Friday, December 31, 2010

Let’s abolish the Senate -

From a Guest Comment in the Chico News & Review

It's only a dream, but we can dream can't we?

Thoughts,

But not Mr. Porter's - From the Edge -

One of my favorite local writers has assembled some 'thoughts' and I picked out the three I liked the best...click the link above and see the rest of them.

• Believe nothing, no matter where you read it or who has said it, not even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense. —Siddhartha Gautama (c. 566–480 B.C.E.)

• Question everything. Every stripe, every star, every word spoken. Everything. —Ernest J. Gaines (1933– )

• The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself. —Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900)

Chances are

Robert Genn, a Canadian painter of some fame, puts out a twice a week newsletter and it frequently has some gems in it. Such as this…


 

Art reboots the cerebral cortex, teaches new skills to underutilized hands, arouses dormant sensitivities and promotes latent passions. If need be, art gives us something to talk about besides the kids, grandkids and celebrities, hence making us more interesting people. And it's cheap--a month of art supplies for the average Daumier is about the same as a round of golf.


 

Done well, art has lots of ploys, feels good, makes you proud, is so frustratingly difficult it makes grown men cry, and it's not golf. (emphasis mine)

Robert Genn – December 31st of the year 2010


 

Mr. Genn notes that there are an estimated 12 million painters in North America. This makes my chances of becoming the next El Greco slim to none.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Life

Living life without Facebook is not as easy as I thought it might be. A couple of weeks have gone by since I gave it up and I do miss the photos and information as to where people, my family, are and what they are doing. I don't miss the constant 'Like'ing without a chance to dis-'like'. Of course the FB powers can't allow any official methods to express displeasure within the FB realm. In fact, there is no way to have a conversation. If you thought email was killing off the art of conversation, Facebook has dug the grave and is now covering it over and tamping it down.

And I noticed that there are fewer people out here on the other side of the FB wall. When I left, I ceased to exist for those still on Facebook. That makes sense; why would you comment on Cousin Susie's photo and then exit Facebook to write an email to Uncle Frank concerning that same photo? A photo that Uncle Frank can't see unless you attach it to the email…which is all sort of a bother. So you don't do either one.

I still have an obscure presence on Facebook; my 'Jim Bob' persona. I created an email account for 'him' awhile ago and then signed him up for a FB account. He has a silly photo and a bio that makes him out to be in his 90's. He was created just for laughs and I may keep him around. But he will have to obey some rules…he can't 'like' anything! He'll be my eyes and ears to watch over a select few of my FB friends. (why can't I just quit?)

On another note; Warren Buffett. One of the wealthiest men in the world.
"He was ranked as the world's second wealthiest person in 2009 and is currently the third wealthiest person in the world as of 2010."

Below are a couple of quotes from him…


 

  • If anything, taxes for the lower and middle class and maybe even the upper middle class should even probably be cut further. But I think that people at the high end - people like myself - should be paying a lot more in taxes. We have it better than we've ever had it. 


 

  • The rich are always going to say that, you know, just give us more money and we'll go out and spend more and then it will all trickle down to the rest of you. But that has not worked the last 10 years, and I hope the American public is catching on. 


 

But…those are quotes and nothing much will change just because a rich guy said those words. Warren isn't actually doing something to change the system with his money. He's a philanthropist and not a fighter.


 

I've been painting almost every day and enjoying it. I'm learning quite a bit from the group I paint with on Tuesdays. They are all mature artists and that doesn't mean they are old. They are all very giving with praise and advise and it has been one of the best things I've ever done when I joined up with them; to paint together for three hours once a week.

The art of conversation has not died within this group! We have all sorts of personalities and skills among us. There are two with Doctorates. There are three conservatives and five liberals. One "born' again and two Unitarian Universalists. There are three that regularly show and sell their art work while for some of us, showing is a whole new experience. A humbling one. All of this and we still enjoy each other's company! And for all of this we pay $15 a month for the use of the room at the Art Center. Cheap!

Life goes on and so do I. I'm awake, as usual, at 4 this morning and have started with the usual drugs. Now I wait for the Norco – and maybe the Tizanidine - to do something with this persistent pain. Persistent. Never ending. Always. In pain. I am so tired of it! It was a year ago that I was just a month away from the surgery that would end the pain. And it did for about six months. Slowly, the pain came back. But, I was optimistic and believed that as long as I kept up the 4 mile a day walking regimen, a miracle would occur and the pain would ease off. That didn't happen and instead, I began to need pain drugs once again. I had been off of them for about three months. Yesterday was a five Norco + one Dilaudid day and still the pain persisted, never going below a Level 3.

I sometimes feel presumptive with my complaints. How dare I presume to complain about my 'little pain' when there are so many that are in greater pain and have been for even longer periods of time? How dare I, indeed.

Well, I do dare because like so many things in life, it – the pain - is all about me and sometimes it is next to impossible to focus on someone else in pain. The best I can do is to commiserate. But who wants that?

I am in limbo. After participating in the Run For Food just a month ago, the pain has finally reached a level that makes me wonder if I should sign up for any similar events in the near future. Hopefully, I will have an answer this week. I've had my MRI and I see my neurosurgeon on Thursday. I'll also have an x-ray just before my appointment with him.

There is a part of me that says I should stop fighting it. After all, I'm 70 years old and I can't expect miracles, can I? Genetics say that I only have x number of years to live and I might as well accept that those last year's might not be comfortable. And another point; my career choices abetted my downfall and I can't rewrite history, can I?

But, on the other hand, my mean, hard drinking and smoking grandmother lived to be 93. (Sorry, grandma. You really were mean.) Her daughter, my mother, who was not at all mean, nor a hard drinker, but smoked like a chimney and lived till she was 87. So there is a chance that I, her reformed and somewhat healthy son could live till I was in my mid 90's. Or older. That's at least 25 years from now and I'm not sure I want to accept pain as a lifestyle for that long of a time.

Well, it's all just chatter until I talk to the doctor. Hopefully, the MRI and x-rays will reveal the future for me.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Once Again


I found this little bit of data this afternoon. I know it's been on the net for quite a few years; I remember it from some time back. Can't tell you when or where it came from but it's worthy of being re-posted now and then. I can only imagine that the figures have become worse since it was first posted.

  
If you have food in your fridge, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep. You are richer than 75% of the world.

If you have money in the bank, your wallet, and some spare change. You are among the top 8% of the world's wealthiest.

 

If you are attending college, or planning on attending college. You are among the top 1% educated globally.


 

If you woke up this morning with more health than illness. You are more blessed than the million people who will not survive this week.


 
If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the agony of imprisonment or torture, or the horrible pangs of starvation. You are luckier than 5OO million people alive and suffering.

 
If you are reading this: you are more fortunate than 3 billion people in the world that cannot read.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Data

Each year, the Economist outs a skinny little book titled "Pocket World in Figures". Since I love data, I look forward to each new volume. And this years' data does not disappoint.

The top 5 nations when it comes to beer drinking…

  1. The Czech Republic
  2. Venezuela
  3. Russia
  4. Poland
  5. Australia

I'm certain that some nations are disappointed by the results. Better luck next year!


 

The top 5 nations when it comes to drinking the hard stuff…

  1. Finland
  2. Australia
  3. Czech Republic
  4. Russia
  5. Germany

Can we learn something from these statistics? Sure; Finn's don't like beer.


 

How about Press Freedom? The top 5 are…

  1. Iceland
  2. Denmark
  3. Sweden
  4. Japan
  5. Switzerland

The US? We ranked #27. That's still no excuse for the poor job they do.


 

Internet. The percentage of households with internet access…

South Korea – 94.3%

Iceland – 87.7%

Netherlands – 86.1%

Sweden – 84.4%

Norway – 84.0%

The US? We're at #25 with 62.5%. Internet access numbers also reflects just how serious a nation is when it comes to education.


 

When it come to computers (per 100 people), we're in 6th place. When it comes to mobile telephones, (per 100 people) we don't even make the top 50 nations. Broadband? We're number 14. We're also #14 when it comes to divorce rates.


 

Now the good stuff; health care costs! The highest health spending, as % of GDP…

  1. US of A – 15.7%
  2. Burundi – 13.9%
  3. Timor-Leste – 13.6%
  4. France – 11.0%
  5. Switzerland – 10.8%


 

Most hospital beds? We didn't make that list at all. But the American men scored 3rd in the world for obesity while American women could only come up with 6th place. We didn't make the highest or lowest numbers in death rates for infants or adults, so we just assume that we are somewhere in the middle. We are #32 for life expectancy at a combined age of 79.9 years. So if we spend all of that money on health care, what are we getting for the money? And how about DPT and measles immunizations? We don't make the top twenty on that number.


 

I could go on and on, but I won't. For now.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

This just in...

"WikiLeaks Founder Released on Bail"


Personally...I think he should make a run for it. I certainly don't believe that he will receive any sort of 'fair trial' by those who wish him harm. I believe Ecuador has offered him asylum. He should take it. 


What's sad about this whole thing is the fact that he is being hunted down when  he has done what the news media has failed to do for the last 12 years? 20 years? 40 years? 


Also forgotten in the brouhaha is the fact that Mr. Assange asked the U.S. to assist in the redacting of the documents. They refused. 

paper cuts

jill sylvia’s paper cuts question the notion of value | Daily Art Muse

Why do I think I should be an art critic? Probably because I'm still trying to find my own way in expressing myself with art.

Anyway, back to the criticism. If you click on the links above you will see a fantastic display of perseverance. Perhaps mania? But is it art?

I struggle with this all of the time as I wonder if I'm creating art or wallpaper samples.

After some thought I have come to the conclusion that no one can criticize art. It is what it is...and you can keep your opinions to yourself.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Well...

...that was liberating. I just cancelled my Facebook account. It was simply becoming a bad habit. If it had been intellectually stimulating, I would have stayed. Now I have just one bad on-line habit; Google Reader!


Speaking of Google Reader as I was...I read a piece where the author had made a foot pedal style/accelerator for Google Reader. Press down and the entries just fly by! I have to find that article...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A quote...

 "Social conservatives never end up on the right side of history. All they have to show for their effort is burned-out brake pads."

Pricing Information from

- Leslie's List

Pick your own favorite drug and see where the lowest price is. Yes, this is from Chicago but it is representative of costs anywhere in the US. We normally use Walgreens (a big mistake!) but they are the closest to us. Costco is about 25 miles away.

Costs of Care

Costs of Care

I was reading the newsletter from kevinmd.com and ran across a story and a link to this blog/website. There are some amazing stories in here that illustrate the fact that our health care system, including patient literacy, is broken.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Middle-Man strikes back! -

From - This Modern World - Salon.com

Couldn't have said it better...

This from Corrupting Conservatives:

Where The Jobs Are

There are some mind bending statistics here. Plus, you might want to click on the image ands see the ship as it should be seen.

The statistic I loved the best... "91% of Wal-Mart products are made in China."

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

From My Left Wing::

Tuesday Open Thread

"Any dictator would admire the uniformity
and obedience of the U.S. media. "

Oh, so true! Conservatives rule the media...

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Corporate profits in America:

Gimme a “V” |from The Economist:
"Since the end of 2008 business-sector productivity has grown at an impressive annualised rate of 4.2% while hourly compensation has crept ahead by just 2.1%. Unit labour costs have fallen at an annualised 2% rate, the steepest cumulative decline since the 1950s. Profits owe their V-shape in great part to employment’s L-shape."

You know that fable from the right wing that tells us that if we would only free the rich from this terrible tax burden, then they, the rich, would create jobs for us all and we would all live happily ever after. Wrong. They, the rich, never have done that and they never will. Why would you believe otherwise? This is just more of Reagan's 'Trickle down economics'. It didn't work then and it won't work now. History and facts tell us the truth.


Supply Side Economics? Here's some data on that...

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Living in a 'Red' county

Supervisors stanp out food outreach program

This is pretty much typical of the small minds that govern in the County of Glenn. The economy here is focused on agriculture and that means it is one of the poorest counties in the state. Poverty and agriculture go hand in hand. Unless you're a rancher. With federal subsidies and federal crop insurance. Now along comes a program that will cost the county nothing and will bring money into the local economy. The state is trying to distribute federal money to the counties through the CalFresh program but these Reagan loving supervisors will have nothing to do with it. Even though the food stamp recipients will spend that money in local stores, aiding the local economy, the supervisors are doing their 'moral' duty by refusing to help in the outreach of this program. With all of this high morality you would think that they might refuse all federal aid for this county...but you would be wrong. Their sense of right and wrong is very selective.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

From Matt Taibbi:

Courts Helping Banks Screw Over Homeowners | Rolling Stone Politics

I just read the article a few minutes ago and just had to see if it was on-line. And it was. It's worthwhile reading every single word of it. Then print it out and go slap a banker with it. Sure, the action takes place in Florida and we all know about Florida...but the same thing is happening everywhere the robo signers were at work and that's the whole country.