I know that for many Christmas is a Christian religious holiday. But it is also a time that has important meaning to non-Christians. It is a time for family, for love, a time for remembrance, a time for joy, and a time to renew one’s commitment to helping make a better and more peaceful world. So, whatever Christmas means to you, to all a Merry Christmas and a joyous Season’s Greeting from the Chapman family.
Burning Man, if you’re one of the thirteen people who don’t know, it is an annual festival in the Nevada desert that draws over 70,000 people and is basically an excuse to get mostly naked and stay high on the street drug of choice for a week or so. It concludes with a huge bonfire and the burning of a male sculpture, thus its name.
People love to talk about how great things used to be and in many ways, I’m no different. Several conversations recently have me thinking about those good old days. So, I decided to make a list of what we used to pay for things. Feel free to add to it.
Do you ever wonder when wealth becomes, obscene wealth? Well, consider this.
“$70,000 per minute. According to Bloomberg, that’s how much money the Walmart-owning Walton family has made in the year since Bloomberg’s previous list of the world’s richest families. The Waltons top that list this year, with wealth of $190.5 billion. The Mars, Koch, Al Saud, and Wertheimer (of the Chanel fashion house) families round out a top five. The 25 richest families in the world
When I left Ohio for California in 1964 the old slogan was California or Bust! Since the 1840s California had been considered the land of golden opportunity and that’s pretty close to what I found there. I found immediate employment and access to affordable education. I also found this and more at a price that was within my economic means.
I haven’t been in the Golden State since 1970 but I’ve kept tabs on what the years have brought. Mostly time has brought more people, more traffic, and the cost of living that is becoming increasingly less affordable for working class people. In 1968 a nice two-bedroom starter home could be had for around $40,000. Ten years later that same home was selling for over $100,000. A quick Google of current prices indicates it would take a half a million, or more. The same home in Greenfield, OH can be had for around $80,000.
Hearing Greenfield people talk about how much they enjoyed the Midsummer’s Night on Midway events back in the early 2000s got me thinking negative things. People are always talking about there not being anything to do in a small town and then when something does happen, most don’t show up.
This was true in 1970 and truer today. I’d guess it is due to there being more recreational options and greater pressure on people’s free time. I don’t know about other towns but I suspect it isn’t much different.
Early in my teaching career, I attended a conference for history teachers. One of the workshops I attended concerned local burial practices and using a communities cemetery as a source of historical information. If, for example, you notice a large increase in burials around a certain date, it may indicate a medical epidemic. Burial practices, obviously, are often dictated by an area’s geology.
If you’ve ever been to New Orleans or Southern Louisiana you probably noticed that people aren’t buried underground. This isn’t dictated by any religious or ethnic custom. Instead, it all has to do with the water table. If you dig but a foot or more in New Orleans you hit the water table and caskets just won’t stay buried when the rainy season arrives. Therefore, long ago it was decided that bodies had to be buried in above-ground vaults. (SEE POST NOTE BELOW)Continue reading We All Don’t Bury Our Dead the Same→
I followed a Facebook thread today begun by a former student who was reacting to the unfolding college admittance scandal. She was relating how hard she worked to get into college and to pay her own way without help from others, including her mother. There is nothing unique about this woman, she did it the way most of us did it, on our own merits and our own labors. She wasn’t whining or bitching but instead, just expressing the disappointment she felt that American higher education is so difficult for the most while others can evade the hurdles with little more than monetary bribes from their parents.
I recently received a news feed that I found interesting. Not important, just interesting. The Axios-Harris Poll did a study of what companies are preferred most by Democrats, Independents, and Republicans.
For example, Democrats for whatever reasons prefer buying products made by Kraft-Heinz while the favorite GOP product is Chick-fil-A. I can only suppose that the John Kerry connection to Heinz explains the Democratic choice and the Chick’s opposition to all things same-sex draws the loyalty of the moral high ground crowd.
Back in the ’50s, it was quite common to see bent willow furniture sitting on people’s porches and patios. A childhood friend had two chairs on their porch and I always loved sitting in them. They were handmade by an older man who lived in a small shack along a nearby creek. The creek and surrounding wetlands gave him all the raw materials he needed.
He would build single chairs as well as couches and side tables. The fellow didn’t have a car or truck so he pushed a large two-wheeled cart loaded with his furniture up and down the village streets peddling his wares. On days he didn’t have furniture to sell he would push his cart around town hauling away people’s scrap metals and newspapers.
I believe the only piece of willow furniture we ever had was a small child’s rocking chair that one of our daughters used for her children.
Several years ago I was driving through the Florida Panhandle and came upon a large pickup truck with a cab-over rack. The vehicle was heavily loaded with beautiful bent willow furniture. I don’t know where they were from or where they were going but I sure wish I’d chased them down and brought a couple of chairs home.
It’s been a long time since I gave the subject any thought but today I came across a video of a young man in Kentucky who’s keeping the craft alive. If I wasn’t so damned old now I’d look the guy up and place an order. I’ll post the video below and hopefully, this will bring back some pleasant memories for you.
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SINFUL: The king of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abdul Aziz is taking a nine-day trip to Indonesia. Just to make sure he’s got all the bases covered he’s taking along 506 tons of luggage. Consider this, including my house, my vehicles, and everything I own, it all wouldn’t weigh anything close to 506 tons.
TOBACCO: 870 billion is the number of cigarettes manufactured by Philip Morris annually. The company has invested $3 billion into tobacco vaporizers, already available in some overseas markets, and plans to have the product in 20 markets this year. BTW, PM has announced it may be planning on exiting the cigarette business.
Throughout the current political season politicians have talked about jobs and making promises to bring back to America and/or create millions of good paying jobs. We all know that plentiful good jobs began drying up in the 1980s and there is no single cause of it.
A major cause has been the exportation of millions of manufacturing and service jobs to nations with wage rates far lower than America. We’ve all been to Walmart and seen the Made in China label on much of what they sell. Who hasn’t dialed a customer service number only to end up talking with a technician in India with a dialect we Americans have difficulty understanding. Well, all those manufacturing labels once read, Made in America and those service people were somewhere in the lower 48 states.
Donald Trump just says too much stuff to bother making a comment on each, as it happens. So for a while I’m going to try writing a weekly log or list of the more insane comments that emerge and stink up our atmosphere.
In spite of warnings from Constitutional lawyers and powerful military leaders, Trump insist he would be “fine” with trying US citizens in military courts, Guantanamo is high on his list of such. Due process is not as protected under military law and that’s one reason the Bush administration didn’t want Islāmic combatants tried on US soil. By the way, if you don’t know what due process is, you will if it’s denied you.
Much to John McCain’s disgust Trump is back on the waterboard kick. Plus much worse.
Trump spend a couple of days insisting that Barrack Obama and Hillary Clinton were the literal founders of ISIS. He later walked that back half a step and then took a three-quarter step forward.
One of Trump’s surrogates, Katrina Pierson, appeared on a news program and insisted that President Obama had invaded Afghanistan. In spite of the news person’s attempts to set her straight she continued calling it Obama’s War.
I’ve written about this several times but once again I have to report that technology wise, life out here in Bad Fart, Ohio isn’t getting better. Internet speed remains dismal and given the ever-growing Amish-Mennonite community surrounding me, the future is grim.
We get Internet via Exede satellite and when all the stars are aligned we might see something north of 12 mbps, which is better than what we got with Hughesnet a couple of years ago. Typically we experience speeds closer to 5 mbps. However, according to Fortune Magazine the average American has seen an increase of 42% in download speed in the past year and now experiences typical speeds of 55 mbps.
While 55 mbps is blazing compared to what I get it pales in comparison to the 120 mbps speeds some Americans experience. I’ve never been connected to the Internet at anything faster than 20 mbps which makes our normal 5 mbps appear akin to downloading with semaphore flags or tin cans and tight strings.