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.