Maybe Insane

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We are each the gatekeepers of our psyches, while the Internet is a vast soup of pictures, facts, lies, opinions, promotions, stories, attempts at critical thinking, and faux profundity, that flows by as fast as you can scroll. If you let it all in, you’ll become exhausted and maybe insane. So you have to make choices.

People who post pictures of aborted fetuses or tortured animals are the first ones I block. Then I go after people who post the same thing over and over. Fat guy and his wife at dinner. OK, I tried to be nice and “like” the first couple of times, but now I can’t do it anymore. Likewise the dog sprawled on the couch or bed. If that’s all you’ve got going on in your life, then keep it to yourself.

Unfortunately, I am most impressionable early in the morning when I am least critical. I share lots of ugly political posts about Donny Bonespurs the Pumpkin Spice Hitler and then have to go back and delete most of them. I don’t want my social media legacy to involve him in any way.

I try to post links on Facebook to my blogs, but they never result in any traffic going that way. Facebook has figured out how to block links to other sites without letting the poster know that’s what’s happening. They want you to create a Facebook page, then pay them to advertise it. If you try to get around that, by linking to Youtube or a WordPress blog, it will simply appear to be an active link, but it’s not.

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If Present Conditions Allow

Endure and thrive

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We all know that we’re only here for a while. Just passing through. We might as well dig what can be dug and not bemoan not having what advertising and simple envy have told us we must have in order to be happy. We can be really happy right now once we decide to conclude that present conditions allow it.

If that feels like self-delusion or selling ourselves short, again blame advertising. Is the light coming through the window and falling onto the bed coming it at the right angle, or could it be improved? Is that wrinkle on the pillowcase perfect the way it is or is it all wrong? How about the chirping of the birds outside? Too loud, too strident?

It’s obvious that the inability to enjoy the present moment is something learned. These documentary films that heighten our expectations about natural beauty actually do a great…

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Tube Junkie

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For as long as I can remember I have been a sucker for electronic gadgets. I was about nine when the transistor was invented. Before then, everything used tubes. The local dime store had a tube testing machine, and I found that I could collect old radio and televisions from the neighbors that no longer worked and find out which tubes were burnt out. Even though I couldn’t buy the replacement tubes, I could tell someone else how to fix the set.

We also had an X ray machine at the local shoe store that allowed you to see the bones in your feet. The salesmen would chase me away when they found me playing with it.

In the sixties, everything electronic began to change rapidly. Printed circuit boards containing semi-conductors don’t have the same panache that wires and tubes had. I began to lose interest. The more I learned about electronics, the more it seemed like math, which I had concluded wasn’t up my alley. I was in love with glowing orbs of glass, the smell of hot wax off a transformer, bakelite knobs and cases. I was an artist, not an engineer.

Tubes are making a comeback with the hi-fi crowd. There’s a factory in the Ukraine that still makes them. On my Facebook feed I see ads for them, and for audio amplifier kits that use them. Although I have no desire to try again to assemble an electronics project kit, (my Heathkit Shortwave Radio was a total bomb) I am amused and delighted to see my old friends that 12AX7 and the 6AU6.

And that nonsense idea “cut your cable bills and turn your house wiring into a giant antenna!” still lives! People are falling for it fifty years later. Maybe the price is so low people don’t bother to demand their money back.

Cleverness is Overrated

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Some days it pays to be clever, other days it’s best to put a sock on it. Limit invention. Just dig what’s up.

For those who have been rewarded for their cleverness, this is hard work. Sometimes you can only change your behavior a tad, a wee bit, and only for a short amount of time. You can pretend to be less clever than you actually are for half an hour. Then, “ding!” it’s time to don that thinking cap.

I have met people who are just as “intelligent” as college professors, but to whom it would never occur to try to tell other people what or how to think. They simply are too humble to want to go there. It would be obnoxious, impolite, intrusive, arrogant, and distance thesmselves from others, which in the West is considered virtue and in the East, a vice.

Interestingly, and maybe paradoxically, strong leaders of nations often downplay any cleverness they posses. Instead, they would rather be considered “strong.” As rigid as they are ruthless. Unafraid of popular opinion.

John Wayne was never admired for being clever. He didn’t need to resort to discourse or persuasion. He’d just punch you in the mouth if it seemed that’s what you needed. People wished our President was more like John Wayne than some damn pointy-headed college professor. The citizenry applauds simple solutions to complex problems.

If cleverness isn’t working any more, try pretending to be dull yet determined. Such people are often admired and respected far more than those seeking approval or agreement.

Loved It But Left It

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There’s a term “race to the bottom” which describes a lose-lose scenario. When everyone selfishly tries to undercut the competition, nobody wins. That’s where we are now in more ways than one.

If the country were a person, it could examine its conscience and trace its thinking and actions back to where shortsighted decisions got us where we are today. We could confess our sins and see a therapist. We could come up with an action plan to regain our equanimity. We could admit our wrongs, repair damages wherever possible, and move on.

But we’re not a person. We’re 330 million people, all of whom find it more convenient to blame someone else for the fix we’re in.

Maybe it’s my own form of historical narcissism, but it seems to this baby-boomer that we started digging a really deep hole for ourselves to fall in about the time I was born. The Korean War was a shameful exercise in bombing others into submission. We repeated the experiment about fifteen years later in Vietnam. Then, about twenty five years later, we created a false flag event to justify invading and destabilizing the Middle East.

None of this was my doing, but I was around for all of it.

I would like to see justice served. I would like to see aging, crippled Henry Kissinger executed on television. I would like to see Cheney, Bush, Rumsfeld, Rice and whoever else was behind the Weapons of Mass Destruction scam sentenced to life in prison.

I would like to see our current president confined to a mental hospital. But what I would like to see happen and what will probably happen almost certainly have nothing in common. This has always been the way it worked for me. I have never voted for a winning candidate in a political race. When I voiced my opinions about the Vietnam War I was invited to “Love It or Leave It.” So now, after living in America for over sixty years, I chose to leave and I’m happy I did so.