Reclaiming the Family – Part 2 – The Family Business

Reclaiming the Family – Part 1 – Bring Back the Dowry

 

Back in the 1960s when I was a kid.  My father told me that the key to success was getting as much education as I could in a technical field and working for private industry.  In my own lazy and wayward manner, I took his advice and on the whole the advice was actually very sound.  I ended up in engineering, supported my family through their college years and lived a reasonably comfortable existence at a step beyond what my parents had.

Fast forward to 2019.  I have grandsons who will be coming of age in the next five to ten years.  Would my father’s advice be as good for them as it was for me?  Maybe, maybe not.  Let’s look at some of the factors that have changed.

Back when I was young, the American economy was the engine of world economic growth.  Technical innovation in almost every field occurred primarily here.  Computer science was the greatest innovation but advances in materials science, chemistry, medicine and electronics were remarkable.  Jobs in all fields went through booms and busts in synchrony with the business cycles but people raised families, bought houses and sent their kids to college on the strength of American industry employing them consistently.  And this was at all levels.  They needed production personnel, tradesmen, maintenance workers, support staff, along with scientists, engineers, accountants, lawyers and business managers.  America worked.

But starting in the early 1990s American business got the bright idea that American business didn’t need American workers.  First slowly then rapidly, jobs were shifted from where labor was expensive to where it was dirt cheap.  NAFTA was the beginning of this.  A factory across the border in Juarez could build automotive parts for a fraction of what it would cost in El Paso right across the border in Texas.  But things really got out of hand when the globalists shifted whole industries to China.  I personally saw the beginning of the export of polystyrene manufacturing to China in the 1990s and assume that the wholesale loss of intellectual property happened in just the same way with all the other industries that were sent there to avoid the environmental regulations and the normal labor costs in the United States.  And with those industries went all the manufacturing jobs that had existed with them here.  In my later career I was in an industry that was relatively immune to this devastation but lately between off-shoring and the importation of Indian and Chinese scientists and engineers the same kind of fate awaits these higher-level jobs and the kids coming out of school hoping for them.

For now, the crème de la crème of the best professional schools can hope to find good jobs in the legacy industries remaining in the United States.  But for everyone else it is an uncertain and changeable environment.

Recently what I’ve been thinking about is small business ownership.  If you can select an industry that is relatively hard to replace by cheap overseas labor, owning your own business can both help someone raising a family and also provide jobs for family that will be needing them as they reach maturity.

What kinds of businesses could these be?  Obvious ones are the building and business trades.  Electricians, carpenters, plumbers, HVAC installers, roofers, mechanics, IT technicians and repairmen.  Of course, there are all kinds of businesses that haven’t been completely devastated by cheap Chinese crap from Amazon.com.  Custom manufacturers and specialty equipment manufacturers, specialty metal workers and welders all provide products and services for businesses that still exist in the US.  Someone who is good at orbital sanitary welding and is conscientious about the paperwork that goes along with it can make a good living servicing the needs of microelectronics and pharmaceutical customers.

The way I think about it, if you’ve spent your life building up an expertise maybe you can use some of these skills to start or buy a business that you can work your children into.  Giving your children a leg up in the kind of world we live in today sounds like something that make sense.  Schooling will still have its value but instead of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to got to Stanford you could go to State Tech and then go to work for the family business.

I’m still working on my own version of this plan but I throw it out there as an idea.

Of course, it’s not a panacea.  There’s no guarantee that your kids will be interested in the field you start a business in.  After all, if your kid wants to be an astrophysicist chances are, he won’t want to be a plumber.  And it’s not uncommon that family members cannot work together because of differences in temperament.

But there are advantages to working for family that are unique.  Transitioning a business from a father to his sons provides a flexible environment for on the job training, reasonable terms for both sides of the ownership transition and the possibility for someone even beyond normal retirement age to provide real value to the business on a part time basis.  It might even make long term health care more affordable for the older generation.

Obviously, many people aren’t in a position to start a small business, especially while raising a family.  It might even be more applicable to grandfathers but I think it’s another way to try to protect your family from the negative changes that the American business world has seen in the last generation.  Something to consider.

 

What I Took Away from the Weekend Horror Fest

I waited yesterday instead of writing a post.  I wanted to sift through my thoughts.

My opinion is we’re in a lot of trouble.  And I’m not talking about Democrats and Second Amendment attacks and presidential polls.  Put all that aside for a minute.

Connor Betts was 24.  Patrick Crusius is 21.  We have young men who are of an age where they should be enjoying life to its fullest.  Instead they’re flushing their lives down the drain in a senseless orgy of violence.  And it’s happening more and more frequently.  Without a doubt, the ones committing these crimes are the most damaged of their generation.  They are probably terrible misfits that don’t feel empathy and live inside the tiny world of their own thoughts.  There have always been people like this and there have always been crimes like these.  But nowhere near as many.

What I’m afraid we are doing is widening a window of people who can fall into this kind of trap.  Adolescence is a rough time, especially for males.  Without someone watching out for them it’s easy to get involved in destructive behavior.  And that someone no longer exists.  Nobody is watching out for these kids.  Mom and Dad are both working.  Many times, there isn’t even another brother or sister around to communicate with.  No one even knows or cares if they go to school.  Work doesn’t leave any room for these kids.  So, they spend their time on the internet or video games.  If they fall behind in school or get into trouble often the parents and teachers will paper over it and make believe that something didn’t happen or didn’t mean anything.

And in the last ten years we have added a new dimension.  The Millennials grew up in a world where there were no jobs to be had.  So, after spending twelve years bored in school, without a job you live in your parents’ basement and have no adult life or even prospects of it.  So, in addition to the truly disturbed individuals we are pushing the fragile normal people into the same place.  They’re angry and are looking for someone to punish for their wasted lives.

The mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton are, as always, shocking.  But what isn’t a surprise is that these two young men were dangerously mentally ill long before their rampages.  Just looking at the pictures and reading the accounts of their histories should be enough to convince people that what we have in this country isn’t a gun problem, it’s societal dysfunction causing a mental health emergency.  Look at the kid in Ohio.  The stories contain the fact that while in high school he had a list of kids he wanted to kill and a list of girls he wanted to rape.  If you’re the parent of this boy what else do you need to hear to know that your son is a ticking time bomb?  And maybe they did know.  And maybe it’s just where we are as a country that they didn’t know what to do.  What would I have done in that case?  What can be done?  These aren’t easy questions to answer.  But they sure do have to be answered.  We’ve got a whole continent full of young men growing up in a world that doesn’t value their talents and doesn’t have anything to keep them gainfully employed.  That is a recipe for extinction.

So other than a lot of talk, what does all this mean?  Well for the most deeply disturbed we have to stop thinking that antidepressants will allow criminally insane individuals to walk among us.  These people need to be institutionalized for life.  That’s for their own good but mostly for ours.

But for the run of the mill kid growing up in America there’s still plenty that needs to be done.  What my take away from this is spend a lot of time with your sons and your grandsons.  Don’t assume that just by keeping them in school and driving them to soccer practice that they’re okay.  Talk about the future with them.  Talk realistically and constructively about how kids transition into adults.  Know their friends.  Check their homework and see if they’re prepared for tests.  Pay attention!  Be aware of their activities on the internet.  Help them to socialize in a constructive way.  And don’t let them feel alone or bored.  A kid is better off with a manual labor job than sitting around alone all day.

You may think that these things only happen to the worst of the worst people.  But I don’t think that’s the case.  The world that we live in isolates us and destroys our communities, families and especially our sons.  Don’t let it.  Even the kids who don’t go off the deep end are struggling in an environment that’s almost unfathomable even for adults.  Help them!  Adapt to the problems, compensate for the dysfunctional arrangements we live under.  Save your kids.  They’re the only possession of value you have.

 

Panbowl – Sturgill Simpson – A Short Country Music Review

Yesterday I put up a post about Sturgill Simpson’s album Big Top Mountain.  I related how I had not loved his two other albums, “Metamodern Sounds in Country Music” and “A Sailor’s Guide to Earth” but that on the former album I thought that the song Panbowl was extremely good.  This post is to expand on that comment.  One of the things that country music can do is tell a story.  In fact, I think that possibly the best country songs are the ones that do that best.  Panbowl seems to be an autobiographical remembrance of youth and family.  It feels to me like a completely heartfelt expression of anguish at the loss of the simple joys of being a child in a family.  He paints a vivid picture of an extended family that provided love and belonging and what it means to lose this.

Admittedly I am attracted to strong sentiment so that might be the reason I rate this song so highly, but I think many country music fans will think this is an excellent song.  In any case I consider it the best song of his I’ve heard and this is because it seems honest and describes something I think is admirable, love of family.  Check it out and see if you agree.

The ZMan Has a Post “The Haunting” About the Disruption of Sex Roles in Western Society

http://thezman.com/wordpress/?p=14329

ZMan talks about the present disruption that afflicts young men and women and how it has led to all the aberrant behavior we see today.  His conclusion is that the society we’ve allowed to evolve no longer functions to bring men and women together to form normal functioning families.  Well, that seems accurate. But it doesn’t go into what needs to be done.  I think it goes without saying that leaving things the way they are will only make the problem worse.  What needs to happen is for the society at large to incentivize young people to get married and raise families.  Lobby for government policies that make families affordable; school vouchers, tax deductions for dependents and a subsidy for married stay at home moms, tax benefits for companies that provide family benefits to their employees.  And on the individual front it’s necessary for all of us to start recreating traditional social organizations to provide a place for young people to meet.  If the churches and the old line fraternal organizations have been converged and destroyed it’s necessary to form new ones.  With the Supreme Court finally out of liberal hands perhaps it’s possible that the right of free association may resurface and we can again organize our personal lives to exclude the mentally ill and the disruptively abnormal.  I think we’re in a bad place but I think it will improve when we have more control over the anti-traditional forces that are continuously attacking the normal roles of men and women in a functional society.  Anyway, that’s my thought.

The Incredibles 2 – A Science Fiction & Fantasy Movie Review

The trailer for this movie says it is fourteen years since the original Incredibles debuted.  That must be true but because at that time I had neither children nor grandchildren of an age to watch it I missed its appearance altogether.  Probably four or five years ago I read that it was probably the only Disney film of recent vintage without a truly ponderous social justice taint so I took it out and liked it.  I watched it with the grandkids and they really liked it too.  But when I saw the coming attractions for the sequel I was annoyed to find a bunch of blather about Mr. Incredible being relegated to Mr. Mom and Elasti-Girl (Mrs. Incredible) being the heroic superhero who earns the daily bread.  And so, it was with a certain amount of trepidation that I took Camera Girl and the two older grandsons to the dying local movie palace to see the film.

Well, my fears were unnecessary.  The movie is good.  By the necessity of a sequel being somewhat derivative by its very nature Incredibles 2 may not rate as highly by some measures and to some audiences.  I found it extremely enjoyable.  Aside from any measures of technical or visual excellence the story line is meager as expected for this genre but acceptable, the main characters retain their original charm and the interactions between the family members defines the heart of the movie.  It is a celebration of the traditional nuclear family.  Mr. Incredible is a 1950s Dad.  Elasti-Girl could be Donna Reed and the kids are the usual bundle of sibling rivalry, growing pains and mischief but whenever the chips are down the family pulls together to save the day and each other.

I’ll keep this short.  If you have kids or grandkids bring them to this movie.  And if you don’t, then go see it yourself.  You’ll have a good time.  My personal favorite scene in the movie is Mr. Incredible coming to terms with his kid’s “new math” homework.  His anguished cry of, “Why would they change math?”, brought back such memories of exactly the same scene in my home that I probably laughed out loud in the theater like an idiot.  Maybe there is still some hope for Disney.  I mean I doubt it, but at least they didn’t alter the characters.  They’re still who they were and still a lot of fun.

19APR2018 – Captain Capitalism Has an Interesting Article –  You Can Return to 1950s America Anytime

As many of you are aware, I’ve got an ad on Captain Capitalism’s web site.  But an added benefit is I’m visiting his site and finding some very entertaining stuff.  This article on living the 1950s lifestyle is very timely for young people trying to escape from Obamerica.  And it gave me some things to think about too.  I have a plan to escape from New England (where even now at the cusp of May it’s still snowing)  and relocate to the southwest someday.   Trying to find a non-leftist political environment is right at the top of my needs list for any relocation search algorithm.

 

https://captaincapitalism.blogspot.com/2018/04/you-can-return-to-1950s-america-anytime.html

Scenes from a Holy Saturday Dinner

My extended family has recently taken to getting together on both Saturday and Sunday of Easter weekend.  So last night I was over a sibling’s house for round one.  Amazing food and drink was everywhere and everyone was talkative.  Winter was evaporating and spring was in everyone’s blood.  What a perfect time to talk politics.

We’re more than a year into the Trumpian Era and clear progress into a new world is evident all around.  At the gathering yesterday of family and some friends a different perspective on what can be said and what was common knowledge was apparent.  Those who had formerly been frightened or confused had gotten used to the new normal.  Deference to the neo-con and NeverTrump “orthodoxy” had melted away.  Contempt for the politically correct was loudly declared and anger at the left was sulfurous.  Many were obviously overjoyed at the ability of Trump to confound his enemies and were openly scornful of the dangers of the Stormy Daniels scandal to damage the President’s agenda or presidency.

One amusing incident was a conversation in which a visiting son of the Cloud People tried to explain why White Privilege was a legitimate concept.  The blowback was heated and quite entertaining.  My own statement was that if someone asks me to check my white privilege my response is “Thanks, I just checked it before and it’s doing splendidly.  How’s yours?”  Discussions abounded on the best way for the Attorney General to arrest the Mayor of Oakland and whether treason was the correct crime to assign to a state official interfering with the duties of a federal immigration enforcement officer.

I was especially gratified that the usual suspects entirely abandoned the attempt to provide the “Narrative.”  We seem to have completely shrugged off the Bush/Obama era of right-wing paralysis.  We can say what we want and we don’t have to care who hears it or what they think about it.

Probably a good part of the change is actually internal to me.  I’ve finally figured out which arguments and which pundits are a waste of time.  I don’t even waste time talking or even thinking about them.  I just deprive them of oxygen and spend my time on what I want to talk about and what I want to happen.  Once in a while we’ll make fun of the neo-cons or the Bushes or Romney.  But that’s strictly for laughs.  We are a very irreverent group.

And I would say the most important change of all is we laughed a lot.  We were happy to be living in a place where there are jobs for our grown kids and even more hope for the future.  And we especially hoped to roll back some of the progressive assaults in the near future.  We talked about the Supreme Court and the Draining of the Swamp.  And we laughed at our insane ridiculous President who beds porn stars one week and tweaks the noses of psychopathic dictators the next.  It’s as if the “Most Interesting Man in the World” were suddenly living in the White House.  And the insanity that circles around him like the rings that surround Saturn are part of the gaudy, nonsensical adventure.  And the roller coaster gee force is no longer frightening, just fun.

How to Have a Merry Christmas And Drive Leftists Nuts

 

Merry Christmas to all you folks reading this out there.  It is at this time of the rolling year that leftists suffer most from Hadephobia (the fear of going to hell) and do all within their power to discredit religion and especially Christmas.  You see, they rationalize in their hearts that if everyone else is going to hell with them then it won’t be as bad.  Maybe they figure they can convince Satan to put them in charge of handing out the torture.  After all he seems like their sort of guy.

So, it’s up to us to neutralize their efforts and make them the ones who feel discredited and dispirited.  And since making lists is part of the nature of Christmas, let’s make one to help focus the effort:

  1. Tell all your least favorite leftists that your best Christmas present this year was Al Franken resigning from the senate but that John Conyers was a close second.
  2. Make sure you publicly greet every non-left-wing individual with a loud and joyful “Merry Christmas!” and pointedly ignore the Christmas haters. And give a joyous Happy Hanukah to any Jewish friends of faith.  But for goodness sake don’t be cowed into saying Season’s Greetings.  That’s one step away from being forced to say “Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.”
  3. Make every effort to take time off around Christmas Eve and Day to spend with your family and friends. Let the atheists work on Christmas.  Why should they care?
  4. Make sure that you actually participate in the activities. Help with the decorating.  Go with the kids and get the tree.  Put up the lights.
  5. Get involved in the dinner menu selection. Demand all the things you’re not allowed during the rest of the year because they’re bad for you.  If your wife is cooking the turkey, then by all means go pick it up at the butcher’s or supermarket.  Make sure you make a pest of yourself in the kitchen and if possible sample some of the food ahead of time.  How could she mind that?  And for goodness sake make a big fuss about how good the food tastes.  Don’t be a dope.
  6. During your holiday time with your family, shut out the whole evil quagmire that is modern leftist society. Plan to provide entertainment that avoids all the poisonous nonsense that even Disney now bakes into their products.  Here’s where you get a chance to show your originality and good taste.  Put together a pile of movies and tv shows that past the smell test.  Think old stuff.  Don’t be afraid of black and white.  Find all the music that you want to associate with a Christmas celebration.  There’s plenty out there if you look.  With a little effort you can provide enough entertainment to preclude any danger of Kathy Griffin, Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, Anderson Cooper or Snoop Dog taking part in your Holiday viewing and listening.
  7. And come up with activities that don’t involve electronic devices. If you or your family are musical, play some songs and if you can carry a tune sing along.  Charades, card games, Yahtzee, board games and trivial pursuit are all easy things to get going.  And with the really small kids, get down on the floor and play with all those toy trucks and space ships they just got from Santa.  It’ll do you good.  Put together a penny ante poker game with the male relatives (sure the girls can play too).  Here’s a really crazy thought.  Tell the kids some stories from the old days.  Great grandma would love to break out some stories from the Great Depression and you probably have some characters in your family that are more than worthy of a story to tell the grandkids.  So, there’s plenty to do without artificial intelligence.  You’d be surprised how much fun it is shutting off the tv and doing something yourselves.
  8. Give away lots of little presents to the kids. All the kids. Kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews, friends’ kids, neighbors’ kids.  Nothing like bribing the kids to get them listening to you about important things.
  9. If you have some days off, plan some interesting seasonal activity. Go see a production of A Christmas Carol.  Go to a sporting event (not the NFL).  Go sledding with the kids (if you have snow).  Or just take a drive somewhere.
  10. Give gifts to our side. Support the military charities, religious charities and traditional cultural organizations.  But do your homework.  Many churches, charities and organizations have been infiltrated and converted to leftist zombie versions of their original selves.  Don’t give these a penny.
  11. Take some time at the end of the holiday to make plans for the new year. Discuss your goals and those of your family separately and together.  New Years resolutions actually have a purpose.
  12. Spend some time in prayer. A Christian is supposed to spend some time talking to God.  The time around Christmas is the perfect time to do it.  And even if you are agnostic it’s a very useful time to reflect on the world and what it means to be a human being in it.

So, there you go, twelve suggestions on how to recapture some of the special quality of the Twelve Days of Christmas.  Now try to come up with a list of your own.  Bet some of mine will end up on it.

The Real Tomorrow

The only advantage to getting old is grandkids.  Of course, I’m sure there exist grandkids from hell but as a general concept, grandkids are a great idea.  They allow us to have fun, hang out with young people and then send them back to the people who have the real work of attempting to civilize them.  All plusses.  No minuses.

Every year at about this time the local engineering school, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) sponsors a science exhibition for kids.  The call it “Touch Tomorrow”

( http://wp.wpi.edu/touchtomorrow/the-festival/wpi-research-exhibits/ ).  WPI is affiliated with NASA and provides robotics and other expertise for Mars rovers and robotic components that dig and manipulate objects and sense light and other functions.  So, there are exhibits and presentations on many subjects involving spaceflight, robots and futuristic technology of all sorts.  For my oldest grandson this is like being in heaven.

And it’s pretty good stuff for me too.  Being an engineer and an inveterate fan of science fiction many of the topics are highly interesting and even answer some of my questions about the whichness of what.  So, this event is an annual win-win for me and my descendant.

But, of course, being in New England and the bluest of blue states, the fair has its share of pc virtue signaling and progressive biases.  I won’t go into all of them but suffice it to say that the celebration of women in science and technology is just a little too loud and a little too shrill.  That being said, I noticed a couple of things that gave me some small reason for optimism.

The first was at the forensic medicine exhibit.  A woman who had worked for the coroner had a table full of bones.  She was explaining to the kids how physical parameters of skeletons could allow a coroner to estimate very accurately the age of a child based on evidence from a skull.  This had to do with the stages of dentition.  Then she had a skull of Neanderthal Man.  She was able to relate the difference between Neanderthal and modern humans based on the differences in skull shape and bone thickness.  Finally, she was able to point to the differences in skulls based on sex and also race.  She had skulls for the three major racial families (Caucasoid, Negroid, Mongoloid) and for men and women.  I was shocked that a pack of screeching SJWs had not driven her out of the hall for espousing these hate crimes.  That not only were there physical differences between the races but that men and women were divided along anatomical lines.  Such an outrage.

The second thing I heard was during a presentation by a physics professor on the Universe.  He described the scientific method and very pointedly declared that no scientific fact was ever settled.  He stated categorically that a theory that was refuted by evidence was false.  And he further stated that a true scientist is always hoping that experiments used to prove a theory refute it in some way because these differences from theory are the basis for an increase in knowledge.  He said that when the Higgs Boson was confirmed last year, the disappointment was that it was exactly as calculated.  Even though the discovery was a great triumph of the standard model, the fact that nothing new was learned was a let-down to those hoping for new information.  I was tempted to ask what he thought of global warming data but I didn’t want to get this faithful acolyte of science burned at the stake by adolescents.

After the presentation, I spoke with this physicist and pinned him down about one particular “fact” that he showed during his presentation.  When describing the size of the universe he stated that the universe was potentially 93 billion light years wide.  I asked him whether the universe is currently believed to be bounded or unbounded.  He stated it was believed to be unbounded.  So, I asked him what the physical reality of this edge of the universe at 93 billion light years was.  He said all that it is, is the current guess at how far we’ll be able to observe based on the light after the big bang.  And he continued, “beyond that be dragons.”  Now that’s my kind of scientific answer.

After this presentation, we were finished with the exhibition and headed to a steakhouse for beef and potatoes.  I went with the ribeye and baked potato while this younger fellow heretically opted for sirloin and french fries.  Youth is wasted on the young.

During dinner, we continued our debate of the impossibility of producing a machine to endlessly produce electric energy from a single input of mechanical energy to a dynamo.  He wasn’t having any of it.  To prove my loyalty to the laws of thermodynamics and electromagnetism I agreed to fund his project and purchased a number of components for his machine on (of course) Amazon.com.  In this way, we could provide evidence to confirm or dispute his law of perpetual motion.

When we got to my house, his grandmother provided ice cream and I provided classic horror movies, specifically, “The Bride of Frankenstein” and “The Creature from the Black Lagoon.”  Being a purist I strongly disapprove of TCFTBL being included in the Universal canon.  But we live in disordered times and allowances must be made.

After I returned him to his parents it occurred to me that the name Touch Tomorrow could also be a description for older people spending time with their grandchildren.  They literally are tomorrow and by influencing them we make probably the most lasting effect we will have on the future.  Considering all the negative influences on our children from the forces of progressivism I thought about how good it is that we can impact them directly and have fun at the same time.  So, family actually is good for something.  Who knew?