Cash? Who Needs Cash?

Today, I realized that I don’t need cash anymore. I remember a time when I couldn’t buy anything if I didn’t have cash in my pocket, and credit cards weren’t invented yet. Then came the period when I got my first credit card, and I never used it because it was a high-interest loan. The next period in my credit card experience is the one I’m in now. Use the credit card as much as needed, but pay the whole thing every month. This period has been the best because I use the card to pay for everything and never worry about having cash in my pocket.

The only time I take a loan is when the total purchase is too large, like a house or a car. Whenever I take a loan of this type, I try to get one that charges zero interest if the loan is paid by a specific time. Then, I set the payment to be automatic from my checking account to avoid interest and penalties. If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m a cheap bastard who hates to pay usury to banks and loan companies.

What makes me nervous is hearing talk about the government wanting to set us up in a cash-free system. I already use a cash-free system, and Uncle Sam only wants to get his sticky hands into my bank account. I’m sure he is scheming a new system of income re-distribution to help out his law-breaking allowance of foreigners into the country. These new people will break the back of the unions by accepting lower pay than law-abiding citizens, but they will also allow profit-thirsty companies to pay their employees lower wages. This makes me more nervous than hearing stories about artificial intelligence being used to eliminate jobs. Uncle has a plan for this, too. He will begin paying people who are unemployed by AI from something called Universal Basic Income. I never heard how this Universal Basic Income thing will be funded. We all know it will be by taxing somebody who still has money. Now, who would that be? My intelligence is not artificial, but I think I know that artificially intelligent machines will not be earning any money, but their owners, the companies who let all of us go, will be raking in the dough. The problem with that notion is who will pay for their products and services. Yes, you are right, the people who still have money. But, will there be enough people with money to support all the AI businesses? I have a vision in my non-AI brain of a German Shepherd chasing his tail, and another scene that shows an endless trail of non-AI unemployed people standing in line with a soup cup in one hand and an empty Universal Basic Income envelope in the other.

The liberals will argue that all we have to do to solve this dilemma is to import more child-rearing people from poor countries. What the Libs fail to understand is that when these hungry poor people get to Artificially Intelligent America, there will be no jobs for them, and if they do get jobs, the first thing they will realize is that they need to self-actualize, and you can’t do that by working and raising babies at the same time. That damn Shepherd keeps chasing his tail, and when he finally catches it, he has to spit it out.

Sunday is Caffeine Day

Sundays have become the day when I get high on caffeine. I begin the day by making coffee that uses half-caffeinated grounds and half-decaffeinated. It amazes me that such a simple thing can make a big difference in my ability to cope with the day. By drinking the half and half, I am stimulated to keep from falling asleep in the middle of a sentence all day.

I gave up drinking caffeinated beverages because my heart was racing for much of the day, and I could sense it. The sensation made me aware that it might not suit my heart health. I went from whole caffeinated coffee to decaf in one day, cold turkey. That is when I began to fall asleep in the middle of the day. Often, the computer alarmed me with a chatter that wouldn’t stop, and when I looked up at the screen, it was filled with a line of k’s kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk.

After months of seeing lines of repeat letters in the middle of my posts, I decided to try an experiment. Why not reward my self by enjoying a cup of half-half coffee on Sunday morning with breakfast? Well, it works. From that realization on, I look forward to Sunday morning coffee.


Yesterday, I wrote about my love for spy novels and stories about spy agencies. Today, my house has been infiltrated by a spy. Fortunately, I tracked him/her down and deported him/her to another environment. That is the second infiltration in the past two weeks. The first is a sadder story than the second. Yesterday, my home was overwhelmed by a terrible odor which I immediately sensed was something dead. Whenever I am infiltrated by a mouse, and he finds all the yummy poisonous food I put out for him, he eventually dies, and my nose leads me right to his corpse. Yesterday, the odor was much the same, but much stronger so much so that it permeated the upper living area. Currently, there are four of us living here, two women and two men. Guess who wouldn’t sit still until the odor was eliminated? Yes, the two women were very nervous, agitated, pacing, and scared. Not to worry, the two men immediately knew where the stink emanated from. A week and a half ago, my step-grandson came to me with this message, “Grandpa, there is a baby rabbit stuck in the window well downstairs; what should I do?” The window well is four feet deep, and covered by a sheet of plywood; how in the devil did he get in there, I asked myself. I gave him a couple of options: 1. Open the window well window and place a box over the opening. Then, nudge him into the box, and let him loose in the wetlands behind the house. 2. Do nothing; he will die in place, and we will take care of his bones in the springtime. He chose the latter. The rabbit died, leaving an odor strong enough to enter the house through a window. I never thought that would happen, I was thinking mouse stink, not this rabbit stink. I truly thought the stink would stay outside.

Upon examination of the cover over the offending window well, it was moved out of place. Then I remembered that I tried to remove the rotting cover during the warm months to replace it. The board got jammed between the window above and the metal well casing, and I stopped thinking I’d get back to it later. With the board partially removed, it left an opening into the well. Peter Rabbit found the opening and fell into the hole, never to find his way out until the step-grandson fished him out with a long handle hoe and disposed of the remains by flinging them into the wetland.

Getting back to the second spy that did infiltrate is a mystery I have yet to solve, and it is now eighteen years old. This is the third time in eighteen years that a garter snake spy has found a way past the house’s defenses to enter and violate our personal space. This time, the spy was a mere baby, only twelve inches long and smaller than a pencil in diameter, but he scared the hell out of the ladies. I swept him into a box and walked him back to the wetland. The outside temperature today is a cool 48F/11/C. I figure that by the time he figures out how to escape he will be cold enough to slow down to snuggle up under a log for the winter.

In the meantime, I continue to search for the point of entry. There is one possibility that I believe to be the one. There is a drain tile that circumnavigates the house’s foundation, and it terminates into a sump. The purpose is to remove rainwater from entering the basement by catching it in the drain tile and pumping it into the wetland. During dry spells, the soil around the foundation shrinks, allowing skinny critters to find a way into the tile and basement. Another way is for the skinny critters to fall into a window well. They are piped to drain into the tiles. A third way is that we leave a door open, and the skinny thing just slithers into the house.

My final solution to the skinny slithering things getting in is statistical. I have lived in this house for eighteen years and have had three slim, slithering creatures visit my basement. That is one intrusion every six years, so the likelihood of another sneaky creature intrusion will not happen until 2029, and I’ll be too old to deal with it.

I Spy

There is nothing I love more than a good spy novel. Yet, when I read too many end-to-end, they all sound the same, and I must return to starving them. Currently, I am reading Sisterhood, the Secret History of Women at the CIA. In today’s world, it is not unusual to find women in spy jobs, but back in the forties after WW2 women as spies was a well kept secret.

I just started reading this story, so I can’t speak to it in depth, but at this point, I am enjoying it.

OASIS, Support for Visually Impaired

A few years ago, I became acquainted with OASIS, a support group established by Joe and Kim Kuster. Both of them are legally blind. Joe has lost 100% of his vision, and his wife Kim was born with a condition that seriously reduced her vision. She can see, but only if she holds a document up to her face and thru a magnifying glass. Over twenty-five years ago, they decided to do something with their gift and established OASIS, a support group for people with vision loss.

Years later, they were introduced to the Frankfort Lions Club and gave a short program on their work. Back in the nineteen twenties, at one of the Lions’ first conventions, Helen Keller, both blind and deaf, gave a speech about living in a silent and dark world. She challenged the Lions to become Knights of the blind. The Lions accepted the challenge and have been doing so ever since. Our club is no different. Every year, we donate to causes assisting people who have vision loss. Sometimes, we give to the Leader Dog Foundation others, we send blind kids to a special camp. Every year we support our own Lions of Illinois Foundation whose sole purpose is to help the people of Illinois who have vision problems. We stand on street corners dodging cars with a bucket in our hands giving out rolls of spearment candy to anyone who donates; the money goes to Lions of Illinois Foundation.

So, when Joe and Kim came to us with their story, the Frankfort Lions became avid supporters of their group. At first, it was with a solitary donation. Later, some of our members went to their meetings and helped them with handouts, serving refreshments, and leading them to the restrooms. Over the past few years, the Frankfort Lions and the Mokena Lions have challenged each other to help OASIS with money and service.

Sadly, Joe and Kim decided to retire and move to Tennessee to be near their daughter and grandchildren. I am proud to say that the two Lions Clubs have opted to continue OASIS for the many members who rely on them for help. OASIS is not a part of the LIONS. It is a separate organization that supports people with vision loss. The Lions also help people with vision loss, so we are a happy marriage. I left my role as a member of the board of directors for the Frankfort Lions and joined the board of directors of OASIS.

I am still a Lion doing service to the community. I participate in the annual Winter Coat Drive, collecting coats from people who don’t need them and dispersing them to those who need them. This Saturday, I will participate in the Frankfort Police Department’s annual Trunk or Treats Halloween Parade and candy giveaway. Over two thousand kids will parade with their parents along a route of cars, trucks, and tents decorated in ghoulish skeletons, witches, zombies, and ghosts dragging their collection bags past a waiting monster Lion for a piece of candy. Lions have fun, too.

After the Halloween Parade, Lions begin their Holiday collections of money by standing in front of various local businesses, shaking our buckets, and looking for donations that we will spend on food for families within the community who are in desperate need.