Showing posts with label Something to Think About. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Something to Think About. Show all posts

Wednesday, 27 April 2022

SEO for Blogs. What's Trending?

Where are YOUR priorities?

One of the things that have always been on the minds of bloggers is how to get higher viewership. The fact is that blogs had their heyday many years ago and have been replaced by the likes of Facebook and Twitter. They face the same challenge as newspapers. Few people want to read or even think. They just want entertainment. I knew this when I began but here I am. I would rather write for my own entertainment than watch the crap that is on TV or play electronic games.

There are thousands of websites whose hosts claim to be able to share the secrets of making money by Blogging. It didn't take long to find that most of the more popular sites indeed made money by telling readers one thing: how to make money by Blogging. A lot of it is the technical side but generally these "bloggers" never write anything creative at all. Today this is adorned with lots of video as well.

To put this in perspective, this is like placing an ad claiming you know how to turn anybody into a professional baseball player will can make millions per year. The subscribers receive some snail mail or email telling them to place an ad just like the author. Tell people you can make them into a professional ball player and watch the cash roll in!

Seriously though, the most sound advice I found is simply to use the many tools available from Google to find out what is trending. Identify what people are searching for and write good quality material about THAT. This makes perfect sense, but the key is quality - consistent quality. My problem is that I just don't relate to what people are seeking. I just don't give a flying "F" about the Kardashians or who just cheated on whom in the Etalk world.

So just from curiosity I started typing random arguments (words) into the www.google.com page and looking at the numbers under the reply. It was entertaining to say the least.
Most of these numbers are in the billions or hundreds of millions. They really only represent places on the entire internet that might have a reference to the argument submitted. I also see that they are only estimates and that in some locations Google has dropped them.

Try it for yourselves. If these numbers tell you anything it is that in my opinion our priorities are all screwed up. This has always been the case - sitcoms over news; game shows over documentaries; smutty over intellectual. Here is what I entered, sequenced by declining number of hits:

Environment change 10,240,000,000 (10.24 billion)
God                             4,580,000,000
Sex                              4,400,000,000
Cancer                         4,320,000,000
Stroke                         4,270,000,000
The war in Ukraine     4,150,000,000
Heart disease             4,130,000,000
Global warming          3,600,000,000
Kim Kardashian          3,070,000,000
Kardashians               2,780,000,000
Botox                          1,490,000,000
New York Yankees     1,140,000,000
The Garden of Eden      586,000,000
Abraham Lincoln           443,000,000
Adolf Hitler                    137,000,000
Elvis Presley                 122,000,000
The price of gas              68,700,000
Nuclear war                    59,500,000
Toronto Blue Jays           48,900,000
Gobboldygook                   1,420,000 (misspelled)
Gobbledygook                       19,000

I'm sure that God is pleased to see people are concerned about the space that he/she created but maybe a bit ticked that we messed it up so badly. Being almost tied with "Sex" might put us in disfavor as well.

It appears that many people are more concerned with their own demise than that of the Ukraine. I am not sure why Heart disease lags behind. It is good to see that that global warming beat out the Kardashians, but not by much.

Botox and the Yankees made the billion mark but things fall off dramatically after that. Not sure why but the misspelled Gobboldygook got more hits than Gobbledygook by a factor of 75!

When I entered "Thebrewsterblock" it scored 4,300,000 which was an old nickname. There used to be a small hotel chain and bus line in western Canada by that name but the number amazed me. The big let down was that my actual blog name (based on this) which is www.thebrewsterblock.com mustered a mere 480.

And that is why I write for my own enjoyment!

Brewster
#thebrewsterblock.com






Saturday, 15 January 2022

Is Population Control Inevitable?

Against Vaccination? What about Sterilization?

I have touched on this topic before. I do so again because it is one of those looming problems which nobody will address - no democratic leaders at least - until it is too late. This makes it just like the stop sign that never arrives until "enough" people are killed or some kind of gun control until...well let's not go there again.

This is right up there with climate control. It will not cause the imminent demise of all humans in our lifetime, so it is not our problem. Careers and reputations would be on the line for anyone who brings this to the table, so don't! Bury your head(s) in the sand. Who knows - much of the world might soon be covered by it.

The world population as of this writing for 2022 is 7.9 billion. In 2024 it is projected to be 8.1 billion (world population january 2022 - Google Search). We have all seen images of the most populated cities on the globe, especially in the poorest countries - deplorable.

As well we have all seen images of the melting ice caps and glaciers; rising ocean water levels; forests and other arable land being destroyed by fire, drought, volcanic eruptions, and mankind. The latter is always to make a buck - often at the expense of others.

All of this means fewer places to live and grow food or raise livestock. One way to both reduce this loss and reduce the need for the food and accommodation is to control the population.

China has tried it. It was not popular. People couple up to reproduce for the most part! So do animals and the only reason I have not included them in this post is because mankind controls them. It is usually for food or sport but animal population control is why this is not part of our overcrowding problem. In fact some animals no longer exist.

How can that be applied to Homo Erectus? Simple - no more erectus! There is another big problem. Should the man be sterilized or the woman? We all know what men's choice would be. I can't see it being voluntary. The rich will go berserk at the thought of being told that they can not have more kids. Many religions will echo their cry. "Why should I suffer because others have too many kids and can't afford them?" Sterilize the poor but leave us alone! What do you do with the over-the-limit children? Unlike fish you can't throw them back! I guess they would have to be adapted by couples who can't have kids - up to the limit naturally!

If sterilization were to be mandatory it would have to apply to everyone, world wide,  to be effective. Good luck with that. Too bad because it would likely work.

As for the stars, I can't see it. Some day there might be a small colony on perhaps Mars. It would be totally dependent upon Mother Earth however and what happens when she is destroyed? I could see it working far beyond in another solar system where a planet very like Earth existed and I have not doubt they do.

The 1st problem is - how do you get there? The second is what kind of reception will there be by whomever or whatever has evolved on that planet? If they are indeed like us they will hopefully want to know how we got there.

On the other hand of they are some kind of weapon lovers they will probably shoot us first. We will be their Roswell and if there is anyone left here we will never find out their destiny.

Happy New Year

#thebrewsterblock

Saturday, 8 January 2022

Ten Streetwise Proverbs

If I'd Only Known Back Then

1. Look out for number one. None of the other number ones will.
2. Do unto others before they do unto you.
3. That bird in the hand? Ask why the other 10 won't let him into the bush.
4. Don't count your cookies before they hatch. Wait...no...That's the way the chickens crumble. Oh hell...don't drink!
5. If you really want to feel good - do something nice for someone. Start with yourself.
6. Always check for the paper before you sit down!
7. Better late than pregnant.
8. The importance of a will is all relative.
9. If you want someone to keep a secret, don't tell them.
10. Behind every successful man are many daggers.
11. Size doesn't matter. Right.

#thebrewsterblock


Sunday, 26 December 2021

Kim Potter and other Big Mistakes

Is "Guilty" Justified?

There are many who feel that the guilty verdict for Kim Potter is just, while many others disagree. This is a tough one but it raises a larger point. Take it up to the 10,000 foot level and view the forest rather than the trees.

I think most would agree that Kim was horrified at what she did. The act itself was a mistake - an accident. Let's ignore other factors like fellow officers not detaining Daunte away from the open car door. The focus here is on Kim.

She had years of training. We know about carrying tasers on the opposite side from a firearm, the different color and weight of a taser etc. We also know that the Wright family will be without Daunte forever. None of that can be changed.

It would be more clear cut if, for example, Kim did not carry her Taser on the opposite side. Another remote example would be if any officer intended to draw their firearm but accidently fired it killing a bystander because they triggered their finger too soon before taking aim. In that case they clearly would have neglected an established procedure. Here it seems to have been an accident. Society is weighing a life against an accident, preventable or not.

So I am going to invent a different scenario to make my point. Let us say that an Air Traffic Controller with many years of experience makes an innocent mistake and hundreds of people die. Perhaps there was a situation like 9/11 and under extreme pressure with immense air traffic and they mistook one plane for another or misunderstood a pilot's words. Should they spend decades in prison because they were supposed to be able to handle it?

There is a big difference between "should have known" or "should have been able to" and negligence. People seem to have an overwhelming need for blame or retribution when someone else has suffered. It is worse in America where filing huge lawsuits is almost a distinct career path. That has yet to come in this case.

From what I heard and saw Kim followed procedure, especially if she thought Daunte might be going for a weapon. There is no question she should have been immediately dismissed because she caved under pressure. But how much of this was to satisfy a thirst for revenge or to satisfy a whole group who would have seen an acquittal as another injustice for a black man?

I hope no-one ever trips and falls on my property resulting in an injury. I am too old to go to prison.

#thebrewsterblock  




Thursday, 23 December 2021

History's Greatest Death Mongers vs COVID-19

Real Life Doctors of  Death

According to the following website, the men (no women) outlined are leaders and tyrants responsible for over 160 million deaths. The total time span covers many decades. Read the article to see just how little these butchers cared about their fellow humans.

8 World Leaders With The Highest Death Tolls (whatculture.com)

On the other hand the following website outlines the horror of 10 known pandemics and their death tolls since 165 AD. The total was over 310 million - about twice the above number. The time span is many centuries.

Outbreak: 10 of the Worst Pandemics in History - MPH Online

HIV/AIDS (2005 - 2012) killed 36 million. The 1918 flu death total was estimated to be 20 - 50 million; the Black Death (Bubonic Plague) 1348-1353 killed 75 - 200 million and is the largest in the article.

COVID-19 is estimated to have killed just over 5 million people in less than two years. This number already surpasses four of those pandemics listed in the above article. We don't know how bad it will get.

We have every right to be worried about these pandemics but there is little we can do to prevent them. We are spending billions to minimize their effects, including the rapid development of vaccination technology.

But the biggest take away is that for the limited timeframe involved, man is his own worst virus. The atrocities committed by some of the men mentioned above are just as horrible to the victims as the worst of any pandemic. I am assuming a virus really does not know what it is doing. Men on the other hand, do. We are worried about a tiny group of molecules and meantime, mankind is destroying the planet on which we live and will probably initiate wars which will kill millions more. In a few decades - mere seconds in the continuum of time - man will probably destroy this planet - and all men and microscopic bugs on it.

According to some, COVID-19 was created by men and many other of the bugs that have killed millions. This makes the case against us even worse.

Let me say it again - man is his own worst virus. That greedy, selfish, look out for number one now and who cares after I am dead man, should be worried about himself.

I am not a great believer in Holy books. The problem is that they were written by - you guessed it - men. But one quote is worth all of the books combined: The actual quote from the Bible is from Luke 6:31, “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.” The Golden Rule.

#thebrewsterblock




Wednesday, 6 October 2021

The Next U.S. Election Needs Unbiased Observers. Who?

Presidential Election 2024 will need Chaperones - like a Prom!


I have said this many times. It will never happen, but I will write it anyway. After all of the lies that Trump and very deceitful Republican members of both the House and Senate have spread, there can not be another U.S. election without all the crap generated in 2020. The damage is done. Thanks Donald, Mitch, Ted, Lindsey and the rest.

When you add to that all of the "fix is in" legislation recently passed at the state level (again primarily Republican) there is no way anyone resident or not will have faith in future elections. Trump has put his country right up there with Russia and North Korea in terms in that nobody in the international community, and unfortunately the domestic one, has faith that American elections are fair.

It is time for impartial observers to be present at all levels of American elections. Apparently some 23 states already allow this (https://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/international-election-observation.aspx). Articles I have just read point out that it is a very difficult task for a non-resident. 

They don't know the system or the habits of a country's good and bad voting practices. They don't know the tricks of the trade. I remember in 2020 a Republican faction in California put out its own "collection" boxes in democratic areas. What do you think was going to happen to any blue votes in those boxes? We only found out because of the media. Just the same, I think the time has come. Any attempt to build back better voting integrity should be encouraged. New Republican state laws have turned their own future elections into a farce.

So who could play this role? The potential list is long. A few follow but it is all for naught as I will explain later.

1. Judges. This is a very expensive solution and as most people know by now, some American judges are not saints and typically lean left or right. This includes the Supreme Court. Besides being a very expensive suggestion, many, many would be required and they are needed elsewhere in the crime ridden paradise called United States.

2. Priests or other religious leaders. Once again perhaps elsewhere but remember this is the home of Jim and Tammy; Jim Jones; Ted Haggard; Richard Baker (Google him); Jimmy Swaggart (I think I remember him "crying" for his sins) and many more. It is too bad but many of the country's most visible men (and women?) of the cloth are wolves in sheep's clothing. Let us not forget that the worst of them got rich by hoodwinking millions of gullible Americans. Why trust them with ballots?

3. Mickey, Minnie and the gang from Disneyland? OK I threw that in to see if you read even this far.

4. Audit Firms? This seems like a good choice. Still, recall that they look after the Oscar selection process and that is hardly squeaky clean. Every corrupt Wall Street firm that screwed the entire country had auditors. So did Donald Trump. Need I say more? We all laughed at Cyber Ninjas because they had never handled an election before but hey - they found that Biden won even more soundly. That was one tiny area. The largest audit companies have big, big, corporations who pay them lots of money. The lobbyists will just switch from influencing politicians to influencing auditors.

5. Another country or two? Who? Most don't trust America anymore. Why should they? America has broken one too many agreements. 
Russia? China? Others? They wouldn't know a legitimate election if they tripped over one. Canada might be a possibility. They could be bilingual for the French communities. I am Canadian. Don't forget we have a hell of a lot of money riding on America buying our oil and permitting our pipelines through certain states. Maybe this is not a good idea. Besides - could Americans really tolerate Justin Trudeau's doublespeak for that many months? We don't know what he is really saying ourselves so how could Americans? 

I like the idea but it will not happen. Why? Because anyone chosen will want to return home some day in something other than a pine box. If the Republicans lost, a few would most certainly be hung outside a polling station or be shot by one of the thousands of guns in bystanders' back pockets. Yes it is that bad.

Only in America. You made your own bed. Now you have to LIE in it. Many in Washington and state capitals are already doing so and don't want to wake up.

#thebrewsterblock




Wednesday, 25 August 2021

A Sincere Apology

Hatred was Not my Objective    

Not everyone is willing to apologize - for anything. I am one who will apologize when I feet the need and I feel such a need.

There are over 350 posts on this blog. They often get intense when I feel strongly about something. Such topics include Trump; his followers; those who attacked The Capital Building; other politicians; and those unwilling to get a COVID shot among others.

It has recently come to my attention that when I used the term "Jabasses" to describe anti-vaxxers I went too far. I accept that and to any that I hurt I hereby apologize. Someone went so far as to imply that this was incenting "hatred." In my opinion, that goes too far. I never write to cause people to hate. If I used the term in any of my posts, it was most likely saying that I personally hate something. I will temper my use of the term in future.

I have removed "Jabasses" from the posting.

What I had in mind when I wrote the piece were people like those in the recent incident involving a school board meeting. Someone who merely expressed their desire to have kids wear masks at school was met with near violence. Their car was surrounded and rocked when they tried to leave. They required an escort. One man was banging on the window saying that he knew where the occupant lived and that they would never be safe again - they should stay inside. Now THAT is fomenting hatred.

On January 6th, building a gallows and calling for Mike Pence to be hanged and Nancy Pelosi to be harmed or killed as well - THAT was hatred.

Most of my former post was also devoted to castigating those who protest just for the sake of it. There were people stating that the Feds under Biden would be coming door to door trying to force people to be vaccinated. That was a blatant lie and the speaker knew it. I was directing the term at those people and any of the "you can't make me" crowd.

So there you have it. To me a little well intended apology goes a long way. I hope it does here also.

#thebrewsterblock.

Saturday, 7 August 2021

Problems for the World to Solve

Let's Get Together

Remember the song "Let's get together, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!" (Haley Mills; Robert and Richard Sherman)? It is one the world should be singing, translated into many languages with the same refrain but new lyrics.

Some of the world's greatest problems - COVID for example - would be better addressed by international cooperation. The International Space Station is a great example. The problem is that much of the needed funds are now going towards the goal of self preservation or being ready to destroy the other guy. This must make God or our alien creators and masters proud.

Here are some suggestions from which we would all be beneficiaries, including other living things like plants, fish, and animals. There would have to be an agreement that any new invention or technology which resulted from the combined effort could not be patented. That way any country would be free to allow private industry to help without any monopolies locking up the creation out of financial greed.

Let's hear some of your thoughts. Comment below.

CARS: Thankfully this is being addressed albeit slowly. Petroleum powered cars must go. This alone will help to purify the air and slow down global warming. Petroleum will always be needed for commerce, construction, and travel but there are hundreds of millions of cars, most being extremely inefficient.

PLASTICS: I doubt they will disappear but some like shopping bags and drink / water bottles could go. Replacement products are needed. There is hope with the commercials I am seeing involving three major soda companies and their new bottles.

DRINKING WATER: More high volume low cost desalination technology is needed. Israel is advanced in this area. The whole world should have access to clean, safe, drinking water.

FOOD: I have read that there is enough food to feed the world but not everybody has access. Large scale food greenhouses already exist. You can't always spread crops laterally but you can go vertically, just like residential buildings. Sharing such technology would allow current countries who can't grow crops to do so.

ENERGY: Solar, wind, and harnessing the tides are all possibilities here with minimal progress in each. Another known technology is the use of the sun's rays to superheat a liquid using huge parabolic lenses. This is ultimately used to boil water for a steam engine, which then drives a generator. Combined knowledge here could be shared and large plants built in the hottest areas of the world. Electrical power could then be transported in conventional towers and cables.

SHELTER: Many of the poorest have never had a home. I saw a video once about someone who was building stacked homes out of large concrete sewer pipes. Sounds crude but these were liveable. What about spent shipping containers and tractor trailers once they are off the road. Now they end up in some farmer's field. Quonset huts would also be like a palace to those with no home of their own.

CLOTHING: Right up there with food and shelter. Used clothing is already collected - for a profit. Governments could do it, on a non profit basis (cover costs only) for the needy both here and abroad.

There are lots of possibilities where combined genius can be used for common good. Surely re-directing government money from charitable handouts to jobs for the betterment of the human race is desirable.

It easy to talk about taxing the super rich and certain corporations so that they pay more to fund common benefits, many of whom pay none. These are good causes to which the extra cash could be directed, rather than to executive salaries and bonuses, and politicians' pensions.

What are your ideas?

#thebrewsterblock






Wednesday, 14 July 2021

Does God Exist?

Will I be taking the Stairway to Heaven or the Highway to Hell?


Are you a devout follower of a religion; an agnostic (humans have no way of knowing); an atheist (do not believe in any God); or something else? I am the latter.

Regardless of the label however, here are some things to think about if you dare. I dare all the time. I even dare to say if God exists, perhaps she is a woman. Today people would say that if not a man, what about OTHER gender choices? I'm not even going to go there!

The idea of a male supreme deity I have addressed before. Essentially that is only because thousands of years ago man's superior strength made males rule the earth. Women were second class only because men were able to force the issue. Men created, and through war men destroyed.

When reading and education came along, only men were permitted to take advantage. The naturally clever ones did and became holy leaders. You believed or you died. When they created the notion of a God and a theory of creation, it all began - naturally - with a man. Woman was created, but as a very evil partner whose only job was to bear children and pleasure man. So much for that.

That is not today's topic. Before I begin let us dispose of the biggest copout of them all, "God works in mysterious ways." Indeed they/he/she/it does. This is the standard reply when there really is no other. So the lead in for today is:

If there IS a God, then why...

Why is it not a perfect world with no injustice and plenty for all? Are we just characters in some live game? To hell with virtual when you can create the real thing. If so, against whom is God playing? Lucifer/Satan? Finally of course, who is winning? The way the world is today, I'd bet on Satan.

Why, if there were to be a superior sex, would it not be the one who bears and looks after future generations - woman?

Why, when there are so many heavenly bodies in the universe we can not even fathom the number, would there only be life, even identical life, on only one of them?

Why are some of the most evil beings on this planet rewarded and some of the most giving and noble punished - often in horrible fashion?

Why were we given the intelligence - of all of the species - to question this as I am? Is it part of the game?

Why, if there is other "life" out there, have the game makers not introduced them to spice up the play? Stay tuned. Maybe they will. Perhaps all astronauts and #Branson the other day were just more steps in that direction. Surely this would be a supreme high for any creator - to allow the peons (us) to think we actually discovered each other.

Why did the dinosaurs and other species suddenly disappear? Was it because we were the next invention and they just had to go? If so, what is waiting in the wings or in Beta test to replace us? Will it happen soon? How will we all perish. There are many signs that an apocalypse is near.

Why don't we know more about heaven from God and not some anointed clergy person. Will it be just like the politics in a country or corporation? If you are no good at politics here will you have a hard time in heaven? Do you have to be a "Survivor" winner?

Why don't we actually see ghosts if they exist, or angels? What better way is there to make us all believers? Churches teach us that we must simply be faithful. The truth is that they - all of them - simply want us to be faithful to them, coughing up some coin along the way.

Why was God always associated with fire and fury and as coming from above? The only reason I can come up with is that indeed there was fire from above and visitors once upon a time.

That might be a good place to end - "Once upon a time" - a famous beginning often associated with the Brothers Grimm. We know what they wrote. Need I say more?

#thebrewsterblock





Friday, 25 June 2021

Surfside: Where was God?

 The BIG Question on Surfside


Before lighting into me, I have already heard this question asked of a Rabbi on TV. I only repeat it here but I do frequently pose the question.

In all disasters like this, you have to wonder why. Why if there is a God, was this allowed to happen? I heard him answer in a typical fashion - he deflected the question. He cited all the other faiths' holy leaders who rallied around the event and the affected families. This is where God was. A poor answer.

If God - your God - represents goodness, then this should not have taken place. Saying that God works in mysterious ways does not cut it. If you believe that God punishes, perhaps this level of punishment on one or two guilty or evil parties can be argued - not an entire half of a building.

There will be more claimed acts of God as hopefully, people are found alive. The same question applies.

The immediate cause could have been:

- Aging material like cement or steel
- Nature as in a sink hole or soft ground under the foundation
- Sabotage. A structural engineer said only one strategic column failing or demolished could cause this
- Faulty or second rate material used in the first place
- Poor maintenance

It does not matter. God as portrayed could have prevented any of these. He/she/it/they did not. For me punishing innocent families like this brings the entire notion of a supreme creator and guardian into question.

Think about it. Tonight when you retire, you could wake up under fifty feet of mud or water, or solidified forever in molten lava. If you muster one final thought I'm sure you will ask "Why me?"

This morning close to where I live an innocent (presumed) man lost his life on a freeway after his car stalled and it was rear ended by a truck. Was God involved there too? If there is a purpose perhaps it is to make all of us realize that we are fortunate and that we should spend more time, effort, and care on others and less on ourselves.

Enjoy life and those around you while you can whether you are religious or not! Life can be snuffed out by many things and events in an instant. This bit of truth requires no book, faith, preacher, diploma, or service to understand or witness.

Start now
.

#thebrewsterblock



Sunday, 20 June 2021

The United States vs. Billie Holiday

USA, Lower your Head and your Flag in Shame


Last night I watched "The United States vs. Billie Holiday" on CNN. I thought it was good and that the performance of Andra Day was fantastic. Some of the others were not so great and it was classic Hollywood throughout. You can read the reviews yourselves. Overall they said it focused on only the negative in her life. I thought that was the point.

For me the take away was her song, "Strange Fruit" which I already knew was about lynching, and there was one horrific lynching scene. To drive it home during the credits there were several disgusting facts about the history of antilynching legislation in America.

In brief there have been some 4500 - 5000 people lynched in the USA and over 200 attempts to pass bills against the practice. Most recently both the Senate and the House have approved a bill on antilynching. It took over 100 years but now Senator Rand Paul is delaying it.

Of all the negatives associated with America including its gun mentality, this has to be one of the worst. How can anybody of any political stripe not want to pass laws to outlaw such a barbaric practice? It seems that some still anticipate a day when the practice might be used again. Are they attempting to protect themselves from future or even past acts?

How can such a country all but eliminate capital punishment, which at least is designed to be quick and humane, fail to totally remove now and forever these vile acts? People were hung, mutilated, tortured, and burned at the stake.

So never mind the bitterness between both parties today and issues like voting rights. Both sides were guilty of lynching and both should unite to erase the stain.

Maybe Mr. Paul should be forced to watch documented cases of some of the worst cases just like a kid having to watch horrible road accident videos when they drink and drive. He mouths words of disgust but his actions belie his words.

Politics itself bears strange fruit sometimes. Paul is living proof. 

#thebrewsterblock

Wednesday, 2 June 2021

Katharine Lee Bates asks: "America - Are You Still Beautiful?"

No Bob Dylan but just as Uplifting 

Sometimes when you are really down the words of a great song can lift you up. In fact there is a great example - "Up Where We Belong" (Jack Nitzsche, Buffy Sainte-Marie and Will Jennings) as performed by Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes.

There are many of them if you spend time looking. Just today I reviewed all the words to American Pie (Don McLean) which is deliberately open to interpretation but really makes you think.

So here is another inspiring classic written by Katherine Lee Bates - "America The Beautiful" (music by Samuel A. Ward .) I had never seen all of the verses and include them below. Perhaps the warring parties - yes plural as in the two of them - in America today should all read them. They are a bit lengthy for Donald J. Trump and some of his minions, but the sincere leaders should think long and hard about what they are currently doing.

Are they preserving the beautiful country or destroying it? It seems more the latter to most of us. What a shame.

(Bold Italics are MINE)

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern impassioned stress
A thoroughfare of freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God mend thine every flaw
Confirm thy soul in self-control
Thy liberty in law!

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for halcyon skies
For amber waves of grain
For purple mountain majesties
Above the enameled plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till souls wax fair as earth and air
And music-hearted sea!

O beautiful for pilgrims feet
Whose stem impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till paths be wrought through
Wilds of thought
By pilgrim foot and knee!

O beautiful for glory-tale
Of liberating strife
When once and twice
For man's avail
Men lavished precious life!

America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till selfish gain no longer stain
The banner of the free!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till nobler men keep once again
Thy whiter jubilee!

I suspect Ms. Bates is not resting in peace.

#thebrewsterblock

Sunday, 9 May 2021

Life by the Decade

Life's Times Table


I don't know if kids learn their times tables anymore the way we did. They rely on their phones and smart devices. Our smart device was a brain. We count using a base of ten. Most computers prefer two. Regardless of the base, life happens at warp speed and is accelerating.

Can anyone else relate to the following? I'll use 10 for the older generation.

When I was ten my Mom and Dad
Seemed pretty old to me.
If I could be their age again
What would my future be?

At twenty I still shared their home
When I was not at school.
I charmed the girls or had they all
Just played me for a fool?

When thirty came I settled down
We worked hard for our money.
And life itself soon let us know
It ain't no bowl of honey.

Was forty our life's half time show?
Where was the raucous crowd?
Now I avoid most anything
That's boisterous and loud!

By fifty we had lost our Dad
I'm like his clone folks say.
Alzheimer's took him from us all
Will I go the same way?

At sixty I still thought I was
Still thirty in my heart.
But soon I had a specialist
For every body part.

Now seventy has come and gone
We miss our Mom each day.
If I could find life's reset key
I'd press it right away.

What would you do different? I can think of many things. As long as I can do that, maybe things could be worse.

#thebrewsterblock



















 



Friday, 23 April 2021

Police Killings of Black Americans

 Ma'Khia Bryant, Daunte Wright, Adam Toledo, and others


I am interrupting my series on guns because I can't hold my tongue/fingers any longer. As each day passes while I post opinions about gun culture in America, more black people are being shot by police in the same country. We just heard about another, Andrew Brown Jr. in North Carolina.

I was all for the verdict in the George Floyd case. I have a big problem however with how the media and talk shows are handling the subsequent deaths, in particular Ma'Khia Bryant.

Nobody should be comparing these to George Floyd's slow, deliberate killing. Ma'Khia and the others mentioned were shootings in a very short period when a critical decision had to be made - not the case with Officer Chauvin. I have always supported police - not the bad cops and there are many, but the majority of the rest. What they can face is a subject for another day. We need them.

MY issues are two-fold. Firstly the media - AFTER the incident - show one or more stop action camera shots depicting things that the camera(s) caught but an officer's eyes might not. Secondly as tragic as it might be AFTER the fact, the media focuses on things like the victim being young; female; of a minority race; in foster care; poor; etc., etc. These make notorious headlines but have nothing to do with the split second when a human died. The case is already stacked against the officer(s) after such reporting and the media know it.

Remember:

  • An officer's eyes do not have stop action and there is only one pair
  • A camera does not have to think or move
  • Some of those cameras are stationary and wide angle - the eyes are not
  • Body cameras and eyes when an officer is running are bouncing up and down and not focused on one spot
  • the officer(s) have no instant replay or a STOP button so they can analyse race; consider age; think about social status; worry about grieving families; observe if male or female; observe skin colour
The loss of Ma'Khia was horrible. So were the others I mention but in each case with the exception of the Taser mistake, a quick decision had to be made by an officer - NOT A FRICKING CAMERA! Imagine what the same officer would be facing now if Ma'Khia had stabbed the other girl. It certainly looked to me like she was going to.

People are talking about these kids' bad judgement and stupid mistakes. No - that is stealing a chocolate bar or throwing a stone at a window. This sixteen year old produced a big deadly knife during an argument! Where did it come from and why did she have it? Likewise why was Adam carrying and shooting a weapon?

Nobody wants to talk about this part. Stealing because of abject poverty or selling some grass to get some money is understandable. Hauling out a knife like Crocodile Dundee because somebody pushed you or called you a name is not.

So media, report the INCIDENT, not the age, sex, and social status. Stop equating an officer's eye to a modern brainless camera.

Before closing I do think this topic is closely related to the gun culture topic in that because so many citizens can carry a gun police are trained to basically shoot first or possibly be shot. Changing that will be tough. There is room for disabling a suspect by maiming with one shot rather than killing with multiple shots.

#thebrewsterblock



Thursday, 8 April 2021

Pardon Me Mr. President

Time to Reconsider Presidential Pardons

Isn't it time for the whole idea of Presidential pardons to be re-examined? The alleged request from Matt Gaetz for a blanket pardon from Donald Trump is just the most recent example of the potential abuse of such a tradition. Thankfully it was not granted. Look at Trump's other pardons for more examples. 

His approach to pardons resembled his tossing MAGA hats out to a crowd. He pardoned friends and allies. Thankfully he did not attempt one for himself. He is not the first President to abuse this power - far from it.

There is certainly a place for such a last chance option in the system. The problem is giving this absolute power to one person. It was intended to right what were generally accepted as injustices, especially when a party had served a substantial percentage of their sentence. The idea is to give an otherwise deserving or remorseful person a second chance at some form of normal life again, when many years have already been lost.

So what constitutes an abuse of this power by a President? Here are some examples in my opinion. Pardons for:
  1. Himself/herself
  2. Members of his/her own family (to be defined) 
  3. Cases in which he/she or any party, group, company, or association stands to benefit financially or in any other material way from the pardon
  4. Cases where it can be proven that the President already received a benefit as outlined in 2, above.
  5. Cases which have not yet been tried in a court of law. 
Here are some recommendations, even if changes to the Constitution are required:
  1. The pardon is invalid and can be reversed when it is proven that a President only agreed to the pardon because of physical threat or duress
  2. At present a list is compiled for the President's consideration which would remain. The President may add to or remove from the list. 
  3. This list must then be reviewed by a small, special committee of current congressional representatives or senators from any official party. There must be at least one member from each party and its representatives are appointed by Congress. There would be an even number of people on this committee and a simple majority would be needed. The President could only vote to break a tie. 
  4. The granting of such pardons would occur every two years. There would be a maximum number on each list (10? 20?). This allows those who might have been waiting a long time more opportunities for consideration
  5. A list of the most egregious crimes (updateable) would not ever qualify for pardons. This list would have to pass in both Congress and the Senate.
  6. If for any reason a President has to be replaced then any existing list must remain in place before the new President acts on any other new pardon list.
  7. If the pardon involves an entire class of people such as draft dodgers then it would only count as one pardon
  8. A guilty verdict must have been found before any pardon can be granted. Accusations do not qualify
These changes will not be easy. At present the process can make a mockery out of an otherwise decent system of government and justice.

Pardon me for bringing up the issue. I'm sure many others brought up after DJT's long list. Some of his predecessors' lists were shorter but just as wrong.

#thebrewsterblock

Tuesday, 23 March 2021

I Love You - is it Overused?

I Love You, a Much Diluted Phrase

Many people will disagree with me on this but that is what writing opinions is all about. Take "I love you". Love in its true sense is not yet taxable or forbidden (but who knows what the future holds?) and that is to be celebrated for sure. But what does LOVE really mean? THAT is the question.

Is it really just me and my generation - baby boomers - or has the phrase "I love you" or the more common "Love you" become just an automatic and almost compulsory utterance? In my family none of us felt unloved (2 brothers and a sister) while at home. The hard work and sacrifice on the part of my parents to give us a decent life - the best they could - went hand in hand with family love. I don't recall any frequent "I love yous"  but also didn't feel deprived since my friends' families were similar.

Today I hear the phrase everywhere and every day from almost everyone. People can't leave home or hang up the phone without saying it. Preponderance of phones is probably a factor here adding to the frequency but it seems now like nothing more than "See you"; "Bye". Just like "How's it going?" and "How are you?" - you don't really want to hear someone tell you how they are for ten minutes. It is simply a traditional greeting. In the same way "I love you" has become both traditional and expected.

I am not criticizing here - if those who follow the practice feel that their family is better off for it so be it. Good for them.

To me however, it begs the question what is left for expressing special feelings for that very special person - often your physical partner - if you say the same thing to everybody else? Do they merit "I really love you?" "Double love you?" As well the word is used in everyday language way too often. My wife watches many designer / renovation shows. Every day I overhear "I just love that colour!"; "I love that lampshade!"; "I just love that toilet!"

In the heat of passion with the speaker if I were to hear "I love you" or "I love it when you do that" I would have to wonder "Yeah but more than the toilet" I heard you admiring this morning?

I think we need new expressions for those moments. Keep the "I love you" for departures and hang-ups but let's have something better for the warm glow of cuddling after lovemaking. Any suggestions?

Maybe you should just say "Oh by the way, I bought you that lamp!" and hand it over while you are both still in the mood! Save the toilet for something REALLY special!

#thebrewsterblock


Friday, 19 March 2021

Has Human Evolution Reversed?

Human Beings - Still Acting Like Animals

When I learned about the Theory of Evolution, I was sold. It was simply a more logical explanation than any religious one. I probably just lost half of my audience but there it is.

So what distinguishes us from our evolutionary forefathers? I came up with the following and your list would likely be similar:

- Humans have complex spoken languages. Ditto for written communication
- Humans can theorize, postulate, test theories and solve complex problems
- Humans can reason - I think some of that happens in animals also
- Humans can self-criticize, albeit reluctantly
- Humans laugh and cry. Perhaps animals do but we fail to recognize it
- Humans only possess 2 legs but our other 2 appendages are more dexterous

If we are so advanced over animals then why do we often revert to acting like them - some of the dumbest and the most vicious? Given the opportunity I suspect many animals would love to trade places - or would they? Permit me to point out some of the more admirable traits of animals. I will leave you to use your advanced brain to infer whatever you wish from them.

Animals do not:

- Eat more than they need to survive
- Kill for pleasure or fashion
- Stab each other in the back - only in The Lion King (a human creation)
- Plan and conduct wars on their peers as a power grab
- Create any waste that is not organic
- Breed humans to slaughter and eat
- Practice polygamy for sheer pleasure based on "religious" justification
- Keep humans as pets or for deadly sport
- Lie
- Expand their habitat beyond their needs at the expense of their peers
- Create weapons and poisonous substances to eradicate their peers 

Animals do:

- Kill for survival alone
- Practice polygamy but without knowing they do so
- Grow to be the largest living creatures on earth as complete vegetarians
- Remain totally loyal to their human friends and keepers
- Die horrible deaths from products created by humans
- Manage to live and coexist without religious or political leaders
- Rely on the female to maintain the home and do the child rearing
- Keep fit enough to exist through their daily routines

Here is one more I could have included in both. Animals are not knowingly condemning the earth to an early destruction. Animals would - if they could - do something about that immediately.

Isn't Evolution great?

#thebrewsterblock
 




Saturday, 6 March 2021

Rotator Cuff Problems? Read on ...

 Listen to the experts then listen to your body


Change of topic today - no CNN, Trump, Biden. This is personal - hopefully for many of you also. I suffer from sore shoulders that keep me awake at night. I have also overindulged in analysis of the problem - analysis paralysis - worse than the injury.

Many people who are north of the equator in years suffer from this - many from activity and many from lack of same - others from age. With the net, social media, Google etc. there is a ton of information out there - just look. Amateurs immediately say "Rotator Cuff" - not always the case. The people I have researched acknowledge that this is a very general term and the pain I feel could be one of many things, all part of the shoulder.

I printed out PDF's from Chiropractors, medical groups and associations and other places. I now have more exercises and therapy to try than there are hours in the day. There is a set of 18 I did religiously for about two weeks which took a good 1 1/2 hours to complete - made things worse. I even went to my GP who has worked with pro sports teams.

Here is one thing I am passing on today. I heard from several people who were where I am now but have recovered - I am overdoing things. The first reaction if you normally work out at a gym is that using no weight or working up to 3-5 pounds seems ridiculous when you might normally lift 25-35 lbs. with your arms. It is not.

Many of the legitimate websites say the same thing - for a long time light weights only , if you use any at all. We tend to forget that over-lifting probably hurt us in the first place. So here is an unprofessional list of 10 conclusions:

1. At all times if it hurts - STOP. Use less weight or no weight. If it still hurts ignore this exercise until you start to feel stronger and there is no pain...

2. From the many exercises you will collect choose only a dozen or so that did feel good. Maybe they relaxed things or let you know there are muscles you have NOT been including before.

3. No more than 30-40 minutes per session.

4. Include any stretches first.

5. Vary them up a bit each session.

6. Do not lift any heavy weights even if you think your shoulder is not involved. For almost anything above the waist or involving lifting with the hands, your shoulders are involved.

7. Many gym rats develop the large shoulder muscles for appearance but are not even aware of the others or how to strengthen them. This ADDS to the problem and might be what hurt you. It is like driving a car with one tire way over-inflated. It will lead to trouble.

8. It will take weeks to get better, if you ever do.

9. Go to a professional to see if you are trying to fix the wrong problem. It could just be arthritis for example.

10. Posture is important. Many years ago I focused on walking tall - shoulders back and not slouching. Since I have retired and am at a PC many hours daily, I am not as focused on this.

Lastly none of this will work without the willpower to do them regularly.

Here are a few of the sites I visited:




#thebrewsterblock






Sunday, 27 December 2020

My best from 2020: #COVID-19, the Beaten by Something With No Brain

 Sometimes a writer just gets in the groove. This was such a morning

I was looking over some past posts and came across this one. I consider it one of my best. If you recall reading it that is good. Otherwise I hope you enjoy it.

The World Within; Our World; The Great Beyond 

Let's take a moment since we now have lots of them, to put #COVID-19 into perspective. Those of you who tune out from anything that is purely academic can go back to your muffins and morning TV shows. I have no idea where this is going and no, there is no stimulant in my coffee! It is early; I just got up; and a virus is still out there ravaging humans. That is my starting point or launch pad. Amateur philosophy 101 perhaps.

There have always been attempts to categorize "things" or "existence" generally driven by our human limited powers of perception. In high school we heard the term "matter" in physics. Reaction? What is "matter"? Apparently this is anything that has "mass" and a volume that takes up space. Now ask "what is mass" and you will see a reference to "matter" at which point many tune out from physics. The definition references something that "accelerates" under the influence of "gravity". Gravity itself is something we experience here on Earth. On and on it goes. I enjoy it, especially when the moon landing verified theories of gravitational pull being less on the moon.

One can also divide things into animal, vegetable, or mineral; perhaps also animate and inanimate. 

Here is another I am making up as I write! I am not a scientist:

1) The inner makeup of all that our eyes alone can not see in species and other items
2) Those things we can and do see every day including fellow humans
3) The cosmos or universe and everything in it. Some we can see and some not.

1) Some time ago at a book sale I purchased a publication called "The Human Body Close-up" by John Clancy, Firefly Books. The pictures alone are worth the purchase price. They are all taken with an electron microscope, thus being in category 1) above. What we can now see was not possible with human eyes or conventional microscopes. Herein lies COVID-19.

2) In this category I mainly include ourselves and all animate and inanimate things we can sense using sight, hearing, smell, touch, and taste. We have made huge strides here with the help of technology, but we are still guessing when it comes to really understanding ourselves and our fellow beings. This is where psychology was born.

3) The universe is so vast we need telescopes and spacecraft to enhance our limited perception. There are lots of theories about what is out there including ET and his relatives and how it all came to be . We have not scratched the surface. None of us know for sure.

So let's return to 1). A single human cell and all its content uncover a whole new world. The components of a cell are amazing and the technical terms beyond my limited intelligence. You have to remember that for most the "cell" - trillions of them in our body - is defined as the smallest unit capable of performing the body's basic needs (from the above book, page 18).

Within it there are a lot more things than the "nucleus", and even more within that. The cell picture (page 19) looks more complex than a jet engine. Many items are defined and they each have a role to play in our bodies. Somehow they are programmed to fulfill it. How? They have no "brain" as we know it. They are just tiny molecules of protein and other substances but they can either sustain our life or, if they go rogue, can snuff it out. In this book as well are references to genes and chromosomes and the infamous DNA. It is  fascinating.

This virus and so many others are the types of "rogues" I mentioned. They are themselves "programmed" to destroy some of our intricate makeup, starting with our cells. 

How do you develop a vaccine against such an enemy? We can't really "see" it, touch it, or get inside it. How can that microscopic little thing we picture as a sponge ball with red golf tee like structures attached, get into our cells - our own building blocks - and what drives it?

We are at war. A little inconvenience in your daily routines is not much to ask. The enemy is invisible. Scientists are facing an immense task. It took centuries to be able to identify and define a "virus". It might take as many to overpower them.

Cut our leaders some slack folks and try helping however you can. Ignoring stay at home advice falls into category 2) above - solving our own human problems. Stop being so selfish. Don't hoard and don't go out when you don't have to.

Just hope that when we get the huge surprise from category 3) - and we will - we can survive it as well. Will it be living; energy; collision with another heavenly body? The list goes on. Focus on 2) and leave 1) and 3) to the best brains on the planet.

Thanks if you got this far. 

#thebrewsterblock


Friday, 18 December 2020

The Christmas Song - new version

 Chestnuts Roasting now that He is Fired


You can sing this to the classic tune by Bob Wells and Mel Tormé, made famous by Nat King Cole.

People toasting now that he is fired  (Chestnuts roasting by an open fire...)
John K. smiling in his grave
Bon Voyage being sung by a choir
The bear has gone back to his cave

Everybody knows that Joe and Ka-me-la will come  (Everybody knows a turkey...)
Turning darkness into light
Downturned faces now starting to smile
The people's House returns to White.

    They know that Santa's on his way
    He's loaded dignity and honour
    In his sleigh
    And honest people will rejoice
    To hear a Pres-i-den-tial voice

And so let's put our shame behind us now  (And so I'm offering this...)
One voice whether red or blue
Regardless of faith, gender, colour we say
Merry Christmas, to you

#thebrewsterblock