Posted from Amsterdam,Holland
We are about to leave our floating hotel. One of the best parts of cruising is you only have to unpack your bags once. The worst part? Trying to keep your waistline intact in the midst of a non stop onslaught of great food. Get your butt to the gym, TTG.
While I pound away on the treadmill or elliptical machine I have a choice of three programs on the TV: BBC,FOX or MSNBC. In the latter two I get to see Hannity or Rachel Maddow. ????? I do flip back and forth from these outer limits of the Twilight Zone and my thoughts turn to concepts such as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Success. Common Good. Now there are a lot of calories to be burned trying to figure those out.
We have been a lot of places and met a lot of people.You try to glean what is good and what is bad. You look to see if somewhere hidden is a person who has figured this out. I hearken to Finland, Estonia or even Lithuania to set the scene. These people live simply. As a matter of fact they seem to work to live rather than the contrary. Life is something to be enjoyed and not endured. This does not preclude the denizens of big cities but you do have to make your own way and not get caught up in the flow.
What is success? To me it is making the best use of your talents. Living up to your potential. That has to include making money of some sort but the amount seems commensurate with what’s important in life. If things mean a lot to you by all means make as much do,re,mi as you can. On the other hand being a hermit and eating locusts went out of style a long time ago. You do have to earn a living and here living off the state is proof it has its consequences.
For me it is saying at the end of the day I done good. Or at least more good than bad. I hope I related to people. I didn’t shun responsibility if it was warranted. I hope I made someone’s life a little better by maybe just recognizing them.If I saw I injustice I at least tried to call it out. If I witnessed a wrong at least I said STOP and did not look the other way. I tried to be fair in my judgments but should also realize I have no right to judge. My way is not the highway. Don’t get it right all the time but I am trying.
Most of all it comes down to living honestly. I think in terms of us as a country. We have got to realize that we can’t be all things to all people but democracy says that everyone should have a say. It is interesting when we say so and so won by a landslide garnering 55% of the vote. Hello! There were 45% that didn’t like the winner. But the majority of the vote was just a little right or left of center and not on the radical fringes.
Honestly speaking we have to be mobile. We have seen over here whole populations move to find food and shelter. In the US there are jobs that are wanting but we don’t want to pull up to leave home. That may be true but my grandmother and her sister left home at 14 and 16 respectively to come to America from Ireland.Get the picture?
Honestly speaking we are not all going to make it to the top or at least not in our vernacular. Big houses and bank accounts don’t always mean happiness. There are incredibly gifted people who work with their hands. There is nothing wrong with being ordinary. We seem to have set this goal for everyone to be financially self sufficient by the age of 40. It doesn’t always work this way.We all have a place. Mark Twain said we are all perfect. Just at different things.
Honestly speaking Washington doesn’t work. After seeing the Baltic States you realize how diverse a country of our size is. We started out with 13 colonies within a stone’s throw of DC. We are now 52 and span thousands of miles. We all have different priorities and we have proven we can’t figure that out. One size does not fit all. State and regional governments have to step forward and take care of themselves. On a purely philosophical side we can’t expect the federal government and eventually the state to do everything for us.
Honestly speaking we are the world’s largest superpower. Just like the Yankees or the current NCAA winner everyone wants to bump us off our pedestal. We should be proud of who we are but not haughty. We should not have to put out every fire. We should not have to solve every problem. Diplomacy and arm twisting seem a lot better than swagger every time.
Most of all honestly speaking we have to embrace change. As I study the Renaissance it was a celebration of man’s spirit. A combination of ingenuity and creativity created a whole new era. We are that time line on steroids. The world is moving so fast it would be easy to just say let’s sit this one out. As we travel the interconnectivity of the world is startling. Ports and airfields with shipping and airline companies you have never heard of. The trick is to make it work for us and not be sucked in by the monster.
Most of all the world needs visionaries who are leaders. Corporations and universities should be the breeding grounds but the intense spotlight and meager rewards of public life rob us of some very dynamic minds. We are left with party hacks and lifetime politicians. Just like career bureaucrats they know how to work the system. We wind up losing.
Well, I have now lost 10 pounds with all this thinking while pedaling. (I wish) I know it is a little far afield but I feel like I want to reinvent TTG for the 439th time. Not throwing out all the old pieces but giving them some help with fresh ideas and a new perspective or coat of paint as it were. If you are happy with things as they are I applaud you. Me? The next fun and challenging thing is right around the corner. Gotta look for it.Going my way?
Ted The Great.
In Sweden the bus driver has to blow into a receptacle to make sure he hasn’t been drinking or doing drugs before the coach will start.
Contrary to current lore the Vikings did not have horns on their helmets. This would have been far too cumbersome in battle. This horn business was dreamed up one time by some idiot Minnesota fan. Actually he was pretty smart because he has made a lot of money. Remember that change and creativity thing.
In Finland it is considered very rude to be late. Considering the normal weather pattern if you are tardy your friend has to freeze their you know what off waiting for you.
We have drunk vodka shots in a bar made completely of ice in Stockholm. We had some local moonshine with an RAF pilot in Lithuania. We were sung to by a choir of old people who survived the gulag in Siberia for 20 years after being ripped from their parents at the age of anywhere from three to five. Life is good. Live it.