Penny Lame

Money is a very important part of American society. Every day, millions use it in one form or another. But there is one significant change that the government is thinking about making to our monetary system: the removal of the penny.

Yes, the Department of the Treasury is seriously considering stopping the production of the penny. The coin is a symbol of Americana dating back hundreds of years and not having it would change life forever for the worse.

The thoughts on not having the penny range from getting rid of an unneeded coin to the absence of a purely wasteful expense, since the penny costs quite a lot to produce due to inflation of the cost of zinc, which is what the penny is mainly made of.

Penny enthusiasts have argued the point that keeping the penny isn’t really that bad of a compromise. It is included in many sayings, such as “a penny for your thoughts” and “find a penny pick it up, and all that day you’ll have good luck.” Also, the “take a penny, leave a penny” tray will become obsolete.

But is the disappearance of the penny really going to save anything? Those against the penny say that with every transaction, the time used to count out only a few cents actually costs us more than the pennies themselves. Mathematicians and finance scholars have come up with intricate theories for the reasoning behind the uselessness of the penny.

Without the penny, however, prices ending in a number other than 5 or 0 will most likely be rounded up. By tacking on an extra couple of cents for every purchase, it will ultimately make you pay more in the long run.

It seems that most feel that it is an outdated coin of no value whatsoever, but we need the penny. In the wake of its nonexistence, Americans will go into disarray calling out for their beloved one-cent piece. Because without the penny, life just wouldn’t make cents.

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Is Music Life?

On the internet, on websites such as MySpace or Facebook, or even on t-shirts, I see a phrase with three little words that bugs me. It doesn’t bug me because it’s crude or demeaning or anything like that. It upsets me because I feel that most people who say this phrase don’t really mean it, or that it doesn’t really apply to them. It goes like this.

Music Is Life.

Three little words. Think it doesn’t mean much? Think again.

I can see how this phrase can be taken in many different ways. Granted, a love of music is great. As a musician, I want the world to be filled with those who appreciate music and have a passion for it. But if you just listen to music a lot, is it really your life? Is it really what you live for.

I play a multitude of instruments: piano, guitar and bass guitar, trombone and have dabbled in many others such as flute, trumpet, saxophone and drums. I also write, play and sing songs for a band that I am in. But even I don’t consider to adopt the motto: Music Is Life.

Now I know that many who have posted or worn this saying do play an instrument or sing or both. Those aren’t the ones of which I am speaking. They are the people who feel that music is their entire world because they have encapsulated themselves with a stereo player, a massive CD and mp3 collection, and wear headphones all day long.

They sure do love music, but can they play a tune on the piano? Or even read music, for that matter. Can they write a song? Do they know what chords are? Tell what key something is in just by listening?

Perhaps they should reconsider they next time they use a simple phrase to describe their entire life.

Across the Pond

I am currently in Edinburgh, Scotland, in the United Kingdom, Great Britain. This is first time I have ever been out of the country. This is the first trip I have ever taken without my parents. This is the first real spring break trip I have ever been on.
The landscape is surreal. It is unlike anything I have ever seen. I want to stay here forever.
There is a castle across the street. You can hear bagpipes from miles away. I can walk anywhere I need to go. The food here is outstanding. Haggis, meeps and tatties. And of course, the Scotch whisky.
This trip has made me realize how beautiful the world is, and how much of it I have yet to experience.

Searching For Answers

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt this feeling. I’m not sure how to explain it, but I know that I worry about it. It is a feeling that lies between anxiety and contempt, and it is as stressful as it is confusing. I am waiting for something, but I’m not sure if it even exists.

I don’t usually run from problems, but when I’m faced with a decision that I can’t make, I might.

I’m not an overly religious man. I was raised Methodist, but for most of my teenage years, I began questioning myself and my beliefs. I never attended church as a child. When I turned 16, I began searching for answers. I joined my friend’s church contemporary worship program as a guitarist in the band. I enjoyed the service, but didn’t take anything spiritual from the songs. It wasn’t until my girlfriend suggested that we go to church together that I began to search for salvation.

It was a hope that my yearning for this “salvation” would also lead me to find the unknown. Yet my desires were never met. I was afraid that this feeling would forever drive me to madness. And maybe that wasn’t such a bad thing.

But I knew that it would someday it all end. And that gave me a reason to believe.

The Future Freaks Me Out

I’ve always been afraid of getting older. The constant thought of not knowing what’s to come makes living often a scary thing. I know I’m not the only one to experience this, but I still have a feeling that I question my future more than I should.

Ever since I was a kid, I have dreaded growing older. It’s the thought that someday I will die that makes me not want to go further in life, but at the same time I don’t want to die before I reach my elder years. It is quite a catch predicament.

I have, however, always had a feeling of constant worry that I’m not trying hard enough. As many people do, I question the meaning of life and our purpose on this planet and ask the question, “Why are we here?” I feel overpowered by capitalistic goals of making money and being successful. But in order to survive and live a worry-free life, one must strive for success and attempt to make money. Another catch, indeed.

The things that we wait for in our early years make the first half of life more interesting and not as drawn out. When we are in our youth, around five to ten years, we may not have as many worries which makes life easier and therefore a fun experience, which is how children should live. Our teenage years give us yearly rewards for waiting. For example, at 13 we can do “teenage” things and at 16 we can drive and at 18 we can vote and at 21 we can drink. From then on it’s just all rubbish.

Knowing that I will die makes life worth living, I suppose. There’s always the off chance that you may not live to see the next day, which means that you should always live life to the fullest or you might as well not live at all.

Technologically Advanced

I was thinking the other day about the advancement of technology in the past ten years. I know it’s changed much more in a longer period of time, but I don’t want to talk about what I wasn’t alive for. Most people think that today’s teenagers can’t remember a time before home computers, the internet, cell phones or even DVD movies, but we can. I’ve seen a lot go by in the short time that I’ve been alive, and it really seems like only yesterday to me that none of it existed.

When I was younger life felt so much simpler and I thought that it was just because I was a kid, but now I think that it was due to the lack of technology. Growing up, I didn’t have a computer in the home until I was 9 years old and I feel that I am better for it. I see kids today who are younger than that who spend nearly every waking moment of their life on the internet and I feel sorry for them. I know, too, that the world was a safer place back then and that parents were more likely to let their kids play outside but there are things that are just a part of childhood. When you’re a kid, you don’t need to worry about anything and just let life happen. I feel that today’s kids are losing the most important years of their life.

Kids are being introduced into newer and newer technology at a younger and younger age, and it’s almost sickening. We’re breeding a new generation that will never know what it’s like to want to wake up early for Saturday morning cartoons because there are entire cable channels with cartoons 24/7 or they can just get on the computer and watch them anytime they want. Parents are giving their kids cell phones at the age of 5 because they say it will be easier to keep track of them. If your kid is 5 years old and you need a better way to keep track of them, then I think you need to forget about a cell phone and focus on just spending time with your child.

The generation gap is becoming smaller and smaller. Yesterday’s toddlers are today’s “tweens”, a common term devised by corporations for the marketing age between 9 and 12, who are now seen as what used to be thought of as a teenager. They will never experience a so called “normal” childhood, and immediately enter a life of complexity and stress that was meant to be avoided if at all possible.

And it’s not just children. We all are to blame for being sucked in my the technology age. Tivo has made watching television so easy that there can always be something on to watch. Taking a walk outside or playing a game is simply unnecessary because you can just watch something on television. No more waiting in anticipation for shows to come on; just set it to record and you can fit it into your schedule. And computers are so fast that anything you need is at your fingertips. No longer does one get the satisfaction of looking something up in a book or any other form of research material because you can just look it up on the internet.

All this technology is great. I love it, really. If it weren’t for technology, I wouldn’t be able type this article or even have a topic for writing. But I still think that at times it may be a little much. Because technology has taken the mystery out of life. And life’s no fun without a bit of mystery, because there’s no need to be a detective.

Happily Ever After

When I think about marriage, I think about two people in love who want to spend their lives together. They want to be with each other at every moment they aren’t working or using the facilities (hopefully). I don’t mind the concept of marriage. In fact, I embrace it as much as one can embrace a figurative bond between two things. But I have a qualm that I wish to share.

Marriage has been changed over the years. Marriage has adapted to fit our lifestyles. Marriage has become less than that which it was first intended.

Years ago, when a couple got married, it was either to join families (for economic gain) or because there wasn’t much else to do and that’s what people did (boredom/ a way to consummate). Marriage evolved, as well as our morals and standards of living, and became something that was expected. It was still “what people did” but a different way of doing it. It became a way to finalize one’s life; to make a life complete. But it didn’t have to be the end.

Divorce has been around since before Henry XIII even, but it wasn’t as “popular” as it seems to be today. Marriage, in the biblical sense, is a holy union that is everlasting. Yet couple’s find that divorce is the “Get Out Of Jail Free” card that makes life that much easier: if you don’t like your companion, you can trade in for a new one. It’s as simple as that.

Which makes me wonder why the idea of marriage has lasted this long? Why is our society so infatuated with this ideal of commitment, when we don’t seem like our own resolutions? Granted, divorce laws have become increasingly more lenient throughout the decades, but it doesn’t mean we have to use them.

But that’s just it. We don’t have to, but we know they are there.

Couples are getting married at a faster rate and a younger age than just 20 years ago. It got me thinking, “Why?” Why would couples want to place the burden on themselves so early in life? And the answer is: because they don’t have to commit to anything. Divorce rates have steadily risen after the 1970s and our lifestyles are mostly to blame. With technology becoming ever more rampant in our lives, and both men and women working, there’s not as much time to waste. We have to get busy living, or we may not get to live at all.

And that’s the kicker. We are so afraid of not having anyone to spend our lives with that we rush to the first person we meet, ask them to marry, and before we can change our Facebook profile, we realize that we can’t stand the other person. We file for divorce, hit up eHarmony, and start the process all over again.