Saturday, June 25, 2016

Anyone can make a baby


No regulations required. You don’t have to get a license or take a test to make a baby. There are some birds and bees instructions but no one pays any attention to them.
There are no background checks or age requirements. Well, maybe you have to wait till she is…well, you know.
It can be done anywhere and at any time. Many people do it overseas and some do it next door and maybe even your sister?
It doesn’t take a lot of training. Your friends can help you out. Once you get started you can’t stop.
Seems everyone does it. No governmental restrictions or laws prohibiting the function of procreation. There isn’t even a limit to how many you can make.
There are some religious and family considerations. Some society moirĂ©s frown upon those who do not fall in love and get married before making babies, that that won’t stop you.
So once the deal is done, the father can hang around and pass out cigars or split. The mother has to make all the important decisions from then on. There are some choices but none of them are easy.
Making a baby is easier than buying a gun, but they will be the ones to use them.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Catagorized


Recently, I’ve listened to reports from the Orlando massacre and keep hearing the term ‘community’.  I understand the LGBTQ ‘community’ banding together under a rainbow flag supporting each other. I also understand those hateful comments on social media for they too have their communities.
So why do we have to associate or reference that we belong to a community?
Seems the first community is the family. We all have the same last name. We all live in the same house. We all eat at the same table. We all go to sleep at the same time and we all wake up at the same time. We all get in the family car and go on vacation together. We are a community.
Then there is the extended family. Uncles and cousins and grandparents, but we are still connected as family so we are a bigger community.
Seems to me this whole community thing started way back in the day when a family lived together to work on survival. Kids were born to work on the farm and raise the crops and slop the hogs and battle any other family trying to share their territory. Children would start their own families but stayed close to the original family community.
Then it happened. Communities started to intermingle.
Our community became much larger. We developed counties and cities and states and countries.
Yet, we still needed to define ourselves. The name game still followed us but there was more needed for our new communities. So we assort, classify, group, pigeonhole, separate, sort, distribute, grade, pigeonhole, place, range, rank, rate, and stereotype ourselves.
Are we more comfortable or safe within our community?
Tall vs short? Brunette vs blonde? Left-handed vs right-handed? Light vs dark? Fat vs thin? Educated vs ignorant? Angry vs kind? Coffee drinker vs tea drinker? Rum vs bourbon? Rich vs poor? Rock vs classical? Republican vs Democrat? Religious vs heathen? Married vs single? Sloppy vs neat? Love vs hate? Male vs female? Gay vs straight? Fast vs slow? Pretty vs ugly? Us vs them?
It goes on and on and on. We define ourselves and then re-define ourselves. Every employment application asks us details of our lives in a sheet or two of check off boxes. Buying a house and requiring a bank loan requires details of our lives. Which communities will they accept and which ones do we just not ask?
If you play on a football team, do you ask the person next to you what religion they are? Do you ask if they live in a big house or drive a fancy car? Do you ask if they are gay or not? Of course not, because you are there as teammates and if that person can run and throw and catch, then necessary qualities are met to play the game for the team is the community.
Living in a community, the neighbors come and go. New houses are built, trees are cut down, babies are born and families move. There is a name to this ‘community’. Probably no one else knows it without research for when these houses were built after the war developers purchased blocks of land and named it for realtors to identify for sale. To identify the location must use a familiar landmark because no one remembers the community name.
If we continue to define ourselves with titles and accolades and wealth and style and yes, communities, then how can we become integrated and accept our divergence? Can our communities combine and make our society better rather than creating bigotry and prejudice and intolerance for another of our own human species, no matter the difference?
My question is with all our divisions and definitions are we not just inhabitants of a small blue planet floating in space?

Saturday, June 11, 2016

A Trip To The Toy Store


With the wonderful comfortable weather it is difficult to pull away from retirement, but the ‘to-do’ list still shows some purchases, so today is as good as any to strap on the gear and go to the Toy Store.
Now this isn’t the little boy Toy Store with the trains and model planes and little rubber soldiers, but the Big Boy Toy Store. Not the store where I go to get my ladies or the store where I take my ponies to be checked up or the Tummy Temple where I buy my sustenance, but the Big Boy Toy Store where there is wood and nails and screws and power tools or as Tim from “Tool Time” would say, “Ooh Ooh Oooh Ooh Oh”.
A little history, I was never much of a ‘shop’ guy. My dad was not a tinkerer or hobbyist and our tool selections were old and rusty. When I did find a need for a screw or bolt or some such weird item for a college project, I’d go to Pleasant’s Hardware which was a hole in the wall dark and dank store with bins of loose screws and bolts and all sorts of thing-a-ma-jigs. I never knew the proper name of what I was looking for but I could ask the old guys working there and they could immediately walk me to the spot and have total knowledge of how the item was sized, it’s purpose and any necessary additional tools needed. They just seemed to know. After that I bought a house and had to start to assembly my own toolbox. What was known as a ‘hardware store’ quickly became a ‘home improvement’ store where there were few selections and screws had to be bought in a package rather than just the one you need? The “Home Center” at the local mall had screwdrivers that broke and small hammers; absolute no knowledge of the ‘how-to’ instructions previously cherished. With the Reader’s Digest “DIY” books, I tried to self learn how to fix this and that and usually had the wrong tool or needed one additional part I didn’t know I needed. There was a true old-style hardware store up on Church Hill known as Harper’s that would have the unique and mostly outdated tools and items, but they went out of business. Big box stores like Home Depot and Lowes became the normal one-stop-shop for everything anyone would ever need for home and garden. Folks in red or blue vest could direct you to the aisle of any assortment of pipes or boards or hammers or nails but the inventory had become too massive to comprehend.
A Lowes store was just up the street and was easy access. That would later be a downfall. Hechinger’s was further out west, but could be reached. The discovery of store credit cards and available delivery started the renovation and landscaping projects. Since then Lowes moved further in town, Hechinger’s and Pleasant’s closed. Still connected through the Internet and delivery Lowes is still my go-to Toy Store.
The best part of this adventure was to wander down paths, traveled hundreds of times but not recently, and notice the changes. Those people put up a fence, that house got a new coat of paint, a new brick wall or was it a replacement? It has been a long time since I’ve wandered this route. With lite traffic, it was easy to slowly roll and observe without fear for life and limb.
Crossing a questionable bridge I remember seeing built across the railroad and then a popular highway going south, the first surprise is a block away from my junior high was being demolished. A mini-strip shop of dentist and insurance but was protection on the night of the lightning bolts. What was a simple brick 50’s look was now becoming a pile of dust. Wonder what will be next?
On past row houses that leave little room for change but every new item I don’t remember catches my eye. Like many of our familiar paths, one street over can be completely different and a visual experience. Passing by memories of places and times and people and over some rough cobblestones I reach my destination without incident.
Lock up, change the shades for blurred vision then grab a rolling cart. Rather than just going by my list, I wandered the cement. Seems the cushions I tried to order last year are back. Good selection of garden stuff, but I think I already have it all as the mother rolling by is scolding her son for being a kid at the Toy Store. Drawn to the gloves, but I have enough, I find my first treasure. The tattooed girls looked interesting and inviting, but I was on a mission.
Like going into a museum of wood and metal, I glanced at all the purchases I’ve made over the years. One by one I find my items or at least reasonable facsimiles of what I had written but didn’t really need. For some reason we feel better when we purchase stuff we don’t really need. Past refrigerators, curtains, paint, plumbing and so on, this place is amazing.
The motive of this venture was to replace a hand sander that just seemed to stop working. There was no reason for it to just stop, but it did. Looked online as I do and found a cheap enough replacement but once on the floor in the area that was not easy to find, the display model was missing so I contemplated upgrading the model but being determined to have made this long trip, I would not give up. Moving some boxes around I found the last one. The model I was looking for. What a treasure.
The one item I could not find was a latch for my back gate. What I was looking for was U-shaped holder I had seen on a deck of a recent boat ride. It would be perfect to hold a 2x4 board, but I could find anything similar. One would think in a store this big with so much stuff, I could find this item? Being a fairly intelligent person with a creative mind, I rethink my original plan and find another possible solution to a non-problem. How about an eyehook big enough to slide a rebar in? I’ve got plenty and it makes engineering sense so I try that.
So bag up my goodies and try to return home without becoming a news story, I venture down a different path, yet the path I returned home to for years and years, a pass through Halloween decorations and screaming school kids and girls in plaid dresses. That would have been worth the price of admission.
Once back in the sanctuary, scratching off the list, one item missed notice. Not a big deals because there are several things to do before that item is needed. There is always something else to do, so keep it on the list.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Broaden Your Horizons



Education is supposed to give you this over what your parents can teach you. Take the basic skills of reading, writing and arithmetic and move onto the university. There your basic skills are expanded by questions of philosophy and theory and perhaps making you think.
As you become an adult, you gather your knowledge or perceptions of truth and follow a rocky road supporting your ideals. Family and friends and workmates and partners and social adjustments will tweak your ideals until they become prejudice and perhaps bigotry.
Yet few can quote Shakespeare or Socrates or Jung but can spout word-for-word Monty Python’s sketches. Many have learned to appreciate the works of Martha Graham or Willem de Kooning or Frank Lloyd Wright or Jean-Luc Godard or Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart but have posted selfies on their social media pages and can sing the words to Taylor Swift.
Questionable journalism overwhelms each and every day with publications, books, talking heads, established new venues, and pods, streams, and whatever new electronic wonder can be invented. Bites and snippets reinforce our ideals and biases like Pavlov’s dog.
Are we still broadening our horizons with animated movies, law and order series, reality shows and dancing with the stars? Have we lost the curiosity of exploring new adventures?
Could we pick up a book by an unknown author on an unknown subject? Are we bold enough to pick up a paintbrush or a golf club or a musical instrument or sign up for a marathon to expand our horizons with an open mind?
We don’t need to be well read to be able to immediately search facts or interpretations or opinions at a push of a button. Maybe we are not as smart as we think we are?
Or let’s go down the rabbit hole and see what the next generation will come up with.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Outcaste

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I’ve become a un-friend.
It seems I am a mean person. I don’t play well with others.
Perhaps I make too much sarcasm for others in the world of social media? Perhaps some take my quips as a personal attack on their values? Perhaps I just ask annoying questions?
Whatever the reason, I’ve become a un-friend.
Could discuss the description of ‘a friend’ but I think I’ve already covered that subject. How do you pick up the title after decades?
So somehow, after many years of reunion, I’ve pissed this person off. My current lifestyle, fashion, or personal observations, real or fabricated, must disturb this person.
What was so amazing about this spiral of disaffection is the person posted the ‘un-friend’ not only to me, but also to many of my other so-called friends. Was this self-validation? Was it necessary to make the announcement more than personal?
Or as this person would probably respond….
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yuD-7pcjdSk

Domesticated


Have you ever been married? Have you ever been in a relationship? Have you ever had a roommate? If you have, then you know there are compromises that must be made to get along with another.
Domestication is the scientific theory of the mutual relationship between animals and plants with the humans who have influence on their care and reproduction.
Charles Darwin recognized the small number of traits that made domestic species different from their wild ancestors. He was also the first to recognize the difference between conscious selective breeding in which humans directly select for desirable traits, and unconscious selection where traits evolve as a by-product of natural selection or from selection on other traits.
There is a genetic difference between domestic and wild populations. There is also such a difference between the domestication traits that researchers believe to have been essential at the early stages of domestication, and the improvement traits that have appeared since the split between wild and domestic populations.
Domestication traits are generally fixed within all domesticates, and were selected during the initial episode of domestication of that animal or plant, whereas improvement traits are present only in a proportion of domesticates, though they may be fixed in individual breeds or regional populations.
Our society expects us to become domesticated. It allows us a few years to sow our wild oats and then we are expected to calm down, become responsible community citizens, raise a family and maintain the status quo.
We go from our wild rebellious youth to domestication. Haircuts, suits and ties, adjusting sleeping habits and responsible shoes are requirements. We become defined by what another person wants.
Civilized?
A civilization is any complex society characterized by urban development, social stratification, symbolic communication forms, and a perceived separation from and domination over the natural environment by a cultural elite. Civilizations are intimately associated with socio-politico-economic characteristics, including centralization, the domestication of both humans and other organisms, specialization of labor, culturally ingrained ideologies of progress and supremacist, monumental architecture, taxation, and expansionism.
To be civilized is to be polite, courteous, well mannered, civil, gentlemanly, ladylike, mannerly, cultured, cultivated, refined, polished, sophisticated, enlightened, educated, advanced, enlightened, educated, refined, polished, polite and somewhat domesticated.
To not be civilized is being rude and unsophisticated.
Yet some of us take a different route.
A feral animal is an animal living in the wild but descended from domesticated individuals.
The introduction of feral animals or plants to non-native regions may disrupt ecosystems and has contributed to extinction of indigenous species.
Beware of feral beings. They are not domesticated.