Shopping

March 18th, 2018

Shopping

Mar 19, 2018

When you get really really old we are now, people tend to ask you similar questions. What do you attribute your advanced age to? Or, what are you going to do now?

How about shopping? The truth is I don’t miss tennis, skiing, golf, or swimming as much as you might expect. I do miss everyday shopping at the supermarket or hardware store.

We have a good substitute in that some of the Senior Helpers (formerly paid for by the VA and now by a home care policy with a bank that we’ve been paying on for thirty years. Like most insurance, they are glad to sell it to you but reluctant to pay claims. Kate had to fight the bank to pay. She did win the dispute!

We pay for the food the Helpers buy with a credit card. The Senior Helpers do a decent shopping considering they have to shop from a written list. They are indeed very thrifty shoppers but not very imaginative and don’t always get the brands or the items we like best.

When I did the shopping I almost never used a list. It was great fun to hop in the car go by and slowly pick and choose from the heavily and neatly stocked shelves of canned goods, toilet paper, juices, breakfast serials, candy, booze, bulk products, and coffees; the luscious meat and seafood counters; the always delightful delis; the huge piles of fresh fruits and vegetables, and above all for me, the bakery from which I typically would choose a yummy pastry, pie, or cake. Good bread and croissants too.

I remember a story. The wife of a Soviet diplomat in the bad old days of socialist shortages actually fainted dead away when she entered a modern supermarket in Chicago. Having seen first-hand the pitiful offerings of socialist groceries—sacks of beans and rice mainly with a few worse-from-the-travel oranges from Cuba and maybe or maybe not a straggly chicken or two hanging on hooks–in the former Soviet Union and more recently in Cuba, with long lines to even get in. I can understand her shock.

Shopping at hardware stores was always great fun. No matter how small the store I have always found clerks in hardware stores to be near geniuses. You go in and ask for a thingamajig something to repair a whatchamacallit leak in your kitchen. He invariably finds just the right tool or glue to fix it.

Talking about that dinner incident I probably haven’t heard the end of it yet. I do want to apologize to James (the youngest son of Jane, who lived with Jane and I through high school, was the immediate cause of Kate’s angry words, and is surprisingly enough the only son who shares some political views with me.) I “mildly criticized him” for something he didn’t do.

I do admit I was a little annoyed that he brought some friends of his to dinner and (I thought wrongly) expected us to pay for all the food and booze. Apparently he paid for it himself to the tune of 80 dollars according to an incensed Kate. I apologize James, for thinking you were ungrateful and kink of cheap.

When you come to think of it an $80 dollar expense is quite modest for dinner for drinks and food for Jane and me and a passel of guests if not cheap. And it was plainly James’s responsibility. He was the host, not the parents, See below.

This in turn brings up a more general controversial subject. What are parents responsible for when the children leave home as adults? I know the trend in Europe especially is to live with your parents for many years after adulthood. Not in America. Yet.

My personal view is we don’t owe our children that much after they reach adulthood. If anything ,they owe us. As parents we gave our children life itself, washed their diapers, worried aplenty about their education, health, teeth, marriages, drugs and sex, and entry into the world of work. It’s time for some payback!

As loving parents we are always firmly on their side in most situations but there are limits. Money is one. Jane and I are not wealthy in retirement and we can’t work much. We did spend a tidy sum to bring give them life and our children up. Is it too much to ask them to pick up the check for meals out or in-house, and for golf, swimming, or skiing or to entertain their invited friends to the family mansion? I say not.

Actually, I personally have little to complain about in the care I have received from Jane’s or my own children. I realize only too well most of them are far from wealthy and they all live and work considerable distances from Wisconsin. Nevertheless, they have assisted us in our old age admirably and unselfishly. Jane and I humbly thank them, one and all.

Meanwhile, Jane and I can relax Waiting for Godot.

Bill Stonebarger, Owner/ President, Hawkhill

P.S Looking for gift for people have everything but cares about ideas, devout Catholic to left-liberal clergy to conservative libertarian. I suggest you buy, give, and read yourself one of my recent books (cheap and, in my opinion, good reads!)—Twilight or Dawn? A Traveler’s Guide to Free-Market Liberal Democracy, East Gilman Street, or Bill’s Blogs. Or view some good ideas on science, religion, capitalism, and democracy streamed free on YouTube.

shopping

March 18th, 2018

Mar 19, 2018

When you get really really old we are now, people tend to ask you similar questions. What do you attribute your advanced age to? Or, what are you going to do now?

How about shopping? The truth is I don’t miss tennis, skiing, golf, or swimming as much as you might expect. I do miss everyday shopping at the supermarket or hardware store..

We have a good substitute in that some of the Senior Helpers (formerly paid for by the VA and now by a home care policy with a bank that we’ve been paying on for thirty years. Like most insurance, they are glad to sell it to you but reluctant to pay claims. Kate had to fight the bank to pay. She did win the dispute.

We pay for the food the Helpers buy with a credit card. The Senior Helpers do a decent shopping considering they have to shop from a written list. They are indeed very thrifty shoppers but not very imaginative and don’t always get the brands or the items we like best.

When I did the shopping I almost never used a list. It was great fun to go by and slowly pick and choose from the heavily and neatly stocked shelves of canned goods, toilet paper, juices, breakfast serials, candy, booze, bulk products, and coffees; the meat and seafood counters; the always delightful delis; the huge piles of fresh fruits and vegetables, and above all for me, the bakery from which I typically would choose a yummy pastry, pie, or cake. Good bread and croissants too.

div>I remember a story. The wife of a Soviet diplomat in the bad old days of socialist shortages actually fainted dead away when she entered a modern supermarket in Chicago. Having seen first-hand the pitiful offerings of socialist groceries—sacks of beans and rice mainly with a few worse-from-the-travel oranges from Cuba and maybe or maybe not a straggly chicken or two hanging on hooks–in the former Soviet Union and more recently in Cuba, wit long lines to even get in. I can understand her shock.

Shopping at hardware stores was always great fun. No matter how small the store I have always found clerks in hardware stores to be near geniuses. You go in and ask for a thingimagig something to repair a watchimicallit leak in your kitchen. He invariably finds just the right tool or glue to fix it.

The last two blogs have been kind of heavy. Readers didn’t seem to mind. They both set new records in people who opened, and presumably read them, and in a few interesting responses.

One from Gib Docken, a local real estate developer, was especially intelligent and welcome. “Just want you to know I agree with you 100% right about the Hunter Gatherers, Agriculture Age and the 200 years of modern age.  And the 3 things that make America great. Tremendous ideas and easy for me to get. I’m also a fan of that other asshole, Steve Jobs!  Hope that incident at dinner cause a problem between you and Jane.  I like to think she is above that.”

Talking about that dinner incident I probably haven’t heard the end of it yet. I do want to apologize to James (the youngest son of Jane, who lived with Jane and me through high school, was the immediate cause of Kate’s angry words, and, surprisingly enough, is the only son who shares some political views with me.) I “mildly criticized him” for something he didn’t do.

I do admit I was a little annoyed that he brought some friends of his to dinner and (I thought wrongly) expected us to pay for all the food and booze. Apparently, he paid for it himself to the tune of 80 dollars according to an incensed Kate. I apologize, James for thinking you were ungrateful and kind of cheap.

when you come to think of it an $80 dollar expense is quite modest for dinner for drinks and food for Jane and I and a passel of guests. And it was plainly Jame’s responsibility. He was the host, not the parents, See below.

This in turn brings up a more general controversial subject. What are parents responsible for when the children leave home as adults? I know the trend in Europe especially is to live with your parents for many years after adulthood. Not in America. Yet.

My personal view is we don’t owe our children that much after they reach adulthood. As parents we gave our children life itself, washed their diapers, worried aplenty about their education, health, teeth, marriages, drugs and sex, and entry into the world of work. It’s time for some payback.

As loving parents, we are always firmly on their side in most situations but there are limits. Money is one. Jane and I are not wealthy in retirement and we can’t work much. We did spend a tidy sum to bring give them life and our children up. Is it too much to ask them to pick up the check for dinner or lunch out or in house, and for golf, swimming, or skiing or to entertain their invited friends to the family mansion? I say no, it’s not too much to expect.
Actually I personally have little to complain about in the care I have received from Jane’s or my own children. I realize only too well most of them are far from wealthy and they all live and work considerable distances from Wisconsin.  Nevertheless they have assisted us in our old age admirably and unselfishly. Jane and I humbly thank them, one and all.

Meanwhile Jane and I can relax Waiting for Godot.

Bill Stonebarger, Owner/ President, Hawkhill.

P.S Looking for gift for people have everything but cares about ideas, devout Catholic to left-liberal clergy to conservative libertarian. I suggest you buy, give, and read yourself one of my recent books (cheap and, in my opinion, good reads!)—Twilight or Dawn? A Traveler’s Guide to Free-Market Liberal Democracy, East Gilman Street, or Bill’s Blogs. Or view some good ideas on science, religion, capitalism, and democracy streamed free on YouTube.

Unions? No!

March 11th, 2018

Mar 12, 2018

A friend and I recently had a conversation about unions. We both had mixed feelings. She had never been in a union but she had worked for a law firm that specialized in union clients. While I used to think they were a good balance to corporate power, but in recent years I have changed my mind.

I now think unions (especially government unions), in their street protests are bad. (the fuss about the Wisconsin ones a few years ago almost sent our Wisconsin governor, Scott Walker, to the White House!) Actually only too often street protests for whatever cause often change a democracy into a full-fledged socialist state (or fascist one or an Islamic religious dictatorship). Socialism, especially “democratic socialism,”’ is touted to bring “peace, love, and harmony.” In practice, it has only to often brought war, hate, poverty, famine, concentration camp cruelty, and yes, the Holocaust.

Every Age has high points and low points. The Modern Age is no exception. Socialism, fascism, and radical Islamic rule (never forget Adolf Hitler, Ayatollah Khomeini, and in a non-violent version Mahatma Gandhi were National Socialists and were immensely popular, as were Mao, Lenin, Stalin, Chavez, and Castro!) All of these rulers, once they got into power, wanted the state to be firmly in charge of literally everything from handguns to the climate!

Without doubt, it is the unique tragedy of the Modern Age that so much harm came from such high hopes and good intentions.

My friend is also a big fan of public buses and passionate about Amtrak.

I went to high school on the city buses and streetcars in Dayton Ohio. The fare was modest. So far as I knew the bus company was a private business, made a profit, and paid taxes on that profit.

No more! In almost every city in America, public transportation is heavily subsidized. The fares have skyrocketed and the service has shrunk. Despite those subsidies, the average fares only make up half the total cost of the transportation services.

I know. I know. The argument goes public transportation keeps auto traffic down, save gasoline, and help in our fight against global warming. Tell that to Southern California drivers! Or, for that matter rush hour drivers anyplace where people persist in ignoring the benefits of global warming.

In the past, I would have agreed that unions have mostly played a positive role in American society. According to the conventional left-liberal clergy story, capitalists like Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, and J.P. Morgan fleeced American workers, dominated women, enslaved blacks, murdered Indians and destroyed native cultures in their insatiable desire to get richer and richer.

I’m not so sure of all that now. Slavery was abolished in a Civil war that took 500,000 lives including my great-grandfather. The economy did grow rapidly, immigrants from Europe came en masse, and the US fast became the wonder and the leader of the free Western world. We became famous worldwide for rich opportunities and great prosperity. The robber barons did get filthy rich but the workers too were paid three times the wages common in Europe for the same work, In other words, wealth did trickle down.

Getting back to the public transportation story, apparently what happened is the bus drivers got smart, formed a union, and led street protests demanding a raise in pay and better pensions, and fewer hours driven. Fair enough you say.

Multiply that by all government workers, (this includes teachers,  professors, bureaucrats, administrators, trial lawyers to take care of the courts, media types to cheer from the sidelines, Ivy league professors to write bestselling books about it and then join as highly paid consultants in Democratic (and some Republican) administrations, and celebrities from Hollywood and New York to enhance their popularity—the very heart and soul of the left-liberal clergy which is now using that street protest strategy more and more.)

Do all this and you have what we have today—inflated prices, printing press money, higher wages for some, (especially for do-good work opportunities for the high-IQ and talented in education and healthcare), but deepening poverty for average and below average minorities and women, spending crises (futile attempts to solve Modern social problems by Agricultural Age charity), soaring deficits in the attempts, and massive national debts. It leads to the unique tragedy of the Modern Age, socialism where the government tries to control everything.

Admittedly some of these individuals (administrators, professors, capable minorities, etc.) do benefit, but all do suffer in an economy based on street protests instead of rational and traditional free market trade. Street protests may or may not help capable minorities and women but they also result in declines in economic efficiency. Is it sustainable? What happens when you run out of money and rich people to borrow it from? Of course, there is always China and the filthy rich in the world?

In other words, street protests do work for social goals, but they are questionable for economic ones.

For instance the current protests against Trump’s regulatory policies, especially in environmental causes, and for rises in minimum wages are counter-productive. They may get what they want but the price will be higher than proponents imagine. Not only will all citizens pay higher prices for fast foods, and pretty much all grocery foods. This will also mean higher inflation, more inefficiency, fewer profits, less progress, more printing press money, more government borrowing, and higher deficits and national debts. In short, we may be fast turning into a giant version of Venezuela, or even heaven help us, Cuba or North Korea.

Bill Stonebarger, Owner/ President, Hawkhill

P.S Looking for gift for people have everything but who cares about ideas, devout Catholic to left-liberal clergy to conservative libertarian. I suggest you buy, give, and read yourself one of my recent books (cheap and, in my opinion, good reads!)—Twilight or Dawn? A Traveler’s Guide to Free-Market Liberal Democracy, East Gilman Street, or Bill’s Blogs. Or view some splendid ideas on science, religion, capitalism, and democracy streamed free on YouTube.

LIVING WITH PARADOX

March 4th, 2018

Mar. 12, 2018

.A week ago we had a rather unpleasant dinner, Kate, Jane’s daughter, was visiting in preparation of taking over the bill paying chores from me. At my age I can’t even get the correct dollar and cents numbers on the checks! And can’t read the overdue notices!!

I was making some kind of what I thought a very mild criticism of one of her brothers.Suddenly Kate suddenly erupted in finger-pointing pent-up fury and shouted at me, “Bill, you are a total ass-hole!!!” The others at the dinner table were stunned. Defending Kate and her brothers, Jane added later, “It cleared the air.”

It sure did. For one thing, it confirmed my opinion that all of Jane’s children, including Jane herself, are polite and elite liars. (Some arrogantly so.) Like much of modern music that’s not as bad as it sounds! Everybody lies. Sometimes. The difference is one of degree and purpose. Like most things you learn, if you live long enough, to in paradox live and let live with lies. As the old journalist advice goes, “If your mother says she loves you, check it out.”

I really think that above all else, Jane loves her children. I’m convinced all of her children do love Jane. I too love Jane very much. But like Steve Jobs (whose biography Jane and I watched last evening on Netflix) the honest truth is I love my Hawkhill ideas even more. If this offends or shocks you, you’ll never understand people of ideas like Steve and me. And legions of others like Marx, Darwin, etc., etc. Idea people like Jobs, me, Marx, Darwin, etc., etc. treasure our ideas more than people.

Steve Jobs was responsible for the ideas that went into creating the iMac, the iPod, the iPad, and especially the iPhone. These technology miracles him rich and have made Apple the richest company in the world. I obviously can’t compete with that. He was also a hopeless ass-hole in many of his personal relationships. The truth is in that respect I just might give Steve some competition.

But I do think I have stumbled upon the richest key idea to understanding the health and prosperity of human societies. Even though I have written about it often in these blogs and my books, but the public, and most readers, still remain in the dark as to understanding its importance. Specifically, I’m talking my idea that the evolution from the100,000-year Hunting/Gathering Age to the 10,000-year Agricultural to the barely 200-year Modern Age by changes in both genes and memes the log run the log run. This idea stumble of mine won’t make me rich or famous but so what. It is not as immediately powerful as the iPhone or the iPad but it may well be more significant fifty or a hundred years from now. Whatever the case as to the relative importance, the challenge and main reward is in the effort, details, scope, and originality and not in the end product or eventual reward.

As to objectors I have to admit they are few and far between. Jesus had 12 apostles originally and eventually billions o followers; Marx, Mao, Lenin, Hitler, Mohammed, and Stalin had bllions; I have only one who really seems to understand my ideas (and he’s my oldest son).

Genes last a long time. It takes a long time for memes from previous ages to dim and disappear. Some last many centuries.

So Kate may be right. I may be an ass-hole as Steve Jobs certainly was. Steve and I both prefer ideas to polite and elite lies.

Bill Stonebarger, Owner/President. Hawkhill

P.S.. I haven‘t changed my mind about trusting Hawkhill’s finances to Kate. She has already done a lot for Jane and me. Many thanks Kate for your past good work and good luck with the bills!

Unions? No

February 26th, 2018

Mar. 5, 2018

A friend and I recently had a conversation about unions. We both had mixed feelings. She had never been in a union but she had worked for a law firm that specialized in union clients. I claimed that while I used to think they were good. In recent years

I have changed my mind. I now think union’s street activities typically promoted socialism (or fascism or were sympathetic Islamic terrorism). Socialism, especially “democratic socialism,”’ is touted to bring “peace, love, and harmony.” In practice, it has only to often brought war, hate, poverty, and concentration camp cruelty, and Holocaust deaths. Every Age has high points and low points. Utopian socialism and fascism (never forget Adolf Hitler and Ayatollah Khomeini were socialists and were very popular, as were Mao, Lenin, Stalin, Chavez, and Castro!) Without any doubt it is the unique tragedy of the Modern Age that so much harm came from such high hopes and good intentions.
.
My friend too was also a big fan of public buses and passionate about Amtrak.

I went to high school on the city buses in Dayton Ohio. The fare was modest. So far as I knew the bus company was a private business, made a profit, and paid taxes on that profit.

No more! In almost every city in America, all public transportation is heavily subsidized. The fares too have skyrocketed. Despite those subsidies, the average fairs only make up less than half the total cost of the transportation services
.
I know. I know. The argument goes public transportation keeps auto traffic down, save gasoline, and help on our fight against global warming. Tell that to Southern California drivers! Or, for that matter Rush Hour driver anyplace, where people persist in ignoring the benefits.

In the past I would have agreed that unions have mostly played a positive role in American society. According to the conventional left-liberal clergy story, capitalists like Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, and J.P. Morgan fleeced American workers; dominated women, enslaved minority black people, murdered and destroyed native cultures In their insatiable desire to get richer and richer. I’m not so of that myth now. The economy did grow rapidly, immigrants from Europe came en masse, and the US fast became the wonder and the leader of the free world, famous worldwide for rich opportunities and great prosperity.

Getting back to the public transportation story, apparently what happened to the bus drivers–they got smart,, formed a union, and led street protests demanding a raise in pay and better pensions, and fewer hours drove. Fair enough you say.

Multiply that by all government workers, including teachers, bureaucrats, administrators, media types, trial lawyers, media types, and professors (the very heart and soul of the left-liberal clergy) which are using that protest strategy more and more nowadays, and you have what we have today—inflation, printing press money. higher prices, higher wages for some, (especially for education and healthcare), increasing opportunities for the high-IQ and talented. but not all minorities and women, spending crises, soaring deficits and national debts.

Admittedly some of these individuals (administrators, professors, etc.) didn’t necessarily benefit, but all do suffer some(and, some prosper) in an economy based on street protests instead of rational and traditional free trade This may or may not help capable minorities and women but it also results in economic efficiency. Is it sustainable though/? What happens when you run out of money and rich people to borrow it from (China and the filthy rich in the world)?

In other words, street protests do work for social goals, but they are questionable for economic ones.

For instance, the current protests against Trump’s regulatory policies, especially in environmental causes, and for rises in minimum wages are counter-productive. They may get what they want but the price will be higher than proponents imagine. Not only will all citizens pay higher prices for fast foods, and pretty much all grocery foods. This will also mean higher inflation, more inefficiency, fewer profits, less progress, more printing press money, more government borrowing, and higher deficits and national debts. In short we may be fast turning into a giant version of Venezuela, or even heaven help us, Cuba.

Bill Stonebarger, Owner/ President, Hawkhill

P.S. For the curious looking for gift for people have everything but who cares about ideas, devout Catholic to left-liberal clergy to conservative libertarian. I suggest you buy, give, and read yourself one of my recent books (cheap and, in my opinion, good reads!)—Twilight or Dawn? A Traveler’s Guide to Free-Market Liberal Democracy, East Gilman Street, or Bill’s Blogs. Or view some splendid ideas on science, religion, capitalism, and democracy streamed free on YouTube.