More than a Day Late

I was prompted to write this after reading P&R’s post. I should have done so long ago.

As you have noticed, this space went dark back in May, largely without warning. For that, I apologize. Unfortunately for Constant Conservative, my time was redirected into some major tasks: selling a house, buying another, and moving across the country to Tennessee to be nearer family.

This all happened at the same time I had come to the understanding that while I enjoyed what I did, the amount of time which I spent reading, researching, and writing was hardly borne out by the value provided to others. And, since my day job involves much writing and communication in general, I was often burnt out by the end of the day, having been analyzing and explaining things for most of my waking hours.

Since the move and a change to my work schedule necessitated by the move, I have been convinced that it is currently more important for me to spend my energy on other things, things which have greater immediate benefit to my family than publicly analyzing this or that person, place or thing.

I still find much that interests me in the public sphere, not the least of which is the remarkable response of so many (of whatever political leaning) to President Trump’s election. However, there are many online sources who are far more equipped than I to engage in public discussion and to continue in the search for truth. Of those, I find that the Patriot Post is very much in line with my view of things, though I find I agree with no one completely–including my slighter younger and skinnier self. 🙂

I’m not giving up writing entirely, and I may find myself contributing to discussions from time to time, albeit as a commenter rather than the writer/blogger, but I believe the time has come for me to also say “Farewell and God Bless.”

‘Tis the Season

No, not that season, the “put the meat in the freezer” season. Apologies for non-existent posting. Evenings and other times have been given over to processing the annual harvest of venison for future consumption.

On that note, here’s an article I ran across on dry-aging beef. It’s an interesting explanation of why I don’t run across such meat more frequently (I can’t afford it).

I’ve played around a bit with aging venison, but I tend to find that it’s best to process it as soon as possible — at least in my case, where I don’t have access to freezer/cooler where I can hang it at a nice even 35-37 degrees F.

Last weekend the deer were coming in at ambient temperature, which was over 60 degrees F. That meat started to break down rather quickly. This weekend, the ambient temperature has dropped 40 degrees, ensuring that the meat will not break down so quickly. At the same time, cutting frozen meat is a bit more dangerous for the cutter. 🙂

Regardless of the weather, the result is well worth the effort.

Not Out to Lunch

To the three of you who still pop over from time to time, I think I have good news. The “Open” sign has been placed in the shop window once again. Medical issues through the first part of this year, followed by a lot of re-evaluation of where things stood with self, family, friends, work, etc. have kept me rather preoccupied.

I’ve not entirely determined what approach I’ll take to reinvigorating this space (shorter regular posts, longer weekly posts, chain of consciousness writing, or something altogether different and avant garde) but I’m relatively rested and refreshed and ready to give it a spin.

And no, my recent and frequent experiences with this country’s health care system have not let me to radically rethink my understanding of markets and how incentives cause people to make good (and bad) decisions. If anything, I am more convinced that the healthcare industry would greatly benefit from government’s removing its heavy hand from the scales of supply and demand. But that sounds like a post for another day.

As a regular voice of my childhood would declaim each week-day: “Stand by for news!”

Gone, but Not Yet Completely Gone

Yes, I’ve been remiss in covering matters political for the last few months, including a relatively tame session of the South Dakota legislature. My apologies to those of you who wondered if I’d fallen off the face of the web. I would have liked to continue writing, but became preoccupied with a serious personal issue, one which made matters of policy and law take a seat all the way at the back of the bus.

I had not felt well for some time last fall but was unable to pinpoint the source. Then, not too long after my most recent post, I went in for some medical checkups. The result? A diagnosis of Stage 3 rectal cancer. A second opinion from the folks in Rochester, MN confirmed the original diagnosis. As a result, my world shrunk to a very small point while I and my wife attempted to get wrap our heads around all that this could mean for me and the family.

In the tumultuous months since that diagnosis, I have completed a course of chemoradiation and am now in a recovery period which will end with probable surgery. The care and prayers of friends and family have been essential in staying the course. I have known others who have dealt with similar medical issues, but it’s something else altogether to experience it oneself. I truly do not know how those without the caring support of others are able to make it through.

I’m feeling better today than I have since last fall, but life is also far busier than before. Many decisions remain to be made, with much time and effort to be expended in researching those decisions. Meanwhile, as I have time and inclination, I will attempt to revisit this space and add my thoughts to the big and important questions of the day.

And no, you may not have a picture of me wearing that dress, no matter what color you think it might be.

No, Not Mostly Dead — Just Busy

Based on the date of my last post in this space, it would seem that I took a brief summer vacation. That was not my intent as such, but I confess to finding myself more than unusually busy over the last several weeks. I’ve been working on my 100+ year-old house, my 49-year-old tractor, and any number of other things to either prepare them for the coming winter or simply catch up on tasks which accumulated.

Since my break, I see that very little has changed in the world. We are still at war in the Middle East–and likely to open  up another front in that war if the current scuttlebutt is to be believed. We are also finding ourselves as a culture far more interested in the personal failings (though serious) of a football player and his wife than in the behavior of the IRS. I’d say par for the course, but it seems awfully close to mixing a metaphor. I also see that we are finally warming up the competitions for a number of the mid-term races across the country. Now that we have less than two months to go, we lack little more than a handful of October surprises before we come up on the big day.

Tomorrow marks an important anniversary of a tragic day in our history. Thirteen years ago, I was in my 20s and married without children. One of those things is still true. That aside, the world has changed, and largely not for the better, since we Americans were briefly shaken our of our first-world complacency by 19 men who used the tools of the 21st century in an attack whose end goal would seem to be to move us back to the 7th century.

To those who would see only those things which are not going well (and the list is long), don’t become discouraged. I am reminded of the following statement by James Whitcomb Riley:

The most essential factor is persistence – the determination never to allow your energy or enthusiasm to be dampened by the discouragement that must inevitably come.

Carry on.

Socially Insecure? Yes, We Are.

Does one pay the piper anymore? It seems as though someone’s been forgetting to:

Social Security paid out nearly $71 billion more to retirees and other beneficiaries than it collected in tax revenue in 2013. This is the fourth straight year the retirement and disability programs are running cash-flow deficits, as highlighted in today’s trustee report.

Deficits are only growing worse. The trustees project $80 billion in deficits in 2014, which will more than double before the end of the decade. At $110 billion in average annual deficits throughout the next decade, the combined programs are facing more than a trillion dollars in deficits just over the next 10 years.

Social Security’s reported long-term (through the end of 2088) unfunded obligation of $10.6 trillion is further exacerbated by the $2.8 trillion in IOUs in the old-age security (OAS) and disability insurance (DI) trust funds.

Simply put, the Social Security Accounts Receivable was $71,000,000,000.00 less than the SS Accounts Payable for last year. And that’s without even looking at the other years data.

So, what ought to be done? In most businesses (assuming they weren’t already bankrupt from such a differential) people would either need to increase revenues or cut costs, or both.

Increasing revenues to SS would have the nearly immediate benefit of constricting the economy further than it already is. Cutting costs involves telling people who have been paying into the system for years that their investments haven’t really amounted to anything.

As one of the people who will be losing his SS investment, I’m in favor of the second approach, despite the fact that it will be painful. Of course, it’s not as though I’m really losing anything.

For the most part, ignoring problems does not cause them to go away. Though, if we ignore problems for long enough, we end up going away and the problems are inherited by our children. Sounds kind of selfish, doesn’t it?

 

Another Beautiful Day on the Prairie

Largely took a break from matters political today. Puttered around the place on the tractor this morning and chainsawed several downed limbs (from that snowstorm 10 days or so ago) into submission. Then, I took care of the two younger offspring while my wife and the two elder were able to see their grandmother/great-grandmother for her 96th birthday. Caught up with a few friends, including one who was successful in his search for the elusive western whitetail today.

Sometimes it’s nice to enjoy what we have, rather than bemoaning all the things which don’t have, or may not have soon.

The Preoccupation Has a Name

As I noted back on September 11 of this year:

I have been occupied (nay, preoccupied) for the last year with preparation for a new business enterprise which should be officially launched in the next several weeks. I’ll share more with you when it happens, but meanwhile I’m going to be setting a schedule of sorts for posting here in the hopes that I’ll be able to carve out enough time to keep things going. (and no, I’m not sharing what the schedule is).

It’s been more than a few weeks, but I can now share the source of my preoccupation. For the last year, my business partner and I have been building a platform for the shooting community called Trigger Savvy. In brief, it is place where one can go and compete against other shooters, or just compete against oneself, through a variety of courses of fire.  I’d tell you more, but the best thing to do, if you are interested, is to head on over and check it out.

Killer Commutes?

According to the article linked from this, long commutes help people die faster and do all sorts of other terrible things. I realize that my evidence is anecdotal, but that does not mean it is false.

I regularly commute over a half-hour one way to work. I’ve been doing this for more than a decade. I like doing it (and didn’t like living 5 minutes away from my work when I did).

You see, this time in the saddle gives me sufficient room to drop all of my work concerns and switch over to what else is going on (for the drive home) and the reverse (for the drive in). For me as a father of 4, it is thinking time. For me as a friend and partner in business adventures, it is time to connect.

Not all commutes are the same and I’ll be the first to say that my North Jersey 45-minute commute probably would have caused an early death–whether mine or someone else’s. But, as with any study of the incredibly complex creation known as a human being, you may want to take it with a grain of salt (as long as you are not in NYC, in which case Bloomberg won’t let you have the salt).

Recently

My apologies for my unplanned publishing vacation. Today, I head into my fourth week of employment with a new job. Learning a new knowledge domain, new people and new processes has drained my personal batteries more than I anticipated. I’m  hoping that will soon change as I become more comfortable with my position and have a much better idea of what I am doing.

On top of that, we lost power at the house for 3 and 1/2 days last week, only getting it back on Saturday. Cold showers do serve to get one clean (assuming soap and a scrubby are involved) but leave the emphasis on the cold. Brrrr! No wonder Jim Bridges and his fellow long-haird friends of the mountain would not worry about bathing more than a couple of times a year. Drinking out of that clear mountain stream is one thing, dunking oneself in it is another.