Saturday, September 26, 2020



Tomorrow is September 28th

Ah - the number 28 is a “perfect number”!!!  (Sorry, the former mathematician is on a tangent again).  The factors of 28 are 1, 2, 4, 7, 14, and 28.  If you add them together (leaving off the 28), it adds up to 28!!!

(And, if you were interested, other perfect numbers include 6, 496,, and 8,128.)


Okay, I grew up in Iowa and hung around the upper midwest too much of my life (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota).  In most cases, I will take that part of the world over Texas for July and August.  BUT … from now until next May, Texas weather wins out!!!



From the Society of Happy People (sohp) we have some Fall Favorites


Yes, it is Pumpkin Spice season again.  I saw a sign on the Internet advertising “Pumpkin Spice Oil Changes”.  

It seems like almost anything that can be spiced up is the “Pumpkin Spice” flavor now. Pumpkin pie spice is a mixture of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves.

Of course, Pumpkin Spice is a big winner for Starbucks.  I tend NOT to go to Starbucks - while I love coffee, I am just not a big fan of Starbucks. (I’ll make a pot of coffee at home firsts)

If I can get an illustration to work, here is SPAM - limited edition Pumpkin Spice!!!  (Doesn’t that sound just wonderful)



Yes, it is time for football.  (Real football - you know, the kind where you can throw it, run with it, and on rare occasions really kick it!!  Not to be confused with the rest of the world where “fuitbol” is really soccer - where you actually use your FOOT!!!).

I used to be into football more.  Every Saturday afternoon, I spent time watching Nebraska, Iowa, Texas, and whoever else.  I would get three games on most Saturdays.  Then on Sunday, I’d get a noon NFL game, a 3:30 NFL game, and the Sunday night NFL game. But, without a television set, I can’t watch the games, so I hardly know the big-time professional players.   But, I still have favorites - the Green Bay Packers!!  Seemingly if the Packers wanted to move to another city (say Oakland, or Los Angeles or Las Vegas) the proceeds would all go to the Green Bay American League Post(or something like that).  

For college football, I like Nebraska.   When I was a graduate student at Nebraska I went to one game!!  It was a cold rainy fall day, I was in the library researching and writing an academic paper.  Some time in the second half as the Huskers fans were streaming out (the temperature was in the upper 30’s - plus the rain), I slipped in, an usher saw me and didn’t say anything and I finished out the game.  It was a blow-out - and yes, I was cold and wet by the end as well!!!

And, of course, football is the “tail that wags the dog” in colleges!!  We have a pandemic that has made a lot of education into online delivery, but we NEED football.  Some conferences said “NO” to football this year, but Texas insisted, and the BIG Ten (which has fourteen teams), and others have said “YES”.

Technically college football is part of academic life.  But, college sports have become BIG BUSINESS!!  Seatgeek says “Typically, Texas Longhorns tickets can be found for as low as $31.00, with an average price of $519.00 but can vary depending on the opponent.”

When you factor in that the Texas stadium seats over 100,000 people, in a normal season, that is a LOT of money!!!  In Nebraska, that means that cross-country, tennis, track, and other ‘lesser” sports get their funding from the athletic department from football revenue.  Plus, through in television revenue, plus licensed sports items (shirts, bumper stickers, and more), this is a BIG DEAL.

To go without football for a season was going to be tough for a college.  But, that does cause us to question what the value of a college education is!!!

This news article suggests that the NCAA is cutting back:

“NCAA President Mark Emmert and members of the association’s senior management will be cutting their pay by 20% and the association’s vice presidents will be cutting their pay by 10% due to financial pressure the NCAA is facing from the coronavirus pandemic, according to a memo obtained  Tuesday by USA TODAY Sports.”

“According to the association’s most recent federal tax records, which cover the 2017 calendar year, Emmert made just over $2.1 million in base salary. Donald Remy, then executive vice president and now chief operating officer, had the next-highest base salary at just under $1.1 million.”

And, stop and think.  The NCAA is a non-profit organization for the promotion of college sports. (NCAA stands for National Collegiate Athletic Association).  Where unpaid college students put in long hours away from the classroom - playing for well-paid coaches.  Nick Saban, the Alabama football coach, “For the 2019 season, Saban will be scheduled to make $8.7 million - $7.9 million in basic annual compensation that will continue increasing by $400,000 annually, plus an $800,000 contract-year completion payment.“



Apple cider is one of the fall favorites

Do you like apple cider on one of the cooler autumn evenings?  Maybe with a cinnamon stick in it?

Or Mulled Wine?



Fall is a great time to make a kettle of chili!!

Are you a beans or no-beans person?  Or a hamburger or no-hamburger person?  Extra spice, or limited spice? 

If you are into Chili - have you done Cincinnati's five-way chile?  Five-way: spaghetti, chili, beans, onions, and cheese.   



Some people believe that catching a falling leaf is good luck.  Are you one of those?  

I like Central Texas as our Live Oak trees don’t lose their leaves until the new crop of leaves pushes them out the next spring.  So, all winter we have leaves on the trees.  Back north, most trees lose their leaves (deciduous trees) so the hillsides are barren (and it looks even colder with snow on the ground).

SOME LOGIC PROBLEMS (answers at bottom)

There are two ducks in front of a duck, two ducks behind a duck, and a duck in the middle. How many ducks are there?

A man has 53 socks in his drawer: 21 identical blue, 15 identical black, and 17 identical red. The lights are out and he is completely in the dark. How many socks must he take out to make 100 percent certain he has at least one pair of black socks?



I didn’t mention it last week but Wednesday was National Redhead Appreciation Day. 

Last Thursday was National Cherries Jubilee Day..  Cherries jubilee is a dish that involves cherries and liqueur and generally ice cream.  

Last Friday was National Daughter Day..  I have one daughter and one son (that I dearly love) and five fantastic grandchildren!!

Yesterday was National Better Breakfast Day.  I always have breakfast.  Generally, it is oatmeal or eggs (every other day).  But yesterday I had pancakes since it was National Pancake Day!!!!



There are two ducks in front of a duck, two ducks behind a duck, and a duck in the middle. How many ducks are there?

Three - Two ducks are in front of the last duck, two ducks are behind the first duck and there is one in the middle


A man has 53 socks in his drawer: 21 identical blue, 15 identical black, and 17 identical red. The lights are out and he is completely in the dark. How many socks must he take out to make 100 percent certain he has at least one pair of black socks?

Forty Socks

While it is unlikely that he pulls out each of the blue and red socks before getting two black socks, it could happen.

So, 21 blue socks plus 17 red socks are 38 - and by that time, the only thing left in the drawer would be black, so the next two would be black.

(That would give you certainty - but if you pulled only four socks out of the drawer there would be one match - but you don’t know what color it is.  And, just thinking about this - why are there an odd number of socks of each color?  Don’t socks come in pairs?


There we are - another Sunday Funday!!!  Come back next week!!!


Love Wins!!


Friday, September 25, 2020

 Saturday Story - September 26, 2020

Our last Saturday Story of September 2020!!! (But October will have stories too!!!  <grin>

The deck was stacked against James Johnson.  His birth mother was Lucille Alvarez - the local drug dealer and prostitute of Harris County.  Even she wasn’t sure who the father was.  Shortly after his birth - in a back bedroom on 3rd street - his mother was arrested (again) for dealing drugs to an undercover cop.  The previous arrest called for immediate jail time - kind of a ‘three-strike’ rule.  But, this time, the circumstances were different - Lucille had a child - all of three months old.  James had a low birth weight, and living with his mother while she did ‘tricks’ wasn’t going to help his nutritional needs.  

The Harris County assistant district attorney had prosecuted Lucille too many times in the past.  Her criminal record was long - theft, prostitution, drugs, public intoxication, shoplifting, bad checks, fraud, slapping (and biting) a police officer, and more.  Even with the baby, there would be no plea bargaining this time.  She had become a ‘hardened criminal’ and she was going to jail.  The assistant district attorney wanted twenty years in jail.  Even the public defender knew she was going to jail, but tried to convince the judge that five years would be enough and with a chance for parole after three years.  It was an ‘open-and-shut’ case and Lucille pled guilty.  She didn’t even mention her baby James.

Immediately, James went to his first foster home.  The Markhams were good people, but dealing with a three-month-old - who probably was a drug addict from birth - and cried incessantly - was not a good match.  The Markhams tried, but after a year (with frequent interactions with the Child and Family Department of Harris County), they said “they couldn’t do it”.  

Foster homes can vary.  By the time he was 16 James had been in four foster homes.  The longest was the Anson family - for ten years.  They helped James fit in, and got his reading, writing, and math scores close to his grade level.  They had two other sons and they played and got along well.  But, Jason Anson, the dad, was transferred out-of-state for his job and they couldn’t take James along with the family move.  

The worst was the Perez family - for four grueling years.  Some people do foster care for the money, and that was the Perez family.  He got hand-me-downs from the older boys, had a closet that had been made into a bedroom, there was little help with his academic skills. And, there was the abuse.  Mitch Perez was an alcoholic and beat James frequently (and not his own sons) when he was drunk (which was frequent).  James ran away twice (at the age of 12), but really didn’t have a place to run to.  His overworked caseworker finally figured out about the abuse and moved James out.  

The last family was the Nichols family.  They were an older couple without children and wanted to make a difference in the life of a child, so took James on as a foster child.  But, they weren’t really good parents as James ran around, smoked dope, and rarely went to school.  

The county didn’t have many options.  He wouldn’t be old enough to be out of the child and dependent care department until 18.  They put him in the Giddings State School.  He dropped out of this facility on his eighteenth birthday and joined the Army.  

He had all the wrong background for the Army.  Drug usage, lack of enough educational skills, no real family, rotten attitude, delinquency, and court issues.  

But, the Army wasn’t the solution for James either.  Yes, there was discipline and order in his life, but once basic training was over, drugs and drug dealing took over again.  But, it was better than the Giddings Training School had been.  

James was assigned to Fort Benning in Georgia to train as a paratrooper.  Suddenly, things looked up for James - jumping out of airplanes with a parachute was going to be fun.  It was work, but he did well in his ground school and on to his first plane jump.  It was a ‘gas’.  

But, he still was into drugs and dealing.  One Saturday evening, MPs stopped at his barracks as he had just bought some marijuana and was going to sell it. They put him in the brig and worked him over.  It was his first offense, so he went on probation.  The Army knew that recreational drugs were common but frowned on dealing.  

The jumping increased - day jumps, night jumps, jumps with heavy backs, jumps into forested areas, night jumps into dark football stadiums. He was torn - he liked the jumping, but drugs were pretty much part of his life too.

 The Anson family had kept up with James over the years, even though he did a poor job of communicating back.  They had moved to the Atlanta area and had heard that James was nearby in Fort Benning. They invited him to Thanksgiving dinner - and it was like the good times that James remembers - the eight years with the Anson family had been good.  Mike Anson was two years older than James and was graduating from Georgia Tech University in the spring.  Dan Anson was James’ age and they hit it off well. 

James also got three days off at Christmas and he was allowed to go to the Anson family again.  There was lots of food, football, and fellowship.  There were even presents for James - some civilian clothes (civies) and some snacks he could take back to base with him.  

Jason Anson had heard about the Man-to-Man program where a Christian man could visit inmates and share time and faith with them.  While there wasn’t quite a man-to-man for soldiers program - Jason made a point of driving from the Smyrna Georgia suburb to Fort Benning every other week to meet with James.  

Graduation from Airborne / Paratrooper School came, and Jason, Paula, Mike, and Dan came for the graduation ceremonies.  

James looked distinguished in his dress uniform.  They shared some time together.  James was going to be transferred to Camp Roberts in Monterey California.  As they were saying their goodbyes, Jason’s fill billfold was too tempting for James, and while they weren’t paying much attention, James picked Jason’s pocket.  

As soon as he had a chance, James took out anything that was of value in the billfold and kept the money and one credit card and destroyed the billfold and the rest of the items.  He was going to be gone to California, and the money (about $200) would do him more than it would for Jason Anson (so, he thought).  

Going back to Smyrna, the Anson family stopped for a break and Jason found he was missing his billfold.  He knew he had it with him in the morning as he paid for coffee for their trip at Ziggi’s coffee as they left town.  

He had his billfold as they had to show his ID to get into Fort Bennings.  

Turning to Paula, he said quietly “I think James took it.  I can get a duplicate driver’s license, credit cards, and other things.  My guess is that when James bumped him to say ‘goodbye’, he picked my pocket.  It’s only money - and we can have that.  I’m even going to leave the credit card active for a week or two.”


James took off the next day for Camp Roberts.  He kept the money and the credit card.  He hoped that Jason Anson wouldn’t miss it.  He flew Delta from Atlanta to San Francisco and then a bus to Monterey.  He was surprised at the people who say “Thank you for your service” and similar things as he waited for the plane and for the bus.  He used the credit card for a snack at Bojangles in the Atlanta airport - and it worked!!  That was good.  At San Francisco airport (SFO), he used it for some other things - including a nice San Francisco t-shirt.  It was fun spending somebody else’s money.  


In the middle of January, James got a letter from the Ansons.  Jason wrote about Mike’s graduation and his job that he had already accepted with a civil engineering company.  Mike wanted to get some experience before he went back to graduate school.  Dan was pursuing a computer science major, Paula was still teaching, and things were fine in Georgia.  Jason did not say anything about the billfold, the money, or the credit card, but closed the letter with a prayer for his safety, welfare, and asking God’s grace, mercy and peace be upon him.  

It did affect James a little.  That nagging spot in his gut said he had screwed up - but he comforted it was a beer from the PX.  

At Camp Roberts, James got tested and found that he had an aptitude for technical support.  He was put into an online computer trouble-shooting class, and soon he was a real whiz on repairing technology.  He approached his senior officer and asked if he could try to build his own computer with parts in the technology lab.  Soon he was building computers, then building networks.  His drug usage had diminished some as he found activities that he loved.  

The Anson family, basically Jason Anson, kept in touch.  In February, James received a box of birthday goodies.  Jason and Paula had packed some Georgian goodies - peach jam, peace candy, two collectible Coca-Cola bottles, and some pictures from the graduation ceremony.

James did well in his work.  But, he was still getting high most weekends.  

And, he was lonely.  One Saturday night he was thinking about a sexual encounter.  He knew where he could get a prostitute and discreetly went to find a woman.  But, the experience overwhelmed him.  The prostitute was old and reminded him of somebody.  As he was getting his sexual pleasures, he found out her name was Lucille.  His brain went into overdrive.  He had never known his mother other than a picture or two.  Sure, this lady was old, and she did her ‘tricks’ fairly cheaply and did have health notices that she was clean.  But James could see the needle marks in her arm, he could see the hollowness of her eyes, the missing teeth.  It scared James so much, that he couldn’t finish the sexual act, and threw money into her lap and ran from the room. 

He ran and ran.  He passed a liquor store and bought a 750 ml bottle of Jack Daniels.  He chugged most of the bottle.  He found a park bench and rested, then ran for another hour.  About midnight he returned to his base apartment.  But sleep didn’t come.  He could see the prostitute Lucille in his brain.  Could it be his mother?  His mother was 16 when he was born.  He was now 24.  Was this Lucille about 40?  Maybe - but maybe not.  About three in the morning as he struggled with his life, he ‘heard’ a voice. Was it God?  He didn’t know God, he knew nothing about God, other than what he learned when he lived with the Anson family.  At first, he was scared - God must have been there to kill him for his evil life.  But, he didn’t sense that.  After about half-an-hour, there was a warmth that came over him and he felt peace, a peace that he had never known.  Shortly after that, he fell asleep.  About eight in the morning, something woke him.  He didn’t quite know what was going on.  He showered and put on a clean uniform and his steps somehow led him to a church.  There was a somehow familiar person who greeted him on the sidewalk and directed him inside.  

James was lost in the service.  People around him slid away from him.  But, the real part was during the message.  Somehow the speaker knew him and spoke directly to him - and not to anyone else in the church.  As soon as he could he ran out of the church and headed to the overpass over I-305.  He waited until he saw a flurry of cars coming - and he was going to jump - the paratrooper was going to make his last jump.  As he started to jump over the railing, a car pulled up and the man who greeted him outside the door yelled STOP at him.  The man jumped out of his car and grabbed James.  He was saying things like “God loves you”.  It was the man who had greeted him at church!! James couldn’t quite explain it, but there was a sudden break in the clouds and the brightness of the sunshine was right at the stop where he and the man were.  Could it be God?  What was going on?

A squad car pulled up about five minutes later.  James went to the police station in the squad car, but the other man drove himself there as well.  There was a charge of attempted suicide and the bail was to be $1,000.  The man steps up and says “I will pay for his bond” and he did  

The man took James to his house and his wife was there and gave him lunch.  James cried through part of the lunch.  At some point, James mentioned his friends, the Ansons.  The man jumped.  

“What name did you say?” asked the man. 

James looked incredulously at the name “What did I say?”

The man said “I thought you said “Anson”.

James looked shocked - “Yes, I guess I did”.

The man continued “I am a cousin to Jason Anson.  His mother and my father were sister and brother.  I’m Ben Rottham.”

James looked at Ben - was this God person in charge of this meeting?  Was God calling on him?  James spilled his guts and talked about the Ansons and how he had stolen money and the credit card from Jason’s billfold.  He talked about his running from God.

Ben stopped James at a point and said “God wants you James.  You’ve been running too long”. 

James and Ben prayed and Ben led James in a prayer.  Again, that warmness came over him.

When they finished, Ben said “James, I’m going to call my cousin.  Do you want to talk to him?”

Ben called Jason Anson. They talked for a few minutes, and then Ben said “I have a friend of yours with me.  His name is James.  And I don’t even know his last name.”

The line went dead for about ten seconds.  Ben thought maybe they had gotten cut off.  

Then Jason said, calmly “Last night about nine, I was asleep, but I couldn’t sleep.  Somehow God had put James on my heart.  So, I got into my prayer chair and prayed and interceded for James.  I had no idea why God wanted me to pray for James, but I did - for about six hours.”

Ben put James on the phone.  James quickly blurted about taking the money and credit card from Jason.  Jason said, “I know”.  James kept going about all he had done wrong.  

Jason interrupted James and said “James, God answered my prayers.  He put Ben around you to keep you from jumping and from ending your life.”

They talked longer, but James knew that something major had changed inside himself.  

From that time forward, James stopped his drug usage, he never went to a prostitute again (but he did check, it wasn’t his Mom). He finished his enlistment program and moved to Atlanta where Jason saw that he was hired by a technology support company.  


Yes, that is my Saturday story.  A little dramatic, and definitely Pollyanna approved!!  I’m not preaching today - but call it what you will - God, the Force, The Divine Power, He, She, The Almighty - but I believe there is such a force in the world.  Yes, this story is fiction, but it could be real.  At someplace there is a “heaven” and in this story, the Hound of Heaven found James.  

Thank you all for reading this.




Thursday, September 24, 2020





To me, it is easy to hate somebody (although, I try never to hate!!).  It is easy to put a label on somebody.  In this political year, labels are everywhere.  In my area (Georgetown Texas), local candidates either can’t afford television advertisements or don’t consider such ads the best use of their advertising dollar.  Therefore the biggest political advertisements locally are yard signs.  Now, you can’t really describe yourself and the reasons you are running for office on a yard sign.  So, most yard signs have the name (in large letters for easier identification at the polling place), and a couple of labels.  The most common labels are “Conservative”, or “Progressive”.  (“Liberal” is not a good term in Central Texas - liberals are East Coast left-wing socialists).  

My county (Williamson County) is just north of Austin.  Austin is in Travis County.  Austin is considered a Democratic county and Williamson is considered a Republican County.  But, there have been Republicans elected in Travis and Democrats elected in Williamson - but generally, the party of preference tends to win.  

So, in Williamson County, the third (or maybe second) most popular label is “Republican” candidate for <office>.  For many people, this is aligned with the Republican party and thus you don’t really need to know what they stand for.   On the other side in Williamson County, Democratic candidates don’t put their party affiliation on their signs.

And, as happens most places, the incumbents generally have name recognition and thus have a better chance at re-election.  So, how does a challenger get name recognition?  Using a label that might somehow squeeze into a person’s brain.  

But, labels aren’t really true.  A conservative might be a liberal on certain topics (like taxing higher-income people more).  A liberal might be a conservative on certain topics (like protecting the land).



Does the word “LOVE” have any meaning left?  “I love McDonald’s Burgers” is up against, “”I love justice and mercy”.  “I love you” is up against “I lust for you” (but you catch more flies with honey rather than vinegar). 

To me, LOVE means agape love from a religious perspective.  When I write “LOVE WINS,”  I think I am implying that ultimately good will triumph over evil.  

Labels can be defeating.  If I identify myself as a “Christian”, am I going to offend non-Christians?  And, definitely, if I label myself as a “transgender woman”, that slams a lot of doors.  If I label myself as “White”, does that offend non-white individuals?  In the past, I could have labeled myself as a “White, middle-class, American, Christian, male Professor.” And, that might scream “toxic white male” to some people.  I’m guessing that a black student coming into my class on the first day might have some mental reservations.   (I, at times, was chagrined that my initials at that point were BA White (as in - “be a white”).

We LOVE labels (not the type of love for LOVE WINS).  


I like this little poem by Edwin Markham

““He drew a circle that shut me out-

Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.

But love and I had the wit to win:

We drew a circle and took him In!”


Labels draw circles that divide us - such as “Congratulations, you are IN our circle”; or “Go Away - you are NOT in our circle”.  

The label “American, White, Male, Christian”; - are you part of our group?

Label “Loving, compassionate, forgiving, all-inclusive, individual” - are you a part of this group - and if you really don’t fit the terms, that is alright - you still are ‘one of us’ - because all of us are included!!!


Let me finish today with some thoughts from Richard Rohr - American Theologian - respected on many sides - a Franciscan Priest:

God cannot abide with us in a place of fear.

God cannot abide with us in a place of ill will or hatred.

God cannot abide with us inside a nonstop volley of claim and counterclaim.

God cannot abide with us in an endless flow of online punditry and analysis.

God cannot speak inside of so much angry noise and conscious deceit.

God cannot be found when all sides are so far from “the voice”

God cannot be born except in a womb of Love.

So offer God that womb.

Stand as a sentry at the door of your senses for these coming months, so “the blood-dimmed tide” cannot make its way into your soul.

If you allow it for too long, it will become who you are, and you will no longer have natural access to the “really deep well” that is inside us and keeps us from fear.





Wednesday, September 23, 2020


Okay, I don’t like negativity (that is, Pollyanna Karen doesn’t like negativity).

But, in my newsletter, there was too much negativity not to comment.


Many countries and many companies are working on COVID vaccines - and most are doing it in a vacuum. 

“Usually, medical researchers searching for a treatment or vaccine present their findings first to peer-reviewed scientific journals. Once the scientific community accepts those results as valid, researchers — or the companies they work for — approach regulators such as the Food and Drug Administration. After regulators are satisfied with the drug, vaccine, or device and approve it, companies mass-manufacture it for the market.”

But, this year, this virus is being developed mostly in secret.  Russia is testing its version - but hasn’t shared or published any results.  India wants its version of the COVID-19 vaccine available soon to extol around the world.  In the United States, President Trump wants his vaccine by mid-October - prior to election day. Other nations, getting billions of revenue from governmental sources, are also developing their vaccines in secret.

Where is the sharing of information?  Where is the joint testing of alpha and beta versions of the vaccine?  Will you trust a vaccine that has been rushed through all the hoops with possibly inadequate testing?  I can see the television ads in three years “Did you receive the COVID-19 vaccine in its early release.  It can cause paralysis of the colon and potential cancer.  Call the Smith Legal group at 1-800-BAD-STUFF now to be part of our lawsuit.”  Or, will the pressure to get the vaccine so vital that laws will be made that the pharmaceutical companies can not be sued?

Let's try this solution:  The many scientists, researchers, manufacturers that are looking at COVID-19 get together to share their ideas (on line).  Maybe one company has a solution that looks promising.  This is cutting across national boundaries, why should the vaccine be a nationalistic and exclusive project?  


From Louisville, University of Louisville researchers have been checking sewers under the city and have found higher concentrations of COVID-19 in certain parts of town - or in certain parts of the sewers under the town.  

Does this mean that those who are sick with COVID-19 and it runs through the body system as human waste or vomit and that gets flushed down the toilet that those higher levels mean that part of town is more affected?  


This part of the article says “millions of Americans faced unemployment or closed their businesses during the first six months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the wealth of U.S. billionaires grew by $845 billion — the latest sign that the fortunes of the few are completely untethered to the reality of the majority.” and “if income distribution had merely held steady in the decades since 1975, some $50 trillion would have gone to ordinary workers rather than the nation’s oligarchic leaders — enough to pay every working-class American an additional $1,144 a month. Expect income disparities to continue growing as the U.S. struggles to manage the coronavirus and restore normalcy to the economy. “ 

Hold it - since 1975, the billionaires are getting richer and the poor are getting poor?  And, now millions are out of work and those who live paycheck to paycheck and desperate!!  (Who knows, maybe some of those people are rioting about injustices in our system - and who could blame them!!!


“U.S. authorities are spending so much that European debt will become more appealing to investors, an economist told CNBC Monday.

“U.S. bonds — debt issued by the U.S. Treasury to fund government activities — are traditionally perceived as a safe asset. This means that those who buy U.S. government bonds will have stable returns in the future -- even if these are not very high -- and investors trust the U.S. government will pay that debt back.”

“However, that could change once the coronavirus pandemic is over.

“Debt in the U.S., public debt, is surging much, much more than what we see anywhere in Europe, so the comparison between buying a European bond or a U.S. bond will actually look more favorable in the future.,The U.S. Congressional Budget Office said in September that public debt is set to “rise sharply to 98% of GDP in 2020, compared to 79% at the end of 2019.”


So, to help stabilize our economy, we are printing more money (public debt - that is the money the government borrows to help an ‘even keel’ is overwhelming our economy)!!!


“We’ll just say it: Many of us are wondering whether the transfer of power, if one is facilitated by American voters, will go smoothly, or whether there will be fighting in the streets. It’s 2020, so anything’s possible …”


If Biden wins, will Trump leave the White House gracefully?  


Here is a scary thought for a duly elected government: 

“The president has declined to say whether he would accept the results of the election and has suggested that Democrats are conspiring to commit widespread election fraud to force him from the White House. If he does accept defeat, Trump may do his damnedest to guarantee that he faces no legal issues later. Wild idea: He might consider stepping down between November and January, allowing Vice President Mike Pence to briefly become president and pardon Trump for any and all investigations against him. This may not even be necessary as some scholars say Trump has the right to pardon himself.”


Will the 2020 election cause riots in the streets?  Will neighbors rise up against neighbors?  Where will LOVE WIN?   

LOVE WILL WIN OVER HATE - I believe that - but, maybe not in my lifetime.  (Aside, in my “Read through the Bible in a Year”, I am in Revelations in the New Testament.  At the end of that period, LOVE WILL WIN - but it will be a ‘knockdown, drag-out fight’!!!



Tuesday, September 22, 2020

The Fixation Flaw - part II

 The Fixation Flaw - part II 

Let’s take a related diversion to start the day - earworms!!

(I’ll admit I was unfamiliar with the term, but very familiar with the concept until about 8 years ago)

Wikipedia defines “earworm’ like this:

“An earworm, sometimes known as a brainworm, sticky music, stuck song syndrome, or Involuntary Musical Imagery,, is a catchy piece of music that continually repeats through a person's mind after it is no longer playing. Phrases used to describe an earworm include "musical imagery repetition" and "involuntary musical imagery"

No, it is NOT a worm crawling in your ear!!  <grin>

As I write, the earworm is Rimsky Korsakov’s “March of the  Nobles” (

To me, it is a catchy piece of music that is flowing through my brain.  As a musician, (if being a tuba player is being a musician) I do get songs in my brain.  Sometimes they are stupid songs and I would prefer NOT to let it keep playing.  But, most times, it is “okay”.

More from Wikipedia on earworms on cures.

Scientists found that engaging working memory in moderately difficult tasks (such as Sudoku puzzles, or reading a novel) was an effective way of stopping earworms.  Other research has suggested that chewing gum could help  Some suggest analyzing ‘why’ this song is in your brain  Another suggested remedy is to find a "cure song" like “Happy Birthday”.


Back to fixation

So, something gets into our brain - be it a concept, an idea, a person, or music (earworm).  

If this fixation is almost always in your brain, and if this fixation is negative, we need to do something!! 

Let’s take the case of John David Chapman - the killer of Beatle John Lennon. says he had decided that Lennon was a ‘phony’ and needed killing.  (On his list, seemingly, he also had Johnny Carson and Elizabeth Taylor).  The article indicates that Chapman attempted suicide a few years earlier.  He traveled to New York City with the intent (seemingly) of killing Lennon. That seems like a negative fixation to me.  

So, how might you handle such a negative fixation? 


The Psychology Today article (linked above) suggests this approach:

“The first step when you get overwhelmed is to recognize that you are officially upset or fixating on something negative. Once you label the problem, use this technique which involves asking yourself a series of questions and then answering them. The technique is simple and quick, requiring only a minute or two of your time.

Wherever you are, ask yourself the following questions:

-1 If I had to guess, what is the exact temperature now (inside or outside, depending on where you are)?

-2 What is my body temperature like now? Do I feel a little cold, a little warm, or perfectly comfortable?

-3 If I don’t make any noise, can I identify every single sound that I hear?

-4 Outside, what is in the sky? Are there clouds? How would I describe what I see in the sky?

-5 On a scale of 1 to 10, how hungry am I?

-6 If I could choose to eat any dish right, what would I choose?”

***** (end quote)

The concept is to take your mind off the negative concept.  “Change the channel”.  I also suggest changing the scenery - go for a LONG walk (whatever that means to you).  I’d suggest going to a park - where there will be park benches.  Changing your environment can help you clear your mind.  

But, if you can’t “change the channel”, you may need a professional.  There is a range of professional - from Life Coaches - who will listen to you, guide you, but don’t have a specific counseling degree (but may- or may not - be great resources for you); LSW - licensed social workers - who have a license to counsel; MCSW - Masters in Counseling and Social Work; and those who have a doctorate in psychology, social work, counseling.  If you need a counselor, ‘try before you buy’.  Meet with them and see if this is a good fit for you (and for them).  Is this person too busy and you might get left behind?  Can you sense if this person is compatible with you and sensitive to your needs?  Go for it.  (Aside - I have two counselors currently.  One I see every six months, who has a doctorate and thus is considered stronger; but has little time for me (30 minutes every six months is not much of a relationship); and one I see about every six weeks - I used to see her biweekly - but she thinks (as I do) that I am in recovery and our chats are mostly that - chats - identifying possible issues.