solve all those problems? I don’t think so.

In addition to the number of areas that need help, there is also the fact that the current regime does not have a track record. If the Bears are going to be really good next year, it appears to me all their moves will have to be near perfect. That doesn’t appear logical to me.

But, miracles do happen! The Cubs did finally win a World Series. Let’s keep our fingers crossed!

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