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Pogo Memories

December 21, 2018

Back in the dangerous years, before the Internet could spread hysteria, there were… Pogo Sticks. A co-worker sent me a bouncing Christmas tree emoji, and my brain went to the long ago memories stored deeply in my subconscious.

My sister was a wizard on that thing. She could boing all over the place. Alas, I could not. Fragile hip and all. She had such fun with it. Probably good exercise. I would watch with envy.  Probably, if I could have pogoed, I’d have been this kid:

Today, I went looking for images, and I was pleased to see Pogo Sticks still exist. All the photos of kids now were in helmets, elbow pads, kneepads, and probably force fields. Katie happily bounced away in jeans and tee-shirt and she’s done all right.

Of course, back then you’d think no one ever got hurt. Of course they did, but we never heard about it. No Internet. No every scratch is a potential law suit and bad press for companies. Perhaps it’s for the best. It was never us who got hurt, but it could have been. If parents want to protect their kids, who am I to say they shouldn’t. I admit to not being happy when I was told my kids had to wear helmets when they road, but again, if they’d been hurt…

Then there’s these:

See the source image

Pogo Shoes. Because even nerd get sporty.

Now I’m of the age where getting out of bed can pull something. I draw the line at wearing safety pads to bed, though.



Falling Prey to an Out-Dated Paradigm

December 18, 2018

I think I’ve spoken about technology undoing old conventions or paradigms, particularly the convention of discouraging my kids from taking indiscriminate photos with their phone, or speaking on the phone for a long time. My old conventions say you take few photos to conserve film, and you don’t talk for a long time because you tie up the only phone line.

See the source image


I’ve run afoul of phone conventions again.

In the old days, if you called someone, their land-line rang. If they’re speaking on the phone, you get a busy signal. If you got no answer, no one was home (few let it ring).

I admit to getting frustrated with my wife when I call and she doesn’t answer, inevitably followed by why did I get her a cellphone?

Technology undoes us a bit. She might not have the ringer on. She might not hear it. She might not be near it.

Yet my expectations are based around landlines, which we gave up long ago.  If it rings through, she may be on the phone (no more busy signal).

Typically, this isn’t a problem because I prefer to text. But the old convention kicks in when I call.


Something else to relearn. (I still struggle with someone talking on the phone for a long time, even though in person they’d be talking a long time; I also eschew the modern need to photograph EVERYTHING).

I’m often reminded I’m a dinosaur.

Turn it Around

November 6, 2018

Roughly 50% of eligible voters in America don’t vote. Millions of eligible voters never register to vote.

Their chief reason: It won’t make a difference anyway.

Imagine if 100% of eligible voters actually cast ballots. What would happen? They could provide a landslide win to someone who had no hope of winning (like my guy for Governor). We wouldn’t be limited to two parties, either. You think non-voters actually follow parties? If they were to be activated, they’d spring for Libertarian, Constitution, Communist, Socialist, Green… not all I support, of course, but will of the people, man!

Who are the people who don’t vote?

  • The infirm elderly is a tiny percentage. Most elderly know how important voting is and if they can’t get out will make sure to get an absentee ballot.
  • Students – high school and college. This floors me. They complain about income inequality, student loan debt, rights for every made-up category they can think of… yet don’t vote.
  • People in poverty because of learned helplessness, inability to plan, or other sad reasons.
  • People too busy with their businesses to vote… ignoring that the wrong candidate in office will wreck their business.
  • Lazy people. People who don’t know how to plan. People who can’t be bothered.

Image result for vote or shut up

Most of these groups could swing the tide a different direction if they chose to vote.  Frightening as it is, the school-age vote alone could have put Bernie in the White House.

So, what can be done?

We can’t make failure to vote illegal, since free speech allows people to be as dumb as they want.

We can’t even prevent people from complaining when they’re one of the reasons there’s a problem, because free speech again.

In the instances where I’m talking to a would-be rebel, I can’t ask them if they voted and ignore them if they say “no” because I’m polite and have to love even stupid people by listening to them rant.

I have people at church I admire. I love their hearts, I love their children, I love their smiles. If they were citizens THEY WOULD VOTE. Why do people outside our country get the importance of voting while half of us can’t be bothered?

Vote. (I’m too polite to say, “Vote or SHUT UP!” so I won’t.)


I’m Wasting My Vote… Please Join Me!

October 30, 2018

You have three candy bars in front of you. Two are giant-sized and one is fun-sized. Which do you pick? Would it make a difference if the two giant candy bars had some dog poop in them? Suddenly the small candy bar looks good, right?

Now let’s look at voting. If you’re a staunch Dem or Rep, fine, vote your conscience. If you are an independent but vote R or D because you don’t want to waste your vote, you are part of the problem.

We have the same problems we did decades ago. The two-party system has failed to solve any of them. We still have people in poverty, we still have a poor healthcare and education system. The old policies don’t just fail, they’ve never worked.

The divide between both parties is now extreme. And it’s you “no vote wasted” folks who are responsible.

The last presidential election had frightening choices. Our current governor’s race has bad choices. Things drift to the extremes because they think they can get away with it. And they’re right.

Political operatives look at the vote. Sure, no independent is going to win any time soon. But how many people voted independent? How many refused to go with the status quo?

If that’s a bigger-than usual number, if it is an expanding number, the parties would adjust, change their platforms, adapt.

Stubborn and Sad

But why bother if the independents don’t vote independent? You embolden them!

My vote went for a nice Longwood pastor who made it on the ballot. He hasn’t got a hope of winning, but I can’t vote for someone who will be a bad governor espousing bad policy, or on the GOP side, no policy at all.

Independents may not ever carry a race, but scare the parties enough and they’ll give us better candidates.

Waste your vote. Good may come of it.

Tone-Deaf and Faulty Logic

October 11, 2018

Facebook has not been fun of late.  I have a mix of friends, and it seems half are saying every woman should be believed, which is patently ridiculous, but to make matters worse, I’ve had the other half mocking a woman who claims to have been assaulted.

Yes, friends, women lie. Not all, not most (on this topic), but some. And friends, mocking people is wrong. Our president was a dolt for doing so, and so are the people loudly cheering that you-know who is a liar and you-know who was confirmed.

People are not wrong that we must change the tenor of our voices to make it possible for women (and men) who have been assaulted to come forward. We have to check our first reaction and verify. And when a woman is found out to be a liar (like some claims in the past), the response should be measured and the ears of others taken into account.

We are in an ugly place where it isn’t always possible to prove something did or didn’t happen. We MUST make it easier for those who have been wounded in the worst of ways to immediately come forward. That isn’t achieved by people being tone-deaf, or others offering false promises that all will be believed.

One of the reasons I’ve abandoned both parties is because thoughtfulness has been lost (if it ever existed in the political arena). Politicians will be politicians, and at least this president will be childish, but we don’t all have to be. We don’t have to hide behind nonsensical memes that flout logic with false comparisons, we don’t have to crow and chant and shout down dissenting voices.

We can learn to listen again. We can learn to think of others as better than ourselves. We can be decent people.


Adieu, Cru!

September 3, 2018

Fourteen years ago, I bought my first new car. I’d had good cars in the past, and some great ones, but I’d always bought used. For some reason, this time I stopped into a dealership looking for a Toyota Matrix, but upon test drive, discovered it was gutless. No zip, not acceleration… In Florida, zip is necessary to survive the worst drivers on the planet.

So we stopped into another dealer and they just happened to have a cherry red 2004 PT Cruiser. I’d never had a red car before, and I liked the retro look. When I got it, man! it was so spacious! We drove off with it, feeling apprehensive and elated. Such a nice car need to be garaged, and it was.

A few months later, we moved, and because we were moving in, I parked it in driveway. A neighbor kid who knew use from church pedaled madly down the street, waiving at us, came over the easement, flashed over the sidewalk, lost control in grass and thumped the side of my car, leaving a golfball sized dent. On my precious new car. Fourteen years later, that is still the only dent in the car.

I hid it in the garage after that, away from marauding bicycles, but eventually, I built an office in my garage and the Cruiser had to live under the trees, sick birds, and assault squirrels. The paint began to fade. Newer cars had bluetooth and backup cameras. The Cruiser had manual locks. And the CD player broke. No one else like to drive it (score!).

I’ve had to replace the radiator, brake system, a few things here and there, but overall, it’s been a great car. Recently the check engine light came on. Catalytic Converter issue. The door chime started going off all the time, and a weird rattle came from right side of the car, like something was stuck and vibrating in the speaker. When I stopped the car, water burbled in the engine. There were probably frogs in the engine. They were certainly in the cabin. I started talking to the Cruiser, telling her she was a good girl and not to quit on me now.

Yesterday, we traded her in for a new car. I had to remind myself that cars are objects with no feelings. My jaw stood firm, if gritted.

Our new car has Bluetooth. And a backup camera. And other bells and whistles we discover as we go. It’s not brand new, just new to us. We buy our cars at CarMax now. It’s a dark green Chevy Cruz. Pretty slick. We call it the Jalapeno. My wife drives it. I get the Gerkin, our pickle-colored Kia Soul.

It has Bluetooth.

I’ll my my PT Cruiser and hope her new owner, or owner of her various parts, will treat her well.

SPAM or Help?

August 16, 2018

I got an email from saying my password has been hacked and that they’ve locked me out of my account. It looks real.

And yet here I post.

Yet why would someone want to hack my WordPress account?

I’m baffled.

(Baffled is an interesting word. It can mean I’m confused, or rigged to run silent.)