Standards of Living


Bookworm has a post up about a couple of topics. The first part deals with the similarities between 21st-century China and the 16th-century Aztec Empire. It’s well worth reading, but second part about the difference between blue state and red state economies hit home with me.

I was born and raised in Tennessee. During the early part of my career, I lived and worked all over the world, but I returned home to settle down. Then, a career opportunity took me to California. I spent most of a decade there until another opportunity took me to Maryland. I’ve been in Maryland for almost 30 years. I’m in my 70s, and as I plan for retirement over the next few years, going back home to Tennessee seems to make more sense than staying here.

Bookworm writes—

If I’m on a fixed income (which you should assume I am, so donations to the blog are always welcome), I’m a much wealthier person in Tennessee than I am in California. Here in Tennessee, my apartment costs 1/5 of what it would in California, my gasoline costs 1/2 of what it would in California, and my utility bills are 1/3 what they are in California. Produce is more expensive here, but I can only eat so many apples. In addition, the roads throughout Tennessee are better maintained than those in California, the people are delightful, and Nature’s fecundity is glorious. I’m no longer living in an elite Blue community, but I feel I’m getting a lot of bang for my buck.

Just so.

I have a few more interesting things to do before I retire, but the call to go home keeps getting stronger.

The Last Three Years


In February, 2016, I went back to work from my second retirement. Since then, I’ve spent most of my time at Goddard Space Flight Center working on the power system for the TIRS-2 instrument.

Video Credit: NASA

Now that TIRS-2 has shipped for integration on to the Landsat-9 satellite, I’m off on new projects, the main one being a robotic mission capable doing on-orbit refueling and repairs.

Before my first retirement, I worked on power and thermal control systems for a couple of x-ray astronomy missions, GPS receivers and radio beacons for use in orbit, and instruments for testing the effects of radiation on electronic equipment, Between my two retirements, I worked with the GOES-R weather satellite program. There’s always something interesting to do at Goddard

We Don’t Get to Choose Our Ancestors


One thing that Barack Obama, Kamala Harris, Mitch McConnell, and I have in common is that we are all the descendants of slaveholders. Of course, slavery in the United States (and Jamaica in Kamala Harris’ case) was outlawed over 150 years ago. None of us ever had any contact with our slaveholding ancestors. IIRC, we’re talking about connections no closer than great-great-parents for Obama, Harris, and McConnell. In my case, the last owner of slaves among my ancestors was my great grandfather who inherited them when he was an infant. They were emancipated when he was three years old, so he never knowingly was a slaveholder in any real sense. He died ten years before I was born.

The four of us disagree about many things, but I’m sure that all of us oppose slavery.

We all have enough to be called to account for in our own lives without the added burden of our ancestors’ sins.

Blogging This Week End …


… may be slightly disjointed. Right now, I’m sipping coffee at an undisclosed location near the Ebenezer Cumberland Presbyterian Church. That church sits on land donated by my great-great-great-grandparents John and Mary Hoge in the 1830’s, and their descendants meet there for a family reunion on the fourth Sunday in May. Today will be spent with my brother, cousins, second cousins, third cousins, … , and their spouses and children.

BTW, I’m now the oldest person born with the name Hoge who attends the reunion.