We’re Honoring Indians!

A fine example of what one person can accomplish with perseverance.

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Wait a Minute, did you hear that?

Hear and Now

Hear and Now (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What’s that sound? Off in the distance, no it is right here in the room with us. What is it?

Turn off the tv, turn off the Iphones, the Ipads, the radio. Turn them all off, now listen again, silently.

There it is again, did you hear it? Did you hear it that time?

There it is, why it sounds like a small child, a small child calling out in hunger.

A child seeking nourishment, yes that’s what it is. I can hear it more clearly now, it is a boy.  Do you hear him also?

Ah, but he is not seeking just an apple to nourish his body, he is seeking knowledge and wisdom to nourish his very heart and soul.

Reach out and take his hand. Walk slowly with him down a path he has yet to travel. As you walk hand in hand, share with him the experiences of your life as he shares with you his excitement and joy of new things discovered.

This stroll is not a time for preaching or scolding, it is a time for sharing and listening. The listening may be the most important part of the walk. For without the listening, only one of you will have been nourished and that would be a shame. Don’t you think?

What Are Your Concerns?

DSC_9151-4

DSC_9151-4 (Photo credit: nikontino)

Last night a gentleman sat next to me and said, “There are a lot of hungry people in the world.” As I began thinking of my approach to this open topic another gentleman brought up Bill Gates and Warren Buffet.  I did not understand exactly what if anything he was trying to point out by mentioning these two and the conversation wandered ferociously. One fellow said they move their money from one charity to another in order to avoid paying taxes and another said the big crisis in this world will come from the lack of food. I suggested the big problem will be the lack of potable water.

No “aha” moments at all from this brief interlude and the discussion ended.

This morning there was a debate concerning gay marriage on the show I was watching. Polling suggests this is gaining acceptance in the United States and will soon be a non-issue here.

These two items are examples of topics we could or may discuss in monthly chat groups I hope to be joining soon.

So I am asking you to send to me a list of your top three concerns for the upcoming year. This is totally open and can be anything from who is going to cut my lawn next summer to the civil wars going on in various parts of the world or even something like world hunger. If you only have one pressing concern that is fine, just share with us what they are.

You can post them here as a reply or send them to me via email. If you send email please title it “Concerns”. I will try to compile them and post results of your input here later.

Send email to: larryjben@gmail.com

One year’s hospital insurance $5.00

English: Diagram showing that it is possible t...

English: Diagram showing that it is possible that a firm in perfect competition makes an abnormal profit, if P > min(ATC). In the long run, however, only normal profits will be made, since P will equal min(ATC) exactly. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

That was the price listed on a certificate from St. Marys Hospital in Saginaw, Michigan circa 1883.

There were restrictions, no care for drunkenness and you were not admitted if you had a communicable disease. Patients were cared for in wards and disease could spread rapidly under those conditions.

The story says the fee translates into about $116.00 in today’s dollars. Any chance we could get a year’s hospital coverage today for $116.00?

No sir, in today’s economic environment hospitals are no longer in business to aid in the healing of the sick and injured. Hospitals today are in business to make a profit. This for profit environment began way back when Nixon was president and a member of his cabinet came up with the idea of health care for profit. It has grown immensely over the years and of course the completion is fierce with mergers and advertising completing the picture.

The result of this privatization-for profit mode is an inflation busting increase in health care costs for all. This smacks in the face of those who profess to the free market philosophy of competition drives down prices.

Another area where for profit enterprises have driven up prices beyond inflation is education, check out the current tuition rates in any college, private or state funded.

Those on the right are pushing for more privatization of schools, Social Security and even prisons. As the two examples above show us, privatization does not bode well for the hard-working middle class but does seem to provide a tidy profit for the few and the mighty.

Think about it my friends and consider joining me in some monthly midweek chats coming soon. 🙂

Saturday Chatter

The holidays have me off schedule this week; usually share this on a Monday morning.

Last Saturday was different, group was larger by at least 50 percent and chatter did not get my full attention.  The cards came out early and before I knew it I was involved in a Euchre tournament.

One political discussion I was involved in started when a military retiree (Republican) stated the fact that his pension was being decreased in the new budget being put forth by the government. He asked why they don’t cut their own pay.  I could hardly conceal my glee as I explained to him… yes the Republicans are indeed cutting benefits to veterans and with only 535 congress critters a cut to their pay would not save near as much money as a cut to vets benefits.

He agreed to the volume of vets versus congress critters but took a different view of the Republicans being responsible for the cuts; he thinks it is the government that cut his pay. It takes 51 votes to pass legislation.

A couple of points here…

First he is technically correct it does take agreement in congress for any bill to pass.  I should have pointed out that the cuts were necessary to get the Republicans to sign off on the agreement, maybe next time.

Second point, they are now turning these young men against the government rather than pointing out the actual culprit in taking from the middle-class.  Nice spin job by the aristocrats, don’t you think?

I did compliment him for agreeing with me in the fact that middle-class people are suffering and having to foot the bill for our government’s fiascoes. I suggested he begin voting like me and then we would start making some progress.

He was not ready to go this far and appears to be ready to continue voting against his own best interests. More work to do with this young fellow.

The rest of the evening I was wrapped up in the card game and had to stay out of the “Obamacare” discussion going on at the next table. Damn!!!

Want to get a Wednesday evening chat group together starting next month. Anyone interested in joining group drop me an email or reply here for more information.

Young Man Not Yet Case Hardened

These are just a few of my thoughts and feelings this morning.

A young man of my acquaintance recently joined the military. He went off to boot camp a child and came back home a man.  This young man came back with his hair cut short and his pants pulled up. He indeed has been trained to follow the rules of being a member of the strongest military in the world. He stands straight and tall and walks proud; a fine example for sure.

However, this young man while on leave got a tattoo. A tattoo that meets military requirements, covered under normal dress code.

This tattoo sends a message to me. The message I get is; the young man is

English: Freehand cherry blossoms and koi fish...

English: Freehand cherry blossoms and koi fish. Design and tattoo by Joey Pang (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

well-trained in “ten-hut!” and “Oohrah!” But he still maintains the innocence of his age.

He will soon be off for more training and then shipped to his duty station.  My hopes and wishes are this young man is not unnecessarily put in harm’s way as his tour of duty continues. I do not want a life changing event to harden this young man beyond recognition.

Shopping yesterday

Energizer Bunny

Energizer Bunny (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This caused me to miss the enjoyment of a longer day of sunshine. Dang!

I did however get a nice sweater at a good price, $20. Time constraints disallowed me from getting the same sweater at another store that had it marked down from $40 to $20 therefore missing out on saving $20. Dang again!

Lovely wife amazes me during this time of year, she like the “Energizer” bunny, just keeps going and going.

Shopping and buying and wrapping gifts like tomorrow comes too soon. Baking and cooking and crafting like tomorrow comes too soon. Dang again!

At the risk of being called a misogynist I think this may be a woman thing. For some reason beyond my ability to understand, women seem to place a lot of value on this holiday. At least a lot more value than I place on it. I do partake in the festivities and enjoy being with family and friends but, am somewhat perturbed at the commercialization of what is supposed to be a religious holiday.

Retailers are now open 24/7 seven days a week  😉 what the hell?

And do not get me started on the Santa Claus is white debate.

Merry Christmas to all and hope you all get some time with your loved ones.