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Thursday, December 29, 2016

Silver Lining

Silver Lining
This year (2016) even more so than other recent challenging years, seems to be affecting a larger portion of the United States population than ever.  Whether it be the internet false news phenomena, the post truth era being discussed on news programs, the election, the Russian hacking, terrorism acts, WikiLeaks, are any of numerous other distraction/events going on in society.  To one degree or another everyone is being affected.
Silver lining
·       Use the term silver lining when you want to emphasize the hopeful side of a situation that might seem gloomy on the surface.
  • ·      The common expression "every cloud has a silver lining" means that even the worst events or situations have some positive aspect. 
  •     You are most likely to remind a sad or discouraged friend that there is a silver lining as a way of cheering him up. 
  •     The origin of the phrase seems to be John Milton's 1634 poem "Comus," which includes the line, "Was I deceived? or did a sable cloud/Turn forth her silver lining on the night?"

Where do I start?  Campaign 2016, whether you are a Republican or Democrat, whether you voted for any of the candidates or none.  The results are what they are.  At this point it no longer matters if you are happy with the outcome or not. The results are in.  The Silver lining?  It seems that many in the country have been clamoring for change, well, hang onto your hat because change is here.  One of my favorite sayings is, be careful what you wish for.  Wishes and prayer have one distinctive thing in common:  They seldom manifest themselves exactly as you imagined them.  

Many of our politicians seem to get comfortable once elected, and almost immediately forget who sent them into office.  Furthermore, they start campaigning for reelection as quickly as they start their term.  Slightly more than 16 years ago our senators and congressmen/congresswomen started stonewalling instead of passing legislation. On that note I agree that we are way overdue for cleaning up the slate. 

I pray for positive changes.  My idea of change is to analyze the problem and repair or replace the broken parts “only.”  It’s seems that we are headed in the direction of discarding all that we have in place and starting over from scratch whether and improvement is made or not, only time will tell.  Just join me in praying daily for good results.

All the other problems and concerns can directly or indirectly be attributed to our country’s leadership and direction.  Please always remember that I am remaining out of the political sides.  I vote at every election, but like in anyone’s case, that is my right and duty, and shall remain confidential.  I don’t want to influence anyone to my way of thinking.  I just want to encourage my readers to continue to stay involve.  The best is yet to come…….

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Reality Check

Reality Check

I woke up Christmas Eve 2016 at 4:40am with the thought that I needed to reexamine my life and determine that I had been true in most instances to family tradition.  I almost immediately found at least three occasions where I had strayed from tradition not because I was rebelling but because society changes and so must we as individuals if we want to excel (improve past family performances).  I imagine that if I spent more time analyzing my life I would find that in many instances, I at least tweaked family traditions to allow for the changing times.

One major tradition that I changed, and the jury is still out on whether, it is right or wrong (for the benefit of family improvement), was to concentrate on my children’s chances for success, by making their first language English.  To understand my point of view, you have to know that I come from long line of proud Mexican Culture.

The way that I was raised, I would speak English in school, and was punished (corporal – smacked with a yardstick) by the nuns, if I was caught speaking in Spanish.  Yet, when I got home all I spoke was Spanish.  I could expect no assistance at home with my school homework, the lesson there is that I became self-reliant.  I performed very well despite the internal battle with two languages at the same time.  To this day, if I have a tough problem to compute, I think in Spanish and the answer comes out in English.

I decided to improve my children’s lives by not burdening them with the two languages at the same time. They grew up very successful, but I have forever been criticized if not chastised for not teaching them their cultural language when young.  Of all my children only one speaks Spanish as well as I do or better, and the others get along just fine.  They picked up Spanish in the educational system.

Another tradition that I broke away from was maintaining close ties with family and friends.  I am not talking about just close family and friends. That tradition I still do.  I’m talking about 2nd, 3rd. and even 4 times removed cousins, and friends that were met at work on the first job I ever had 30 or 40 years ago.  My mother and step-father traveled back to Texas from Washington State once a year to visit family, and even crossed into Mexico to visit family and friends.  I don’t mean dropped by on the way through, they actually stayed at their homes for two or three days at a time.  Even when I visit sisters and brothers out of State I insist in staying at a hotel and renting a car for my own transportation.  After all I am the one on vacation not them, they still have their daily routines to perform.

My wife and I decided to concentrate on starting our own traditions (more normal), major holidays, like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and others centered more around the grandchildren are based at the good ole home where everyone was raised (we still have the wall with all the markings and dates of progressive height of the family members, even grandchildren now).  Traditions for us are about maintaining close family ties, and includes close friends.  Our children have already started some of their own traditions like visiting with their in-laws on the holidays after our get together or before.

We enjoy seeing someone that we haven’t seen in 15 or 20 years, but life is so much busier for us than it was when our parents were young, as an example my step-father’s job was as a head-foreman on a 10,000-acre farm, and because we lived in the Northwest he normally had about a two-month flexible time where he could wander around the country visiting family and friends (which he loved to do).

There are other traditions that we tweaked to accommodate the changing times but for the most part we try to toe the line.  The best is yet to come……

Monday, December 12, 2016

Disappearing Acts

Disappearing Acts
Once upon a time not that long ago there was the wonderful developing technology where you could throw your voice to anywhere in the world (the telephone).  Not every household in the USA had one because of cost or even accessibility.  Telephones were connected by wires that had to stretch over “telephone/electrical” poles all over the land.  If you lived out in the country, you would be required to pay a high cost (somewhere in the thousands depending on distance) to run the lines to your property from the nearest phone pole.

For the multitudes that couldn’t afford a telephone at home, there came the payphone.  So interwoven was the payphone booth into our society that even Superman used the phone booth in the storyline every time that he had to change from Clark Kent to Superman.

About the same time the television technology was emerging (black and white at first).  Horrible reception in the beginning, more snow than content.  Transmission capability (towers) were limited at first and most prevalent in areas of dense population (cities) where you could reach the most people with the least number of transmitting towers.  Initially there was only 3 major television networks competing for viewership.  Programing was also minimal for the number of hours of broadcast.

While there was progress being made on all fronts of technology, new emerging technologies were coming to the forefront.  Imagine being able to send documents across the country within minutes to complete transactions that required your signature.  The fax and fax machine slowly worked into every one’s life and eventually would become indispensable.  At the start of this phenomenon you would go to a central location to send and receive faxes.  Eventually the more affluent (businesses to be sure) would acquire their own fax transmitting machines.

Audio recording media has gone from vinyl to 4, and 8 track cartridges, cassettes, CD’s. and now digital with the leap to the latest (streaming).  Video rentals have pretty much disappeared because you can now rent DVD’s out of a red box or better yet stream from Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Video or iTunes.

But wait! There’s more; the latest rumor is that televisions sets will be the next to disappear from your retail shopping.  The best way to catch your favorite movies at present and on the run is iPad, Tablet, your PC or your cellphone.  It wasn’t that long ago that everyone was striving to outdo the Joneses to the largest television screen possible.  I presently have a Home Theater projector for up to 100 inches and more.  The best is yet to come……….

Friday, December 2, 2016

Life and Building Bridges

Life and Building Bridges

I consider myself a very optimistic person, however, I would debate with anyone that our state of society is at its best ever.  You would almost have to be in my age group in order to look at society in our life span and compare apples to apples.

For starters, survival skills are one thing and survival instincts are yet another and not to be confused with one and the other.

Survival skills:  The ability to hunt for food, grow your own food, fix your own car, start a fire without matches (or lighters), how to navigate without a compass or GPS, build a raft, make your own home repairs, etc., etc.

Survival instincts:  the ability to read people, to anticipate a confrontation and how to avoid it or deescalate it, knowing when to take action or when to compromise, assessing the unseen dangers (example: undercurrent in a stream or river, making split second decisions, etc., etc.

Many of the skill that we developed in the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s was the difference between success and failure, but today our society for the most part consider those to be the skills of dinosaurs (unimportant or at the very least antiquated), and unnecessary. 

Today’s younger generations are so dependent on technology that if a power outage takes place they are dead in the water.  Have you ever seen a young retail clerk struggle to make change for a dollar when their cash register fails?  We are so dependent on GPS that if you go into an area of limited or no cellphone signal a young person can’t find their way around because even if they had a street map they wouldn’t be able to read it.

How about the wonderful communication skills (writing or reading) of our youth due to their prevalent use of texting?  The youth are not the only ones to blame, the educational systems in some States are dropping the required cursive writing, because it is no longer needed or relevant.  The unskilled educated can’t grasp the big picture:  Who is going to translate or decipher our historical records (documents) in the future.  Cursive writing may as well be a foreign language to any one that is proficient in, WTF, LOL, LMAO, etc., etc.

My children and grandchildren are still being raised the way I was raised.  I insist in teaching them the old survival instincts, and skills, and even more important, I am teaching them to be competitive.  In other words, there are winners and there are losers, we all need to strive to prevail (win).  Nothing wrong with 2nd place but 1st place is the objective.

When my children use to complain to my wife that life wasn’t fair, their mother’s gentle response was “build a bridge and get over it.”  If you didn’t get that saying, it's ok, it took my children a few times to get the real meaning also.  My grandchildren don’t only get it, but I hear them saying it amongst themselves now and they are still young.  The best is yet to come…….