Posts Tagged ‘musings’

“Free” is a word that’s been overused and abused in recent times.  Here’s one definition from the online Oxford Dictionary that’s relevant to my point:

Given or available without charge: free health care.

Notice that is doesn’t say, there’s no cost.  Free health care, or free anything else, is simply given without charge to the recipient.  It doesn’t come at no cost.

To this, add “free phones”, “free college”, etc.   A similar sentiment is expressed by the phrase, “The government will pay for it.”

Let’s start with the last one first, although they’re really all related.  The government gets their money from us, the taxpayers.  No matter how you feel about what they spend our money on, the money comes from us, and from the people who make up the government as individual taxpayers and spenders.  True, the government can and does print money that’s not back by anything worthwhile, but when they pay, we pay.  There is always a cost.

If you think about it for a moment, you’ll realize that nothing can really be free.  In health care, doctors, nurses, orderlies, secretaries, everyone who work in the hospital or office, must be paid.  Drug companies, hospital equipment companies, all those who supply health products, office products, even toilet paper for bathroom in all these places, need to be paid or paid for. Despite objections, legitimate or not, to what companies might charge for drugs, there are high costs associated with bringing a drug or any other innovation to market.  Supply companies have to be paid so their workers can be paid, so they can buy more materials to produce more goods, etc, etc., etc.

Teachers, administrators, janitors, and other have to be paid at colleges.  People who work in the dining hall, making and dishing out the much-abused food must be paid.  Food must be bought. Dining halls, dorms and campuses need to be cleaned.  There are myriad costs, even when those costs are inflated.  Donations pay for some things, but there are still high costs.

Free phones?  Just continue the thought. Someone somewhere pays.

My point?  No matter on which side of the political aisle you find yourself, be honest.  Nothing is free.  You may use things you didn’t pay for to garner favor or votes for yourself.  You may give away things for a worthy cause.

But none of them are free.

To paraphrase Janis Joplin,  these days “Free is just another word.”

*****

Apologies to everyone who read, subscribed and commented on the tea blog I mentioned yesterday.  For reasons that will remain unpublished, I have to take it down.  Thanks for your support and enthusiasm.

Yesterday I flew from the land of frozen grass to the land of the desert, where grass comes at a water price, a price becoming higher and higher each year. The type of grass popular in Colorado these days comes at a high price as well.

But I want you to think of “grass” and “high” in a different way. When the hardy pioneers emerged from the forests of the east into the middle part of the US, they were greeted by a sea of grass, but not the grass of our manicured lawns or even the grass of the unkempt lawns of abandoned homes.

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Today on Facebook I’ve seen a number of posts about animals, many of which advocate treating animals well, a sentiment I heartily share.  The same day also shows me posts and memes vilifying various groups of people or individuals, usually based on their beliefs, and nasty a/o foul-mouthed comments about some of these same groups or causes.  Disclaimer:  please note that I am NOT referring to any specific group or cause!!

It’s a popular notion that the way you treat animals shows how you treat people, but I’m afraid that isn’t true.  As much as I love animals and as much as I believe in their ability to love and help people, they are NOT people.  If you can treat animals well, but you’re full of hatred for humans, especially based on their beliefs, then I think you need to take a good look at yourself.  Here’s what I think is a truism, my own saying about how to treat people and animals.

I’d like to see people treated as well as we think we should treat animals and then animals treated as well as we start treating people.

I think that if we started going this, the world would be a much kinder, gentler place.

Et vous?

The end of the day has come, I should be in bed, and I realize I have yet to write a post.  Today was to be the last day with our younger daughter.  We drove through pellets of ice and roads deep with slush to get her to the airport, only to find that her flight had been cancelled.  A long drive later through the same conditions brought us safely back home.

Bad news.  But there was good news as well.  We were only about a mile into our way back when she texted the information.  She has not appointments or “must do” things in the next two days, so the flight VERY early Wednesday morning will get her back without schedule problems.  She didn’t have to spend the night at the airport, she didn’t have to get a hotel room, she could come home with her family, to through more boxes of her things still at our house, and I could make her another bowl of popcorn tonight.

So many events in our lives seem bad and some, of course, really are.  But many have good that comes from them or aren’t as bad as they initially seem, as in our case today.  Look for those good things and you can change your perspective and your day, as well as that of those around you.

copyright janet m. webb 2015

No, I’m not getting married again.  This is a little something I penned while sitting at a coffee shop in Pasadena earlier this summer, enjoying the ironies of the day (as well as the tea.)

I’m having tea in a large city in a majorly major metropolitan area, having arrived by bicycle in a car-driven society.  I carried in a plastic bag something old (school), a magazine, as well as a notebook (paper kind), in which I’m writing by hand with a pen, and a Kindle with which to also read, as well as a smart (most of the time) phone to use for messages and camera.  I think I’ve spanned more than a few decades!

What old school things do you still embrace in this era of technology?

I hate…

Posted: June 6, 2015 in Musings
Tags: , , , ,

It’s easy to say “I hate….” whatever that something is, but what does “hate” really mean?

Hate
verb (used with object), hated, hating.
to dislike intensely or passionately; feel extreme aversion for or extreme hostility toward; detest

The word “hate” gets thrown around quite a bit these days, especially in politics.  Although there are people I dislike intensely and some I detest (terrorists, for example), there are none that I hate in the biblical sense of the word, wishing they would go to hell.

However, I hate…

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…litter.

When the girls were little, they asked me why people litter.   The only answer that made sense to me was that they were lazy.  Perhaps they’re also unthinking or don’t care.  But ultimately, I think they’re lazy and disrespectful of other people, of animals, and of the earth.

If you can smoke it and put it out in an ashtray, unwrap and eat it, drink it from a disposable bottle, carry something in it, or simply don’t want to keep it, take it home and dispose of it properly.  Put it in a public trash can, not on the pavement in the parking lot.  Place it in a bag in your vehicle and toss it in the garbage later.
I don’t hate you.  But I do hate your litter.

Last week, two young men came into the tea shop.  They were probably in college, although they didn’t look very old.  They ordered their drinks, one tea and one hot chocolate, then sat near the window.  I don’t recall how long they were there, but as far as I could tell, they spent most of the time hunched over their phones, not interacting with each other at all.

This is a phenomenon I’ve noticed time and time again: this sitting together, not paying attention to the other human or humans but focusing intently on the “others” caught inside that bit of technology.  Coffee shops have become all too often places where people go to be alone together.  It’s something I understand for people who are on their own and simply want to be around other people while they work or read.  I understand if people meet to work together.  And trust me, I understand the urge to check my email, see what’s been posted on Facebook, or check to see who’s liked my blog for the day.  Before smartphones, it was easy to talk and laugh with someone else without distractions.  There was no internet, no siren song luring you to abandon the puny human before you and take off into the outer reaches of the world.

But I implore you.  Don’t be the person who ignores a friend for the internet.  When you spend time with a person in person, spend time with him or her, not simply sitting in the same vicinity.  Look at him, talk to her, let your friend know that you value him by taking some time to care enough to put aside technology to listen. Leave the phone in your purse or pocket; put it face down on the table, off to the side.  Maybe she’ll do the same and you’ll both feel cherished.

I’m challenging you this spring to take the time to really be with people and to step away from the phone! It will be worth it, I promise.