Opportunity For Adventure Is Endless

Chicago is a city surrounded by many suburbs. In fact the ring of suburbs encircling the city is quite varied in ethnicities. At the same time these same suburbs are examples of Americans using their freedom to engage in businesses that fill needs. Last week I traveled sixty miles, yes sixty miles, to get to a place called Buffalo Grove. My life partner is from the northern suburbs and as such all of her doctors and services are located sixty plus miles from where we live. The same services exist within a twenty mile radius but they aren’t the same. Why? Because they don’t speak the languages my soulmate needs to speak to explain her problems. (Lithuanian, Polish, Russian, and least of all English) I digress.

The small shopping center we landed in to pick up a her new glasses had a very large food store called in the middle. Similar to a Jewel or Meijer’s. The next step on our agenda was to do our weekly shopping for groceries, at our Frankfort Jewel. So why not use the Garden Fresh Market store right where we were? We decided we needed an adventure.

The store is amazingly loaded with foods from many ethnic groups, but mainly Russian. Fresh foods, meats, fruits, vegetables, you name it they stocked it. We perused the aisles for two hours and selected many ethnic varieties. After paying in US dollars via American Express we passed several kiosks containing more unique Russian goods. Magazines, toys, videos, you name it they had it. Even plastic model kits of Russian fighter aircraft and tanks. I thought to myself, only in America will one find a pocket of Russians living freely in a neighborhood where they can continue to be Russians without worrying about Putin knocking on their door.

When we finally loaded the car we were hungry, and there right near the eyeglass shop was a Korean restaurant. I asked if she wanted another adventure by trying Korean food. Yes, why not. We donned our masks and entered The Golden Durebok. There were about ten people sitting in booths scattered all around the place. All appeared to be of Asian ancestry. We found a booth toward the back and waited for a waiter to show up. After a few minutes an old man wearing a baseball jacket and a short white apron dropped a couple of menus on our table then proceeded to clean tables.

Thank God there were pictures of food in the menu. There was also english descriptions but they were intended to address Asian customers. We looked through the eight page menu and selected something from the appetizer page. We ordered thinking we had picked soup. Wrong, it wasn’t even close, and my lovely was very disappointed. We asked the old man if they had soup. He just gave us a dumb stare. I finally told him to bring us some soup, he left miffed. It took several minutes for him to return with two small bowls 1/3 filed with something that looked like chicken consume with a few pieces of green onion floating in it. We thanked him and he left. Lovely just looked at me and her entree as if expecting me to turn it in for another dish. I took a piece of what was on her plate and bit into it. Not bad, I said. She did the same, then reached over to take one of my fried dumplings. She liked the dumpling, so we traded dishes and ate.

Meanwhile, across the room from us sat two asian men, one very large in size, the other rather skinny. Both were eating with ravenous zeal. The skinny guy kept picking up a fresh napkin about every two mouth fulls to wipe his forehead and face of sweat. He did this throughout his meal. It brought back memories of when I ate with my Singaporean friends in Singapore. They loved very spicy hot food. I asked why. One answer was that Singapore is very hot and humid, but asians don’t sweat like caucasians. To compensate they eat spicy hot things that make them sweat so they could enjoy the evaporative cooling provided by the ceiling fans.

We finished our meals and I took the bill to the register to pay. I looked at what it said. What I ordered for lovely was listed as Kimchi Pancake and not soup as described in the menu. I paid and we got the hell out of there as fast as we could.

Kimche Pancake

How appropriate that I am reading the book Out of Many. One. How many more ethic pockets exist around the metropolitan area, and in how many cities of the country do they exist? I know for fact that there isn’t a city in America without a China Town, but how about Hungarian town, or Polish Town? I know they exist in Chicago and there is no limit to others as well. I attest to how they contribute to making America great, and interesting to say the least. It is also fun to explore these areas and to eat in their restaurants. The opportunities for adventures are endless.

E Pluribus Unum

Out of many is one,” is the motto of the United States of America. Lately my thoughts have been on immigration because of the reading I am doing and also because I now have a genuine immigrant for a life partner. The United States is froth with success stories of people who went through monumental hardships to get here just to enjoy the freedoms and opportunities afforded by our country. Of late, we have been deluged with stories about people crossing into the country illegally. Our country has laws and we like to say we are a country of laws, and for the most part we try to obey them all. Every law has consequences, break one and find out what it is. Most laws can be bent depending on who has broken it, and what relation he has with those in power. The powerful can bend, break, ignore, any law if it means advancing his fortune or position in the world. If you are a poor unconnected schlub like me you will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Honduran migrants take part in a new caravan heading to the US with Honduran and Guatemalan national flags in Quezaltepeque, Chiquimula, Guatemala on October 22, 2018. – US President Donald Trump on Monday called the migrant caravan heading toward the US-Mexico border a national emergency, saying he has alerted the US border patrol and military. (Photo by ORLANDO ESTRADA / AFP)ORLANDO ESTRADA/AFP/Getty Images

What we see going on today is a gross mismanagement of immigration law at our southern border. Rules are being broken every minute of every day and no amount of policing seems to be able to control the flow. Of course much of the current control is window dressing to convince the rest of us that the administrators are doing something. Bullshit, they are looking up into the sky while waving them in. I know I sound ruthlessly unmerciful, but I am one of the people who believes in rule of law. Mostly because I have never found myself in a position to have to defend myself against the same.

Our history of laws controlling immigration goes back to the days of our first president George Washington. Since then there have been several iterations trying to control the flow of people. Each time the laws get more and more complex and each time they get more confusing. The result is that we have reached a quagmire that may only be corrected with a rest. In other words a complete cleansing of all immigration laws to be replaced by new laws which better define the twenty-first century demands. The trouble is that not a single politician has the balls to sponsor such an action. Currently, there are so many people in our country that have gotten here by by-passing the official government procedure that, it near impossible to play catch up. To wipe the slate clean which is an action people like to call amnesty is the only answer I ever hear. The problem with amnesty is that is evokes the ire of every red blooded citizen especially those who came as immigrants legally. Politicians both win and lose on this one. the result is a stalemate, and nothing advances.

The radical left uses this situation to advance the spread of communism in the country. The more people they can get into the country and onto the public dole, the sooner the country will go bankrupt and a dictator will be necessary to take control. I don’t know about you, but the thought of being controlled by the likes of someone like Fidel Castro, Saddam Hussein, Pot Pol, Xi Jinping, Nicolas Maduro, or the fat man of North Korea Kim Jong-un makes me want to puke. I’d sooner want to duke it out with guns and eliminate the entire population that thinks in that direction. Thats what happens in dictatorships. That his why Stalin and Chairman Mao killed millions of their own people to get the message across that it was their way, or a bullet to the back.

Yes, we are a nation of laws and we are a nation of immigrants, but there are limits. I believe we must allow immigration to continue but lawfully. We should base the number of people we let in on our ability to assimilate them. We can’t just let the entire world population flood into North America and turn us into a dung hole overnight. That is a sure fire recipe for disaster and the ruination of the land of opportunity. I would sooner take the countries that people are fleeing and make take them over as U.S. territories so they could be controlled by our system and thus open the doors of opportunity within the geographic location of the population.

Whenever I think this way I remember that Puerto Rico is one such an experiment. It is not a state yet, but a territory free to operate under our system. They are a dung hole already on the cusp of bankruptcy because of a heavy reliance on left wing democrats who like to spend freely, and to tax the constituency even heavier. The result is a two class system of very rich haves and the very poor the have nots. Without a middle class which our Republic relies upon to survive.

Back in the nineteen seventies I often debated with myself trying to solve the issue of using capitalism to solve world problems. Back then, labor unions in the USA were huge, but we were a manufacturing economy. In order to compete with the new upstart economies in Europe and Asia we needed cheaper labor, but the unions would not hear of it. There are only two ways to solve this conundrum I thought. Either we lower the wages of our work force, or we raise the wages of the rest of the world. It seems that lowering the wages of our work force is the direction our congressional leaders is taking us. They can’t do it by getting unions to negotiate lower wages, so the new tactic is to import people from very poor regions, who can live on a few dollars a day, to fill the jobs that union people will not take. The end result is the struggle we see happening today. Poor people are flooding the borders to get the jobs that we can’t afford to take. Eventually, these poor will succeed in lowering the cost of labor. High paying unions job will still exist, but not in the numbers needed to give all of our middle class people work. The idea is to force them to take what is available by competing with those who know how to live on a dollar a day. It is not going too happen.

This combination photo shows the cover image for “Out of Many, One: Portraits of America’s Immigrants” by George W. Bush, left, and a photo of former President George W. Bush. Crown announced Thursday that the book will be published March 2. It includes 43 portraits by the 43rd president, four-color paintings of immigrants he has come to know over the years, along with biographical essays he wrote about each of them. (Crown via AP, Left, and AP)

The book I’m reading is titled Out Of Many, One. Portraits of America’s Immigrants.” It is by George W. Bush our former president. He has selected 43 immigrants to paint portraits of, and to feature in a short life story vignette about their reasons for immigrating. There isn’t a single story without a happy ending. Yes, these are sterling examples of how people can succeed in our country. The problem is that for every one of these success stories there are probably a million that haven’t achieved a level of success. Too much immigration without the time needed for these people to assimilate is not going to work in our favor. Not everyone has the self motivation to get up from a failure and to keep trying again and again. Too many will opt for the short route to feeling good by taking drugs or alcohol. They might have done better had they had coaches pushing them hard to succeed. Instead we do things like our war on drugs to solve the problem. We all know how that works. It made the cartels stronger and they developed ta strong market for drugs by outwitting our drug enforcement efforts for decades. The end result is we make drugs legal, so they are easier to get, and then we stop sending drug abusers to prison. We tax the drugs and remove the prison cost so the state wins big time. The immigration problem continues.

Joe Falls, Joe River, Joe Lake

Thirteen years ago, I had a pond installed in my backyard. I designed it, but this time I had a professional do the digging and the work to make it. I say this time because this is my second pond. The first I hand dug, and built from scratch. I always wanted to live on a lake, but never allowed myself to afford it. Instead I built the lake where I could enjoy it 365 days a year by looking out my kitchen window.

Over the years the pond has been doing its job of giving me endless hours of viewing pleasure while converting organic matter into sludge. Falling leaves, dead lily pads, fish waste and such have be accruing and settling to the bottom. Last fall the water turned a milky white and research indicated that was the result of too much organic matter What began as a 36 inch deep pond is now only 30, and that bothered me. I made-up my mind that this year I would dredge the bottom and recover the depth. It would have been easier to hire a bull dozer to scrape the entire pond out of mother earth and to start over.

I began this project in March and gave up on it in late May. First I drained it to the lowest level possible using the drain pipe. The plan was to pump the remainder down to the bottom. I never got there. The first pump I used was a weeny and couldn’t suck well enough to get a flow going. It reminded me of trying to suck a very delicious and thick milk shake through a very tiny straw. Being the cheap skate that i am I didn’t want to buy a new pump, so finally I decided to use the pump that is normally in action recirculating the water year around. It has much more sucking power and the outlet diameter is two inches. All that was fine, but I needed a piping system to handle the flow out of the yard. After several mental redesigns it came to me. I would buy a cheap two inch flexible hose and duct tape it to the pump exhaust port. (Duct tape is much cheaper than plastic pipe fittings especially when it takes multiple trips to the Home Depot to look for same.)

The hose arrived while I was traveling, and I began the final pump down the day after returning. Hooray, it worked! and the water level went down another twelve inches. leaving me with the final inches of what appeared to be water, but it was a slurry of muck which stalled the pump again. It didn’t have the power to suck out the final inches. What to do next? I need a pump the size of what the local firemen use on their trucks. I didn’t even bother to ask them. The next day it rained and filled the pond over the drain again. I was back to square one. Another two days passed before the water level receded by gravity. The bigger pump along with the large diameter hose got me back to the final mucky pool. I tried several ways to position the pump so that it only sucked water and not muck. No success. The final option was to bail out the final pool by hand. After filling two five gallon buckets that way I decided to think about a better way.

I slept on it for another two days. Then one morning I said to myself, “that’s it, I’m done.” I removed the pump from the muck and reinstalled it into the skimmer where it belongs, turned on the water, and watched the pond refill to its normal depth. An hour and a half later I plugged in the pump and the water began to flow. First Joe’s Falls began falling and flowing through the Joe River, and finally ending in Joe’s Lake. I’m happy. The pond is shallower than I would like it to be, but it is a lot cleaner since I got to remove a lot of debris from the part that was emptied.

Joe Falls
Joe River
Joe Lake

The next step is to buy some new goldfish to fatten up by the end of summer. They will provide some good eating for the Great Blue Heron that will stop by on his way south for the winter. In the meantime, I will enjoy watching the fish and water lily’s for the next six months.

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