Random Thoughts…


So, I wanted to write about something BIG in the news today, some world event that really grabbed us and made us think.  So what did we come up with for today’s news?  Truly more of the same.  Violence and protests in Iran.  Bombings in Indonesia.  Stage collapses killing workers, and saddens singers.  NTSB reports released about a crash at DIA.  The President’s Healthcare plan is just too bloody expensive and doesn’t have a chance of succeeding.  Yawn…

Sorry, none of it is very impressive.

So, here are some thoughts.

What do we need in this country to pull us out of the “doldrums” where we are at now?  First, maybe I should give you all a definition of what the doldrums are.  It’s a sailing term, referring to that latitudes where there are no prevailing winds, and you are likely to sit for days with no real wind to get you moving in the direction you want to go.  Does that describe where our country is right now?  Absolutely yes!

Here we are, wondering how we ever got into this mess, with one out of every 68 homes in America in foreclosure.  We are included in that by the way, we are losing a condo Cheryl purchased before we got married and that we have no way to afford keeping right now.  Where did all the money go?  Where did the jobs go?  Where did our hope go?  Where am I going?

It’s pretty obvious that we have a mess here in America.  We have unemployment soaring to near record levels (record for the past 50 years at least).  Things have not been this bad since the 1930’s.  What changed?  What happened?  I’m not sure of all the answers, but I do know this:  First, we are addicted to oil.  We have spent BILLIONS of dollars over the past 50 years importing stuff that we just BURN UP in our cars.  Does that make any sense?  Anybody?

How can that be true, and nobody thinks it’s a problem?  It just doesn’t make sense in anybody’s economy, whether you’re a Democrat, Republican, Green, Martian or Purple People Eater.  We just cannot keep doing this.  In terms of where all the wealth in our country has gone, I think that one “hole” more than accounts for all the lost wealth in this country.

Sure, we have greedy business people who are overpaid and greedy politicians who are oversexed.  Those “Type A” people will always do whatever it takes to get all the stimulation they can.  They believe that money and power are what they need to “get ahead.”  I actually read a quote from the Business Editor of the NY Times where he said about AIG:  “We’ve got to pay those executives their year end bonuses…” (billions of dollars worth) because he said: “Who are we gonna get to do those jobs?”

My Lord!  I would stand in line for 6 months to get a job where I could get paid half a million dollars a year to run a company into the ground!  That’s a DREAM job!  Anybody could do that job and do just as good as those BUFFOONS at AIG did.  Was it their FAULT they lost billions of dollars?  You bet your bippy it was!  Their job is to manage assets, balance risk, and insure a safe return on investment for their clients and investors.  They screwed up BIG TIME!

Am I a bit miffed about all that?  I think so.  Rightfully so, _righteously_ so.  If God demands of me that I be a good steward of the resources He’s blessed me with, then He demands even more so of those who have more resources to manage.  Their screwup affects all of us.

But I digress…

Oil is the real problem as I see it.  We’ve mortgaged our homes, our children and grandchildren’s future to keep on importing and purchasing and burning up oil and cars.  I find it interesting that in “good” economic times, the average ownership periiod for a vehicle is about 4.5 years.  Currently, it’s running at about 7 years and is climbing higher.  People are hanging on to their cars longer, because the price of oil, and declining salaries, and rising unemployment are forcing us all to take better care of the cars we got.

It’s not just cars, folks are staying in their homes longer too.  If you discount the number of foreclosures that is.  How did this all snowball into such a mess?  Again, I say that our economy of “disposable” resources, oil being the largest of those resources, is at the root of all our difficulties.  The attitude of being able to “burn stuff up” or dispose of it as needed has spilled over into most of the rest of our consumerism.

Face it – we live in a “disposable” society.  If something breaks, don’t fix it, buy a new one.  That pervades all levels of our society now, from Vacuum Cleaners to Microwave Ovens to Clothing, to … you name it!

Now, what’s the solution?  Well, as you and I and anyone else who’s a believer knows, Jesus is the only answer.  But what does that mean?  It means we have to have a change in attitude.  We must _think_ differently in order to make a difference.  Cheryl and I love to shop Thrift Stores.  Why?  We love bargains, and there’s lots of stuff there (clothing, small appliances, furniture, etc…) that has TONS of life left in it!  Also, we believe that things should not be thrown away because they are old, they should be fixed if at all possible.

I’m always repairing stuff.  I love to work with my hands (when not on the computer).  It’s my one form of creative expression that has only to do with satisfying myself that I can do it, and it helps save money at the same time.  I have a 1950 Chevy in the garage that I’m working on, and a 1978 motorcycle that I struggle with.  Keeping those things running and in good working order is a challenge, but it’s FUN too!  And it saves money in the long run, and it helps satisfy the need to have a different “attitude.”

How does this help with OIL DEPENDENCE you might ask?

Well, we have a Chevy Tahoe that burns Ethanol.  We still believe Ethanol more than any other fuel, has the ability to supplant our dependence on foreign oil (remember the stuff we spend BILLIONS for and just burn up?).  Why?  Because Ethanol is renewable and easy to make from just about anything.  My latest idea last year was to go in and remodel all the paper mills in this country and Canada that are closing and convert them to cellulosic Ethanol production.  Wouldn’t that be something?  It’s super easy to convert almost any car to burn Ethanol too!  We could do it!

Why should we just drift in this country in the “Doldrums” with no clear direction and no clear idea even where we want to go?  I don’t think our President has a clue as to what the real problems in this country are.  If he does, then he probably doesn’t have the inclination to go up against BIG BUSINESS and “rock the boat.”  He’s as much backed by BIG OIL as President Bush was, and most of the Presidents before him all the way back to probably the 1950’s and maybe prior.  Oil runs this country, has for some time, and will for the foreseeable future.

That is unless _we the people_ do something about it.

Think about it.

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