Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Thanos 1

Warning: If you haven't seen the movie "Avengers: Infinity War" but you want to and you don't like spoilers . . watch it, and THEN read this post and tomorrow's. 

Thanos is more powerful than any avenger/god/hero in the Avengers movies, and really evil. 

He claims to be the only one in the universe who clearly sees the need to destroy half of all living beings and has the iron will to carry out this macabre plan.

It's a good idea, he claims, because then the remaining life forms will have a more comfortable life. To repeat that - he wants to kill half the lives in the universe. So the other half gets all their stuff.

Yup, he's evil. And he's wrong.

(cont'd tomorrow)

Monday, December 10, 2018

Hollowed out

"It's easy for governments to confiscate money, but eventually there's no more money to confiscate." 

This woman tells how "my beloved Venezuela" became a "hollowed out" failed state.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Dec. 7

They found a few people at the University of Minnesota who know about Pearl Harbor Day, Dec. 7, 1941 - glad to hear it. 

You sometimes have to wonder how much history is really being taught - especially if you've seen those interviews Jay Leno did with people on the street.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

I wish you well

The late George H.W. Bush, 41st president of the United States, lost his bid for a second term in 1993 to Bill Clinton. 
After being president for four years, he walked into the oval office one last time to leave a beautiful note for his successor. You'll find no resentment in it, just kindness and civility.
Dear Bill,
When I walked into this office just now I felt the same sense of wonder and respect that I felt four years ago. I know you will feel that, too.
I wish you great happiness here. I never felt the loneliness some Presidents have described.
There will be very tough times, made even more difficult by criticism you may not think is fair. I'm not a very good one to give advice; but just don't let the critics discourage you or push you off course.
You will be our President when you read this note. I wish you well. I wish your family well.
Your success now is our country's success. I am rooting hard for you.
Good luck - 


Tuesday, December 4, 2018

90% poverty #2

(cont'd from yesterday's post)

Father Romero sees needs everywhere. "Our work is about helping others go to heaven. Yet evangelization goes beyond declaration. We feed those who are hungry. Every week, we care for 300 to 400 homeless kids who have been taken off the streets. Other programs prevent people from falling into poverty."

But to keep this ministry going in a country of 90% poverty . . is difficult.

"Recently, many institutions offered help but the state is putting up barriers. It is not allowing them to come and help. Needs have increased. Three to four million Venezuelans have emigrated to neighboring countries. Today, 60 percent of the population lives off money that comes from other countries. It is a disaster."

"[Our] 94 priests want to help. That motivates them to be occupied in running soup kitchens, taking care of the sick and reinvigorating society. But there are limitations. Many are sick, and there is no transportation. . . Sometimes they get desperate because they don’t have the resources to do those things."

Monday, December 3, 2018

90% poverty

"Be the kind neighbor & generous friend you wish you had," that's the goal yesterday's author hopes to accomplish in his new home.

In Venezuela, priest Fr. Miguel Romero is taking that challenge on an institutional level. Because the Venezuelan people are desperate for the basics of life, including food.

He says, "When we tell the story of our country, most people don’t believe what is happening. Venezuela has a lot of rich resources and oil. But in the 20 years since this complex political process began, it has destroyed the country — especially institutions and relationships between people."

Last August inflation had reached over 82,000%, and the International Monetary Fund thinks it could be a million percent by the end of this year. It's "hyperinflation" and it looked like this four months ago: somebody "quite literally would have needed a wheelbarrow full of cash to buy some meat and vegetables at the supermarket."

"[A] recent survey [found] that 90 percent of the country's population now live in poverty . . ." So many are leaving their country. The BBC video below explains where they go.

(cont'd tomorrow)

Friday, November 30, 2018

Not just STEM

Science/Technology/Engineering/Math education training gets a lot of attention because there's a big need for this expertise in today's job market. But that's only part of what's needed.

Employers want much more than just STEM training. Along with that, they are looking for future employees with these non-cognitive skills: 

Listening, problem-solving, teamwork, integrity, and dependability

So . . how important is family life to society? Building character in your children is vital to their lives and vital to the function of the community.

Good news -- as you develop your own character along these lines, you'll be positioned for growth in your career.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Loneliness #3

(cont'd from yesterday's post)

It's easy to be around old friends. They have survived learning about your strengths and weaknesses. Since they know your story, you don't have to explain yourself to them.

But many of us are not surrounded with old friends. We are in job after job, location after location, and spending time with old friends isn't part of our lives. Loneliness sets in.

Last Friday's post told the story of an immigrant to the U.S. who, though she sometimes struggled in a new country, said "yes" to invitations to an American holiday every year. She did the right thing by saying "yes." As did this introvert in a new home.

Arthur and his wife fear lonely isolation when they go to their new home too. But this book has given them a strategy to overcome it:

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Loneliness #2

(cont'd from yesterday's post)

"Steady work" used to be commonplace among Americans, but the nature of work has changed to a sequence of jobs that are not held long enough for relationships to mature. So one source of "people who know me very well" is gone.

A sense of belonging to a certain place - a sense of hometown - used to be commonplace among Americans, the feeling some still get at the "hometown gym on a Friday night," a love for neighbors and community. But how mobile are Americans today.

Author Arthur Brooks says, "I asked myself where I might get that hometown-gym feeling, where I have natural roots . . No specific place came to mind . . not even Seattle, my hometown, which is a perfectly nice place, but one I unsentimentally left behind 35 years ago."

Jobs and homes are often short-lived. Social media "friendships" are shallow. Americans need to be more intentional about building relationships and overcoming loneliness. 

(cont'd tomorrow)

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Loneliness #1

According to a big study done by a major health care provider, "Nearly half [of Americans] say they sometimes or always feel alone or “left out.” Thirteen percent of Americans say that zero people know them well."

In one way, I wonder, "Is that all?" Because most (or maybe all) of us feel alone sometimes. But it shouldn't be "always." 

Manipulators have an opportunity in the lonely void. The “outrage industrial complex” provides a sense of community with polarized political tribes. "Essentially, people locate their sense of “us” through the contempt peddled about “them” on the other side of the political spectrum."

(cont'd tomorrow)

Monday, November 26, 2018

Meal cost

American Farm Bureau Federation has kept track of the cost of a roast turkey meal for 33 years. Would you guess that we pay more for our food today than we did in 1986? Or less?

We pay 26% less in inflation-adjusted dollars than we paid in 1986.