October 22, 2009


Filed under: Observations,obama — sbj @ 4:54 pm

What follows is probably going to seem a bit odd coming from me, given some of the things I wrote leading up to last years election.  However, in the time since the election, I have both reflected and observed; and here is what I have come up with…

It is time to let the divisiveness go.

This probably does not seem like that shocking a statement to many who know me.  What you may not have anticipated, though, was that I was speaking to the left, not the right, when making it.

Yes, I am aware that there is a groundswell of divisiveness rising from the right as well, but that is not my concern today.  What bothers me are the “winners,” the in-power left that is still focusing or at least taking jabs at the dis-empowered right.

The job before the Obama administration is before them whether you elect to blame the previous administration or not.  The only difference is the time lost (wasted) making those disclaimers and accusations.

I am tired of hearing, from friends as well as strangers, things like “its good to see the Obama administration working so hard on ****.  I just hope they are given a fair chance to work on it before people jump ship on them.  They have so many messes to clean up from the previous administration.”

No on has ever walked into a clean White House, and no mess that a new President has inherited was uniquely caused by the penultimate President.  I don’t care what percentage of Obama’s issues were caused by Bush, it doesn’t matter.

But, even in saying that, I am mistaken.  It does matter, and here’s why.  Because instead of working in a bi-partisan co-operative way, in order to address the issues that face our nation and our world (the real promise, in my opinion, of the Obama administration), defensive lines and walls are being constructed with each accusation or remark.  Divisiveness, and subsequently polarization, are being allowed to proliferate rather than abate.

So my request, my hope, for everyone out there, Republican or Democrat, is to please, stay away from the blame game.  Learning from the past is a good constructive activity, blaming it accomplishes nothing… other than manifesting a compromised future.

Its time to move forward, and let the past be the past…

October 20, 2009

Maybe I am old…

Filed under: Observations — sbj @ 3:28 pm

Yesterday I wrote a little about one of the differences between now and when I was a child.  Specifically, I wrote about caller ID, and the lost mystery of answering the phone without having the foggiest idea of who was going to be on the other end.  It got me thinking…

When I was a kid, we used to eat our corn on the cob from one side to the other, and when we reached the end we would “ding” and return the carriage to the other side to start anew.  I did this in front of 4 children, ages 9-16 a couple of weeks ago (foolishly thinking it would get a laugh)… crickets.

When I was a kid, the best way to reach my mother after she left the house was to leave a note on the kitchen counter.  When she hopped in the car, or was in the grocery store, etc. she was, quite literally out of contact.  When my son fails to reach me (by calling my cell phone from his) he sends me a text message, his virtual “note on the counter.”

When I was a kid, and I had to type up my term papers, well, see “ding” above.  My children “type” it on a computer (none of those around until I was in high school), store it on a thumb drive and print it wherever it is convenient for them to do so.

When I was a kid, I had a record (yes, vinal records) collection that filled an entire bookcase, and was the talk of the town for having it.  My son has more music on his ipod, a limitless supply on youtube, and his own streaming customized radio station on Pandora.

When I was a kid, we had three tv stations, there was no cable (it wasn’t that we didn’t have cable… it’s that it didn’t exist).  There are now three digital version of each network (public, non-cable) station, and quite literally countless stations out there once you delve into cable or satellite.   Although, kids these days don’t grow up with the unique pleasure that is scanning the UHF dial, especially late at night, when you get twice as many stations…

When I was a kid, making popcorn was an adventure!  You’d fire up the oven, place the foil covered tray on top of it and watch the magic as the foil rose into a giant bubble of goodness.  The same tray, by the way, worked with a camp fire up in the woods.  If nothing else, the current microwave variety of popcorn is not likely to stand up well to a camp fire.

When I was a kid, Isreal and Palistine were at odds over the land on which they co-existed, Iran and North Korea were our enemies and a major issues in our foreign policy, and NASA had their sights set on the moon and stretching the limits or our capacity to travel in space.  Hmmm… I guess some things haven’t changed all that much.

It’s interesting to me that, in the brief span of my lifetime, we have come up with Microwaves, cell phones, cable and satellite tv.  We have traveled to the moon, put a rover on Mars, and a telescope in orbit.  We have taken information that would have filled rooms, or buildings, when I was a child, and placed it on a keychain… and so much more…

Nevertheless, over the centuries of human existence, throughout generation after generation of technological, medical, and artistic growth and achievement… we have yet to learn how to get along with one another.

Perhaps a closer look at our priorities is in order…

Just say’n.


Filed under: Observations — sbj @ 2:01 am

Pardon me while I wax nostalgic for a moment of bygone days.

I love my caller ID, I like knowing who is calling before I pick it up.  And, yes, I even like to screen my calls sometimes.

However, I really miss the magical game of chance that a phone ring used to represent.

I miss hearing the ring and racing to the phone to answer and see who was calling (rather than glancing at the caller ID to see if I want to pick it up).

I miss calling people and hearing the expectant and curious “hello?” (Rather than, “S’up man”… or other things I’d rather not mention… sometimes, it’s better not to call at 2:45am ;) ).

I miss the homogeneous equality all callers used to enjoy, at least until identified.  Back then, when I called, no one ever answered “Yeah?” or “what?” because they were upset with me.  It was always the same pleasant “Hello?”

“Hello?” was a question, not a statement, but, it wasn’t asking what it look’s like it was.  It wasn’t asking “is there anyone there?” as if one was peering into a dark room, curious to its content.  Rather, it was, asking “who is there, what (probably) wonderful surprise awaits me?”  It was anxious, excited, curious… the phone was an adventure.

Today, for most of the people who call me with any regularity, I don’t even need to see the caller ID.  If Franti starts singing “hello hello, bonjour bonjour” in my pocket, it is her.  If Nelly starts singing the “Country Grammar”, its him; etc. etc. etc.

There is no adventure, no anticipation, and no equality; those things have been traded for convenience and expression of personality.

Not that this is all bad, like I said, I love my caller ID, and nothing cracks me up quite like Cartman belting out “Wild Wild West” in a meeting because I have forgotten to silence my cell phone.

But, sometimes, still I do sometimes long for the “good old days.”

You know… like the late 80′s and early 90′s ;)

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