Feb 232015
 
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English: Evidence of Logging. The photograph s...

English: Evidence of Logging. The photograph shows the main track through the woods on Houghton Moor (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I know I should channel my annoyances at my aging body into wonderfully articulate and cantankerous rants, but I am not sure I am ready for that.  As if I need any more of this getting old stuff.  We went camping this weekend for my 12 year olds birthday.  Man oh man, I felt old.

Let’s just say that this trip I was glad to have a mattress to sleep on in the tent trailer.

I was glad to sleep in until 9 AM on 2 of the 3 days.

I went to bed before midnight.

I couldn’t get up the hill without falling and messing up my knee.  Well, I probably would have done that anyway.

So here I sit.  I feel like an old man when I move.  I am slow to get going and tired all of the time.  My body is betraying me.

But then, in my mind, I feel like a 14 year old kid who is going to be in trouble all of the time.  There is not the place where I feel like the 38 year old man that I should be, well am in reality.

When do you actually start to feel the age you are?  Where do you feel like the adult you should feel like?

Hell I have 4 kids, the oldest just turned 12.  I shouldn’t feel like I am barely older than her.  But I do.

Maybe I am just tired and the constant stream of caffeine is eroding my psyche, maybe I need a therapist.  Maybe I need a big jug of rum.

Whatever shall I do…..I want to end up similar to Ralph, retired and cantankerous, living life how it comes, but right now, I am going to lose my mind and be running around the nursing home in a loincloth, waving my cane and flashing the old ladies.  Ahhh Dementia….you minx you.  When will you visit?

Anyway, what think you all?  I want some constructive information on what to do, or you can just go and jump off the short pier.

 

 

Justin

Justin is the young Coot with a Cantankerous Soul who continues to be educated by older, more cootish Ralph and Bob. His Cantankerosity is his own.

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Feb 232015
 
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Français : Un Starbucks à Paris (France)

Français : Un Starbucks à Paris (France) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Quelle Horreur

What I like about traveling is seeing new places, learning how people live in other countries and finding out a few things about myself along the way. At least that’s the way I tell the story. In truth what I like most is when I can visit an exotic place without adjusting at all. I prefer the comfortable over the new.

It’s that way most of the time. I remark about the abundance of McDonald’s, carefully avoiding any patronage. I have smeared at Starbucks. I laughed at how we never heard anything but American music in Belgium. But even the most opinionated of culture snobs is forced to confess that things can get too strange. And so, as we start our second week in France, I find myself asking, “Where are the Starbucks?” Continue reading »

Ralph

Ralph is the inspiration for Cantankerous Old Coots and is our Grand Duke of Cantankerousness

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Feb 232015
 
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I’m looking at my desktop this morning- not what Windows calls my desktop- I mean my real desktop.  It’s a mess- a controlled mess to be sure- but still a mess.  I confess that I don’t understand quite how I lost control but somehow the result of a series of seemingly reasonable organizational decisions over the last month is clutter.  As you probably can guess, clutter doesn’t bother me a lot.  What bother me are the consequences of clutter.   I fear that the wraith of my order loving wife will breach the security of my office and destroy my serenity.  She tries to restrain herself in the vain hope that I might suddenly get my act together but eventually she loses it and I hear “When are you going to clean your room?” or the even more ominous “Do you want me to help you clean that mess up?”

Somehow I can't manage this clutter.

Somehow I can’t manage this clutter.

This drives me to panic because her involvement will push me to crisis.  I know that her solution for clutter is the trash can.  Life is simple for her.  You handle something; then you either file it or throw it away. I don’t dispute the logic of her thinking.  It is just that there is some obstacle in my brain to actually doing it.  Everything on my desk is on my desk because it is important.  It doesn’t get there otherwise.  I am merciless with junk mail.  It never gets past the trash can. What’s on my desk is pure gold.

As far as the stuff cluttering my desk, if I could throw it away, I would.  It is just that I still need it, although I confess that that need may not be today or even next week.  (It is ridiculous to claim- as my wife does frequently- that I am a hopeless hoarder and that without her careful oversight, our house would look like a dump. After all we are only talking about my desk and not the whole house.)  I need everything on my desk.  The problem is that I don’t necessarily need it right now.  If I leave it there in plain sight then when I do need it, I will know where to find it.  In the meantime, my only problem is that it might obscure my view of something else that I need now and can’t find.

From time to time, I try to organize the clutter.  I consolidate by making piles of similar things but this doesn’t help very much.  My wife isn’t fooled and I find it harder to locate important items.  It isn’t that I don’t want to put things away; putting items away just puts at great risk my ability to ever find them again.

People suggest that all I need to do is file my clutter away where I can pull it out again when I need it.  I’ve tried that with disastrous results.  It works fine initially and my desk gets clear.  The problem occurs when I need to find anything and don’t know where to look for it.   Say I have some information about making videos.  Should I file it under the person providing the information, the type of video or do I just make a big file with everything video in it.  This bothers me when I file things but it is a real problem when I go to find it again.  First, I have to remember that I wanted to dig deeper into this issue which may not happen once the information is out of sight.  Second I have to know how I filed it of else I have to go through multiple possibilities.  The odds are very good that I will forget about the issue altogether but even if I do remember it, it will take hours to find it.  Often even when I know the right folder, I won’t find what I want on the first time through the file.  I have so many bad memories about searching for information and most of them are bad.  As a result, I cling to my cluttered desk

So what’s on my desk right now?  Well, in the far left corner there is a stack of paper with my wife’s business invoices on top.  I still have to get our tax information organized and to the tax guy, so it has to stay visible.  Beneath that stack is some miscellaneous information that I need and am afraid to file.  There is the gate code, copies of our passports, the title for the car we are trying to unload, loan documents for my son’s car, a catalogue I thought I might need, an offer from an internet marketer that promises to change my life and printouts of the pages from one of my websites. I confess that some of those items can be filed away or even tossed because I either don’t need them in the foreseeable future or I don’t need them at all because the offer expired.

In front of that stack is the mailing from the tax guy with instructions about getting him the information.   I just consolidated that pile with my wife’s checking and credit card information from the other side of the desk.  I filed the registration and the passport copies in my personal folder but I am afraid to file the gate code so it now resides in my ‘I don’t know what to do with this’ bin in my out box.  Now the left side of my desk is looking presentable if you ignore the USB splitter, the SD card reader, my cameras (still and video), a calculator and my headphones.

Swinging around to the right we see my inbox (with three levels for in, out-filing- and what they heck do I do with this), a file for index cards which I once thought were an ideal method for taking notes, a stack of those note cards, a jumble of paper, my old Franklin Planner- now unused but containing contact information-, a book I was reading but have abandoned, a stack of audio cd’s, another book and the Spanish Language study program CD we used before going to Argentina.

Now that I inventory the items on my desktop, it is clear that much of it can either go or be stuck in a file with the probability that I will never look at it again.  My wife is right again but I can’t just cave and admit it.

After that painful inventory, I confess to being a sadder but wiser man although I doubt that it will significantly change my organizational skills in the future.  It is so hard to make this life and death decisions about my desk and so easy to hope that they all will resolve before I have to deal with them and so I muddle on.

Ralph

Ralph is the inspiration for Cantankerous Old Coots and is our Grand Duke of Cantankerousness

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Feb 232015
 
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English: Barack Obama delivers a speech at the...

I have noticed a trend in my email lately.  No not the typical SPAM about a dead relative to leave me money, or even the ones about Obama changing laws to get car insurance for $3 a month or some ridiculous thing.

I have noticed that many of those emails come in, from the future.  That’s right, the future.  Hours or even days into the future.  Now, I am not really sure why I have been chosen to be a prognosticator of deals and money forgotten by some millionaires in other countries, but I am.  I am able to tell my SPAM fortune.

It seems that I can also predict (somewhat) how Google will look at this post.  Thanks to Bob I know know I have to ramble on about this for another 150 words or so, inserting links and pictures as they come.   Or should I?  Hold on, I will check my email and see if the future holds anything  that will help us in the search engine rankings.

Nope, nothing is there, but I can make untold riches with this new system that will generate $2460 per day.  That would be helpful.  Not likely, but helpful.

So, now I have a question.  To all of you out there, do you get mail from the future or is it just me?  If you are getting mail from the future then I am no longer special and will have to, well, do something.  But I would still like to hear from some of you out there.

And another question, who sends these things and who writes the programs that allow people to see into the future and send me the email?  Why can’t they use that power and send me the winner of the Superbowl and the world series so that I can bet on them?  I guess their power does not go that far….cheeky bastards.

let me know your thoughts.

-Justin

 

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Justin

Justin is the young Coot with a Cantankerous Soul who continues to be educated by older, more cootish Ralph and Bob. His Cantankerosity is his own.

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Nov 262014
 
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“The duty of a patriot is to protect his country from its government.”

― Thomas Paine

Thomas Paine; a painting by Auguste Millière (...

Thomas Paine; a painting by Auguste Millière (1880), after an engraving by William Sharp after a portrait by George Romney (1792) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I find myself channeling our founding fathers lately.   What intrigues me is that while we recognize their names and credit their contribution to our country today, when they were founding our country, there was no United States of America.  They made it all up.  They probably wouldn’t recognize our country today.  So much has changed.  They would have no way to predict the power and influence of the USA or the way it saved the world from tyranny and stands as a beacon of freedom in an unfree and unappreciative world.

What they did know was the oppression of the greatest world power in the 18th century on the insignificant colonies in North America.  Most of the colonists were English by culture and, in England’s eyes were English subjects governing themselves but receiving the generous bounty of being part of the British Empire.  To that end, England imposed a tax on the colonies and stirred up a hornets nest when free British subjects objected to taxation without representation.  The end result was the defeat of the greatest world power at the time and the creation of the United States of America.

Thomas Paine was the conscience of the revolution. 

He wasn’t an intellectual genius.  He didn’t write the great documents upon which our country is based.  But Thomas Paine was important none the less.  Thomas Paine tapped the emotional spirit of the revolution and inflamed the passions for right and freedom that fueled the fight.   He translated the intellectual clarity and wisdom of the founding fathers as they evolved their more perfect union into common sense, pithy axioms that resonated throughout the colonies.

One of greatest fears for the founding fathers was the power of government.  They recognized that government was important and necessary to provide the framework for a free people to exercise their rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  They also knew that a government that is too powerful and infringes on those rights diminishes the individual.  The problem was how to have the framework and limit the potential for excess.

The country the founding fathers created provided the greatest platform for individuals to thrive and created the most prosperous nation the world has ever known.  Along the way, the government grew as well.  In the guise of helping people and creating equality of result we compromised the balance of power among the branches of government which allowed unchecked overreach as the government- for our own good- limited our freedoms.

Laws and regulations limit our freedoms, our choices and replace common sense on the part of citizens. Regulation is one role of government.  But regulation must be tempered by reason and under the direction of citizens who agree that the reduction in their freedoms is reasonable and good.  We are way past common sense regulation for the mutual benefit of all when regulations are imposed by faraway unaccountable bureaucrats.    When the citizen is no longer considered intelligent and responsible enough to manage his life, we have a government that founding fathers labored to prevent.

The government created at our founding was regarded by its creators as a necessary evil and they carefully crafted provisions to ensure that power be restrained.  Two hundred years have eroded those checks and balances.  Today we believe that we have the same freedoms and rights embraced by the founding fathers but we don’t.  We have accepted the prison of regulation and social pressure.  Our world is smaller and the human potential for each citizen diminished from our origins.  We accept our smaller opportunities and ask the government to do more because we have been persuaded that we can’t do more; that we aren’t smart enough.  We have stopped being citizens and accepted the role of subjects.

The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen. 

We have come full circle here in 2012.  The government we created to serve our country at its founding has morphed into the nightmare feared by the founding fathers.  Today we need patriots more than any time since our founding because the citizens of our country become more and more dimished each year. This is no time for complacency.  The balance of powers that protected us from government excesses is weakened and ineffective.  Government has become an end in itself and a demanding master threatened by any attempt to restore freedom and protecting its power at all cost.  As he said,  “These are the times that try men’s souls……”

Today we need another Thomas Paine to lead the charge against the  government that is destroying our country and what it stands for- life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

“The duty of a patriot is to protect his country from its government.”

― Thomas Paine

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Ralph

Ralph is the inspiration for Cantankerous Old Coots and is our Grand Duke of Cantankerousness

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