The King of the Hill

Much of the American Dream floats on the concept of becoming the King of a Hill. It’s an elusive, but worthy concept. Maybe it’s not limited to citizens of the USA. It may be a universal human desire to conquer something, to raise a flag and shout “I’m the best!”. No one can be faulted for blowing their own horn. We live in a competitive world, sometimes one which is belittling. We live in a Facebook world filled with people seeking the praise and approval of others. We live in a judgmental world with some disparaging the honest efforts of others which they deem unimportant. Understandably, some people don’t even try to climb the King’s hill. Others pushed into the dirt a few times by those with more strength or leverage, and they give up. Few make it to the top of the most sought after hills. But there are many hills. There’s a hill for every person. Choose your hill wisely. But make a choice. Be the King or Queen of something. Climb your hill. It’s part of life to climb to the top and experience the view. Forget the title. Everyone is a Princess or Price at birth. Climb the hill of your choice. Some are worthy of your effort and time. Others will disappoint. Some are for the blessed, and some are for the birds.

Coffee, Tea, or Me?

coffee-web

I think we would all agree that a dollar is a dollar. But what’s a dollar worth? The answer is: not much. If you want a cup of coffee at a restaurant, it will cost you at least two dollars. The same coffee in the 1960s would cost ten cents a cup.  The average American family income in 1960 was about $6,700 (with 30% of the families having two income earners). The average a family income in 2016 was about $62,500 (with 60% of the families having two income earners).

Therefore, the average family in 1960 could afford 67,000 cups of coffee per year; and the average family in 2016 could annually afford 31,500 cups of coffee. But the vast majority of 2016 families would need two people working to achieve this goal.

Some people might say, “sure, but they wouldn’t have a computer in every home”, or “right, but they wouldn’t have had cellphones”, or “they would only have one automobile.” This is true, but there are monetary, time and livability costs related to all this connectivity and mobility. At the end of the 1960 worker’s day, he or she could return home and relax. In the great majority of families, someone could remain home and work to maintain a “home”. This is not true of their 2016 counterparts. Now, their work has become embedded in their lives. The do not have time or energy to create even a sense of “home”. They suffer from stunted lives, chronic fatigue, a coffeehouse/restaurant diet, and the exhausting whirlwind existence of  mice on a tread mill.

This is the nature of a monetary system based on credit and maintained by the inflation of the dollar—the invisible tax. The ultimate end of such a system will have whole families responsible for incredibly gross and ever-lasting national debts.  Eventually, they will have to work the entire day just to be able to buy a single cup of coffee. Of course, this will never happen. The money changers will first reset the economic system using some new tactic, or they will create another mind-numbing war, or some combination of the two.

Let’s hope someone or something drives the money changers out of the temple of our daily lives, before they destroy our society.

Props, Bit Players, and Stars

First_Folio

“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.”

…from William Shakespeare’s As You Like It