Category Archives: life

The New Cosmos Quandary

I’m hooked on science shows, especially the ones that deal with the creation of the universe. Science fiction is always on my reading list. Yet the new Cosmos television series sticks in my craw.

The cosmic calendar that Neil deGrasse Tyson so dramatically explores for us is riveting. After the Big Bang, human beings appeared on the scene on the last day of the year. Modern man only happened upon the planet during the last 14 seconds. We are so late to arrive to this Big Bang party.

Then Neil begins to state that humankind wields the power to alter the climate of the planet it lives on and that this is important. The machines we build, the power we use, will destroy the planet unless we change our ways.

But Neil, think of what your show brings to light. Even if humankind is the sole force of climate change, does it really matter if humans change their ways or not? Worse case scenario, most forms of life on the planet die. Did you not show us innumerable other planets in the universe with infinite possibilities of lifeforms on them? So earth loses most of its living creatures, aside from cockroaches perhaps, why is this such a monumental loss to the universe? You just brought us into focus with infinity, so who cares about the last 14 seconds?

Mankind built a now crumbling Stonehenge over five thousand years ago (or seconds ago depending on how you view it). The Great Wall of China got its start nearly 25 hundred years ago and has never been fully intact. Both castles and nuclear reactors will succumb to a heap of dust. In the grand scheme of the cosmos, everything we do is so insignificant and fragile. The earth will move on with us or without us, unless we are successful in blowing it up. Then the universe, considering its vastness, may not miss one measly planet.

In the scope of the new Cosmos series, why is climate change such a big deal? To me, that came out of left field.  The series dwells on the insignificance of mankind as it relates to the universe.

The very premise of the Cosmos series negates the consequence of a climate change focal point. Unless . . .  is there a god on our side tipping the balance? Nah, that can’t be it.

What motivates the creators?

 

 

 

 

 

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Worth a Hill of Beans

For about four or five minutes now the teacher spoke of lofty ideals and grand humanitarian goals.

World peace. End to war and hunger. Equality and fairness. Trust one another. Diversity appreciation. Stop prejudice. A fair legal system.

Then he suddenly stopped and looked at the whole class. He said, “Let’s not fool ourselves, in the end all we really care about is our next can of beans.”

It was an abrupt turnabout. Pragmatism wins over platitudes.

My cousin graduated from high school and expected to get a good-paying job at an auto factory, the same way that his father and grandfather did. By the time he was looking for work, those jobs were gone. He meandered around doing odd jobs that never panned out to full-time careers. He ended up getting killed by being in the wrong place at the wrong time during a drug deal in Detroit.

The economy is global, no longer can autoworkers in Detroit say buy only American-made cars. If your neighbor works for a Nissan plant, why shouldn’t he buy a car from the company that pays him a living wage? A low-skill, high paying manufacturing job is nearly extinct, so grab what you can.

America was on top for too long. Now it is time for her to suffer. Most of the world root for our suffering and demise. Americans must get used to a lower standard of living. The politicians should stop spouting lies. More jobs may never come. The global economy levels off the playing field and those on top will slide ever farther down.

So much for the average worker. Don’t forget to fleece the rich bastards. The Wall Street bankers, CEOs, sports figures, and those in the entertainment industry for starters.

Though I do admire the skills of Alan Mulally and how he managed Ford and other businesses so well that jobs were preserved and the companies prospered. Kim Kardashian makes money off her big butt. I’m sick of people admiring her more than effective leaders in the business world that are only demonized.

But I forget, capitalism is evil.

Now how to take away the money from the very rich around the world? Any ideas? Put a cap on all income? Raid bank accounts? Open up mansions to house the people? Oprah tell us what to do. You can start with throwing your cans of beans into the pile.

 

 

 

 

Sixteen and Counting

Write a post inspired by your sixteenth birthday.

I was sixteen and neither sweet nor kissed. It had been a few years now that no one wanted to be around my mother and me. Mostly it was my mother, I was just collateral. She alienated everyone in our family by now. She made her best girlfriends turn away from her. My father stopped coming by to see me. He could have met me somewhere, I wouldn’t have told. Besides my mother didn’t care what I did and where I did it. But he didn’t come or call.

One of the most enjoyable evenings I spent when I was sixteen I spent in gluing together colored strips of contact paper into a huge chain. Each link represented one day until I turned 18 and could be free from her. I draped it all around the furniture of my room. She didn’t know or care about this odd bit of decorating. Removing one link gave me some comfort.

One time she told someone over the telephone that she could kill me if she wanted since she gave birth to me. I angrily confronted her later on. She said it was none of my business.

I survived to marry a great guy, have a great child, and write this blog. My biggest regret lies in my lack of a worthwhile career. Three out of four ain’t bad.

A Skewed Bird’s-Eye View

The Earth seen from Apollo 17.

The Earth seen from Apollo 17. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The concern environmental activists have for planet earth illustrates the egocentricity of human nature.

Earth is special. We are made in the image of God. We must settle on other planets just in case our kind cease to exist here. Human life must continue somewhere, somehow. This is so important since the universe must still revolve around the earth.

If we poison our planet and life dies out, the earth will still go on. It may develop new life forms despite the destruction. If we blow up the planet, there are other planets out there.

If a soul exists, it will merge with the spiritual creator and all will be good. If no soul exists, each particle is still in communion with the whole and all will be good. If none of this is good in our eyes, new cycles and patterns will keep going no matter what we think or want.

I recycle and think it is wrong to be wasteful. But I doubt that recycling will save the planet. Every time I deposit my paper, plastic, glass, or metal in the proper recycling bin, I wonder if the energy and resources needed to reuse this material is, on final tally, worth the process. The best remedy is not to use it in the first place.

Moving backwards, against the tide of progress, may prove impossible. Once you bite the apple, there is no turning back. Until the finite resources are used up and no new ones materialize, people will not willingly stop doing what they do.

A undiscovered source of energy may be out there that can replace oil, coal, and other nasty stuff we depend on today. But most likely it will come with its own demons; knowledge doesn’t come free and clear.

If wind power becomes the only energy source available to keep our cellphones alive, or keep our cars humming, even PETA will look the other way when windmills chop up free-flying birds. Our survival and our desires trump virtue. It’s not easy being green.

My Dead Mother-in-Law Got Me Hooked on Craigslist

If American business relied on Americans buying things that they truly needed, American business would be out of business.

When my mother-in-law died, she left a house full of fabric. It was in the attic, it was in the basement, it was in each bedroom. My unscientific guess (by weighing a few containers) was that she left about 6,000 pounds of sewing fabric. She didn’t sew that much or create crafts. She bought the pretty, bright colored fabric when it went on sale only because it was on sale and the colored patterns caught her eye.

I’m sure fabric stores rely on people like my mother-in-law to keep them afloat. If people only bought what they needed, that would mean 5,995 pounds less fabric for this one woman alone.

Just a small sample of the fabric

Just a small sample of the fabric

And she was not alone. Two weeks after she died, the wife of my manager’s neighbor died. She left a houseful of fabric . . . and 15 sewing machines.

An ad on Craigslist helped us get rid of our fabric. One woman came by after most of it had been snatched up for free by many people. She complained that the fabric smelled musty. Well, it was stored in plastic containers for, in some cases, decades. What did she want for free? Right after coming to our place, she was heading off to another house filled with fabric left by another deceased elderly lady.

Before she left, she still grabbed a good amount of our musty fabric and told us she had buckets and buckets full at home. Note: big fabric giveaway going on at her house after her death. What goes around, comes around.

Virtually every house hunter reality show on television has that woman that complains about the small closets in a house. She says, “That closet will only fit my clothes, my husband is on his own.” Or, “That closet will only fit my shoes.” The older houses have minuscule storage space and that same women is shocked to think about how few things people must have owned back then. Huge shoe collection? Not a thing in the past.

Maybe buying stuff gives people a high. Maybe they keep so much stuff because it might be useful someday. Unfortunately, by the time they need that item, it is lost in the other old junk they saved or new stuff they bought.

I blame ubiquitous advertisements. Can anyone get through the day without an ad overload? Everything we look at or listen to sends us an ad for some product or service. One reason I don’t own an e-reader is because of the ads that pop up on them. Sure you can pay more and not get ads, but I’m sure that someday the ads will still come, outright or in a subliminal manner. My computer is probably sending subliminal ads to me at this moment. Paranoia is a land I’m well acquainted with.

Government, along with business, encourages us to keep mindlessly buying. Buying stuff is good for the economy (and not saving is bad for the economy – go figure).

Both rich and poor overbuy. The less wealthy buy cheaper stuff (i.e., 6,000 pounds of fabric) and the wealthy can buy enough expensive clothes to fill a 1,000 square foot home or more. If we lived a dozen lifetimes, we couldn’t wear out so many clothes or sew with so much fabric.

I’m ready to cross my cultural references and throw my shoe at the TV next time someone complains about a “small” 2,000 square foot house with kitchen countertops that are “not granite.”  Then I’ll be in the market for a new TV. I’m part of the problem.

Disparate Housewives

After my mother died, I rescued her 9 by 7 inch three-ring binder cookbook from her home. Flipping through the pages sent me traveling back in time. I remember the food cooked from the old handwritten pages. Also the recipes she clipped from newspapers and food labels. One of her few pleasures in life was cooking; by rescuing this book I have a positive connection to her.

I also found some odd little household hint clippings in one envelope in the binder. These clippings are brittle and yellow with age.

Household Hints from the Past

This one I certainly wouldn’t share with any of my guests:
If your’re not completely certain about the freshness of cream, beat in a pinch of baking soda. The cream won’t curdle, even when you add it to hot coffee.

Maybe this one was penned by a lawyer and a precursor to the overly obvious warning labels on products today:
Always oil your sewing machine according to the directions in the booklet that came with it and not as you think it should be done.

Due to my lack of artistic ability and fear of injury, probably not this one:
If you’re at all creative you can fashion your own cookie cutters, thereby having designs meaningful to your family. Remove the serrated metal strip from wax paper cartons and bend it into the shape of your choice.

wax paper

wax paper (Photo credit: eraine)

Does anyone own and polish silverware anymore? If you do, here’s a tip:
Once you have the silver polished for the holidays, help it stay bright by placing a stick of white chalk in your silverware chest. It will help retard tarnish.

Now for some uninspiring beauty advice:
Here’s a great exercise to reduce your waist measurement. Place your hands on your shoulders. Bend your knees slightly. Keeping your hips facing forward, twist your upper torso as far as you can to the right and then to the left. Repeat until tired or bored.

This doesn’t sound too easy nor effective:
Use your long-handled sponge floor mop to clean the kitchen ceiling easily and effectively.

Hey this idea may be useful or at least fun to watch:
Q: How can I determine if baking powder is still active?
A: Mix 1 teaspoon baking powder with 1/2 cup water. If mixture bubbles enthusiastically, it’s still good.

Reaction

Reaction (Photo credit: Hoppo Bumpo (Liesl))

I don’t know how well these vintage household hints translate to the year 2012. Maybe I also rescued a bit of my mother’s sense of humor as well.

Blood and Toys

Three years old on the kitchen floor

Pulling a toy at top speed

Snapping plastic pieces in the air

Clacking colorful shapes together

Too mesmerized by play.

Going somewhere.

The angry red jacket

One arm in, drop toy

Soon ready to go.

Zip zipper onto neck flesh

Angered by this business of childhood

A bandage to cover the pain

Out the door.