Fall Back and Spring Ahead

Well, it’s that time of year again when we have to turn our clocks back for Daylight Savings Time. For those of us that are still working, it will now be light when we leave for work in the morning and pretty close to dark when we leave to go home at night.

I just started reading a book on Ben Franklin and found this list of some of the inventions he created one being the suggestion of saving on candles and use of oil lamps by using natural light. One of the things I like about Ben Franklin is the fact that he didn’t patent any of his inventions. He believed that “as we benefit from the inventions of others, we should be glad to share our own”.

It’s too bad that more people don’t think like Franklin when it comes to putting the good for all ahead of the good for one or a few.

Is This All it Takes To Be Happy ?

Oprah had a good show on the week before last where she did some interviews with citizens from other countries around the world that are considered the world’s happiest. Denmark consistently makes it to the top of the list year after year and below is the clip from her show.

There were several interesting points in the article titled Denmark the Happiest Place on Earth.

1 – Danes have an amazing level of trust for each other, their laws and for their government.

2 – Danes pay very high taxes, in fact the highest in the world, from 50% to 70%, but the government pays for all of the healthcare and education for it’s citizens. These are two huge burdens that Americans have trouble dealing with on their own. The government also provides a safety net when citizens lose their jobs. These situations are often cause for much stress in the United States.

3 – Denmark is a post consumerist society, with little emphasis on buying “stuff” whereas Americans need a bigger house or an additional car.

Believe me I’m not complaining and I am very happy with my life because it’s a very simple one. I’m not advocating a government takeover, but just some food for thought !

Halloween Art

-12

The 2009 pumpkin walk

I like carving pumpkins.  Hey, I even like hollowing out pumpkins, using a big spoon to scoop out the gunk and seeds and stringy wet orange threads, and then scraping the insides until they are dry and white.  When you prepare a pumpkin correctly and scrape it out thoroughly, the resulting carved jack ‘o lantern will glow with a very satisfying inner light when a candle is placed inside and lit.-4

This year we did our carving Wednesday night, with the help of our neighbors, Dave and Amy Taylor and their daughters, Grace and Jane — as well as a host of other neighborhood kids.  -8We have some good carving implements that are serrated but not sharp.  They are perfect for kids to use in carving the soft tissue of a ripe pumpkin.

All of the kids got to carve a pumpkin or two and let their creative juices flow, and even Dave and Amy got into the act.  I carved two jack ‘o lanterns myself.  Why not?  How often do any of us get to do something even mildly artistic?-3

-5This year Kish got an interesting selection of pumpkins — some were your standard pumpkins, but there were a number that were almost like gourds, with thick skins and warty, pebbled surfaces that were not easy to carve.  Still, they spurred your imagination, as you thought about how to incorporate the warts and raised surfaces into your finished product.

-2After we were done, I set the pumpkins out to dry.  The next night was trick or treat night in New Albany, and we filled the jack ‘o lanterns with votive candles, lit them, and placed them by our door, on our stoop, and along the pathway to our door.  We ended up with a pretty impressive pumpkin walk that garnered a few compliments from our visitors.

A Noble Gesture (And Smart Besides)

Following up on UJ’s post, below, here is an AP article on the decision of the official Republican candidate to suspend her campaign for a New York congressional seat.  The article makes it appear that her support was falling, and under the circumstances it probably was better for her to withdraw rather than get trounced at the polls come Tuesday.

As for all of the hand-wringing about what does this mean for the future of the Republican Party, and is the party turning into some shrinking Neanderthal collection of nuts — I think the answer has to be, “Who knows?”  American voters tend to like real alternatives, so that if things go bad they can boot out the party in power and elect the other guys.  Right now, the Democratic Party has staked out a position that favors governmental solutions to problems, with the attributes that inevitably come with governmental solutions:  increased government spending, lots of regulations, more government employees to tell you what you can and cannot do, increased taxes, and the typical amounts of waste, fraud, and abuse.  What is the point of Republican Party candidates who agree with those concepts in principle, but argue that, say, they should be elected because they will write the regulations slightly differently?  Why shouldn’t a candidate standing for election stake out a true alternative position, rather than a watered-down version of the prevailing viewpoint?

It looks like the voters in NY-23 will now be offered a pretty stark choice between two candidates with different philosophies.  I don’t think that is a bad thing.