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Air B ‘n B: updated concept

Space is running out, and nobody knows what to do about this odd problem. There is a shortage of cemetary space for the unknown or indigent bodies on hand with nobody to step forward, claim the body, and defray the costs of a funeral. 

So it is time to get creative and find another solutions to this land shortage for the poor but nonetheless dead, of us who find themselves totally and altogether dead.

So I have come up with a new concept of dealing with the dead.

We are all familiar with the concept of “Air B’n B.”, where people can rent accommodations for their vacation stays.” MY idea is “Earth B & B.” I don’t call it exactly a cemetery but a rental space for the formerly living. 

I don’t think that death is a funny matter, and I’m sure it’ll be even less funny when its my turn to share the experience with my ancestors.

But rumor has it that I have no way of escaping the fate of so many others. Notice that I refrained from stating “the fate of ALL others.” The reason for that turn of phrase is that we can’t be absolutely sure of all occasions at all times. For example, Anastasia. Does anyone 

know for certain, what happened to her and what her story ending is?  There have been books, movies, and even a Broadway show about her confusing disappearance, but no solid proof of her fate.

 And what about the three convicts who escaped from Alcatraz prison in California? Nobody can guarantee whether they escaped still walk among us, or whether they lost the challenge to survive those vicious seas in their small boat, and now lie with the sea creature in Alcatraz Bay.

My plan, a cemetery rental can help with the short space problem. Some American Indian tribes solved their similar problem by stacking bodies; several bodies rest, one on top of the other. In a space-saving cemetery. Visit one grave and be rewarded by honoring several generations of your departed in one single trip. It just takes starting with one very deep hole for the placement of the first departed one in the first coffin.

But my “Earth B&B” idea, rents the space for a coffin to be buried in. I think it is a great idea. The trouble is that I haven’t gotten to the next step, which is evicting one dead guest for the next to arrive.

But I’m working on it.

COLORADO DREAMIN’

 

Here we are back on the east coast, home from the sights, adventures and experiences of our visit to Boulder, Colorado.

We have always been fond of the beautiful University of Colorado at Boulder campus. So on our visit this summer, we explored the campus to make note of discernible changes. Everything changes so much that it’s important to keep up with the latest trends.

The most attention worthy change was the method of getting from one place to another. On campus, right in the midst of students walking between buildings to classes were some new conveyances. Mere walking from one class to another, the way we used to do, is no longer an assumption.

 

IMG_0453 2.jpegThis young man entered the campus book store carrying a scooter. I hope he didn’t use it to scoot between the shelves of books. How could he do that without adding several injuries by hit and run scooter! He seemed perfectly comfortable with this travel device, indoors or outside.

A great favorite among students was the skateboard. It was so popular that there was a skateboard stand outside the entrance of the book store, clearly in full use! 

IMG_0456 2.jpegThe favorite transit tool of my  youth, the bicycle, has  not gone out of fashion, although I don’t remember actually riding it through groups of students moving between classes.

 

IMG_0454.jpegThe book store cared very much about people’s perception of it’s effectiveness. Therefore it had one of these opinion gathering machines at the exit of the store.

IMG_0449 2.jpegIMG_0448 2.jpegOne of my favorite memories of the trip was an overheard conversation between a young mother and her pre-school daughter. They had  noticed a worm on the ground and bent down to put it on a leaf. “

IMG_0543.jpeg“Where’s it’s mommy?” The young woman asked the child, looking down at the worm. “Let’s go outside and look for her. I’ll bet it’s mommy is waiting in the grass.” And out they went, searching for Mommy Worm. I loved the early teaching of reverence for the value of life that this mother and child demonstrated.

Who would not be inspired to learn in the beautiful environment of the mountains behind campus , breathing the clear Colorado air and loving the nature seen all around?

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Nederland is a charming little town near Boulder, selling such treats as home brewed Kombucha in several flavors and home baked pastries.

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Walking up in the mountains I was tickled by this sign:IMG_0425.jpeg

But that’s the easterner in me. The greatest danger of animals lurking might be a puppy who pulled on its leach.

I loved the trip to Colorado; I have the warmest, kindest thoughts of the scenery and the nature loving people in this beautiful part of our country.

PEOPLE PROBLEMS

This is the most diabolical situation I’ve ever seen, heard or experienced. It is hard to believe that this is really happening. The state of communication is in terrible condition.

 Pay attention. Listen. Notice. People, our fellow human beings, are being phased out of every day-life. We humans are being replaced with machines in a frightening  way.

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Blank space and electrically generated words have taken the place of warm, human voices. Inflections, which add color and tone to the human voice have been traded in for monotonic, outer space non-character, un-character sounds impersonating speech.

Voices have been replaced by computer responses, vocalized recordings and cold, impersonal messages, and this has been a cruel affront to me.

Whenever I spoke to operators or service staff professionals I always enjoyed making light comments and frivolous statements with them. They always told me that my calls lightened their day; added some humor to their jobs. I related to them as if they were human beings: not just empty voices without feelings.

But how can you crack a joke to a robot?

How can you kid around with a canned recording?

And how do you get an original response from a computer?

My first memory of change came on an elevator. I remember elevator men and women, working in department store elevators, asking what floor I wished to be taken to. I remember that human operator telling everyone in the elevator what merchandise could be found on what floor as we elevated up the floors.  They also were there to answer questions we customers may have had.

And a human voice once responded when you called the pharmacist with a question or request for a prescription.

Now the-phone delivers to your anxious ears the pre-recorded message asking which button you would like to be connected to. The switchboard is gone, along with human operators answering questions from fellow humans. Operators have been replaced with metal boxes that answer phones and answer the questions of callers in synthetic voices.

Even in emergencies such as storm related blackouts, the electric company challenges callers to report problems such as power failures, downed trees and cats stuck on high branches by responding to motorized, mechanical questions.

To get help may I report my emergency to a person? Of course not. Report emergencies to a computer. And be thankful that you don’t receive an electric shock in return. Is this progress? Is dehumanizing human contacts a good thing? Are we better off turning our communications over to cold, steel devices and pushing out into oblivion, people?

People once spoke to us, we, the clients. Who did we become?  An audience for sophisticated devices that need help adapting to make themselves compelling? And what is the next step; who or what will replace those automatons: Robot Calls?

GIVE ME THAT ISLAND

The recent news report that President Trump wants to buy the island of Greenland gave me a great idea. He is an endless source of original ideas; not many people think the way he does. In fact he often surprises us with his thoughts.

But his offer was immediately rebuffed, with Greenland insistingly claiming that their island was absolutely not for sale.

Where did Trump get the idea that Greenland was for sale to the United States?

Certainly not through private, secret, inside information. Never would I make any accusations about our president, an outstanding businessman, he tells us, being in any way involved in insider trading. Everyone knows that insider trading is illegal. Many infamous stock traders got themselves into deep trouble, making buy and sell decisions based on insider trading. Of course Trump would never be part of anything illegal such as that!

So it must be that his information source came up with the wrong information. Was the research the work of one of the young, inexperienced winners of his former television show, “The Apprentice?” Perhaps one of those employees who, like many other Trump staff employees, were subsequently fired?

I admire creative thinkers; employees with new ideas. It must be very brave to present an untried idea to our president and run the risk of being tweeted into oblivion.

So the embarrassing offer to buy Greenland, which is clearly not now or has ever for sale, gave me an idea to boost my own investment portfolio.

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I am working out the minute details of my plan, which is to put in an offer in to buy one of the Hawaiian Islands. I don’t expect too much; just one of the smaller islands. It couldn’t have much strategic significance to our defense plans, so it couldn’t mean terribly much to the government. And the sound of young children, like my grandchildren and their friends, giggling and laughing, romping through the waves, would greatly boost the morales of any military staff within earshot. Once in a while I might even invite them over to my little island for a neighborly barbecue.

So I have great enthusiasm and high hopes that President Donald Trump will agree to my unusual request and agree to sell me one of the tiny, insignificant Hawaiian Islands.

I don’t think it would be too expensive, do you?

SUMMER WALK

“A walk in the park?’

“Sure,” I said. “It’s a beautiful day for a long walk.”

So my friend, Toni and I started along the path of Loantaka Park; the one force-shared by   rivals as competitive as Coke and Pepsi, AT&T and Verizon, and the Montagues and Capulets, otherwise known as the adversarial Walkers and Bicycle Riders.

“Why don’t those bike riders make a sound to let us know they’re right behind us?”

“Well,” Toni answered, “Those bells we had on our bikes when we were children are just not a cool accessory for this generation of grownup bike riders.”

And so we dodged the bikers and briskly walked, with step counters clipped onto waistbands. Just as our heart rates were finally raised to any cardiologist’s expectations, a site greeted us along the side of the path. A small group of people centered around the attraction as we curiously joined them,

“What’s happening?” we asked the onlookers.

“A turtle is laying eggs.” IMG_0104 2.jpeg

And sure enough, as the group cleared enough space for us to see over the side of the path, we saw the turtle mom-to-be busy in labor, laying egg after egg right into the muddy hole she had dug. IMG_0105 3.jpeg I felt embarrassed for her, out in the open, in plain view, during her private time of creation.IMG_0103 2.jpeg

But she seemed oblivious to the humans rudely goggling  at her, and went about the task at hand.

The humans gradually lost interest and opted instead for getting on with their exercising programs. We left Mom Turtle and continued our walk.

I’m sure that nature took care of the rest of the details.

 

WAITING

UnknownImpatient. Anxious. Concerned.

All those feelings make waiting more stressful that waiting needs to be. Waiting is simply the passage of time, isn’t it?

Yes, but there are different kinds of waiting. Waiting for a red light light to change is something we all have to do once we leave the house and go somewhere else. Any time there’s a corner to cross there’s usually a light that must change. Does that kind of waiting cause you much stress? Not unless you’re in a rush to get somewhere, and interpret the red light as blocking your destination.

Waiting for final exams or college acceptance letters is another kind of waiting. Perhaps that waiting is a step higher on the stress scale. Going to the right school has a huge impact on the direction your life takes: the education you receive and the friends and connections you make.images

Waiting can also be a happy anticipation: for example, finding out the sex of a baby!

But the worst kind of waiting is waiting for a call from the doctor’s office revealing the results of important lab results. That waiting is interspersed with fear, dread and foreboding. Waiting for lab results feels endless. Every time the phone rings, blood pressure soars to unhealthy levels. That is an unfortunate result of stress.Unknown

Waiting by itself, without even being given the reasons to worry about, can be dangerous to your health. So I wish you good health, good luck, and may all your test results be good ones.

 

Gobbledegook

Dr. Patrick was my first college English teacher. He had a reputation of being a bit “Weird,” but what others said about him didn’t frighten me one bit. In all my twelve years of being a student, from kindergarten to high school graduation I never met a teacher I couldn’t get along with. Maybe some of them were a little unusual and maybe some of them were tough, but they all appreciated a student making an honest attempt at learning.images-4

English was always my favorite subject. I loved creative writing, even if the only opportunity to practice and develop my writing skills was writing letters to my friends who were at summer camp. I quickly ignored my mother’s advice about how to begin a letter. She thought the proper way to start was to first ask your friend how they were feeling, followed by assuring her that you were alright. I thought that was a boring and expected way to start. It was simply not my style to start my letter with, “Dear Bobby, how are you? I am feeling fine.”

No, not me. I had to begin with an attention getting statement like “Have you ever seen a grizzly bear asleep on your front lawn?” You could go in any number of directions with an opening question like that. The story probably has nothing to do with grizzly bears on your front lawn. But a good attention getter creates interested readers.

My English teachers always encouraged me to write in my own style. I remember in fourth grade writing an assignment about “What we did on winter vacation.” Our family didn’t go anywhere or do anything special that winter, so couldn’t think of what I could write about.

After some thought about some things I did do, I finally I wrote a story about it. I baked my first cake by myself, used the mix-master for the first time, followed by scraping cake batter off the kitchen wall. The teacher read my story to the class, not the stories of students who skied in Aspen or snorkeled in Eleuthra during vacation. My classmates laughed as she read it; they liked it! So I learned that it isn’t the subject matter that is important; it’s the way the story is told.

Dr. Patrick was a different breed of teacher. He was a huge man with bright red hair, thick eyeglasses and a roaring voice. His favorite word was “Gobbledegook,” and he used it frequently to indicate his displeasure. He disliked insignificant details that didn’t further the story line. He hated anything sentimental. He sneered at corny. He despised flowery language.

He was a no-frills guy.

Today, when I am writing a story, I think about Dr. Patrick. As I read and edit it I think to myself,  “Gobbledegook!” as I erase some parts and improve others. I renew phrases and sharpen the writing. I finally learned the meaning of his word. There must have been a more genteel way to say the same thing as he did with the single word, “Gobbledegook,” but it couldn’t have given as much of a punch as that word did for him. Dr. Patrick and his special silly word made him unforgettable.

 

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