Author Archives: brevemike
So it’s Father’s Day. My daughter called and wished me a happy day.
I appreciated the sentiment, but as I reflect on why I should have a happy day I was seized by an all too typical melancholy.
I, of course, ruminated on it.
I get irritated that our kids should feel obligated to express their gratitude to those of us who have committed ourselves to their upbringing.
I really don’t need gifts.
It’s great to be appreciated, but as a Father I’d rather you express that appreciation through your actions in the world.
Show me that I didn’t screw you up horribly – a secret fear I think most parents share.
Be successful, and by successful I mean happy.
Your happiness (success as a whole well rounded independent individual) brings me more gratification than
any gift you could give me.
On the flip side of that melancholy is the persistent knowledge that I’ve failed my Father.
That I have squandered the time, effort, and money he put into raising me.
That I have failed to live up to his expectations, and failed miserably.
Alas, my father passed a couple of years ago and I never got up the courage to ask him before we were parted – so I shall never know.
It occurred to me
– as I considered the nature of reality at 3:30am –
that The Buddha did not have a good recliner.
I’m seriously considering starting to post here again.
It’s been four years since I used this site, but I feel the need to write again – why, yes, it is a severe chronic illness.
Anyhow. I may resurrect some of my old posts just so the place isn’t so empty.
You’ll also note along the top there are links to my free/busy calendar, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
For a few weeks I have been considering trading my truck in on a car. Last weekend I nearly took advantage of the governments Car Allowance Rebate System, however I did not have the time to research it.
Earlier this week the brakes on my truck failed, so did the water pump. I lamented the $1800 I had to dig up to pay for the repairs and the cash I could have saved by trading in the truck last weekend.
Today I got serious about getting rid of the truck and put some research into the goverment incentive program. Driving a truck with a 5.9 ltr engine that gets 13mpg should be exactly the sort of vehicle the program is designed to get off the, and it is…BUT…
The program has qualifications and limitations. Not surprising, it is a goverment program. One of them is a height limitation in the new car to be purchased.
Not a limitation on the height of the car, a limitation on the height of the driver. Although it is not explicitly stated, the maximum driver heigt appears to 6’1″ depending on the model car.
I’m kidding, right?
The CARS website has a tool for finding eligible vehicles to purchase. In order to qualify, a passenger car must get 22mpg or higher. I didn’t think that was going to be a big issue. I was wrong.
I checked the Ford Taurus, Mazda 6, Hyundai Genesis – all of which get significantly better gas milage than my truck. The problem is they all have too much leg room. I can actually move my foot between the gas and break without slamming my knee into they steering wheel. So they are ineligible for the program.
I must admit to a little omission…the program will allow me to buy a new truck I fit into. Admittedly the new trucks only get 3 or 4 mpg better than my truck, but every little bit counts. Right?
This makes no sense to me. I can get a less fuel efficient truck, but not a more fuel efficient car. All because I’m too tall.
Do I get the unsafe to drive but fuel efficient small car, or the comfortable gas guzzling truck? Hmmm…
So, next subject.
Which trucks do you think are the most comfortable?
Recently I’ve been seeing a lot of this quote:
“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants” – Thomas Jefferson.
It has been suggested that this is to be understood as a call to arms against an unjust government. That would be an incorrect interpretation.
The quote is out of context. Try reading the full quote:
“God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion.
The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive.
If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. …
And what country can preserve its liberties, if it’s rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms.
The remedy is to set them right as to the facts, pardon and pacify them.
What signify a few lives lost in a century or two?
The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
It is its natural manure.”
– Thomas Jefferson, November 13, 1787, letter to William S. Smith, quoted in Padover’s Jefferson On Democracy, ed., 1939
The emphasis is mine. This is my take on the above quote, and what it means in the context of the changes going on in our country.
It is the solemn and patriotic duty of every American Citizen to loudly protest against any government action they do not understand.
It is the solemn and patriotic duty of every American Leader to engage with equal fervor and EXPLAIN COMPLETELY to the people the action being taken.
It is the solemn and patriotic duty of every American Citizen and American Leader to engage in this debate.
It does not matter that the communication of this information may take time, or expense, or that some people will never understand it.
It does not matter that the U.S. population is 100x greater now than when Jefferson wrote his words in 1787.
The people have a duty to protest, the leaders have a duty to explain.
If the current leaders are mystified at the reason behind the vociferous opposition to Health Care Reform, it is because they have done a PISS POOR JOB OF EXPLAINING IT!!
Barney Frank lashed out at a citizen during a town hall meeting recently because he believed her to be a nutball. I believe her to be confused.
The debate about health care reform is not going to be solved through ad homenim attacks on the proponents or opponents.
The questions remain:
Why do we – the whole country, not just the uninsured – need health care reform?
If health care reform is needed, why is THIS the best way to do it for the whole country?
Can ANYONE point me to a link where these questions are answered succinctly and completely?
So I had the pleasure of a break failure earlier today. Very nearly slammed into the rear of another car at an intersection.
It’s interesting what goes through your mind at moments like that.
Mostly “OH F**K!!”
Anyway, I survived, the sidewalk survived, and the truck is in the shop costing me just under $1800 to fix.
The adrenaline rush got rid of my headache for awhile. It’s back now.
Off to the ankle surgeon!
No tendon tear in ankle so no surgery for now. Looking at something called PRP, involving a plasma injection. IDK
Must do research.
I find I am often derailed in my daily undertakings by the unplanned and unexpected.
Yesterday it was a rock through a sliding glass door. Today it was an unsatisfactory visit to one of the spouse’s physicians & later a fall due to my bad ankle.
That is not to say the days were completely lost. It did take an inordinate amount of energy to move back on task and accomplish even minor tasks.
I believe this errant energy waste is due to trying to force equanimity upon myself rather than accepting, experiencing, and releasing the negative emotion generated by the unexpected event.
There’s always tomorrow.
Response to Lavender Liberal’s Follow-Up
I understand your concern about Kostric because you researched his background.
But I’m still amazed at the amount of fear one guy with a sign and a gun can create, by just having a sign and a gun!
I suppose it’s simply a difference in where you live and what you’ve learned constitutes a threat.
The presence of people carrying guns (both concealed and in the open) was a common experience for me. You couldn’t distinguish a threat by the mere presence of a gun.
You had to look to their behaviour. Was it suspicious, outrageous, or in line with the situation?
To me, Kostric – holding his sign, carrying his gun, standing where he was told, not shouting epithets – was participating in the process.
Out in the open where he can be tagged and cataloged. In my experience, the people you have to worry about aren’t the people on the radar, it’s the people off.
So Kostric and his ilk are not a “threat”, but a mere concern to be watched.
The problem with watching for people that appear to be the next Timothy McVeigh is that the people who actually are the next McVeigh don’t look like it.
The threat isn’t the coyote standing in front of you, it’s the scorpion behind you.
If we spend too much time and energy giving power to the “nutters” like Kostric, we’ll miss the real threats when they come
crawling out from under the rock.
Perhaps you’re right and we don’t have anything to discuss, because Kostric’s actions don’t generate the same concern in me that they do in you.
And that’s the problem with any discussion, you have to find a common root to start from.
Our country is so diverse and yet so homogenized. It gives the appearance of a baseline unity based on shared experiences, but in reality that baseline is pretty thin.
There is no such thing as economic equality. There never has been, there never will be.
There have been times and places through-out history where large swaths of population shared relatively equal economic statuses.
Mostly poor. But, there have always been those who were poorer and those who were richer.
My point is that artificial attempts to re-distribute wealth have always met with limited success. Mostly by making the bulk of the population poorer.
The U.S. has been singularly fortunate in balancing free enterprise with re-distribution of wealth.
We have a very large and prosperous middle class. Which is exactly what we want.
We need most of the population to be content. As all politicians should know, you threaten that contentment at your peril.
So the challenge is: How do we bring more people up from poor and into the contentment of the middle class?
And how do we do it without impinging on the comfortable lifestyles currently enjoyed by the middle class?
Radical changes to their health care system isn’t it. Telling them the government will now have even more control over their lives isn’t it.
What exactly is the problem with health care?
That it’s expensive?
What part the insurance? Services? Both?
That insurance companies have too much control over treatment options?
That doctors have to carry massive malpractice insurance just in case they make a mistake?
Does everybody get to drive a Mercedes?
Huh? Did I make that turn too fast?
If I work to buy a Mercedes, does that mean my unemployed neighbor gets one too?
Anything anyone has they earned, or someone earned it for them.
My parents have worked hard all their lives to ensure their children and grandchildren have advantages they didn’t.
We benefit from their efforts. I am very fortunate.
Why should my efforts or my parents efforts be usurped for the benefit of someone else?
I’m not insensitive to the plight of the unemployed & uninsured.