Motivation to Keep the House and Yard Tidy

You’ve heard the saying,  “If you can’t be a good example, then be a really good bad example”?

When our sons were young, I would have to tell them things like, “We don’t hang our jackets on the floor” when they walked into the house and tossed them instead of putting them up. After 3 boys toss jackets on the floor, you’ve got a pile of jackets there. The yard could get out of hand pretty quick, too, with assorted stuff left lying about. And I have to say that my husband has sometimes wanted to hang onto things that I could see no good reason for. Like the old washing machine he wanted us to keep once “for parts” when we bought a new one. And I remember opening a kitchen drawer one day and finding a toy space shuttle. I knew then it was time for me to do some deep reorganizing. We all have to stay on top of things and we have to look for the signs that it’s getting out of hand.

That said-

One day I decided I was tired of talking and was ready to show them a really good bad example. So we went for a ride. There was a house on a highway north of us that had been a landmark for years. When I was a teenager, every time we passed by going to or from my grandparent’s house, we looked to see what was in the yard or on the porch or even on the roof that hadn’t been there last time. It was an ever-changing landscape over the years. This family must have reveled in their junk.

So, we took a nice little drive for a lesson in what can happen if we let things pile up. My sons-and husband, even-were pretty impressed. There was an old fridge that had been on the front porch for years. It looked like it was going to fall through if it sat there much longer. There were old rusty cars and assorted junk in the yard and a bicycle tire on the roof. Seems like I remember an old couch, too.

They were impressed. My job got easier for a while. All I would have to do is say, “Put that up or throw it away. We don’t want our house to look that one up on the highway.”

Why Should NPR’s Funding Be Cut?

Since Juan Williams spoke his mind the other day on FOX  News and got fired over it, we’ve heard a bit of squawking from a few Republicans over the government’s funding of National Public Radio. Yesterday, Senator Jim DeMint is supposed to have introduced a bill to cut them off from government money. If he did, it’s not online yet. You can read about the fiasco that motivated Senator DeMint here:

All of this sounded pretty good to me, until I read this:

What bothers me is the reason everyone is upset. The whole problem is that they want to cut NPR’s funding – or say they do – because they don’t like the liberal/PC flavor, rather than cutting it out regardless of the views expressed on NPR. It’s not the government’s place to fund radio at all. If enough people, ie. taxpayers who vote, will realize this and go just a bit libertarian, at least on this issue, it could be done. If DeMint’s bill doesn’t pass, assuming it gets out of committee, don’t vote to reelect anyone who votes against the bill. Make a note of how they voted and put it with your voter registration card so you don’t forget. Then vote for someone who will do it. If Senator DeMint’s bill is held up by the committee and no vote is allowed, then take note of who held it up and don’t vote for them again. We ought to vote based on what they do, not on what they say they will do.

If folks would go just a bit more libertarian, we could eliminate the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. When I read the article on Reason that is linked to above, I learned some things about government funding of our media that I did not know. Along with being the funnel for NPR’s taxpayer supported funding, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting does a lot of things the Constitution doesn’t tell the federal government to do or pay for. (That is how our US Constitution works, by the way. The federal government is only supposed to do what it tells them to do and nothing else and, the states are supposed to say no to anything that is unconstitutional. The states obviously haven’t been doing their job.) CPB is a private entity but it was created by congress in 1967 and is funded by the government. You can read about what the CPB does here: Broadcasters got along just fine without them before 1967.

Cutting NPR or not cutting, based on the views expressed, is like having an established government religion. It’s OK as long as most people agree or at least tolerate it. We can see from what happened to Mr. Williams how things go if someone dares to go against the established beliefs. And we all know that with money come strings. Don’t we know that? Didn’t a few banks learn this lesson recently?

If these squawking politicians really ARE concerned about the budget and the debt, this is a no-brainer. Doesn’t matter who is on NPR or what they are saying, we shouldn’t fund it. Going a step further would shut down the CPB as well. Stations can stand on their own or they can sink, just like everything else ought to do. Market support only….what a novel idea these days, but maybe it will catch on. Think about it.

Review of “The Peacock and the Owl”

I have never written about music, but I’ve never found anything so unexpectedly interesting. A couple of days ago I went to a Merchant Soiree where I picked up a free CD. The singer was new to me. (I’m not so up on local music anymore since my son married and moved away and he doesn’t play here now.) I figured I’d listen to it and probably pass it on. I’m keeping it! I’m also watching for the next show. The name of the CD is “The Peacock and the Owl.” The vocalist is Ashlynn Ivy, and you will not hear a more mellow voice anywhere. On guitar is Dave Macha, and together they are quite a duo.

Their style is so unique it was hard to figure out what it is – very rhythmic in a bluesy jazzy sort of way, but not exactly blues and not exactly jazz. Ashlynn Ivy’s MySpace page gives a few clues. It’s a mixture of influences including Jazz, Gospel, Rock and Blues. I found this on her page: “Like a stout drink with a blend of gin and a splash of holy water, there is something both sinful and revelatory in the music produced by these two talented musicians, born and raised in the mid-county area.” I think I was listening to “It’s a Shame” when I realized this is probably the most interesting music lyrically that I’ve heard in a very long time. The Peacock and the Owl gets a person’s brain involved and also makes it feel like our emotions must be located in our bones. It touches me that deeply. Great stuff!

Read more and listen this fine music at: