Archive for February, 2016

WORDS

February 11, 2016

Last week, while watching the Democratic debate between Hilary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, a portion of the allotted time was wasted as the two argued over which one was” Progressive”, and which was “Moderate”. Now, as a potential voter for one of these (although it doesn’t make much difference in my case; I live in strongly Republican Wyoming and due to the vagaries of the Electoral College, my vote for any Presidential candidate other than a Republican won’t count), I really don’t give what some refer to as a “Rat’s Ass”. Rather, I would suggest that each one of these folks just “go ahead and do what you think is right”, and let someone else decide if it’s Progressive or Moderate. And let me decide if whatever is proposed makes sense, or not.

Of course, that measure can’t be reasonably applied to just about anything that the Republican candidates are ranting about, and again we are confronted with their War of Words. Trump, Cruz, Rubio, and Bush continue to argue over which one of them is the most Conservative, whatever that means. They sound like schoolyard kids saying “my dad can beat up your dad”, or something similar (I can speak to this, I was an elementary and middle school principal for about 30 years along with other duties). The TV pundits say that they are trying to appeal to the Conservative segment of the population in order to get their vote, and the more conservative they can present themselves, the greater chance of success.

They usually start off with the “reduce taxes” announcement, not bothering to say which taxes are being slashed. It’s quite natural to “not like taxes”, but at the same time we need to understand what those taxes are providing in the area of services. I want to know what to expect but to this point there have been few specifics mentioned. I need to say that I don’t like to be paying more taxes, or user fees for trash pickup, or water and sewer, or property tax, and etc., but in reality it’s really okay as long as we’re getting good “bang for the buck”. It should be our governmental entities responsibility to make sure that we are in fact getting good value for money spent.

As a registered “unaffiliated” (that’s Wyoming-ese for Independent) voter, I suspect that many of my colleagues are fiscally conservative while at the same time socially progressive; in other words we favor programs that provide quality service to as many as possible, for the best price. In my case, my favorite words are “Clearance”, “Discount”, and “Sale”, perhaps a legacy from my Dad who had an extensive flea market niche, but I apply these terms also to areas beyond retail. And I think most folks who consider themselves as conservative apply that primarily to fiscal and religious concerns, and at the same time welcome many of the social programs. “Don’t touch my Medicare!”

It’s somewhat amusing at some of the ranting against Senator Sanders for his announcement that he’s a Democratic Socialist. If one looks at those lists of the top 10 countries in the world for Medical, Life Expectancy, Quality of Life, General Satisfaction, etc., almost all of them are examples of Democratic Socialism. We have pockets of that here, big ones, with Social Security and Medicare, but they don’t quite go far enough. Opponents scream about the high taxes these other places have to pay (for that satisfaction!); I suggest that we may be paying as much for less quality if what we pay out for health insurance is added to the amount we pay in taxes. I know that when I worked in school administration, it cost around $17000 annually for family health insurance, over and above salaries paid. Sanders and Clinton are quite right that we are getting screwed by the pharmaceuticals and insurance corporations, compared to other places in the world, and our services are not near the top of the list in quality despite the costs.

For many years, I’ve complained about the oil companies being subsidized by the government in spite of their reaping in enormous profits. Well, now they’re having problems, and on a personal basis I see lots of folks in our state being laid off due to the massive decline in oil prices. If we were a democratic socialism society, the government could set a per gallon price and leave it there regardless of the ups and downs of the supply and demand. That would stabilize budgeting, not only for the oil companies but also for those of us consumers. I don’t know if that would be $2 or whatever per gallon, economists would have to figure that out, but it could remedy the “boom and bust” cycle in the petroleum industry, remove the big subsidies, and still allow them to function and retain full employment

I guess if voting for Socialism were an option in the U.S. I would be sorely tempted to go in that direction. People need to understand that Socialism is not a dictatorship, it is not Communism; rather it is a democracy which includes the possibility of capitalistic enterprises while providing more services to the greater number. Those countries to which I referred have their own millionaires, but more of the population is enjoying the benefits that are available. (they also have shorter work hours and more vacations!).

Another thought about Words. Small changes in what we say can have a dramatic effect. One such difference has really troubled me, not because I don’t understand the meaning and intent of the expression, but that I believe it could have been better if one more word were added. The phrase, “Black Lives Matter”, I think could have a more powerful meaning if the word, “too”, were added. Adding it would in my opinion more effectively have All of us share in a spirit of teamwork which recognizes that the lives of all of us are important, while at the same time emphasizing overcoming the many inequities suffered by our African-American brothers during the past 300 years. As the phrase stands, it may in fact create divisiveness with its “In Your Face” connotation. But maybe that’s what was intended.

A final thought about words. Their meanings can change over time, as they respond to new environments and understandings. A major case surrounds the use of the word, “insane”, as research and changes in social norms are progressing toward quite different perceptions of what is really happening within individuals, and especially as changes in the criminal justice system are being considered. One of my close friends has a blog site which has more on this topic, “the unashamedschizophenic” on WordPress.com; his viewpoints are particularly incisive due to his having been inaccurately diagnosed years ago and therefore was not receiving appropriate treatments for his real condition. Through his writing, I have a better understanding of the enormity of this problem, that there are many others having had similar experiences and unfortunately often with bad outcomes. I recommend this.

Well, it’s time to head for bed so that I can devote some pre-sleep time to savoring my Broncos’ win in last week’s Super Bowl. And to try and suppress my excitement as I look toward next year. After all, the neurosurgeon verified that I don’t need cervical spine surgery, so I’m headed south to play golf this weekend in Pueblo, Colorado, and hope the referral to a neurologist can solve the issues.

Always Be Happy         To Our Youth

ANOTHER DILEMMA

February 4, 2016

Another Dilemma

In my last blog, I flirted with the topic of choices and some of the dilemmas created by having such a situation arise. Well, I now have one of an even more serious nature than the life or death occurrences that I’ve had to face recently (I’ve not yet heard from the neurosurgeon in Colorado, but during our brief visit last week he indicated that his first cursory glance at all the xrays, MRI’s, Myelograms, and my picture ID, didn’t show anything needing spinal surgery! He’s to have a closer look on the computer and call me this week).

So here’s my problem: The Super Bowl. Good fortune has placed my two favorite teams against one another, and the outcome might strain some family loyalties. I’ll explain.

During my collegiate years at The University of Kansas in Lawrence, I spent a lot of time in the old gym, shooting baskets and playing pickup games. Often, those activities included some of the school’s football players (yes, during those years they actually had a football team, even one which was in the Orange Bowl!). I sometimes played one-on-one with John Hadl, later to be the quarterback for the San Diego Chargers for many years. Some of our intramural games were against one team composed of subsequent pros; in one such game my forehead was contacted by the forearm of Curtis McClinton, running back for the Chiefs; I was stuck trying to guard Fred Hageman, later the center for the Redskins and about twice my size. Bert Coan, halfback for the Chiefs, and Doyle Schick, a Canadian League fullback, also contributed their fair share of bruises.

About the time we were graduating, the American Football League came into being, and I focused my loyalties on the Kansas City Chiefs, and Lennie Dawson, Otis Taylor, Curly Culp and their colleagues. In those early days, games were played in the Triple AAA Kansas City Blues baseball stadium, and tickets were cheap. However, my being frugal, I would buy the cheapest end zone ticket for $2 (yes, $2!) and as soon as I entered go to the concession stand. There, I would buy two cups of coffee and head to the stairs around the 50 yd. line. As I ascended, the ushers never questioned me, as I “obviously” was returning to my seat with coffee for “my friend” and me. I would find an empty seat and enjoy the game. And I was alone, except for two cups of coffee.

As I left KC, my focus dwindled a bit on football through the years I moved about the country and the world. Ultimately, I met my wife and we moved to Colorado shortly after our wedding so that I could work on a graduate degree. During that time, we had little money so our entertainment was working jigsaw puzzles bought at the local Skaggs drug store, or watching rabbit ears TV. And with little latitude to watch anything else, began to follow the Broncos. We became stalwart fans, and I didn’t suffer too many pangs of guilt when the Broncos played my formerly beloved Chiefs. And we even experienced near-grief when the Broncos lost two Super Bowl appearances in the late 70’s.

By this time, we had produced two sons and they were rapidly indoctrinated along the path of righteousness relative to whom to support in the pigskin world, even without waterboarding. My older son and I even dropped in at a pre-season training camp in Greeley, where he got lots of autographs. Unknowingly, I was wearing the same blue shorts and white shirt that the coaches wore, and several folks approached me for autographs. I didn’t give my right name.

Well, the boys grew up and set about finding their own places in the world. And as they did so, this is where the roots of my current crisis were formed. You see, our older son is an attorney in Charlotte, home of the Panthers, and has one of their more prominent players among his clients. So naturally, this past Christmas I was the recipient of a new Panthers’ hoodie to wear throughout the playoffs. panther hoodie

My other son was pursuing a career as a construction superintendent for large projects, centered in the Dallas area but also in a few other locations such as the new International terminal at LAX, or a 34 story hotel/condo in Ft. Worth. He met his wife in Dallas, spying her wearing a Bronco shirt in an overwhelmingly Cowboy environment. He quickly made his moves with his own Denver outfit, and the two were happily married a couple of years later. The wedding itself was a Bronco celebration; her garter was orange and blue and after removal, stretched around a football to throw to the groomsmen. Each table had a different player’s name, the head table being the Elway table. We sat at the Gradishar table, and in fact Gradishar’s daughter was the wedding photographer! But the ultimate emphasis on this theme came from our daughter-in-law’s mom——she was formerly a Denver Broncos Cheerleader!

And so, at the same time I was receiving that Panther hoodie, I gained another Bronco hoodie to add to my closet, this one from my other son.  broncos hoodie

I wore these on game days throughout the playoffs and had to quickly change between games on Championship Sunday. If one is superstitious, then it could be assumed that it is necessary to don one of these garments in order to assure a victory for the chosen team.

SO WHAT SHOULD I DO SUNDAY? PLEASE HELP!

Always Be Happy   To Our Youth