Sunday ramblings

Today is Sunday August 4. Spent the better part of the past 3 days contemplate my future. In the background is the Fox News broadcast “Life, Liberty & Levin”. I seldom watch the news on TV, but there wasn’t anything else worth watching. The platform is a question and answer session, which is better than many of the talking heads from both sides of the political spectrum. The subject is a discussion about the second Cold War with Niall Ferguson. It entails an economic war as opposed to a military conflict, but that the long view is that China will win because they take a long-term view and that our political system will rive change and we will loose site on the long term. Interesting conversation. I have long found that the interface between economics and history/politics interesting. If I had been smarter, perhaps I could have made a career in the field.

Daughter leaves for the US Pony Club National Championships central region. The competition is in Colorado this year, which is a 6 hour trip near Denver. Son and I will stay home to keep the stress down. I wish her luck in all of the events that she is competing in. Hopefully she will remain n the horse and finish. Both she and Ruby have been practicing hard the past several weeks. She will be competing in show jumping and eventing.

Friday I managed to visit with my financial guy to review my status on the path towards retirement. While I am on tract, I have a few areas to clean up. The discussion covered numerous areas beyond just focusing on 401k balances, debt, and what I plan to do after retirement. Of course, plans are always subject to change. Given the current political climate, I am concerned that much could change and destroy my plans and my future.

Then of course, we had another weekend of a lone gunmen and mass killings. I am pro gun and believe that guns don’t kill people, rather people kill people. That said, I have no problems with background checks, licenses and insurance much like one has for an automobile, keeping automatic guns out of the hands of people, and mental health. You need to keep guns out of the hands of some people. The issue then becomes how. You also need to acknowledge that if people want to harm others, they will. I get a check up annually as far as my mental health as required for my job and my employer. Sadly, I am afraid that the increases in gun killings recently has more to do with the declines in our society and it’s values, the fact that we continue to lesson the value of human life. This is in opposition to those who subscribe to a theory that the increase is associated with the number of guns available.

There is much hate these days, and it surfaces on social media often. Politically, we are divided as a nation and it shows in many areas. I will have more to say about these topics as we continue on the journey of this blog.

Politics…take 2

Started writing an entry about politics three days ago. That is why I have titled this entry as take 2. Didn’t publish the original entry because it needs work.

Coming up are two days of Democratic Party debates. I won’t be watching. Frankly I am tired of all the talking heads and candidates. They have no values. Fox News is on in the background as I write this, and they are harping on the dark state and the crimes not being investigated by the House and Senate. Not really listening because they are equally disappointing. Instead we have an investigation on Russian collusion round 2. There was none. Get a grip and move on. People are literally dying because of all of the inaction by our elected officials focused on non-issues.

America was at one time a better place. Compromise was the norm and America was better off in solving issues. Nobody got everything they wanted and this is good. It is now going down the toilet rapidly. The press are no longer independent. They are letting their opinions become the news.

Understand that I am not a fan of Trump. He is a disgusting human being and fails to carry himself in the stature that the office deserves. In the last election, I voted for Gary Johnson. He was a great two-term governor for the state of New Mexico. That said, I can get behind a number of the policies that Trump tries to enact. I wish he would stop Tweeting. If he wants to get his point out, go to the Press Room daily and say it. Take the heat, be a man, and get on with it. That’s is leadership.

Conversely, the democrats have an understanding of the issues that concerns many Americans. They are so irresponsible in helping the average citizen because they don’t view it as important. However, their policy remedies will not fix the problems. Instead they will exasperate the problems. As the Federal Government has turned up the spigot to support education and health care, the costs continue to go up. The backstop of the Federal Government and the unlimited printing press will make sure this will continue. You doubt the connection? Just look at housing and those issues. Two NGO’s are essential in the ability of many to get a mortgage. They contributed to the Great Recession. People and families were ruined.

I’m sorry but allowing them to forgo paying back the money is wrong. Do they loose their degrees? I borrowed money for College. I paid my own way through school. I worked my way through school. I had student loans and paid them off over time when I had found a job. Yes I have health insurance and have seen how families struggle to solve those financial issues. The fix to healthcare costs is not a Medicare-for-all solution. It is to get away from treatment (drugs) and spend more on prevention. An annual physical, check up, tests are the way to reduce the costs when something is found early instead of when it is too late, or too expensive to cure. And it’s not just your physical health. Many of the tragedies we see on the news may have never happened if we expanded mental health care.

Sadly, I expect that next year will have a reversal followed by four more years of the same. Nothing will be accomplished, nothing will change. Our elected officials are unwilling (unable) to do what is necessary to help the American people. Stay tuned. More to follow.

Ramble On

I was thinking that today I could sleep in and have a relaxing weekend. Did not happen. Awake at my usual time. Start today off early and right. Ain’t going to happen. Son is sound asleep. Dog is typical crazy… ”where is my morning walk”? Daughter has a riding competition today and as usual, up late rushing to prepare, now tired and grumpy. “Do you have my show shirt”? “It was in my dirty clothes basket”. “ The white one that is stained and dirtied”? On and on. Ding goes the phone as she texts me from her mothers house.

Yesterday was flag day. I didn’t hang my flag. Why? Too busy running around? Work, school camp for son, old age, tired? Realized that yesterday was the first day in four weeks that I did not write. Not because I forgot, or didn’t have anything to write about. I guess it was the understanding that only one person visited my blog yesterday. Should I worry that only one person visited? Subjects boring? Maybe. Slow day? Better things on line to read? Probably. Not really advertising that it is out there, bearing my sole for all to read, to laugh, to comment on. Dammit I paid money for this site and the experience, and have made the commitment to see where it takes us.

Leaves are falling all around
It’s time I was on my way
Thanks to you I’m much obliged
For such a pleasant stay
But now it’s time for me to go
The autumn moon lights my way
For now I smell the rain
And with it pain
And it’s headed my way
Ah, sometimes I grow so tired
But I know I’ve got one thing I got to do
Ramble on
And now’s the time, the time is now
To sing my song
I’m goin’ ’round the world, I got to find my girl
On my way
I’ve been this way ten years to the day
Ramble on
Gotta find the queen of all my dreams...

from Ramble On by Led Zeppelin as determined from a Google search. It is important to acknowledge the words and ideas of others. In the internet age, I am not sure how this is best accomplished. Probably not as simple as a reference in a journal article. Add that to my list of things I need to learn to keep me out of trouble.

Yet as I sit here and type away, sounds of Led Zeppelin ‘s “Ramble On” are running through my head. Literally and figuratively. Maybe my blog is more of a journal and I am trying to capture my life’s experiences in it. The past, the present, the future? Something for posterity when I’m gone and my young kids have something to remember me by? Earlier this week in the morning coffee cabal, we were in fact talking about “here today, gone tomorrow”. However the subject included former managers at work, one hit wonders in the music industry, and other things. Including our own immortality, which quickly transitioned into “why are we here, what mark will we leave on the next generation of employees that we have hired”? Are we renaissance men or renegades? Probably more like geeks.

Sorry. Took a break to get clothes out of the washing machine. Wow! How many pants does my daughter need for riding? Why is the dog going crazy? Yes, I am composing this on real time, on the fly. Sun is up, dog still wants walk. Now going through my head is that image of putting the needle of a record player on a record, no not Led Zeppelin II, and the screech of the needle just going across the record. That sound of I just ruined the vinyl album.

Subject, subject, subject… for now, this is a blog. As time progresses, I expect it to morph into a website with a blog at its center. But that, I am sure is farther down the road. Opinion, commentary, the daily story, things rambling on in my head? Life as a single dad? Retirement? Investing? Hobbies? Kinda rehashing similar topics in my earlier post “My story, or is it?”.

I have given some thought about writing the Sunday post as a weekly wrap up of the past weeks writings, or a summary of what happened the past week. Could go on for hours about politics, news, world and local events. However, I think those topics turn most people off. I enjoy them and like talking about them. Like I could go on and on about the twenty four libtards running for President, or our current President who certainly has broken the mold but is really unpresidential in his behavior, and actions, and such. Government is suppose to help us solve our problems, not be the problem. Unfortunately, both sides of the aisle are the problem. The spirit of compromise that is necessary for democracy is dead. Is democracy dead in America?

Son bellows out his breakfast wishes. Dog wants in. The dog wants out. That’s my queue to end it here, edit and post. Until next time, “ramble on”.

Rip off

Last night, as I was reading posts on Facebook, I came across an advertisement for the LEGO Millenium Falcon. It was the 7451 piece set that I commented on in a post the other day (Explore Space Create History). The problem is that the company only wanted $49.95 for it. Odd since the LEGO catalogue had it for $799.

The website link had several pictures of the item. It was the same LEGO item. It even had the same catalogue number. The box even had the Disney logo on the lower corner. But LEGO wasn’t on the box in the photo. I commented that it was probably a knockoff. A short time later a man from Hong Kong commented that it was not a LEGO product. Obviously a blatant rip-off for profit.

I reported the matter to Facebook. If I understood their site, they have a policy that basically doesn’t hold them liable for many copyright and trademark issues in the buying and selling of things. I guess it is ok to sell fraudulent items but it’s not ok to comment on certain things that impact their community rules. Not surprising since they don’t make money if you call somebody a bad name, suggest that a government official should be hung, or note that the B52’s should be locked and loaded to address issues. They just ban you for a period of time. (A story for another time, but I think I’m up to 30 days now). Not that my complaint mattered, or did it? By morning, my conversation with the man from Hong Kong was erased, my links to the web site were gone, and the company was advertising fashion items. Not sure who did all of that!

Since my kids and I love LEGO products, I also reported it to LEGO by e-mail. They responded about 10 hours later and thanked me for the information, commenting that they are constantly searching the internet for knock off products. Their legal department is looking into my information.

Now this post will probably strike a cord with some, as it ventures into politics, vis-a-via the current trade issues between the United States and China. In my opinion in this matter, it was obvious that a Chinese company tried to rip off a foreign company. Copyright, trademark infringement and patent protection are important in economics. The ideas that people generate should be protected. Other people should not be allowed to take someone else’s ideas and profit from it. If I had to guess, I bet that since they didn’t put LEGO on the box that they were not ripping off LEGO.

This isn’t the first time that I have seen this. Hasbro had the Avengers Thanos glove with the Infinity stones that light up. I think that it was possible to buy knock offs of that glove on another shopping website before Hasbro actually shipped it. I know because my son got one of the cheap knock-offs that was rendered useless in the first week. Shipped directly from China. I guess that the bottom line is buyer beware.

What to write about today

Since I have started this journey a little over a week ago, when I sit down to write, I have typically had the entire piece written in my mind. Today I find myself in the opposite state of mind. Some subject ideas but nothing about the details of the piece. Not sure if it is because I haven’t thought enough about what specific subject to write about, or was it the frustrating day at work, or is it running for three days on seven hours of sleep, or the fact that there is to much going on.

As I said, I have many subjects to ponder. All of them will hopefully get put into words as we continue on this journey. All of them will provide you, the reader about what kind of person I am. Such topics include financial stuff. Lots of blogs about that. Some offer great advice and I have found the articles to be very helpful. I am not a financial expert so I will not write about that much. At least I can write at some point about my axioms for handling money. History and politics are two areas that I have interest in, but they can easily turn people off, especially when they don’t agree with your position on the issues that confront our nation. Suffice it to say, I characterize myself as being “so far to the right that I end up on the left”. Other topics can be hobbies, travel, people, book reviews. Many ideas of things to ponder and keep me occupied and hopefully, all of you as readers, coming back for more. Of course, there will be more offerings in the future about my kids and our pets. Cannot wait to tell you about the goldfish.

Work can be a dull subject. I have a PhD in Chemistry from a Big 10 school, but I really don’t do much chemistry anymore. Most of what I do is in the area of solving technical problems. These technical problems are often caused by others and thus it becomes my job to “make it work”. You do with what you have and don’t request the Lamborghini when a Ford works.

As for the sleep, that becomes an annual conversation in my medical checkup, along with weight, diet, and exercise. Ever since college some 40 years ago, I have been able to function on 2 to 4 hours of sleep every day. Yes it is odd that when I am on vacation, 8 to 10 hours is the norm. Charging the batteries I guess, but I’m thinking that weight, diet and exercise, would be better controlled if sleep was more normal than what I get at present.

And as always, there is lots going on. While I no longer work the 50 to 60 hour work weeks, there are the kids to consider, life and activities outside work, and the general realization that it’s time to do something different as I reach middle age. Yes I plan on living forever, so I better start working on weight, diet and exercise in order to even remotely live to 150.