Posted tagged ‘perspectives’

Playing the Percentages

September 3, 2020

I’ve been thinking a lot about how this diverse nation of ours can survive the polarization that seems to be gripping us. And while President Trump is clearly the polarizer-in-chief, we all seem to be taking part in some way or another. For every person posting Black Lives Matter on social media there is someone else posting, I support the police … share if you agree. But I digress, I don’t want to talk politics, I want to talk percentages, although certainly these numbers relate to politics. I just found these interesting when presented together.   I’ve included references and for the most part chosen sources with no political axe to grind: (more…)

Registering to Vote

August 26, 2020

Yesterday, I went on the State of Utah website and downloaded the form to register my wife and I to vote in Utah. For the last fifty years, I have lived in Orange County, CA, a Republican stronghold in the middle of a reliably Democratic state. During my time there I felt my vote in the presidential and national elections were wasted, since it was known beforehand which way the state would go, Ironically, now I find myself in a reliably Republican state. Oh, to be a swing voter in a swing state. Still, I like to vote so we filled out the forms and mailed them. On line 6 of the voter registration form was the question of questions: Party Affiliation? Now, I have been a registered Democrat ever since I voted for George McGovern in 1972. However, my politics have changed a lot since then and as often as not in the past 20 years, I have voted for the Republican candidate for president. You see, I am a now a moderate, liberal on social issues and conservative on financial and national defense.


A Lost Art

August 18, 2020

As far back as I can remember, I had opinions about things and I was very fond of my opinions. I was a smart little boy raised by two opinionated parents which started me down that path. By high school, I was considered a brain. I was also 4 foot ten my Freshman year. I know there is debate as to whether Short Man Syndrome is a real thing but I am sure that I overcompensated for my stature though my intelligence. Fortunately for me and the world I had grown to five foot eight by my junior year, but the damage was done … I was an arrogant, opinionated young man. An undergraduate degree and two graduate degrees only made me more so. In my thirties and early forties, if someone had tried to end an argument by telling me, Let’s agree to disagree, I’d have thought they were out of their minds. I’m right and we’ll argue until I convince you or we walk away mad. The latter happened a lot. At work it was my way or the highway.


The Great (Gasp) Google Conspiracy

July 25, 2020

If you come around here very often, you know I am a scientist. A scientist with an Inner Curmudgeon who is totally exasperated by conspiracy theories, especially those that can be dispelled by simple reason. Personally, I am sometimes amused by the more ridiculous claims. Consider what I will call The Great Google Conspiracy about COVID-19. For some weeks, this has been circulating on Facebook and Twitter. It goes like this. Open your device or computer and Google any three digit number, followed by the words new cases. Up will pop multiple news pages showing exactly that number of new cases, proof positive that Google is faking articles to match any number of cases for some nefarious purpose. A few days ago, someone posted this YouTube video of an unknown woman demonstrating this in order to blow your mind. The truth is she ought to use hers instead of trying to blow yours.


Civics Lesson

July 22, 2020

Who remembers Civics? It is the study of the rights and duties of citizenship.

On the news site, The Hill, today I found an article by John Bowden titled Activists say California city removed ‘Black Lives Matter’ street painting after request for ‘MAGA 2020’ mural.   The BLM sign was painted with the approval of the Redwood City officials who last week decided to quietly remove the yellow-painted words “Black Lives Matter” from Redwood City’s Broadway, a stretch of boulevard leading through the city’s downtown area.  The activists responsible for the painting of the BLM sign complained that it was removed because someone else had filed a request to post a pro-Trump sign. (more…)

Uh, Not the Flu

June 30, 2020

As of yesterday, face coverings are required in public in Salt Lake County where our new home town of South Jordan is located and, perhaps surprisingly, when I went to the store today, virtually everyone had on a mask. That, dear readers, is good for Oldereyes’ disposition. Watching more than half of the people in our local stores wander around maskless (and clueless) as the COVID-19 cases surged in Utah was making me crazy because, you see, I am 76 years old, mildly diabetic and mildly asthmatic, which puts me on the edge of the coronavirus’ favorite victim-group. And as anyone with the sense to listen to the news should know, wearing a mask primarily protects OTHERS, so a decision not to wear a mask is not about your rights to choose but your right to infect other people. I wish there were some way to get that through the thick skulls of the idiots that were protesting against wearing masks outside the capitol today but a lobotomy is probably a surer thing.


Memorial Day 2020

May 25, 2020

This is has become my traditional Memorial Day Post.  I think it captures the spirit intended for the holiday.

I have traveled the political spectrum from fairly far left to fairly far right and back toward the middle in my seventy-six years.   But as I traveled that broad spectrum, I think I’ve always been a patriot in the sense that I love my country dearly and believe for any faults it may have, it is unique in the world.   When I was protesting the war and voting for George McGovern, I believed My Country Right or Wrong, but not America – Love It or Leave It or America, Fix It or &%$* It.  Every Memorial Day, I get to think back on my decision to seek a deferment from the draft based upon my employment in the defense industry, a decision that might lead some to question my claim of patriotism.   I won’t deny that my motivation wasn’t entirely selfless but I’d offer that some of the systems I helped develop for keeping track of Soviet submarines during the dark days of the Cold War contributed substantially to our National Defense.  Just watch The Hunt for Red October.  Still, sometimes I feel a little guilt that others served in my place.   At seventy-six, I simultaneously abhor the realities of war (brought to us in gruesome detail by modern media) and resign myself to its necessity in what is, more than ever, a dangerous world.   Some of our military excursions have been essential, others have turned out to be unwise.  Both fall at the feet of our leaders, those of us that elect them and, sadly, those that don’t bother to vote. (more…)

Red. Orange. Yellow.

May 19, 2020

My  new home state of Utah is gradually reducing the COVID-19 Risk Levels, which define the precautions required or recommended to avoid the spread of the disease.  I was one of those who at the beginning of this said the Red precautions were an over-reaction, in particular the closing of all businesses.   But as someone right in the middle of the age randge most vulnerable to COVID-19, I have adopted what I think are prudent precautions that  probably fall in the RedOrange range.  I avoid unnecessary contact with others, work at home, wear a mask when in public places and practice social distancing. (more…)

Grokking the News

May 11, 2020

Just in case you are not a science fiction nerd, the term grokking came from Robert Heinlen’s sci-fi classic, Stranger in a Strange Land.   It means to understand, profoundly and intuitively.

My Dad used to come home from work, sit down in his chair and read the New Haven Register every evening.  Dad liked to be informed as to what was going on in the world.   I have never subscribed to a newspaper, although for many years I picked up the Los Angeles Time Sundays.  I read Newsweek and Time (although not religiously) and watched the evening news until it became so biased and banal that it interfered with my sleep rhythms.  For some years now, I’ve made a habit of reading a number of news sites on my tablet over my morning coffee.   I read a number of sites because while it is possible to find pages that aren’t banal, they are ALL biased to some degree so I hop across a variety of sites to try to counteract my own confirmation bias and get an unbiased picture of what’s going on in the world.  Since the election of Donald Trump as president, the partisanship of the media has made it harder and harder to read enough to really grok what’s going on …. and the media’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic has turned me into a news skimmer for the sake of my own sanity.  Here are some of the headlines I skimmed today: (more…)

Of Gasoline and Wine

May 9, 2020

When I first got my driver’s license, the only vehicle I got to drive was my Dad’s 1955 Buick Special, turquoise with a white top and no power steering. Dad was very generous about letting me use his car, but each time I borrowed it, a somewhat lengthy negotiation was mandatory in which he pretended he might not let me take the Buick and I would assure him that I wouldn’t be joyriding anywhere and that I would put in some gas to replace what I used. In those days I could pull into a station, say, Give me a couple dollars worth and get 6 or seven gallons. When I graduated from college, I bought a brand new Alfa

Romeo Spyder which got great gas mileage but required premium gasoline. Flush with cash from my first real job, I wanted the best for my baby, so I stopped only at Sunoco stations and chose the highest of the Custom-Blended Grades, 260. Sunoco 260 had an octane of 106 whereas current premium has an octane of 91.