Ralph Higgins

Ralph Higgins
color pencil sketch by Gayle Higgins

Quotes I Like

“Everyone is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

-Albert Einstein


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Break Time

            Retirement is a time for contemplation, study, travel, kids and grandkids, and doing things you may not have had time to do while grappling for a buck.  A hobby can keep the mind active in retirement and I guess I have a few.  Music and writing are just two things I enjoy.

            I have a curious mind, which is why my business life was more concerned with learning new things; consequently I owned businesses or worked in areas totally unrelated to each other.  This was consistent with my philosophy that life is like a buffet table and I wanted to sample as many experiences as I could before reaching the cashier. 

            All this is to say that I never run out of topics that interest me and things I want to write about.  However, it is becoming more and more difficult to avoid what I consider the elephant in the room – that being the destruction of America; her moral constructs, economic power, educational system, weakened military, social and racial divisions, and the joke we have become on the global scene.

            In a nutshell, I think it’s time for me to take a respite.  I’ll keep my blog up for those who enjoy reading my stuff, because there are close to 150 articles in the archives under three categories.  By the time anyone who is interested has read them all, I may have decided to get back at it.  In the meantime, pray for America.

            Thanks to all of you for reading my posts.  Who knows – when Gayle and I are snowed in this winter and I can’t ride my motorcycles and travel, I may get back at it.  Writing sure beats shoveling snow.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

A True Hero

      Young people seem to need heroes.  Unfortunately many of the people they place on a pedestal boggles a rational mind.  This article features a truly heroic woman.  I’m drawing a contrast between an authentic hero and the women considered popular today. I’ll get to boys like Justina Beaverpup and Snoopy Dog-knot another time.

            Forgive me if I get the names wrong, but I hear far too much about Girlie Googoo, Madumbo, Kim Carcrashagain, and Miley Sorryass.  I don’t know anything about these people except what hits the TV news, but these women are heroes to 12 years old kids.  Sadly, even older kids with arrested maturity find these women fascinating and even iconic. As I said, it’s mind boggling.  
            Why the accolades?  Most are only famous for being famous and are devoid of authentic talent.  Some are famous for twerking – a term I only recently heard on a news program. Evidently twerking is a mating display that simulates sexual intercourse.  It reminds me of the voodoo zombie dances in Haiti combined with the behavior of a howler monkey in heat.   
            To be effective, the seductive ritual of twerking must be performed with the tongue fully extended, indicating unbridled enthusiasm.  When Miley Sorryass tried this, she looked about as sexy as a prisoner in Auschwitz with dysentery.
            Speaking of Nazi prison camps, this leads me to my subject - a woman who actually deserves to be an icon. History has authentic female heroes that we never hear about.  I want to write about a real hero named Irena Sendler.  
Irena Sendler
            Irena Sendler was a Polish Roman Catholic nurse and social worker.  During World War II she was involved in the underground resistance in German occupied Warsaw.  Her group was named Zegota.  She was head of the Jewish children’s section and rescued 2500 Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto, saving them from the holocaust and almost certain death.
            Irena knew that the punishment for her activities was torture and death.  She had a special permit that allowed her to enter the Warsaw Ghetto as a nurse to check for signs of typhus.  She and about 30 volunteers, mostly women, used the pretext of conducting inspections of sanitary conditions in order to save numerous babies and young children.  Most of the parents of these kids were killed by the Nazis.
            She smuggled babies out of the ghetto by hiding them in the bottom of a tool box she carried.  She sometimes put them in boxes and disguised them as packages. Larger kids were hidden in a burlap sack that she put in the back of her truck.
            She trained her dog to bark when passing in and out of the ghetto to cover the sounds of a baby crying and to keep the guards away from her truck.  But despite her surreptitious tactics, Irena was caught and tortured.  The Nazi’s broke both of her legs and arms and beat her severely.  She was sentenced to death, but her group, Zegota, bribed the German guards as Irena was on her way to her execution.  She then went into hiding, but kept up her work for Jewish children.
            Irena died in 2008 in Warsaw, Poland at the age of 98.  She had saved the lives of roughly 2500 children.  Compare this woman’s life and contributions to the gyrating mannequins worshiped by our culture. 
            Irena was considered for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, but wasn’t chosen.  Instead, the award went to Al Gore for his slide show on Global Warming - a slide show based on a hoax, as we now know. Along with Gore, that “prestigious” award was given to Barack Obama for doing nothing more than being a community organizer, and Yasser Arafat for his "magnificent" contribution to peace in the Middle East
            Irena Sendler was a true hero and a woman who deserves recognition and admiration for her heroic deeds.  Considering the progeny of the children saved by this lady, there must be thousands alive today because of her courage. This lady defines the word "hero."


Friday, September 6, 2013

Immortality is Just around the Corner

     Hang on, boys and girls; eternal life is right around the corner.  Raymond Kurzweil, Google’s director of engineering, author, and futurist, believes that it’s just a matter of time before we become increasingly non-biological to the point where the non-biological part dominates our biological part.  In other words, we will soon be more machine than flesh and blood. As machines, we can be repaired, parts replaced, upgraded, and re-programmed.  Immortality is within our grasp. But there’s more.

            Kurzweil and others see a time when your entire brain can be downloaded onto a computer.  Just think…you may have the potential to become a computer.  How do we know it hasn’t already happened?  I’m suspicious.  I have a love-hate relationship with my computer and I’m convinced it’s female. 

            My computer takes awhile to warm up and I have to push the right buttons to get it started.  If I type in the wrong thing, it shuts down.  Even if it doesn’t shut down, pushing the wrong key gets me an emphatic and blatant warning, reminding me that I’m a clumsy moron. 

            Operating a female computer is like negotiating a minefield, but if you do everything right, it’s a great partnership.  She, uh… I mean “it” will even correct my spelling and fill me in on gossip.  So far it hasn’t told me to take out the garbage. I have a wife for that.

            I’ve learned not to be “heavy-handed” with my computer, but rather to be patient, gentle, and understanding. The “understanding” part is actually the hardest part, because I can’t possibly understand what makes my computer tick.  Sigmund Freud, after years of study, concluded that even he didn’t understand women.  Again, more reason to assume that my computer is female.  It has a woman’s memory.  Every mistake I’ve ever made is retained somewhere on its hard drive.

            Kurzweil says that soon scientists will be treating biology and the brain as software.  Think of the ramifications of downloading your brain onto a computer. You become the computer.  Someday you may be carried around in a laptop.  If you’re lucky, you could travel to distant lands, sit in on business meetings, take the cruise you’ve always hoped for, or rest comfortably on a gorgeous woman’s lap. However, if you’re unlucky and hit a glitch, you might be recycled into a tin can.

            We are already at a point where we have artificial parts.  I have an artificial knee that walks by itself and talks to me.  I once had a sinus lift where ground-up bovine bone (cow bone) was surgically implanted in my jaw to support a molar implant.  It took hours of therapy to break me of the impulse to eat alfalfa and juicy grass, but the oral surgeon assured me that I wouldn’t lactate.  Unfortunately, I don’t see any evidence that they used bone powder from a bull, doggone it.

            Functioning prosthetics of all kinds are being developed, so transferring the contents of our brain onto a computer may be the next step, according to Kurzweil. I wonder if the day will come when they can mount a computerized head on a human-like torso, creating a robotic you or me.  I don’t think it would take a lot of ram, gigabytes, mini-bytes, maxi-bytes, nibbles or chomps for the brain capacity of some of our political leaders and the voters who put them in office, but that’s another story.

            Since having a biological body would obviously defeat the purpose of eternal life, it’s more reasonable to expect that my “computer brain” would be sitting on a desk while one of my great grandchildren would be playing computer games on me or digging into my memory and posting all my misdeeds on Facebook.

            Not much is known about this new “immortality” technology, but at first glance I think I’d rather check out the old fashioned way and leave eternal life to my Creator.