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 rwl@lobenhofer.com 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: Thursday, June 20, 2024

General Area: Book Review

Title:  ADVICE FROM A PARKINSON'S WIFE - 20 LESSONS LEARNED THE HARD WAY

My wife was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease a while ago. With the original diagnosis I did some reading about it but became frustrated because of the variability of the disease. It seemed to everything happened to some patients but not all. Being a rather linear thinker, that didn’t satisfy me at all, and I put my Parkinson’s research on hold.

Recently I have been noting some concerning signs and I felt it was time to get some more information. I saw an ad for Advice From a Parkinson’s Wife: 20 Lessons Learned the Hard Way (Parkinson's Disease Book 1) by Barbara Sheklin Davis and it looked like as good as any place to start. So, I started my Parkinson’s reading again.

It was an easy read, which is certainly a plus in my evaluation of books. The author’s husband is much further down the Parkinson’s road than my wife. While that certainly made me grateful, it made some of the things she was writing about not applicable to us.

My biggest complaint was the way the author downplayed the variability of the disease. She talked about numerous symptoms her husband had and while sort of saying those symptoms might not happen to all patients certainly didn’t give any information about the likelihood of a patient showing those symptoms.

All in all, I think the book is worth the time and money. It pointed out a couple of things I hadn’t associated with Parkinson’s before and certainly shows that we are not alone on the Parkinson’s road.

Date Posted: Friday, June 14, 2024

General Area: Web

Title:  Coincidence?

I hate spam, especially the spam that I believe is trying to con people who are less knowledgeable about technical issues. The “shipments” being sent to you that need additional information. What I hate most are the emails with invoices for services from well known names; however, if you look at the return addresses they don’t match up with the name. Supposedly, there’s nothing that can be done about them, but I wonder.

I used to get a ton of such phony invoices claiming to be from Norton (not as many as from Geek Squad, but a ton). I do have a subscription to Norton and have for some time. A while back Norton asked me why I declined an upgrade. I responded by saying that if Norton couldn’t protect their name from being used in fraudulent transactions why should I expect them to be able to help me.

Shortly after that I stopped getting phony emails from Norton. Coincidence? Most likely, but I must wonder. If it’s not coincidence, why can’t the government learn how to shut them down.

Date Posted: Saturday, June 8, 2024

General Area: Sports

Title:  Bring on the Robo Umps

I was watching the Cubs the other night. They had brought in a young reliever who should have struck out the batter. The pitch tracking showed it was without question a strike but instead was called a ball. If it had been properly called, it would have been the third out of the inning. Instead, the pitcher became rattled, walked that batter, and then blew up.

It prompted me to see what the status of using technology to call balls and strikes in the major leagues. I was disappointed to read the earliest it was going to be used was 2026 and even more frustrating it was going to be some sort of challenge system where the umpires would still be calling the balls and strikes but if a batter thought it was a bad call he could challenge the call; however, it could only happen so many times a game.

To me that’s just stupid! If you are going to use the technology to resolve challenges, why not use it in the first place.

I heard a couple of arguments against the robo umps, but to me the arguments were weak. One was we would be dehumanizing the game. First, we have already taken the first step with the challenges allowed now. More significantly to me, which humans are the fans going to the game to watch. I don’t think it’s the umpires.

Another argument I’ve read is that the technology at present causes the strike zone to be different from one ballpark to another. As I watch the Cub games on Marquee, I see they have gone to rating the home plate umpires on a scale hitter friendly to pitcher friendly. So, with this argument someone is trying to say, that it’s harder to make the adjustments park to park rather than from day to day. That’s not logical to me.

To me the game of baseball is supposed to be between two teams and anything that can be done to make the game fairer should be adopted as quickly as it can be shown to me beneficial.

Date Posted: Tuesday, May 28, 2024

General Area: Growing Up

Title: It’ll Get Easier

We recently were told my granddaughter broke up with her first boyfriend. We were also told she wasn’t feeling good about it so we shouldn’t bring it up. Needless to say, I complied with those wishes.

A couple of things struck me about this. First was remembering how much the first breakup hurt. There’s no doubt there’s all sorts of pain with the first time, especially if you were not the one who decided it was time to breakup. I still remember the first time a girl told me she wasn’t interested in being my girlfriend even though I can’t remember her name. Since that was over 70 years ago, there must have been a lot of pain associated with it. Like so many things, the first time is nerve wracking. Do you remember the first time you drove a car? Compare that to now. You pop into a car without even thinking about it. What’s the difference? You’ve done it so many times. Gratefully, we don’t break up with people as frequently, but it does happen enough that the pain isn’t as bad as the first time. I wish I could have shared that with my granddaughter.

The other thing that struck me was that I don’t have a relationship with my granddaughter that would have allowed me to share that with her. Again that 70 years between us is most likely significant and there is the male/female difference, but I wish I was close enough to be able to alleviate some of the pains she will go through by sharing some of the insights I’ve picked up.

Date Posted:Thursday, May 23, 2024

General Area: Religion & Politics

Title:  Antisemitism

I don’t agree with many of the things that Israel has done in the past years regarding Palestine. I don’t think that makes me an antisemite. While I don’t agree with what the country of Israel does, I have no problem how most of the people of the country worship.

It seems lately if you say something against what Israel does you are tagged as being an antisemite. That makes as much sense as labeling be antichristian because I complain about something the United States does. Let’s straighten out our semantics so that we can talk about the issues without involving religion!

Date Posted: Saturday, April 27, 2024

General Area: Aging

Title: Inconsistencies

Are you aware that air traffic controllers have mandatory retirement at 56? How about that airline pilots cannot fly passengers after they are 60? I suppose it’s because some wise people have decided some people in advanced ages become a little less sharp and, therefore, might make faulty decisions.

Are you also aware the average age of a U S senator is 64 and U S representatives average age is 57.9? Of course, we are all aware Donald Trump would be 78 if he wins the election this year and Joe Biden would be 82.

As someone in his mid-80s and am fully aware I’m not as sharp as I used to be, I wonder if being a politician negates the mental effects of aging?

 Date Posted: Sunday, January 21, 2024

General Area: Business

Title:  Customer Surveys

Customer surveys make a lot of sense to me. I believe in the premise it is easier to keep a customer than find a new one. I should add that it’s easier if you keep the customer happy. What better way to find out what is making your customer happy or unhappy than by asking? Customer surveys seem like an ideal way of doing that. I felt so strongly about this that I convinced some of the foundries I worked with to perform customer surveys and I prepared, sent and analyzed the returns.

Our results were quite good. Our return rates were better than normal for such surveys (Yes, if you dig into the web, you can find out what a good return rate is. At least you could back then.) and I thought they provided some good insights into what improvement the customers would like to see. What was a complete disappointment to me was management reactions to the information. Basically, they acknowledged the findings, but did nothing to change.

I’ll admit the shortcomings pointed out by the survey results were what I expected, and it was my hope the results would have spurred doing something to address them. Unfortunately, the attitude was more along the line of shrugging the shoulders and saying, “Yea, that’s a problem, but there’s nothing we can do about it.” Of course, there’s nothing that can be done with that perspective. I would have hoped at least someone be assigned to investigate what might be done to address what the customers wanted.

In talking with others, my experience with surveys is not unusual. It makes the customer feel good you’re asking what they want; therefore, you don’t really have to do anything about it. My attitude toward customer surveys now is that unless the survey is preceded by an explanation of what actions previous surveys have led to, I don’t bother filling them out.

Date Posted: Thursday, January 18, 2024

General Area: Immigration

Title:  Whose Problem Is It

It seems to me our U S government has once again been negligent in taking care of the problems they have caused.

Living close to Chicago, I’ve certainly heard about the problems caused by Texas sending immigrants up here by the bus load. My initial reaction was, “That’s not fair. It’s their problem. The immigrants don’t really want to come to Chicago.” A few seconds later, I realized it’s not their problem. The immigrants aren’t fleeing to Texas any more than they are fleeing to Illinois. They are fleeing to the United States.

This is a national problem not a Texas or Illinois problem. It seems to this dumb foundryman our national representatives have once again let us down. Instead of working out something everybody can live with they’ve done nothing. The migrants keep coming and I’m not sure what’s happening. Are all of them coming across claiming immunity? Are these people on the buses and in the camps in Texas entering legally? What is required to enter legally? The immigrants claim they want to work, but our government can’t issue work permits fast enough. (I’ll bet the Japanese pitcher everyone is talking about gets a work permit fast enough.)

Date Posted: Tuesday, December 26, 2023

General Area: Education

Title:  Education

I collect quotes I think are significant. Most of the time they are meant to inspire; however, occasionally, I come across one that should be true, but I wonder if it is. The latest is the following:

The value of a college education is not the learning of many facts but the training of the mind to think. - Albert Einstein

It’s been a long, long time since I was in college, but Einstein was in and at colleges before me. So hopefully, he was talking about what it should be, not what I saw. My experience was, with some noticeable exceptions, the way to achieve good grades was to make sure your work reflected the thoughts of the professors.

There were a few rare exceptions where the professor listened to other ways of doing things other than theirs. In retrospect, those instructors were also teaching subjects that can be proved. In my case, it was courses in metallurgical calculations. The professor and I always seemed to approach it from different directions but ended up at the same place. I’m forever grateful to that professor always listening to my logic, acknowledging it was valid, and in a few cases saying my approach might be better than his.

I cannot remember that ever happening when the subject could not be proved. I remember English teachers expounding how great some of the old authors were and not accepting any thoughts about why they weren’t or why any of the new successful current authors were also good. My government teacher felt a two-party political structure was the only way to go and anything else shouldn’t even be hinted at in any homework or tests if a good grade was wanted. Those are just a couple of examples. It seemed in most of the classes what was expected was to regurgitate what the professor thought.

So much of the time I feel I was taught not how to think but what to think. I believe that is even worse than spending the time merely learning facts.

Date Posted: Thursday, December 21, 2023

General Area: Business

Title:  Customer Service

Am I the only person that feels customer service goes in cycles? It seems to me way, way back customer service was good. In recent years, it seems to be more cyclical. It gets bad because the bosses don’t want to “waste the money on it.” Then, it gets better because customers stop buying products because of poor service and the bosses realize the poor service is really costing them.

It seems to me we, unfortunately, are in the part of the cycle where the bosses don’t want to be “wasting” money on the service. Part of the problem is our infatuation with technology. Finding a number to call for help regarding a problem is frequently difficult. “Chatting” is sometimes easier for me, anyway. (Accents can cause trouble for a hard of hearing old man like me.) However, my latest experience with Amazon added further frustration. I clicked chat and was offered a number of options, none of which dealt with the problem I was having. There was no “none of the above” to select. After some searching, I found an option to receive a call about my problem. The call came very quickly but it wasn’t from a person, it was from another robot giving alternatives to choose from. Finally, I found the magic combination and talked to a real person (the accent wasn’t all that bad). He claimed he understood my frustration and that it would never happen again. I’m sure it won’t unless elephants fly – oh, wait a minute I just saw a video of elephants being relocated by helicopter.

I did cancel the order. Maybe we can get back to the good side of customer service more quickly.

Date Posted: Tuesday, December 19, 2023

General Area: Media

Title:  Talking Heads

I am so tired of talking heads telling me what’s going to happen and what should happen in their opinion. These talking heads (usually loudly) proclaim these tidbits as if they are facts instead of opinions.

While it happens in just about every phase of the news, it seems most prevalent around sports. I’m so fed up with seeing headlines about what’s going to happen with some new addition to my Cubs or Bears, getting trapped into reading the article, only to find out it is what someone being paid to fill inches of space thinks would be nifty. (I wonder whether the authors think it would be nifty or whether they think suggesting it will generate readers?)

Some of the news programs are a little better. They will at least tell you why the talking head should be listened to – he was head of security for xyz, spent X years in the FBI, etc. Many of the sports talking heads don’t even give you that. As an example, Stephen A. Smith has been and is quite an esteemed sports analyst. What is his background? If you look him up on Wikipedia, you’ll find he played college basketball under an esteemed coach. Other than that, they talk about his journalism credentials. My research didn’t show he’d ever managed any team, selected any unknown player who turned out to be a star, or won a ton of money by correctly selecting winning teams.

Why do we listen to such talking heads? I guess some people find “the experts” they agree with and like hearing someone else say what they think. Others may even like the idea of yelling at the TV/newspaper/internet to tell “the supposed experts” how wrong they are. Some may be deluded into thinking “the experts” really are experts. Hopefully, more are becoming aware that “the experts” aren’t experts until they demonstrate they are experts!

By the way, which means demonstrating they have expertise in the area they are claiming to be an expert. Being able to dunk a basketball does not make the person an expert in coaching a basketball team much less running a basketball franchise. It doesn’t preclude it, but it doesn’t guarantee it. I believe Steve Kerr has won NBA championships as a player and coach. Ted Williams is proclaimed as one of the greatest baseball players ever; however, the reviews on his ability to manage a baseball team are not so good.

As a foundry consultant, I found the workers on the floor to be a good source of information and sometimes ideas. Unfortunately, management frequently didn’t listen to those workers, but I found they knew what was going on. What they frequently lacked was the big picture. They saw how certain aspects of the operation would affect their job but did not see how changes would impact other facets of the operation. They were experts in their job, but not running a foundry.

I hope more people will look at the talking heads and not only ask for their credentials but evaluate them considering the situation they are discussing. I hope people will also take into consideration writing a book about something doesn’t mean the author or even the material in the book is accurate. Again, referring to my foundry background, we found on many occasions what was found to be true for small quantities of iron didn’t always translate when the iron was measured in tons. Even more so, when discussing people. Many of the theories expressed by academicians seem to neglect human nature. Just because someone says it is the way something should be, even if you agree with it, doesn't mean it is the way things really are!

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

Title:

 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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