The faint echo of loneliness, an autobiographical account of online dating.

I am 73, and hard of hearing. I limp from a stroke, my balance is precarious, and I live alone, divorced. And I am happy and content! Perhaps I shouldn’t be, perhaps I should make this autobiographical account of looking for companionship on the Internet a tear jerker, a “poor me” story. That would be impossible, because I am so blessed: blessed to be a son of the Lord of Life, Jesus Christ; blessed to have three wonderful daughters and to be friends with their mother, my former wife; blessed to be a citizen of the 🇺🇸; blessed to be the kind of person who is comfortable with my own company, who is not subject to the whipsaw of emotional extremes. I didn’t include among my blessings being a white male; while that circumstance of birth has made some parts of my life easier, ease does not develop character or initiative. The blessings were the result of my actions and decisions, though the call of Christ unto salvation is irresistible and ordained. Even being an American citizen was a decision: I fled to Canada after quitting Army Officer candidate school, knowing that my next step was Vietnam, but decided to return and complete my duty, despite my opposition to that war.

After having been married for 29 years, living alone was actually a kind of relief. Doing what I wanted when I wanted, without being accountable to anyone (though my daughters and I text and email and visit regularly), was like a vacation, at first. When I saw a notice that four 1970’s vintage British Prog Rock groups were doing a tour together, and appearing at the Mountain Winery in Saratoga, California, 1,000 miles away, I immediately bought a ticket without checking with anyone, and decided to drive, because the route through rural Oregon was one of the few I had not driven before—I have visited every National Park in Washington, Oregon and California and many state parks. Okay, back to looking for love. When I got back from Cali, I discovered that my former wife had found new love on the Internet, and was planning to get married next year. Hmm, maybe I could be successful in the same way. Or not, since getting married again was not on my radar.

I enrolled in three dating sites, and made certain things very clear in my profile: age, creative writing, background, importance of my Christian Faith, political attitudes, central beliefs, quirky offbeat sense of humor and that I was not looking for marriage, rather companionship that could develop into something more. Here are the takeaways, my personal lessons about Internet “dating” or searching: few women use their real name, and most reveal very little about themselves but a lot about what they are looking for; the “dating pool” for someone like me—very self revealing, creative, highly educated and articulate, clearly not inclined to marriage, expecting a similar level of those traits—was small to non-existent, at least within 60 miles of Spokane, Washington. But, on the last day of my membership on the sites, someone sent me a message that she was intrigued by my profile and wanted to correspond. Yay? Maybe?

Since my membership was going to expire the next day, I wrote that we should consider exchanging personal emails and correspond that way. So we did. She wanted to see my writing, so I sent her some blog posts. I have to admit, her enthusiasm and careful reading of them gave me an ego boost, and in her second email she admitted that she was not using her real name in either our correspondence or her email address. That’s understandable, even prudent, for a woman trying to connect with unknown men. As my theme meme says, “anything can be polished online.” However, one theme that she kept emphasizing was, “I’m so glad to connect with a man who embraces true Christianity, there are so many lukewarm pseudo Christians out there.” While I agreed with her, the vociferousness with which she expressed that opinion gave me a little pause. Why? I have found that there is often none, or a negative correlation, between how strongly someone condemns something, and how diligently they practice the opposite of what they condemn. If she criticized people for being lukewarm in their own faith, the odds favor that she is no better. Righteous people don’t talk about righteousness, they practice it. Another cause for pause was all the questions she had for me, while answering virtually none of mine.

Anyway, before deciding to meet, I wanted her to know exactly how my health was, so she could decide if my balance and walking issues were a dealbreaker. Then, the day after I sent that email, I received a diagnosis of cancer, specifically, Merkel Cell Carcinoma, the 6th rarest cancer. My prognosis was good, it was caught very early. After this information, she wrote back that she would take a few days to decide whether she wanted to pursue this relationship, or end it. I was fine with that. In fact, as I thought about the feasibility of developing a close relationship with a woman ten years younger, and healthier and more active than me, I became very self conscious about my walking and energy level. So much so, that I began hoping that she would decide to break it off. Her “few days” became weeks, and now, a month later, I have not heard from her. The “ball is in her court”, so to speak, and every day that passes without her “giving me an answer” makes it less likely she ever will. If our situations were reversed, I would quickly let her know that either I wanted to continue, or not. That is, in my world, the right thing, the courageous thing. Simply not communicating, after giving me her word that she would, is a dealbreaker for me. So why do I still hope to hear back?

Under Communism, you guarded your words. Is that better than becoming a meme?

Don’t turn me into a meme!

Taki’s Magazine, called Takimag for short, is an online magazine of politics and culture published by the Greek journalist and socialite Taki Theodoracopulos and edited by his daughter Mandolyna Theodoracopulos. Taki writes in a piece called Better Red Than Woke: “What amuses me to no end is when millennials whine that their complacent elders bequeathed to them a rotten world that leaves them to live rotten lives. Unprecedented prosperity and the defeat of communism mean little to them. Mind you, it’s close, living under the yoke of communism or the tyranny of the digital revolution and its gadgets. I’ll take the former because you could whisper things to people in Red Square, whereas under the latter, one cannot be heard. People are too busy looking at screens and their ears are blocked. And PC coupled with #MeToo are far more unforgiving and punitive than post-Stalin communism was.”

Modern digital technologies, especially in the guises of social media apps like Twitter, Instagram, #hashtags, Snapchat or, to a lesser extent, Facebook, are like serpentine sewer pipes tapping into the limbic system of humanity, revealing the depths of hearts and souls. As emotional impulses are translated into words and images with a half life of their own, sometimes they really stick. Yesterday, I was watching College Gameday on ESPN, my usual fall Saturday morning ritual, when a bunch of people I didn’t recognize, who were caught by the camera in various embarrassing actions or expressions during years of the show, were featured. Each were being interviewed about the effect of becoming a “meme” on their lives.

In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” This celebrated quote has become Andy Warhol’s most well-known statement. It led to the concept of “15 minutes of fame”—the idea that celebrity, from media scandals to memes, will almost always be fleeting. The original quote seems to trace back to a 1968 brochure that Warhol distributed to exhibition attendees in Sweden, and while the expression became his most famous “quote”, he never actually said it. Be that as it may, the Internet and attendant digital technologies have rendered that quote obsolete. Memes live on as long as the Internet lives. The lovely coed trying to catch a football, when the camera recorded the exact second the ball hit her in the face instead, became an object of scorn. The six sorority sisters ignoring the game while passing their phones back and forth, laughing at whatever was on the screens, became objects of ridicule once the camera recorded those vapid expressions. The fat, shirtless literature professor, sitting in the sun in the bleachers, reading a book, waiting for the game to begin, became famous for his flab instead. Some of the people-turned-memes sought fame, like Bella, whose resemblance to Clemson star Trevor Lawrence led to her 15 seconds of fame when her idol hugged her on camera.

If even an unknown person sipping coffee in a dark cafe can become an instant meme when some stranger’s cellphone camera catches a funny expression (and what unguarded expressions frozen by the camera are not funny?), what about a person attending a college football game with national playoff implications, exposed to the roving cameras of ESPN College Gameday? Privacy? Is it an outmoded concept? Roe v. Wade was a 1973 landmark decision by the US Supreme Court. The court ruled that a Texas state law that banned abortions (except to save the life of the mother) was unconstitutional. The ruling made abortion legal in many circumstances. The decision said that a woman’s right to privacy extended to the fetus/unborn child she was carrying. Where in the U.S. Constitution did the “justices” find a right to privacy? I have read the entire Constitution over many times, and have yet to find the word “privacy”, let alone a right to such. The concept developed mainly from of the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Fourth Amendment, which protects against “unreasonable search and seizures,” and subsequently became the central argument in several landmark court decisions, including Roe v. Wade. But I digress.

The British drama series Black Mirror, streaming on Netflix, projects our current technological trends into future alternative societies, but no matter how frightening those episodes were, real life, or is it @realife, is more frightening. Consider the true story of Justine Sacco, 30 years old and the senior director of corporate communications at IAC,  the corporate owner of The Daily Beast, OKCupid and Vimeo.

During the holidays in 2013, as she flew from New York to South Africa, to visit family, she began tweeting acerbic little jokes about the indignities of travel–don’t most of us? There was one about a fellow passenger on the flight from John F. Kennedy International Airport: “ ‘Weird German Dude: You’re in First Class. It’s 2014. Get some deodorant.’—Inner monologue as I inhale BO. Thank God for pharmaceuticals.” Then, during her layover at Heathrow: “Chilly—cucumber sandwiches—bad teeth. Back in London!” Stereotypes, to be sure, and often true, but most of us assume that the objects of her scorn are Caucasian. Then on Dec. 20, from Heathrow Airport, before the final leg of her trip to Cape Town: “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!” OOPS!

She had only 170 Twitter followers when she boarded the plane. It was an 11-hour flight, so she slept. When the plane landed in Cape Town, she turned on her phone. Right away, she got a text from someone she hadn’t spoken to since high school: “I’m so sorry to see what’s happening.” Sacco looked at it, baffled. Then another text: “You need to call me immediately.” It was from her best friend, Hannah. Then her phone exploded with more texts and alerts. And then it rang. It was Hannah. “You’re the No. 1 worldwide trend on Twitter right now,” she said. The furor over Sacco’s tweet had become not just an ideological crusade against her, but also a form of idle entertainment. Her ignorance of her predicament during the 11 hour flight lent both dramatic irony and a pleasing narrative arc. As Sacco’s flight traversed the length of Africa, a hashtag began to trend worldwide: #HasJustineLandedYet. By the time Sacco had touched down, tens of thousands of angry tweets had been sent in response to her joke. “Sorry @JustineSacco,” wrote one Twitter user, “your tweet lives on forever.” That’s how you become world famous in 2013. It has only gotten worse, 6 years later.

Ambiguity to Orthodoxy is not progress.

Let it be, let it be…..there will be an answer, let it be

The BIG Questions, like “who am I “, “what is my purpose in life”, and “who or what created me” yield, at best, ambiguous answers, if any. The answers are essentially unknowable. Even the answers to little questions, like “when will the tow truck get here”, are unknowable (unless the tow truck driver keeps up a running dialogue it’s you, which we will admit is as unlikely as the exact minute is unknowable). How can you discern the person with a low tolerance for ambiguity? The best way is to listen for the typical first word of their questions. Questions usually begin with interrogatives.

An interrogative word is used to ask questions. Wh-questions are used to ask for information about an event or a situation. A wh-question consists of an interrogative word i.e. who, what, where, when, why followed by a verb and a noun complement. Who, when, where are what I call definitive subject words. All I mean by that is, the information requested is very narrowly definitive. What is a more open-ended interrogative. The answer might be right or wrong based on the knowledge of the object—the person being addressed—or the subject—the actual what. The answer to a what question might also be very specific, like in “what time is it?” All the interrogatives but one tend to yield measurable, definitive or objective information. Why is very different. I submit that the answer is always ambiguous.

The most common question starting with why is some variant of asking for a person’s true motivation, their reasons for doing or saying something. “Why did you/he/she/they do or say that?” Not only can the person addressed not know why someone else did something, they probably don’t even know why they do anything. If you start most questions with why, or you argue with my previous sentence, you probably have a very low tolerance for ambiguity. That’s okay, especially if you can let go of your quest for certainty in matters where certainty isn’t attainable. It isn’t okay if you have to turn what you hope or think are answers into orthodoxy.

Progress reduces ambiguity with attaining more knowledge, like in the experimental method. Regress is making something that is certain into something ambiguous, then turning the manufactured ambiguity into orthodoxy. As a student of the Bible, I am aware of hundreds of ambiguities in what is known as Christianity. There are some things that God explicitly says are not for anyone to know, like the moment that Jesus Christ returns. Some of the Bible is allegorical….or not (book of Revelation), some is eyewitness accounts (the gospels), some is letters to churches and individuals (most of Paul’s letters), some is prophetic (Daniel, the different prophets), some is repeating what God directly told the author (Genesis) and some is rules and regulations that God dictated (Leviticus, Numbers) and some is history (Exodus). Almost every book of the Bible contains some of those elements. If the Bible were not ambiguous, there would be no reason for most sects and denominations to exist, and hopefully no disagreement with theology. However, there is a quite clear distinction between the essentials of the Christian faith, and the secondary doctrines. Orthodoxy in the former is a good thing; the word “truth” appears 139 times, “true” another 110 times in the Bible. It is not a good thing when “certainty-seekers” elevate secondary doctrines to orthodoxy. The evils of the Spanish Inquisition—which tortured and killed hundreds—the burning of supposed witches at the stake, and the massive persecutions of Puritans and Pilgrims, are examples.

Sexually, the Bible is clear about certain ideas: God created man and woman, only women can give birth, men and women are distinctly different in their very natures, marriage is a covenant between a man and a woman, mediated by God. None of that was ever ambiguous in all of history until the late 20th century. Then it all was declared by a hostile culture to be ambiguous, producing the inevitable result of a new orthodoxy. Why do I say inevitable? Because confused people with a low tolerance for ambiguity need to believe in answers, even if they are wrong. Orthodoxy substitutes an illusion of certainty about things that are essentially unknowable. What kind of mind prefers false certainty to the truth, which is often “we don’t know”? The following quote is usually attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt: “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” I should add, “small minds coupled with the desire to control others, produce false orthodoxy.”

The apostle Paul died long ago, yet he described our current state of affairs in Romans 1: For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. – Romans 1:21-25.

Cavilling for fun and profit–if someone reads your opinion.

Here’s a small sample of the daily essay headlines on Medium.com, and website for writers to establish a following: “Another kind of toxic masculinity.”

“Dear white people, please stop invading my space.”

“Sexist Halloween costumes show us how far we haven’t come.”

“The treatment of migrants likely ‘meets the definition of mass atrocity’.”

“Women shouldn’t have to be afraid of running for office.”

“Amazon is an even bigger threat to privacy than Facebook.”

“Dear men, I don’t owe you a thing.”

“The solution to feeling like life sucks, in a three minute read.”

“How Dating Men in Their 30s Compares to Dating Middle-School Boys.” (Spoiler: They’re very similar).

“You can just have sex with someone.”

“Please, Just Call Me Fat (correcting me when I call myself fat is another form of marginalization).”

“What Your Thinness Has Taken From You.” (I told you my reality as a fat person, but you weren’t able to hear it).

Cavil: to make often peevish criticisms or objections about matters that are minor, unimportant, or irrelevant. Synonyms for cavil: carp, fuss, niggle, nitpick, quibble.

Near Antonyms for cavil: applaud, commend, compliment, praise, recommend, approve, champion, endorse.

The point of writing on Medium is to have readers, the way to get readers is to start with a headline that attracts interest. The majority of the headlines sound to me like cavils or complaints. Is that what attracts interest? Has Medium and sites like it become the new alternative “progressive press”?

My favorite headline so far is: “The Progressive press is facing mass extinction.” The subheading is: “Deadspin, Splinter, and ThinkProgress are gone.” The willful blindness of someone who believes those statements is apparent in the essay (or op-ed?), some of which is reproduced here: The mainstream media is hopelessly neutral. Who’s left to check capitalism? When the mainstream press does cover contentious issues, it often paves over clear moral distinctions in favor of “impartiality,” something a leftist press has always understood is not a necessary prerequisite for journalism. People mostly assume that the mainstream media “leans left,” but that only really holds up if you hold that Fox News’s open calls for a white ethno-state are the center. John F. Harris, a founding editor of Politico, realized this in a remarkably self-aware column last week: The mainstream media is biased toward status-quo centrism, not toward “the leftTruly progressive or leftist publications don’t fall into these traps, but in doing so, they often violate the norms that most of the mainstream press adheres to. In short, as Alex Pareene wrote for the New Republic, they’re fucking rude. The problem with punching up — the core aspect of leftist writing — is that the people above you have all the money.

And the people with the money don’t tend to be all that leftist. Billionaires who do fund journalism, such as the Washington Post’s Jeff Bezos and the Los Angeles Times’ Patrick Soon-Shiong, aren’t putting money behind work that threatens their net worth — they own safe, mainstream publications. Pierre Omidyar’s support of the Intercept is the closest to crossing that line, but even then, a billionaire’s whims are fickle. It’s every progressive’s job to make sure their own press doesn’t get left behind.

Could it be that the MAIN REASON the Progressive press is facing extinction is that 1- they are liars, hypocrites and lovers of totalitarianism? Or 2- remarkably un-self aware? 3- Or both? I choose #3.

T(y)ranny follow up.

Everyone knows, devils don’t exist, but if they did…..

C. S. Lewis wrote The Screwtape Letters (1942) in response to one of Hitler’s oily tirades on the eve of the Battle of Britain. Hitler’s false pride, layered with obvious lies, had a profound effect on moral Lewis, an unabashed Christian ever since his conversion when he was 32 years old. Consisting of 31 letters, Lewis’s short novel is written by Screwtape, a major demon in hell, to his demon-in-training nephew on earth, Wormwood, whose job is to tempt a normal person and send him to hell. The letters lay out basic Christian principles and values, although turned on their head since they’re penned from the opposite viewpoint, as “His Abysmal Sublimity” explains to Wormwood what fools these Christians are and how easy it is to lead them astray. The Enemy that Screwtape refers to is the God of the Bible, or simply God. The Screwtape Letters illustrate clearly Satan’s plan, which is brought to life through leftist-progressive-totalitarian ideology.

First step, “marginalize true worship of God: If you can once get him to the point of thinking that ‘religion is all very well up to a point,’ you can feel quite happy about his soul. A moderated religion is as good for us as no religion at all- and more amusing.Second step, substitute “humanism”–worship of the created–for worship of the Creator. The thing to do is to get a man at first to value social justice as a thing which the Enemy demands, and then work him on to the stage at which he values Christianity because it may produce social justice. For the Enemy will not be used as a convenience.Third step, eradicate (if you can) the Creator’s implanted impulses to define “good” and “right” in God’s terms: Be not deceived, Wormwood, our cause is never more in jeopardy than when a human, no longer desiring but still intending to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe in which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.” Fourth step, make it easy to go on the “wide path”: Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one–the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts, Your affectionate uncle, Screwtape.” Matthew 7:13-14: “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.  For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”

Amazon owns IMDb, Internet Movie Database. In an effort to protect their “right” to post only accurate information about actors and actresses, they: conducted exhaustive background searches on a struggling, undiscovered actress; fought off a lawsuit; lobbied against a proposed state law; went to federal court to kill the law after it was passed. All that effort, just to preserve their right to publicly blast the personal information of women without their consent. All that effort, just to retain a policy that harms the careers of actresses, encourages revenge trolling, and prevents women from having control over their professional identity. Amazon/IMDb justified that effort, and those expenses, by repeatedly citing their unbreakable rule: “We never remove factually correct personal information for any reason.

According to David Cole at Takimag.com: In August of this year, trannies demanded that IMDb erase the “birth details” of anyone who “transitions.” Any factual biographical info that a tranny rejects because it represents his/her/its “old self” must be removed, the trannies insisted. Amazon/IMDb responded, “You betcha!” Literally, just like that, Amazon/IMDb said, “We’ll remove biographical info from the profile page of a tranny, even if it’s factual.”

Junie Hoang and dozens (maybe hundreds) of other actresses asked Amazon/IMDb to give women control over how their personal info is displayed. And again and again, Amazon replied, “We will not remove accurate biographical info even if the woman in question wants it removed, and even if the presence of that info harms that woman’s life or career.” But when trannies asked for a special exception just for them, Amazon/IMDb rolled over like a dog.

There’s no better proof that what trannies are demanding is not equal rights, but special privileges. The bigger question is, why did Amazon cave so quickly? Why did it spend untold hours and dollars fighting a woman (a nonwhite woman) in court, only to bend immediately to trannies?

Cole again: The transsexual agenda represents an all-out assault on the very notion of “normal,” and destroying normal is what the left wants more than anything. Amazon surely understands the importance of trannyism to the left, and the path of least resistance was to cave to the trannies’ demands. But to those who’ve made the annihilation of normal their singular goal, the decision by Amazon/IMDb represents more than just another instance of tranny favoritism. Amazon/IMDb has aped Wikipedia, which also has a policy that allows trannies to erase the history of their former selves. Wikipedia and IMDb are supposed to be encyclopedias, archives, reference works. They’re supposed to document and preserve data for the historical record. But whereas Wikipedia’s ideological biases are well-known and inevitable due to the site’s decentralized, “communal” nature (which ensures that the loudest and most fanatical trolls—I mean “editors”—prevail), IMDb is centrally controlled, and by a corporation that wields enormous power and influence.

The tranny cult isn’t just about warping present-day reality; it’s also about erasing the past. It’s about forcing us to believe not only that a man in a dress is a woman, but that he’s always been one. Gaslighting us Terminator-style by going back in time to erase the inconvenient past of people who have decided to “reinvent” as someone else. I choose to begin this post with The Screwtape Letters, because Lewis emphasizes that “The devil’s finest trick is to persuade you that he does not exist.” And that he never did. But God’s Word says differently. The sower sows the word.  And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy. Mark 4:15-16. The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Luke 10:17-19. There are 49 references to “Satan”, 51 to the “serpent”, 18 to the “dragon” and 33 references in the Bible to the “devil”. 151 references in the Bible to a “personage” that doesn’t exist?

The two coming floods ain’t due to “climate change.”

Most of this information is courtesy of The Foundation For Economic Education, FEE.com. On January 31, 1940, Ida Fuller received a check for $22.54. She was the first person to retire under the Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) scheme, better known as Social Security. At the time of her retirement in 1939, she had paid just $22 in Social Security taxes, then she lived to be 100 (laughing all the way?), cashing over $20,000 worth of Social Security checks.

If she had only paid $22.54 in contributions, where did the $20,000 she received in Social Security payouts come from? It came, as it does now, from the taxpayers of the day. As of 2019, your employer deducts 6.2 % of your wages up to $132,900 a year, matches this amount, and sends it to the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA deposits this with the Treasury, which spends it and receives Treasury bonds in return. This is the fabled trust fund that guarantees Social Security. But all Treasury bonds are simply IOUs redeemable against the income of tomorrow’s taxpayers. When one of the Treasury bonds held by the SSA falls due for payment, the Treasury can only get the funds to meet this liability by taxing, borrowing (taxing the taxpayers of tomorrow), or printing money (imposing an inflation tax). In each case, what really guarantees Social Security is not the money you paid in but the earnings of today’s or tomorrow’s taxpayers.

Such a pay-as-you-go scheme could chug along well enough as long as there were lots of workers relative to retirees. When the program began, every 100 workers were supporting three retirees. But politicians being what they are–always generous with other people’s money–the benefits were expanded. Originally intended to cover only about 50 % of all workers, Social Security was expanded even before Ida Fuller received her first check to provide benefits for dependents of retired workers and surviving dependents. In the post-war years, Social Security grew further. Disability benefits, payable as early as age 50, were added in 1956, and during the 1950’s coverage was extended to other previously excluded workers, making it essentially universal. Congress soon passed across-the-board benefit increases of 7 % (1965), 13 % (1967), 15 % (1969), 10 % (1971), 20 % (1972), and 11 % (1974). In 1972, benefits were tied to the Consumer Price Index, yielding an annual “cost of living adjustment.”

As if this expansion were not enough, in 1965, Medicare was signed into law, establishing a heavily subsidized federal health care program for the elderly. Former President Harry Truman and his wife received the first Medicare cards without paying a cent in Medicare taxes. Like Social Security, Medicare is financed by a payroll tax of 2.9 % split between employer and employee, up from 0.7 % in 1966. (If you are “self-employed”, as I was most of my working life, you have no employer to split costs with, and pay the entire 7.65% S.S. and Medicare tax). Like Social Security, that money gets paid right out to meet current expenses, which were vastly expanded by passage of Medicare Part D in 2003. And like Social Security, such a pay-as-you-go scheme could chug along well enough as long as there were lots of workers relative to retirees.

Two things derailed that. US birth rates fell from births 3.65 births per woman in 1965 to 1.80 in 2016, and life expectancy rose from 68 in 1950 to 79 today. Together, this meant ever more retirees relative to the workers supporting them. By 2017, 100 workers were supporting 25 retirees. Let’s not mention aborting MILLIONS of potential workers fetuses. Over 75 years, Social Security has an unfunded liability of $13.9 trillion.

The Medicare hospital insurance trust fund could run out of reserves in 2026. Medicare’s second trust fund, for physician and outpatient services and for prescription drugs, is permanently “solvent” because it has an unlimited call on the general fund of the Treasury—the incomes of future taxpayers. Premiums paid by the beneficiaries will cover only about 25 % of program costs; the rest of the spending is unfinanced. Medicare’s overall unfunded liability over 75 years is more than $37 trillion.

By the expanding eligibility for and hiking the benefits of a pay-as-you-go system while at the same time having fewer children to fund it, the generations preceding that child have left a fearsome financial obligation. Either taxes will go up sharply for the workers of tomorrow, lowering their standard of living, or benefits will go down for the retirees of tomorrow, lowering their standard of living. One group is going to feel pretty angry. Hey kids–millennials, Gen XYZ, whose idea was it to have fewer kids? My generation made plenty of mistakes, but we were killed the “baby boom” for a reason.

That’s just one coming “flood”. Ugh, you mean it gets worse? Do any of my readers know someone know someone suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease? Does anyone not? Just imagine what a coming burden Alzheimer’s will be. Doesn’t require much imagination…just ask a family member. THE GOOD NEWS: WELL BEFORE GLOBAL WARMING DROWNS THE PLANET, YOU’LL BE THOROUGHLY BROKE AND YOUR PARENTS WON’T EVEN RECOGNIZE YOU AS YOU RAIL AGAINST THEM FOR MESSING IT ALL UP.

BUT GOD IS IN HIS HEAVEN, SOVEREIGN OVER ALL!

Handling insults gracefully builds bridges and self esteem.

Maybe not THIS funny….

I am 73, and walk funny, slapping rather than planting my left foot, due to a stroke over three years ago. I just read about a 65 year old man who was suing Staples for age discrimination. In his complaint, he said that numerous supervisors denigrated him specifically due to age, referring to him as, when talking to others, as the “old coot” or “codger”, and when he didn’t take the hint and retire or quit, they fired him for a trumped up theft of a co-worker’s lunch. He did and said nothing back while working, but sued when he was fired. A jury awarded him $15 million in punitive and compensatory damages.

When you are insulted, either to your face or within your hearing, how do you handle it? I am not talking about hypersensitive crap like “microaggressions”, “cultural appropriation” or “assumed racism”. I’m talking real insults! And not the dull, dumb, unimaginative stuff like “you suck” or “your mother is ugly” that spews from the mouths of genuine idiots. I mean the kind of insults that attack and target the things you are most defenseless, defensive, and offended by, like jokes about your weight, your disability, your intelligence, your sexual prowess…..you know, all the things that normal people realize are off limits….or should be. Many will take issue with my denigrating microaggressions, cultural appropriation or assumed racism. Before I comment, consider the popular definition of microaggression: “Everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership”. Whether intentional or unintentional???

Now I will offer a definition of the definition: “The propensity of overly sensitive or self-conscious people to find or take offense at every day comments or questions, by reading bad intentions into them; especially hurtful to those who feel left out of the privilege sweepstakes, or whose sense of privilege is less than that of the speaker. How exactly does a “nonverbal or environmental slight” ‘communicate’ anything, let alone “hostile or derogatory messages?” Can you read someone’s mind? Do you know their intentions, even when they don’t (the “unintentional” part)?

If my definition of the definition of micro aggression offended you, here is your first lesson in how to effectively put on your big boy, or girl, pants. Advice #1. Since a “microaggression” can be, by definition, “intentional or unintentional”, and since you don’t know whether it is, nor do you know what, if anything, the speaker meant, any reference to it, or your feelings about it, will probably make you look weak or foolish. That being said, there are ways to not only render the insulter foolish and embarrassed, but to cast you as the coolest head that was ever insulted, IF you are very certain an insult was intentional. Worst advice: “If you feel slighted, odds are you were. You’re not being too sensitive. That thing really did happen.” No, your feelings say more about you than the other person! That’s advice #2.

Advice #3. If the insults are name-calling accusations, like “racist” or “homophobe”, ask for a definition, pretending ignorance. “If I knew what a ‘homophobe’ was, I could own up to it, so would you grace me with a definition?” Note, you are not saying “I’m sorry, I don’t know what that is.” Don’t say “sorry” when you aren’t. Your statement implies you’re open minded enough to accept the insult, while challenging the insulter to define their terms—which will usually be embarrassing because they can rarely define them. In the unlikely event they can define the term, and you believe you really meet the definition, admit it. Be the big person….that’s power. Ask for forgiveness, rather than say you’re sorry. Sorry is about your feelings. Why should they care? But asking for forgiveness gives the other person an opportunity to be the big person also. You might even develop a friendship based on mutual respect. That’s the big prize!

Advice #4. Be creative by going their insult one further. One day I was walking in a park, my left foot doing its flapping routine. Then I sat down on a bench. There were three teenage boys observing me. They thought it might be amusing to mimic my walk a little, stealing sideways glances at me, as they took turns getting up from their bench. I wasn’t angry, I thought “here’s my chance for some fun.” I went over to them and said, “you guys are doing it all wrong, I flap every second step, you’re flapping every step. Watch me, here’s the right way to imitate.” They were totally embarrassed, hoping not to be noticed by families in the park. This advice is, turn the insult around by doing it better and treating it as something they should master.

Advice #5. Pretend you’re in the military, or on a team with a mission. There are no trigger words, microaggressions or excuses to sulk when your mission, or even your life, is at stake and depends on teamwork. Being focused on something bigger than your feelings—and what isn’t bigger—gives you the chance to put your momentary feelings and tendency to react on hold. Later, when your initial reaction has settled, you can talk it out, or more often, wonder what you were so upset about.