Living History (KAFA)

I’m going to wax philosophical today, hopefully in a practical and pragmatic way.

Yesterday I watched the wind blow many of the last colored leaves off the trees. I’ve always been a little sad to see the beautiful leaves go, but they turn into mulch for the garden. The circle of life.

Since I just planted quite a few new plants and three new trees, and since two old trees in my garden suffered from the drought and won’t last much longer, I realized that in a way, it’s never the end as much as a beginning. The new (young) replaces the old.

I think it has to do with man being a wanting animal, we seem to be more inclined to wonder what’s next and only lament about the past for a relatively short time.

I feel sorry for anyone who dwells on one snapshot moment in time – the “Make America Great” idea that is absurd since as long as America continues to be the “An experiment in democracy” we will be as great as we always have been. There was NEVER any one point in time where we were great(est), in fact, we have always been striving to be great – try to define when we were great to the extent its a time period where you’d want it to be just like that now. See – its really a silly notion – great marketing slogan – Nixon used it. It’s always been a work in progress, and I hope this continues.

The key to advancement is our ability to ask “What’s next?”.

In my own little life, since VK0EK, I’ve been wondering “What’s Next?”. I’m pretty sure the answer is “experimentation and education”. I say this because I realize that there is so much I don’t know, in fact there are more world’s in the remainder of my life that I will not even scratch the surface.

Ham Radio is a great part of “living history”. This was my great summer read.

The main reason I got back into Ham Radio is because I was “sequestered” at home in 2001 with kids that were old enough to keep themselves happily busy, but young enough where I had to be home a lot. My ex wife travelled, so Ham Radio just fit like a glove.

In the 90’s I built QRP rigs and tried to get back into the hobby, but I was much too into cycling and QRP CW rag chews did not pique my interest.

When my kids were young, I took them to the Hyde Street Pier in San Francisco. It’s an amazing gem of one of the best living history museums I have ever been to. The other is the Computer History Museum in Mountain View.

In the 80’s and 90’s I travelled and visited art museums and Beat Generation hang outs. I was into photography and even had a Graphic View, Hasselblad and Leica camera. I had my own darkroom. I fashioned my work after Man Ray, Robert Frank, Henri Cartier Bresson and Atget. It was living history.

I also was in a folk rock band and played all of the dives in San Francisco. By far, my favorite place was the Hotel Utah, which is still there. It was a turn off the century one act playhouse and bar. Rumors have it that it was also a brothel.

A few years ago I got into Assemblage art, stoked by Aria in Grant Street and by Jack Howe, Man Ray and Ed Kienholz.

This is all making sense now. When I was in 4th Grade, Ms. Gooden spent pretty much most of the year on physical science and we went on field trips to the Franklin Mineral Dump in Sussex County, NJ. We then had a series on inventors and visited Thomas Edison’s lab in Menlo Park, NJ

My friend (and now Bay Area Artist Mark Grey) and I started The Monster Club and Drew pictures of Monsters.

That was the beginning of my life long interest in inventions, discovery, art and science. I was hooked.

As an adult, I have a chance to really dig deeper and learn ” the rest of the story” – and I have recently read a living history book about solar research and discovery, and have just ordered a book on Samuel FB Morse.

These books read more like dramatic novels because they go into the details of the subjects life that fills in so many details that would never be presented to a grade school kid.

The thread that ties all of this is that I have been amazed at how the human mind can conceive of a photo, painting, poem, book, telegraph, radio or theory of sunspots and magnetism. How man invented so many things. It’s a world of wonder that has never stopped still, there was and never will be a MAGA. It’s more like:

“Keep America in Flux as Always”


3 Comments on “Living History (KAFA)

  1. Especially in our line of work, it’s obvious that embracing (or at least adapting to) change is the key to success and wealth. The minute you stop changing and adapting, you’re as good as dead.

    There’s something kind of tragic about people who are out of work and longing for the old jobs that will never come back, even as there are new jobs that cannot be filled. Progress is a double edged sword. Try to be on the side that’s doing the cutting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have had to work very hard to keep my skills relevant and stay in the game, and I’m in a hot part of the job market.
      I fear big time for what’s about to happen with what’s left of the dwindling middle class.


      • The problem, of course, is that we’re now competing in a world filled with people who are highly educated, motivated, and hungry. Funnily enough, I guess that wishing it weren’t so is its own form of nostalgia, no? The fabled American Middle Class was an historical aberration, not the norm. I’m saving as much as I can with the expectation that the party will end.

        I think the current generations, and especially the one younger than mine, are screwed. We won’t make the changes necessary to accept our new reality and move forward; we’ll just pine for the good old days. The youngest ones coming behind, I have more hope actually. I think they will find their feet. Either in a new America where people are trained for the constantly changing jobs of the future, or in an America where we’ve accepted a return to something closer to a global mean.

        Liked by 1 person

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