This is my second blog.

My first blog chronicled my experiences over three years caring for my dad as he lived through and finally died from Alzheimer's. That is the book that is for sale.

This second blog kind of chronicles of life, what it is like to start your life over in your late 50's. After caretaking, you are damaged, file bankruptcy, and the world doesn't care what you did. After 8 months of unemployment, you wake each day knowing the world doesn't want you. Finally you do find a job, 5 weeks before homelessness, but doing what you did 30 years ago and getting paid what you did 30 years ago. So this is starting over.

The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


News story catching fire today about by 2020 the technology will exist to plant chips in our brains.  Scientists are so excited about the possibility of downloading entire books into our memory and all those things that sound so cool.  I suggest we start with putting the chips in the brains of all the people working on this project and downloading some Greek philosophy, Aquinas, and Pascal into their brains and then maybe some of them might start understanding the Law of Unintended Consequences.

Vonnegut wrote a great short story in his book Welcome to the Monkey House about a future where chips were implanted in brains.  It was a society of equality.  So if you were a smart thinking person, the chip would periodically hit you with a painful shock to prevent you from thinking about something too deeply because so many are incapable of deep thought.  Athletes wore weighted devices to they were not faster than others and musicians that were real good had strings removed or keys removed from their instrument so they couldn't play better than everyone else.  Total equality.

Not being an master of science fiction genre, I am sure others wrote about brain implanted chips before Vonnegut in 1960.  What I will bet is no science fiction writer ever viewed the chips implanted as being a good thing for the individual.

The joy of reading a story, is the unfolding of the story in your mind.  The laughter, fear, haunting, and joy that one experiences.  How can you just dump all that into the head and call it good?

Do you understand why some of us who embraced the computer age in the 80's and 90's are now running from it as fast as we can?  When you do the simplest task, like buy bananas, or vote in the election, you are making the choice based on your thoughts or feelings, no matter how wrong they are, they are yours.  Once a chip is in your brain, how do you know if you are buying bananas because you like bananas or because the government health system wants you to buy bananas instead of ice cream?  Or you are voting for Obama's 12th term in office because you think he has done a really good job combining the United States with Islam?  Sharia Law rocks, you think.  Or did you?

We already have people claiming there exists the technology to hit you with energy that affects your thinking; we already have weapons that will heat your body/brain and cause you to fall to the ground, literally microwaved.  I've babbled on and on about those evil devices for your car that allows corporations and government to track you everywhere you drive while they track your phone and everything you say, write, text, tweet, or surf.

Now they are moving to the day to plant a chip in your brain and then they will have complete control over your thoughts, your life, your lifespan.  Kill the chip, kill the person.  That should take care of the troubles of old age, just kill everyone between the ages of 68 and 72.  Paralyzed?  Stroke?  Alzheimer's?  Parkinson?  No problem - zap.

I was listening to Hag&Hag last night with Stan Deyo and after Stan left the show they started to have an interesting conversation between the dad and son about outhouses, dial phones, and party lines.  Joe, the son, never heard of a party line.  But the whole thing got me thinking about the 50 year olds today and those in the past.

When I was growing up, lets use the 1960's and 1970's, there were lots of 50 year old men and women in the neighborhoods.  And while there were worries, especially the Cuban Missile Crisis, where the 'adults' were seriously worried about the future, most of the people were happy.  Most 50 year old people today are not happy.  We are worried, we are scared.  Why?

The adults of my childhood grew up in a time when the majority of the nation lived in rural America.  Outhouses and water pumps.  Got up every morning at 4 to milk cows and such before breakfast and going off to school.  Even those who lived in the towns were still rural kids.  Those that lived in cities had dads working mostly at manual labor in the factories, the steel mills, the railroads, the stockyards, the oil fields.  They grew up during a depression, spent their youth fighting in Europe or the Pacific, then came home and got jobs, hit the middle class, had homes, jobs, a car.  Life was good, the future looked bright because the past had been so hard.

Today, the adults grew up in the 50's 60's, and 70's.  Except for those who grew up black in the south or were drafted into Vietnam as young adults, most of us had a great, easy life in our youth.  We enjoyed freedoms my young imaginary readers cannot imagine: we could ride our bikes for miles away from home, by ourselves, without a helmet.  We could hunt snakes, play ball all day long with no adults, and were so excited when we got that first color TV.  We also thought the future looked bright.

But, today we see the future we've arrived at and it is not bright.  The technology that was so cool that really helped us get work done in the 1980's is now this monster that wants to think for us.  Our jobs don't exist, they've all gone overseas.  Corporations no longer provide life long employment, a gold watch, and a great pension; now they toss your ass out the door in your early 50's like throwing people off a ship in the middle of a violent ocean.  We don't trust our government, maybe they shouldn't have trusted it back then, but they did.  And the government seemed to understand basic accounting back then, not so much now.

What scares us is the realization that our parents grew up hard and then had it easy.  We had it easy and now in our later years, life is about to get very very hard.  And we wonder when it went so wrong.  Where did we screw it up?  Can we reboot to 1980 and try again?

My youthful imaginary readers, you won't have such problems.  The chips in your brain that you will probably stand in line for with your debit card held out eagerly will make sure you will enjoy whatever slavery awaits you in your future.  Do you get the iBrain or become the Google Android?

The Borg were evil, vampires were evil, zombies were evil.  When did we go off the track?

I should laugh, but I cry
Because your love has passed me by
You took me by surprise
You didn't realize but I was waiting

Time goes slowly, but carries on
And now the best years have come and gone
You took me by surprise
I didn't realize that you were laughing

Laughing, 'cause you're doin' it to me
Laughing, it ain't the way it should be
You took away everything I had
You put the hurt on me

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