Hoping for Sanity

I am awake again in the middle of the night because my sinuses are clogged up, and I cannot breathe properly. Since I am awake, I decided to write. I thought about working on my podcast, but I don’t want to sound like a dying goose choking to death.

Like so many others, I am concerned about what is happening in Ukraine. I studied Russian/Soviet history and society in college many years ago and feel I have a basic understanding of what is happening there.

Russia has never cared about the countries surrounding it, other than they want to control them to provide a security buffer against any potential enemies. Poland is an example of a nation that Russia dominated for many years until the fall of the Iron Curtain. Poland turned to the West for support because their history taught them not to trust Russia. Poland joined NATO for this reason.

Finland is an example of a nation like Ukraine that gained independence from Russia and struggles to maintain it. Finland has historically tried not to provoke Russia, but now Finland is also reaching out to the West for support. Finland has recently expressed interest in joining the EU and NATO, which Russia opposes.

Russia has no interest in Ukraine determining its future. To Russia, self-determination only applies to itself. Russia still practices spheres of influence, an outdated concept that no longer applies to the world. Taking away the rights of another country is barbaric, invading another country is unacceptable, and slaughtering civilians is a crime against humanity.

Russians have a moral compass, but their government tightly controls theirs. Russia has never successfully achieved democracy, so strongman tactics are acceptable to the majority of the population. Putin tried to accomplish the balancing act of China, with economic freedom but no political freedom. Russia has the natural resources to be a prosperous nation, but its economy is a disaster that never evolved from the old Soviets system. The only difference is that a handful of oligarchs now control the economy. There are no incentives to make things work for the benefit of anyone other than themselves. A country the size of Russia has an economy equivalent to that of Spain or Italy. Their economy is shrinking because of the lack of modernization and improvement.

Money in Russia goes to the oligarchs and Putin. We see the miserable performance of the Russian military. This failure is a direct result of the corruption in the Russian state.

Historical compliance to the will of a strongman complicates things today. Russians are less likely to overthrow a corrupt regime than other countries because they lack the experiences of personal liberties that we take for granted. I would love to wake up and discover that the Russian people have had enough of Putin and overthrew him, but I don’t see that as likely.

Ukraine will not bow to the Russians, especially after the invasion. If Russia does conquer the territory, it will face a struggle like Afghanistan that it cannot win. Russia will remain a pariah state like North Korea until the madness stops. I don’t think that China will do more than issue statements to support Russia because China is a world player economically. China does not want to be isolated from the world. China tried that under Mao, and it was a disaster.

Putin is a war criminal, and he must be removed from power before he enlarges the conflict. NATO remains committed to defending its member states, so if Putin is foolish enough to attack Poland or the Baltic states, he will set off a global war. Russia has nuclear weapons, and that is the real danger. A madman who has lost everything might not act rationally. Russia must remove Putin from power. The people to do that are the Russians or at least the oligarchs.

I hope that soon we hear the news that Putin is deposed and sanity prevails, and the invasion stops. Ukraine should be fully restored to its 1991 boundaries and allowed to join NATO and the EU as quickly as possible.

First Day of Spring

The first day of Spring is behind us, and it was a busy day indeed. We took Hal The Cat to a veterinary oncologist for a check-up, and I’m happy to report that he is doing great, and the cyst we had removed doesn’t look malignant. He still has more minor bumps that we’ll treat with steroids for a start and see how that works.

Because the veterinary oncologist was in Richmond, that meant a long car ride for Hal The Cat. Hal (person) kept him company in the back seat while I drove. Hal The Cat behaved exceptionally well on that long trip and was no trouble in the doctor’s office. After his last visit with our local vet, his behavior was a pleasant surprise, where he “performed” and caused nothing but trouble.

The trip home was beautiful. Hal The Cat sat on the back seat with Hal (person) after letting him out to get some water and a quick snack. He curled up and went to sleep and never complained.

Accomplishing that task with Hal The Cat took a load off our minds. We will continue to care for him because he is loved so much. We are fortunate to have a fantastic buddy like Hal The Cat.

I’ve been busy

I haven’t written in a long time. I’ve been busy with life, and especially with my plans to start a podcast in 2022. As I’ve studied what I will need, and what steps I should take to have a successful podcast, I’ve realized what a lot of work goes into the process. As I struggle through a night with allergies exacerbated by no A/C in the apartment due to a faulty compressor, I decided to write about what has been happening.

I resolved to start a podcast in 2022 and directed my efforts towards that end. Rather than taking time each day to write, I would read articles or watch videos about how to start a podcast. There was so much more that I needed to learn. My writing skills would be needed to create scripts for podcasts because just talking and rambling on sounds terrible.

Because I’m a Mac user, I decided on GarageBand as my creating platform because it has almost every tool I would need to create a presentable podcast. So, I had to start, so I had to start learning all about GarageBand and how to use it.

GarageBand quickly taught me that I would need a better microphone than the one that was already built into the MacBook. Therefore, I researched microphones that weren’t outrageously expensive that I could afford.

Once all that was ready I faced the decision about a subject for my podcast, and my expectations for it. Once again, I dove into learning as much as I could. I discovered that there are several key secrets to starting and maintaining a podcast. The first was to decide on a subject.

I decided that my initial podcast was going to be about Star Trek. I selected that topic because I am always interested in the subject, and I can speak with a degree of knowledge. I knew that if I wanted to create subsequent podcasts on other subjects that the building blocks would be the same.

Every veteran podcaster advised me that I should not focus on how many listeners or subscribers I started out with. They stressed that I should make a podcast that I enjoyed creating. That passion and energy will attract followers in the long term, but the effort isn’t a race or a popularity contest.

Another consideration was what length would my podcast be. I settled on a 20-30 minute timeframe to start out. This is when I found out that I need to write an outline for the podcast, and then a script to guide me through it. I decided to work in five-minute blocks that focused on specific topics, and those blocks would be put together to form my podcast.

Of course almost two months had passed by this point. In February, I was making test recordings using GarageBand and learning how to edit them and improve their quality. By late February I felt confident enough to produce my first episode. I used a software app called BuzzSprout to format my podcast for publication on the web. BuzzSprout was easy to use, I just submitted my GarageBand recording and BuzzSprout helped me to submit my podcast to various platforms for publication. My first episode is still awaiting approval from Apple Podcasts because they apparently review each new podcast to make certain it meets their standards. Since mine contains no adult themes or language, I expect it to be approved but it has been more than three weeks and the podcast is still “pending” with Apple. I hope that it gains approval soon.

In the meantime, my first podcast is now available on Amazon Music, Podcast Addict, Podchaser, Deezer, and Podcast Index by searching for “Star Trek: Osarental.” I hope that the exposure increases when it is finally approved by Apple. I want to submit it through Google Podcasts, but that would involve a paid BuzzSprout account instead of the free account I have now.

I’m already working on ideas for my next episode, as well as ideas for a completely new podcast, but that’s still in the working stage.

I have missed writing here, but as you can see, I’ve been busy. I wish everyone a great today and a better tomorrow.