Saturday, December 13, 2008

See's Candies

My friend S. says that our room looks like California in the early evenings.

My college roommate is from California. "No Cal" as he jokingly refers to Northern California.

Sometime ago, (as many college students do), he received a care package from home. It contained a variety of snacks and other edible goodies.

One of the items which he received was a small rectangular box of See's Candies. I'd never sampled See's Candies before, but the name resonated in the corners of my mind.

I used to listen religously to a jazz music program ("Riverwalk jazz, live from the landing) on public radio that was sponsored by "See's Old Time Candies". I remembered the name of the sponsor because it seemed so quaint and unusual -- almost like something to which Garrison Keillor would compose a satiric ode as an inspirational sales pitch. So it was a bit of a shock to sample the real thing.

I am writing this entry at the same time I used to listen to Riverwalk jazz -- the hour of ten o'clock in the evenings on Saturday nights. It seemed like an unusually late hour around the age of twelve when I started listening to Riverwalk. I almost never missed an episode until I was fifteen and I discovered Saturday Night Live. (Shame on you, Lorne Michaels -- it's not even that good of a show anymore; it wasn't good then, either.)

It's intriguing to think about the past, to delve into our previous experiences. Just one simple token can remind us all of a whirl of old emotions, experiences, and memories.

To paraphrase Forrest Gump's infamous conclusion:

"Life: sometimes I remember it by a box of chocolates."

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Happiness: Filling the Void

What makes us happy?

I've seen an interesting theory on happiness recently.

Someone said that all human beings have a void inside of us. We need to fill this void, and if we don't, our sense of purpose and our sense of meaning will atrophy. We fill it with work, we fill it with family, we fill it with music, we fill it with causes, we fill it work consumerism, and all kinds of other things, both tangible and intangible.

Some people say it's a bad thing that we have this void, but I disagree. I believe that our void motivates us. As a common proverb says, hunger is often the best seasoning.

What makes each of you happy? Do you believe that this "void" theory makes any sense? How do you fill your void?

Thanks for sharing your opinions.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Economic Crisis?

Hello, followers and friends.

I apologize for not updating this blog for the last several months. I have been extremely busy in my personal life. I will try to post here semi-regularly again, but I can make no promises.

So what's brought me back here again?

It's the economy, stupid.

I'm afraid that our economy is a disaster.

Will the stimulus/bailout packages work? Can the government be the solution? I don't know, but I do have my doubts.

What ails our economy?

We have too much debt, individually and collectively. We're broke. The United States is broke.

So what do we do? We keep spending and spending and spending...but we're still broke.

When FDR launched his New Deal programs, the United States of America was a creditor nation. Now we are a debtor nation. We just don't have the same leverage anymore that we once did. Saudi Arabia, Japan, China, and India essentially own us right now.

So we keep spending more money...that we don't possess. When you're in a hole, isn't it generally a good idea to first stop digging?

I recommend that we cut the size of government. I recommend that we quit bailing out failed institutions. It is a painful remedy indeed but I see no valid alternative.

The solution to our debt problem is more savings and more production, and less consumption. Of course this is going to make the recession worse. But our current course of action is going to make the recession even worse in the long run. By continually spending money that we don't have, we compound the damage which has already occurred. We must stop.

I'm afraid that we'll have to let this recession continue...because there's nothing we can do to stop it.