Thoughts to Start 2023 and Begin a New Year


As we leave the “Old Year” behind and get ready to greet the “New Year” here are some thoughts that I hope you will enjoy from some great poets and authors.  These writings are in the public domain. 

The Death of the Old Year by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

And the winter winds are wearily sighing:

Toll ye the church bell sad and slow,

And tread softly and speak low,

For the old year lies a-dying.

Old year you must not die;

You came to us so readily,

You lived with us so steadily,

Old year you shall not die.


He lieth still: he doth not move:

He will not see the dawn of day.

He hath no other life above.

He gave me a friend and a true truelove

And the New-year will take ’em away.

Old year you must not go;

So long you have been with us,

Such joy as you have seen with us,

Old year, you shall not go.


He froth’d his bumpers to the brim;

A jollier year we shall not see.

But tho’ his eyes are waxing dim,

And tho’ his foes speak ill of him,

He was a friend to me.

Old year, you shall not die;

We did so laugh and cry with you,

I’ve half a mind to die with you,

Old year, if you must die.


He was full of joke and jest,

But all his merry quips are o’er.

To see him die across the waste

His son and heir doth ride post-haste,

But he’ll be dead before.

Every one for his own.

The night is starry and cold, my friend,

And the New-year blithe and bold, my friend,

Comes up to take his own.


How hard he breathes! over the snow

I heard just now the crowing cock.

The shadows flicker to and fro:

The cricket chirps: the light burns low:

‘Tis nearly twelve o’clock.

Shake hands, before you die.

Old year, we’ll dearly rue for you:

What is it we can do for you?

Speak out before you die.


His face is growing sharp and thin.

Alack! our friend is gone,

Close up his eyes: tie up his chin:

Step from the corpse, and let him in

That standeth there alone,

And waiteth at the door.

There’s a new foot on the floor, my friend,

And a new face at the door, my friend,

 A new face at the door.


New Year’s Eve by Thomas Hardy

    “I have finished another year,” said God,

     “In grey, green, white, and brown;

    I have strewn the leaf upon the sod,

    Sealed up the worm within the clod,

     And let the last sun down.”

    “And what’s the good of it?” I said.

     “What reasons made you call

    From formless void this earth we tread,

    When nine-and-ninety can be read

     Why nought should be at all?

    “Yea, Sire; why shaped you us, ‘who in

     This tabernacle groan’ –

    If ever a joy be found herein,

    Such joy no man had wished to win

     If he had never known!”

    Then he: “My labours – logicless –

     You may explain; not I:

    Sense-sealed I have wrought, without a guess

    That I evolved a Consciousness

     To ask for reasons why.

    “Strange that ephemeral creatures who

     By my own ordering are,

    Should see the shortness of my view,

    Use ethic tests I never knew,

     Or made provision for!”

    He sank to raptness as of yore,

     And opening New Year’s Day

    Wove it by rote as theretofore,

    And went on working evermore

     In his unweeting way.


Te Deum by Charles Reznikoff,

Not because of victories

I sing,

having none,

but for the common sunshine,

the breeze,

the largess of the spring.

Not for victory

but for the day’s work done

as well as I was able;

not for a seat upon the dais

but at the common table.


Brighter, Better New Year by Joanna Fuchs

Happy, happy New Year!

We wish you all the best,

Great work to reach your fondest goals,

And when you’re done, sweet rest.

We hope for your fulfillment,

Contentment, peace and more,

A brighter, better new year than

You’ve ever had before.


A New Year to Start

Finally, from some place within me that calculates the benefits of a New Year versus the Old Year, I believe that January 1, 2023, brings more than just the beginning of a New Year.  It brings a promise of hope and possibilities.

It is the time when it becomes traditional for us to form new resolutions, new dreams, and new goals.  It is the time when we want to begin over and try to make those desires come true that did not work out the year before. 

We should bring in the New Year as a mother brings in a newborn baby, full of promise and love.  There are those critics and skeptics who look at the inevitable human trail of broken dreams and unfulfilled goals from bygone years and laugh at our efforts.  Let us not be like those who deny the possibility of hope and change. 

I may often be a pessimist but for any of you with the courage to tackle a new set of goals or dreams, I say “try, try, and try again.”  When you give up your dreams, you give up your life. 

Happy New Year from the Persicos.

Can a Lying Elected Politician Keep Their $174,000 dollars a Year Job? 


‘Twas several nights after Christmas and a few nights before the New Year of 2023 when I first heard the news about George Santos.  A recently elected Representative from NY to a very narrow Republican Majority in the US House of Representatives.  Santos has been caught in a series of lies regarding his background and credentials.  Tulsi Gabbard conducted an interview with him on the Tucker Carlson show this past Tuesday night (12-27-22).  The transcript of this interview was published in “The Hill” by Emily Brooks on 12-27-2022.  I would like to add my commentary to the views that were published regarding this interview.  First, I must give my congratulations to Ms. Gabbard for her interview.  She asked some hard questions and literally kept the lying Santo’s feet to the fire. 


My prologue to this interview is simply this.  Lying starting with Trump has become endemic in the Republican Party.  They seem to have no qualms or shame when it comes to telling lies.  They will do little or nothing to sanction Santos for two reasons.  First, because lying is the norm for Republicans today, and it is not illegal.  Second, because they do not want to risk losing Santo’s seat in the house.  With this preliminary insight out of the way, I want to add my comments to the following transcript.  I shall try to make my comments obvious by bolding my opinions and viewpoints.

I have one caveat to make before I start.  I am not kicking a sleeping dog.  This dog refuses to stop biting.  He is not giving up his seat and he refuses to accept any responsibility for his lies.  Instead, he says he is ready to serve his constituents and wants the world to just forget his transgressions. 

Tulsi Gabbard tears into George Santos during Fox interview: ‘Do you have no shame?’  —  BY EMILY BROOKS – 12/27/22 9:38 PM ET

Former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) ripped into Rep.-elect George Santos (R-N.Y.) over his embellishments and fabrications about his background, asking him point-blank, “Do you have no shame?”

“If I were one of those in New York’s 3rd District right now, now that the election is over, and I’m finding out all of these lies that you’ve told, not just one little lie or one little embellishment — these are blatant lies — my question is, do you have no shame?” Gabbard asked while filling in for Fox News host Tucker Carlson in an interview with Santos on Tuesday evening. “Do you have no shame? And the people who are now, you’re asking to trust you to go and be their voice for them, their families and their kids in Washington?”

“Tulsi, I can say the same thing about the Democrats,” Santos responded. “Look at Joe Biden. Joe Biden has been lying to the American people for 40 years. He’s the president of the United States.  Democrats resoundingly support him.  Do they have no shame?”

Here we have the time-honored way of deflecting the blame by attacking someone else.  It is a version of the philosophical “Ad Hominem” fallacy, where you attack another person to avoid taking any responsibility for your own problems.  Santos attacks Biden and avoids answering the question regarding his lack thereof of any shame.  If he was going to mention a President who lied, he should have mentioned Trump who undoubtedly broke all records for lying to the American people. 

Gabbard interjected, saying that her question was not about the Democrats.

Three cheers for Gabbard who stepped on his strategy.

Santos has emerged from days of silence following reports from The New York Times and other outlets this month that revealed misrepresentations, fabrications and lies about his personal background.

In various interviews with the New York Post and elsewhere this week, Santos has admitted to “embellishing” his resume, including saying that he did not graduate from college and that he did not work directly for financial giants Citigroup and Goldman Sachs.

I love this.  He did not graduate from college.  He did not work for one of the major financial giants.  But he just calls adding these lies to his resume an “embellishment”.  I wonder if you went in for a job interview with lies like this on your resume whether the interviewer would see it as a simple embellishment?   If they found out after you were hired, do you think they would keep you on the job?  Where else in the world can you lie repeatedly and keep your job except for the US House of Representative and US Senate.  The present salary for a US Representative is $174,000 a year.  

Santos says a poor choice of words led to confusion about his work history, insisting that he did business with both companies and helped make “capital introductions” through “limited partnerships.” He relayed some of that explanation in the interview with Gabbard.

I did not lie says Santos, I merely chose my words poorly.  Like me saying that Santos is a lying sack of putrid excrement instead of a lying sack of shit.  Sorry, I just chose my worlds poorly.  I hope I did not offend anyone.  I promise I will choose my words more carefully in the future.

He has also come under fire for representing himself as an “American Jew” and saying that his maternal grandparents fled Europe during World War II, even though reports have emerged that those grandparents were born in Brazil before the war.

This is truly unbelievable.  He is on record and on video as lying to a Jewish assembly about his religion and heritage.  He claims he is culturally Jewish but was raised as a Catholic.  I was raised as a Catholic but was culturally Italian since my father was Italian.  I cannot see how any Catholic could be culturally Jewish.  As many Jewish people will tell you, for many years, Catholicism treated Jews as “Those killers of Christ.”  I remember being told that it was a mortal sin to step into a synagogue.  I am sure my Catholic priest would have had a heart attack if he found out that I attended a “Seder” or Passover rite with some Jewish friends.   

Gabbard pressed Santos on those points.

“My heritage is Jewish. I’ve always identified as Jewish. I was raised as a practicing Catholic,” Santos said. “Not being raised a practicing Jew, I’ve always joked with friends and circles, even within the campaign, I’d say, guys, I’m ‘Jew-ish.’ Remember, I was raised Catholic.”

This sounds like some sort of Orwellian Double Speak.  “Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it.” — George Orwell. 1984. Part 1, Chapter 5. 

Santos uses some convoluted thought to try to convince us that deep down he is Jewish.  I suppose if he were running in Alabama, he would be a Baptist and in Utah, he would be a Mormon. 

“So, look, I understand everybody wants to nitpick at me. I’m gonna reassure this once and for all. I’m not a facade. I’m not a persona. I have an extensive career that I worked really hard to achieve. And I’m going to deliver from my experience because I remain committed in delivering results for the American people,” Santos said.

Boohoo.  Please feel sorry for me.  Santos must have picked this shtick up from Nixon.  He needs a small dog in his lap while giving us this speech before I can feel sorry for him.  Yes, I know he has a mother who loves him. 

“Congressman-elect Santos, we’ve given you a lot of time. I think the time that is owed is to the people of New York’s 3rd. It’s hard to imagine how they could possibly trust your explanations when you’re not really even willing to admit the depth of your deception to them,” Gabbard said.

This coming from a Tucker Carlson show host really surprised me.  Gabbard skewered him mercilessly.  She must have forgotten that she switched parties and was now a Republican.  I would not be surprised to see a rebuttal from the Republican party concerning her remarks. 

Gabbard is the second former Democratic member of Congress to interview Santos this week. He also spoke with former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), who resigned in 2011 after the revelation of sexually explicit messages he sent to a minor, on WABC radio this week.

My guess is that Weiner and Santos have a lot in common and it is not their Jewishness.  You might remember Weiner as the man who sent a picture of his penis through a text to one of his girl friends while he was married.  Birds of a feather flock together. 

I have nothing more to add folks.  As they say, actions speak louder than words.  When are we going to demand some level of truthfulness in our politicians and trouble them for their lying ads and words?  Even now, I hear people saying “Well, he did not do anything illegal.”  Whatever happened to unethical and immoral?  Are we willing to tolerate deceit and falsehoods regardless of the circumstances because they are not illegal. 

There is a difference between justice and the law.  Justice demands that people we elect are honest and ethical and moral.  Any less should disqualify a person from holding a public office.

What is the true meaning of Christmas? Does anyone really know?


It is around this time of the year that many of us start asking the question “What is the true meaning of Christmas?”  I am sure that for those who do ponder this question, your inquiry is no doubt prompted by an assortment of stimuli.  For example:  Black Friday, Cyber Monday, shop till you drop lists, Toys for Tots, Christmas countdowns, gift rages, children meltdowns, commercials, jingles and endless exhortations to buy that special gift that will truly show someone you love them.

I must be humble.  Many have tried to answer this question before me.  I am nowhere near the first nor do I assume the last who will ever tackle this issue.  Thus, I offer my opinion where no doubt many wiser than I have gone before me and many wiser will go after.  However, if I merely offer you some fresh insights into this age old question, I will have accomplished my goal.  Perhaps I may see things in a slightly different perspective than all the wise people who have already treaded on this question.

I am going to break the key question “What is the true meaning of Christmas?” into three parts or three sub-questions.

The first sub-question is “Why do we celebrate Christmas?”  The answer to this question is obvious.  A man named Jesus was born on or near this date in the time of the Roman occupation of Israel.  He is alternately revered as a great prophet, the son of God, the Messiah or a humble man with a simple but profound message.  Many who respect him honor his memory on December 25 each year.

The second sub-question is “What should we celebrate at Christmas?”  The most common means of celebrating the life of a great person is to remember what they stood for.  Jesus IMHO stood for two major ideas which were radical in his time.  The first major idea was to “Love Everyone.”  This meant that you needed to love your enemies as well as your friends.  Easy to love your friends said Jesus, much more difficult to love your enemies.  The second major idea was to “Forgive Everyone.”  Again, not just forgiveness for your friends and relatives but also for those you hate and your mortal enemies.  Thus, at Christmastime, Christians and those who wish to venerate Jesus of Nazareth should be celebrating both Love and Forgiveness.  We see many manifestations of the love at this time of the year but much less focus on forgiveness.  The truth of this will be more evident when we look at the third sub-question:  “How do we Celebrate Christmas?” 

“How do we celebrate Christmas?”   How do we take the two major ideas that Jesus stood for and remember them.  Each concept could be honored in a variety of ways.  The primary way that we seem to express the idea of Love is through the giving of gifts.  We can give gifts of the spirit or gifts of the world.  Gifts of the spirit express our love for others by giving some of ourselves.  We give some immaterial expression of love to others that we care about.  We might choose to spend time with a loved one or simply help them out with a project or task that needs doing.

We also give physical or material gifts.  These include toys, gadgets, technology, clothes, jewelry etc.  Material gifts express our love by transferring our money into presents for others based on their perceived wants and needs.  It is quite common to see gifts given based on wants but needs are less frequently factored into the gift giving equation.  One could posit a hierarchy of gift giving, going from easiest to give to most difficult.  I think it would look something like this:

  • Material gifts based on wants (easy)
  • Material gifts based on needs (more difficult)
  • Spiritual gifts based on wants (difficult)
  • Spiritual gifts based on needs (very difficult)

It is not always easy to distinguish between wants and needs, particularly when dealing with children who often confuse the two.  The good parent should be able to tell the difference, but all too often parents are more interested in simply satisfying their child’s wants rather than dealing with their child’s needs.  The Love of Jesus becomes a love focused on completing a shopping list of wants.  Little attention is spent on needs while even less time is spent on spiritual gifts.  It is easier to buy a gift card than to spend time with a friend or loved one.

How do we deal at Christmastime with the second major idea that Jesus promoted, the idea that we should Forgive others?  This idea does not seem to have seriously entered the panoply of displays that we see or that are observed at this time of the year.  Somehow, Forgiveness gets forgotten at Christmas time.  A cynic might wonder if it is not because this is the hardest idea to implement.  Can you imagine sending a beautiful gift of flowers or jewelry to someone you loath and detest?  Can you imagine spending time with someone you hate or giving some gift of the spirit to someone you dislike?   I suggest that such demonstrations of Forgiveness would be unusual for most Christians as well as non-Christians.

So “What is the true meaning of Christmas?”  After dicing and slicing this question what are we left with?  A short summary of the main points that I have made to address this question might help:

  • We celebrate the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, a great prophet, teacher and to some God
  • Jesus’s mission and purpose was to teach us Love and Forgiveness
  • We attempt to celebrate his concept of Love during the time we think he was born
  • We substitute gift giving for more substantive displays of Love or more difficult expressions of the concept
  • We leave out or neglect Jesus’s concept of Forgiveness

Perhaps this Christmas, we can all try to GIVE more Forgiveness.  If there is a “True Meaning of Christmas”, if Jesus were alive today, I am sure he would be most pleased if we all spent more time trying to love our enemies as well as our friends and to forgive those who “Trespass against us.”  

Time for Questions:

What is your “meaning” for Christmas?  How do you celebrate the birth of Jesus?  What could you do more of this year to truly celebrate his message?  What can we do to help make Forgiveness part of the Christmas message?

Life is just beginning.

“How many observe Christ’s birthday!  How few, His precepts!” ― Benjamin Franklin

“And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
the Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!”
― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The Persico Annual Holiday Letter for 2022



Dear Friends and Relatives,    

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

John:  This year if you are reading our annual Holiday Letter, please be advised that you will be billed $6.00 for an Opportunity Charge.  If you are a frequent reader of my blog at, I am also billing six dollars to read each weekly blog.  I have decided that if Elon Musk can charge six dollars for Tweeting on Twitter, I should be able to follow his lead.  For this small charge, I promise to provide the same fine insights into the world, great ideas on improving your life, and musings on happenings in the political sphere that you have come to expect.  (I stole this last line from NPR.)  With the financial bit out of the way, I will now turn to the good news from the Persicos. 

Best of all, we are still alive, quite healthy and manage to get out of bed most days.  At our annual medical visit, our doctor was quite complimentary.  After taking our blood pressure and vitals, he said that neither Karen nor I looked a day over 80.  When we informed him that Karen was 78 and I was 76, he apologized and said that he must have picked up some old persons’ charts. 

Message_1665866332006Moving on from the medical stuff, we sold our Wisconsin house.  We are now year-round residents in the state where my brother-in-law said, “People go to die.”  Can you guess where this is?  Hint, it is not Florida, although it would be a close second.  Karen and I were not offended by his claim since we have known many people who seemed to die around here.  Last year, we started a Holiday Tradition of remembering departed friends and relatives on New Year’s Eve while singing “Old Auld Lang Syne” and talking about what we missed or did not miss about each of them.  We hope they were listening to the good points that Karen mentioned and not their weak points that I am more prone to point out. 

Now for the bad news. We know that you will be disappointed, but I have decided to skip all the shots, boosters, more boosters, aches, and pains that we had this year as it would take up too much of this letter.  Sadly, another year passed, and we still have not been invited to any State dinners or High Society affairs.  We are hoping that in two years when Biden kicks Trumps butt again, we will get invited to his Inaugural Ball.  That is assuming Biden and Trump do not become part of our New Year’s Holiday Tradition.  Well, that’s all the bad news for now.  If you want more, turn on the daily news or pick up your local newspaper.  Time to go back to my Tequila and let Karen finish this letter.  She likes to provide the family updates.  She posed with Santa earlier this year at a Home Depot Store.  


Karen:  I am thankful for many things this year.  We remain healthy (and vaccinated and boosted) and still able to do our exercise regimes.  John runs trails in the Casa Grande mountains and I get to the Casa Grande Community Center 4 times a week for Senior Fit and Zumba.  It was a relief to have the home in Frederic sold.  Maintaining two homes cost too much money and too much work.  It was fun when we were younger and had more income.   

We could not leave Frederic entirely as we have made many friends there over the years.  We will go back to Frederic for the summer (for fewer months than before).  We already have an RV site reserved in Clam Falls.  We have been busy updating this house, getting our stuff from Frederic integrated, getting a new AC unit and new flooring.  So far, we have found room for the things we brought here.  Unfortunately, there are still a bunch of boxes in WI in a storage unit, so more will need to come back next year.  My weeks are full of uke group, Tucson Dulcimer Ensemble, church choir and starting my first quilt.  I am using a pattern with John’s old ties which he cheerfully donated to me. 

Megan (Youngest Daughter) caravanned back to MN this year with us, and is settled in a lovely apartment one half mile from the White Bear house she grew up in.  Her little min-pin, Bambi, is quite confused about this white stuff outside, but Megan is very happy to be back in MN and connecting with her siblings and cousins while working remotely as a real estate software trainer.  Kevin (Son) moved to his WI vacation home during COVID and is still there, working remotely with LinkedIn and remodeling his home.  Susan (Second Oldest Daughter) works remotely with Premier, a large medical purchasing organization.  Her boys are no longer home, and her rescue dog, Bart, keeps her company.  She and her youngest, Sam, just returned from a trip to Korea to visit her birth mom and family.  Juli (Oldest Child) has weathered a second brain surgery for tumors resulting from her childhood leukemia treatment.  Rob (Juli Spouse) manages all her follow up appointments along with continuing to teach in Prescott.  Juli has been able to resume some of her sewing projects despite failing vision in her left eye.  Our grandchildren (Six in total) are all in their 20s and one turned 30 this year.  Where did the time go?  No great grandchildren yet, which is OK as our young folks take their time to find themselves in this challenging world. 

Wishing you all peace, health, and happiness in the upcoming year.




Karen and John     612-384-6120    612-310-3803

How Do You Know if You Know Anything?

truthHow do you know if you know anything?  You have two paths to answer this question.  The first path involves your belief that you do know something.  You can choose this path if you are fairly certain that you know something.  It may surprise you, but this is not a path of science.  This is a Faith-Based path.  No matter what anyone tells you, science relies on faith almost as much as religion relies on faith.

Consider the Heisenberg Principle of Uncertainty and Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems.  Both theories show that ultimately, we can never be certain of anything, and that the fundamental bedrock of even science must then be a degree of faith.  Formulated by Werner Heisenberg, Nobel Prize winning physicist in 1927, the Uncertainty Principle states that we cannot know both the position and speed of a particle, such as a photon or electron, with perfect accuracy; the more we nail down the particle’s position, the less we know about its speed and vice versa. 

Godel’s first incompleteness theorem states that “No consistent system of axioms whose theorems can be listed by an effective procedure (i.e., an algorithm) is capable of proving all truths about the arithmetic of natural numbers.  For any such consistent formal system, there will always be statements about natural numbers that are true, but that are unprovable within the system.  The second incompleteness theorem, an extension of the first, shows that the system cannot demonstrate its own consistency.” — Wikipedia


Let me provide a simple example of what these theories tell us.  For instance, you may say, “I know the earth is round.”  I challenge you to prove this.  The only way that you can prove it is by relying or trusting on the wisdom of experts who say that the earth is round.  Even if you have a picture of the round earth, how do you know that it is real?  In essence, you are relying on faith.  It is your faith in someone you trust whom you believe has more knowledge than you do.  You cannot prove the earth is round so your belief is based on faith.  This explains why climate change deniers are so difficult to argue with.  They refuse to accept any evidence from experts on climate whom they disagree with.  Instead, they find the inevitable expert who disagrees with many other scientists.  Most of us have faith in the majority.  But history has countless examples of where the majority were wrong. 


The second path you can take is what I call the Path of the Atheist.  In this path, you accept what Socrates did that you know nothing.  Socrates was called the wisest man in the world because he believed that “I know that I know nothing.”  The atheist does not believe anything unless it can be proved to them personally.  Since it is impossible that anyone can ever prove anything to you beyond a shadow of a doubt, you must conclude that knowledge (like God) is impossible to know or prove.  The atheist concludes that all possibility of ever conclusively proving anything is impossible.  Thus no one can really know anything. 

The Path of the Atheist diverges from the Faith Based path since with faith we believe things.  We believe that there are facts and there is an ultimate truth.  Even if we cannot find them ourselves.   The scientist’s belief is tempered by realistic probabilities based on experiments and history.  The Path of the Atheist does not believe that there is any ultimate truth.  Truth is only a process that gets us closer to some approximation that we are finally willing to settle for.  The Atheist says, “Show me an ultimate truth that is unvarying and that you can prove will be forever true.”  You might argue that the sun will come up tomorrow, but you only have history to rely on for this.  The dinosaurs might have believed that they would live forever but all it took was one large asteroid to wipe out millions of years of evolution. 

As we go through life, we sometimes choose one path and sometimes the other.  Given whatever circumstances we are confronted with, we select the path that provides the most comfort and certainty for us.  Even the Path of the Atheist is comforting since the atheist does not expect any irrefutable truth.  This gives the atheist the ability to ignore whatever fads and foibles society is following in search of a truth that does not exist, or at least for the atheist does not exist.   

truth as factual

What is the meaning of all this?  Are we arguing about how many angels can dance on the head of the pin?  Are we engaging in the same logic that Bishop Berkeley did.  A man who denied that there is a reality of matter apart from what the mind perceived.  Some philosophers have argued that we cannot prove or ever know if we are living or dreaming.  I would guess that most of you reading this blog persist in the idea that you are truly alive and not dreaming now. 

What then is the value of discussing truth?  In this age of misinformation, disinformation, false facts, and fake news, it is a matter that we all need to take more seriously.  For generations and centuries, humans have searched for the truth.  We are told that the “Truth will set us free” and that truth is a value even more important than honesty.  But as Sara Gran said ““Most people wouldn’t know the truth if it bit them in the ass and paid for the privilege.”  Could it be that to paraphrase Colonel Nathan R. Jessup in a “Few Good Men”, “You don’t want the truth because you can’t handle the truth.” 

truth will set you free

Truth is a great deal more complicated than we realize.  It is one of those “holy grails” which if we find may give us eternal life.  Problem is that no one has found either the Holy Grail or the Truth.  It is said that you have your truth and I have my truth.  Dr. Deming, an expert on quality insisted that nothing could be accomplished without an operational definition of any concept that was going to be studied.  He said “An operational definition is a procedure agreed upon for translation of a concept into measurement of some kind.”   The science of an operational definition lay in the measurement of the concept but the starting point for measurement lay in the agreement between two “reasonable” people as to what measurement procedure would be used.  Without an agreement there was no starting or ending point. 

We may meet someone on the street or at a party or it may be a friend or relative and they advance some theory or ideas which contradicts the facts as we know them.  A popular controversy these days among some is whether Trump really won the election and if it was not stolen from him.  If you believe it was stolen, you will have a set of ideas about what constitutes a “fair” election. 

trumpThe Faith Based Path could lead one to accept that hundreds of systems across America could not all have been wrong and that the tallies were accurate because someone you trust told you they were.  If you do not trust the poll counters, you will reject the decisions made by election boards and cling to the idea that Trump was cheated by liars and scoundrels.  Either way it is a matter of faith.

If you follow the Path of the Atheist, you may reject the vote tallies because you do not believe any voting procedure could be foolproof.  You accept that there is error in any system and the deciding factor for you lies in the degree of error that you are willing to accept.  Given your proclivity to accept a certain amount of error, you will either accept of reject any election results based on the voting tallies.

I chose the Faith Based path and accepted that fifty state election boards cannot all be wrong.  On the other hand, I followed the Path of the Atheist since I know that error exists in any procedure, and I do not trust that any election process can rule out all the errors in the system.  I accept the errors in life just as I accept the risk of dying on the road tomorrow when I drive someplace.  It is not a matter of faith; it is a matter of statistical probability.  Tallies like life will never be perfect.

truth 2

What do we do?  First stop looking for an ultimate truth.  Truth is like beauty and is in the eye of the beholder.  Second, ask others what they base their truth on.  See if you can come up with an operational definition for establishing truth that you are both willing to accept.  Third, agree on a way to measure the outcome of whatever you are measuring or looking at.  Accept that error will always exist and that predictability for any ultimate truth is near zero. 

The best we can achieve in life is a “useful” truth that we may find to make life easier and happier for all of us.    


Fear in America:  An Epidemic or Endemic?


When does sanity replace fear?  Ever since 911, fear has continued to creep into the pores of American life.  Day after day brings more horror stories to our TV’s and newspapers.  Each of these stories of mayhem and cruelty drives a spike into our souls.  Our compassion for others is slowly but irrevocably replaced by the thought that “maybe I will be next.”  Let a helicopter fly overhead or a police siren go off, and we double check our door locks and log into our neighborhood chat line to see what is going on.  More Americans have moved into gated communities with a hope that a large wall will provide security and safety.  Those that have not moved into gated communities have stockpiled guns that the manufacturer assures them will thwart any unwanted visitors.


I recently caught the following dialogue on Nextdoor, a social media platform organized by zip codes.  If you need a plumber or carpenter or fresh eggs or just want to catch up on local gossip, you can log on to Nextdoor and get the latest scoop.  This morning there was a thread that went like this: (Names changed)

Angela:  Newman Ranch

Helicopter over back gate at Newman Ranch and police car just sped down the road.  Anyone know what is happening?

Mary and Andrew: Newman Ranch

A friend who joined us for thanksgiving dinner told us that his friend who lives nearby had a dead body in his yard this past summer.  He said the police warned him that the Mexican Cartels had a route that passed nearby.

Pete: Newman Ranch

Although we are a gated community, it’s a good idea to be sure to lock your doors and be aware of your surroundings even while in town shopping.

Paul: Newman Ranch

Anyone that thinks Newman is a gated community is wrong.  Ken, our security head informed me that we are NOT a gated community.

Mary: Newman Ranch

Does Ken read our Newman Ranch website.  It says, “As soon as you drive past the gated entry at Newman Ranch, you will appreciate the tranquility of quiet surroundings and the comfort of a roving patrol.”


I’ve lived in several gated communities and none of them are secure.  If someone wants to get in, they will get in.  Gates are a slight deterrent.


Anymore updates on this.  I heard it was illegals on the run.  But I would like to have facts.  It is scary as most of us likely keep our back doors open during the day. 



As you may easily surmise from reading the above, even those with the money to live in a “gated” community are not free from the fear that pervades America today.  Whether it is “illegals”, juggers, car jackers, home invaders or serial killers, we have a wide assortment of people who we can fear.  If these are not enough, we have road rage maniacs, gun toting nut cases, disgruntled employees, stalkers, and teenagers looking for five minutes of fame.  It seems like we are not safe even putting one foot out the door these days. 

iStock-1257965641Many of you reading this may remember the time when kids went to school by themselves.  Saturday was a day for playing outside with your friends and your parents seldom carried a concealed weapon unless it was a paddle to spank your butt.  Today, kids spend most days with helicopter parents, sanctioned after school sports leagues or at home playing video games.  The sports field in our town of Frederic has a baseball field, volleyball court and four basketball courts.  After twelve years of living in Frederic, I can only remember seeing a few volleyball games and baseball games played each summer.  Most days, even when school was out, the baseball field and the volleyball field were deserted.  The adjunct basketball courts were idle year-round.  I do not ever remember seeing any kids playing a game on the basketball courts. 

“Sad” you may say, “but times change.  That’s life.”  But is it?  Do you really like it this way?  President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”  We know that fear is inevitable.  It is part of the human condition.  Fear has its positive side in that it provides a warning sign in respect to things we need to be cautious of or perhaps more considerate of.  You start to take a short cut down a dark alley and your nerves begin to tingle.  You are getting a warning that it might not be such a good idea.  You are riding your crotch rocket at a high speed, and you become aware of fear as the utility poles start looking like a picket fence.  If you are intelligent, you slow your bike to a more reasonable speed.  Those that know no fear will probably live an exciting but short life. 

“What is needed, rather than running away or controlling or suppressing or any other resistance, is understanding fear; that means, watch it, learn about it, come directly into contact with it. We are to learn about fear, not how to escape from it.”  — Jiddu Krishnamurti


But fear of life itself is another thing entirely.  When we fear life itself, we are trapped.  We begin to fashion a coffin for ourselves even before we die.  Each passing year sees us living more and more in our coffin.  We do not want to travel because it is too dangerous.  We do not want to meet new people, because we might not be able to trust them.  We don’t try new things or do new things because we might not like them.  A new food might upset our stomach.  We might get lost in a new place.  We might fall on a bicycle or roller skates.  Our coffin becomes our permanent home even before we are dead. 

rsz_fear_8896I do not blame the victim for this “paranoia” for fear.  We have a fear-based society where a paranoia for fear is hammered into us every day.  Each day the radio, internet, TV, newspapers, and social media outlets blasts us with mind numbing stories that would scare Superwoman or Batman.  It is no wonder that we have a fear-based society.  We have a society that is not addicted to fear as much as it is fed fear.  We eat a daily toxic brew of fear.  A fear stew that is comprised of stories that seem horrible beyond comprehension.  I could list a dozen from the past week, but what would be the point.  You know them as well as I do.  Whether they happened in Bangladesh, Spain, Mexico, or the USA, you will find out all about them in your local newspaper or evening cable news.

I would almost agree with a friend that it is impossible to escape fear in America.  Fear is now endemic.  It is a disease more widespread than cancer or Covid.  It is humanities original sin.   We are less than we should be because of fear.  We can never attain the greatness promised by our Founding Fathers because of fear.  The early slave owners lived in constant fear of an uprising by their slaves.  Many people who were brainwashed by pictures of happy dancing “darkies” down on the old plantation are not aware that there were over 300 slave revolts in the USA between 1521 and 1865.  (Did African-American Slaves Rebel?)

How do we free ourselves from fear?  Is it possible?  The experts tell us to overcome our fears.  We are told to “face” our fears.  To stand up to fear.  To never back down.  All good advice that is easier said than done.  What do we say to those who heard the helicopter overhead and the police sirens screaming by early this morning?  “Go back to bed and don’t worry< Be Happy!”

If Patrick Henry were alive today, I can imagine him saying, “What is it that gentlepeople wish? What would they have?  Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?  Give me freedom from fear or give me death.”


We purchase a false peace, an ephemeral security, and freedom from fear at the cost of our liberty.  A liberty to go out at night.  To leave our doors unlocked.  To break down our walls.  To embrace those who are different or who want shelter in our country.  To overcome our differences with people of other cultures and ethnic backgrounds.  Freedom is never free.  Freedom from fear comes with a cost.  Are you willing to pay it or do you prefer to live in fear? 



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