Boy, have I been busy. Although I haven't been as devout to this weekly blog as I should be, I can assure you, I'm working on big things!
Today, I added a "Guest Blog" section to this website and updated the "About" page. The "About" Page now more clearly states the reasoning of the website, however, the original essay on that page can be found on the "Essays & Writing" page. Guest Bloggers will likely give me an article once a month, since I have a few lined up. You can expect to start seeing those in mid-March!
In other news, I recently started a research paper in one of my classes about the National Budget. Although by the time it is uploaded, it may be outdated, that will be available to you probably sometime in April or May.
After doing some surveys among some avid readers of this website, I have found that the Writing tips aren't that popular, so I likely will not be posting as many of those in the future.
And, as always, I have continued writing my book, and thinking of great ideas for blog posts to this website. Thanks again to all of you loyal supporters, and please, feel free to leave a comment or contact me via the "Contact" page.
Well, it just so happens that I've been gone for more than I should be. I generally try to do one blog post a week, but sometimes life takes ahold of me. Over the past week, I've been super busy, and then super not busy, and then super busy again, if that makes any sense. I had a bunch of stuff I had to get done for last Wednesday, before I was off for five days, and then here I am, staying up late again, on the first day back, in order to get another load of stuff done.
In other news, I could use some words of encouragement, as lately I've been lacking on the amount of writing I should be doing. So, if you could, please shoot me an email saying what you love about this site, even if it's just the fact that I use Oxford commas, because I could use some encouragement to write.
Thanks again for all of the support!
So, I was just watching the news this evening, and realized I needed to do a blog post. If I hadn't seen this excellent idea on the news, I wouldn't be blogging tonight. Thank you Lester Holt!
Anyway, this idea on the news was quite a simple, yet great one: a box set up on a sidewalk, like a mailbox, except it had food in it, donated by people; Anyone who needed food, but didn't have nearly enough money, could go to the "Blessing Box" and take their next meal from it. But it didn't just stop at food. It also contained diapers, toothpaste, soap, and other toiletries and personal care objects.
I, living in a large town/small-ish city, haven't seen these on any corners. However, I highly encourage you to find one in your town or on your corner. There isn't one? Build one. It's simple things like this that bring communities together. These small things in your community are more of what America needs right now.
I recently read some very interesting statistics from the Economist; by 2040, 5 billion of the projected 9.7 billion people in the world will live in water-stressed areas; farming accounts for 70% of global freshwater use; Israel recycles 86% of its wastewater. These facts caused me to think a lot about the world and how we treat it.
Many, however, not all, of us in the United States are fortunate enough to be able to turn on our faucets and have fresh water pour out. We fail to realize fresh water is a resource that is slowly becoming more and more scarce. Water is cheap in the lower 48, where water is about $1.50 for 1,000 gallons (fcwa.org). In Hawaii, almost all of their fresh water comes from desalination, a fairly expensive process. The cost just to produce freshwater is $4.13 per 1000 gallons (hawaiitribune-herald.com). That's almost 300% more expensive.
Now, imagine the world is stressed for freshwater, which it is expected to be in 20 years. Likely, the world will turn to desalination, since it is fairly well-known. The average American family of 4 uses 400 gallons of water per day (epa.gov). If this continues through our dystopian, water-stressed world, that will be $602 a year per household, just to produce, based on Hawaii's current cost to produce freshwater, not to mention the markup and transportation costs to bring desalinized water from the coasts to landlocked regions.
Now, remember how I said 70% of world's freshwater use is used in farming? Farms are more common in the Midwest of the United States, where there is little-to-no salt water to be desalinized. Costs of farming will skyrocket, therefore causing food prices to surge.
I could go on and on with negative effects of a lack of water, however, I have limited time and I'm assuming you do to. In conclusion, if we as human beings do not cut back on our freshwater use, we will not only be wasting water, but wasting our time and money in the long run.
To see your water use, and how you could reduce it, check out this website: http://www.watercalculator.org/
So, this website isn't my source of income, so it isn't a huge deal, but I would love it if you could do one thing for me.
Please share this website. It's easy! Simply copy and paste the URL, and voila! You can send it to practically anyone!
If you are a returning visitor, you likely either like me or my content. If I see increasing support, you'll get more content. If you like me, you'll make my day if I get increased support.
So, you'll likely get what you want if you take a quick moment to share this website. It would mean the world to me.
Thanks again to any returning visitors.
With a new President coming in in just five days, I figured now is a good time to write this blog post which I've had brewing in my head for months.
Although millions may seem like nothing compared to our 20 trillion dollars in debt, you have to start somewhere. And so here, I will outline three ideas that would save our government over $100 million.
First of all, although this one may seem obvious, perhaps legislation should be passed that would lower salaries for our Representatives, Senators, Cabinet members, and President. Since Trump has refused his salary, he, of all people, would be more likely to pass this legislation. The current salary for Representatives is $174,000 a year. The Speaker of the House makes $223,500 a year. Senate and House Majority and Minority Leaders both make $193,400 a year. Although these numbers aren't at their peak when looking at how past figures relate to current dollars, it should be an honor to serve your country. Although I agree they deserve to make more than the average US Citizen, the average US citizen makes around $69,000 dollars a year. So, therefore, why is decreasing these salaries by $20,000 so unreasonable? If just members of congress each cut their salary by $20,000, the USA would save $10,700,000 a year.
A second idea would be cutting some funding to Amtrak. For those of you readers who do not know, Amtrak is the government-run train system. In my opinion, it is a monopoly, and therefore makes our government hypocritical. However, today's blog post is based in fact, not opinion; so I shall refrain. In FY 2016, the government gave about $1.4 billion to Amtrak. Just like the salaries of congressmen, this figure isn't at its peak. Now, I like trains as much as the next guy, and they are a now difficult and expensive mode of transportation to upkeep. However, the CEO of Amtrak has said himself that Amtrak has undergone a transformation, and is making more money. So, I propose we slowly cut spending to Amtrak, no more than $50 million a year, so that way it doesn't fail, but we still save money.
The third way I am proposing to save the government millions of dollars is to change the composition of the nickel. At first, it may seem crazy, but you have so many people who want to get rid of the penny, and so many others that want to keep it. The realization people need to make is that it only costs 1.7 cents to mint a penny, whereas it costs a whole 8 cents to mint a nickel. So, instead of getting rid of either coin, I propose changing the composition of the nickel from 75% copper and 25% nickel to almost entirely steel, with a coating of nickel to reduce rust. Although the math is tedious, my calculations tell me this would save the US government over $92 million a year. If you really want to see the math, contact me, and I'll post it later. Now, people have made the comment that this solution would be against small businesses, because of the costs they would have to pay to replace their vending machines that scan coins for metal content. However, these types of vending machines are quite expensive, and very few small businesses with only one location would spend that much for a vending machine, when you can make just as much, if not more, from a gum ball machine in the proper location.
In conclusion, I have outlined 3 simple ways that would save America almost $150 million in one year, with that number increasing every year. Although it may not seem like a whole lot of money compared to our debt, you always have to have a starting point.
If you want to see more ideas to save the government millions of dollars a year, or have an idea of your own, please contact me or leave a comment on this post, and if there is enough positive feedback, I will write another post.
Thank you for your support.
How to Stay Alive in the Woods by Bradford Angier is everything the back cover says it is; a practical, readable-and potentially indispensable-manual for anyone venturing into the great outdoors.
Angier, although now dead, was the author or co-author of over 35 books dealing with surviving in the wilderness and living off the land. He had the experience, too, since he and his wife lived in the northern regions of Canada, off the beaten path. His experience is clear throughout How to Stay Alive in the Woods, as when reading it, I often see tips and tricks that I've never seen before.
I highly recommend this book to anyone venturing off, whether it be to unknown regions or to a nearby forest; to anyone interested in non-fiction; and to any doomsday prepper.
So, I did say I was going to wait until 2017 to post again, and although we're just hours away, I couldn't wait. Since I last posted, we've lost three more amazing people: George Michael, Carrie Fisher, and Debbie Reynolds.
George Michael was a great singer, a pop icon, known throughout generations. Some of his best works include Careless Whisper, Faith, Wake Me Up Before you Go-go, with Wham!, and Last Christmas. I was raised on Classic Rock and old pop, and George Michael had such a profound impact on my life. Like when I heard Glenn Frey had died, at the time, I didn't realize how much of an impact he had, since I never know the names or singers of songs. Then, older members of my family mourned, and listened to a lot of their music, and I slowly realized, an important part of my life was gone.
Carrie Fisher was both an actress and author, and someone whom I hold deep admiration for. Known most for her role as Princess Leia in Star Wars and its sequels, she left a lasting impact on many generations to come. Her comedic wit and life story will also be remembered for a long time.
Debbie Reynolds was another example of how only after someone leaves this Earth, I realize what an impact they had. She had many famous roles, most notably, her character Kathy from Singing in the Rain. Her son, Todd, spoke about her death, just a day after Carrie Fisher. He said, "She didn't die of a broken heart, she just went to be with Carrie."
All three of these deaths, so close together are sad, and I send my wishes and prayers to their families today. On a related note, here's to 2016, and let's hope there aren't quite as many tragic deaths next year, in 2017.
Merry Christmas Eve Eve everyone! (The eve before Christmas Eve). Is it just me, or has this come by a little quicker than usual?
Anyway, I just thought I'd take this time to reflect on 2016. It will, of course, go down in history for 3 things, somehow or another, in my opinion:
1... Election 2016. Need I say more? No. If you want my opinion on the election, you'll find numerous posts and articles about the election on this website.
(One little note... I have said before I couldn't decide who to support this year. I didn't like either of the last two major candidates. However, as much as I hate to say it, Trump is our president now, and we should respect him for that, if nothing else.)
2... Celebrity Deaths. Deaths in 2016 is one of the most edited Wikipedia articles right now. And although thousands of names of people who left remarkable impacts are listed, there are only a few I want to reflect upon, because they really hit me the most.
- Glenn Frey was a great musician who sung remarkable songs. It is unfortunate that I will be one of the millions in my generation who will never have seen an actual Eagles Concert.
- Elie Wiesel was one of the last people to have survived the Holocaust that was still alive in 2016. His death really hit home with me because I had, just before that, finished reading his memoir about the Holocaust, "Night". If you ever have the chance, please read his work.
- Harper Lee was another great author to have passed away in 2016. Looking back now, I only hardly remember hearing of her dying. It is unfortunate that her death came so soon after the release of "Go Set A Watchman", only her second major book to be published.
- Alan Rickman was a remarkable actor, known mainly for his role as Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films. I have heard even devout critics of the films say he portrayed the character as excellently as Snape was written in the books. His other notable roles include Marvin the Robot in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Hans in Die Hard.
- Although more recent, John Glenn's death is one of a man who never failed to serve his country. During the space race of the '50's and '60's, John Glenn was the first American to orbit the Earth, and was a US Senator to Ohio for 24 years. He also served in both WWII and the Korean War.
May all of them, and the many others, Rest In Peace.
3... Many People can't wait for this year to be over. But, you should cherish the time you have. This year, I have grown closer to many, if not all, of my friends; I've learned lots about myself and the world; and I've given another kickstart to my writing career. Overall, it's been a good year for me, especially the last three quarters. It gradually got greater and greater. Thank You, if you're one of the people that made it so great. You know who you are.
In the final moments of what will likely be the last post of 2016, I just wanted to say thank you so much for the support, and please continue to read this blog. I get updates on how many people visit everyday, and that number just keeps going up and up. So, thank you again, if you take the time to read my blog, and have a happy holiday season. :)
P.S. If you want to make my Christmas Merry, and give me a gift, simply share this blog and website with someone who you think will enjoy it. Thanks! :)
(My Gift to you will be continuing this blog.)
P.P.S. No, "Bill"... That's all I have to say.
(It did make me laugh, though :))
(99.9% of you won't get that, but one of you will. To you, I say again, simply, no.)
Well, if I haven't made this clear before, I'm into history. Especially government and unique things in history, along with historic firsts. So, naturally, this election was very fun for me to watch.
Today, the electoral college voted. And, a lot can be said about 2016 by simply looking at who the electors voted for.
No, I'm not talking about how Trump won the electoral vote. That was expected.
I'm talking about how a Native American Woman had a vote cast for her. She strongly opposed the Dakota Access Pipeline, which is certainly still a defining topic for debate in 2016.
Both Bernie Sanders and John Kasich received one electoral vote each. The two last people from each of the major parties to drop out... Interesting...
This is also the first presidential election in over 100 years that there has been more than one "rogue" elector. This certainly shows 2016 was a year full of difficult politics.
There were other "faithless" votes, however, I want my final argument about this post to be somewhat humorous. Here it goes:
Considering we've seen trends from 2016 show up in how the electors voted, I am slightly surprised a certain gorilla received 0 electoral votes. I mean, he deserved at least one, considering he received a tenth of a percent of the popular vote, right? Wrong: you have to be 35 and human to assume office.
My Name is Eddie Schweikert. I am an animator, author, artist, and friend. You will hear about many of my latest ventures here.