If you don’t know who George Orwellwas, he was the author of what is arguably the greatest book ever about big brother and the abuse and distortion of truth by the government, Nineteen Eighty-Four. His words about the threats toward the truth have never been greater.
This is January 1, 2019, and so far it’s not been much different than yesterday, December 31, 2018. Two major differences are, there are far more hangovers being cared for today and there are tens of thousands of people not waiting ten to fifteen hours in the rains of New York’s Times Square for a crystal ball to be lowered at midnight. If there’s anything I can’t imagine it’s me standing in the rain with 100,000 others waiting to watch a shiny thing descend upon the earth.
When it comes to New Year Eve stories, however, those ball watchers will have a story that will far exceed anything I’ve done on New Year’s Eve. Neither Janet or I have been much for leaving the house on these occasions. In 2000 we did attend a community millennium celebration and maybe a couple of years afterward we went to a nearby neighbor’s and played Trivial Pursuit with some friends. Increasingly we don’t even bother staying up to watch the ball drop, which was the case last night. By eleven o’clock I was asleep and having dreams about when my first piss call would take place. In case you’re into these things, it was 1:22 am.
By whatever name they’re called there are 3,142 counties in the United States. Every single county in the U.S. registered an increase in drug-related mortality between 1980 and 2014. And that rise was statistically significant in 99.8 percent of counties.
The tragedy of these facts and figures is that the obvious failure of what has become known as the War on Drugs can be traced at least back to the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act of 1914. The war got heated in 1971 under Nixon and again in the 1980s with Reagan.
This story begins when the Apple iPhone 4 was the current model. I was doing taking several fishing trips each year living out of my van. For business purposes it was important that I have access to the
Internet and the most readily available service was via my cell phone. It required that I have a cell phone that was capable of tethering to a laptop. Tethering (or hot spot as it’s now known) is a service the cell phone provider sells and it requires a cell phone that’s capable of this function.
So, before I left on a trip to Florida I went to the AT&T store in Chillicothe and asked them to show me all the phones that would tether. I emphatically said that tethering must be a feature of whatever phone I purchased.
I ended up buying a nice little smartphone made by HTC. Next day I headed for Florida and someplace along the way discovered that my new phone wouldn’t tether. I stopped someplace and did some research about the phone model and found it in black and white that tethering wasn’t one of its features.
My friend, former teaching colleague, and fellow blogger, Dave Shoemaker, loves to create lists. One of his most recent was a list of ten things he wants the Class of 2014 to carry into life with them. After reading them over they represent nothing new, just the same old truths that really are the keys to a successful life. So important that committing oneself to just a couple could have immense positive effects on one’s life.
I decided it may be helpful, and enjoyable, to add my own thoughts to a few items on Dave’s list.
“Don’t let high school be the highlight of your life. Be proud of everything you accomplished, but don’t be one of those people who, when they’re 45-years old, realize the highlight of their life was something they did in high school.”
Certainly making your life be all about what you once were is a dead end street. I’ve never met anyone who was happy because they set their feet in concrete when they were 18. Life and happiness is all about experiencing and adjusting to the new. The constant upgrading rebooting of one’s experiences.
With the coming of SPARK! I decided to post this quote sent me by a friend. As a child I enjoyed drawing and at one time considered becoming an artist. Turned out I really don’t have a gift for visual arts but while in college I found one artistic niche in ceramics and minored in ceramic art (pottery). After graduation I never felt the need to get muddy again but I have used that experience to appreciate the work of others ever since. I derive great pleasure from picking up a pot thrown by another skilled potter, running my fingers around its walls, and mentally reliving what it feels like to create beauty and utility from a lump of common clay.
Maybe one reason I never felt the need to continue potting is having found another way of being creative. On a major level teaching history (his story) is practicing the art of storytelling. And even with non-fiction there are those who can, and those who can’t, tell the story in a way that holds an audience.
Tracy Tomlinson submitted an article about a silver lining in all the vacant housing in American cities like Detroit. Today I received a message from Tracy containing a link to an online story about a Detroit man who purchased an abandoned home for only $500. Besides being an interesting read it is also a tribute to those with the faith and grit to not fold their tent and head and head for some new promised land. One thing I gained from this read was a renewed assurance that if Detroit is beginning to see rays of hope, certainly my small hometown has a future as well. Maybe it just takes some people who see potential disguised by despair.
It is said that every disaster also provides new opportunities…behind every cloud is a silver lining. As impossible as it sounds sometimes, it is true! I’ve done some research on the effects of the death of some major industrial centers in the US. The devastation is visible everywhere in places like Detroit and Flint Michigan. Whole neighborhoods empty, save for a single family or handful of people who are too stubborn to leave or cannot leave for any number of reasons. It is horrible to see as these areas die for lack of new blood to revitalize them. And there lies the silver lining!
I see opportunities for young families that may already be part of the unemployed or on social assistance who, if willing to be a little more mobile could own a home and save their states money. I know the areas are not the most desirable and many have crime problems…but the cure is to bring life back to slay the dragons of despair. I see homes offered for 1$ a square foot! Two bedroom homes, yes very old but serviceable or repairable enough for very little money, and mortgage payments, including taxes, of $10 a month. That beats a tent or homeless shelter.
With proper police presence and community planning these areas are a golden opportunity for so many to get a real chance for a start at unprecedented low prices. A little vision, a willingness to sacrifice, and being willing to move could be part of a new beginning for so many in paces that need the boost!
NOTE: Tracy Tomlinson is a resident of British Columbia, Canada. We have become friends via Facebook and I find him to be very knowledgeable about conditions in both Canada and America. I frequently turn to him for insight into what others think of us Yanks!
Long ago it became clear that the Obama haters were becoming totally crazy about the passage of the Affordable Care Act. I’ve been around countless people who hate the law but don’t know crap about what the law does. All they know is what Fox News and talk radio has told them. They allowed, of all people, Sarah Palin to convince them the ACA was going to kill old people.
If you really want to know the facts, versus the myths, about Obamacare spend a little time at factcheck.org and learn something that is based on fact and not Fox fiction.
Greenfield has had a farmer’s market for several years now and in all fairness it has struggled. I certainly applaud all those who have helped organize it and those vendors who have become a part of it. Their first markets were held in the Shopko parking lot and a couple of other locations have since been tried. To me, however, none have been as accessible and provided as much parking as the original location.
Also, out of fairness, I’ve been to markets in other area communities and they don’t seem to be doing better than Greenfield. The one exception is the Chillicothe Farmer’s Market. I’ve been there a few times and have a brother-in-law who has sold his fresh roasted coffee there for years.
Last week I came across a post listing the vendors who will be taking part in the season’s last Chillicothe market. This list changes as the season progresses but it’s interesting to note the number and variety at this final meeting. The list includes:
• Beaver Produce Acres (David Swarey) — Pumpkins, gourds and other in-season produce.
Alison Gingerich, daughter of Norman and Susan Gingerich, has been doing modeling gigs since her teenage years and literally it’s taken her around the world. She has appeared in a television series, in major magazines and catalogs, runway modeling, on the cover of several teen magazines and currently she is the image representing the John Frieda hair products line. Here’s a video she recently appeared in for John Frieda.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention just released a new study that projects the life expectancy and health of Americans sixty-five and over. Turns out that people who’ve lived most of their lives in Hawaii can expect to live another twenty-one years after turning sixty-five and will be healthier than other Americans during those extra years.
It comes at no surprise that long-time residents of America’s Southern states fare the worse with Mississippians taking bottom honors.
“Southern states tend to have higher rates of smoking, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and a range of other illnesses. They also have problems that affect health, like less education and more poverty.”
You just can’t live your life eating fatty pork barbecue, fried chicken, fried catfish, fried mac and cheese, fried sweet potato pie, fried Johnny cakes, fried air, and washing it all down with tea sweetened with fried sugar and expect to end up with arterial pathways any thicker than a gnat’s hair. I once spoke with a registered nurse in South Carolina who worked in a nursing home. She said the most common and serious health problems her residents faced were diabetes related.
Back in my grandfather’s day old people didn’t get Alzheimer’s, they just got old, crotchety, and at worse, a little senile. In today’s world, however, there are few aging Americans who don’t harbor a great fear of totally losing their being to the ravages of this new evil called Alzheimer’s or dementia. (Speaking of dementia, there was a time when that word meant but one thing to me. That radio DJ, Doctor Demento, who played strange and off-beat records.)
Last evening NBC Nightly News reported a story about early symptoms of Alzheimer’s compared to symptoms of normal aging. My wife and I got to comparing and sharing notes on ourselves and each other. I did a quick Google and found a recent list of ten signs, also compared to normal aging. Taking inventory the good news is, so far we seem to be aging okay.
The days of posting an ad in the local classifieds and stapling some crudely drawn signs on a few utility poles are rapidly disappearing. As smartphones become more common the more yard sellers are going to have to convert to advertising their sales on smartphone applications.
I discovered this a couple of years ago while winding my way around Columbus, looking for bargains. I had found a website named gsalr.com to which dozens of people had posted, for free, the sales they were having. I simply chose which sales interested me, printed out an address map and armed with my trusty Tom-Tom gps I became a yard sale machine.
Well, since then it has only gotten better. Several companies have written free applications for smartphones that will show you where yard sales are occurring, show you a list of what’s being offered, and if your smartphone has gps capability, navigate you to the sale with voice directions. Mine will even show me a photo of the home that is having the sale just so I’ll know I’m at the correct location.
To make any of these programs work the seller first has to be aware of them and then to post their sale information to the applications. This can normally be done using a desktop or notebook PC. Once sales have been posted anyone using the apps will be shown on a map where sales are occurring in the area they are driving through.
The two applications I have learned to rely on are Yard Sale Treasure Map and Garage Sale Rover. Each is free and available in both the Android and Apple formats. If you don’t have a smartphone you can still use these programs by going to their respective websites on your PC and printing out a map for the area you want to hunt in.
My son and I recently went South and on Friday and Saturday going down, and the same coming back, we used my cell phone to guide us to some great buys. It’s very empowering, especially being in an unknown area and given the cost of gasoline it can be a real money saver. An added bonus was almost always finding other sales along the way that weren’t posted to an app.
So, if you’re planning an upcoming sale and you want to inexpensively maximize your exposure you just have to become familiar with these resources.