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The best that can be said is that the less said, the better.

Ass-chewing and schadenfreude: Inside Hillary’s failed campaign

The Democrats have a litany of reasons why Clinton lost: Russia, poor whites, Bernie Sanders, etc. In truth, Clinton’s 2016 campaign failed for most of the same reasons her 2008 campaign did: a disorganized staff struggled to define a clear and persuasive message for their unexciting establishment candidate.

Instead of looking at the factors that caused Clinton to lose the nomination to Obama and addressing them, her campaign simply repeated everything. To no one’s surprise (but their’s, apparently) the results were the same.

Old Erie Canal Lock 54

Lock 54 on the original Erie Canal was sometimes called the Berlin lock for the nearest settlement, now called Lock Berlin. It’s east of Lyons, NY and west of Clyde, along Rt. 31. It was enlarged twice, with the final work being completed just before the Civil War. It was subsequently abandoned when the canal was rerouted in the early 20th century. A short section of the canal was left in place and thanks to the recent snow and rain it’s pretty much as full as it would have been when in use. The gates have long been gone but the photos below represent a view similar to what you would have seen when it was in use.

No Longer In Use by Tom Maszerowski on 500px.com

Lock 54 Exit by Tom Maszerowski on 500px.com

Lock 54 Entrance by Tom Maszerowski on 500px.com

Old Lock 54 by Tom Maszerowski on 500px.com

Why Men Don’t Live as Long as Women

It’s a well-known fact that on average, women live longer than men. If you’ve ever visited a facility catering to the elderly, you know this is indeed the case. That men die younger is a given, but determining why isn’t quite as simple. Men in general are often involved in more dangerous work situations and are more likely to take risks but much of the difference in life span can’t easily be explained only by these. So what other factors are at play?

From birds to humans, the answer is pretty much the same: testosterone. It’s complicated, of course. Both males and females have it but males obviously have it in much greater amounts. It’s essential for reproduction in both genders but the higher amounts in males has a high price, longevity-wise. It makes men more likely to suffer issues like heart attacks but can also lower immunity to diseases. It’s a double whammy.

Is there no hope for men? Yes and no. Obviously testosterone is necessary to ensure a species continues. Oddly enough, the historical record regarding eunuchs and others who were castrated  doesn’t show a significant difference in lifespan so that in itself isn’t the answer either. But human males may still have reason to hope. We’ve evolved to have much greater paternal roles in child rearing than pretty much any other animal. There is evolutionary pressure to live longer and to avoid some of the behaviors to contribute to earlier mortality. It won’t be enough to eliminate the gap with women but it is likely to shrink it. So we’ve got that going for us. Which is nice.

Whether or not Trump is mentally ill isn’t the question.

When therapists call Trump crazy what they are really saying is that Trump lives in a reality that they don’t like and don’t understand. Which is exactly what he wants.

So, if calling him crazy isn’t right what is? Is there anything that can be said which is both correct and doesn’t play into his hands?

The biggest threat facing middle-age men isn’t smoking or obesity. It’s loneliness.

According to this, the biggest threat facing middle-age men is loneliness.

I don’t buy it. My alone time is something I not only cherish but need. Without it I feel drained, both emotionally and physically. To constantly have to deal with social interaction leaves me no time to recharge. Extroverted people, on the other hand, probably don’t feel this way and are more likely to feel the negative effects. I’m just not one of them.

How economic boom times in the West came to an end

Out of the chaos of World War II came the greatest economic boom the world has ever seen. Fueled by a rapidly modernizing workforce, productivity increased in the years between 1948 and 1973. Then war in the Middle East and the oil embargo put a stop the boom and the productivity increase.

But it wasn’t just the oil crisis. The improvements in education, the transfer of workers into manufacturing and the move of women into the workforce had all peaked. Despite minor blips here and there the sad fact is productivity has not significantly increased since 1973, there’s simply no more improvement to be gained.

Countries that elected left-leaning governments tried electing right-leaning governments in hope of changing things. It didn’t work. The old ways simply don’t work and no knows what will. Keep this in mind as the year progresses.

What the 1% did to Lancaster, Ohio

Lancaster, Ohio was once held up as a shining example of what a small American city should be. Even in the 60s and 70s it kept going when other cities saw their industries shutter. But then the Reagan years began and private-equity financiers got involved. Soon Anchor Hocking, the local glass company that had mostly escaped the forces that created the Rust Belt, was awash in debt as those financiers used it to give themselves enormous paybacks. Today Anchor Hocking is a ghost of its former self, Lancaster is full of poverty and drug use and those who profited from all of it are very far away.

Despite all this, almost two-thirds of Lancaster voted for you-know-who in the election.

You may not get to die as you wish

Every adult should have a will, a healthcare proxy and an advanced medical directive or living will. But there’s no guarantee that when your final days come healthcare providers will follow your wishes. There are a number of reasons for this, but money is a big factor.

End-of-life care is a pot of gold in our modern medical system. Spending on Medicare beneficiaries in their last year of life accounts for about 25 percent of all Medicare spending. In 2011, Medicare spending was almost $554 billion ? 28 percent of which was spent during patients’ last six months of life, according to Kaiser Health News.

My father’s last days weren’t as good as they could have been. The doctors gave us mixed messages, leading us to believe that his life could be extended despite the obvious signs that his body was giving up. But ultimately it became undeniable. Thanks to his healthcare proxy I was able to talk to the doctors and because of his living will I was able to make the decision to switch him to comfort care knowing that was exactly what he wanted.