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No Car, No Maj
#1
Currently I am suffering for want of a car. I had to take my lease car back, because my mother co-signed for the lease, and as I reported elsewhere, she was notified by Social Security that they were going to reduce her monthly payment by $992, so we could no longer have any hope of maintaining the lease--especially considering that the car insurance was half again as much as the lease payment. SS reduced her pay because she has a government pension from the Post Office. For 35 years they also let her receive Social Security as the widow of a WWII veteran, but they just abruptly decided that was "double dipping," and they should end it, not realizing it will probably be a virtual death sentence for many seniors. My sister filed an appeal on behalf of my mother, and I contacted my Congressman--a Republican--who said he will look into it.

Any way, I am getting used to walking to the store. There is a party store (actually a liquor store, but I don't like the idea of shopping at a liquor store--I wouldn't want a church member to see an elder shopping at a liquor store!) about half a mile away. Easy walking distance. But this morning it was closed. So I returned home, rested a bit and fixed breakfast for my homebound mother, then I walked to the local Kroger store, which is about a mile and a half each way. Fortunately there are sidewalks all the way, and every intersection with traffic lights also has a pedestrian button you can press to get a pedestrian "Walk" signal. The Pharmacy where we have all our prescriptions is right on the way, so I can walk to pick up prescriptions for Mom, too. The return trip was a little difficult--mainly because I was carrying four bags of groceries. My hips got a little tired/sore, but not bad for being 70 years old. I should improve with practice.

By the way, as soon as I took my car back to the dealership I called my insurance agent, and they said they would put my insurance "on hold" for six months--so if I do get another car in the next six months, I will not have to pay a fine for going uninsured, since I don't have a car. The state charges a fine to catch the people who pay insurance for one month when buying a car then let their insurance drop. 40 years ago I had to pay a $200 fine after I had been driving using my parents' car insurance for a number of years, and wanted to get my own insurance. My brother-in-law just told me his daughter had to pay a $1000 fine when she got insurance after letting her car insurance lapse. So apparently the amount of the fine has really gone up. I don't know what the law is in other states, but that is how it is here in Michigan.

Does anyone still contend government cannot require citizens to buy anything? Think again!
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#2
Do you have a bicycle to use?
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#3
I just flat do not understand how she can be denied your dad's "surviving spouse" SS payments. Just because she also has a pension from another source. She earned her own pension and your dad earned her surviving spouse part, IMO. He paid into that all his working life.

That's an outrage to me.
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#4
Nope. No bike. I suppose I could use one--I used to ride bikes all the time. But no way would I try to ride in traffic on five and six-lane roads with 55 mph speed limits. I would have to ride on the sidewalk. My brother-in-law who works as a scrapper said he will be on the lookout for a bike. People throw away all kinds of things that are still in perfectly good condition.

Right, Palladin. There is a lot about government that does not make sense. They do things that are not well thought out. Like my mother lamented, "Why did they wait until I was 95 to do this to me?" Fortunately there are three other adults living in the same home with Mom, and we can help her pay bills more than we have in the past. Mom liked paying the mortgage and utilities on her own, so she could feel useful to everyone.

I suspect this change came about during the flurry of executive orders Obama signed just before he left office. He never liked seniors, since 60% of them always voted against him (we can see through him--we know he's a con artist).
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#5
Of course, the greatest problem with bicycles is the weather. Here in Michigan, you will never see anyone riding a bike in the winter. Even motorcycles are much scarcer. In the summer and presently in the spring, I would not venture out in the rain, on foot or on a bicycle. Of course usually I can afford to wait a day or two for the weather to moderate.
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#6
Up there a snowmobile is more useful!!
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#7
No, that would be northern Michigan or the U.P. The Detroit area cities keep the roads cleared pretty well. Within 24 hours of a big snowfall, the roads are usually clear. But the roads will still be slippery, maybe slushy. And while the snow is still falling, you have greatly reduced visibility. The last thing drivers expect to see is a bicycle.
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#8
I was just kidding, but, my former boss said it was many a time in mid Wisconsin he and his dad drove snowmobiles around to go places, not for fun. Pretty rural area.
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#9
I walked to Kroger again today. It was easier. For one thing, I only had one grocery bag to carry on the way back. It was sunny, about 54° F. But I did have a 15-20 mph headwind on the way back. Still the same three mile round trip, of course. I remember walking twice as far when I was in my late teens, early 20's. I and some companions would walk to a public salt water swimming pool that used to be located in what I considered walking distance. I remember getting badly sunburned walking back one summer day. Also the City of Troy used to be a lot more rural back then. (In days of yore! S1)
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#10
I live in a small town, population under 15,000, that has two national grocery stores. The owner of one store provides a free door-to-door bus service once a week for seniors.
The true purpose of democracy is not to select the best leaders — a clearly debatable obligation — but to facilitate the prompt and peaceful removal of obviously bad ones. 
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#11
I see buses now and then parked at Kroger--I think they come from nearby senior citizen high-rise housing centers. The City of Troy, Michigan, had a population of 83,107 in 2014. The chart shows a slight but continual upward trend in population. When my family moved out here back when I was ten years old (60 years ago), Troy did not even have its own post office--our mailing address was Royal Oak 322A. What is now Oakland Mall (one of the major Detroit area shopping centers) was just an empty field. And where our CVS Pharmacy is now located was part of the Big Beaver private airport. Oh, and our local Kroger store used to be a Farmer Jack store, but that was a fairly recent development.
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#12
Hey Ron, what does the "No Maj" in the title mean?
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#13
Apparently you have not seen the latest installment of the Harry Potter universe, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. As conceived by J.K. Rowling, people without magic in Great Britain are called "Muggles." But people without magic in America are called "No-Maj," slang for "No Magic."

So what I am saying is that "No Car, No Magic." It certainly diminishes my power. Oh well, the Lord will do something. He always has before.
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#14
Harry Potter has never been on my 'to do' list Ron. I'm not into fantasy. Spiteful
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#15
Fantasy and Science Fiction are closely linked. Most public libraries put the two genres together on the same shelves. SyFy tries to give you scientific plausibility for the story setting, but it is still all imagination. A kind that often enables us to look at ourselves and the world with fresh eyes.

Remember Arthur C. Clarke's Third Law: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

If you tried to explain a flashlight--especially an LED flashlight--to Sir Isaac Newton, he would likely have dismissed it as fantasy. Even if you tried to explain it in scientific terms--the ideas of electricity, batteries, not to mention Light Emitting Diodes--would have just sounded like more fantasy to him. If you could show him a functioning LED flashlight, there is a good chance he would have described it as magic. And perhaps he would not have been wrong in calling it that!

There is a point at which fantasy blurs into science fiction. Terry Brooks gives a good example of that in the way he provided a science fiction frame linking to his World of Shannara.
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#16
(04-30-2017, 11:47 AM)Ron Lambert Wrote: If you tried to explain a flashlight--especially an LED flashlight--to Sir Isaac Newton, he would likely have dismissed it as fantasy. Even if you tried to explain it in scientific terms--the ideas of electricity, batteries, not to mention Light Emitting Diodes--would have just sounded like more fantasy to him. If you could show him a functioning LED flashlight, there is a good chance he would have described it as magic. And perhaps he would not have been wrong in calling it that!

I think you are probably dissing Newton a bit much.  The Greeks were aware of (on a rudimentary level) electric charge and the force it produces as far back as 600 BC.  I really doubt that Newton would have considered static discharges (which produce small amounts of light) and fireflies (chemical luminescence) as black magic ... just phenomenon that weren't fully understood at the time.  Volta and Coulomb were not contemporaries but their work (which would have probably gone a long way toward explaining a flashlight) was only separated from Newton's life by a matter of a few decades.

To your point, Sci - Fi provides some great mechanisms for people to envision technology that doesn't exist.  It really wasn't a leap to adopt the notion of cellular phones because we had already seen them years ago in Star Trek episodes.  But I think the biggest aid to advancement in technology probably came from ditching the apostasy associated with human explanations for (previously defined) divine or devilish phenomenon.
"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard."
-- Henry Mencken
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#17
(04-30-2017, 12:35 PM)mr_yak Wrote:
(04-30-2017, 11:47 AM)Ron Lambert Wrote: If you tried to explain a flashlight--especially an LED flashlight--to Sir Isaac Newton, he would likely have dismissed it as fantasy. Even if you tried to explain it in scientific terms--the ideas of electricity, batteries, not to mention Light Emitting Diodes--would have just sounded like more fantasy to him. If you could show him a functioning LED flashlight, there is a good chance he would have described it as magic. And perhaps he would not have been wrong in calling it that!

I think you are probably dissing Newton a bit much.  The Greeks were aware of (on a rudimentary level) electric charge and the force it produces as far back as 600 BC.  I really doubt that Newton would have considered static discharges (which produce small amounts of light) and fireflies (chemical luminescence) as black magic ... just phenomenon that weren't fully understood at the time.  Volta and Coulomb were not contemporaries but their work (which would have probably gone a long way toward explaining a flashlight) was only separated from Newton's life by a matter of a few decades.

To your point, Sci - Fi provides some great mechanisms for people to envision technology that doesn't exist.  It really wasn't a leap to adopt the notion of cellular phones because we had already seen them years ago in Star Trek episodes.  But I think the biggest aid to advancement in technology probably came from ditching the apostasy associated with human explanations for (previously defined) divine or devilish phenomenon.

Thanks Jack, my thinking as well. S22
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#18
Archaeologists have found remnants of devices that were clearly designed to produce large static charges, used by Egyptian priests, presumably to impress Pharaohs with their magical powers.

Maybe Sir Isaac Newton would not have been so quick to give up with trying to understand examples of modern technology; then again, being a really intelligent man, he probably would have recognized the truth that what many call magic actually is science, and that fantasy can be a predictor of future reality. After all, he had the fantasy that man could fly, so he spent many hours trying to devise devices that would make it possible. This is how a truly intelligent mind works. He starts with fantasy, and strives to make it reality.

If you cast aside the illogical foolishness of atheism (as if the universe could have created itself!), and recognize that God does exist, and has the power to create the universe and ordain and maintain all its governing laws, then the so-called magic by which God works His will actually has a scientific basis, even if much of it is still beyond our understanding. After all, why should the physical constants be what they are? Life would not be possible if most of them were even slightly different--but how did those constants get set up in the first place, and what maintains them so that experimental results today will be the same as they will tomorrow? Ultimately is it not sheer indisputable magic by which God imposes His will on reality?

Some people have tried to explain natural means by which the Red Sea could have been parted to enable the escape of the children of Israel from the clutches of Pharaoh's cavalry. But that does not minimize the miracle at all. How was it that those natural means could be employed as they were? Magic does not mean the impossible happening--it means no more than it is a phenomenon we simply do not understand how it happens, or what made it happen when it did.

When God created the universe out of nothing, merely by commanding it--that was magic. That was something that happened because God willed it, and made reality be the way He chose for it to be. When all physical laws of the cosmos were set up, that was magic. What made them come into being, and remain constant?

God could have chosen to make everything be fleeting, ephemeral--magic continually being imposed by absolute power and resulting in continual, arbitrary chaos. But God chose to use His absolute power to create order. The creation of order is the greatest work of magic that has ever been wrought.
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#19
(04-30-2017, 08:44 PM)Ron Lambert Wrote: Maybe Sir Isaac Newton would not have been so quick to give up with trying to understand examples of modern technology; then again, being a really intelligent man, he probably would have recognized the truth that what many call magic actually is science, and that fantasy can be a predictor of future reality. After all, he had the fantasy that man could fly, so he spent many hours trying to devise devices that would make it possible. This is how a truly intelligent mind works. He starts with fantasy, and strives to make it reality.

Newton didn't appear to "start with fantasy"...  he mostly started with reality.  The Earth revolves around the sun ... the moon revolves around the Earth ... Humans and objects stay put on the ground and don't float off into space.  Why?  He realized that there were forces involved and those forces were confined by physical laws which could be defined.  It's possible that he could have imagined objects floating off into space ... but the anecdotal suggests he was more fixated on explaining why they fell back to earth.
"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard."
-- Henry Mencken
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#20
Mr. Yak, sorry to be so blunt, but it is pretty arrogant and presumptuous to pretend that you can read the mind of someone who was vastly more intelligent than you are, indeed one of the most intelligent humans who has ever lived--with major accomplishments in many fields (including science and mathematics and theology: he formulated the laws of motion, invented calculus, and wrote commentaries on Bible prophecy--correctly predicting the death of the Pope in captivity over 100 years in advance and even getting the date right within a year or two) let alone someone who lived hundreds of years ago in a culture totally alien to the one you were raised in, at the beginnings of modern science. At least I said Newton appeared to start with fantasy. I said that thinking of the sketches he drew of a device that might enable a man to fly. You asserted, as if you know, that "he mostly started with reality." Then you conjectured what his thought processes were. You will have to do better than that. A little humility would be in order. And a little less trying to make history fit your preconceived notions. What you are claiming for facts are not facts in evidence.
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