Sunday, April 20, 2014

And the truth....

Hi Everyone...
  I know... long time, no posting.  I've been a bit wrapped up in Spring!!  Oh, it was a very cold winter, and I'm loving this that we are having now... you know, when it isn't snowing.  Yep.. it snowed on Tuesday.  There's no escape!  But, the crocusses are blooming, the daffodils are blooming, and Spring just might be here, finally??

  Found this great post on

Mississippi recently passed a law allowing businesses to deny LGBT people on religious grounds, but some business owners aren’t having it. Hundreds of businesses throughout the state are displaying these stickers in their windows to demonstrate their commitment to equality. It’s part of “If You’re Buying, We’re Selling,” a campaign by Equality Mississippi and 30 local businesses to combat harmful effects of the religious freedom bill. Yes, yes, yes. Mississippians, look for this when you shop. (via The Advocate)

I want things to be taken a step further.  I believe we need truth in advertising.  Truth in to whom the business caters.

 What I would like to see is for all businesses to have to place one of these stickers, either one, in their front window so everyone can see.  That way, the buying public can make informed decisions on where to spend our money.  If these so called "religious objections" are so real, then be proud of what an asshole you are.  Don't wait to surprise your buying public, put your money where your mouth is.  Maybe in some areas, people would actually prosper with this tag in the front window.  But, I would hope that the public wouldn't generally support any business operated by a bigot. 


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Who needs reality?

Another Fox News pundit pines for fake TV version of America

Here's Fox News pundit Todd Starnes, waxing philosophic about simpler times.
I grew up in a time when father still knew best—when Mr. Cunningham was dispensing words of wisdom to Fonzie, when Andy took Opie fishing and when Cliff Huxtable declared that he brought his son into the world and he could take him out. It was a time when Hollywood reinforced the values of the traditional American family. Television shows like The Waltons, Little House on the Prairie and The Brady Bunch presented portraits of strong families where parents ruled the roost and children knew their place.
All of those characters are, of course, from the teevee and not from real life. We should point this out because Todd Starnes ain't gonna, and I have a cold right now and am feeling decidedly under the weather so I'm just going to pause here for you to insert your own observations as to all the bits of real-world American life and history Mr. Cunningham and Andy and the Brady Bunch conspicuously left out because, well, duh. Go ahead, go for it, I'll wait here.
Those are some good points, all of you. All right, let's cut to the chase.
Those days are long gone. Nowadays, children know best and dads are portrayed as dithering dolts. Instead of a mom and dad and two kids, the cul-de-sac includes families with two mommies or two daddies or a mommy who identifies as a daddy—and they’ve been saddled with gender-neutral offspring.
The modern family has been deconstructed. Women are wearing combat boots and according to The New York Times, men are wearing ladies’ shoes. No wonder everyone’s confused.
Starnes goes on to say that this conspicuous lack of Andy and Opie is conspiring to make good decent folks get divorces, because we ain't in the Leave it to Beaver version of the 1950s anymore and your wife can ask you for a divorce if you're caught in the backroom making out with a member of your campaign staff and you aren't allowed to beat her senseless until she changes her mind and begs you for forgiveness—I'm paraphrasing, of course, but I think I have the gist of the Starnes point—but I think we should leave it at the Todd Starnes Gendered Footwear Hypothesis. To sum up, the Waltons got cancelled, Marsha Marsha Marsha, the womenfolk wear boots nowadays and because of that the American institution of marriage is going right down the crapper.
That's some top-notch punditing right there. I can see why Fox pays this fellow the big bucks.

Okay, here's my point:

This is Jim Nabors, the actor who played Gomer Pyle on the Andy Griffith Show, the fine show Mr. Starnes refers to as the longed for reality of a model america.

And, this is Jim Nabors, that same actor, who in REALITY was gay.  Did you catch that Mr. Starnes?  He was GAY!  I believe this is his husband.

  This is the difference between MAKE BELIEVE and REALITY.  As luck would have it, working at Fox News means you don't need to bother with reality.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Oddly enough...

Oddly Enough:  They did reproduce the Ryan Budget.  Mostly by producing a lot of shit.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Changes (Temporary)

  No... not that drastic.   I just have some changes to my work schedule for the week.  Due to some odd personnel problems, the boss asked me to take over supervision of second shift production.  Not a huge deal, I was a shift supervisor before I changed to do the shipping and receiving.  
  But, last night was my first night.  I really enjoyed getting back into production.  I forgot the huge amount of stuff a shift manager has to constantly juggle, constantly be aware of and found myself quickly running behind.  But, the regular people, except one--- there's always one asshole that is pissy, right? --- all seemed to do great.  What is normally a job filled with people problems, I had very few people problems.  It was fun.  I was asked by more than one of the workers if this change was permanent, I had to tell them no... just to the end of the week.  They were disappointed, I took it as a compliment.

It's weird for me, though.... my day is completely turned upside down.  Normally, my mornings are a rush to get through breakfast and getting the dog happy for a day without me, shower, and out the door for work, then back to do the chores and what-have-you's of life.  This week, my chores and such are done before work, more like a Saturday, and then, just as I'm about to actually get into something, gotta leave for work.  Not sure I could do this whole second shift thing.

hugs to all

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Getting tired....

I'm so sick of this winter!  It's 26 degrees and snowing.  

Saturday, March 15, 2014

What if it's real? (Content Warning!)

Hi Friends;

  Warning, this is a tear-jerker.  It will make you mad, make you think, and make you sad.... maybe.

Last week as I passed a man with a sign saying he needed money for food to feed his kids.  I had the dog in the truck, so I was limited on some things I could do, and we've recently had people panhandling - an area that almost never gets that.  He was at the bottom of the highway exit, I was driving past on the road the exit emptied into.  I continued on past this man with the struggle in my heart - is this for real?   Is this fake just begging for money that I worked all day for and can barely get by myself?  I actually came home, really bothered by this.  No matter what I did, I could be wrong.  About an hour later, I went back... he was gone.  I've been bothered by this, since.  I'm mostly bothered because I just don't know what my response should have been.

  In this world, we feel so often that we are being cheated, taken advantage of and manipulated.  It's hard to know when real need is staring a person in the face.  I would like to think that I would never pass by a hungry child, but did I do so earlier - just with a different face?

  This is hard on my heart.  I think next time, I will give.  It's better on my heart to feel that at least I did the right thing, even if that person with the sign did not.  My humanity is salvaged.  And, what if it's real!???

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Looking beyond the navel...

Hello Friends;

  I just recently watched and read this: Basically, it is another piece of Fox hating the poor.  Near that, I read a bit about the support of a firm stand against Russia/Putin for the invasion of another country.  Got me thinking...

  Some time ago, I remember seeing a little thing about voting for wars.  The basic tenant of the idea is that if a person votes for war, then they also commit to putting on boots, taking up a gun, going to war.  Now, not so sure how I agree or not about that.. but, the idea of personal integrity, of saying that one's vote for something is not simply a philosophical or mental expression but a whole person commitment?  That seems a good idea.
  Now, back to this article above.  Did you watch the vid?  Read the article?  I thought about a few things as I watched that, and one of those things... among a few ideas of how very dangerous a man is who must sit and watch his children go hungry, how difficult it is to feed a family on the wages from a 40 hour job, that republicans sure seem like a greedy little pack of shits... is a flash back to that idea about voting for war.  So, here's the big question:  What would the world look like if a community were to take responsibility for their neighbors to ensure that they had positive work, food, heat in the winter, ac in the summer?  What would this world look like if we were more concerned with giving our children the best education possible, that they were fed to grow, and that they were happy?   What would this world look like if we wanted to be sure that people were healthy?
  Would we be so concerned with the oil fields a half world away?  Would we spend billions upon billions killing people we don't know and watching those we do know languish in poverty?

There was once a Great Man who told people to " Love Thy Neighbor ".    Yet, far too often, we find a certain portion of our people, many of who purport to follow that first man, actually following the one who declared that the path to power and riches is to exploit thy neighbor..... I think his name was Hitler.


Monday, March 10, 2014

Just a bit of love... and we have a Miracle!

Do you ever wonder why they keep screaming?

The Little Republican Sidestep:  Attack the something so loudly that no one sees anything else.  Mix it up just enough to avoid being obvious to the sheep.  Gay Marriage.  ObamaCare.  Rising Debt. Wonder... what's next???

Sunday, March 9, 2014

A bit of my reality.

This is my Gracie.  I took this pic last year, just about Mother's Day.

And, this is a very real part of our day.
  I was really glad to see I'm not alone.

Monday, February 17, 2014

I really don't understand why people do this stuff.

Radio Frauds Get Their Due For ‘Completely Fabricated’ Homophobic Birthday Party Mom

Two Long Island, NY radio hosts who posted to Facebook a note purportedly by a virulently homophobic mother refusing to allow her son to attend a young girl’s birthday party have gotten their due. The WKJY Morning Show team of Steve and Leeana have been suspended after the station was alerted that the entire story had been made up.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Is that too much to ask?

Hi Friends;
  I am doing a bit of catch up today... comments, housework, and hold on tight --  a blog post!!  But, I wanted to send you all off to one of my favorite stops:   I've sort of lurked about his blog for some time now, enjoying most of his postings.  Today I took the extra step of posting a comment.. so maybe not such a lurker now?? Anyway, stop by and see what you can find to fill your soul.

  In the process of doing some "housework" on the blog, I re-read that quote by John Lennon that I have highlighted on the sidebar, and it caught me again... then I thought about this little cartoon type thing:
  It's no secret I'm no fan of Faux news.  They report not news but conjecture and fear mongering.  They rant and rave about small things while ignoring real violations of what should be essential to a free America all in the effort of creating sheep - frightened people looking for a savior while being bent on making the rich richer, the poor irrelevent, and anything acceptable as long as it's for money.
  Now, relate back to the quote by Lennon:  fear makes us pull in and not experience life.
  I don't want to be afraid.  I don't want to be just a paycheck from starvation.  I don't want to be a hospital visit from losing everything.  I don't want to be concerned that my drinking water is contaminated, that my boss could fire me for being gay, or that my neighbor - a moron that can't even spell republican but he "are" one because they protect a man's right to protect himself (oddly enough, it's the rest of us that need protection from him!).  I don't want to live in fear!  I want to experience life, live knowing that it's the man in front of them that people see and not some prejudicial judgement.  I want to break down the walls I've felt necessary to build up and I want to feel love.  Is that too much to ask Faux news?

Saturday, February 15, 2014

A few pics and vids

Hello Everyone;

  I thought I would take my camera today when I went to the neighbor's for the dogs to play.  We then took them for a short walk.  It's only about 15 degrees right now, so we didn't keep them out too long.
  Of course, my Gracie is the one in black and grey, and her best friend Cinnamon is, well, cinnamon colored.  We keep the leashes on them because it's easier to grab if a car comes by or something, and that thing you can just see attached to Gracie's leash is a glow light that I use when I walk her at night.

Gracie waiting for me to take a pic.  She's very patient with me....

Gracie getting impatient with my slow walking.

Well, this car isn't moving for a while....

Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Old Man in the Mirror

Hello My Friends;

  I would like to start this post with a thank you to Pete Seeger.  I don't know that his influence on America and the world can be so easily felt now as it had in earlier years, but I shudder to contemplate a world that didn't have a Pete Seeger in it.

    With the winter being so cold, and ever more and more time spent outside doing driveways, I've allowed my beard to grow.  I keep it well trimmed, #2 on the trimmer, even just a bit of fuzz there keeps the face a bit warmer.  But, it's a hard thing to see the grey taking over more and more real estate.
  I'll be 45 this year, a good 15 years more than I expected out of life, and, the body often feels much older.  The knees and back don't like it when I ask them to work anymore - as if any of us have the choice.  And, then I come to the troubling realization that I am looking forward to old age so that I can stop working.
  I've struggled a bit this year.  I've mentioned before that I am staying level on my finances, not going in to debt but surely not climbing the financial ladder.  Realistically, all I want to do is be constructive and work at a job that pays my needs and gives me enough extra that I could afford to do those things called living rather than just work.  Don't get me wrong, I am thankful for the jobs I do have, I'd just like to not live with the threat of poverty.
  And, so perhaps as I listen to this old man who has been everywhere and done so very much sing at the end of his life to stay forever young, that I am just a bit more encouraged.  This world seems to be geared towards making old men of us, those lucky enough to make it so far.  The young man charges the windmills of injustice, prejudice, poverty and hopelessness.  The old man is caught in fear of bills and consequences of failure to meet those obligations.  And, lately, it seems that is all I can think about - but somewhere past those grey hairs perhaps yet resides a bit of the young man who worries not about caring for his elderly parents, his mortgage, his heat and his taxes that just seem to keep going up for no apparent reason.  Maybe.
  May you be forever young.   Thank you, Pete.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Life is Better...

  I believe there is great wisdom in this!

Hello all:

  Yesterday I finally felt that depression slip off my shoulders, like the lead apron they put on you at the dentist's office, and it was such a relief!
  I've had problems with depression my whole life.  Sometimes, it is a light depression that feels more like a weight on my shoulders, like this one, and then other times it is so much that I have a hard time seeing past the doldrums for hope of a better day to come.  Thankfully, I don't get those too often, and even more thankfully I am past this one.
  I've kept my depression hidden for years.  I always figured that it was just me being a wimp.  That's what I could imagine my father telling me; "quit being a wimp, boy!"  The funny thing is, I have a fair education, I know it's actually a chemical imbalance - our bodies are just big chemical factories, and the darn thing is hooked on its own product.  So, I guess I want to tell you out there, the proverbial you that may know someone or be someone that has a similar problem, that it's ok.  Deal with it as you need to deal with it, but know that it's OK.  It doesn't make you less a person, just like a person with a more obvious medical problem isn't less a person because, say, they have a bad leg or something.  

  My way of dealing with it today is to make cookies!  And, by the way, what a shitty world when a man has to bake his own cookies! :)

  But, back to who a person is.... A man isn't a great man because he has a big penis.  He isn't a great man because he has lots of money.  He isn't a great man because he drives a fast car or a luxury car.  A man is a man because he finds ways to fight past those things that block him in time.  A man is a man because he takes responsibility for his wrongs and tries to find ways to make them right, to learn from them, to care for people and animals and himself.  A man is a man  not because what others say of him, not because he wears a fine suit or has a great job that puts him up on a pedestal; a man is a man because he chooses to be.  
  So, believe it or not, the birds are singing, the sun is shining.... ok, not here, but somewhere, right?!... and I'm going to go out and clean some driveways and then make me some cookies.  Might even watch the ball game.  
 Hugs everyone!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

My thoughts on Income Equality

  Hello My Friends;
  I am blessed to a great degree, and sometimes I forget this in my hopes for something just a bit more.  I do have a job, an income, and I have a secondary income by hustle.... working for others doing odd jobs like lawn mowing in the summer, leaf pick-up in the fall, and I clean driveways in the winter with my little snow blower.  It doesn't amount to much, but keeps me busy, allows me to help my neighbors, and provides a bit of spending money.  Through all this, I own my vehicle and my mortgagor is thrilled with me.  So, while I'm not making a fortune, I'm living ok.  And, really, that's what I want:  I want to be constructive, to work and earn enough to pay my bills and save up for other needs like a new car some day.  But, all of that comes to an even balance.... I am not getting ahead at all despite living frugally. I'm not saving for a new car.  The best I can say is that, unlike many, I am not in debt.  And, again, for all that, I am thankful.

  As in many things, there exists a catch-22 in our employment economy.  In my area, jobs are scarce.  We at one time had large industry here.  Auto, appliance, large equipment, metal stamping, foundry... near access to railroads and highways, near Lake Michigan, airports within an hour drive... we should have a lot of industry because we are able to move goods easily.  But, those jobs are gone.  They are now in India, Mexico, China, where there are no OSHA, EPA, unions, insurance, etc.  What's also gone is the original people who made the companies, who put in the sweat, blood and tears alongside the common workers.  What's left here?  Empty buildings, empty homes.  You see, unlike the rest of us who struggle to make it, the rich are able to move on and exploit new markets.
  But, often they don't really move, do they?  Often, as I mentioned above, the very people who struggled side by side with the workers and forged a successful competitive company are now doing their work from a spread sheet, a computer screen, and rarely get their hands dirty with the actual work of making a successful company even were they on the actual site.  They have left behind the men and women that fought by their side.  Then many cases are the CEO's and heirs that have no blood and sweat equity in the company as they were never there with those workers to begin the company.
  The other day, I thought about the many jobs a person can do alone and make it big in this world.  I don't know that there are that many?  I could think of only one:  stock market manipulation.  I guess maybe entertainer, like a singer...?  But, really, in all fairness, most jobs, most careers that can bring a person up to that "made it" place require the cooperative work of others.
  Now, don't get me wrong!  I am impressed with those who have the smarts, the skills, the drive, the stubbornness to make it big.  They often risk everything they have to launch a great idea into a great company.  But, how often do they really do it alone?  For instance, how many jobs don't require workers - machine operators, drivers, salesmen, etc?  And, where would that entrepreneur be without those workers?  He'd be doing all himself.... and getting no where.
  What's my point in all of this?  There is absolutely nothing wrong with being rich.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with thriving by one's hard work and risk, smarts, etc.  But, just like that entrepreneur thrived by the hard work and diligence of his workers, those workers should also be rewarded for their labors.  But, somehow the labors of the workers have been seen as worthless.  Why?  Because too many have no idea what it takes to make the machines run, the trucks go down the road.  They somehow think that they made it where they are all on their own.  
 The recent popularity of increasing the minimum wage has found some odd detractors, in my mind.  I spoke with a truck driver this week who thought it the craziest thing in the world that burger flipping kids should be given a higher wage.  He said it made no sense for those with no real skills to be given a higher wage that would then cheapen his own wages.
  So, let's count the problems with that statement he made:  "burger flipping kids".  Actually, the average worker in fast food is not a kid, it's an adult of about 30 years of age, often one who has kids.  They rarely get 40 hour weeks, often have to work just the "busy" times of the day, working split shifts. Second, and something I wish I'd said to him, it doesn't seem to take a lot of skill to drive a truck to me.  I mean, I drive to work every day.... how hard could it be?  Well, same for "burger flipping".  I imagine every job has routine and skill tasks, including driving a truck and flipping a burger.  And, many of the people working at flipping burgers are there for lack of better options.  Remember what I said above about those huge industrial jobs being gone?  Finally, I do understand what he meant by a higher minimum would "cheapen" his wage... but he is using a false logic.  He is rating his wages not on his skill worth, but on the difference between his wage and the cost to live.  Now, if you are above that line, you are doing ok, but if you are below - no matter how hard you work - then you are failing to thrive.  That, I see as a problem.
  The problem I have with those who believe that a person needs only to apply themselves to thrive in this country is that an economy thrives not on willingness to work or even a great product, but the exchange of goods/services.  Now, if you are poor, you will spend every dime with a critical eye and no matter how good a product or service is, if it doesn't fill the belly or keep the butt dry it really isn't needed.  They only way a person can peddle those great products or services is if there are buyers.   The short sighted and greedy have created an economy where folks have less and less discretionary income - money that is not needed solely for food or shelter.  Those who want to sell the next great idea, to capitalize on the buyers like the entrepreneurs of the 80's, 90's and 2000's, now have to find not only the great idea but the great idea that can compete with food.  Good luck with that.    As a result of jobs going overseas, the elimination of the middle class, is the slow strangulation of the economy as a whole.
  A way to look at it is the concept of a team, and in celebration of Super Bowl Weekend:  A quarterback is successful not because he has a great arm but because he has people blocking, running, are receiving.  A coach is not successful because he is a brilliant strategist but because he has people willing to carry out his strategies.  But, somehow the very rich and the very greedy believe those blockers, runners, receivers and even quarterbacks are less worthy of the fruits of their labors than the owners who sit in an arm chair and try to look like they did something.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

You have to be careful what you google...

Hello Friends;
  I am a bit at a loss.   See, I'm not getting enough exercise in this really nasty winter we are having.   I was thinking about bringing an old stationary bike I have in the basement up to my office room so that when I'm surfing on the computer or watching tv I could exercise... just need remote keyboard and mouse, right?  Well, then I thought how neat it would be if there were videos and such that would help encourage me to ride.  For instance, scenic ride videos and such.  Hey... I was just looking for what was out there and what would be of help.
  I did not expect to find this.... but, seems like a good idea, sort of....

You really have to be careful what you google, I guess.

by the way, this is what I was really looking for:

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

For All Who Struggle with those pesky monsters

  Did you ever have a nightmare?  Did you ever feel threatened, chased?  Me too....  Teddy Bears are cool.
  At what point do we become too old for teddy bears?  Or, more to the point, what point do we no longer need to feel loved, to hold someone or something dear and give love to it?  At what age is it that we come to no longer fear the things that go bump in the night?
  I am often wakened with those things that go boom.  I never know if they are real or in my mind.  I usually look to the dog, and if she isn't worried, I figure I'll be fine.  If nothing else, that dog isn't going to let anyone hurt the one who feeds her in the morning!  
  So, I guess I don't have a teddy bear.  I have a Gracie Dog.  And for some reason, this pic Scottie sent to me is way too accurate!

  May all our dreams be wonderful!     Hugs!


Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Unfortunate Need for Regulation Demonstrated.

Hello All;

  Over the past few years, my father has worked in his retirement with the local zoning board.  It has really been an education for me.  I'm more the "leave me alone to do my thing on my property" type of guy, but his time with the zoning board has been an education for us both as he tells me the ways and whys of decisions.  As a result of that education, I am grudgingly in agreement of most of our zoning laws, at least those he has demonstrated to me, because at the center of them is the need for us all to work together with a certain set of rules so we all can enjoy things in safe and cared for manners.
  Having said that, I read this horror story of the chemical spill spoiling the water for some 300,000 residents of West Virginia.

And, what I can't help but to notice is that once again, this concept of calling oneself a patriot is supposed to make any action acceptable.  If no other example than below shows, wrapping oneself in the flag would seem to be the first mark of suspicion in my book.  And, hey... just for kicks, I looked to see if Fox and Friends covered the story.  Not sure if they did or not, but I sure couldn't find any mention of it.

  In the end, having some restraints upon a person or business is necessary if painful.  When what I do effects my neighbors, I do have a responsibility to make sure my actions are safe and respectful.  Objecting to regulation is almost knee-jerk, but it frankly is the mark of civilization.  It is the mark that we do not live at the strength of our own arm alone but as a community, and as a community that cares for all involved.  And yet, the very people who routinely advocate for less government oversight and ever greater removal of the constraints that allow such horrors as this spill to occur are the same who have no problems with denying my rights to love who I choose.  Hmmm, a bit of an odd thing, huh?

The Support of Prejudice

Hello all;

  I read something a short time back and it made me laugh.  It talked about how the entertainment industry dumbs down things to make them more palatable.  The primary example is the show "Duck Dynasty".  Now, I have to tell you, I didn't enjoy the show before that asshole spouted his puke, so now find it quite easy to find something else to watch.  The other example used is the comedian "Larry - the Cable Guy".  Now, I never did understand why he was a cable guy, but the point is, these all were clean cut folks who only found fame when they put on a persona of being a dumb hick.  Personally, that should be offensive.  It's similar to the old days of using black face.  The irony of it, though, is that it's usually the same people being made fun of that seem to love these shows.  Somehow I don't imagine those made fun of in the black face days felt the same.
  The reverse of this, the very ironic face of this is this pic stream.  It made me laugh.  Hope it does for you as well.  It also reminds us that looks can be deceiving in many ways.    hugs


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Why do we live?

Hello Friends;
  I heard this on a commercial just recently.  Normally, this would bring about a hatred in me for the producers so brazen as to defile greatness with capitalism, but I was too appreciative of the reminder.  I loved this movie, though I must admit I didn't understand it near as well as I believe I should have.  It remains a movie I will see again and again in the future as I am more prepared to see it.
  Perhaps not quite central in the maker's eye, but certainly well nigh the core of this movie is the confrontation of romance and practicality.  I guess the latter - a denizen of old and tired men worn from worry and hopes flown; and the other - faere ground of youth when dreams are still possible and even real.
  Is it romantic to find some things worth the hope and the fight?  Maybe, and maybe that is why old men and those who have lost the ability to dream and seek the possible hold so tight to the certainty of imagined control.  And yet, as I remember the old saw that naught is certain but death, those who seek the certainty of control seem to only find the deception and vanity of momentary wealth while at the same time giving aire to hatred and vitriol to those who seek the romance of love, of equality, of peace.


Monday, January 6, 2014

The wind is blowing, the snow is falling, and dang! it's Cold!  

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Too Many Sci-Fi books...

Hello My Friends;

  I was reading another of my favorite Science Fiction books recently.  Sci-Fi gets a bad rep. from the main-stream writers, and typically quite unfairly.  Science Fiction requires an author to define characters well, their looks, their mannerisms, their nature... and bring often different types of critters together that don't exist elsewhere.  For instance, if you said "The blond woman and the tiger"... a mental image of that very thing is easily understood by most people, requiring very little development.  But, if you said "The Sapine and the Warraq", well, you suddenly find yourself having to create those characters in such a way that the reader can get a mental image and not only understand what is going on but form an attachment with some of the characters.  So, having said all of that, I admire good Sci-Fi and appreciate the efforts necessary.  But, maybe I've gone too far...
  See, as I read the news now I find Sci-Fi plots running through my mind, and they are frightening ones.  For instance, what would be the natural outcome for a Sci-Fi junkie like me when reading about mass unemployment, sinking wages, skyrocketing health care costs, property taxes, food costs, etc.... and a strong portion of the government that fights for the continuation of wholesale arms availability and increasing defense spending/war mongering on other shores, denial of unemployment benefits, lesser wages, greater difficulty in education, and demands that their fundamentalist views of Christianity be followed - even by those who don't believe?  I mean, is it just me?  Am I the only one that thinks the Republicans are actively seeking to bring about the end of the world so they can experience the Rapture spoken of in Revelations?
  Maybe I am.  Way too many books, I guess.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Sum

Good Afternoon Everyone;

  A new year, 2014!!  And, I have today off.  Holiday, you know.  Why?  Well, mostly because, I bet, the years have shown that trying to get people to work early in the morning on New Years Day usually just collects a bunch of half drunk and hung over workers who couldn't see straight if they wanted to.... may as well be magnanimous and give them the holiday, right?
  I've had a somewhat strange holiday week.  That trip to my Aunt's for Christmas Dinner being just one of the stranger, but definitely one of the moments that got me thinking on a few things.  And, this is what I have come up with....
  We are the sum of our history, the hopes of our future, and the moment of Now.  And, in all of that, the only thing that is real, that is absolutely real, is the now.... and that is up for interpretation.
  See, our minds trick us.  We remember portions of things, parts of things, and would swear to them to our dying day.    A little story....

  As some of you know, I bought my parent's house.  Yep... I was actually born in this house, ok in the hospital and then brought back to the house!  So, there are a whole host of memories attached to the place for me; some good, some bad.  Oddly enough, my next door neighbor inherited his house when his parents died.  They were both very cool people, sort of pseudo-parents for me, and treated me much better than I probably deserved.  I've known "Joe" since I was 2 years old.  I tell you all of this to tell you about how the mind plays tricks...
  When I was 8, things were a bit tight financially.  We kids never were exactly spoiled, but I think the folks tried.  Anyway, we are all at "Joe's" swimming in his backyard pool (his parents had a bit of $$) and in wiggled this little ball of worms stray puppy.  That became my birthday present, and likely cost more than any normal gift could have.  But, every little boy should have a dog, and this one became mine.
  I have a memory, a nightmare really, that still wakes me up crying - and I don't just up and cry easily - of playing outside with the dog.  I would bat the ball and the dog would chase it... one time, as I tossed the ball up to hit it with the bat, the dog went right up with it and I cracked her in the head with the bat.  The screaming that dog put out gives me nightmares still, and that was 34 years ago.  I remember standing there as my dog screamed, and my whole world came to an end.  My one friend, and I just knew I killed her.  I just stood there.  I remember the neighbor lady from down the road coming running and yelling at me for hitting the dog.  I just wanted to die... I ran into my room and flung myself on my bed, just wanted to die.  
  You can see why this would return to me in nightmares, yeah?
Well, odd thing happened this year.  Mom and Dad came to town as normal, stayed with me as normal - they are fairly comfortable here of course.  And, somehow that came important moment in my childhood came up.  I didn't let on, but this was the last thing I wanted to talk about... and Mom told me about her memory of the event, verifying it with "Joe".  Come to find out, the whole neighborhood was there, in my front yard, playing ball.  You've seen pictures of my front yard... take 34 years off those trees... there was lots of room.  The ball was pitched to me, I was the batter, and the dog went after the ball.  It was an entirely different neighbor who accused me of purposely hitting my dog with a baseball bat, and who later came to my bedroom to apologize when she learned what had happened.  My mother was actually in the house, and came rushing out to the dog.  My neighbor, "Joe", was there that day playing, remembers the incident quite well and backed Mom's story.  And, once the screaming was done by the adults, the crying by the dog, and it was determined that it was an accident and the dog was just fine, I only remember wanting to just die because I hurt my only real friend.

  I guess I am trying to get to the fact that our memories of what happened are not always so very accurate.  And, that memory, as faulty as it is, has haunted me for decades.  I have hated myself after each nightmare episode, for years now.

And, this ties in to a picture I just recently found.  I thought it a neat picture, but the words that went with it really caught my attention.  Here it is:

  We all have hurts.  We all have scars.  For some, they are a badge of courage, and for others they are a weeping sore hidden from view.

  Many of mine are of the second sort, kept covered, bandaged, hidden, lest they get poked and remind me just how much they still hurt.
  It was a weird Christmas for me because as I sat in my aunt's house, eating dinner with the family, staring at trees that were just bushes last I was there, a woods that used to be a corn field, so many open sores got poked by people who meant, mostly, good at the moment.  But, also, those festering wounds only heal by being aired, treated, "poked".
  What a wonderful world it would be - no, not if nobody ever got hurt, because I don't think that's possible - but wouldn't it be a wonderful world if we could look at people who have scars, who have hurts, who have been hurt, hurt others, and hurt themselves, and understand that each of us is a unique person who, in the midst of those wounds, in the very sum of them, is a worthwhile and valuable person?  And, wouldn't it be an even better world if we each could look into the mirror and see our scars, see those festering and weeping wounds, and know that person staring back is a unique, worthwhile, valuable person who has survived all the slings and arrows, and is stronger than whatever tried to hurt us?