Change the world one person at a time…

November 27, 2018

In today’s post to his blog Jack’s Winning Words, Jack Freed uses this quote –

“Helping one person might not change the whole world, but it could change the world for one person.”  (Quoted by Brittany Trout)

During the holiday season many people become a little more generous and drop money into a red Salvation Army kettle or perhaps donate to some other worthy cause. It makes them feel good about themselves and they know that it will help someone, somewhere.

homeless-beggarThe truth is that there is need all the time all around us and we have opportunities every day to help someone and perhaps change their world. Perhaps it is cynicism or fear that prevents us from stopping to help the homeless man on the street corner begging for enough to but a meal or maybe to provide one for his family.  Maybe we feel that we are too busy doing things that are “important” to us to bother with stopping to talk to the lonely elderly women that we sitting in the man rushingretirement home window. We don’t have time to be bothered trying to discuss their issues with the distraught and depressed neighbor that we wave to in the yard. Yet, each of those encounters represent an opportunity for us to change the world for that person.

Sometimes it takes money to help; but, many times it just takes your presence and your time to make a difference in that other person’s life. Maybe you can’t volunteer builderafford to buy a house for someone, but you could afford the time to work on a house for someone on a Habitat for Humanity project. Maybe you can’t take in the homeless man on the corner, but you could volunteer with the group Home for the Homeless to find him a place to stay. Or, perhaps you could volunteer to spend time at a local retirement home reading to the residents or just visiting with them.

If we have nothing else to give, we have our time. How we use that time to the benefit of others can change the world one person at a time. We see stories on the nightly newsfacing the wall 2 every so often about the ex-soldier with PTSD or the ex-addict or the ex-homeless person who was helped by someone and who now runs a shelter or charity organization that is helping others. That person’s life was changed by an act of kindness by someone else and it changed their world from one of hopelessness and despair into a world of fulfilling accomplishment and self-worth through service to others. Now they are changing the world, one more person at a time.

being kind 1Try it. Stop and help someone today. You might like it. YOU can change the world for someone today!

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It’s getting harder to be patient; so, do something about it…

August 23, 2018

A series of quotes from recent posts to the Jack’s Winning Words blog kind of sets the stage this morning.

Let’s start with this recent gem –

“Truth isn’t truth.”  (Rudy Giuliani)

Followed by this piece of sage advice –

“Never lie to someone who trusts you, and never trust someone who lies to you.”  (Mark Twain)

From there, it doesn’t take much to segue to this –

“There’s a point when patience ceases to be a virtue.”  (Thomas Morton)

Eventually, one ends up here –

“Did you know that Dammit I’m mad spelled backwards is Dammit I’m mad?”  (Sent by Norlene)

Anger and disappointment that got us all into this current mess, but that won’t get us out of it. That same anger has served to further polarize the country into Them vs Us camps.protesters It doesn’t much matter which of those tribes you have joined – both are wrong.

So here we are. Mad and out of patience. What now? The easy thing to do is to join the ranks of the disaffected on the barricades, to choose a side and begin attacking the opposition. That is what is fueling the continued invective pronouncements and outrageous actions that are the fodder of the nightly news.

So, what are reasonable people to do? One thing might be to step back and understand that our ancestors created a truly wonderful system of checks and balances in our government, if we allow them to work. The way to letting them work is to make sure that there is not a huge imbalance in power in any of the three legs of government. Each of the legs serves somewhat as a check and balance against the other two. Even the actions voteof a headstrong President are eventually stymied by the legislative process necessary to carry out or at least to fund the things that he would like to do. And, a lopsided legislative environment can be somewhat moderate by Executive actions or Judiciary rulings. A judiciary that goes too far may be overruled through legislative action.

We have the opportunity this November to turn our frustration and anger into actions, which will restore the balance that the founders of the country envisioned when they wrote the Constitution and established that system of checks and balances. A relatively small shift in the makeup of the legislative body would bring things more into balance and force the compromises that are so necessary to govern well. On a more local note, the efforts to get rid of gerrymandering by placing the question of how redistricting is done on our ballot must succeed.

So, if you are out of patience and ready to say “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore”; turn that anger into energy to work for change that will let our system work as it was designed. It really doesn’t matter which party the candidates that you vote take actionfor belong to; so long as they have the will and the backbone to do what’s right for America and not just to join one side or the other in the current melee. Look for candidates who refuse to acquiesce to the litmus tests of their party. Look for candidates who don’t just thump their Bibles and pontificate about their “Christian” family values, but who live their lives as Christians with thoughtful concern for the well being of others. Look for candidates who stay above the mudslinging and use of negative ads (that may be the hardest thing to find) and who focus instead on defining a plan for a better future.

It may indeed be harder to be patient and easier to be mad; however, patience, when combined with thoughtful actions and perseverance will out.


Choices, choices, choices…

July 30, 2018

The primary elections are coming up in a little over a week and the choices ae hard to figure out. Do I vote for the homophobic bigot or the gay socialist? How do I choose between the scallywag and the scoundrel? What is the difference between the near-do-well and the do-nothing candidates? Is one candidate less of an opportunistic professional liar than the other is? So many questions and so many bad answers.

For some, I suppose, the sleaze factor in our modern politics is just an accepted part of the game; although I have a hard time imagining that one wakes up one morning and decides to enter a profession where character assassination and mudslinging aredebaters required skills. The allure of power is very compelling and apparently sufficient to overcome common sense, personal morals and a sense of good taste in most of the political candidates. One almost feels sorry for those unwilling to lower themselves into the pit that is our current political arena. There is no way in this era of dark-money, PAC-based, mudslinging that their good names will not be dragged down to the level of their opponents.

We do not have a political environment that is necessarily based upon the voters making educated and considered choices; but, rather one that is highly susceptible to appeals to emotional messages based upon our fears and insecurities. The electorate tend to seek arrogantout and vote for those candidates with whom we can best identify in the never-ending “Us vs. Them” battle of self-interest. Since those battles are almost always based upon fear, the candidates who can best feed upon and amplify those fears often get our attention and our votes. The poor candidate espousing doing what is “right” is seldom heard above the shouts of “protect what is ours.”

There is, of course, a case to be made that this system has been with us from the beginning of the country. Political battles from the very beginning of our nation wereThomas Jefferson often filled with unsubstantiated accusations that one of the candidates was somehow unfit to serve. The Chicago Tribune did an interesting article about the history of political mudslinging during the last presidential election – see http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/commentary/ct-campaign-mud-slinging-history-flashback-perspec-1002-md-20160930-story.html.  Somehow, the nation has survived a long procession of elected scoundrels (at least that’s how the winners were characterized by their opponents during the election cycle).

So, on August 7th, we will once again hold our collective noses and vote for the candidates whom we found to be the least onerous. Admittedly, it is sometimes hard to votesee the good that is within those for whom we vote, since their opponents and their PACs have covered them with so much mud. And, remember that this primary election is like one of the undercard matches at a WrestleMania extravaganza. We haven’t seem anything yet. Wait until the main event, when the real fireworks start going off. You want mud? We got mud. Let the real mudslinging  begin!

Ahhh, politics. Choices, choices, choices. Get out and vote on August 7th. At a minimum you can then sport one of those bumper stickers that reads, “It’s not my fault. I voted for the other guy.”


Recovering from a Windows 10 nightmare…

November 27, 2015

On a warm Thanksgiving Day I let an attitude of “what the hell, let’s do this” overwhelm my better judgement and I upgraded my main computer from Windows 7 to Windows 10. The process seemed to go smoothly, but it took quite a while. Finally the installation finished and I was off and running on Windows 10, or so it seemed.  Everything ran slowly and many things seem to hang forever before they would even start. OK, I said, I’ll have to get used to things being a little slower, but maybe the benefits will outweigh that drawback.

Mind you, I don’t have an ancient and under powered system. It is a Dual Core I5 HP Pavilion dv6 Notebook, with 8 GB of memory, fairly good integrated graphics and an 800GB disk drive.  Yet that was no match for the bloat that Windows 10 threw at it. It was like one of those nightmares one gets where you appear to be running in wet concrete (remember thatFreddie Cruggerscene on the stairs of the original movie Nightmare on Elm Street?)

The big moment of realization and panic that I had made a bad decision came when I tried to open my Windows Live Mail. It doesn’t work under Windows 10, at least not without going through a bunch of repair work on the Registry and who knows what else.  I read several posts at various sites with recommendations for the fix and even got started into it before I encountered another little Microsoft gotcha – one has to buy RegEdit Pro from a Microsoft partner in order  to fix a problem that Microsoft created with the upgrade. No way!

panicWindows Live Mail is what I use to run my real estate business  and all of my old real estate deal email files were now unavailable to me (the use of Windows Live Mail is a problem of my own making that I need to address). Admittedly it was also my own fault for not doing more research into what issue and problems come with this upgrade. Every few years I forget how Microsoft operates and how little they seem to care about the disruption that things like their upgrades and updates often cause.

At least I had the presence of mind to do a complete image backup just prior to doing the Upgrade, so I thought that I’d be able to recover off that backup. That requires that I be able to boot the system off the DVD drive. Apparently the upgrade takes that out of play too, since the system just kept booting off the main drive, even with the recovery disk loaded in the DVD drive.  I was envisioning having to take my system into a repair shop, along with the backup drive to get the image reinstalled when I tried the Web forums one more time for advice on uninstalling Windows 10. I have to say that the ability to Recover back to the old Window 7 was the best thing that I encountered in Windows 10. It worked and I am back in business.

Usually, when I go off on a rant about the problems or pain that Microsoft whining childsoftware or its upgrades and updates has caused me some tech person from Microsoft will email me or comment on my post to tell me that I should have done this or that to fix the problem. My reply is that I should not have had the problem in the first place. There should be clear warnings as part of the upgrade process that let users know that various things that worked for them under their old operating system version likely won’t work after the upgrade. The upgrade does say that all of the files will still be there and that most applications will still work; but there is no guidance on apps known not to work after the upgrade.

If something as important as email is likely to be impacted, then some guidance and help on how to extract and save files of emails and contacts would seem to be in order.  If a new Mail system is installed as part of the upgrade, then there needs to be a clear mechanism to extract and recover emailfolders files and contacts from the old system (perhaps along with calendar information), since those files are still there – maybe even a Wizard to help. Telling me after the fact how I can work some more to recover from a problem that your update or upgrade caused doesn’t cut it. That is not productive use of my time.

I’m back on Windows 7 and will stay there until I’m forced to buy a new computer in a few years. I just want my apps to work, my email to work and my browser to work.  I am not at all concerned about not having the latest operating system bells and whistles. I’ve upgraded my iPad and my iPhone through at least two major IOS releases and never had a problem like this. Maybe there’s a message there. When it is time to upgrade my computer I’ll have to think about the OS; but, until then, I’d rather not waste any more time on it and certainly not on Windows 10.

OK, I feel better now.