Let’s Do The Math

 

Add in paranoid rightwing, xenophobic, false piety,

Subtract civility, amity, tolerance, levelheaded sobriety,

Multiply the fear factor, caused by media instilled anxiety,

Divide further the already too fractured, factional society.

 

On May 5, 2016, a clueless, unworldly passenger aboard an American Airlines jet unjustifiably profiled her seatmate… suspected him of being a terrorist… this all escalating to the point where the accused, Guido Menzio, a renowned, University of Pennsylvania, economics professor was detained and questioned… and the flight was delayed by more than two hours. So why did this all happen?

Just because she didn’t understand the mathematical symbols… the differential equation… Menzio was jotting down on a pad of paper. Just because he was so absorbed in his work that he ignored her small talk. To get down to the actual reason… just because he wasn’t Caucasian enough for her liking.

True, a sensible level of caution in our post 9/11 world is not a bad idea… the key word being sensible. But, think about it for a moment.

If any airline passenger ever has evil intent, would not this person…

ADD in a bit more friendliness… you know… disarm suspicion by “killing” everyone with kindness?

SUBTRACT the aura of suspicion by doing the math at home instead of on the plane?

I think it’s a safe bet to say…

It is those, who no one ever suspects, in the least, who perpetrate terrorist acts that go down as planned.

Considering how Menzio was the injured party in this incident, it’s only fair that I yield the podium to the good professor… let him get in the final word… and… btw… being the consummate mathematician he is… he SUMMED up everything perfectly… Said he…

“Trump’s America is already here.”

 

My Heartfelt Thank You!

What is a WordPress website without followers? Well, one might as well be typing one’s thoughts, offline, into a Word Document.

What is a WordPress website with 50 followers?

In one word… WOW!

In a few more words…

Time is a precious commodity in all our lives and for you to spend your time reading my words, means more to me than my words can ever express.

My heartfelt thanks to all 50 of you!

A Womb to the Tomb 21 Verse Salute

 

Chapter One

 

I ~ A child enters the world; mid-spring month of May,

Takes his first breath; on his very first day,

Communication unscripted; just cry to ad-lib,

His whole world revolves; around life in his crib.

 

II ~ Mom, Dad and his Sister; take him for a stroll,

The carriage’s wheels; squeak, wobble and roll,

There’s sunshine, fresh air; lilacs’ fragrant traces,

Leaves of green, clouds of white; smiles on family faces.

 

III ~ He hears others speak; he soon learns to talk,

Watches in awe; as upright, people walk,

Soon crawling on floor; leads to unsteady standing,

Takes first baby steps; his world is expanding.

 

IV ~ Looking down at the ground; can be dreary milieu,

To stand on two feet, expands his worldly view,

His new outlook on life, will enrich, empower,

Sunrays on one’s face; means to outshine and tower.

 

V ~ Each day in, day out; it’s playtime for this child,

With neighborhood pals; imaginations run wild,

With the out-of-doors turf; now under his feet,

He heeds parents’ warnings, “Stay out of the street!”

 

VI ~ He pedals his kiddie car; likewise with his trike,

Both soon abandoned; he learns to ride bike,

Training wheels are soon off; he’s giddy with glee,

Speeds down a hill’s sidewalk; feels totally free!

 

VII ~ One late p.m. summer; setting sun, western haze,

At his back are the sunbeams; cast a sight to amaze,

For this boy, who oft wishes; to be adult tall,

His long shadow appears; he no longer feels small.

 

VIII ~ The downtown four corners; present a new land,

To cross Michigan Ave.; Dad holds onto son’s hand,

Explains what the walk/don’t walk signals all mean,

“Look both ways”, his Dad warns, “Make sure you’ve been seen.”

 

IX ~ His first day at school; that special September,

His teacher shares knowledge; to learn and remember,

He quickly absorbs; all that’s worth knowing,

His mind and world, both; are constantly growing.

 

Chapter Two

 

X ~ For reasons he never; can comprehend fully,

He soon becomes victim; of more than one bully,

Monday through Friday; school grades 4 through 8,

He incurs their taunts, torture; their punches and hate.

 

XI ~ His principal / teacher; tell him not to tattle,

Won’t lift a finger; to end playground battle,

Sure, kid thugs move on; the boy loses them gladly,

Still, things could not have been; timed out more badly.

 

XII ~ That’s when woes worsen; deep sorrow sets in,

What he can’t face; his grotesque teenage skin,

With emotions tanked out; his will to live sinking,

Instead of enlarging; his world is now shrinking.

 

XIII ~ Spends countless “date nights”; in exile in his room,

Alone in life’s limbo; faces darkness and gloom,

This “no-win” confounds; his four walls confine,

His “prison cell” world; measures ten feet by nine.

 

XIV ~ A few kindhearted girls; accept his exterior,

Their warm smiles tend to soothe; his feelings inferior,

But true love’s elusive; stored on the top shelf,

That’s way out of reach; when one can’t love one’s self.

 

XV ~ His cap and gown cap off; grade K through 12 knowledge,

Soon earns his degree, too; at near hometown college,

But when Mom and Dad start; to feel ill, feel old,

He helps out at home; puts his life on hold.

 

Chapter Three

 

XVI ~ For the next thirty years; he works odd jobs, as well,

Labors hard behind gates; which enclose Retail Hell,

Endures the low pay; bosses’ oft nutty notions,

To stay close to home; passes up most promotions.

 

XVII ~ So selfless is he; he had totally neglected,

To network, make friends; to stay well connected,

With Mom, Dad now dead; good life’s beyond hope,

To see his small world; he’d need a microscope.

 

Epilogue

 

XVIII ~ His age and health issues; now breathe down his neck,

Retail’s “lift lead” “stand long”; left his bod a wreck,

At the end of each day; as his mind drifts toward slumber,

Asks, “How soon before God, calls up my number?”

 

XIX~ Wonders, too; when we die; what really remains?

Do our memories; our dreams; outlive our brains?

Will our atoms float lonely; in cold cosmos so vast?

Will they create future life; from our life in the past?

 

XX ~ Having opted out from; the parenthood matter,

His unique double helix; will unwind and scatter,

His blogged sentiments are; his one, last, sure bet,

For it’s been said nothing dies; when it “hits” Internet.

 

XXI ~ When will the “child” exit his world? Hard to say,

But he will take his last breath; his very last day,

Once talked out and cried dry; he’ll get his first gander,

At a world which revolves; around something far grander.

 

 

 

The Constitution of Our Constitution

So far… the U.S Constitution still stipulates…

“Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

So far… we Americans are relatively secure in maintaining these above stated rights.

Still… it is possible that, in our not too distant future, voters could elect a power-tripping president… someone who believes, “It’s my way or the highway”… someone who would put an end to dissenting opinions by squelching free speech and suppressing the press.

After all… sans the dissemination of freely spoken and published ideas, there’d be no easy way to for us to alert others that the time to assemble and petition had arrived.

Such a “leader” would then proceed to muzzle authors, journalists, editors, publishers, poets, songwriters, recording artists, screenplay writers, film directors and producers.

In days of yore, that would’ve required the deployment of goon squads to first round up and detain these creative individuals. Then the raids would follow. This thought police force would kick down doors ISO banned books, periodicals, newspapers and audio/video recordings… then seize and incinerate these items.

And as long as they were in the neighborhood, anyway, this “army” would likely also have their marching orders to shut down cinematic and theatrical productions as well as silence musical performances.

Some of you may’ve noticed how I neglected to mention the censorship of TV and radio broadcasts? Well, that’s because FOX and the other rightwing biased MSM networks are already doing their damnedest to lay the groundwork to establish an oppressed, ill-informed, sheeple type society.

A futuristic, autocratic president would consider the MSM his propaganda ministers. They’d be akin to ventriloquist’s dummies who he’d always be able to speak through.

Of course, to maintain a societal / media chokehold could be one daunting task… could be a corrupt leader’s worst nightmare… but…

Here’s where, We the People, inadvertently, are already the unwitting accomplices playing right into the hands of some presidential wannabe, who at this very moment, could be plotting to wage an Oval Office originated overthrow of America.

With most of us currently reading, viewing and listening to nearly everything online, all that “prez” would need to do is merely “pull the plug” on the Internet.

You say, “No way! It’ll never happen”?

Have we forgotten Murphy’s Law?

“Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.”

Still say, “It’ll never happen”? While I was over @ YouTube auditioning the video clips to accompany this blog, that website totally froze up and I had to do a force quit to regain control. True… in all likelihood this was due to my lousy ISP… but someday… well… who knows?

Now, far be it from me to tell anyone how to live their lives… but… as for the way I’m living mine? Well… I’ll never give up my real world possessions… the hardcopy books and periodicals I enjoy reading… the DVDs and CDs I love to playback.

That way, if there’s ever a president who tramples the U.S. Constitution… his goons will have to pay me a visit… have to pry these items from my cold dead hands.

 

A Neighborly O’er the Backyard Fence Chat

Just a few days ago, while taking five from my yard work (mowing down dandelions), I struck up a conversation with my next-door neighbor. We wound up chatting about Hillary Clinton vs. Bernie Sanders… eventually agreeing that, as the next POTUS, the more moderate HC could cope a bit better with the U.S. Congress.

In keeping in that neighborly spirit… in the spirit of moderation… let’s engage in an o’er the backyard fence chat…

Yes… right here… right now… in this blog.

Well… after I had gotten back to my yard work, last week, I was feeling alive again… and this went way beyond spring fever. I realized that my chat had been a turning point. This staunch liberal had taken his first steps onto the more centrist path of HC. Oddly enough, this did not bother me.

You see, my becoming a bit more politically moderate even jibes with my mood… as of late… here @WordPress. True, upon my arrival in the early days of ‘16, I had planned mostly political posts, which would remain true to my blue roots. Indeed, many of my previous postings do reflect that. But now?

Well, my new focus is to talk about life / what’s happening in our lives. Ergo, most of my new blog topics will have an apolitical, more positive tone… something, which could appeal to virtually everyone.

However… this may not always be the case. After all, one can hardly ignore all that’s happening in our world. By now, it should be clear to all that the present-day political and religious posturing (especially in America) is getting us nowhere. There is a need for all of us to chill out and try to find the path to peaceful co-existence.

Towards that new beginning… we certainly need to find some common ground, common sense solutions to our world’s problems. We need to get a meaningful, productive dialogue going. And what better place for that than WordPress?

Yes, I realize, as a blogger, I’m a virtual unknown. I also fully appreciate how amity involves far more than everyone simply gathering around a campfire to roast marshmallows while singing Kumbaya.

To be sure, I’m far, Far, FAR from being omniscient. I just believe that presenting a short blog with an incomplete, imperfect plan now is far better than waiting for someone far more learned publishing some pièce de résistance, thick volume decades later.

So… does all this mean that I am mellowing with age? I suppose one does tend to feel that way when “The Realization” finally hits. That being?

Well, to cut to the chase, I have far more miles behind than before me on the road of life and that means it’s time to start making peace with myself… peace with the world… and along the way? Well… I might even inspire a few others to do the same?

I think most of us can concur… regardless of what age we may be… life is too short to continue with our world’s present-day, acrimonious, nonproductive status quo.

Let’s start walking that path towards a more positive, inclusive, better tomorrow.

Well… on this new day… that’s about it from my side of the backyard fence. If you, my neighbors, have anything to chat about from your side of the fence… I”m all ears… and the comment box awaits.

Happy Mother’s Day 2016!

On this Mother’s Day, I lovingly dedicate that above William Wordsworth poem… present that video bouquet to my late Mom. After all, the daffodil had been her favorite spring flower. It has been a little more than 13 years since she passed away and while I am certain life eternal awaits us all… I believe I can still do one last thing to immortalize her life on Earth.

On this special day… I’d like to submit and commit my Mom’s Memoir to the realm better known as the World Wide Web.

Why? Because it has oft been said that nothing ever dies on the Internet… and in this context… I do love the sound of that sentiment.

The words that now follow are from the second half of the eulogy… which I had composed… which I had delivered at…

Mom’s Memorial Service… April 22, 2003 10 a.m.

To be with a loved one till the very end…

“makes us aware of the uniqueness of each individual in the vast sea of humanity. It makes us aware of our finiteness, our limited lifespan …in that brief time, most of us create and live a unique biography and weave ourselves into the fabric of human history.” — Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

I’d like to now share my Mom’s unique biography… this is… this was her life.

Not many knew what her middle initial stood for… but Mom had kept her maiden name as part of her legal name generations before women’s liberation had made it commonplace.

Although I only knew her as a dedicated, stay at home Mom… she did spend several years teaching English and Literature in the public schools in Minnesota and briefly in our hometown. She then broadened the scope of her lesson plans to teach life’s lessons to my sister and me… when Dad and she felt raising a family was more important.

Mom was always there to cook our meals… pot roasts with browned potatoes, a Slovenian dish štrukle, breaded chicken and pancakes all being her specialties. She was an expert at canning corn on the cob, tomato sauce, as well as a jam… a unique, extremely tasty peach/pineapple conserve. She won numerous blue ribbons at the local fair, many a September.

But baking was where she really excelled… all those delectable breads, kuchens, poticas, chocolate cakes, apple pies, and Christmas doughnuts… some plain, others coated with sugar and cinnamon. I can still taste them… warm… literally melting in my mouth.

Mom also loved the outdoors… to be communing with God as she tended her mums, tulips, irises and daffodils. While others loathed them, she loved the dandelion… only cutting them down with her hoe after they went to seed. She and Dad kept our yard pesticide/herbicide free and nurtured the apple and pear trees they had planted as well as the five wild raspberry canes… that later proliferated into hundreds. They also raised tomatoes, green beans and leaf lettuce… that is… until rabbits moved in to harvest these crops first.

Before arthritic fingers limited her ability, Mom and Dad used to play a duet on our piano, a very spirited rendition of Five Foot Two, as well as her solo, Stardust, the latter with such emotion and passion there had to be a story she never revealed… perhaps of love lost… that so moved… so inspired her.

She despised TV, only really caring for Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy and Who Wants To Be a Millionaire… gameshows she could play along with. Katherine Hepburn and Clark Gable were her favorite actors. She liked the slapstick humor of The Three Stooges and in the Home Alone films. The Big Band era of the thirties and forties provided her, her favorite music. But she did enjoy the early Beatles, as well.

Mom read the daily newspaper and was very upset with the injustices in our world. She was very opinionated and we had many lively discussions about current events. She also read the hundreds of books in her considerable home library… finishing, in her final weeks, Zlata’s Diary by Zlata Filipović.

Mom loved writing and kept a daily journal to chronicle her life’s experiences, never missing a day until she began ailing in her final months. She also recorded the daily weather statistics. She corresponded with her big sister, Justine… their exchanging letters two or three times per month for over forty years… up till just before Justine had preceded Mom in death.

Mom was an avid Scrabble and Cribbage player. She had been fortunate, one night, when Dad dealt to her the very rare, perfect twenty-nine hand. Aficionados of the game claim it to be a once in a lifetime event. Although I never had that luck when Mom and I played cards, she did deal me the next best… the twenty-eight hand… twice, over the years.

Well, twenty-nine hands are rare, as was the privilege of knowing my Mom. I’ve had much time over the last several days to sum up her nearly ninety years and the almost half a century that she was in my life. So I can now say this with certainty. The most important of life’s lessons my Sister and I ever received from our Mom, our mentor was… above all else… that love and caring is what really matters. Give and you will receive.

I now thank all of you @WordPress for attending today. I appreciate your indulging this (perhaps overly?) sentimental blogger. Be sure to remember your own Moms on this special day.

 

When you gotta go…

However you may feel about gender issues, our public restrooms, which only acknowledge the unforgiving, narrow parameters of female and male, are just not cutting it. However, there can be a resolution to this problem.

But prior to getting down to details…

For the benefit of those who may harbor any anti-transgender issues, I have a few questions. Are you left handed or right? Brown eyed or blue? Brunette or blonde? Short or tall? Small framed or large?

Considering the complexity of the process, where a single cell blossoms into a human being… the randomness of the process, which determines our genetic traits… would you not agree that there are going to be times when people wind up with sexually ambiguous anatomy?

So what is a transgender person to do when, for far too long, our public restrooms have been set up to perpetuate the flat-out lie that humanity rigidly falls under the category of either XX or XY?

It is the height of arrogance and insensitivity to try to force people to lead lives, which are not compatible with their bodies and true sense of self.

States, such as California, have begun to implement some changes for the better. This video excerpt from The Young Turks cohosted by Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian discuss what’s been going on, on the Left Coast.

This clip lasts 6:30 and, if you’re upset by icky issues and/or profanity, I highly recommend that you stop this video at 2:02.

My proposed solution expands on what California has started…

Our public restrooms (involving more than single occupant usage) need to be reconfigured nationwide. Each stall should be enclosed by floor to ceiling walls and lockable, full-length doors.

That way the gender of these new restrooms would be determined by whoever the occupant of the moment happened to be.

The sink area (and ONLY the sink area) would be unisex and (best of all) would be where Mom and/or Dad could wait / be on the look out for their youngsters’ safety.

These communal areas could also be monitored by security cams and/or guards… we could call this security force the Pee-Pee Police. Hey… a little lavatory levity is needed to cut through what has become a nationwide hysteria (well… at least, here, in America).

This extensive reconstruction project would also be a boon to the economy. It’d be tantamount to dealing a “royal flush” to the plumbers and carpenters. Of course a renovation project of that magnitude could take years / decades. But… the sooner we begin, the better it will be for everyone.

Someday, hopefully soon, “when you gotta go” where you will go will not be so problematic.

 

 

 

‘Twas Not Rachel, Bridgette or Carman

Yesterday, I blogged about the robocalling robo-women, Rachel, Bridgette and Carmen… told how the persistence of these scammers… their flat out refusal to take my “no” for an answer… has ruined my life… has gotten me to the point where I actually dread answering my landline phone.

My true story, in this day’s post, points out why we must never permit these vile entities to sour our view of our world…

‘Twas in the waning days of December ‘15, when my phone rang. Glancing over at the clock… it was still well before 9 p.m…. so… the window of opportunity for more robocall abuse was still wide open. I had even considered letting my answering machine field the call… but…

Just before the fourth ring I picked up the handset… time seemed to freeze. Palpable was that moment of hesitation, both the caller’s and mine. Then I heard a female voice. No, not that damned robovoice… this was an actual, living, breathing person and she softly, tentatively, was asking to speak to someone.

It had been a dozen years since I had last heard my 89-year-old, late mother speak and the caller’s inflection was so close to hers that… if I hadn’t known better…

Well… suffice to say… I knew she was on in years. I hadn’t quite heard her all that well so I asked her to repeat the name of who she was trying to reach. I then informed her she had reached the wrong number.

Normally, I’d have simply hung up at that point … yet something told me not to. She went on to tell her story… how she had so wished to chat with a dear friend of hers that holiday season… and now… she’d not be able to.

Hearing that tugged at one of my heartstrings.

It hadn’t been all that long ago that I had been there for my aging and ailing parents. In keeping with that same spirit, I told her that I had a phonebook… that, together, we might be able to figure out what was wrong.

I asked her to spell out the first and last name, provide the address and city, etc. Turns out her friend now resided in my lifelong, small hometown and, oddly enough, even lived on the very same street where I had dwelled the first seven years of my life.

There went that second heartstring tug.

Leafing through to the correct page, my first try was to no avail. When I told her I was coming up blank, she sounded more dispirited than before. That’s when I spotted another, far less conventional phonebook on my shelf… this one listed residents by the streets they lived on. I told her I was not ready to give up.

Lo and behold I had located the person she had tried to call. It turns out she had transposed a couple of numbers in the street address and, as for the phone number, itself? While the last four digits were identical to mine, she had an incorrect three digit prefix.

As I read all the valid information to her, she muttered that her pen wasn’t working too well. I told her to take her time and then slowly repeated everything. She was profuse with her thanks and we wound up warmly wishing each other, “Happy Holidays!”

I had no sooner hung up than the deeper significance to what had just happened started to sink in.

I had made friends with a complete stranger…

And had her to thank for restoring my belief that… in spite of all the robocall abuse I had been experiencing (and still am experiencing)… the telephone still plays a vital role in creating a vibrant, close-knit global community.

Consider for a moment the social isolation, which Rachel, Bridgette and Carmen have caused. Undoubtedly… their harassing robocalls have forced us to view our telephones as something evil.

Personally, I cannot help but wonder how many genuine calls I may’ve missed when… in my efforts to avoid robocalls… I had totally stopped answering my phone for over one month.

The robocall has also become one of many reasons why people are cutting the cord to their landlines and relying on cellphones.

Cellphones, which are usually turned off… have unlisted numbers… cut us off and isolate us even further from our world… extinguish our, for the common good, spirit.

“Peace on Earth and goodwill to (wo)men!”

That is the spirit, which should run high… not only during the December holidays… not only in one’s hometown… but on each and every day in every corner of our world.

The robots, Rachel, Bridgette and Carmen are trying to take all of that away from us… and we cannot… MUST NOT… ever allow that to happen.

 

 

Rachel, Bridgette & Carmen

In the beginning… the phone caller, Rachel, had seemed innocuous enough… her robo-message first offering a lower credit card interest rate and, next, presenting the options of pressing #1 to talk to a live operator OR pressing #3 to be removed from her calling list.

Since I generally do my damnedest not to carry a credit card balance, I knew I’d not likely qualify for that rate reduction. So… logically… I pressed the #3.

Silly me! I had naïvely taken at face value that businesses believe that time is money… i.e., they don’t want to waste time dealing with folks who don’t want to do biz with them. One of the biggest mistakes I had every made in my life! Unbeknownst to me…

I had just signed the death warrant to my peace of mind.

You see, the way this all works is pressing #3 will NEVER remove anyone’s phone number from their list… it merely confirms that they’ve reached someone who they can hound to death… till death do us part!

I’ve even tried pressing the #1 to calmly explain to these live, brain-dead, scammer operators that I have no balance… to plead with them to delete my phone number from their list.

Most of them just hang up. However… there was this one operator who, amidst her wicked laughter, snottily assured me that I’d now be getting even more calls! And, while it is her biz to scam and lie… in this one and only case… she was not lying…

They’ve now stepped up their barrage to the point where I am getting up to three calls per day, every business day and sometimes even on Saturdays. By my calculation that amounts to approximately 500 times per annum… all of this needlessly, pointlessly wearing out both my nerves and answering machine.

Of course, Rachel has been retired for sometime now… BUT… her “sisters” Bridgette and Carmen have both been all gung-ho about filling in her robo-shoes.

Which all begs the questions…

1. WHY are they doing this to hundreds of thousands of us who will never do biz with them?

2. WHAT part of our collective, monosyllabic, two letter word, NO, do they not understand?

3. HOW could our hanging up hundreds of times per year NOT clue them in that it’s time to stop calling?

4. HOW can they ever expect to do biz with anyone who loathes them? I cannot speak for all… but I never patronize any establishment which flat-out disrespects me.

5. WHAT the hell else could possibly be in it for them… other than their being sadists who get off on inflicting psychological torture?

Folks, I used to work in the service industry. I had met customers on a daily basis for three decades. In all that time, no superior of mine (and I’ve had many) had ever needed to explain to me that no one can ever successfully force customers into buying.

And even if a salesperson, somehow, ever did manage to force the sale, there’s always a high price tag attached. Eventually, customers will resent you to the point of either returning ISO a refund or never coming back to buy from you again.

Getting back to the here and now… since directly dealing with these robocallers has not stopped their harassing calls…

I’ve taken the following steps…

I’ve confirmed that I am still up to date on the U.S. Government Do Not Call Registry. Of course, that is meaningless to any robocaller, who is barely operating within the law in the first place.

I’ve complained to my phone company. They’ve tried some call blocking technology… all to no avail.

My phone service provider has offered to change my phone number… but I’ve opted out. I asked them how that could even work when these callers have automated tech that, in a short time, can dial every possible permutation of the 0 – 9 digits? I mean… sooner or later Rachel, Bridgette and Carmen would find me all over again.

I’ve considered cutting the cord on my landline and sticking with my cell… but even get these calls on that device. Furthermore, cell service is not as reliable. I think back to the summer of 2003 when the power-grid crashed blacking out most of the eastern U.S.… and that, of course, had taken out the cell towers, too.

I tried passive resistance by shutting down my answering machine and not picking up my phone… for over one month. At first the phone would ring a dozen or more times, each call. Well… eventually… my phone’s ringer and I did get some much-needed relief and rest.

But… I had no sooner concluded that they had given up on me… no sooner declared victory re my own private war against these telephonic terrorists when… within the very first hour after reengaging my answering machine… the very first recorded message was from them.

Folks, I’ve reached the point of frustration and desperation…

…going so far as to, in one instance, pressing the #1 to swear at the scammer! And guess what? That bastard gleefully stayed afloat in my “sea of blue”.

And so… Bridgette and Carmen continue to “feel” their relentless, fatal attraction to me. These days… I don’t even say “hello” anymore when I pick up my phone’s handset. As soon as I hear one of their names… I hang up.

To get real, here, about the only things about that damned landline (which are still mine) are the monthly bills… which means I am actually paying for my own torture…

And that… folks… has thoroughly nasty ring to it.

Talking Trash… E-Trash

Tech is constantly evolving. Supposedly that’s a good thing. Yet, as cashiers are ringing up the new devices into our lives… the old ones we’re “ringing out” are becoming E-waste. That rapidly, ever-accumulating junk pile is akin to a metastasizing cancer.

It all seems so futile… enough to make the environmentally minded wring our hands. If not dealt with promptly and properly, these dead devices will sicken Earth… and if not dealt with before it’s too late… sooner or later it will be too late. Most likely sooner.

Once upon a time… in the days of vacuum tube radios and TVs…

Whenever there was a malfunction, all the consumer needed to do was open up the device to see which tube wasn’t lighting up. Then (while being careful not to get electrocuted) one could easily remove it, take it into any respectable hardware store and plug it into a tester.

If the meter reading confirmed it was “dead”, it then became a simple matter of buying a new tube, taking it home, plugging it back in and all was well. The E-waste was small enough to fit in the palm of one’s hand.

Even when it was the picture tube, TV repairpersons could still easily save the lives of these devices.

Then… came the transition to the transistor…

Fortunately, TV manufacturers had not given up on that ease of repair feature. The electric modules, which they had invented, were still easy for field technicians to service. These modules then could be taken back to the repair shop to be refurbished into usefulness.

But now… in our modern era…

When that big ol’ flat screen gives up the ghost… when repair costs are far more expensive than just going out to Best Buy to buy a new one… we, the consumers, wind up dealing with broken down tech in three ways.

A. Some of us go the E-graveyard route, aptly enough, storing these “corpses” below ground level in our basements.

B. Others use garbage bags as burial shrouds to promptly, irresponsibly, send everything off to the landfill.

C. Still others turn to makeshift dumping areas… using roadside ditches, vacant lots, their mayors’ front lawns… etc. (J.K. re those mayors).

So… what’s a local government to do?

Mayors / City Councils can either green light the hiring of more police officers to try to nab, in the act, these hit and run dumpers… OR… green light the Go-Green approach… i.e., give the townsfolk an easy method to dispose of no longer useful / broken E-items.

Fortunately, my hometown opted for the latter…

A few days ago I responsibly recycled a literal car trunk full of my broken down and/or antiquated audio/video/computer gear. For me, this was a feel good moment in more ways than one.

The obvious payoff… I had done my part to save our planet.

However… my reward did not end there.

You see… year in / year out as my tech ceased to function, I had stored these components in the same cartons they were originally packed in and then interred these makeshift “coffins” in my basement E-graveyard.

It was as my community’s E-recycling day was approaching, that I decided to give each device one last chance.

The very first item I had “exhumed” was a top of the product line, early 1990s era Sony CD player. As I gently placed it on my audio rack, I marveled over how good it still looked… good enough to be displayed on a store’s selling floor.

I then connected it to my amp, fed it some 120-volt “juice” and once the tray slid open, inserted a CD. However… upon closing it, the same old problem resurfaced… the display screen read “no disc”.

Now, admittedly, what I’m about to say will sound nuts, but I actually wound up giving a motivational pep talk to this device. Hey… in my defense… some people DO talk to their plants, right? Said I…

“Damn it… you’re a Sony. You CAN do better than that! Back in 1991, they built you like a tank… one, which they were about to send off to war! Where the Hell is your pride?”

Well, I then gave that open / close tray button a second try… and still got confronted by that stubborn “no disc” message.

As I removed the CD and was just about to proclaim the player to be dead as a doornail… all the sudden… an idea struck me. What if the problem was something ridiculously easy to repair… oh… say… an accumulation of internal dust? What did I have to lose in trying something really low-tech… a method I had doubted would ever officially get written into any repairperson’s manual?

Channeling the MO of the big bad wolf (you know that childhood storybook dude who had terrorized the 3 Pigs), I huffed and puffed three times into the open tray’s compartment.

Then, upon reinserting the CD… in utter astonishment… I watched as the display screen filled with the track/timing data. Pressing the play button… I nearly blew the roof off the dump with this very song…

Folks, I had, literally, breathed new life into that dead component. True… the other items I had tested hadn’t fared so well… but… hey… at least I tried.

And, since music is such a big part of my life… every time I now use my revived CD player I am reminded not to be too quick to wave the white flag of surrender… which, btw, is also a great way for every one of us to live out other areas of our lives. Additionally, I now feel renewed nostalgia for those bygone, better days… that era, long gone, when tech was built to last… when even home repairs of this tech ruled.

I sure hope I’m not alone in feeling this way, because, if big name manufacturers start to share similar sentiments, that would be tantamount to taking the first step towards saving our planet.

The time has come for manufacturers to end built in obsolescence… to not dole out “new and improved” advances, piecemeal, every six months… all of which, while generating capital for these greedy bastards, is needlessly generating E-waste.

That “Everything Is Broken” way of life needs to exist only in the realm of past story and song.