Happiness In America 1n 2015

What does it take to be happy in America in 2015? What makes YOU happy? Are you and your friends mostly happy or unhappy? Happiness to me is a warm, fuzzy feeling, hard to define in exact precise words, in a clinical factual way, because happiness is an emotion, and it is by nature a feeling, not a set of  facts that can be broken down, spelled out or otherwise defined and delineated….But I know when I am happy, and since nobody is happy all the time, I definitely know when I am unhappy too!

As I stated in yesterday’s blog, physical health and well being is the major component of being happy…You can have all the money in the world but if you or a loved one have some fatal disease, you will certainly not be happy…I think true happiness, while it springs from inside ourselves, needs other people to validate the emotion…In other words, I am most happy when I feel loved….I think most people feel this way, the warmth, love and loyalty of a close family or a tightly knit circle of caring friends makes most of us happy…




That is it! It’s that simple! That is the big secret! You don’t need a fancy, late model car to be happy….You don’t need to be living in the lap of luxury in some stately seaside or mountain top mansion to be happy….You don’t really need the latest tech toys, gadgets and gizmos, like the latest model cell phone or the hottest new video game or the tablets and I pads and Apple smart wristwatches to be happy….You don’t need to have the best job in the world to be happy…As the Beatles sang it so well, in the Summer of Love in 1967. “All You Need Is Love!”……

Love is truly what makes the world go around….What a cold sterile place life one earth must be without love, and what all these maladjusted dictators and political power seekers and religious zealots and mass murderers are obviously suffering from is a deep and profound lack of love in their lives, either as infants when they needed it most, or growing up,  or right now; they are simply put, NOT happy people! I feel so sorry for them, because they are living hell on earth….You need love to be happy, and it is just that simple…: “All You Need is Love!”



Most Americans are very busy people, we work long hours, more than people in other countries… The two income earner family is almost a requirement for economic success, and we are a nation of multi taskers, soccer moms and little league coaches and school kids who babysit to make money on top of our daily work/school requirements….

But we are at our happiest when we get together with our extended families to celebrate the traditional holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, all convenient excuses to band together and fire up the old BBQ in the back yard or the turkey in the oven and catch up with each other…..This is especially true of older people with large families spread out all over, these traditional holidays are sometimes our only chance to reconnect, to gossip, to catch up on all the latest family news, and a multi generational mini family reunion on the major holidays cements the bonds of love and promotes happiness more than anything else…



Multi Generation Family Having Barbeque On Winter Beach

Family Celebrating Grandmother's Birthday February 25, 2004

Younger single people have an insatiable, biological hard wired drive and urge to merge and mingle with each other, so they go out to clubs and bars and parties on the weekends all the time…They prefer to socialize with each other, because they have so much in common, they speak the same language, know all the right bands, follow all the right trends and wear the latest fashions, but that is OK because it is what makes them happy…They are not alone or loners, they are surrounded by like thinking people who have the same value system as they do; they care for each other, and they are happy….




But I think the happiest people of all, more than the established older people who have mostly already done everything with their lives that they are going to do , the ones like me who have done this and seen that and been there etc, and the young single people on the prowl for that perfect hookup or soul mate, are the slightly older married people with children…Family life is the cornerstone of American society, and nothing makes most Americans happier than being around their children and watching them grow up……..

Daily family life at home, safe and secure away from the hassles and travails of work world, safe and secure in our own nests, as it were, watching the children grow from new born babies into infants and toddlers and then going off to kindergarten and getting into grade school are I think the happiest times of most people’s lives…

If it’s not in your life now, you should make it a priority to make it so, because these are the golden years, you are old enough to know better and young enough to enjoy each others company, and a strong supportive bond between parents, whether in traditional marriages, living together or as life partners is not only a perk you can only enjoy when you are young and raising your family, it is also setting a good example for your children, to know that they are loved, to know what love is…


happy20kidsFamily sitting in living room smiling



happy22familysoldierreunionAfrican American happy family: black father, mom and baby boy on nature. Use it for a child, parenting or love concept

Love is something elusive to define, not quite tangible but very real none the less, and when you have it, you are happy…It can be the smallest thing, like watching TV together with your significant other, sharing a meal at a family restaurant, going to the park on the weekends or just praising your children for their latest school project, all these little manifestations of love on a daily basis are the basis of happiness….

So if you are lucky enough to be a still young couple raising your children, congratulations! The bills will come and the bills will go, (it’s only money),there will be sickness and injury sometimes, (nobody’s life is perfect), there will be setbacks and triumphs in work world, (which will be forgotten almost as soon as they occur), but the one constant, the glue that holds your family together is the love you share with each other, the love that is true and unselfish and real, that will in the end make you happy...

It is your choice to be happy or not, but the key to happiness is love, and love and happiness are inextricably intertwined, you can’t have one without the other…..It’s like that reggae song by Bobby McFerrin; “Don’t Worry, Be Happy!”

For more blogs by John Whye, see http://www.johnwhye.com

Health In America In 2015

We have explored the themes of alienation, isolation and desperation in several blogs, but I think I should go on the record as also being a huge exponent of happiness in modern day America, in the year 2015…Most of the people I know are basically happy, and satisfied with their lives and family, and especially happy if they are blessed with children and a loving, extended family unit…But I would say that the #1 component for happiness is good health; without we are all doomed to live miserable lives and money cannot cure everything…

It is true that richer people receive better medical care, but if you are of strong sturdy peasant stock like myself, health is the #1 priority….I try to take care of myself, I don’t drink, smoke, or take drugs, and I try to eat sensibly, never snacking between meals and exercising daily simply by taking a 16 block walk around my neighborhood….In truth, I could not say this 20 years ago, but after turning 50 I took a long look at my lifestyle and implemented what to me then were radical changes, but are just good common sense now…I get a regular physical once a year, and at the age of 69 am in almost perfect health….My goal is to live to be a 100, and if I don’t, I’ll never know!



Most people in America are happy, it is the exceptions that stick out that cause the statistics to get skewed, especially illness and crime in the community…In fact, while researching this article, I found a very alarming trend..I found that on the average young Americans are getting sicker than any generation before them!...Why is that? According to my Google sources, “My friends may be sick because they grew up eating Spaghetti-O’s and Kraft macaroni and cheese like every other kid in the 1980s? Are they victims of an era driven by convenience foods and sugary drinks? Chronic illness is the new first-world problem. … “For many years, Americans have been dying at younger ages than people in almost all other countries….

Scary stuff to think about, but the statistics don’t lie: Dr. Enrique Jacoby, regional advisor for healthy eating and active living for the World Health Organization (WHO), says many younger Americans might just be victims of the American lifestyle.“We’re sicker for a number of reasons. Not one single factor is to be blamed for the problem,” Jacoby says. “One of the reasons is we are eating bad. We are being excessively exposed to junk food… We have more pollution because of bio fuels that are really, really bad for you.”




So, according to this theory, our genes aren’t really changing, but they’re confused. “It’s not going to be an immediate genetic change in society, but what we’re experiencing is that our genes’ expression is being, in a way, modified,” Jacoby says. It might be that our lifestyle is why Americans are so sick.

Another theory, according to Dr. Frederick Miller of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, might be that humans are being weeded out in different ways than in the past, as more communicable diseases have been eliminated. “If you do away with the infectious disease risks that perhaps killed off a number of individuals early in life [in the past], people who may have altered immune systems, who perhaps couldn’t have handled [those infections, then] go on in adulthood to develop these diseases,” he says.

When young people are dealing with chronic conditions, it can have a huge impact on the economy, health care system, and the formation of future generations “One of the unique things about autoimmune diseases, as opposed to cancer, is that these are more likely to be long-term,” he says. “You’re not just dealing with the immediate problems, but the entire lifelong implications of that.

It’s a fact that the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation noted in its report: “Diseases of poverty, such as communicable, maternal, nutritional and newborn causes, have decreased universally while non-communicable conditions traditionally associated with wealthier countries have risen,” it reads. “As people live longer and die at lower rates, the number of years spent living with disability… has increased.” Woolf says there is still much research to be done into what’s causing Americans to be so sick.


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But he says this future we’re headed toward is preventable. He points to the “hygiene hypothesis”: As humans have eliminated infections and led cleaner early lives, allergies and autoimmune disease incidences have increased because of our underdeveloped immune systems. “It’s not completely proven, it’s a hypothesis,” Miller says, “But it is consistent with some of the data out there.”“There may not be too many free rides in this world,” he says. “As we move away from one disease, we may be moving toward other diseases.”

“We’ve known for many years what needs to be done about this,” he says. “The problem is not a lack of knowledge about what to do, but a lack of resolve and resources for how to do it… For each [issue], there are major blue ribbon reports that have outlined precisely what needs to be done about it.

So why hasn’t it happened? Steven Woolf, director of the Center on Society and Health at Virginia Commonwealth University, helped prepare the NAC/IOM report and bought the findings before the U.S. Senate last month during a discussion on what is ailing Americans. In particular, Woolf points at how data is painting a bleak future for American women.

“Women are less likely to live to age 50 if they’re born in the United States than other high income countries,” he says. “I have a chart where we show this pattern going back to 1980. Back then if you looked at the survival of women to age 50, the U.S. was in the middle of the pack. Over time, not only has the U.S. fallen down in the ranking, they’ve fallen off the chart. That’s something we’re trying to understand.”

And don’t be mistaken, Woolf says: The United States’ outlook isn’t skewed from other countries’ because of its diverse people and massive disparities in socioeconomic status. “We analyzed the data by a variety of social classes and have found that the problem is pervasive. Rich Americans die earlier than rich people in other countries. College-educated people die earlier than college-educated people in other countries,” he says.

“It’s misguided for people who are better off and doing well to think that this is someone else’s problem.”“It’s very concerning,” Woolf says. “We are living shorter lives than people in other countries. We’re sicker than people in other countries.”

Woolf says that legislation to create a healthier America—from improved nutritional quality of food to taxes on soda—is seen as an affront to personal liberty. “A willingness to implement public policies … often involves higher taxes that American taxpayers don’t want to spend, or a willingness to change personal freedoms.”

“We can still have a free society but accept some limits on what we do to try to promote good health,” he continues. “There’s such a visceral reaction to what is perceived as a nanny state … or what people think of socialized welfare states, that any semblance of that tends to get rejected.”

Wow! I personally had no idea there was such a near epidemic of illness in the younger generation…I am sure that all of the pesticides and genetic alteration of the foods by the giant agricultural combines and chemical companies that rule the modern agricultural world and produce the food that we all eat, also must have a very large responsibility in this overall pattern of younger people, in their 30’s, becoming so sick at such an early age!…

I guess I was lucky and that just by being older I ate more naturally healthy, less bio engineered, less genetically altered, less pesticide sprayed foods than the younger people today, but it is obvious that this is a clear and present danger that must be addressed immediately…Maybe the trend toward more home grown and organic foods can also help reverse this awful trend….

I never thought I would be lucky just because I was older, but I can only wish the best for this new generation of young Americans being struck down in the prime of their lives by diseases apparently caused by the government and the giant agriculture combines


For more information on Living Sick and Dying Young in Rich America-The Atlantic see: www.theatlantic.com/health/…sick-and…america/282495/The Atlantic

For more blogs by John Whye, see http://www.johnwhye.com


Isolation In America 2015

Today in America in 2015, we are more isolated than ever before….We move daily through a brightly colored landscape of amazing technological wonders, shop in sophisticated malls, monumental palaces of glass and chrome, when we go shopping for clothes or shoes …We get readouts on bargains and sales on our cell phones on grocery items while we are shopping for food, no need to ask the clerk any questions…. Whenever we need to go somewhere, we realize our cars themselves have become computerized…The old days of popping the hood when you heard a weird sound and tinkering with the engine with your buddies hanging around, drinking a beer and giving advice is over….

Now everything in your car is computer monitored and when you have a problem, the computerized warning system in your car flashes out a warning and you take it to a shop with a mechanic who can diagnose and fix the problems with his own computer readouts….Tesla and Apple are both feverishly pioneering deep research in the development and implementation of cars that will soon be able to drive themselves…No human attention will be needed in this bright and shiny future, and both companies have prototypes already out on the streets…In a decade, computer driven cars will be in the majority….

isolation1groupisolation6guysand girloncar



If you go out to a club or bar at night, the deep booming techno music comes pouring out of speakers at a deafening level, making ordinary conversation impossible…..Good luck at getting the bartenders attention too, to order an outrageously over priced drink, often pre mixed by computerized drink machines, and although you are constantly being bumped and jostled, it is still all so impersonal and random it is like taking public transportation to work..

You have to shout into the ear of the person you are with for the simplest comments if you are on a date, and if you are just trying to meet somebody and go alone, good luck…..You will most likely leave alone, unable to schmooze and socialize over drinks and get to talk to somebody and get to know them well enough to take the encounter to the next level, whatever that may be…




When you get home, if you live alone, you have a wide array of technological wonders and amusements to peruse…You have cable TV, dish TV, Netflix, DVD’s or digital movies on demand, a DVR that has already prerecorded your favorite shows, literally thousands of viewing choices to pick from, and the biggest wide screen HD TV you can afford to watch them on…….No need to go to a dark, hot crowded movie theater and stand in line to buy a ticket and then sit in a cramped seat and bump elbows in the dark with a total stranger….

If you are married or living with someone, you probably have already skipped the bar scene and are ensconced on the couch or your favorite chair watching something on television already, but all too often your significant other has radically different viewing tastes than you…For example, if you like sports and your significant other doesn’t, you will probably end up alone in one room watching your sports while they are in another room watching documentaries or soap operas, cooking shows, talk shows, movies or the latest special to grace the air waves…



If you have very young children, you are of course involved with their care or nurturing when they are infants, but they soon develop into little people of their own, and the young people today have a dazzling array of technological toys and gizmos that never existed in my childhood…They may spend hours playing video games, or something called sandbox or open world, featuring games like The Sims or Minecraft are called sandbox games, where you can manufacture and create simulations of a real life that doesn’t exist anymore, modifying and altering the character’s you create behavior….

Skyrim is an open world game that focuses as quests….There is an appreciable difference in the focus of the two genres though, even though there is a large amount of overlap. Here from my Google sources, just one anonymous opinion, is a more clear definition of the latest generation of video games:

“An open world game may or may not be a sandbox game. The scale we want to measure against is Theme park vs Sandbox. World of Warcraft is an open world game, and a theme park. You can run around in the world more or less as you please, but it was crafted by Blizzard and each player will experience the same things in the same circumstances. The content will be basically the same for everyone.

Minecraft on the other hand is open world and a sandbox. The player has a large degree of freedom to do whatever the want. Skyrim (unmodded) is a bit more sandbox-y than WoW, because you can ‘permanently’ kill NPCs, move items around in the world, etc. But it is not as sandbox-y as Minecraft because you can’t deform the world (other than build a few houses with set designs, in set locations.)”



There-did that help? It just totally confused me, as an older person without any kids in the house I have only the most rudimentary knowledge of these sophisticated new video games…. I think I dropped out of the video game world somewhere around Pacman and Frogger, although I do remember playing Grand theft Auto with my grandson one evening….

Do you remember video arcades, where teens came together with their friends and socialized and fought and jostled for spots at the newest, hottest video games, actual stand up and play machines? Now all that can be done in the privacy of your own home, on your cell phone or played through your TV, and video arcades as well have disappeared from the landscape of modern America….




Well there is always work world to fall back on! Here 5 days a week you are forced into a small office and have to interact with your co workers and your bosses to some degree, although that can rarely be termed enjoyable….In most cases it is just forced artificial socialization, like school, where the only thing you really have in common is the geographical proximity of the office and the pseudo intimacy of mandatory attendance requirements….You can’t wait for that bell to ring or 5 pm to arrive so you can walk out that door without a backward glance…..

So another day goes by, and you finally collapse into bed, either alone or with your significant other, and they are usually too tired from their own excursions into work world, chores, their own individual schedules they have had to maintain for any real intimacy here either…It seems we are just sharing space on this planet, side by side, shoulder to shoulder, but NOT heart to heart….

It seems we are all alienated and alone in the midst of the greatest technological society the world has ever experienced….I guess it’s a trade off, the tech lords give and the tech lords taketh…

Myself, I feel isolated….How about you?

For more blogs by John Whye, see http://www.johnwhye.com

Power Politics In Medieval Times

We have been exploring some of the great castles of Europe in the last few days…The castles were originally built primarily as a defensive fortress for the king and queen, or the knights rich enough to afford them, and for many of the wealthy royal families, like the Duke of Norfolk, who had tenuous political connections to the royal family, and wealthy clerics like Sir Thomas Beckett or functionaries like Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex and chief hatchet man for Henry VIII’s political adversaries…But life at court always centered around the ultimate source of power, the king and queen themselves…

The kings were believed to have been divinely appointed, and above mere mortals, and although they did not claim divinity like the Pharaohs of Egypt, they still had absolute power of life and death over their subjects…The English in the days of Henry the VIII had courts and lawyers and judges and juries, a whole legal system, but they also had dungeons and torture chambers and in the end, the King or Queen always retained the ultimate power of life and death over their subjects….




Life at the medieval court was full of intrigue and backstabbing, an ever shifting, always fluid balance of power as rivals all clamored to get the kings ear, and favorites were lavishly rewarded while those who fell out of favor were often tortured into confessions in the Tower of London and then summarily executed, either burned at the stake or beheaded, but none of these arrests, tortures and executions were done without the express knowledge and will of the King, who ruled as an absolute tyrant...

Queen Elizabeth I was herself briefly imprisoned in the Tower of London by her catholic sister Mary, after their father, Henry VIII died after a futile attempt to produce a male heir by breaking with the Catholic church and the very venal and political Pope, who would not grant him an annulment from his first wife, Catherine of Aragon…

He ended up establishing his own Protestant Church of England and ran through a succession of new wives, none of whom were able in the end to give him a healthy male heir to succeed him….According to my Google sources: “Henry VIII was king of England in 1534 and wanted an annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon so he could marry Anne Boleyn. Pope Clement VII, considering that the earlier marriage had been entered under a papal dispensation refused the annulment, then King Henry VIII was excommunicated by Pope Paul III.



A separation had been wanted by various movements within the English church for sometime..The church at the time of his reign was the Roman Catholic Church, so to ensure the annulment of his marriage Henry VIII took the position of Supreme Head of the Church and it was renamed to The Church of England.

Maintaining a strong desire for traditional Catholic practices during his reign, many changes by reformers were unable to be made to the Church of England. The King or Queen are the head of the Church of England as constitutionally established by the state. Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I were the three children King Henry VIII left behind at his death, each of whom had a turn on the English throne.

Under his son Edward VI, more Protestant-influenced forms of worship were adopted, but he was a sickly boy appointed Regent at the age of 9 and who died at the age of 15…His sister Mary then became Queen of England… When Mary became Queen (Mary I) she returned England again to the authority of the Pope. An independent Church of England then was ended. During the reign of Mary I, many were burnt at the stake for their refusal to recant their changed faith. The honorable death of those burnt at the stake led to her nickname of “Bloody Mary”.




When Mary’s half-sister, Elizabeth I, became queen after Mary died childless, the new regime decided the direction of the church. Under Elizabeth I (from 1558), the church was moderately Reformed in doctrine, but also emphasized a union with the Roman church and their traditions with the Church Fathers.”

The palace intrigues, plots and power struggles only increased when Elizabeth I became Queen, because it was unheard of in those days for a woman to be a true head of state; women were considered to be inherently inferior to men and during the early years especially of Elizabeth I she was constantly being strongly advised and set up for an arranged marriage with numerous male possibilities…

Elizabeth was an exceedingly intelligent woman and a shrewd politician, and she adroitly played off one would be suitor against the other, pretending to be interested and then bailing at the last minute…Some of the more aggressive male royals around her, especially the Duke of Norfolk, then began conspiring with each other to have her assassinated, so that a male could claim the throne….This is all brilliantly documented in the 1998 Cate Blanchet movie “Elizabeth”….

So behind all the gracious finery and splendor of the palaces, the lacy curtains and elegant statuary, the vaulted ceilings and splendid artifacts lurked a deadly, constant power struggle, as every faction had their ax to grind…The court of Elizabeth I was just an extremely fertile ground for plots, treachery and double dealing because she was a woman, considered weak and unfit to rule alone, and because of the religious schism initiated by her father, Henry VIII….


The medieval courts in general were dominated by “a group of not-so noble Nobles who hung around a king’s corridors of power. They were dissolute, dissipated, degenerate, depraved—let’s just sum it up as ‘decadent’—to such an extent that every thing they touch became corrupted. Whatever country they were ruling was heading for doom while they played their spiteful little courtly games.”

So this was the reality of daily court life behind the mighty, massive castle exterior walls and moats and towers for defense from the enemy outside and the soaring, breath taking interiors of the palaces of the medieval days…

kings21cromwelland norfolkkings17courtscene



It was actually behind these gilded walls and the awe inspiring beauty, exquisite decorative influences, and priceless art and treasures on display inside these palaces that the real danger lurked….Inside the court, power politics ruled absolutely, and there were no limits to the avarice, greed and lust for ever more power and influence by the so called nobility….Plots, betrayals, intrigues, double dealings, lies and assassinations were all considered a normal part of daily life at court…

This is why kings and queens had royal tasters who would sample their food and wine, this was why the king relied so heavily on only his most trusted bodyguards, often trained since youth for their position and who swore a blood oath to protect their king on their lives; this is why so many power struggles took place under various kings, all in the name of greed and advancement for the winning party…

Fortunes in the medieval days could be made and power quickly amassed and consolidated if you were swift, shrewd, avaricious, brutal, ruthless and amoral enough…. But it was a deadly game, for if you chose the wrong side you could expect swift and fatal retribution…Both sides expected and gave no quarter…In matters of court, mercy was no virtue….

To paraphrase Shakespeare slightly, it is well said, “Heavy is the head who wears the crown”…

For more information on Henry VIII and the establishment of the Church of England, see: whychurchofchrist.com/…/church-of-england-established-in-1534-by-he

For more information and scenes of the interior palaces, check out:
OR https://www.pinterest.com/znurseryman/castle-interiors/

For more stories by John Whye, see http://www.johnwhye.com

Castles Of Europe Part 2

Yesterday we explored some of the castles of Europe, a subject that has always fascinated me, in a sort of overview…I posted some pictures of the exterior of several English castles, including Buckingham Palace, which is still used as a functional part of the British government today, Windsor Palace, where many of England’s former monarchs lived in and ruled from in the medieval times, and the infamous Tower of London, which was used as a prison and a medieval torture chamber back in the day…

We also explored some of the stunning interiors of Windsor Palace and included several shots of some famous French castles as well….The sheer size and scope of these palaces rivaled even the lavish exteriors and interiors of some of the grand cathedrals of the time…..Today I would like to delve more deeply into the actual physical layout of the castle, so as to get a better understanding of what went on in these massive drawing rooms, meeting halls, dining rooms and the actual function of ruling the English Empire during medieval times…It was a very complicated social arrangement….



According to my Google sources, “The rooms where the lord of a castle, his family and his knights lived and ate and slept were in the Keep (called the Donjon), the rectangular tower inside the walls of a castle. This was meant to be the strongest and safest place.

The outer wall of a castle was called Bailey. This was where buildings for the castle’s cattle, horses and servants lived. Some of the soldiers needed to defend the castle might live in part of the gatehouse known as the Barbican.

In medieval castles, the lord and his followers carried out most of their daily life in the Donjon. ‘Dungeon’ comes from donjon as the prisoners were kept there, though down in the darkest, dampest parts way below. There were also rooms for storing food. They had to be kept stocked with food to last for a long time in case there was a siege.

People in the castle would also need water, so there was almost always a well here too. There were kitchens and pantries where food was stored for everyday preparation. The Great Hall and the bedchambers were there too. The Donjon could be as much as 70 meters high, and often a watchtower where sentries kept watch and where the lord’s flag flew from the top.

The Great Hall was the most important room in a castle. All the members of the household sat down to eat at tables. It was where feasts were held for special days, or when there were guests. King Arthur’s Pentecost Feast took place in his Great Hall. A lord or king carried on nearly all the business of the castle there, running of his estate, listening to reports from his bailiff or his reeve (the men who managed affairs on his land for him) and hearing complaints from one peasant about another.




In the bedchamber, mice were a problem in the Middle Ages. There was a pole in the bedchamber for hanging clothes on at night so the mice wouldn’t nibble them. People didn’t wear anything in bed except a nightcap and they slept half sitting up. Nightshirts weren’t worn until the 14th Century!

In the kitchen, food was roasted or boiled in cauldrons over a fire on a hearth made out of large blocks of stone. The washing was done in a tub on the stone floor nearby. A wealthy knight, his family and guests ate well. Unlike most people, they had plenty of meat like deer, goose and rabbit.

On Fridays and Holy Days meat was forbidden by the church, so they ate fish or eels. If there was a special feast, the people working in the kitchens would prepare wild boar, roast swan, or even roast peacock, served with all its feathers as decoration. Some of these would be caught by the lord of the castle and his friends while out hunting with their hawks.

Finally, toilets and bathrooms were an integral part of any castle…Many castles had stone toilets built over holes in the outer walls. These emptied into a pit way below. The Teutonic Knights (warrior-monks of central Europe) of Poland used to murder their enemies by inviting them to be guests at the castle only to hurl them down the toilet!

Medieval castles did not have running water, yet people did like to bathe at least once a year. In some castles there was a room next to the kitchen where they bathed in groups. The lord might have hot water brought to his bedchamber and poured into a big wooden tub, where he sat on a low stool in. The water might have perfume or rose leaves sprinkled in it. Soap was made of sheep fat with ashes and soda. Teeth were cleaned by scraping them with a hazel twig and rubbing them with a woolen cloth.




”In its simplest terms, the most accepted definition of a castle is “a private fortified residence”. The only form of government was a Monarchy where the king or queen ruled by “divine right”. That just meant the people believed that God had appointed the king or queen to rule with absolute power. That King or Queen needed a safe castle to live and rule from!”

The Basics of a Medieval Era Castle:

Castles belonged to the wealthy, important, and powerful people – kings, nobles, and knights.

Castles were designed to be difficult to attack and easy to defend.

Castles protected owners from rivals, invaders and the local citizens.

Castles were symbols of status during times of war and peace.

Castles were the seats of local power and justice.

Early castles were built in the 9th and 10th centuries and were constructed of earth and wood and were usually built on higher ground.

Castles from the 11th century and later were always built of rock and stones on high ground and often surrounded by water such as a lake of wide, deep water, called a moat.

Stone castles had massive walls that were between 15 and 20 feet thick

Again, space precludes more investigation today into the daily life of a castle dweller, but a basic understanding of how castles were organized is essential to explain how they functioned…Although even this cursory glance shows that it is plain to see that the king and queen lived very well, and that his knights and advisers,whether they resided in the kings castle or their own, were also well taken care of…A castle was a very high maintenance endeavor, and required the labor of many servants…

In exchange for their labor, the servant received a small wage but more importantly, had the security of the kings protection, food to eat and a place to sleep at night, no small blessings in the wild and unruly medieval times…

The palace servants considered themselves socially way above the serfs and peasants who worked as farmers and tilled the soil and raised the crops outside the castle walls and lived in rude huts and villages themselves…It was an honor to be a palace servant and live protected inside the walls of a castle….

2-L20-A1-1400 E: Medieval Farming Life / School poster Agriculture: General. - 'Medieval Farming Life'. - School poster. Colour print after an unsigned watercolour. From the series: Kulturgeschichtliche Bilder no.5, Kempen (Verlag Dr. te Neues), undated (c.1960). Dortmund, Westfaelisches Schulmuseum.


Then, as now, a “place at court” was to be coveted and aspired to….It was like an entry level job at a modern corporation for the most ambitious….Once you were employed within the castle, you were much more likely to be able to advance yourself and your social position…This was a driving force in medieval life, to better oneself….

For more information on castle interiors, see: Inside a medieval Castle at: http://www.medievalfayre.com/index.php?option=com…76%3Ainside

OR: https://www.pinterest.com/znurseryman/castle-interiors/

For more stories by John Whye, see http://www.johnwhye.com

Castles Of Europe

I have always been fascinated by the castles of Europe….I watch all the medieval movies I can see on TV and at the movies, imagining what life must have been like for the rich and noble families who lived in these vast, architectural fantasy world structures….It wasn’t just the kings and queens who had castles, all the barons and dukes and rich people had them too…Today we will check out a few famous castles in England, although the French, the Irish and the Scottish people also have beautiful castles in their countries built centuries ago and almost all are now available for tours….

Surprisingly, many of these castles are still around…Most of them were made of stone, and were surprisingly well crafted and originally built to withstand sieges from the enemy without, because medieval Europe was in a seemingly constant stage of petty warfare between rival claimants to the various available thrones and others who had designs and claims, some even legitimate, to nobility and thus many of these castles have endured throughout the centuries…

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According to my Google sources: “The first thing a lot of people think about England is castles and medieval fortresses. There are many fine examples of castles dating back well over 500 years, Buckingham Palace is perhaps the most famous castle in England….

Buckingham Palace has served as the official London residence of Britain’s sovereigns since 1837 and today is the administrative headquarters of the Monarch. Although in use for the many official events and receptions held by The Queen, the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace are open to visitors every year.

Buckingham Palace has 775 rooms. These include 19 State rooms, 52 Royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices and 78 bathrooms. In measurements, the building is 108 meters long across the front, 120 meters deep (including the central quadrangle) and 24 meters high. The Palace is very much a working building and the centerpiece of Britain’s constitutional monarchy.

It houses the offices of those who support the day-to-day activities and duties of The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh and their immediate family. The Palace is also the venue for great Royal ceremonies, State Visits and Investitures, all of which are organized by the Royal Household.”

“Windsor Castle, in Windsor in the English county of Berkshire, is the largest inhabited castle in the world and, dating back to the time of William the Conqueror, is the oldest in continuous occupation. The castle’s floor area is approximately 484,000 square feet (44,965 square meters). Together with Buckingham Palace in London and Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh, it is one of the principal official residences of the British monarch. Queen Elizabeth II spends many weekends of the year at the castle, using it for both state and private entertaining.

Most of the Kings and Queens of England, later Kings and Queens of Great Britain, and later still kings and queens of the Commonwealth realms, have had a direct influence on the construction and evolution of the castle, which has been their garrison fortress, home, official palace, and sometimes their prison.

The castle’s history and that of the British monarchy are inextricably linked. Chronologically the history of the castle can be traced through the reigns of the monarchs who have occupied it. When the country has been at peace, the castle has been expanded by the additions of large and grand apartments; when the country has been at war, the castle has been more heavily fortified. This pattern has continued to the present day.”

Let’s take a look at some of the more interesting interiors of Windsor castle, still impressive and awe inspiring to tourists today, especially in these days where we all often live in cramped quarters with roommates and family, either in homes or high rise apartment buildings……It is hard to imagine the sheer size, grace and stately grandeur of  these opulent monuments to splendor and power, let alone the royalty who commissioned them and often had a strong hand in their eventual design…Imagine what it would be like to be the actual “lord of the manor” or “queen of the kingdom” of these lush, grandly appointed monuments to power, wealth and nobility!




“The Tower of London is a complex of several buildings set within two concentric rings of defensive walls and a moat. The tower’s primary function was a fortress, a royal palace, and a prison (particularly for high status and royal prisoners, such as the Princes in the Tower and the future Queen Elizabeth I).

This last use has led to the phrase “sent to the Tower” (meaning “imprisoned”). It has also served as a place of execution and torture, an armory, a treasury, a zoo, the Royal Mint, a public records office, an observatory, and since 1303, the home of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom.”

There are few amongst us who have not heard of the infamous Tower of London…It is prominently featured in the movie “Elizabeth” made in 1998 with Cate Blanchet in a stunning portrayal of royal life, intrigue, treachery and medieval power politics. If you would like a real taste of what it was like to be at court in the magnificent splendor of these architectural wonders, I urge you to see this movie…





The French were no slouches when it came to castles and palaces, especially the eccentric Louis XIV, who was known as the “Sun King” because of the splendor of his court at Versailles. Louis XIV believed himself to be an absolute ruler. His authority was inherited and derived from God. He was not accountable to anyone but his own conscience….. but space precludes more than a quick view of several stunningly beautiful French palace interiors….




The point is, everybody who was anybody back in the medieval times lived in a castle or a palace, and each monarch tried to outdo or improve upon his predecessor’s work….Tomorrow we will examine more of what daily life inside these larger than life examples of stately grandeur was really like….

For more information on Buckingham palace, see: http://www.royal.gov.uk/…/buckinghampala…

For more information and scenes of the interior palaces, check out:www.anglotopia.net › Anglophilia

OR https://www.pinterest.com/znurseryman/castle-interiors/

For more stories by John Whye, see http://www.johnwhye.com

Paranoia About Bills

We all have fears and doubts, it is part of the human condition…We all want to live perfect, hassle free lives without having to worry about things like illnesses, bills, doctor or dental appointments, landlord visits or scam artists that call you on the phone all the time…We don’t want anybody to puncture our bubble of invincibility, penetrate our fortress of solitude, invade our mind with mental hassles…

Some things, like serious illnesses can not be avoided, they are real and need to be dealt with promptly…But what I am talking about is all the wasted hours of agony and mental torture we put ourselves through on a daily basis about things like bills; for example, what MIGHT happen if we do not pay our cell phone bills or our cable TV bills or our school bills on time….



Big man holding another upside down by the ankles

I confess, I was guilty of this myself in my younger years, spending many a sleepless night needlessly worrying about money hassles…In the end, one way or another all these problems were resolved, and all that worrying and wondering and dwelling on the worst possible outcome were wasted, all that sweating and agonizing was pointless…

I think we are all cursed with the fear of the unknown, of imagining in our heads the very worst case scenarios, but these seldom happen…Someway, somehow, we can almost always avoid the worst possible scenarios, and freaking out like Chicken Little and running around saying the sky is falling is not the way….

OMG! But when this happens to YOU, it seems like it is the end of the world! Our little niche in society we have carved out so laboriously over the years, our little bit of personal space, is suddenly threatened by big, impersonal automated sources we feel we have no control over…We sweat and shiver and agonize and toss and turn all night, just thinking about the dire consequences of our inability if we can’t come up with the money to pay our bills on time and avoid losing the services we so desperately require…

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Obviously, some bills are more important than others, like rent…That MUST be paid, every month, no matter what, or you can face eviction…However even being short on the rent and facing possible eviction is not a death sentence…In every case, a 24 hour notice to vacate can be challenged, and you can go to court and legally extend the whole eviction process, sometimes for several months…

If you live in a large city, try to find some Free Legal Aid office, or search for a lawyer who will do pro bono work for you…. Lawyers are required to donate a certain percentage of their professional time every year to pro bono (roughly translated:free) work for clients with limited incomes…You can easily find a listing of lawyers who do pro bono work online even if you live in a rural area….

Most landlords just want their money, and sometimes, especially if they are small property owners, you can talk to them about a mutually satisfying rent repayment arrangement  system to bring you up to date…The pro bono lawyer will help you maneuver through the intricacies of the legal system at no cost to you; that is what they are there for…Remember, the landlord does not usually want to go to court either…. Family and friends can be helpful resources as well, they do not want you out on the street…

Cell phone and cable bills are luxuries in this world, not necessities…True, we have all become so used to them that they can become the center and focus of our everyday lives, myself certainly included, but again, these mega companies just want their money…In almost every case, they can easily be talked into a restructured payment settlement…They do NOT want to lose you as customers, especially if you have been faithful to them and diligent in your payments to them over the years…

Woman sitting at desk calculating receipts, resting head on hand

A woman pushes a stroller through the snow in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn, New York February 17, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENVIRONMENT SOCIETY) - RTR4PZ3K



In short, the amount of time we spend worrying about the worst possible financial scenarios actually happening to us is a waste of time, because the worst possible scenario rarely occurs…It is our own insecurities, our own fears and doubts that really cripple us emotionally, tie our stomachs in knots, make us fear the worst…It is self induced paranoia, dwelling on the worst possible scenario coming true, which rarely happens, especially if you try to work with your creditors…

In the vast majority of cases, we are doing this to ourselves, putting more pressure on ourselves than we need to….It is not necessary, it is not required and it certainly is not helpful or productive anyway…Just do the best you can, and try not to dwell on what MIGHT happen and just concentrate on what DID happen….

And when you go to sleep at night, make it a point, a conscious decision, to turn off your brain and your fear reflex, remember the financial bogey men plaguing your daytime hours with overdue notices or threatening phone calls are just doing their jobs…Often it is just an automated response system these days…



Ann Arbor Credit Bureau collections supervisor Amber Jones works at her desk on Friday morning. Melanie Maxwell I AnnArbor.com


For sure, they are not thinking about you when they go to bed, so why should you think about them? Tomorrow is always another day, so just do the best you can each day and wipe your mental slate clean at night, and don’t allow your fears and doubts to mentally cripple you….

And right before you close your eyes at night try to remember the wisdom of that old Spanish song, “Que sera, sera, what ever will be, will be, the future’s not ours to see, Que sera, sera….

For more stories by John Whye, see http://www.johnwhye.com


I feel like I am trapped in a time warp, like I am wrapped in a soap bubble, bouncing and drifting through my life…Things happen around me, but not directly to me….Things happen to other people, friends, acquaintances, but not to me…Things happen, I can see them, but I can’t feel them…I am caught in a time warp….The only part of the outside world that makes sense to me is the world of sports; I am an avid baseball, football and basketball watcher, especially of my beloved San Francisco Giants…

I can’t remember the last time I watched the news on TV, I am cut off from the media by choice, the happenings and happenstance of the outside world is beyond my ken, I have no interest in what other people around the world or even in the city are doing…Every day is a new disaster, a new crisis, a new outrage and the TV reporters, the talking heads are all so eager to report the most sensational stories in carefully timed sound bites, so eager to titillate the public and advance their own careers……I feel like I am in a permanent, profound disconnect…


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And yet somehow the world lurches and staggers on, crisis after crisis, disaster after disaster, crooked politicians selling their souls to the 1% who are already damned, walking, talking willing servants themselves of Mammon and their own corporate greed….And people like Fox news spread the new propaganda as eagerly and diligently as Dr. Goebbels, Hitler’s Minister of Information, did in the Nazi era of WW II…These people, this 1% are straight up fascists, but they are insulated and protected by their spin doctors and corporate apologists and bought and paid for politicians….

I mean, really, how much money do these people need to be satisfied, how much destruction of the biosphere are they willing to promote with their greenhouse gas emissions, their toxic waste dumping into the oceans, their destruction of the world wide food chain and the very air we breathe to become even more wealthier than the obscene rich fascist plutocrats that they already are?

I guess they will never be satisfied, and that is just a fact of life…The 1% own no loyalty to anybody but themselves and never will…They are the true criminals of the world, international criminals, and while they rob people of billions in their crooked business deals and shady manipulations and machinations, they walk away laughing at how gullible people are…. They elect politicians who promise to “get tough on crime,” while THEY are the true criminals, responsible for the death and poverty of people all over the world, as well as the destruction of all the planet’s resources…..

I think this is why I feel so numb, because the American people are so dumb they continue to allow this fascist 1% to rape and pillage the planet in an unprecedented wave of criminal activity unparalleled in the history of the world…They even have duped the people in the so called “red states” that they are the only hope for America, they have convinced these gullible Americans to actually support and assist in their own destruction!

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I am an avid student of history, but never have I read anywhere of a society where the people willingly participate in their own destruction at the beck and call of the 1% and their evil political minions like what we are seeing in America today…The 1% are almost always older white men who have inherited billions from their robber baron grandparents and have continued the family practice of ripping off the poor, the minorities, the old and infirm, just because they can, just to amass even more wealth they will never be able to spend anyway…

There are so many real problems in America today, joblessness, crime, poverty, people starving in the land of plenty, people forced to commit crimes just to survive…The 1% have built a wall around themselves and they are impervious to any retribution, as least so far…I am sure they are laughing all the way to the bank at the ignorance and blind acceptance of their corporate lies by the American public…..

They have managed to pit one segment of American society against the other, they have managed to fracture our once proud society of individuals into suspicious, paranoid camps of people supporting their own special interests,they have set the poor to fight against the poor and the rich bastards at the top, the 1% laugh at the stupidity of the average American who swallows their corporate lies…

The 1% have managed to split the country into red and blue states, a severe and perhaps unbridgeable clash of cultures and resources the likes of which we have not witnessed since the Civil War…The soul of the nation is at stake in the upcoming elections, yet the state of apathy and indifference amongst he American electorate has never been higher….

The Republican party has literally sold their souls to the 1% in order to get elected, and they gleefully spread the lies and propaganda their masters and handlers have ordered them to do….The tea party extremists are so fundamentally right wing, blind to all but their tunnel vision of the world, they cannot even agree with the majority of the already bought and paid for majority of the Republicans…



The Democrats are the only possible hope for this country, and BTW I am an independent voter, a conservative, not a knee jerk so called “bleeding heart” liberal, yet they squabble and quarrel amongst themselves for exclusionary power struggles that prevent them from presenting a united front against the pure evil of the dark lords of Mordor, the 1% and their evil, drooling Orc minions…

I hope that I am wrong, that Americans can actually see when we are being bamboozled, hustled, lied to and played for fools by the 1%…I hope that come election time some semblance of normalcy can be restored, and that the rotten to their corrupt core 1% are exposed and pulled down from their ivory towers of wealth, power, and influence by a Democratic victory…

I do not care who the Democrats nominate, they are our only chance against the unmitigated gall, greed and pure evil the 1% have purchased with their republican slate of candidates….I will vote for any Democrat who gets the nomination because I feel this is perhaps our last chance to reverse the disaster course the fascist 1% have set us on….Vote America, vote for the democrats, vote against the evil….

I feel like I am trapped in a time warp, like I am wrapped in a soap bubble, bouncing and drifting through my life…Things happen around me, but not directly to me….Things happen to other people, friends, acquaintances, but not to me…Things happen, I can see them, but I can’t feel them…I am caught in a time warp….

Help me escape from my glazed entrapment in my soap bubble, help YOURSELVES to get the jackboots of the 1% off of your back…The future of America is up to you; don’t sell yourself short, don’t sell out, don’t be conned and hustled…Stand up for your rights while you still can!

For more stories by John Whye, see http://www.johnwhye.com

Failure Of Authority In America

I have noticed a general lack of respect for the government and the society in general in the last few years…I attribute this to a failure of authority in America…It is like, the national leaders, the congressmen, the senators, the governors don’t lead… They don’t even try to do the best for the people they are allegedly public servants for but instead they set horrible examples of selfish self interest that are so transparently greedy and self serving why would anybody respect them anyway?

On the local level, people disrespect each other to the point of mass murders in schools, random drive by shootings of innocent bystanders caught in the cross fire of jacked up gang members, and a police response that is more often repressive than helpful…On the local level, the police response is often the most disheartening, because these are the people that the average citizen is most likely to come into contact with if there is any trouble…If all our authority figures are disrespected, this can only lead to anarchy and more violence in the streets…



We all know there are way too many guns on the streets, and only the most rabid NRA lobbyist or member would dispute this…Yet the reaction from most citizens after the latest random school shooting in Oregon is that MORE citizens are going to buy guns to protect themselves from the psycho meltdowns that perpetrate such outrages in the first place!

That just proves how little faith the average citizen has in the police…The police themselves have been caught on video camera, an idea whose time has finally arrived, perpetrating needless, senseless acts of violence upon citizens, almost always minorities…They apparently forget that now their actions are caught, being recorded by the cold harsh reality of their belt or chest cams…. I guess this new reality has not set in yet, because they continue to react in the way they have been reacting for years, by beating or shooting presumably innocent people…..

The only difference now is that the impartial body cams more and more policemen are being forced to wear are catching them in the act…..The police can no longer fall back on the old standard lies that the victim was “resisting arrest” or attacked the officers…In fact, the overwhelming majority of these video taped encounters are damning the police in their habitual lies and hypocritical standards by which they conduct themselves…



In the past, it was always enough for the police officer to declare that he was in the right, that he was only defending himself or chasing down a suspect….This is even though it is common knowledge that most policemen have carried “throwaway guns” for years, so when they shot somebody in the past, they could plant the throwaway guns in the dead victims hands…This option is being closed off to them more and more now, since it is a truism that “the camera doesn’t lie.” The risk for them to use throwaway guns is now just too great…

The use of body cams, which I strongly believe should be mandatory for ALL levels of policemen, highway patrol, sheriffs, deputies etc. is also depriving the police of their last line of defense: the official investigation instigated by the so called civilian complaint review boards….In fact, 99% of the time, these police reviews, in other words police reviewing their fellow officers always come out in favor of the police! Oh my, what a surprise!

It must be nice to know that you are being reviewed by your own peers, maybe your buddies, and certainly people who will “lie for a good friend” as the Carly Simon song, “You’re So Vain” points out….The police have a vested interest in protecting their own, and any cop that stands up to the way it really is in the administration of corruption and “street justice” has in the past been ridiculed, bullied and often forced to resign…

A good example of the real life police culture is the movie “Training Day” with Denzell Washington and Ethan Hawke, with Washington playing the grizzled street wise cop teaching “the way it really is” to his impressionable, idealistic, fresh out of the Police Academy rookie partner… Another good movie on this subject is “The Bad Lieutenant” with Harvey Keitel as a drug addled, gambling addicted, rotten to the core detective who operates “under the color of authority” to justify and maintain his existence on the police force….



I am not a bleeding heart liberal, I am a conservative, and I realize that the cops have to deal with some of the seediest, most violent, dangerous, high on drugs or alcohol criminals in the world, and they need to do it while these truly evil people are off in the middle of one of their violent crime sprees or acts of violence…The police have a very legitimate need to protect themselves from these hardcore criminals, most of whom are in the revolving door of our criminal justice system, being rotated in and out of prison their whole lives…

These incorrigible, violent offenders are all too real and most will gladly kill a cop rather than go back to jail in a heartbeat…This also is a known fact…. But difficult as it is, that is the policeman’s job, that is what they signed up for…As a matter of fact, I think the good cops out there would welcome the mandatory use of body cams so that the people reviewing the tapes of police encounters with these violent low life’s can see for themselves just how hostile these criminals are….They ARE scary!



Like I said, the camera doesn’t lie, and I am sure there will be many police officers fully vindicated by their use of force in true self defense….Also, I think we should stiffen the laws against the truly violent offenders and keep them incarcerated for longer periods of time, including life imprisonment, rather than turn them loose in the random, arbitrary fashion we do now….This “revolving door” system just releases more hardened criminals to wreak their vengeance on society until they are caught again in a vicious cycle of repetitious violence…

On the highest political levels we can vote against the politicians who are bought and owned by the 1%, we can vote to impose mandatory campaign contributions to no more than $500-$1,000 dollars to restrict the unholy fascist influence of the 1%…. We can expose the 1% for all their crimes against humanity, like greenhouse gas emissions, dumping of pollutants in the oceans and poisoning the food chain, put them under the harsh glare of full publicity and insist on full responsibility and reparations from them…

But as a common citizen I think that we must also insist on mandatory body cams for all law enforcement officials, so that we can allow the police to make an effort to regain the trust and respect of the general populace…The failure of authority in America exists because people no longer trust their leaders, and this trend must be reversed before we fall into total anarchy…




Let’s give the police a chance to once more “Serve and Protect” as they swore an oath to do as idealistic rookies….Failure to do so will inevitably lead to chaos and disaster….

It all starts right here, right now….Never ask, “For whom the bell tolls”… “It tolls for thee”...

For more stories by John Whye, see http://www.johnwhye.com

Alienation In America Today 2015

I am sure we all feel alienated in the real world today, at least sometimes, I know I do…. How can we not? Events happen at a blurring, spinning, frantic, staccato pace, we are caught on a mindless treadmill of school and homework or work world or family raising events that whip by us in a frantic, mind numbing blur…Often times it is all we can do to drag ourselves through the day and after a perfunctory dinner or a few rare shared moments of family time or the luxury of watching a favorite television show, we collapse into bed at night….It seems we have lost control of our lives-because we have…

Many of us do not even make it to the bedroom most of the time, we literally pass out on the couch or in our easy chairs in an attempt to watch that favorite TV show, and wake up in the middle of the night on the couch and shuffle off to the bedroom only to be jarred awake by that annoying, mindless blast of music or buzzing of the alarm clock…




We shower and dress and maybe grab something to eat and then we are off on our morning commute to school or work world, we are either jammed in like sardines on the subways or buses or caught in gridlock on the jam packed freeways… Is this any way to live our lives, the only one we have?



We are suffering from a deep collective malaise, a fundamental disconnect from the real world around us…How do we even know what the real world is anymore?…We feel helpless, some of us can rage against the machine but we are scattered and not coordinated well enough to have any real effect…We sigh and say well “the rich get richer” but only because we let them!

Politicians lie to us daily to further their own schemes, the government rewards the rich and greedy while it stifles and persecutes the poor, the minorities, the aged, the immigrants-and THIS rhetoric in a nation of immigrants! Our entire birth as an independent nation was founded and forged in the heat of revolutionary fervor BY immigrants…Unless you are an Indian, a native American, every American today is descended from immigrants!….Immigrants built this country!



While we may be jam packed shoulder to shoulder on the subways or bumper to bumper on the freeways, we are all isolated in our own private little worlds…We are physically next to other people, but there is no real connection, no communication, no sharing…Most of us have headphones to blot out the external reality of where we are and what we are doing on the subways, or have blue tooth or CD’s to listen to in our cars…Again, we are cut off from all outside sources, we are alienated within our own private world…We are all on “The Highway to Hell” as AC/DC sang so eloquently……

Once we get to school or work world we are shunted off to our desks or cubicles and then most of us stare all day at a computer screen or make necessary but perfunctory telephone calls to complete strangers delivering information that may or may not even be welcome…We put people on hold, we take or leave voice mails, we complete reports, we write inter office emails to our superiors…We engage in work projects that are all so crucial at the time but that we can’t even remember a week later….We have so very little time to get to even know our co-workers, let alone bond with them to any degree…



After the school bell rings or we punch out from work, the reverse commute starts all over again, the drive or subway home…Exhausted from a lack of sleep and punch drunk by the revolving door routine at work, which spits us out at the end of the day like so many useless units, we are caught in endless traffic jams or are again wedged in shoulder to shoulder with complete strangers on the subway…

We finally walk or stagger through the doors of our home and get ready to repeat the same routine again…Most Americans are severely overworked, underpaid and sleep deprived all the time….Where is the passion, the joy, the exuberance we thought was our birthright? Where is the closeness and camaraderie of good friends and family to share the good times with? Where in fact, as the Kinks and Van Halen plaintively sing “Where have all the good times gone?”…Where is the hope for the future? We need to make some fundamental changes in this country!

The sad fact is, most Americans today simply do not have the time for anything except to repeat the same patterns, tumble into the same pitfalls, stumble over the same obstacles as the day before and will do again tomorrow….Wash, rinse and repeat the cycle…Wash, rinse and repeat the cycle, day after day, and the days turn into weeks and the months turn into years and the years turn into a lifetime, until at the end, like in the movie Soylent Green, the treadmill dumps us off into the pit of forced retirement….



We are a nation of sheep, as the wise man once said, and the alienation, the disconnect from the real world gets worse as we get older…Most of us don’t have the time to get to know our own family, let alone our neighbors or co workers; we don’t have the time to explore our selves, let alone our significant others….

And if we don’t have the time to get to know ourselves, how can we possibly learn to connect with others? Plato perhaps said it best back in the Golden Age of Greece, around 400 BC: “The unexamined life is not worth living.” We are becoming a fractured, divided, hate filled country where special interest groups already in power, funded by the obscene wealth of the 1%, strive to drive even deeper wedges between regular working class Americans the old “divide and conquer strategy”

Why? Because they can… They are able to foster their endlessly greedy schemes of raping the planet of all it’s mineral wealth, cutting down the rain forests, (the very lungs of the planet!) polluting the air with greenhouse gas emissions poisoning the atmosphere, and killing off wildlife  and dumping toxic waste in the oceans, all in the name of the great god profit….



What can WE do about it? Fight back! Support strict limits on campaign donations that currently allow the Super Pacs to buy the politician of their choice to support their absurdly selfish and super wealthy life styles, maybe a top upper limit donation of $500 for a political candidate….

Expose these fat cats like the fascist Koch brothers and their ilk, put them under the hot lights and the glare of publicity, condemn and punish them, make them pay off the national debt, give tax relief to everybody who is not a millionaire…..Remember, they did not earn their wealth, they stole it-from us!

If we become involved with a cause we will not feel as helpless and hopeless as before…If we fight back, we can improve our lives and hopefully our style of living will rise and we can afford to have more quality time off…Stop letting these fat cat 1% uber wealthy fascists divide us into red and blue states…We should all be united in red, white and blue!

Throw out the trash at the top, the kiss ass politicians who cater to the 1% because the 1% own them. Make some meaningful reforms through electing decent politicians who have the best interests of the country, instead of themselves, at the top of their agenda….

Fight these rich sob’s while we still can, expose and stop the 1% who are alienating us all! Take back our country from these corporate leaches, these bloodsuckers who are draining us all dry! If we do this, we will not feel so alienated and powerless….We will be American patriots again….We already have a cause and a reason to live, don’t let apathy rob you of your birthright as Americans…

Take back the power people, and stop the madness! We did it in 1776, and we need to do it again!

For more articles by John Whye, click on http://www.johnwhye.com