Tuesday, August 31, 2010

quote of the day

...it is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.  If a man, holding a belief which he was taught in childhood or persuaded of afterwards, keeps down and pushes away any doubts which arise about it in his mind, purposely avoids the reading of books and the company of men that call into question or discuss it, and regards as impious those questions which cannot easily be asked without disturbing it—the life of that man is one long sin against mankind.

--William K. Clifford

Saturday, August 28, 2010


This morning we enjoyed watching this pair of goldfinches helping themselves to the seed in the feeder. As the summer rolls by we are fortunate to see a colorful mix of bird species.
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Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Several days a week I walk along this highway for two miles
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a walk along the highway

When I crossed the Peach Eater Creek bridge I was surprised to see it was dry. That comes from a month of days over 100 degrees.
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Friday, August 20, 2010

quote of the day

"This is very important — to take leisure time. Pace is the essence. Without stopping entirely and doing nothing at all for great periods, you're gonna lose everything. Whether you're an actor, anything, a housewife … there has to be great pauses between highs, where you do nothing at all. You just lay on a bed and stare at the ceiling."

--Charles Bukowski

retirement report

It's been five years since I punched the time clock for the last time. Now I'm 65 years old, on Medicare, and, I suppose, officially a geezer.  If you're wondering why there are cupcakes in the photo instead of a cake it's because I requested a peach cobbler. The cupcakes are for the grand kids and they hold the candles up better.

So, here's what I've been doing this year.  I continue to learn piano.  My progress is slowing because I'm trying to learn more advanced techniques and styles.  I do pretty well with simple triad chords with the left hand and single note melodies with the right, but I want more than that.  I've picked up a few boogie woogie rhythms and I'm learning new chord inversions that make the songs come alive.

Since February Dorothy and I have lost 20 lbs.  The doctor advised her to change her way of eating and to exercise more to avoid type 2 diabetes.  So I changed my way of cooking and it has shown results. I still make things like pizza but I add wheat germ and ground flax seed to the dough mix to create a more complex carbohydrate.  We try to eat a low carb snack between meals to keep our blood sugar from spiking and that helps to assuage our hunger so we don't eat too much at each meal.

I continue to read a lot.  I try to keep up with the contemporary bestsellers in fiction and non-fiction while reading some of the  good  older books I missed through the years.

Spending time with the grand kids is a source of joy.  Have you ever noticed that your grand kids are so much more beautiful and intelligent than other kids?

I'm thinking of getting back into the business of online book sales.  I enjoyed it while I was doing it and the extra money would be nice.

I'm doing more projects such as clearing brush and trees around the property. (I'll be posting photos) The remodeling is on hold for now because I'm saving money  to stay out of debt.

Sometimes I run into friends who are still working and they always ask how it feels to be retired and whether I am able to find enough things to do to keep busy.  I tell them that retirement is especially sweet for someone like me who does not require structured time. If you need something to do every moment of the day you should keep working. The freedom to sit in the yard listening to the birds sing is something I value. There are chores that I do every day but they don't command my life.

Friday, August 13, 2010

quote of the day

I am done with great things and big plans, great institutions and big success. I am for those tiny, invisible, loving, human forces that work from individual to individual, creeping through the crannies of the world like so many rootlets, or like the capillary oozing of water, which, if given time, will rend the hardest monuments of pride.

--William James


Capitalists are always warning us of the evil of socialism. I’ve always wondered how an economic system that is based on common ownership of property and means of production could be evil. Socialists look at society as a group and think that the even distribution of wealth will benefit all. Of course, the countries that have claimed to be socialist were actually governed by despotic elites who restricted the freedom of their citizens. So socialism is not really a system that has been tried and found wanting as much as one that has not been tried at all. And it may never be tried because it’s the nature of the human animal to be competitive. The least competitive among us still want just a little more than our neighbors, or just a little more than we ever get. Capitalism views society as a group of individuals and if the individual is allowed the freedom to pursue his own interests then the entire group will benefit. In a perfect world either of those systems or a combination of both just might work.( I think the socialism we see in some European countries, such as Sweden is a blend of the two ideologies) But we don’t live in a perfect world. A religious person will tell you that man has a fallen nature and although he has the potential to do what is right he tends to mess things up. A more scientific person would say that we have evolved into a creature that preys upon his own kind. The old survival of the fittest doctrine. Social Darwinism is an idea long held by the wealthy and the powerful. They have more because they deserve more.

In America we have our own hybrid of the socialism/capitalism mix. The profit goes to private pockets and the risk is born by the taxpayers. Our government has been leavened by the corporate yeast. The capitalists aren’t against all socialism, just the kind that educates us when we’re young , takes care of us when we’re old and provides healthcare for all the years between. The socialism they prefer is one where the bankers who are both morally and fiscally bankrupt are given the keys to the treasury and the wealthy have their taxes cut even if the country has to borrow money to do it. The kind where contractors profit from the wars that kill our children. We’re told that the redistribution of wealth is a bad thing yet wealth has been redistributed from the bottom up for generations. The corporations and the wealthy have been waging war against the middle class for years and we didn’t even know it because the politicians owned by money interests have been successful in demonizing any social program that would give a hand up to those who were not born rich.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

quote of the day

The great majority of us are required to live a life of constant, systematic duplicity. Your health is bound to be affected if, day after day, you say the opposite of what you feel, if you grovel before what you dislike and rejoice at what brings you nothing but misfortune. Our nervous system isn't just a fiction, it's a part of our physical body, and our soul exists in space inside us, like the teeth in our mouth. It can't be forever violated with impunity.

--Boris Pasternak

Monday, August 02, 2010

what i'm reading now

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is a sordid tale on several levels. The title character, Lisbeth Salander, is a diminutive social misfit who is also a first class computer hacker.  She teams up with Mikael Blomvquist, a disgraced journalist who has been convicted of libeling a  corporate mogul. Their quest is not only to redeem his professional reputation, but to solve a mystery that has plagued a prominent family for forty years. The story not only deals with corporate malfeasance and computer hacking but with sexual violence against women. To tell you the truth I was ready to quit reading for the first 100 pages. I got weary reading the financial background that was necessary to set up the plot and  I had a hard time keeping up with all the characters.  But, I kept reading because this book is very popular and I wanted to see what all the buzz was about. By page 200 I was hooked. It's a convoluted story and just when I thought I had  it figured out the story took a new twist and I kept turning the pages to see how it all worked out. It's a good story.