"2017 is Going to be Better Yet"

If you care to reflect back on 2016, I'll bet you'll have a reaction somewhat like mine...that is, you might not know what to think of the year just concluded. So let's review...

On Go Wood, we started out at the Pennsylvania Farm Show, which really got the year off to a great start. We followed that up in February with a trip out into the winter woods with Ivan Sopushynskky and Andy Blazewicz. And in March, we visited our friends at Rigid-Ply rafters to watch beams and trusses being built.

But then the year began to take a weird twist. We discovered a new breed of woody guys called lumbersexuals, and examined their techniques in firewood and in chainsawing. And we discovered a dedicated group of folks that re-created an 18th-century windmill in Holland. Perhaps the most outrageous thing we discovered this year was the Amazing Marble Music Machine. But really, that was not as weird as the Earth People of the Australian outback.

But as the year closed out, it seemed like everything else took a back seat to our American election, which certainly has to go down as one of the weirdest events in human history. Even as I traveled halfway around the world, when people found out I was American, all they wanted to talk about was The Election. And I found myself reflecting deeply about how the world really is working these days.

That is, the world seems to be being run from the screens of our smart phones. People seem to know more about what is happening in the latest virtual hot spots around the world than what is happening around the block from them.

And most of that seems to be bad.

Which is why I like this year-end observation from UK parliament member Daniel Hannan...

Yes, the world seems to be getting weirder, but I find that the folks in my town, my church, and in the plants I visit, are the same as always, warm, and kind, and caring. They share my concerns about the rest of you out there in the crazy world, but they don't seem to get too worried about it. Most are concerned about the health of their family, friends, and perhaps the company they work for. It seems like almost everyone is being touched in some bad way by the proliferation of drug abuse in the country, yet that topic rarely makes the headlines or political discussions, unless some actor overdoses. The problems and concerns of regular folks just don't seem to count for much in a world driven by ratings-hungry news organizations.

Which is why my new years resolutions for 2017 are a little boring, and will never go viral, but I think they should. Because we all need to focus a little closer to home.

In 2017, I resolve to purchase at least one wood product a month.Whether it's from an American company, or from a third-world country on Amazon, that wood product was made by someone who has their hands on wood and eats from the fruit of their labor. So my purchase dollars will support a real person going wood.

In 2017, I resolve to subscribe to the local newspaper and follow current events in my town more closely than the latest ramblings of any of the crazy nuts all over the world. Let the folks in their neighborhood deal with them...I'll pay attention to what my own city council and school board is doing.

In 2017, I resolve to double the number of real, flesh-and-blood close friends I have in the world, which means I have to make the effort to find two more. I really appreciate all you virtual friends out there, and I'm amazed every time I meet one of you. But I need a couple of more buddies to kick things around with, just to keep me grounded and honest with myself. Nobody does that like your best friends.

In 2017, I resolve to kiss my wife at least once a day, and hug my kids once a week. Those really are the best moments of my life, and I don't spend  enough time doing them.

Finally, in 2017, I resolve to improve the content of this Go Wood blog in any way I can. 2016 was a record year in the number of views of the blog. Over 30,000 views in December alone set an all-time monthly record, even though I didn't get to post much this month. If I've been given one professional duty to perform in life, its seems to be to provide you folks with entertaining and informative stories about wood. That's a good thing to be able to do for a living, and I vow to try to live up to the honor. Thank you for spending your time with me here on Go Wood.

And may you be blessed in 2017. It's going to be the best year yet.


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David Paal said…
You're a good man, Dr. Ray. Don't ever forget that. I think you nailed it on the head with your assessments. It was a great year for Go Wood, and, I for one learn a tremendous amount from this site. You're resolutions were great!
Chuck Ray said…
Thank you, David. Always great to hear from you, and I hope your life and your business prospers mightily in 2017.
Willem Hurkmans said…
Hi Chuck,

first of all I'd like to wish you and those dear to you all the best for 2017. Then I'd like to comment on your real/virtual distinction which is, alas, a very real thing. This ensures, for example, that when a guy shoots 20 people at a shopping mall, the nation will be shocked, while when (in Netherlands, I don' t know the Grrek statistics, if any) 800 people are killed every year on the roads by traffic accidents, we regard this as normal. Most of us will say that 'they're sad to hear it, period.' Of course there are villains and idiots around who do kill people on purpose... but on reflection, it would be easier to prevent a substantial chunk from these 800 deaths than to prevent idiots from existing. We're just so shocked because the media tell us to be shocked... a lot of news is not bein geported... it's being made (and even worse, made up).

Therefore I don't think that, for the world, 2017 will be better, or worse, than 2016. Sadly a lot of us just continue. Of course there is a remedy (for which I am often severely told off, but it certainly has made me a happier man). Don't watch TV; restrict your use of the Internet (I use Facebook, but I have only about 5% virtual friends whom I have never met in person, these being people I have done business with in the past and did so far not succeed in meeting).
There are electronic news services that give you only text. When you think about it, if you read news and imagine what has happened, you usually get an idea of that. When you watch TV the TV footage often leads the viewer to believe that what happened is actually much worse than what happened in reality.

Please don' t take this to mean that I abhor technical inventions, the internet, &c. But I have doubts as to whether they are enrichments of our human culture. Sometimes, it's better for people to have to think over what they will write, or are going to say. Too much now is live and hence a lot of foolish quotes are being made. I don' t want to be a part of such a culture...
Carlton N. Owen said…
I don't always have (or take) time to view your posts, but when I do, I'm always heartened by your ability to find people doing amazing things with one of God's most miraculous creations -- THE TREE. Keep it up. You are adding value...and spurring a moment to reflect on the privilege of working to keep forests as forests for the bounty they provide in the form of products, ecological services, beauty, family-wage jobs, memories, health both physical and spiritual...and so much more.
Carlton N. Owen, U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities
Carlton N. Owen said…
I don't always have (or take) time to view your posts, but when I do, I'm always awed by the neat things you share about one of God's most amazing creations -- the TREE. Keep it up! Your words, pictures and videos remind me anew of the importance of keeping forests as forests for all of the bounty they yield -- products, jobs, clean air, clean water, wildlife habitat, physical/mental/spiritual health...and so much more.
Carla said…
Chuck, you're still producing the best blog out there. Thanks for the encouragement. Happy New Year!

Carla Harper
David C Clark said…
Hi, Chuck,

Just back from 2 weeks in China here everyone is discussing the results of the American elections. I have live in a few countries and it is interesting to hear about the different slant put on domestic and global news in these countries.

Your blog always makes interesting reading & viewing.

From Daming & me our best wishes for the New Year.
David Clark
Wooden Letters said…
Happy new year man..i visits your blogspot regularly but always get informational resources every-time.

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