May all your pumpkins be this amazing for Halloween!
Weekday musings on Practical Preparedness, Saving Money, Good Health, and Current Events.
An amazing carved pumpkin...
Hold on, man. We don't go anywhere with "scary," "spooky," "haunted," or "forbidden" in the title. ~From Scooby-Doo
Halloween taught marketers that parents are willing to be warned about anything, no matter how preposterous, and then they’re willing to be sold whatever solutions the market can come up with. Face paint so no mask will obscure a child’s vision. Purell, so no child touches a germ. And the biggest boondoggle of all: an adult-supervised party, so no child encounters anything exciting, er, “dangerous.”
"The darkest thing about Africa has always been our ignorance of it."Bottom Line
-George Kimble, Geographer
"But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy."I've not mentioned for awhile the lectures I've been listening to while commuting to work. There hasn't been a subject (until today) that prompted a post. This morning The History of Literary Journalism by William McKeen opened with examples of citizen "journalists" covering the US westward migration in the mid-1800's and pointed out that some of these individuals were quite perceptive and well informed despite the lack of mass media and mass communication. There was a colorful but accurate description of the California Gold Rush and another written by an American Indian who eerily predicted the future of his people and their treatment by the US government.
- House Leader Nacny Pelosi on the Health Care Bill
It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is to-day, can guess what it will be to-morrow.To this I'll add another quote from the same source
great injury results from an unstable government. The want of confidence in the public councils damps every useful undertaking, the success and profit of which may depend on a continuance of existing arrangements.
It is a misfortune incident to republican government, though in a less degree than to other governments, that those who administer it may forget their obligations to their constituents, and prove unfaithful to their important trust. ... [There is a] propensity of all single and numerous assemblies to yield to the impulse of sudden and violent passions, and to be seduced by factious leaders into intemperate and pernicious resolutions.
Another advantage accruing from this ingredient in the constitution of the Senate is, the additional impediment it must prove against improper acts of legislation. No law or resolution can now be passed without the concurrence, first, of a majority of the people [the House], and then, of a majority of the States [meaning the Senate].Today Senators represent the people of their state instead of the government of their state, As a result States have been losing their rights as the Federal government assumes ever greater power.
But the most deplorable effect of all is that diminution of attachment and reverence which steals into the hearts of the people, towards a political system which betrays so many marks of infirmity, and disappoints so many of their flattering hopes. No government, any more than an individual, will long be respected without being truly respectable; nor be truly respectable, without possessing a certain portion of order and stability.
"Home is a place you grow up wanting to leave, and grow old wanting to get back to" - John Ed PearceThis week temperatures plummeted and we had to throw some quilts on our bed to keep warm at night. So this is a good time to start thinking about heating the house for the winter. What can be done to lower heating bills?
"Diamonds are forever. E-mail comes close." - June Kronholz
"See you later, alligator. After a while, crocodile."
"Since the house is on fire let us warm ourselves." ~Italian Proverb
“I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move.”
“Subsidizing the markers of status doesn’t produce the character traits that result in that status; it undermines them.” - Reynold's Law
"The government decides to try to increase the middle class by subsidizing things that middle class people have: If middle-class people go to college and own homes, then surely if more people go to college and own homes, we’ll have more middle-class people. But homeownership and college aren’t causes of middle-class status, they’re markers for possessing the kinds of traits — self-discipline, the ability to defer gratification, etc. — that let you enter, and stay, in the middle class. Subsidizing the markers doesn’t produce the traits; if anything, it undermines them."This the second time in a week I've seen a reference to the importance of delayed gratification to success in life. You may be familiar with the famous Marshmallow Study. In the 1960's Stanford University psychology researcher Michael Mischel offered hungry 4-year-olds a marshmallow, but told them that if they could wait for the experimenter to return (about 15 minutes), they could have two marshmallows. The results were quite mixed and recreations of the test are fun to watch on YouTube (search for marshmallow study). A third of the kids devour the marshmallow the moment the researcher leaves the room. Another third are undecided - they stare at it, lick it, touch it, put it in and out of their mouth before giving in to temptation. A final third are able to wait the 15 minutes.
"The resisters were more positive, self-motivating, persistent in the face of difficulties, and able to delay gratification in pursuit of their goals. They had the habits of successful people which resulted in more successful marriages, higher incomes, greater career satisfaction, better health, and more fulfilling lives than most of the population.
Those having grabbed the marshmallow were more troubled, stubborn and indecisive, mistrustful, less self-confident, and still could not put off gratification. They had trouble subordinating immediate impulses to achieve long-range goals. When it was time to study for the big test, they tended to get distracted into doing activities that brought instant gratifciation This impulse followed them throughout their lives and resulted in unsucessful marriages, low job satisfaction and income, bad health, and frustrating lives."The failure of delayed gratification can be seen everywhere and is a leading cause of family poverty. About 65% of young people have sex by the time they finish high school. (This is same 2/3 who can not wait for marshmallows.) Clinton domestic policy advisor William Galston famously said “Avoiding family poverty requires three things: 1) finish high-school, 2) marry before having children and 3) marry after the age of 20. Only 8 percent of families who do this are poor, while 79 percent of those who fail to do this are poor."
"Water is the only drink for a wise man."
"If any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith"
"Being rich is having money; being wealthy is having time"
My mom insisted "we weren't rich". I've been in the financial business for 30 years and I have learned a few things about where, exactly, someone making a quarter of a million dollars a year actually fits in the economic pecking order. So I laughed and said, "mom, seriously, dad was a physician. That had to put us in the top 5% of all families in the country, and the top 1% for downriver Detroit! Why do you think you're not wealthy?"Bottom Line
The answer was perfect. According to my mom, all of her friends, the women she played bridge and golfed with, were married to specialists. My dad was a GP. And their husbands all made a lot more money than, in my father's famous phrase, a "dumb GP". They were the rich. We were not. Like the professor, it's all about your frame of reference.
“Have the courage to live. Anyone can die.” -Robert CodyCato-at-liberty story that cites a paper (Goklany) on the leading causes of death. What stood out for me was this quote,
"Note that despite the hoopla about natural weather disasters, they contribute less than 0.06% to the annual U.S. death toll!"In other words, extreme heat & cold, floods, tornadoes, lightning and hurricanes, COMBINED, account for less than 1 in 1000 of all deaths in the US.
"We all enjoyed pictures of children playing in fountains and eating ice cream. To the media, a heat wave means a holiday. This obscures the sinister fact that heat waves are this country’s number one natural disaster killer. On average, heat kills more Americans than floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes combined. "This summer Russian had a terrible heat wave that caused forest fires and burned wheat fields. American TV showed pictures of a smoke-choked Moscow but news agencies failed to mention the death count. The Moscow city government reported a doubling of deaths during the heat wave; every day three hundred additional people died over a period of several weeks. This quickly adds up to a catastrophe.
Today, most cities have heat wave response plans in place even before summer arrives. Emergency cooling centers are set up in local community centers, and officials check on the elderly and chronically ill through phone calls and home visits.For more information on the risks of extreme heat check out these prior blog posts:
"Space: the final frontier" - Star Trek
“The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving.” -Oliver Wendell HolmesOne truth that doesn't change it is that change is always opposed. In 15th-century Netherlands it is said that workers would throw their sabots (wooden shoes) into the wooden gears of the new textile looms to break the cogs to stop the loss of older-style weaving jobs. Hence the word "sabotage". While this story may be fictional there is a long history of textile workers rebelling against new technology. Textile artisans in 19th century England followed the example of Ned Ludd and protested against the changing of their way of life by destroying mechanised looms. In modern usage a "Luddite" is anyone who opposes new technologies in general.
"Millions of Americans take vitamins safely every day, including me. Vitamins and mineral supplements taken in recommended doses are safe. It's the designer supplements that are worrisome."
“When a man opens a car door for his wife, it's either a new car or a new wife.”
"Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master." - George Washington
“Insurance: An ingenious modern game of chance in which the player is permitted to enjoy the comfortable conviction that he is beating the man who keeps the table.”Washington Post reports that, "Some of the country's most prominent health insurance companies have decided to stop offering new child-only plans, rather than comply with rules in the new health-care law that will require such plans to start accepting children with preexisting medical conditions after Sept. 23." Existing policies will be honored but no new child-only polices. An industry spokesman points out that with no right of refusal, parents can "wait until their child becomes very sick before purchasing coverage." Under Obamacare, child-only plans could rapidly skew towards mostly children with expensive medical bills, either bankrupting the plans or forcing insurers to make up their losses by increasing premiums for all customers.
- Ambrose Bierce
"When you rub your hands, you bring a lot of bacteria to the surface from the pores of your skin," says Anna Snelling of the University of Bradford, UK.In the study bacteria counts on the hands changed as follows after washing:
Matt Welch at Reason.com looks at TARP (the big government Troubled Asset Relief Program to save our nations banks and US car makers) and asks, what did it accomplish? There are some who claim it was a big success - but measured against what criteria? That things could be worse? That the economy did not completely and utterly collapse?
Mervyn King, the governor of the Bank of England
More banks could fail, including some in your community. The stock market would drop even more, which would reduce the value of your retirement account. The value of your home could plummet. Foreclosures would rise dramatically. And if you own a business or a farm, you would find it harder and more expensive to get credit. More businesses would close their doors, and millions of Americans could lose their jobs. Even if you have good credit history, it would be more difficult for you to get the loans you need to buy a car or send your children to college. And ultimately, our country could experience a long and painful recession.Keep in mind this was said towards the end of 2008. What has happened since? Money was given to Banks, two US car companies purchased, a huge Stimulus bill approved, and still every single item in this list has occurred.