Guide to a Better Life

I heard and read about a book, mentioned now and again, “A Course in Miracles”. I never read a lot about it, passing references. A few years ago, I found, “A Course in Miracles”, in a local bookstore (yes, we still have a few here), but it was way more than I wanted to pay for a [unknown] book. Especially a book that was more merely mentioned than written about. So I forgot about it as other ideas and things caught my interest.

As one of the laws of, “The Secret”, made itself apparent, I found, A Course in Miracles”, this week, in its original plastic wrapping for a whopping $3.49! Needless to say, I decided I could spend that little on the book, and if I didn’t like it, I would not feel bad about it. I found a surprise inside, it is the latest edition, lucky me. I must be ready for the information it holds.

A Course in Miracles, is a hidden gem of a book. Recommended reading if you want to improve your life.

The book is divided into three parts, Text, Workbook for Students, and Manual for Teachers. I started reading the Text portion, intending to follow up with , “Workbook for Students” section. After a few days reading the Text, I was hooked and decided I can read the, “Text” portion and complete the, “Workbook for Students”, section at the same time.

I have read some of the Text and completed the first two lessons. The, “Workbook for Students”, at least the first two lessons, which is all I have done so far, are intended to hit you in the forehead with a baseball bat. Anyone who has not gone through this process in a different setting, will be thrust into a challenging, new and exciting mindset, about the world in which we live.

Each lesson takes two one minute periods per day. I can’t speak to the rest of the lessons yet, but each objective in the first two lessons is straight forward, simple to understand, and simple to do. There is a warning or disclaimer before the first lesson, that some of the lessons may be something your disagree with and other warnings along this line. You are asked just to do the lessons as written, without agreeing with them or liking them. No one else is needed as I understand, so the lessons should be easy to complete, two minutes a day for a year, or longer if you like.

In short, the lessons are not to be a drain on your time, but may rock your world, so to speak. The first two lessons have rocked mine, already. I am already familiar with the first two lessons, so I thought they would be more an affirmation or reminder for me. Yet I found myself having new, almost foreign understandings of some past life events. I am not sure where this paradigm shift came from, as the first two lessons are not new for me, and are general, but they made radical changes in my seeing certain past and present life events all the same.

I am not sure my description of , Text, in, “A Course in Miracles” does the book justice, but I will give it a shot. I have only read a part of the Text so far, so my comments are only from that small part. The text, if read slowly and with thought, is very enlightening. I have learned in a few days reading the full circle of some of the things I am able to accomplish, which I won’t bore you with as they belong in a different setting.

Up until now, I was aware I accomplished these things, but lacked the understanding of why. Probably a poor analogy, but think of ‘discovering’ you are a natural athlete in a sport, but you never tried before. I feel like this in some areas of my life from past events that improved my life. Through some unknown process changes happened, but I could only a guess as to why, and the structure behind them.

In just a few short paragraphs during my browsing, the process is explained and those loose ends which I could only guess at, I now understand more fully, though not completely. Subjects are blocked out, and stay on subject with little sidelining. Much better than a talk I never made it though on, How Judges Think.

As of this post, after only two lessons, I recommend, if you find an affordable copy of this book, “A Course in Miracles”, and start reading and doing the lessons, your life change in ways you never imagined.

More Than a Dollar

This post is a ‘clean’ post. However the content is not for children…

Something strange happened today. I went to a local mall to eat Chinese food. I was alone. To get where I was going from where I parked, I needed to walk through a store. As I walked, there on the floor was a semi-crumpled crumpled bill laying on the floor.

Of course I picked the bill up, hoping it was a twenty, but it was only a dollar. Being in a generous mood, I held the bill in my hand as I walked. I walked on perhaps another thirty feet, outside the store and into the mall proper.

Found a dollar

When a dollar isn’t really a dollar.

There was a bench, and sitting on the bench was a Father with his perhaps four year old Son playing on the floor. I walked up to the Father. I asked him, not looking at the child, “I found this on the floor, would your Son like to have a dollar bill?” The Father said, “No thank you”. I said, ” I found it on the floor, right over there (pointing)”.

It took a second or two for ‘No’ to register in my brain… I found this absolutely astounding! What was the Father thinking? Why would he decline free money? I was completely at a loss. I put the bill in my pocket, walked over the cafe, ordered and ate my dinner.

As I ate, I pondered these possibilities. 1.) The Father was not white. Did he think I thought he was broke and needed money? 2.) For whatever reason, the Father was offended by my offer of money. 3.) The Father, in a pedophile-phobia mind set, determined I was a pedophile, and by giving him a dollar bill to give to his son, his son would somehow become infected or targeted?

As I pondered these three possibilities, I though perhaps numbers one and two were possible. Perhaps the Father was offended by my offer for whatever reason. I thought number three was so far out there, it could not possibly apply. After eating I was to meet some people for coffee.

As the coffee clutch conversation slowed a bit, I brought up the situation at the mall, and the rejected dollar bill offer. I asked the group what they thought the reason was? To my surprise, the unanimous vote was the Father determined I was probably a pedophile! I was and am absolutely amazed this was not only the majority opinion, but the only opinion!

I can not make the jump from offering the Father a dollar bill to give to his Son, is any way related to being a probable pedophile. Even if it were possible, how does giving the Father a dollar bill effect the Son and his safety? It’s now, a few hours later, I still can not make that leap of thought. I only spoke to the Father, and offered the dollar bill to the Father. I simply can not make the jump, as to how the pedophile idea was the uniform conclusion.

I think this must be a brain virus in action. Too many generations of being told to fear, Chester the Molester, or the Man in the Van. Any thoughts?

Magic Compost Pile

I have come to think of this little dirt pile as my “Magic Compost Pile”. It started life out about four years ago as what was purported to be, horse manure. The only thing it had in common with actual manure, was it had particles of straw no larger than one-quarter inch.

Over the years nothing grew in it, or on it. I was starting to wonder if I made a mistake bringing it home and planting two snowball bushes at its foot. This summer changed all that.

I collect vegetable scraps, tea bags, coffee grounds and anything else compostable in the crock pot insert shown in the picture. It’s maybe a gallon in size. It was taking forever to fill it, before I went on the Whole 30 diet. Since then and changing a little to the paleo Diet, it is filled about once a week to week-in-a-half.

I have another ‘heavy duty’ compost pile that is slowly working its way through collected bags of leaves. Leaves are not unless they get a lot of help, quick compost material here in the southwest. I have lots of time, and am not in a hurry. I let it do its thing, though I add something every once in a while.

I did not want to go through the work of trying to dug through leaves and twigs to deposit my vegetable scraps, so I decided I could do worse than trying to turn the dead horse manure into something useful. That turned out to be an awesome idea. Every gallon of vegetable scraps, tea bags, etc, added over the summer was gone in a few weeks. All that I find are an occasional tea bag tag.

Some of the seeds from different fruits started to sprout, so I dug little gallon size holes around them. In late August, a yam plant poked itself through the compost pile. Some other seeds sprouted as well. Yet the majority of what went into this little pile was gone so quick, I thought an army of rodents were showing up at night and having a feast.

I started carefully smoothing the top layer, and would go out each day and look for digging, or tracks. There were none. The only thing unusual about the process I think is odd are the kitchen scraps. In the summer, by the time they make into the pile, they smell like vinegar, and have a green fungus going to town in the material. It also sort of plops into the hole as a fused piece.

I doubt this amazing compost speed will carry over the winter. As you can see the pile is only a few feet tall at best. It is against a west fence wall, so it does get light most of the day. With the summer temperature in the mid nineties, it probably heats up much more than it would on its own.

As I was adding another gallon of kitchen scraps today, I thought I talk about this mighty little compost pile while I think of spring just around the corner. I got the idea of using a crock pot insert from my post on pot composting. I haven’t used the pots last summer as everything I added to the pile was eaten so quickly, it almost seems like magic. If you look at the categories, I have links to other compost posts under gardening.

Etcher, the Cross Platform ISO Flash Drive Installer You Need

Etcher is the best image flasher you have never heard of? Huh? what’s an image flasher? In plain language, Etcher lets you create a bootable copy of a downloaded ISO to a flash drive in a way that won’t let you destroy your hard-drive in the process.

Etcher lets you painlessly burn iso images to flash (usb) drives.

Etcher is cross platform. I use it in Linux, and here is how I do it:

1. Have a downloaded .iso file. I downloaded Lubuntu to give it a test run as a live ISO. I thought Lubuntu has made great strides in this current release for those interested.

2. Insert a flash drive. This is the most dangerous part of the process! Etcher will overwrite everything on the flash drive, so only use a flash drive where the data on it can be deleted without pain. If your flash drive has information you want, copy it off to your hard drive before using the flash drive with Etcher.

2. Run Etcher. I open my file manager, and open the Etcher folder I created previously.

3. Double click on the Etcher Icon.

4. Etcher starts, asks for an iso and brings up a folder directory. Search and select the .ISO file you want to copy on your flash drive.

6. Enter your correct password.

7. Etcher searches for a flash drive. At this step Etcher gives you the option of picking a different flash drive than the flash drive Etcher found.

8. Click on the label, “Flash” on the right side of the screen.

Etcher does the rest, conveniently copying the selected .iso file to the flash drive making a bootable flash drive in the process. Once completed, Etcher asks if you want to create another.

8. Close Etcher. All done! The flash drive created by Etcher is bootable, and can be used as you want.

One interesting option Etcher offers is to purchase Etcher Pro. Etcher Pro will flash several flash drives at a time. Etcher Pro is for high volume users.

Etcher is cross platform. Etcher is free as in free beer. Etcher is as safe as can be in protecting your hard drive by only flashing a flash drive.

I really like Etcher as it replaces any number of DVD burns. Especially now that CD’s and DVDs are quickly fading into the background.

Here is a link to a Wikipedia article, if you want more detail.

Here is the link to the Etcher website

 

Makulu Linux, Linux You May Enjoy Using

Makulu Linux, pronounced “Macooloo”, has been around a few years now and has remained mostly off the Linux Radar screen. Last week, Jack M. Germain writing for Linux Insider, published a post stating he thinks Makulu Linux is finally ready for prime time.

I downloaded Makulu Linux to see if it is true or only more noise. Makulu Linux in the past has never been a conformist or a MeToo Linux distribution. This newest release, LinDoz, the first of three to be released is no different. Makulu Linux is as far as I am aware, mostly unique in the Linux world.

Before going too far down the road, I will mention an issue in Live mode, I would lose the mouse. I have an old corded Kensington Trackball which may be partly responsible. Unusual for a smaller distribution, Makulu Linux has very good documentation and includes a FAQ accessible from the screen and menu.

I found the lost mouse fix so quickly, Losing the mouse, however did not carry over through to the hard drive install. I think this may be due to the faster load time, and my willingness to wait a few seconds longer.

Makulu Linux when installed to the hard drive really shines! I am glad I went beyond the live edition and completed a full install. Makulu Linux comes with it’s own desktop, two different repositories to customize your system from, and a refreshingly different way of looking at how a Linux Distribution should look and perform.

I am quite happy with the default desktop, but Makulu Linux has options for changing desktops. Upon boot, when you log in, you have the choice of desktops, Cinnamon, Cinnamon (software rendering), and XSession. I am using the default, Xsession, which works fine for me.

A new gem in the Linux World

Makulu Linux gives you a choice of using either Debian or Mint repositories. This is also a first as far as I know. Having choices of repositories without causing system crashing is unusual at best, and insane at worst. In my [short] time with Makulu Linux, everything is working as it should.

Makulu Linux install procedure, like the rest of Makulu’s philosophy is a little different, but nothing anyone who has done a few Linux Distro installs, or can think what a question means, can’t manage. A few places ask you to make a decision, though there are defaults if you do not have a preference, or do not know what to choose. In my case chose to install Makulu Linux alongside another Distro.

I was asked about repositories, and a few more normal install questions. One of the interesting features, is you have options for the base system you want Makulu Linux to be. Choices include Gaming, Business, or Home. I installed Home, so I have no comment on what the specific differences are.

It is refreshing that Makulu Linux, at least the LinDoz edition doesn’t overwhelm you with every piece of software under the sun. The only maybe extra software I found, is two editors, though they perform on different levels, so they are not two of the same in a technical sense. I have only added only one application to the base system. That is a text editor with spell check. My fingers never remember where the keys are, so spell check is a must have for me.

With the home edition, an up to date Libre Office is present to handle office tasks. Accessories is loaded with programs most people will use without being bloated. Everything most people use for the Internet is also present. There are three games installed. Administration is a pleasant surprise with options for drivers, and other apps to make Makulu Linux look and work as you want it to.

Compared to some Distro’s, the software selection may be thought to be sparse, but the developers feel a smaller install is better than than starting with a bloated system. I tend to agree. In closing, there are two more versions of Makulu Linux in the works. I’m excited to try at least one of them, though I am very impressed so far with the LinDoz edition.

A real eye opener for me is Makulu Linux choice of web browser. Makulu Linux uses Opera. Makulu Linux with Opera does web browsing a better experience! Makulu Linux Team has set up Opera to make the web experience even better than mainstream Firefox with a few add-ons is. Even more of the annoyance of browsing is gone using Makulu Linux’s Opera browser setup.

Of course, you may find a different result depending on your browsing habits. I am very impressed with Opera now, as I would not normally have given Opera a spin. On the downside, Opera feels just a tad slower, but I think it’s well worth the trade-off for the end result. And the perceived speed loss may be my imagination.

I recently went through a round of Distro testing, and Makulu Linux is best of breed among the distributions I tested. A few Distro’s were practically clones of each other. One Distro had these sudden annoyances that would come and go for no rhyme or reason. A few Distro’s fell short in what they offered, or perhaps what I wanted. Makulu Linux however was a fluke, and not one of the initial round of distributions I tested. I am glad I came across the link to the Linux Insider review.

If you read any of my older Linux Distro reviews, you will know I do not get to far into the details of install and operation. In general Linux is Linux, and if you can install one, you can install another. This post on Makulu Linux is no different in that sense. However Makulu Linux is a serious contender to replace my over time favorite. I wish to mention in closing, I really enjoy the quotes and the rotating wallpapers in Makalu Linux desktop, though I am sure some will prefer to turn them off.

— Quick update, Makulu Flash Linux has been released. Flash uses XFCE, and is impressive in its own right. Word of caution though, Flash is lacking a full office suite and a few other programs you may like to have. If you have lots of time for downloading, or fast bandwidth, you may wish to give Flash a go.

Whole30 and Paleo Eating Update, Several Months Later

I have a few things going against me when it comes to dieting. First off, I grew up in Minnesota. This is/was(?) the land of meat roasts, mashed potatoes, gravy and bread. Milk (usually whole) was common with meals. Vegetables were an afterthought – open a can of something, boil it for ten minutes, cool and serve. Then like half the population now days near my age, I have my assorted health problems.

Most food is anything but healthy and wise for most people planning to diet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In short, I had a lot overcome. I thought I ate healthy meals and a few snacks. Bad habits, bad habits, and bad habits were a major part of my eating well. Learning that my eating in particular and foods I ate in general, made a poor foundation for eating well.

It is hard to know you are not eating healthy when everyone you know eats like you, or eats worse than you. Then there are the articles and news sources scaring you over one food after another. I think these are the number one problem for people trying to lose weight. We know what should be healthy, but we do not understand how to do it.

We have no idea what healthy eating is. We put diets into a category of something we do to lose weight. We rarely relate “diet” with correct eating, or at least closer to eating healthier. Whew, I’m through with this diet, I lost xx pounds and I’m done with it. Maybe a doughnut, or a little ice cream to celebrate….

“I know I can’t eat like I used to but at least I can a few of the things I really have been missing.” Well, I have been off my diet for a few weeks now and I have only gained x (hopefully not xx) pounds. I guess weight loss is normal? Everyone say’s it is. It’s been three months now, and I gained even more weight. I don’t understand! I am not eating like I used to…

Oh no, it’s my fourth month, and I have gained back all the wight I had lost except two or three pounds. If the above paragraphs sound familiar it is because they are all too common for too many people. Until this year, I would count myself as one of the people thinking these things.

This year, knowing I have a gluten allergy, I spotted the Whole30 plan in the book store. After seeing it around on and off, and browsing through it on and off, I bought the book, read it, and started following the Whole30 plan. You can read about it here:

Feeling Better, Eating Differently

Or, if you prefer, you can read all my dieting endeavors by doing a search on my blog for the word, “diet”. I have tried many diets and exercise programs with mixed results, until now.

It has been around six months now since I started the Whole30 eating plan, and around seven months since I changed to the Paleo Diet which you can read about here:

Dieting Decoded, The Simplest, Easiest, Ultimate Healthy Diet

I think this post is the post is where I fully realized the concept of eating correctly. There is no magic cure, no magic pill. I won’t bore you with the plethora of diet fallacies out there, I will provide one short example. The Acai Berry, was once the magic bullet of weight loss. The Acai Berry and a cheap magnesium pill do and are essentially the same thing. Acai Berries are natural magnesium supplements. Before you leave this post, remember, there is no diet shortcut, no magic pill or exercise. Common sense and the correct way of eating are the only way to successfully change your dieting life.

Diet education, and diet incorporation is the answer. The Whole30 and Paleo Diet make correct, healthy eating obvious, if you can not understand what they are doing for you, and why they work, you may need to see a counselor, because the problem is not in your diet. No offense meant, but that is the way it is.

Many people try to diet and sabotage themselves, as I did for years, once they leave or fall off the diet they were on. A healthy diet, is learning how to eat for the rest of your life, not a few weeks or months. A healthy diet is not setting a goal of losing some number of pounds and then eating as you did before your weight loss.

The key to healthy eating and weight loss is as simple as I write about in the diet posts above. The greatest gift I received from Whole30 and Paleo is this: If you are unable to identify the ingredients in the food you are about to eat, you shouldn’t be eating it. Simple is healthy, when it comes to food.

Unconscious Bias, Us and Them

Science overthinks Unconscious Bias. Unconscious Bias reasons people hold of interest to scientific and social communities, is commonly determined to be a bias against people(s) which an individual is not even aware they are biased against. No one escapes Unconscious Bias. One may be knowingly biased against people for demographics, skin color, or facial and body features, and this bias is Conscious Bias.

Put in another more formal way, here is the definition from the Office of Diversity and Outreach:

Unconscious biases are social stereotypes about certain groups of people that individuals form outside their own conscious awareness. Everyone holds unconscious beliefs about various social and identity groups, and these biases stem from one’s tendency to organize social worlds by categorizing.

I disagree with how science has determined how Unconscious Bias occurs. I am of the opinion, Unconscious Bias comes from a much simpler and much older place and was active possibly before modern humans even developed language.

Unconscious Bias is likely built into our DNA, and is not something we can easily eradicate, and probably something we should not even try to eradicate. It is important to quantify the Unconscious Bias which I address. This is not an outright culture or race bias which is behind much of today’s news. This Unconscious Bias I wish to define has familial properties.

Unconscious Bias is likely in our DNA, and it should stay there

The Unconscious Bias I am talking about maximizes survival of the family unit, carried forward from our most ancient ancestors. Two hundred years ago (a blink of an eye), most of the world had a limited supply of food and clothing. In most of the world we were living a rural village life. There was the family unit, the extended family unit, and the remaining people who together comprised a village, perhaps one hundred people, probably less.

Village population was determined by resource allocation and our brain size. There was only so much food and clothing to go feed everyone. There were only so many people able to hunt and cultivate crops. There were finite supply of edible fish and animals within a reasonable hunting distance from the village.

When the family had food for the day, food was distributed by family ties. Perhaps Parents and grown Children were fed first. Grandparents and young Children second. If there was a food surplus, extended family would be allowed to share the food. After extended family, friends of the family would be given food. Finally, the rest of the village population would be given food.

Our brain size determines our social ability. The most brain growth in modern humans was done to increase our social ability. Today most of us have between one-hundred to one-hundred fifty people we socialize with in varying degrees.

Looking at Unconscious Bias through this perspective, Unconscious Bias has little to do with race, geography, skin color, or other artificial measurement. Unconscious Bias was developed for maximizing survival of the immediate family unit.

Starting with the immediate family unit (parents and children) who have a surplus, and extending to the village unit, everyone followed the same model. The more you are one of us (closer to a family matriarch), the better your chances of receiving extra sufficient food and clothing when available. As food distribution is extended, a non family member’s chance of receiving food diminishes the farther they are from being part of the family.

You can test this idea yourself as you go through your day. Pretend you have extra food available which must be given away as it will spoil soon. You have enough food to give to three people beyond the people in your immediate family. As you look at the people you see or have contact with, decide whether you would give them food or not.

I think you will find, the people you are most likely to feed are those people either closest to you or most like you. I think looking for ulterior motives and reasons for Unconscious Bias, and trying to eradicate Unconscious Bias in any other definition is akin to, “Beating a dead horse”. You can beat the dead horse into dust and powder, but it doesn’t change the fact the horse is dead.

Homeless Economics

In the post, below, is a picture is a Homeless Person (questionable) standing under a sign which was placed explicitly for homeless people to get help through various city programs. The program is intended to get Homeless People off the street and connect them to needed services. Unfortunately Homelessness has become a job in itself.

Begging pays better than working for many people.

On the Albuquerque, New Mexico, 311 website are listed the top ten reasons people are calling 311. Being homeless and asking for help is not one of the top ten.Albuquerque BioPark and Bicycling are numbers one and two.

Here are the Homeless Services offered on the city of Albuquerque 311 Web Page:

There’s a Better Way

 

View information about the program “There’s a Better Way.”

Want to Help?

Donations to the program help the issue of panhandling in Albuquerque.

The There’s a Better Way campaign gives panhandlers a chance at a change in life and provides caring members of our community with a better way to donate their money.

About ‘There’s a Better Way’

Begun in 2015, Albuquerque’s innovative “There’s a Better

Way” program addresses four main needs:

1. Give people dignity in work
2. Connect individuals with services
3. Collective Impact to end panhandling
4. Help the Community to understand “There’s a Better Way”

The plan is robust, and is of course intended to get Homeless People off the street and connect them to needed services. Interestingly enough, the BioPark, and Animal Noise Complaints are the most requested services from the 311 program.

The 311 program has a major economic fault that plagues state Welfare Services across the country. Homeless People are making more money standing on the street corner with a sign than they would working. This same problem applies to Welfare Services of many states. It is easier and more profitable to remain on Welfare than it is to get a job.

The sad economic reality is, many of the homeless people standing on the street corners, are not starving, stuck, or needy. For many, standing on the corner begging, pays better than joining the community and becoming a productive member of the community. Giving through charity is commendable. Giving money to people on the street corner who have no interest in becoming a working member of the community is something else completely.

Homelessness, Land of Uneven Surfaces

Sir, can you spare some change?

No, but I will buy you something to eat if you are hungry.

Three minutes of trying to get her act together, finally entering the Fast Food Place where they were standing six feet from the door.

Semi dirty hair, dirty hands, face, and skin areas, clothing and bags dirty.

“I just got out of an abusive relationship…referring to meth scabs maybe?

My Daughter is with a sitter today. Okay…

It’s my day off from work today…..

I stay in a hotel, it’s forty-two dollars a night.

I’m getting section eight housing in one week ten days…eighty-five dollars a month, I can swing that.”

I place my order, less than $3.00. Their food bill adds up to $9.86!?

She suggested, “Let’s sit here?” Okay.

I sit down, she leaves to fill soda from machine. Minutes click by. I wonder if she forgot what she was doing. Her number is called, called again, called a third time.

She comes back to the table. I say, “You order is ready, they called your number.”

She gets her food, three large drinks and a sausage biscuit and sits down.

Easy slide to the bottom when you are homeless.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Some Woman told an employee, they can’t believe they let people like me in here. Then she tells Me, ‘I am filthy and I stink’. Why do people think they can talk to me like that, like I’m a piece of trash, and not human?”

I am thinking to myself, well the filthy comment fits, I’m in agreement with the woman about the comments. However, there is no excuse for people talking like that to anyone like that, true or not.

She takes large drink of one large shake, then another, and nods off.

“You okay?” She wakes up, starts spreading jelly on her biscuit and her hands….Nods off again. Drooling this time.

Hello?

Opens her eyes, repeats section eight housing story. Nods off again. Opens eyes, “I’m so tired.”

I say, “It appears to me, whatever you have doing isn’t working to well for you, have you heard of “shelter name”.

I won’t go there! I won’t go to any shelter. They get into your business, and I don’t want that. I have been waiting two years for cheap housing, and I’m not going to blow it. I have to wait a week, and three days, and I’m in. Nods off again.

I wonder to myself if she has a week and three days left. I think it may be a coin flip.

I suggest (because she was nodding again), “Why don’t you use a different name? It would give you a chance to clean up, eat and get some real sleep.”

“Have you ever been in one of those places? You don’t know what they are like! (hmmm) How can you sit there and tell me what to do? I don’t want CYFD (Child Welfare) in my business. Why does everyone who gives me money or buys me food think they have the right to tell me what to do?

Maybe they care about you and your condition?, I’m thinking, if I were someone else, I may have paid you for other things, if I didn’t care about my health and well being….

“Are you from here, where did you grow up?”

“I was born in the xxx area, and grew up in the xxxxxxx area.” I’m getting housing in one week and three days, $85.00 a month. My own place. A bed for my daughter.” Nods off…

Opens eyes, “Did you hear a thing I said?

I repeat back what she told me, only one iteration though. “Are you sure about not getting some help, you look like you could use some good sleep.”

“I’m so tired….Why do you think you have the right to tell me what to do? I’m sick of people like you telling me what to do! Who do you think you are?” (I am thinking, ‘someone who is concerned about you doesn’t count I suppose’.)

I’ve had about enough at this point. This woman either hasn’t hit rock bottom, or she does not realize she has already crash landed, and they only place left to fall is to die. Frustration overrides my concern. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. In her case, I’m not even sure, if she knows what is going on.

“Do you have some money you could give me? Anything will help.”

“I do not have any money to give you. I spent almost ten dollars on your food. That was a lot of money for me to spend on you.“

“I only need like twenty more dollars to get a hotel room for the night…for my daughter and me. I have almost half of it.”

“I do not have any money to give you.”

She starts falling asleep again.

“I have to go now, I have somewhere to be. I truly hope the next time I see you, you have your apartment, your daughter, and you are doing well. I hope I do not see you as you are now. Good Luck, and my best for you.”

No response, or perhaps that was the response. As I drive, the conversation slowly fades away, forgotten.

Today, I am getting ready to meet someone, when crashing into my thoughts is the woman I left at the table yesterday. Almost overwhelming thoughts of her. It’s not apparent to me why she has taken over my thoughts, and what these thoughts mean. Twelve hours later, and they still haunt me, coming in lingering waves spacing farther apart, and smaller with each arrival.

Perhaps it is because she isn’t the run of the mill homeless person I am used to seeing. Most homeless people are obviously homeless, but getting along somehow, semi clean and looking like they eat enough.

This woman was skinny as a rail, no fat on her. Dirty, and nothing worth anything on her person, worn out cloths and flip flops. She had a half pack of cigarettes, and a container of bright pink lipstick she wore above and below each lip. She like her clothes looked worn out. The one bag she had her possessions stuffed into was in worse condition.

I say more than a few short prayers today for this woman. If anyone ever needed at least praying for it is her. I know she is beyond anything I can do for her. I doubt she even remembers yesterday, the meal and halting angry conversation.

Tariffs and Embargoes, Oh My

Now that we are into the Tariff Trade Game, let’s take a minute and see what it really means. From the U.S. side, the cost of a new home on the northwest coast has seen an average of $7,000 increase due to the increased cost of lumber due to the imposed tariff.

Those not buying a new home, really aren’t effected, or are they? For whatever reason home sales are now a tight market. Prices for used homes have outpaced wages. It really doesn’t matter, what happens to the price of new homes from this perspective, in the short term anyway.

In the Midwest, Farmers are feeling the brunt of losing their largest export consumer of soybeans. Almost one-third of the soybean crop is exported and now faces a Chinese tariff. So far the U.S. Government has put up eleven twelve billion dollars to offset those losses. The American Taxpayer will foot that eleven million dollar bill. Unfortunately there will be fallout among the Farmers who for whatever reason will not see a dime of the these monies for one reason or another. More small farms will cease to exist.

Coca-Cola has announced it is feeling the rise in the price of aluminum for cans. Of course this will only effect Coca-Cola in the short term. These increased costs will quickly be passed on to the consumer. The downside of this price adjustment for the added cost of aluminum is the American Taxpayer is also the consumer.

General Motors and one of the Home Appliance manufacturers announced the rise in the price of steel has arrived at their door. Some of this steel was ordered months past. Once again, American Taxpayers will foot the bill as this cost is passed on.

Tariffs are not effective, and never have been.

Passing on the cost is what big business does. Generally these costs increased are in excess of what the additional or new cost of aluminum and steel will be. If challenged big business will claim they are adjusting prices according to projected future costs. To get a better idea of this, think of how gas prices at the pumps increase well before the holidays, or summer. The upward price rise is much quicker than any downward price adjustment. Why reduce profit if the customer is already willing to pay a higher price….

The Soybean Tariff reminds me of the Russian Grain Embargo of years past. The U.S. placed an embargo of grain sales to Russia. The grain market was in dismay, as they like to export wheat, but enterprising business started raising wheat fed chickens for export to Russia, informally reducing or eliminating the effect of the famous grain embargo.

In the moment, America will experience a temporary soybean glut. This will last until the excess soy is converted to a food China wants that is not subject to a tariff. Business creativity is the work around of Tariffs, Sanctions and Embargoes. Perhaps U.S farmers will start exporting soy fed beef and chicken to China offsetting or bypassing the soybean surplus and tariff.

America may shift production into soy based housing material, soda and food containers, cars and home appliances made of a soy product instead of metal. Let’s not forget more soy meals instead of beef, chicken, and fish, and perhaps soy based gasoline.

This alternate soy fantasy would cost billions in investment dollars. Of course the American taxpayer is more than happy to foot the bill. Generally the common man suffers the biggest burden when these unworkable policies are put in place, paying more for living day to day, and seeing a bigger tax bill which like the increase in production cost prices, will not be reduced when no longer needed. Tariffs have not worked as planned since they were first tried.

Of course following the current fake news line, ‘If you see it, and you hear about it, don’t believe it, it’s not true’. You can take that thought to the bank….