Assorted Odds and Ends

Nature’s Metaphor

We had a remarkably mild winter in my area of the Smoky Mountains. We had one cold snap, around Christmas and New Year’s Day. It was a short but ferocious cold snap. A lot of trees, shrubs, and small critters did not make it. It led me to a hard late winter. In short order, an early spring seemed to arrive. But too late for those who could not survive the earlier snap. In a sense, that is a metaphor for life more broadly. Expect the unexpected and be prepared to deal with challenges that seemed unimaginable just days earlier. Nature is beautiful and powerful, but it’s not gentle.

In Defense of Anger

A lot of good people speak out consistently against anger, understandably so. Our society, and others as well, is divided and subject to violence because of wide-spread anger. Anger that is often fanned deliberately and based on falsehoods. But sometimes it is a justified emotion, and one that is useful if harnessed to find solutions. I often hear people say they are sad or afraid or tired of things such as social injustice or political persecution. I find myself thinking that is not enough – it is a pathway to passive resignation. Sometimes getting angry enough to fight back – smartly and for the long-haul – is what the situation demands. See an injustice? Be angry.

US Maternal Death Rates

We are reminded recently that the US maternal death rate from births is about ten times worse than the rest of the developed world There are a lot of factors in this, but the absence of a national universal health care systems. This has long been a national disgrace and an abuse of lives. But that is not the worst news. The numbers are about to get much worse. The abortion laws being passed in some states, written by lawmakers long on rigid ideology and completely lacking in medical knowledge will inevitably lead to more deaths and injuries. The stories are already rolling in. Medical professionals who try to do what they think they are called to do risk outcomes such as ten years at hard labor. What kind of nation does this?

National Character is Not Always Predictive

How is it, I wonder, that the gentle and civilized people of Japan and Canada murder seals (mostly babies) – Canada – and whales – Japan? I grant that Japan has certainly not always been a gentle country and there are strains of that old Japan that crop up occasionally. Still, these behaviors seem so barbaric and cruel, so unnecessary, that that they seem so out of place. I hope they both knock it off, sooner rather than later. We should be a better species than this by now.

Taking Measure

For no particular reason, I note (as I have before) that it is well past time for the US to go metric and Celsius. We are pretty well the only place on earth not using these systems. I know it drives business nuts, especially those in manufacturing. A  good reason to not make the changeover as soon as possible does not come to mind. I lived in Europe long enough and travelled around the rest of the world enough to assure you that it is not that hard to make the conversion personally.

Impressive New Software

Have you played with or used for serious work the Canva software yet ( This is really graphics based program I have seen in years. What is equally impressive is that it was created, as was the company to market it, by an Australian woman (Melanie Perkins) in her early 30’s. She did the early work pretty much on her own, supported by her husband. She quickly turned it into a multi-billion dollar enterprise. The product keeps improving and people seem to enjoy working for Canva. Heck of a success story. Nice when the product, the company, and the people driving it all are each a good story. As they say in Australia, good on ya!

 See you next week.

         Bill Clontz

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1 reply to Assorted Odds and Ends

  1. Bill, all good issues to get upset about …but by far the Women’s health and maternity issues are the most dangerous with preventable death rates about to rise even further. It’s a disgrace and raises anger to a new level. OBGYN doctors are leaving states passing new draconian laws on abortion rights and hospital maternity wards are closing as well. I’m afraid only women voters can make a difference…and maybe the aging out of some of the legislatures.

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