Stupid Is As Stupid Does-#220923

America the land of the free is led by the most idiotic people on the face of the planet. I am an American, first generation Hungarian. My parents came to America in the early nineteen twenties, they paid for their transport, found places to live, and jobs. They followed the rules and became citizens by learning the language, the civic process, fulfilled the residency rule to live here for five years, they met, married, and had four kids, I am number three. My older brothers learned English in grade school. I am a supporter of immigrants and immigration.

Ellis Island Medical Inspection

About six years ago, I met and became friends with a lady from a former USSR bloc country who came to America via a slightly unrecognized procedure. Over a thirty year span she applied for a visa at the US embassy multiple times to visit her aging aunt in New Jersey, and was denied each time. No reason was given. Demoralized, she answered an ad in a local newspaper in her home town which guaranteed entry into the United States. Her follow-up got her an airplane ticket and entry into America. For the past twenty years she has been looking over her shoulder and living in fear that an immigration officer will find her.

A couple of years ago I agreed to sponsor her to gain legal status. She hired a lawyer and has spent over ten thousand dollars and filed numerous immigration forms through her attorney. At this time her application is two years old and she has not yet received her “Green Card.” Those with a Green Card have status within the country to apply for an identification card, a social security number, and it opens many doors of opportunity to an immigrant. It also allows the immigrant to travel between America and their home country, and be allowed to return. Imagine my exasperation when I read a news article about the US giving current illegal immigrants an automatic green card. I lost it. I should have advised this lady to fly to Mexico and to then walk across the border to gain an automatic green card without a lawyer, and without spending an exorbitant amount of money.

California Border Crossers

I have decided to write a letter to my Congressman and Senators to enact legislation to wipe out every law on the books. If we are not going to follow the laws why should we even have them, to protect the politically elite? Let’s just stop kidding ourselves and do the job right. Stop the nonsense and fire all the police, judges, courts, law makers, and anything even remotely connected to laws. The people of this country can take care of themselves. But beware, many of us would most likely decide that politicians are also no longer necessary. At the rate we are going it will only be a matter of years before we re-enter the Neanderthal age of lawlessness where the only thing a man had to worry about was giving his family food, shelter, and protection from predators.

The people of the United States and Europe have all lost the meaning of life. We are fighting Mother Nature. Every species of mammal, reptiles, aquatic, insect, what-ever, exists to survive. That means they procreate. What we have chosen to do is to selfishly deny procreation to the point of needing to import people from other places to survive.

Liberals are so worried about the planet, global warming, and extinction that they have decided to stop it with hair-brained schemes to save us. At the current rate of population growth the white race will be extinct in three hundred years, at the current rate of global warming the earth has about three hundred years before we even have to consider it a problem, in about three hundred years we will use up all fossil fuels and the air will only contain man-made radioactivity, and not all that nasty stuff we get from fossil fuels. The ultimate hypocrisy of the left is using the argument that they want to save the planet for our kids and grandchildren yet they support abortion, and not having kids. As Forest Gump so famously said “Stupid is as stupid does.”

Letters

Can you remember when people wrote letters and notes to each other? Last night I dreamed that I had finished a wood working project that was a special letter writing desk. My intent would place it in my sleeping room in a secretive corner. Why in a secretive place? So I could express myself without distractions from Lovely, phones, and messy desk stuff. This of course is all fantasy, because it would only be a couple of days before my pristine letter writing desk will also become littered with messy desk stuff, Lovely would find my hideout, and the smartphone would locate me.

One of my to do projects is to burn a stack of letters that I wrote to my first wife while we were courting. Amazingly, she saved them all, and I like a doofus have saved them as though they were something sacred and holy. The problem I have with disposing them is that they are sacred and holy and represent a life that I wish still existed. The words on those pages were from my heart written in ink with a fountain pen (before the infamous BIC changed the writing world). They expressed emotions and feelings that I couldn’t verbalize for too many reasons which have stunted my public speaking ability for years.

I noted with great pleasure that early English noblemen and women used letter writing to communicate to friends. This became obvious to me during my viewing of Downton Abbey a serialized story about a English nobleman and his family who reside in a massive fifty room house on a property exceeding most National Parks. It was common for the family members to write notes and letters which they sent to friends by way of a servant, thus getting feedback on their return. This was the eighteenth century version of texting and email. Alas, I said e-mail, a technology of the past which has been out dated by texting. I read somewhere that three percent of e-mails are read. However, eighty percent of texts are read within three minutes of their arrival. When I served as president of the Frankfort Lions Club I had lousy response to emails. When I heard of the response time for a text, I signed up for a texting service and started a new trend within the club. I digress.

In this dream I sit at my letter writing desk daily for a set time, and write letters to my grand children imparting my wisdom, and regaling them with tales about their parents growing up. The instrument in my hand is a Mont Blanc fountain pen, although in the interest of time I will defer to a ball point which I find writes much smoother. The troublesome problem I have with the fountain pen is that it dries up, and I am forced to disassemble it to clear it’s plumbing before it is usable. Even so, the modern pen is much more efficient than the eighteenth century quill. It just occurred to me that the quill didn’t require blowing out, all it took to get started writing was to dip the point into the ink.

A huge problem that I have discovered is that modern children are not always able to read script. The age of printers and word processors have moved the teaching world away from penmanship and into the world of type. My grandson, a graduate engineer often drops me a note which I have trouble deciphering. It seems he is printing so fast that the letters often become illegible. In my day we had trouble reading one another’s hand writing and today we have trouble reading one’s printing. So we solve the problem by using the very legible keyboard with digital output usually in the form of a digital format like text messaging, e-mail, and very rarely the postal service.

What I see happening here is that my fountain pen is being relegated to a place in a museum having been replaced by the highly impersonal digital means of communication. Nevertheless, I still feel that a hand written note is special. It imparts the feeling that the sender is giving of himself by spending the time to manually write. He is sending you a sample of his personality and skill, but most importantly he is expressing himself to you.

Amaze your loved ones, write them notes in your best script.

Influencers & Monetization

Too many times I wonder how it is that people can make money using social media. Maybe because it is my age that puts me at a disadvantage, but I really am interested in how it works. Whenever I find something like a book, or a video that will explain the simple dynamics of using Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc I devour it.

I just finished reading a book titled “City of Like” by author Jenny Mollen. Jenny has crafted a fictional story which involves the life of of a simple New York mom who wants to raise her kids and have a job too. I won’t get into the plot any further because I would be a spoiler. In this story the characters are very different people who live for building their audience on social media. All that matters to them is getting “liked, friended, subscribed to, or followed.” The numbers become the game. The more followers one has the better the chances are the content producer will be monetized. Monetized, now thats an interesting word which has risen from obscurity in the business world to one of everyday usage by the masses of social media users. It means that that the content being presented by someone of Facebook derives revenue from the content. Companies like Youtube (Google) have learned that profit can be had by using the content of the masses. It doesn’t matter what the content is but rather depends on how many viewers see the work. It is not much different than selling newspapers.

The social media companies get all of the content free from their users. It costs very little to store the content digitally, and their computers can track viewership easily. Then it becomes a matter of deciding how to make money, and how to reward content producers for their creative efforts.

I had not heard the term “influencer” used before reading this book. An influencer is one who builds an audience of tens of thousands of viewers and pitches products and services to this audience. The influencer is rewarded with free samples of the products they pitch. Some of them are in such demand that they hire agents to agents to negotiate for them. That is when the big money begins to flow.

Recently, I watched a Youtube video of a young man in his twenties explain the mathematics of building audience for the purpose of achieving monetization. He went through the process from the ground up and explained how a blogger, vlogger, etc. will have to produce several posts daily in order to succeed. I get people clicking to follow my blog and when someone does I get an email notification. I then visit the persons blog to see what he/she is about. Most times the follower is someone who sells a product on his blog. One reason I check them out is to decide if they are genuine or in business. If they are real bloggers and are just interested in writing stories I will befriend them and continue a dialog. Some of my best friends are people I have never met in person, but with whom I communicate almost daily.

Nevertheless, with inflation eating away at my fixed income I am becoming more interested in a developing a new income stream to help me along. I have resolved that I can do it, but will wind up giving up the freedom of retirement by making my blog into a job. The formula for success requires producing several content posts daily, reading, commenting, and following hundreds of other bloggers daily. It makes sense to me now as to why so many bloggers have people on their payroll who submit content daily.

At this point in life, I feel that my sciatic nerve will allow me only a couple of hours a day to sit at a computer before my toes begin to tingle, my right hip is on fire, and the nerve between the head and shoulder is screaming for help.

Free, Free, Free, I Am Free!

There is a burgeoning fad sweeping across America, and possibly the world. I can’t call it new because this way of life was at one time just that, the way of life. I am speaking of native people who lived as nomads. Early inhabitants of North America were nomadic mainly because they chased a food supply. The new nomads are comprised of rather young people who consider working for a company a waste of their talent. They live to be free from constraints, rules, superiors, and labor on demand. Instead they mysteriously find income by working under their own rules. The number one rule is to work in a place you choose, at a time you choose, and at a pace that you choose. Second rule is to make money from several income streams. A popular income stream comes from Youtube or any of it’s competitors. The term for making money by this method is “monetization” of your content. The content is most often a video that you make. Another income stream comes from sponsors who send you money to keep your videos coming, and the Vlogger spends a few seconds giving a commercial for the sponsors product or service.. Neither of these streams yields enough to support a nomadic lifestyle. Most likely the nomad has a third stream consisting of contract work performing some service related to a field of expertise.

Regretlyss

I have struck upon several of these nomads producing videos of their solitary lifestyles. One is called “Regretlyss” which is a Vlog (Video Log) produced by a twenty-eight year old who lives in a school bus that she designed and had built for her. The term used to describe this type of motor home is a “Schoolie.” Her’s is a short wheel-base bus usually used for taking special needs kids to school. These vehicles are often named and have the name emblazoned upon the vehicle similar to that done on a boat. Nomads prefer diesel engine vehicles because they are more reliable and get better miles per gallon. One of the most popular vehicles being converted to nomadic living is a Mercedes Benz Sprinter van. Again, probably because Mercedes vehicles are consider very rugged, reliable, are available, and relatively inexpensive to buy used. The challenge is to do the conversion by yourself and make a video while doing it.

One reason I am fascinated by these people is their youthful enthusiasm as they go to places that peak my interest as well. Among the most popular regions of the country to live alone is in the western states among mountains. The photography is outstanding and they bring scenery into my living room from places that I also have traveled to and wake up neurons from travels past.

Very often, the video the Vlogger is narrating some limited wisdom of life, and their search to overcome some traumatic life lesson that occurred during childhood. In some cases they have been reared by single parent who dumped an abusive spouse. Or, they them self encountered an abusive relationship. I tend not to understand what is being proclaimed because the speaker uses flowery language that sounds poetic, but doesn’t make any sense. I never did understand poetry and to this day I shy away from the classics of Shakespeare, Yeats, Bronte, Burns, and Frost, but am amused by the “Mary had a little lamb” type of prose.

When I was very young my dream was to convert a van into a camper and I did a limited conversion on my very first van. The idea of moving across the country into remote regions to experience the hardships of the early settlers crossing the wilds of North America to find a place they could call home appealed to my sense of adventure. I believe we (my wife, and three kids) successfully accomplished that goal as we embraced camping as a vacation lifestyle. My wife often boasted to her girlfriends that she would rather see the world by camping than to dream about taking lavish unaffordable trips staying in hotels, and eating in restaurants. In later years, we switched to the hotel route when we took trips abroad.

A few years ago I read a book titled Nomadland, Surviving America In The Twenty-First Century, by Jessica Bruder in which she tells her story about a different class of nomads. Her story is not about twenty somethings looking for the meaning of life, but about people who have been forced to live in their cars, and move about the country from job to job in places where the climate is livable. The nomads I speak of in this post are college grads that choose not to accept the commercial world, and prefer to live a life style based on complete freedom using personal talents to make a living.

Pay Back

Currently, I am reading a book titled “1434-The Year a Magnificent Chinese Fleet Sailed to Italy and Ignited the Renaissance.” Surprise, surprise author Gavin Menzies makes a brilliant case exposing the Renaissance and giving the Chinese credit for all the inventions that the Italians used to bring Europe out of it’s doldrums and into a burst of progress.

Menzies begins by building a time line for world maps. Most of the maps are Chinese and show places like America and Brazil in place many decades before Columbus “discovered” America. He did the same with Magellan and other explorers who discovered new places but mysteriously the same places were already documented on maps. He credits Zheng He, a Chinese explorer with spreading the information around the world. In the year 1421 Zheng He was commissioned by Chinese emperor Zhu Di whose dream was to conquer the world and thus bring great wealth to China in the form of tribute.

Much of the author’s account is based on his findings and how he logically deducted that the Chinese were hundreds of years ahead of the Europeans in everything.

I was really blown away when my hero Leonardo Da Vinci is shown to be a plagiarizer. This book is loaded with drawings of Chinese inventions and right next to them are the Italian version almost line for line identical. I will only say that Da Vinci’s draftsmanship was far superior to that of the Chinese. The devices, however, are remarkably the same.

My third and fourth grade teachers never mentioned Zheng He when teaching that Columbus discovered America in 1492, nor did they when we were taught that Magellan was the first to circumnavigate the earth, or when Vasco Da Gama discovered Florida. All of these explorers had maps which showed their discoveries already in place, however unnamed or unclaimed.

After Zheng He’s travels a new emperor came into power and stopped all further Chinese exploration, and contact with the outside world.

As i am reading this history it occurs to me that the current Chinese government has no problem stealing any or all developments to catch up to the modern world. That is when the idea of “payback” struck me. The European world had no trouble stealing and using Chinese developments five hundred years ago. The difference between the two eras is that the Chinese stopped participating in world activities and thus stopped developing as a nation. Thankfully, we have chosen to continue, but it hurts when we see China stealing technology that we spent millions developing.

This history is a fascinating read, and I recommend it to anyone who has a penchant for learning about the advancement of our planet.