Random ramblings of a mind damaged by years of disuse and abuse. Also a place to go to be bored to tears.
The Random Comic Strip
Words to live by...
"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."
(The right to looseness has been officially given)
"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."
Apparently, the crossword puzzle just disappeared from the blog. Sorry!
Not having much on my mind of late, I perused the headlines at Google News for some ideas. Not true... I have lots on my mind; not the least of which is my ever worsening golf game. But this is what grabbed my attention:
Big snowstorm in the northeast. We have been hearing about this for a few days now. We in Florida are fascinated by snowstorms... because we don't have them.... so we can rationalize spending those hot and muggy our summers we have to live through. Our "snowbirds" bring them up whenever we complain about the cold mornings (it was 47 this morning when I woke up).
"Yeah, well.... at least you don't have to wade through 3 feet of snow to get to the garage to get the snow shovel so you can dig your way to your car!"
"No, I don't... and neither do you since you spend the winters here filling up our golf courses and restaurants."
But we love our winter residents, they make it possible for many of our businesses to survive through the summers. It's a love/hate thing.
Let's get back to that snowstorm. I was once a young boy living in a small town on Long Island in New York. I don't recall a White Christmas when I lived there (I had to live in Jacksonville, FL, to experience one) but I do recall looking out my bedroom window (on the 2nd floor) and seeing 2 to 3 feet of snow on the street and on the lawns of all our neighbors one cold and windy and very gray day while waiting for my father to come home from work. I don't know why that is such a strong memory but it is what comes to mind whenever I muse about winter.
The other thing I noticed was this one about a star system called Kepler-444. I am fascinated by space and the possibilities of life elswhere in our galaxy. Not enough to be well versed on the subject, just enough not to think UFOs and space alien visits are real. I will leave that up to the more deranged of us. You see, I think that there may be life on other planets somewhere (maybe a lot of somewheres) but it is more likely to be non-intelligent... less human-like and more lower animal-ish.
I may have written about "Satoshi Kanazawa" before. He is an "evolutionary psychologist." That's a fancy name for someone who tries to explain human psychology in evolutionary terms. He writes a blog for Pyschology Today (a magazine that intrigued me once upon a time). He got into a bit of trouble some years ago for writing a post that seemingly demeaned women, something about beautiful women, I believe. Weirdly, I received an email from Pyschology Today on Saturday in which a number of his posts were laid out with links. This one was very interesting. In it, there is a link to an earlier article which might intrigue you. I do not know why PT sent me this, I haven't been to their site in many years but perhaps they have some "bots" that figured that out and send intriguing emails to re-capture one's interest.
Reading various analyses of the president's State Of The Union (SOTU) speech, I began to notice something. It was hard to see it in the murk and fog that such speeches create but it was there. What I noticed was what I think is indicative of the schism that exists in my country... Those on the left believe that the wealthy control the country while those on the right think it is the poor (or, more accurately, those catering to the poor) who runs the country... The vast majority seem to wonder if anyone is running the country. Examples... the Republicans and Democrats may be ready to join hands, once again, and come up with more of their devious, deceptive strategies, tactics, techniques and procedures for favoring Wall Street and the top 1%, while successfully, once again, scr*wing the middle class, the American people and our nation for another 30 + years. [Comment in the Washington Post] But on Main Street large numbers of Americans have dropped from the job market, middle-class wages are stagnant, and even larger numbers of Americans are now dependent on some form of government subsidy for disability, jobless benefits or food stamps. [Another comment in the WaPo] I would quote something by the vast and muddled majority but they do not seem to leave comments. I am conservative now but I was once liberal and, for a number of years, tried being middle-of-the-road. Unfortunately, that meant getting run over fairly often. I got tired of laying there crumpled, bruised, and bloody. There was a lot of talk about the "middle class" in the president's SOTU speech and got to wondering just who that is. I was born into a lower middle class family, I believe, with parents who aspired to move up a little. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. Not because they didn't work hard but because, as my mother often said, "Life isn't fair, get over it." She dreamt of riches and often tried various schemes to get them but which never worked out. And, so, I wait patiently for Faye to win the Lotto...
Last night, the president of the US gave a speech before Congress, it is a ritual played out each year called The State Of The Union speech. Since I am writing this on Tuesday, I have not heard what he said. But I will listen in and I will read the various news articles claiming to analyze it accurately.
They won't be accurate, they will be biased... either for or against what he proposed... and those on the left and right will argue about what he said, how he said it, and whether it was a good or bad speech. I really don't care. No, really, I don't care.
He has already stated that he will veto legislation giving the go-ahead to the Keystone XL pipeline project. The interesting thing about that pipleine project is that it is not a "pipeline down through the center of the country to the country to the Gulf of Mexico", as I heard it descibed. It is merely a shortcut that comes down from Canada through Montana and South Dakota into Nebraska where it will tie into an existing pipeline which takes it down to the Gulf.
The fuss is about an aquifer through which this section will pass.
It has been litigated to death, it has been demagogued to death, I am sick of the politics of it. But I suspect I will hear even more about it. Here's a link to the map of it from the Washington Post, decide for yourself.
I suspect the proposed section will be built and then the fight will continue on...
The president is alleged to be asking for more taxes on the higher incomes while extending some tax breaks for the so-called "middle class." He will also be asking for government to pay for the first two years of college, for those who qualify, and who can demonstrate a need. When any president says the government should pay for, he means the taxpayers. Because the only money the government has is what we taxpayers give it.
Been enjoying the relatively low gas prices? The Powers-That-Be in Washington have taken notice and are contemplating an increase in the gasoline taxes. It seems that the low prices translates into lower revenue to the government. Here, let me offer a quote from one article: Debate over the gas tax is picking up in Washington as policymakers prepare to hammer out a federal transportation bill before May 31, when funding will run out. Tax-hike proponents say that raising gas and diesel fees could help cover some of the $100 billion in additional revenues needed to fund the six-year transportation plan shortfall. They add that lower fuel prices should give lawmakers political cover to lift the tax above 18.4 cents per gallon of gasoline and 24.4 cents for diesel — the prices set by Congress in 1993. Perfect! Why should we get a break? A couple of teenagers who went on a crime spree in the southeast were captured in Florida. An 18-year-old boy and his 13-year-old girlfriend stole some vehicles, cashed (or tried to) some stolen checks, and may have committed a few burglaries along the way. Next, they will get a lesson in legal proceedings. I predict the girl will claim she was kidnapped. Meanwhile, in Niger, churches were burned and people were killed as members of that "peaceful" religion of Islam became outraged over images of the Prophet Mohammed. They also rioted in Pakistan over that. As I said before, this will not cease (or even abate) until the alleged moderate Muslims demand it. And they will not demand it until the rest of the world treats Islam as a destructive ideology. And people wonder why I do not view the future in a more positive way...