Crossing the Bridge

Today is one of those days when I feel the need to write something, but don’t have a clue about the topic. So here I am jumping into the fray hoping inspiration will kick in.

I just got off the phone with a buddy from grammar school. We discussed many things and one of them was our paper routes. It turns out that I got his route when he quit. We discussed dead beat customers who never paid on time. Those were the days when a route was a franchise, and I bought the newspapers and delivered them. If I wanted to get paid I had to collect from my customers. There were weeks when all my pay (profit) was tied up   in unpaid subscriptions. Eventually, I hounded the dead beats into paying up. The hipocrisy of these folks was that they were the ones who complained the most. The paper is late, the paper was in the bushes, the paper was wet, I didn’t get the paper, the list went on and on.

I kept the route for two and a half years, starting in the sixth grade and finishing in the eighth. When I started high school it was time to give it up. Another boy from the neighborhood took it over and had it until he finished school.

I crossed over the bridge to high school, and a new chapter of my life began. I was partially liberated from my parents and free to join clubs and sports activities at will. What did I choose? A job.

The priests who taught at my school lived in a monastery and needed someone to answer the phone and take messages for them. I was the one. It gave me a place to do homework while I waited for the phone to ring. The job started at 4:00 p.m and ended at 7:00 p.m. That gave me a little time to wander around the local business area before I started. I caught a streetcar to go home and was usually home by eight.

Kids today, don’t have experiences like that anymore. When school is finished they run to catch the school bus to take them home. If they are in sports or a club they run to catch the special bus which runs later. Too many kids today, have their own cars to use, and don’t even use buses.

I was a senior before my dad allowed me to use the family car to get to and from school. He always allowed me to use the car for weekend activities, but very seldom did he give his ride to me. I didn’t own a car until I finished college and bought one for my self.

 

Happy Father’s Day?

I’m trying to understand why we still have Father’s Day. Clearly half of the marriages in the world fail and women are bearing the responsibility for raising kids by themselves. So just what are we celebrating? Are we giving men credit for getting their jollies off to get their woman pregnant? What?

Growing up, Father’s Day meant something. Our father’s were all present in the home. The only kids without a father were those whose dads died either by accident, war, or disease. Divorce was still a dirty word. Couples stayed together for the good of the children. It seems today that we don’t have the same temerity to grin and bear personal suffering for the sake of our offspring. Granted, there were some unhappy people but nobody knew they were unhappy because a show of marital unhappiness was taboo.

Most likely the kids of these unhappy people were the ones who started the trend to divorce. They probably resolved to not live in an unhappy relationship like their parents did. More likely than that couples today are more narcissist and would rather not be bothered with marriage vows, or kids. We can blame Hugh Hefner and Playboy for the sexual revolution that opened the doors to pre-marital sex, and birth control pills for the practice of recreational sex.

You may think I am being stupid with my statements, but the fact is that all highly developed countries are now importing child bearing people from less developed countries to keep their populations sustainable. Our government leaders have been pushing us to become more like Europe and I cannot understand that because Europe is in a world of hurt. Why? Europe’s population is at a point where they cannot sustain their cultures anymore. Maybe our leaders want our population to be decimated by a lack of interest in propagation. Seriously, people have forgotten why there is sex and why we have it. The new thinking is to have sex for fun only, and an attitude that maybe if someday I get married I’ll think about having a kid. Have you ever wondered why there is such a problem with abortion? It has become another form of birth control. Planned parenthood means you only have a kid when you want one, and not when nature deems.

The fight for open borders is strongly due to keeping the birthrate in the US above 1.83 children per family. That is the number required to maintain the stability of the culture. Do we think Germany was right to allow so many mid-eastern people to march into their midst? Their birth rate is less than 1.3 kids per family which is below the point of recoverability, good-bye Germany. In the meantime, existing Germans will have a young population of muslims to pay German pensions. What do they care about the future German generations? They have  destroyed their culture by adopting the politically correct program to save the planet by adopting population control. They just didn’t know how, or when to stop. The cure was really simple, allow Nature to run it’s course, and the population would have happened. The problem is that we are so smart that we really believe that a minuscule bunch of people can affect the course of a planet that has been in existence for billions of years. How smart are we to believe that the answer is to reduce the number of people by artificial means when natural selection will do it for us. We really believe that disease, pestilence, war, natural disaster, asteroid collisions is never going to happen, and we will run the planet out of resources. Poor us. We will be crawling all over each other stealing food from neighbors trying to stay alive. Yet these same smart people cannot see themselves being smart enough to solve starvation problems when they occur. Instead they resist using genetically modified foods which grow well and in abundance because they are afraid of eating something strange. Organic is the name of the game, eat healthy, stay healthy, live longer.

The only conclusion I have come to is that Father’s Day is still alive because I am a father, and my kids need a special day to remember that. They need a day to show their kids how to venerate their dad so when their kids have kids they will know to do the same. Living by example is the philosophy I used to raise my kids, and that is why they just stopped by and brought me lunch on this day.

Oh yeah, father’s like to lecture like I just did above, and on Father’s Day my kids can’t say anything negative about my lectures.

Happy Father’s Day!

Cross At Your Own Risk

Illinois is a great state to live in if you are socialist. We put California and New York to shame when it comes to one party politics, graft, and families who make politics a business. Our last election put a democrat governor back in the statehouse and our legislature can’t increase taxes fast enough. The increases are not going to fix real problems but to fuel unmet pension obligations for public sector workers. By law the pensions are funded every year, but our politicians have seen fit to use the money elsewhere. The funds are in dire straits. My town is loaded with retired teachers and supervisors. All I can say is what I observe. These people live a whole lot better on a pension than they did working.

Meanwhile we have some very serious infrastructure problems which are going unaddressed. One in particular is the Inter-state 80 bridge over the DesPlaines river in Joliet. Here is how the Illinois politicians have addressed the problem.

https://www.fox32chicago.com/news/392512332-video

By the  time you see this sign it is too late to exit I80. To convince myself of the seriousness I tested the bridge last Saturday afternoon by driving over it. The structure seems to be sound, but the road surface is a total mess. I found my self in the center lane of the three lane road. I could not change lanes because I was in a sea of trucks in front, back, and on the side. I slowed down to make myself feel like that was the correct thing to do. At the very center of the crossing the road surface dips a full four inches over a twelve foot span. On land this would not concern me, but while crossing a river a hundred feet in the air it scared the crap out of me. On land when a road dips it is because the roadbed has compacted but on a bridge there is no dirt below the road surface, only air. This is a terrible accident waiting to happen at any moment.

Why is IDOT waiting to repair the problem? Good question with many answers none of which will hold water after the section of road decides to take a swim. On my return trip I exited the interstate one mile before the bridge and took the city streets. I’m lucky I know the area well enough to be able to do that. What if you are a vacationer from another state passing through. You will ignore the sign even if you do see it, and proceed.

Anyway, when the event finally happens Illinois will be on the map right up there with California and New York. The world will see the news broadcasts of our finest politicians passing the buck and blaming the republicans. Oh wait, they can’t do that there are no republicans.

Why is this bridge crumbling? It is a long story. Once upon a time there was a Congressman from Frankfort whose name was George Sangemeister. There was also a giant parcel of US Government land know as the Joliet Arsenal. George wanted to leave a legacy so he legislated that the land should go back to the people. The arsenal was no longer being used to make bullets, bombs, and torpedos, and is made good sense. George’s plan split the land into three parcels. The first parcel created the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery for veterans. The second parcel created Midewin National Tall Grass Prairie. The final parcel was designated for business. I’m sure George made some side money on that one. The business that settled there is a giant terminal for transporting goods coming from China. This is the culprit. There are thousands of trucks coming into and out of the terminal. Container trains come in from the east and the west they get unloaded and then trucked to our local Dollar General stores with all the crap the Chinese send us. We get cheap goods to fill our garages and basements with and the states get a bill to rebuild highways, and  bridges. Now how cheap is that? What we don’t pay for in goods we wind up paying for infrastructure.

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Tap Dancing Debbie

I can’t take it anymore!

I just shut off a news program after the host asked Congresswoman Debbie Dingle from Michigan if the Democrats were going to start focusing on getting things done instead of trying to bring down the president. Ms DIngle was remarkably flexible in her change to a new subject. Instead of answering the question she shifted to why she won’t vote to support Trump’s deal with the Mexicans. She insists that there must be some form of verification by the Mexicans that they are doing as promised. Probably not a bad idea, but not enough to warrant keeping the deal from going through.

The president’s new tactic to circumvent our badly written immigration laws shows his diligence in trying to solve a problem created by our legislators. A bigger problem is that our legislators will not act to revise the laws. They merely sit on their hands and tell us how overworked they are and how they need a raise. They did have time to propose a bill to raise their salaries. I guess facing TV cameras and answering questions by cable news companies is straining them. Oh how I feel for these poor politicians. I’d say that ninety percent of Americans would be very happy making $178,000 per year. I am a college educated engineer who spent forty years managing as many as a hundred professionals in a stressful manufacturing operation and I never came anywhere close to making that much. I got fifteen work days off to spend with  my family. These congressional creatures work 145 days out of 261 (116 days off). My eyes are dripping alligator tears for these poor, poor overworked minions.

Sadly, we can’t fire them. Our laws protect them from being fired. We the people can recall a political figure, but the effort to do so is monumental. We could impeach them, but this process is also monumental. There is a desperation move referred to as the tax payer relief shot, but that is counter productive to the solitary implementer. So we are stuck with our single vote every two years for congressmen and six years for senators. The trouble with the vote is that these good soldiers are so attached and faithful to their parties that voting them out becomes a mortal sin for the voter. Political parties are known for spending millions to keep their faithful in office.

My options are limited to complaining on this blog with the hopes that some reader willl be converted to my point of view and vote with me.

If you are too young to know what a tap dancer is watch this video it will brighten your day.

And Then There Was . . .

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God was missing for six days. Eventually, Michael, the archangel, found him, resting on the seventh day.
He inquired, "Where have you been?"
 God smiled deeply and proudly pointed downwards through the clouds, “Look, Michael. Look what I’ve made.”


 Archangel Michael looked puzzled, and said, “What is it?”

 “It’s a planet,” replied God, and I’ve put life on it. I’m going to call it Earth and it’s going to be a place to test balance.”

 “Balance?” inquired Michael, “I’m still confused.”

 God explained, pointing to different parts of Earth. “For example, northern Europe will be a place of great opportunity and wealth, while southern Europe is going to be poor. Over here I’ve placed a continent of white people, and over there is a continent of black people. Balance in all things.”

 God continued pointing to different countries. “This one will be extremely hot, while this one will be very cold and covered in ice.”

 The Archangel, impressed by God’s work, then pointed to a land area and said, “What’s that one?”

 “That will be the Commonwealth of Virginia, the most glorious place on earth. There are beautiful mountains, rivers and streams, lakes, forests, hills, and plains. The people from the Commonwealth of Virginia are going to be handsome, modest, intelligent, and humorous, and they are going to travel the world. They will be extremely sociable, hardworking, high achieving, carriers of peace, and producers of good things.”

 Michael gasped in wonder and admiration, but then asked, “But what about balance, God? You said there would be balance…”
 God smiled, "Right next to Virginia will be Washington DC. Wait till you see the idiots I put there.

Time to Go Camping

I received this letter from a former Boy Scout who is now seventy plus years old. He thought it was hilarious, so did I.

Dear Mom and Dad,

Our Scoutmaster told us to write to our parents in case you saw the
flood on TV and got worried. We are okay. Only one of our tents and 2
sleeping bags got washed away. Luckily, none of us got drowned because
we were all up on the mountain looking for Adam when it happened.

Oh yes, please call Adam’s mother and tell her he is okay. He can’t
write because of the cast. I got to ride in one of the search and
rescue Jeeps. It was great. We never would have found Adam in the dark
if it hadn’t been for the lightning. Scoutmaster Ted got mad at Adam
for going on a hike alone without telling anyone. Adam said he did
tell him, but it was during the fire so he probably didn’t hear him.
Did you know that if you put gas on a fire, the gas will blow up? The
wet wood didn’t burn, but one of the tents did and also some of our
clothes. Matthew is going to look weird until his hair grows back.

We will be home on Saturday if Scoutmaster Ted gets the bus fixed. It
wasn’t his fault about the crash. The brakes worked okay when we left.
Scoutmaster Ted said that with a bus that old, you have to expect
something to break down; that’s probably why he can’t get insurance.
We think it’s a super bus. He doesn’t care if we get it dirty, and if
it’s hot, sometimes he lets us ride on the bumpers. It gets
pretty hot with 45 people in a bus made for 24. He let us take turns
riding in the trailer until the policeman stopped and talked to us.
Scoutmaster Ted is a neat guy. Don’t worry, he is a good driver. In
fact, he is teaching Horace how to drive on the mountain roads where
there aren’t any cops. All we ever see up there are huge logging
trucks.

This morning all of the guys were diving off the rocks and swimming
out to the rapids. Scoutmaster Ted wouldn’t let me because I can’t
swim, and Adam was afraid he would sink because of his cast (it’s
concrete because we didn’t have any plaster), so he let us take the
canoe out. It was great. You can still see some of the trees under the
water from the flood. Scoutmaster Ted isn’t crabby like some
scoutmasters. He didn’t even get mad about the life jackets. He has to
spend a lot of time working on the bus so we are trying not to cause
him any trouble.

Guess what? We have all passed our first aid merit badges. When Andrew
dived into the lake and cut his arm, we all got to see how a
tourniquet works. Steve and I threw up, but Scoutmaster Ted said it
was probably just food poisoning from the left-over chicken. He said
they got sick that way with food they ate in prison. I’m so glad he
got out and became our scoutmaster. He said he sure figured out how to
get things done better while he was doing his time. By the way, what
is a pedal-file?

I have to go now. We are going to town to mail our letters and buy
some more beer and ammo. Don’t worry about anything. We are fine and
tonight it’s my turn to sleep in the Scoutmaster’s tent.
LOVE, MIKE

Exactly

Alyssa knows the truth.

 

College Student: My Generation Is Blind to the Prosperity Around Us

The title describes the author, Alyssa Ahlgren, who’s in grad school for her MBA.  It’s a short article but definitely worth a read.

I’m sitting in a small coffee shop near Nokomis trying to think of what to write about. I scroll through my newsfeed on my phone looking at the latest headlines of Democratic candidates calling for policies to “fix” the so-called injustices of capitalism. I put my phone down and continue to look around. I see people talking freely, working on their MacBook’s, ordering food they get in an instant, seeing cars go by outside, and it dawned on me. We live in the most privileged time in the most prosperous nation and we’ve become completely blind to it. Vehicles, food, technology, freedom to associate with whom we choose. These things are so ingrained in our American way of life we don’t give them a second thought.

Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recently said to Newsweek talking about the millennial generation, “An entire generation, which is now becoming one of the largest electorates in America, came of age and never saw American prosperity.”

Never saw American prosperity. Let that sink in. When I first read that statement, I thought to myself, that was quite literally the most entitled and factually illiterate thing I’ve ever heard in my 26 years on this earth. Now, I’m not attributing Miss Ocasio-Cortez’s words to outright dishonesty. I do think she whole-heartedly believes the words she said to be true. Many young people agree with her, which is entirely misguided. My generation is being indoctrinated by a mainstream narrative to actually believe we have never seen prosperity. I know this first hand, I went to college, let’s just say I didn’t have the popular opinion, but I digress.

“Never saw American Prosperity”.  It’s stunning when you think of it in those terms, but the attitude that AOC voices is obvious all around us.  The US has roughly 5% of the world’s population but contributes about 25% of world GDP; global prosperity, if you will.  Producing that quarter of the world’s GDP gets us derided by those same college students for using more than 5% of the world’s energy to generate that outsize contribution!  Instead, they should be asking why the other major economic powers aren’t contributing as much.  The US has lifted more people out of abject poverty, spread more freedom and democracy, and has created more innovation in technology and medicine than any other nation in human history. When a disaster happens somewhere in the world, US citizens routinely donate more out of their own pockets than any other country’s citizens, and generally giving more than entire nations do with tax money (that is, not voluntary charity).

Why then, with all of the overwhelming evidence around us, evidence that I can even see sitting at a coffee shop, do we not view this as prosperity? We have people who are dying to get into our country. People around the world destitute and truly impoverished. Yet, we have a young generation convinced they’ve never seen prosperity, and as a result, elect politicians dead set on taking steps towards abolishing capitalism. Why? The answer is this, my generation has only seen prosperity. We have no contrast. We didn’t live in the great depression, or live through two world wars, or see the rise and fall of socialism and communism. We don’t know what it’s like not to live without the internet, without cars, without smartphones. We don’t have a lack of prosperity problem. We have an entitlement problem, an ungratefulness problem, and it’s spreading like a plague.

Churchill spoke of socialism as the “Gospel of Envy” and the daily media spew reeks of that envy taken all the way to resentment.  In the US we have people living in the top 10% of incomes in the country resenting the small percentage making more than they do.  Society stratified so that everyone resents the next higher level of income, with most of those people thinking how bad they have it instead of how good.

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