Happy New Year, Bloggers! 3

I can’t think of any past time more rewarding than writing about things I care about, and commenting to others of like mind on things of common interest. This is the way we create communities on the internet, and the way we meet and make friends in this new cyber universe.

The last year was not a lot of fun, politically, but we all learned a lot. We also made some new friends on line. These are the kind of people you would invite to your New Year’s party, or to dinner on any evening of the year. You can spot many of these friends in my blog roll in the right hand column of this blog. These are the people I read every day.

So, to all you bloggers and readers of blogs out there, I have a little advice.

1, Even though you might have had a rough time, there is almost always another chance.

2. There is never a reason to give up, even after all the votes have been counted. Never, ever give up.

3. Remember that God has made us, and we all have a purpose in this life.

4. Be thankful for what you have, and never hesitate to work and pray for victory.

We have all been blessed, some more than others. Some have special problems to handle, and others are tasked to help. I thank God for our blessings for they are many.

May all be blessed in the New Year, and I pray that we call can be winners in our individual situations.

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Merry Christmas 3

optimus-primeI have had a very good Christmas. Although my body has been hosting a nasty virus for the last two weeks, Christmas has turned out very good.

My family is doing well, and the grandchildren have never had a better one. From Barbee dolls to Star Wars light sabers, they got pretty much everything they wanted. Optimus Prime was expected and delivered.

If you don’t know who/what Optimus Prime is, you don’t have a four-year old boy. OP is s transformer, and is composed of many parts. He/it starts as a double-axel truck cab, and morphs into a gun-toting, bad-guy killing unstoppable machine. Yes, the wonderful world of transformers is something to behold.

Perhaps the most precious moment was when our two-year-old grand-daughter discovered her coveted Princess Panties. With a squeal of delight, she proceeded right then and there to put on her new underwear. These were the long-awaited big-girl pants, and they went into immediate use.

So, what do grand-dads get for Christmas? Well, in this day and age they don’t give us neck ties. We stopped wearing those things when we retired. Now, we get sweaters, socks, and sweatshirts, and pretty much anything warm. Now you get the idea how we are viewed in the gifting world. Since grand-dads hardly ever shave we don’t get cheap after shave lotion, either.

Satisfied with a stack of new shirts, sweaters, and sweat-shirt hoodies, this has been a pretty good Christmas for my kind. The most important thing was watching the family open their gifts, and making new memories to have for those cold winter days to come.

Merry Christmas, everybody.

How About Helping The Mentally Ill? 5

I cannot account for the propensity of some people to kill their brothers and sisters. We can all understand hurting and killing done in times of passion, but cold-blooded killing has no explanation. For thousands of years men have murdered their peers, and their wives for different reasons. Also, for thousands of years men will occasionally murder other people without apparent reason. When people are murdered in quantity, we call it a massacre.

In the case of the Newtown massacre we will never find a reason, just a maladjusted young man who for years the system has known as a problem. It seems this is a recurring theme, and we never connect the dots.

The truth is that we know who these people are in our society, we just don’t choose to do anything about it. Their parents know they have a problem, yet, there is no help offered those parents even when a young person who shows all the signs of being a danger to himself or to others.

They have been in and out of special programs all their lives. They have gotten the attention of school teachers, counselors, and psychologists all their lives. Yet, we see it as an invasion of the child’s rights and the family’s privacy to do something about the problem.

Most of all, we are too cheap to do anything about the problem.

It is time to do something for our mentally ill. We owe it to ourselves, and the murdered kids at Newtown.

Shoes Are Important 5

When I was growing up in the poverty ridden southern United States, I only had one pair of shoes at a time. My dad had sired a relatively large family, and he couldn’t afford much. Mom did not work, but kept house, cooked and washed for the rest of us. She was also the spiritual leader in the family.

In my early teen years, I got jobs delivering newspapers and working at grocery stores, making money enough to buy my own clothes and shoes.  It was some time before I could afford more than one pair of shoes at a time, and then it was one pair for everyday, and one pair of dress shoes for church on Sundays. As I grew older, I worked full-time as a broadcast engineer at a local AM/FM/TV station while going to engineering school. By that time I was rich enough to have several pair of decent shoes.

Once a lady told me that you can tell a lot about a man just from his shoes and watch. I think she was right. The problem is that even this indicator of personal worth is going by the wayside. You see, it is getting harder and harder to tell much about a person in the last several years because of a decrease in personal dress standards. It’s a tough sell today to convince young people it is not appropriate to wear jeans and tee-shirts on every occasion. There are lots of young people who do not have a decent suit or dress to wear to weddings and funerals. Maybe these occasions are not important, anymore.

Of course, shopping for clothes and shoes is not the experience it was. In particular shopping for shoes is a disappointing affair, especially if you are looking for quality merchandise. You see, there are virtually no shoes made in the United States, anymore. Most seem to be made in China, or in South America and Eastern Europe.

I went shopping for shoes this afternoon at a local “shoe warehouse”. The mom and pop shoe store is a thing of the past. Everything is now sold in a warehouse, and the prices aren’t necessarily discounted, either. I had a twenty percent off coupon that applied to everything, and bought two pair totaling over $220, paying around $180 after discount. It sounds like a pretty good deal, and it may have been.

However, one pair was made in Brazil, and one in China. You cannot get away from brands made in China. Most of the Ecco and Sketchers brand shoes are made there, and my new pair of Johnston Murphy shoes was made in Brazil. The shoes are casual in style, and are of the slip-on variety. I don’t know how long they will last, but I keep several pair in rotation to keep them in good shape.

If you want to know what brands are made in the USA, this link is a good place to start: http://www.americansworking.com/shoes.html. I have had a pair of Allen Edmonds dress shoes for almost ten years, and they still fit and look great. Since I paid almost $300 for them then, the annual cost of ownership is pretty low. Of course, I would rotate wearing them with other dress shoes.

Shoes are important for several reasons. First of all, we need decent shoes to keep our feet warm, safe, and properly supported. Then we need to consider the fit and style. Do they look good? Looks are important for people in most professions. No matter what your profession, people will look at how you are dressed and make certain judgements. That’s just the way the world works.

American manufacturers in the shoe business cannot compete in the everyday shoe market. Their markets are more higher-end. I was willing to pay $135 for a pair of Brazilian casual shoes today. Maybe I could have paid a little more for some Allen Edmonds  shoes at $175 for a similar style. The difference is significant in light of the discounts available at the shoe warehouses. For those on tighter budgets, American shoes seem to be out of reach.

Shoe manufacturing having moved overseas is not something we can reverse. Basic economics force that situation, and any labor intensive business will tend to drift to areas where labor is cheap. However, when processes are automated, we can compete. You see, there’s not much difference in price between a machine in China or the United States. The more automated manufacturing becomes, the more manufacturing will be done in the United States.

Given greater investments in automation, US manufacturing will increase, and the more manufacturing will return to this country. Don’t hold you breath. Remember, US companies have to make the investment, first, and the brain-dead current Administration doesn’t get it. Tax incentives to automate should be an absolute priority.

When the manufacturing of clothes and shoes moved from the United State to countries overseas, it was an indication that other industries would follow. By the same token, when you see clothes and shoe manufacturing moving back to the USA, you can believe that things are turning around. It will be because of automation.

It will be a long process. At any rate you can see that shoes are pretty important things from comfort to style, to economic indicator.

A Bit of Introspection 4

The Great Satan has won, and the nation will be in shambles in no time at all. The economy will crash, and we will all be forced to live in concentration camps while fending off the welfare-takers who are constantly trying to take that for which we have worked over our lifetimes.

Everything is bad, and so are our prospects. Look for Obama to tell us that since Medicare is so expensive, all retired people will have to surrender their IRA’s and pensions to pay for illegal aliens health care. That’s his style. He doesn’t want to fix the system, he wants to use it to for his power.

The sun came up this morning, and I was still above ground. There is a lot for which to be thankful. The problem is that I reality is just around the corner, and things just may not get better. The Democrats will win the budget negotiations because the Republicans are losers and have no backbone.

I have been writing bitchy blogs for some time, now, and I am tired of the subject. Nobody listens, and nobody understands.

You see, most people like the idea of a free lunch, free health care, and free anything. Illegal aliens especially like it because citizenship will be free, along with their food and health care. That is what happened in this election . The President and his party have sold out the American people for the illegal Hispanic vote.

Vaya con Dios, Bro’. I’m taking Spanish lessons.