Archive for October, 2015

Man, God, or Both

Monday, October 26th, 2015

As a rule, delusional schizophrenics who believe that they are God, do not deliver anything like the sermon on the mount. The extraordinary actions, aside from the miracles, and the extraordinary words of Jesus of Nazereth have continued to amaze and inspire for over two thousand years.

“Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” And that has turned out to be true, throughout all of the turmoil and upheaval of history’s nightmare. If He was not the Son of God, what was He? Just some guy? He was that too of course.

It is really even more unbelievable to think that He was nuts, or that He didn’t exist at all, than to believe in the truth of the accounts in the New Testament.

Although these are my thoughts, they are mostly stolen from G.K. Chesterton, author of The Everlasting Man.

The Card Catolog

Sunday, October 25th, 2015

I remember, in the library, wooden cabinets with little drawers filled with index cards, the card catalog. As a member of the debate team at Iowa State University, I spent many hours with the card catalog looking for quotes and facts to support the affirmative argument in the year-long debate topic, something like resolved: that Europe and the U.S. should form an economic union, something like that. Memory fails.

I would use the card catalog to find books and articles to support the position, and copy the arguments and quotes, by hand, onto my own set of index cards to refer to in the debates. We traveled all over the Midwest and South, from Topeka, Kansas to Jackson, Mississippi, to debate and speech tournaments.

I usually, besides the debates, which were always the main attraction, also entered the extemporaneous speaking contest, where you were given a half hour to peruse a list of ten possible topics, and then had to deliver a ten minute speech about whichever one was chosen by the judges.

I was madly in love with Lorrie, my debate partner, but that’s another story.

The point of all this is the incredible explosion in the ability to access information, that has occurred in the intervening 53 years, at least for those who are interested in accessing information, which, amazingly enough, in some respects, seems to be a declining number, but maybe that’s just my old fartism talking.

Courage is a Muscle

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

Sittin’ on the front porch, sipping a cheap, but decent, Spanish red, I started thinking about fear and courage. I, like many people, have a built-in fearfulness. People like us tend to be afraid of many things. My wife is not like that. She apparently does not know the meaning of the word fear. But I believe that many people are like that. For those of us who are, it is important that we develop the habit of facing fear. Rather than running from fear, whenever there is an awareness of being afraid, turn and run toward it. If you notice that you are afraid of doing something, then drop everything and just do it. If you do some of this every day, you will develop it as a habit. And your life will gradually get better and better. It’s a practice for fearful folk. Not doing it makes a fearful person’s life worse instead of better. Courage is a muscle.

Delayed Gratification

Monday, October 19th, 2015

Sittin’ on the front porch of an evening, sipping a Jameson’s and water, a woman runs by, dressed in her running clothes, and I think, you know what, if you see somebody doing their running, doesn’t matter race, age, gender, you can pretty much assume they are OK. They have their shit together. They are civilized human beings who know how to postpone gratification. I’m not saying everyone has to be a runner. There are many other ways to be OK. But sittin’ on the porch, seeing her run by, that is what occurred to me.

I Love Social Security

Thursday, October 15th, 2015

I’m 71, so I’m on social security, and it’s great. Every month, a hefty deposit is dumped into my bank account. I love it. It’s not really enough to live on, so I’m still working,, but it sure makes living on what there is, easier. Of course if I had taken that social security deduction from my paycheck all these years, and used it to invest in municipal bonds and index funds, I would be getting a much bigger check now. But, of course, I would never have done that. I pretty much always spent everything. Essentially social security is a forced savings plan that invests your money badly at a rate of return that doesn’t even keep up with inflation.

But then, somehow, social security got a thing called a COLA, which meant that the social security checks would be adjusted to reflect inflation, and the more inflation, the bigger the check. Wow, that was great. Since the beginning of social security, inflation has always gone up, and the COLA always kicked in, and next year’s checks were always bigger than last year’s.

But the year that I started getting my checks, the COLA stopped cold, and has been that way ever since. What they did was to change the definition of inflation to not include food, housing, and energy, the only things that old people spend their money on. My mother died last year at the age of 96. She had enough money. She didn’t even need social security. The only things she spent money on were food, housing, and energy.

So, listen up young fools. This is the first step. First, stealthily eliminate the COLA, whiile pretending that it sill exists. You better start voting for people who want to straighten things out, instead of People who promise to give you all kinds of crap, free education, free health care, living minimum wage, increased social security payments, no war, etc., without ever mentioning the cost. These people are lying to you, even more than the other people who seem so uptight.