Posted tagged ‘politics’

Heroic, Historic, Flawed

July 24, 2020

You have probably heard of John Muir.   According to Wikipedia, His letters, essays, and books describing his adventures in nature, especially in the Sierra Nevada, have been read by millions. His activism helped to preserve the Yosemite Valley and Sequoia National Park, and his example has served as an inspiration for the preservation of many other wilderness areas. The Sierra Club, which he co-founded, is a prominent American conservation organization. In his later life, Muir devoted most of his time to the preservation of the Western forests. As part of the campaign to make Yosemite a national park, Muir published two landmark articles on wilderness preservation in The Century Magazine, “The Treasures of the Yosemite” and “Features of the Proposed Yosemite National Park”; this helped support the push for U.S. Congress to pass a bill in 1890 establishing Yosemite National Park.[6] The spiritual quality and enthusiasm toward nature expressed in his writings has inspired readers, including presidents and congressmen, to take action to help preserve large nature areas. (more…)

Stranger in a Strange Land

June 20, 2020

Dying of old age is not the same for everyone. Some are taken by diseases, some fast and ruthless, others that slowly sap away the will to live. I suppose you could include the process of aging into that latter category. For a long time, I’ve thought that for many of us, the feeling that we don’t recognize the world about us anymore is a prime contributor to that loss of will. That’s one of the reasons that I have worked hard to maintain a positive outlook on life in spite of my natural tendency to be cynical. a tendency that has earned me the nickname Bud Dark in certain circles. And that’s why the world I see around me right now scares me.

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Springtime

April 26, 2020

It is seventy degrees outside here in South Jordan, Utah. The sky is blue, all the more so because the shelter-in-place (such as it is) has reduced traffic giving us smog free days. (Did you know that Salt Lake City has a smog problem ? It is nestled in a valley between mountains, just as Los Angeles is and is therefore subject to smog being trapped under inversion layers. I find it ironic that we moved to a new city and a new state, only to still have smog and earthquakes. Yes, we have had several of those since we’ve been here. This has been what they call an aside. Now, back to our regular programming,) It has been over 45 years since I’ve lived where there is a real winter, hence a real spring. I am enjoying watching the trees sprout spring-green leaves and the daffodils spring from the earth in profusion. The dead looking plans our association planted around are house are actually showing signs of life. Inspired, I decided I should begin putting out some flower pots and bowls to join in the fun, so off I went to Home Depot. Yikes!! No parking places and a line to get in a block long. And nary a mask in sight, except for mine.

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Brainstorming

April 25, 2020

Years ago (probably 30) when I was working in Big Industry, a manager decided we needed to bring more creativity into our laboratory.  He introduced a form of approaching problems as a group known as Brainstorming.   Just in case you were lucky enough to never have to go through a Brainstorming session, I’ll review the concept.   You get the entire team in a room with a facilitator and everyone starts tossing out ideas, which the facilitator writes on the board.   The group in encouraged to use wild thinking and no criticism is allowed as the ideas are collected.  The phrase There are no bad ideas is a guideline.  The emphasis is on speed and quantity which supposedly unlocks creativity in the group.  I hated it.  Now I admit, I was pretty arrogant back them.  To me, the whole thing was proof that that there were in fact bad ideas … and and plenty of them.   I was also prone to whispering to my cohorts that some of the people in the room weren’t capable of a brain-squall, much less a brainstorm. (more…)

Me, Dad and Socialism

February 4, 2020

It was 1956.   The Presidential election was coming up with Dwight Eisenhower the Republican candidate and Adlai Stevenson the Democratic candidate.   Our civic minded eighth grade teacher decided to teach us a little about the issues by having our own Presidential Debate, with a number of students arguing each side.   I was chosen to represent Eisenhower.  I was clueless.   I don’t ever remember politics being discussed in our home, although from occasional comments I gathered that my Mom leaned Democratic and my Dad leaned Republican.  Perhaps that was why there were no discussions.  Hoping to find a winning argument for my side, I asked my Dad for an issue that I could use against Stevenson.   Now, I don’t remember his exact words but I’ll paraphrase what he said.   You should bring up Social Security, Bud.   Social Security is just plain socialism and that’s the first step toward communism.   Now, I didn’t know a thing about socialism but thinking my Dad had given me the silver bullet for our debate, I used it as my main point.   Nobody cared.  Except for the teacher who looked at me as if I’d suddenly grown horns. (more…)

Tomorrow. Vote.

November 5, 2018

electionTomorrow will bring an end to a long midterm election campaign season, none to early to suit me.  Our phone has been ringing regularly with robo calls and soundbite messages of what will happen if I don’t vote for so-and-so.   This year, I have gotten an average of 5 texts a day offering the same thing.  At one point I decided that I would not vote for any candidate who texted me but by now I realize that would mean not voting.  So,  I will sit down today with the voter handbook and review the candidates resumes and the ballot initiative summaries and decide.   Initiatives are particularly difficult because the TV ads incorporate more scare tactics than information.  Of course, so do the  ads for political candidates.  This year the message mostly seems to involve President Trump.   As he himself would say, Sad.  Sad that our elections, a centerpiece of democracy, become a personality contest about one personality. (more…)

PC

October 15, 2018

pcAfter years (and years) of working in the defense industry, I have an aversion to acronyms.   But aversion or not, I can’t avoid them, in spite of their annoying habit of standing for more than one thing.   In my men’s groups there are several guys who talk about HP.  They mean their Higher Power but I can’t help but smile and think Hewlett Packard.  I usually tell them I’m a Dell guy.  It won’t surprise you then that the acronym PC brings to mind Personal Computer which both dates me and certifies me as a techie.   But what I’m talking about here is political correctness. (more…)

Tax Day

March 26, 2018

taxes1It is Tax Day.  Don’t panic, please … Tax Day for me hasn’t been April 15 for many years, since I began having my taxes done by a professional tax accountant.   For most of my years working for Big Industry, I did my own taxes.  I would postpone filing as long as possible, then scramble to collect all the necessary records, re-remember from last what went on what line and hold my breath as I looked up the tax due in the Tax Tables.  That usually happened on April 14.  Since I started my own business and hired an accountant to do the dirty work, Tax Day has been the day of my appointment with Taxman Bob.   I gather up all my paperwork and fill out the tax organizer that Bob provides, them spend about an hour in his office as he looks through what I’ve provide, making sure nothing is missing or incorrect.  He checks to see that I’ve paid my estimated taxes (in the amounts he calculated the previous year to assure there will be no penalty) and makes sure I haven’t neglected any deductions.   Then we’re done.  Within a few days, he will call with the bad news.   It’s always bad news because I pay estimated taxes, so, at a minimum, I will owe the first estimated tax payment minus any return I might have coming.   It can be a substantial chunk of change. (more…)

Stars for President

January 9, 2018

There is a scene in the film Back to the Future that I think of often lately.  In it, Marty McFly, after traveling to the past in a time machine invented by Doc Brown, is trying to convince a much younger Doc that he is indeed from the future by knowing the president of the United States in the future.

The scene is actually funnier here in 2018 than it was in 1985 given the propensity of show business types to decide that, based on their vast experience in the make believe world of show business, they should bring their questionable talents to government.   If that sentence doesn’t give you a hint how I feel about the trend, then go back and read it again.

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Both Sides Now

August 8, 2017

both sidesI am 73 years old. I have watched two generations of parents live their lives then slip away to whatever comes next. It seems to happen in one of several ways. The easiest way out seems to me to be what most people consider the most tragic … a sudden accident that snuffs out a life in its tracks.  Then there are the injuries and illnesses that gradually drain the life from those we know.  According to Tim McGraw’s Live Like You Were Dying, that can be a time to finally appreciate life and be the man (or woman) you were meant to be. Somehow, I suspect that doesn’t come easy. Then there are those that just getstranger old and slip away. Certainly that is sometimes just due to the aging of the body, but I have a theory why others just decide to let go and die. I think as we age, we look at the world that’s changed around us and don’t like what we see. We feel like a Stranger in a Strange Land (to shoplift the title of Robert A. Heinlein’s classic sci-fi novel). And at some point we just say, I’m ready for whatever’s next. It can’t be worse than this.
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