In The Year of the Lantern, 2016, January…
It’s been too long. I was beginning to suffer from WordPress withdrawal, more so than just Internet (access from home) withdrawal. No, I’m not at home. Maybe I should move into the public library west branch? Where from I’m writing this.
I’m semi-retired from the Internet, and therefore semi-retired from writing at this WordPress site. For quite some time to come. Accessing it only from a free public library computer terminal. Limited to, at most, two 1-hour sessions per day, with possibility of up to two 30-minute extensions per session if no one else waiting in reservations – meaning other terminals are free – of the 10 at west branch or about 40 at downtown location. Most likely I’ll do so on average once per week, as health and weather permit, a 20-minute ride on my bicycle to the west branch, 30-minute ride to the downtown branch. I’ll usually do so when returning a checked out book and to check out another book. Perhaps more than one at a time, having three weeks to read a checked-out book. I’ve been reading the series of political/military/spy thrillers by Brad Thor, such as the Black List. Excellent novels, very timely for current world events! Now reading checked-out novels: The Bone Labyrinth by James Rollins, which spans thousands of years of history of origin of man to a coming war. The First Hostage by Joel C. Rosenberg, about U.S. president captured by ISIS. Secrets of State by Matthew Palmer, a political thriller. By the way, my liberal side is anchored in my interest in science fiction as a fan and writer. My conservative side is anchored in history, politics, and science as an independent journalist.
I’m presently fully retired from cable TV. No over-the-air TV. I do have a TV. I bought a DVD player for it to watch movies and music videos. Fell off shelf and broke. (Blame the ghost.) Landlord gave me a used DVD player from an abandoned apartment. Good for a while. Then froze up a DVD and self-destructed while I was watching Shakira perform. Neither DVD player can be fixed. Well maybe the first one can, if I buy a cheap low-watt solder gun and fine gage solder. Third time the charm? Bad luck, loss of two in same month, or a message (thou shalt not have a DVD player)? Third attempt will be a new DVD player to be bought at Walmart, perhaps on or soon after 3 February 2016. I had COX basic cable TV and Broadband Internet included in apartment rent at Bishop’s Landing – sold and razed a few months ago to make way for a new expensive high-rise apartment building for Oklahoma University employees and students. The loss of that home and affordable housing then not found eventually caused me to lose everything and become out-on-the-street homeless for a couple of months. The “Church In The Park” people, “Food and Shelter for Friends” people, and Salvation Army shelter helped to save my life and get me back on track, finding and acquiring the apartment I now live in. Bishop’s Landing one bedroom was $585 per month – included all utilities, plus COX basic CATV and Broadband Internet. I’m now paying $500 rent for a one bedroom, pre-paying electric about $40 per month, auto-debit-pay gas (heat) about $50 per month during winter. If I were to get COX for CATV and Broadband Internet, it would cost me at least $80 per month. I don’t like COX for its contracts, fine print, additional fees, etc. Likewise AT&T. I once tried DISH a few years ago back in Wichita Kansas (where I was born 5 March 1956), and frequently had reception problems mainly because of bad weather events. I read that many Americans are doing away with those, mainly because of cost, and are using their “smart phones” for accessing Internet – and TV via Internet. I might do that eventually, instead of buying another Chromebook and making use of Wi-Fi wherever free it may be.
I feel like I’m living in the pre-Stone Age, not B.C. – Before Cable (TV), but A.C. – After Cable (TV). I do feel somewhat isolated without CATV and Internet access at home. However, I do have an old used AM/FM clock radio given to me by my landlord. I mainly listen to KOKC 1520 AM News-Talk Radio, recommended by my landlord. I’d abandoned AM/FM radio for news, weather, and music in May 2008 when I moved to Norman Oklahoma from Wichita Kansas. I became satisfied with news, weather, and entertainment via CATV and Broadband Internet access. I thought it was enough. Not so. I now feel like I lived in ignorant bliss for 7 years, there at Bishop’s Landing. I didn’t know about the rapidly developing problem of the loss of affordable housing becoming the Number One cause of homelessness (about 51% of homeless people including families with children) here in the United States. I didn’t know about the new rule spreading across the country for the minimum income requirement – like if you pay $500 rent then your income must be at least a net of $1500 per month (shutting out my lower income from Social Security Disability benefits). The idea has been pushed by law enforcement, believing – based on stats – that there is more crime in low-income housing, and therefore renting to higher-income people will reduce crime. Also, I now also know the majority of middle-class people are renting (apartments and houses) instead of buying, because they don’t want to be tied down. So landlords of course prefer them to lower-income tenants. Where then do low-income tenants go, pushed out by landlords, middle-class tenants, and police? Perhaps a tent by the river, or under a bridge, or in an abandoned building. Been there. Done that. Hopefully, after I die, it will count as “time already served in hell” and then I can go on up to heaven. Could be sooner than later – I turn age 60 this coming 5 march 2016. Anyway, the good news, KOKC is mainly conservative talk radio. Such as Scott Mitchell (local for Oklahoma), Laura Ingraham, Chad Alexander (local for Oklahoma), and Michael Savage. So far, I agree with all I’ve heard them say. Perhaps I no longer average out to be a centrist – agreeing with liberals on some issues while agreeing with conservatives on most other issues. Pushed to the right by the statists in government pretending to be liberals. It is a surprise to me that KOKC, news-talk radio, is now keeping me better informed on the issues I care about – need and want to know about, than CATV and Internet news sources I’ve used in the past.
So, I have novels to read from the library, use of a library computer terminal for free to get some writing done, as well as the radio at home for news, weather, and some entertainment. I’m not totally cut off. Even so, I feel somewhat alone and isolated at my new home. It’s a massive apartments complex with some condos on West Brooks Street, more buildings than was Bishop’s Landing on East Brooks Street. It was easier to get to know some neighbors at Bishop’s Landing, many of them people I could identify with and for some to become friends to some extent – some social interaction. Where I now live I appear to be in a minority – single (straight) with no children, middle-age to senior, white male. I have nothing in common with any of the other tenants I’ve so far seen or encountered, so far as I’ve determined. I’ve become an alien here. Quite fitting for a fan and author of science fiction? I am lonely there. The landlord has promised to give me a cat, saying there is a tenant at a different apartments complex who has too many cats and wants to give one away. I like cats, more so than dogs, because they take care of themselves – easier for me to care for and less expensive – will fit my limited budget. Perhaps I’ll get an intelligent one I can converse with. Another option is to decorate with hanging and potted plants. Surely I can talk to them. Also, there is the ghost – the frequent sound of someone walking across the floor when no one is there – not visible anyway, and shaking the handle on the French doors to the balcony (of my 2nd level apartment). So, yes, my new home is haunted . . . perhaps by the time traveling ghost of me from the future?
I doubt God saved my life this time just so I can go back to spending days watching CATV and surfing the Internet to pass what time I have left in this life. What have I been saved for? I don’t know yet. I’ve not discovered the answer. Was my life better (or worse) before CATV and Internet? Can I go back to the way I was living (and how I spent my free time) before I first got CATV (1980) and before I first had Internet access at home (1999)? I’m now finding out. I’ll let you know in future writings. Have a good month and a good year!
Oh, one more item – food for thought. When I first read Heinlein’s words, I feared the threat might come from the extreme far political and religious right. Instead, the threat has come from the extreme far left – but more so by the statists than the liberals. Also, during my travels via Greyhound Bus to various cities and states (while looking for affordable housing) from May to September 2016, I saw some evidence of the possibility of all local police (in visited cities) becoming part of a nationalized federal police force and combining different branches and levels of law enforcement – city, county, state, and federal. The danger of a future “police state” is real now. It’s no longer a conspiracy theory. So this is a good time to repeat the following words…
IF THIS GOES ON—
Excerpts from Wikipedia article…
- “If This Goes On—” is a science fiction short novel by Robert A. Heinlein, first serialized in 1940 in Astounding Science-Fiction and revised and expanded for inclusion in the 1953 collection Revolt in 2100. The novel shows what might happen to Christianity in the United States given mass communications, applied psychology, and a hysterical populace. The novel is part of Heinlein’s Future History series.
- The story is set in a future theocratic American society, ruled by the latest in a series of fundamentalist Christian “Prophets.” The First Prophet was Nehemiah Scudder, a backwoods preacher turned President (elected in 2012), then dictator (no elections were held in 2016 or later).
The following paragraphs have been excerpted from the 1986 Baen Book printing of Robert A. Heinlein’s novel titled “Revolt in 2100” –from the story titled “If This Goes On—”:
Successful revolution is big business – make no mistake about that. In a modern, complex, and highly industrialized state, revolution is not accomplished by a handful of conspirators whispering around a guttering candle in a deserted ruin. It requires countless personnel, supplies, modern machinery and modern weapons. And to handle these factors successfully there must be loyalty, secrecy, and superlative organization.
I was kept busy but my work was fill-in work, since I was awaiting assignment. I had time to dig into the library and I looked up Tom Paine, which led me to Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson and others – a whole new world was opened up to me. I had trouble at first in admitting the possibility of what I read; I think perhaps of all things a police state can do to its citizens, distorting history is possibly the most pernicious. For example, I learned for the first time that the United States had not been ruled by a bloodthirsty emissary of Satan before the First Prophet arose in his wrath and cast him out – but had been a community of free men deciding their own affairs by peaceful consent. I don’t mean that the first republic had been a scriptural paradise, but it hadn’t been anything like what I had learned in school.
For the first time in my life I was reading things which had not been approved by the Prophet’s censors, and the impact on my mind was devastating. Sometimes I would glance over my shoulder to see who was watching me, frightened in spit of myself. I began to sense faintly that secrecy is the keystone of all tyranny. Not force, but secrecy . . . censorship. When any government, or any church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, “This you may not read, this you must not see, this you are forbidden to know,” the end result is tyranny and oppression, no matter how holy the motives. Mighty little force is needed to control a man whose mind has been hoodwinked; contrariwise, no amount of force can control a free man, a man whose mind is free. No, not the rack, not fission bombs, not anything—you can’t conquer a free man; the most you can do is kill him.
My thoughts did not then fall into syllogisms; my head was filled with an inchoate spate of new ideas, each more exciting than the last. I discovered that travel between the planets, almost a myth in my world, had not stopped because the First Prophet had forbidden it as a sin against the omnipotence of God; it had ceased because it had gone into the red financially and the Prophet’s government would not subsidize it. There was even an implied statement that the “infidels” (I still used that word in my mind) still sent out an occasional research ship and that there were human beings even now on Mars and Venus.
…Maybe someday the United States would have space ships again…
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