Memorial Day

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Gloomy Population Statistics

NOTE:  No working equipment Sunday night, May 29. 

Towns are relative in size. What’s “big” in one place is small elsewhere and vice versa by comparison.  Acknowledging that the words are not absolute, it can be said Covington’s not a very big town, yet it has suburbs, smaller cities adjacent to it.  One that’s therefore essentially a suburb of a suburb with a few thousand people in it recently made some kind of a list regarding empty housing units.  If ten percent of the housing in a town of three thousand is empty, numerically it’s not very many houses, but it is big for that place and suggests the population is dwindling.  Again, numerically that’s not much. 

Why a little, relatively nice place next to bigger ones would be losing population isn’t a concern here. It’s depressing for the people.  And, it takes the edge off of population loss thoughts for elsewhere. When yours truly was growing up many years ago, the population of Dayton was a shade over a quarter of a million.  It was war time boom population that was there to work in the factories.  That’s a little beside the point as such factories, especially if they were in existence prior to the war, can be expected to change to the manufacture of peace-time things. Population loss, like in the little town, doesn’t have to based on industry. 

That quarter of a million people, according to the latest census, is down to less than a hundred and fifty thousand.  A town is buildings and so forth, but a town first and foremost is the people in it. “Rust belt” towns still have the buildings in them.  There are no people in many of the buildings. And, if there are no people in them, there is that much less town.  To the young, who have dealt in nothing larger, and people like those in the “suburb of the suburb,” it probably does not seem like a small town.  To those who knew something bigger, it’s a curtailment of both thought and activity. 

Nothing stays static.  

Feeding The Hungry

If there is one there’s a half dozen different programs to deal with the matter of hungry people.  Government issued food stamps is one.  Scattered about most, if not all, communities there are what is commonly called food pantries.  Church organizations usually maintain them, but there can be civic groups that also do so.  In addition there are community kitchens, usually called soup kitchens, that serve prepared meals for the people who show up.  Meals-on-wheels are home delivered meals – actually, TV dinner type meals with something like a piece of a cake for dessert and milk to drink.  Etc. 

The programs all have limitations, usually financial but sometimes something like medical.  The net result is, there are hungry people right here wherever people are. An important thing in the whole situation is, the programs don’t necessarily address the person’s problem.  Some years ago yours truly needed someone to go to a store (or even a restaurant and/or drug store) to get stuff.  There was no looking for free goods.   Church and government could come up with edibles, but neither could come up with someone who would do the errand of getting a few things for someone using that person’s money.  

The apartment building underfoot once did have what’s been called an in house store.  For about an hour on Saturdays some ladies sold milk, bread, TV dinners and various odds and ends that got someone through life until they could get a way to a well-stocked store.  The store’s been nixed by the management, and what materialized in the system is something like a mobile food pantry. So, now someone applies for assistance (bring evidence of income) and for free they can have something like mustard, a few cans of vegetables, some dry beans (needs cooking, and some of the people can barely stand up). 

Help that isn’t to the point isn’t help.  

Questionable Holiday Weekend

At 5:00 p.m. any Friday, supposedly the weekend starts. This has been brought up in the past, and this is just a note to re-set the scene.  That belief is more in theory than in any other way based on the notion that business offices operate from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Plenty don’t, and millions of people don’t work those hours.  And, the weekend technically ends at 12:00 a.m. Sunday while folks make that Monday, maybe even Monday 8:00 a.m. That is so unless Monday’s a legal holiday, in which case the ending is Tuesday.  The latter is sometimes called a “long weekend.”  This weekend is one of those. 

The “long weekend” that started today is for “Memorial Day,” and the point is to give people a nice day to go to the cemetery. If everyone goes on the same day there’s less disruption to everyday living and things are better organized and all that (as with other holidays). The reason for the day is to respectfully remember the dead.  Therefore, it is utterly inappropriate for anyone to be saying the likes of “Happy Memorial Day!” to other people as has happened to yours truly in the past week.  “Hope you have a nice Memorial Day” is about the limit.  This is true even if there’s no cemetery visit, but there is a cookout. 

The apartment building staff has been operating with holiday in mind.  They had a party for residents.  That’s about as bad as saying, “Happy Memorial Day.”  A need for maintenance brought maintenance after three attempts.  Maintenance was not in a good mood. They were probably told to be sure to take care of the matter before leaving when what they had in mind was the day off. It should be noted, the place underfoot doesn’t seem to be the only place that’s overlooking the holiday’s purpose.  A check of the newspaper to see what events are in the works had no listing of anything.  And, the town has a veterans’ hospital. 

Getting back to basics should be more than a slogan. 

Modern Shopping

Time was a person went to the market to get some food and the like.  If what it was happened to be sitting in a bushel basket or big box, an idea was to select some of it and, if it needed weighing or something, hand the choice to a person clerking.  The clerk weighed it and declared a cost.  If it went by the piece, he or she would simply declare a cost and money was handed over. If buyers needed a bag, one might get one. If the objective was canned goods, one might need a clerk to get it off the shelf.  Meats were chosen and cut up as requested. Finally, depending on situations, one might negotiate a deal. 

It was equally true of drug stores, hardware stores and many other places.  It’s all still going on to some extent, but to that gradually over a few decades other things have been added, such as manufacturer’s coupons, store coupons, bulk sales promotions and more.  Just with that one needs to be a mathematician to figure it out.  Product lines have been expanded so that when one goes after a loaf of bread and a quart of milk, one can also stock up on patio furniture.  And, if one needs something like a camera, telephone or alarm clock, there might be a nice selection at the local drug store. 

A modern grocery receipt is at hand.  The bottom line refers people to a survey for which they no doubt get some kind of benefit.  A few lines above that there is customer club information (there’s a benefit).  Some lines above that there is gasoline discount points at participating locations.  Above that a note says the receipt is worth three dollars toward the ticket price of a museum show.  That’s right, tickets to the museum.  Drug stores are similar.  Some provide flu shots. The neighborhood drug store did have a walk-in clinic attached.  One doesn’t go to the doctor and get medicine.  One goes to the drug store and gets a doctor.

Marketing can be involved.  

Babble

For some reason, possibly psychological and possibly not, it seems like if there’s any kind of a group of people (even two), there’s an excellent chance for talking that’s useless.  Actually, it’s a kind of reaching out to connect to something else that’s alive, as quite often people talk to animals and plants; but, if it’s either of those, it’s usually understood that what’s being said may not be comprehended by the plant or animal.  If it’s another human, it’s expected that the mini speech is understood.  It also seems that anything can prompt a mini speech, including the mere sight of another human being. 

It’s one thing when people individually gather for a singular purpose. That might be anything from a business meeting of two to a theatrical presentation geared for audiences of thousands.  It is quite a different thing when one person seeks out another for some reason, like a question, and gets a wealth of wordage not a word of which addresses the question.  An old folks’ home can be resplendent with this.  In addition to the common inattention to others that’s likely to be in a “grouping” of people, there are the common “elderly conditions,” like inability to hear very well and the tendency to just plod along. 

On the whole, it can probably be said that babble can present itself for any one of a number of reasons or some combination of several.  Some aren’t harmless.  A con artist may very well provide a “pigeon” with a string of babble that seems to make sense.  Some are completely harmless, just annoying.  Some can be a way to avoid an actual exchange with someone else. Regardless of the reason, however, it is more prevalent in some circumstances.  If there’s no expectation of ever seeing the people again, it doesn’t matter; but, if it’s in the same place where one lives, it helps to defeat organized living. 

Sorting out details is necessary.  

Lives Destroyed By Bed Bugs

Without a lot of effort, anyone seriously looking into the matter can find a lot of cases where lives have been (for lack of a better word) destroyed by bed bugs.  And, it isn’t because the people (victims) did something wrong. One can take for example (already noted in these pages) the local case where people did logical things.  They hired a pest control company to handle an infestation.  Although it was considered an accident, the house caught fire.  Without even considering a few things like insurance, the widening repercussions from just the presence of the creatures has permanently disrupted many lives there. 

To all appearances it seems a few bugs developed into a problem for one family then two more, a second family in the building and the owner of the place.  And, the try to do something about it has now not only made things worse for all, it’s also affected and the pest control operator and to an extent the firefighter who was injured fighting the blaze.  One can go beyond such cases. There’s thought that the demands of some landlords dealing with the disabled and elderly have already encouraged more disability if not worse.  Even able bodied people have been known to be floored by all the prescribed work. 

The worst aspect of the matter may be those individuals who have so little idea of the matter that they think it’s a laughing matter.  It is one thing to not know about a thing.  It’s quite another to think something with possibly very serious consequences is humorous.  The plain truth is, some little tiny bugs have sent a good many lives – thousands – individually off kilter and out of control. The bugs promise anything from jobs lost and extra-ordinary expenses to actual medical problems for some people.  And, it’s all as secondary effects.  Direct effects are still being studied.  There seem to be some of those as well. 

Humans do not rule the natural world.