Blogging, Daily Prompt, Diary

List three books that have had an impact on you. Why?


  • The Bible — in various translations, several of which I have read from cover to cover. I have been a believer from age 14 and devoted much of my life to Faith.
  • 1984 – George Orwell (published in 1949) — scared the bejesus out of me because it alerted me to the possibility of real evil in the world — In my early teens I read all sorts of stuff that no one my age was reading.
  • The Cave — Plato — in translation. Another of those things Jr. High School students don’t usually read, but it gave me a sense of historical perspective — that things we see today are but continuations of things begun long ago.
  • The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements, which consists of a preface and 125 sections, which are divided into 18 chapters. Hoffer analyzes the phenomenon of “mass movements,” a general term that he applies to revolutionary parties, nationalistic movements, and religious movements. He summarizes his thesis in §113: “A movement is pioneered by men of words, materialized by fanatics and consolidated by men of actions.”
Blogging, Diary

What jobs have you had?

A recent WordPress writing prompt was about what jobs have you had, so I thought seeing as I have led a curious sort of life I’d answer the challenge and list them.

While in High School and College I worked for:

Boy Scouts of America as a training supplies puller

Boy Scouts of America as a mail clerk and signature obtainer — driving the company Suburban around town in pursuit of 2 authorized signers for their disbursement checks (before the days on cell phones which would have saved me a lot of daily miles as I drove all over the Milwaukee area in a gas guzzling truck looking for any two out of six authorized signatories.

After schooling,

I worked for a religious printing house on a 14 x 20 printing press printing books and leaflets.

I worked for a school textbook printer printing 4 color covers on coated cloth, a job that I was not very good at as printing ink doesn’t soak into coated cloth and I kept botching up the jobs.

I contacted my local Draft Board when my Vietnam draft number came up. Even though my draft number was in the 300’s I felt bad because friends had been called up and even though I was a conscientious objector I still felt as if I should to my “share” whatever the Draft Board decided that was to be. They assigned me to secure a job at a Chicago hospital and to work there for 2 years. So,
for 8 months I hauled boxes and stock around in the Central Supply at Wesley Memorial Hospital (now part of Northwestern Medical Center). When my boss in that department got a promotion after finishing his Master’s Degree he asked to to come along with him and I spent the remainder of my 2 years in the Systems Department doing office systems analysis and writing office systems.

During that time I got married and after completing my C.O. obligation:

I managed a Locksmith and Security Systems hardware company with 11 employees in Ohio

I did inside sales/manufacturing support for an electrical controls company in Illinois

I trained as an over the road truck driver and started work as an owner operator hauling “new products” from manufacturers to retailers.

Then I hauled meat from the Midwest to the East Coast until I couldn’t stand the East Coast state of mind and one of my good friends was killed in an automobile caused truck accident.

Then I hauled flatbed freight from the Midwest to the West Coast getting away from East Coast congestion and rudeness.

Then I went to work for a distributor for Detroit Diesel Engines as Dealer Development Manager calling on trucking and bus companies around the state, working with owners and mechanics.

I worked for a religious publishing house editing and publishing 70 year old journal as well as teaching and speaking to groups in the U.S., Europe, and Australia.

I worked for a foreign language translating house taking translated text and inserting that into English language technical manuals for a variety of industrial accounts.

Then I went back to trucking for a few years hauling flatbed freight again to the West and South

At this point after having an interest in photography all my life I spent the last 5 years of my career as a photographer, shooting weddings (which after the advent of Bridezillas became a really disgusting way to make a living) to a couple years just shooting for art’s sake.

When Peggy had the chance to retire early, I decided that I would call it quits early too. She was 64, I was 62, so our first couple years were a bit rough before Medicare kicked in for both of us but we sold our house (which I have talked about years ago) and went full time RV’ing for 7 years. (find all of that content in the early years of this blog.)

And there you have it, All The Jobs I Have Had

Blogging, Family

Bacon or Sausage

It’s amazing how some of life’s most enduring preferences come about from the most humble beginnings. A discussion over breakfast the other day brought it all to mind.

Our daughter and son-in-law have very different food life than my wife and I. Both couples have a male as the primary cook in the family but I cook very much differently than does Michael.

I cook for a meal. Michael cooks for leftovers. That’s a rather freehanded way of delineating the difference but it is fundamentally accurate. I almost always cook amounts of food that we can consume in one meal. The only exceptions being if I am roasting or slow cooking a joint of meat in which case we will eat the first portion of meat hot from the cooking process and then divide what remains into portions to be used for future meals. The primary difference between our styles comes down to the fact that Michael is still actively a breadwinner in his family and he doesn’t have the same kind of “spare” time that I do. As a result Michael cooks almost everything in excess quantities with the idea in mind that having cooked once he can repurpose anything and everything for “fast” meals throughout the week. He tends to make items that take longer to cook initially, I tend to do the “whatever I can cook in 20 minutes beginning to end” approach. With microwaves and such we still have baked potatoes and rice and other longer cook items but we eat a lot of protein and veg and not a lot of carbs.

So, where am I going with all of this. Michael is far more likely to cook up an entire tray of sausage patties or links, save the uneaten ones for another meal or two or three and have a container in the fridge with the precooked items all ready to pop into the pan. Premade sausage patties tend not to release nearly as much fat and so whatever is there in the pan gets disposed of.

I on the other hand buy 3 lb packages of bacon from the local restaurant purveyor, but I keep them in a bacon keeper and I portion out one, or two, or three strips of bacon as we need. I either cook eggs in some of the bacon fat, or save it in a container reserved for “bacon fat” to be used in cooking at other times. There’s a lot of flavor in bacon fat and used in discrete amounts it’s wonderful.

The thing is, I grew up in a very different home than did Michael. My food choices are very much the food choices I grew up with. You see I have long felt that “Normal is what we grow up with.” And I grew up in a family with a father who worked rotating shifts. He was a boiler operator for our local electric utility. He spent most of his days in an air conditioned control room occupied by one other worker and about 85 gauges and graph plotters making sure that there was always a head of steam to keep the generating turbines whirring away and providing electricity for the thriving metropolis of Milwaukee.

AND, my dad hated sandwiches. Why should he eat a sandwich when he had a multimillion dollar “oven” right outside his cubicle door? He often told friends and strangers alike that mom packed him a lunch, and when he got to work he “threw it on the floor, covered it with a rag and by the time lunch-time rolled around it was ready to eat.” That all sounded a lot cruder than it was, after all he was the Scoutmaster who was hardest on the Boy Scouts when it came time to inspect dishes after they were cleaned — he was rigorous about sanitation, but a meal in a metal container sitting on a hot steel grate protected from contamination was a wonderful way to warm up his leftovers from the night before.

Of course the fact that dad got the hot leftovers in his lunch almost always meant that mom and I were left to eat something else for our meals. He was the breadwinner so he got the best. As he should. And with a stay-at-home mom who had time to cook I always had fresh meals, and I had the “husky” size waistline to prove it. But, bottom line is that I never grew up eating leftovers. I had meals prepared for the time, and that was “normal” to me.

“Normal is what we grow up with.”

I wonder, if you look into your own life how many choices you make you can find that are the direct result of whatever “normal” you grew up with? Once I started thinking about this I realized there are nearly an infinite number of little things I do that I can trace directly back to life choices other people made, which affected me, and which I adopted as de rigeur.

Blogging, Diary

New & Improved…. yeah, sure

When anyone in the computer field tells me that some new product has been released and has been “improved” over the prior product I cringe. The improvement may be easier, nicer, more convenient for the people who designed it, but it is rarely any of those things for everyone else.

What about when “new and improved” isn’t either?

When I started blogging using WordPress it was difficult to even create a drop down menu. Over the years things have gotten infinitely more sophisticated. Some of the changes have been easy to adjust to: given a considerable investment in the time it takes to learn new coding skills — quite apart from the time it takes to create content — two entirely separate tasks.

Still, I have met each challenge with aplomb and succeeded. I feel rather good about that seeing as all my computer savvy is self-taught. Still, the newest iteration of WordPress’ editor is taking “New & Improved” to new depths.

For those who aren’t writers, and particularly those who aren’t WordPress writers the editor is the virtual typewriter that you create within. Not only does it get the words on the pages of everyone’s computer, it also handles things like justifying lines, inserting images/video/link, etc.. The editor is where we do all our creating and the idea is to spend more time creating and less time “programming.” The strength of WordPress has been that the writer has been able to create content and then to pour it into any of a plethora of formats and be assured that it will present to the reader in pretty much seamless fashion. The existence of these “formats” has enabled me, and a lot of other writers, to periodically change the appearance of their blog to keep things new and interesting to the reader visually as well as intellectually. Surely, that’s a good thing. And I have taken advantage of the ability to be sure.

Hey, I might as well pat myself on the back and have some fun with this seeing as this editor is being forced upon content creators. So, yeah, I met it with self-confidence and assurance in a demanding situation. So There! 🤣

When I first started blogging the programming part was sometimes the biggest part of running a blog. I started blogging before I discovered WordPress. I struggled with at least for different platforms before I came here. And even then, I tried self-hosting for a a couple years before tiring of the hassles of constantly upgrading my site to keep up with the onslaught of hackers. I know for sure that I had to recreate content at least 4 times because of hackers. Then I moved here to and those problems ended.

I’m glad those days are gone forever. That said, I admit that there are a lot of times even now, more than a decade later that I still need to look at the code to see how something was accomplished. It can be because I forgot how I did it last time; it can be because I want to try something new and I’m not sure what series of codes I need to get to the desired output — but I often toggle the editor over to what is called “code view” from what is called the “visual editor.”

I’ve been doing that more with this new “block editor” and while the professionals tell us that this is a step forward and it will allow for more improvements in the future the fact of the matter is that the coded screen sure looks a lot more messed up with code than it used to be.

The computer geeks may be getting what they want, but the people who simply want to “use” the program to communicate are sure paying a price along the way.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that WordPress exists. I’m that I’ve been blogging for more than 10 years for free with only the inconvenience of minimal commercials on my blog for my readers to cope with. But I have to wonder if this is a movement to limit something (like the platform) rather than to make it more accessible.

I’ll do my best and I hope you readers don’t mind. But an awful lot of people were happier with things the way they were and see no reason at all to change. I’m not yet sure where I stand; I’m still learning the new editor. But, as I’ve said many times, nothing stays the same, everything changes.

And for what it’s worth. That drop cap
in the first paragraph is something
I’ve never been able to do before.
Is it good, or is it bad?
Sometimes in the world of
computer’s that’s not the
right question. What
everyone wants to know is
“Can you do it?”
The availability of every
possible option isn’t really
progress, it’s just MORE.
As is the ability to change type size
in just this one paragraph.