Saturday, December 27, 2008

Last One Out, Turn Off the Lights

Hawaii seems on a roll -- but all downhill:

First they taunt the Notre Dame football team before a national audience about how they are not a worthy opponent (having only as many wins as losses, to their winning record of one more win than losses) and then get stomped by a prowess the Fighting Irish haven’t displayed in the last 40 years.

Days later, the electricity goes out all over Oahu during a thunderstorm -- as if the Islanders weren’t feeling powerless and inept enough. That ought to do wonders for the self-esteem of all the domestic abusers the judges are forgiving in the spirit of the season to be with “family.” Why do these judges think child and wife beating is nothing more than a time-honored Hawaiian tradition that needs cultural understanding to appreciate and preserve, is beyond forgivable.

A few people continue to say, “If you don’t like paying 4-5 times what everybody anywhere else is paying for the same thing, maybe you should leave “Paradise” -should be an increasingly compelling consideration -- unless one relishes their “victimhood” as the ace up their sleeve to a better tomorrow.

At some point, it all begins to make no sense -- and one has to leave and find out what else the world has to offer.

In many parts of the United States (and the world), when the electricity goes out for a few hours, they may also have to deal with real survival issues -- like the freezing cold or sweltering heat, that requires one to maintain a level of preparation and readiness for the unexpected, and even the disastrous -- beyond merely going into denial about those things, until we arrive now at the point in time, in which the entirety of the culture and society, is ONLY about the denial of reality.

Then one has to wonder what culture and society really mean and what value it has -- if it does not prepare one for any other eventuality but the continuance of life as it always has been before and the revival of memories -- as though that were enough to justify itself.

As one reads the news from and of Hawaii lately, one senses this lack of meaning and purpose, that even led the mayor of the Island to miss the grievous replacement of the word “purchase” when he meant “purpose,” and no editor caught that error -- in his published Christmas proclamation and greeting to everyone.

When the last thinking person leaves the Island, will anyone notice?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Leveling the Playing Field

About once a generation, or at least once in a lifetime, events will occur that will turn winners into losers, and the first will be last, and so one should prepare themselves for those crises -- which is also an opportunity if one can recognize it as such, rather than merely justifying their hopeless despair which is most commonly seen as the whining and complaining about what somebody else, the government, or even God should be doing to make everything right.

But rather, it is God, the government, and everyone else, that have presented them with that blessing in disguise -- which is the wonder and celebration of Christmas, or any special observance. It is what we make of it --individually, personally, thoughtfully, while also together, and that is the significance we all observe at the same time.

Right now, most of the civilized world is reassessing the life that materialism and prosperity has brought but also has been unceremoniously taken away at its very height. And so the best laid plans and dreams for the future have been changed. The visions of lifetime security in affluence and endless vacations in the sun have now given way to a reality of all those things suddenly losing their presumed values and are being revealed as merely the illusions they have recently been accustomed to and largely taken for granted.

At such times, individuals as well as societies, have to reestablish their values and priorities in new ways closer to the underlying realities that are now revealed. Real estate, tangible and intangible “assets” don’t always appreciate -- but from time to time, crash and become liabilities that chain us from all the choices now available to all, but are most likely to be grabbed by those who see themselves as having nothing to lose, while those same choices and opportunities, will be denied, overlooked and dismissed, because one cannot embrace the opportunities of the present new -- conditioned as those who have never known any other, think is the only way it can ever be.

It seems that every year about this time, we are reminded if not scolded, that it is these thoughts that matter and are so important -- and not the many gifts and blessings we take for granted, and thus, so easily lose, or realize they do not have the great value we have grown lately accustomed to thinking is the goal, meaning and purpose of every life.

In this way, life’s playing field is once again leveled, and we all get a chance to remake it as we can, as though everyone is starting all over again -- and assessing the value in their lives of which everything else is merely the outward reflection of.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

That’s Why Hard

It's because housing prices aren't going down, that fewer people want/can afford to buy them.

In all these real estate articles in Hawaii, they usually mistake the effect for the cause -- and so, exacerbate the problem rather than solving/eliminating them.

As a general rule, a high COST of living, is INVERSELY related to the QUALITY of life -- and not that the COST is a measurement of QUALITY -- as when they say that, "You get what you pay for," or that is the PRICE of Paradise.

Thus, the politicians and government workers think that all they need to do is increase the cost of living for the people of Hawaii, in order for them to increase the quality of their lives -- so that every boondoggle, pay raise and tax increase is prescribed as a boon for its citizens -- rather than the cause of the difficulties for so many.

So the solution for the increasing homelessness and unaffordability of housing in Hawaii, is not to see and cheer for the prices for housing to rise further -- so everyone can live like millionaires in a grass shack/substandard housing, but to work to lower housing prices.

You don't do that by giving government workers double their salaries for doing half as much work. You need to move in the other direction.

The same goes for the newspapers too. They have to double the quality at half the price, and not produce half as good for twice the cost -- and make advertising so prohibitively expensive, that there is no cost benefit to advertising if all it means for an enterprise is to be able to pay their higher advertising and promotions expenses.

That’s why there is a decrease in advertising -- in the traditional forums -- that is another one of the underlying themes of the current financial disruption. It is announcing with definity, that things cannot continue to go on as they have -- and that entities that persist, vanish.

These were often those cheering loudest for “Change;” they meant for everybody else -- but not themselves.