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Archive for February, 2016

The-Pied-Piper-of-Hamelin-007

After posting yesterday’s blog on potholes on the YBR the more reflective, bigger-picture side of me had a debate with the more liberal, socialist side of me. Upon reflection, I failed to include the concept of ownership in my pothole blog.  After reading my blog you could come away believing that life’s potholes are caused by other people or factors out of our control.  And while there is a modicum of truth to that sentiment, it’s not the truth, the whole truth.

I was reminded of the seldom used, if ever, expression, “to pay the piper.”  For those readers unfamiliar with this expression it means “to accept the unpleasant results of something you have done.”

It comes from the legend of the Pied Piper who led the rats out of the town of Hamlin…for a price.  But when the townspeople decided they no longer wanted to pay the piper for his services, the piper stopped leading the rats out of the village and began leading the children out. (I know it sounds cruel and gruesome, but most fairy tales were a little gory and scary.)

The lesson the people of Hamlin learned was that unless you pay then piper you will suffer the consequences.

That’s the connection to potholes on the YBR.  Many of the potholes we encounter in life are the result of us failing to pay the piper.  If you goofed off in high school, cut classes, and did just enough to get by, the road of head might be filled with the potholes that made it difficult for you to find a job.

There are many more examples I could present, but I think you get the point. Our failure to do the best we can today can be the reason why we have to deal with potholes in the future.

Luckily we can often make amends for past poor decisions and as a result we can prevent bigger and deeper potholes popping up “down the road.”

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potholes on YBR

‘Tis the season of potholes where many a tire goes flat and an equal number of rims get dented. Lest we think that the YBR in the Land Of Oz was without potholes. Think again. Deep in the dark forest the yellow brick road was in disrepair. Dorothy and her faithful traveling companions could easily have twisted…or God forbid broken an ankle.

It should be quite obvious to anyone who has been on the road of life for a few decades or more that this road we travel is also filled with potholes. How do they get there in the first place?  Are we to blame?  I don’t know.  All I know is that the potholes in life are always to be found on the road ahead, which leads me to believe that potholes are part of the natural progression of life.

While it would be grand and glorious if there were no potholes on the road of life, that would be unrealistic.  All potholes are not created equal. Some are so small, like the tiny disappoints we encounter every day in out lives, that we have no trouble navigating the road.  Some of the potholes, however, are much bigger…illness, death of a loved one, financial problems, or potholes caused by cruel people who often willingly make life difficult for us.

We can’t ignore the potholes in life. We can’t imagine them away. They are real and they have to be dealt with. We have to learn to navigate our YBR. We have to do our best to avoid blowing a tire or denting a rim.  Sometimes we just have to slow down and take the potholes as they come. And if we have to take a detour, i.e. go a little bit out of our way to continue moving forward, sometimes that’s just what we have to do because perhaps the road we think we’re supposed to travel is not the road for us.

It’s our destination that matters more sometimes than the road we travel. If we fail to travel the inner road that leads us home we just might find ourselves at a dead end.

 

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Political-Promises-4d3a109a90464

Do you remember high school election campaigns when many presidential hopefuls promised free ice cream on Friday, more school dances, relaxed dress codes and other pie-in-the-sky promises?

Such highfalutin promised were not limited to high school political candidates.  Who can forget when Herbert Hoover campaigned on a promise that if he were elected he promised “a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage.”

His promise hit a bit of a snag when shortly after his election the Great Depression left most Americans without a pot to cook the chicken and no garage to park the car.

When I listen to Bernie Sanders talk I go back to my college days when my kumbaya generation believed in peace, love and all that shit. Our idealism was only matched by our fundamental immaturity. Not that the lofty goals were not something to aspire to. I still believe in those lofty goals, but while I believe that many changes can be legislated, we can’t pass laws to make people less selfish and more compassionate.

That brings me back to good ol’ Bernie Sanders…a man after my idealistic heart, with particular attention paid to his Hooverism of promising all Americans free public higher education.

I’m all for education for a lifetime. I also like free.  And to be truthful, funding free education through taxation, doesn’t even bother me because the history of American education shows how “we the people” realized how important that education was that we first introduced free mandatory public elementary/grade school education and then extended it to free mandatory high school education…and then to state supported community colleges with low tuition.

My problem is not with a free college education, but with this notion that every American student is ENTITLED to the free ride.  If the motivation behind the Sanderesque concept of free college is to create a highly competitive work force, I suggest that we begin that process in the lower grades.  Bring back vocational education as a viable path for young people. That would call for a complete overhaul of our archaic educational curriculum.

But to develop education tracks, one being vocational and the other being academic, I fear would be considered elitist.

For a moment, let us imagine the day when EVERY students goes to college. Where would that get us? The common denominator would not only be common, it would be so commonplace that tomorrow’s college degree would have as much value as today’s high school diploma.

I’d like to offer Bernie Sanders a suggestion.  Make a college education free, but not to everyone just because, but to any student, regardless of his/her economic demographic, who, by virtue of his/her accomplishments in high school, is DESERVING of a free education.

If we raise the bar in high school we will separate the wheat from the chaff and the deserving will be like the cream that rises to the top of the milk.

(How do you like that? Two clichés in one sentence.)

 

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ruby bowl

From professionals to pundits the money was on the Monkey Men to win the 2016 Ruby Bowl…and for good reason.  The Monkey Men had a perfect season while the Munchkins struggled early on in the season and critics said they only made it to the Bowl game because their division had a lackluster season…at best.

But when the two teams met on the gridiron, the game took on a life of its own. The Monkey Men’s star quarterback was no match for the Munchkin’s strong defensive efforts. No matter what the Monkey Men did when they had the ball they couldn’t take control of the game.

When the Ruby Bowl game was over, it left the Scarecrow scratching his head. “It wasn’t supposed to happen this way. I don’t know what went wrong.”

The Tin Man pulled the Scarecrow aside and said, “In life what we think should happen always doesn’t happen and it’s not because something went wrong. It’s because something went right.”

There’s a lesson to be learned here. On the YBR we can’t look back on what happened and let it influence what might happen. It just goes to show that an upset in not always upsetting for everyone.

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