Monday, September 26, 2011

Pot luck....

Contrary to popular belief, the flush toilet wasn't invented by Thomas Crapper in the 19th century, although he did manage to make some notable improvements. The original invention honors actually go to Sir John Harrington in 1596. It's a little known fact that on the very day Sir John invented the toilet, his wife gave him a severe scolding for leaving the seat up.

For the last 415 years men have been forgetting to put the seat down, and apparently women have been sitting down without verifying the status of said seat. I never really understood why it was any more difficult for a woman to put the seat down than it was for a man to lift the seat up, but then I guess there's a lot of things I never understood.

Our 4 year old granddaughter Bekah spent the night with us recently. She's almost militant about insisting that the men in the house lower the seat after using the facilities, and to her credit, she almost accomplished in 1 year what women around the world have been battling for for 4 centuries. I'm doing better about remembering to lower it, but I do admit to the occasional slip-up.

The next morning, Bekah was entering the bathroom just as our 3 year old grandson Dawson was coming out of it. Bekah immediately complimented him on lowering the seat, and then proceeded to tell me that I should try to be more like Dawson.

I didn't have the heart to tell her that in actuality, he hadn't ever raised the seat.

Besides, I figured she would find out soon enough.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I'll take the locusts, please...

We bought our home 25 years ago next month. We've been pretty lucky that nothing too terrible has happened to it in that amount of time. We did get invaded by moles that time, and one time Some guy ran over our flagpole. We also got hit by lightning once, and we had to buy a new telephone and electric blanket. But that's about it. Except for the time somebody stole the wheels off of my truck.

But we bought some insurance when we bought our house, so outside of the mole incident, and minus our deductible, our losses were mostly covered. And if our house burns down in a fire, or gets blown away by a tornado, or even gets eaten by locusts, our insurance company has agreed that they will pay what it costs to replace it. I'm not expecting any of catastrophes, but it's comforting to know we're mostly covered, just in case.

I recently met some people who own a home that is in the way of some road work the government wants to do. For the most part, if some one's home is in the way of something the government wants to do, it will find a way to take it. It's called imminent domain, I think. And in a lot of cases, what the government is willing to pay isn't nearly enough to replace what they are taking.

All of which got me to thinking. Would I rather deal with the government, or a fire, or a tornado, or a swarm of locusts.

It didn't take long to decide. You can't buy insurance to protect yourself from the government.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

What's the difference?....

Governor and presidential aspirant Rick Perry has taken some flak recently for referring to Social Security as a "Ponzi Scheme". While I'm not a Rick Perry fan by any stretch, I would have to say that he is not entirely incorrect on his assertion.

Charles Ponzi was a confidence man from the early 20th century. He bounced in and out of trouble and jail a few times before he hit upon a plan that involved convincing people to invest in purchasing postal coupons in one country and reselling them for a higher price in another country.

In actuality, Ponzi was paying off earlier investors with money he was collecting from current investors, and depending on future investors to keep his scheme alive.

Since the government decided to spend the money on so many unrelated items, Social Security has now fallen into the predicament. People who worked and "contributed" for years and are now receiving money from the Social Security system are doing so on the "contributions" of the current workers, who will have to depend on future "contributors" if and when they are receive any money.

So in that respect, Perry was correct in calling it a Ponzi scheme. The difference is that no one was forced to participate in Ponzi's scheme. He relied on deception to get people to join his program. The government relies on force. That's the main difference.

Shortly before his death in 1949, an unrepentant Charles Ponzi stated "Even if they never got anything for it, it was cheap at that price. Without malice aforethought I had given them the best show that was ever staged in their territory since the landing of the Pilgrims! It was easily worth fifteen million bucks to watch me put the thing over."

I wonder if we will ever get the government to admit that they are just putting on a show also.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Every little bit helps...

I've long maintained that almost everybody is at least a little bit Libertarian. I believe that in their private lives, most people don't rely on force, or the threat of force, that government depends on when dealing with their neighbors.

And when there is a discussion of political philosophies, a growing number of people seem to be agreeing with Libertarian ideals, especially when discussing them one at a time. Most people hit a stumbling block somewhere along the way, sometimes on one issue, and sometimes on more than one.

It's pretty common for people to be opposed to government handouts, except for the one that they are getting.

I read in the paper today that some in the government are looking to decrease or eliminate farm subsidies. I don't really believe that will happen or amount to much under our current leaders, but I do believe a lot more farmers would be a little more Libertarian if it did.

A lot of them are pretty close already.