Saturday, March 31, 2007

Opening Day is April 2nd

My New York Yankees, aka The Evil Empire, are ready for the season. And on April 2nd they take on the Tampa Bay Devil Rays to get it going.

Opening Day is probably the best day of the year. It is the official sign that winter is over, sure, but it is more than that. It is a day of hope. My team, no, every team, has a perfect record. No player has struck out with a runner on third, just as no two strike fastball caught a bit too much of the plate and was dropped in for an inning stretching single. Every team from the lowly Pirates up to the highly rated (and much hated) Boston Red Sox has hopes for the season.

Opening Day, in a way, is a metaphor for life itself.

It is a new beginning. And while we may not all reach the ultimate goal, a World Series Championship for the Yankees, whatever we desire for the rest of us, we all approach it filled with hope. All the errors of last year, the bloops and blunders, mean nothing on Opening Day. Just as our mistakes of the past mean nothing. Sure, A-Rod may have to deal with the memories of last year. This is just as I have to handle the many disappointments of my last few years. But Opening Day wipes the slate clean, for A-Rod, and for me.

Here's hoping for a great season for the Yankees from the new and improved crotchety old man.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Welcome to the new and improved crotchety old man

So far, I have embraced my new attitude of being positive and looking for good things for about 12 hours.
Woofreakinghoo. My life is like a nonstop party right now. It is all lollipops and rainbows. I just saw a unicorn grazing outside in my yard.

Ok, this new attitude isn't really working for me right now. I've heard of "fake it 'til you make it," but don't know if I have it in me. I'm not a big fan of putting on a happy face when I'm friggin' cranky. But I'm trying it. I'm committed to it.

I'l start with a short gratitude list.

What 5 things am I grateful for having in my life?

1. My honey
2. My friends
3. My car
4. My kid
5. I still have my foot, more or less.

Pretty pathetic, but it's a start.

Funny that I was able to come up with 101 things that pissed me off with no problem, but 5 things that make me happy was a struggle.


Peeling Onions part 6

The next installment in the saga aka "What the hell is up with this whiney puke, today?"

This little tune is bouncing around in my head tonight:

Some things in life are bad,
They can really make you mad,
Other things just make you swear and curse,
When you're chewing life's gristle,
Don't grumble,Give a whistle
And this'll help things turn out for the best.
And...Always look on the bright side of life.[whistle]
Life's a piece of shit,
When you look at it.
Life's a laugh and death's a joke it's true.
You'll see it's all a show.
Keep 'em laughing as you go.
Just remember that the last laugh is on you.
And...Always look on the bright side of life.

I have no idea why that was in my head, but it was contributing to keeping me awake.

So, anyway, I have been reading and watching (yeah, I watch about 15 hours of TV per day, sometimes more) and lately, it seems that attitude has been mentioned frequently as a part of the healing process. It's probably been there all along, but I'm just noticing it lately. Maybe that is where the song came from.
Nevertheless, I'm still not healing, and it seems sometimes like it is getting worse.
It is hard to look on the bright side of life, but I'm trying. It has been suggested I put my emotional baggage, my stuff as it were, in a trunk and shove it out in the shed. I'm trying, because when I keep it here next to me, I go through it every day, and get that shit all over my hands.

So, I guess this is a positive blog entry. I'm trying to be more positive in my life. I'm going to start to look for the good in situations. I'm going to stop being a self-loathing, cranky old man. For today.
Worrying doesn't help, and it sure as heck makes things worse. So, I'll just wait and see what happens.
Next week is my birthday, and it is kind of funny. I was reminded today that over 25 years ago, I was told I had maybe 4 years to live, and 10 at the outside. Apparently, the doctor thought that would scare me into walking the straight and narrow. Instead it sent me on a narrow path straight to a bar.
I don't know what would have worked, but I do know telling me I was going to die was meaningless. It made me party even more. I was pretty unhappy with my life, so dying sure wasn't a negative outcome. Especially if I could do so after a good night at the bar.
I think what frustrates me most is that I have, and continue to try to do better, yet get knocked on my ass anyway.
For today, I'll get up and continue to move ahead. Slow progress, even immeasureable progress, is still progress.

That's my goal for today.

Friday, March 23, 2007

South Park

This is one of my all-time favorite shows. It is unbelievably topical as the lead in time for the show is days, not weeks or months like with other animated shows.
But what is most surprising is that while topical, the shows stand up to the test of time. That is, I can watch an old episode and it is usually every bit as funny as the day the show first aired. And what is the best part of the show is that it seems to get better every season. Sure, the animation is terrible, but the writing is as tight as ever. And, unlike other shows that have been around for years, no new characters have emerged. No new best friends named Ernie, and no Ted McGinley.
While Butters has had a greatly expanded role, he is still a bit player compared to Kenny, Cartman, Stan, and Kyle.
And Timmy and Jimmy appear just often enough that we don't get tired of them.
I really thought that after Chef left the show, there would be a drop off, but, no, the show just keeps on rolling along.
What I like best about the show is that new characters come in, like Towelie or Mr. Hanky, and then they disappear. Towelie was an awesome character, and they easily could have made him a regular, but it would have changed the dynamics of the show. Mr. Hanky was in a few episodes early on, but he hasn't been seen in quite a while. Again, this is a positive as the show is about the adventures of the 4 boys and their friends. Ike, the parents, Mr./Mrs. Garrison, Mr. Mackie, Mr. Slave, and so many others are featured in an episode or two, and then get back into an ancilliary role. The show stays fresh without the confusion of so many characters. This formula that worked for the Simpsons, and they are in year 16 or so.

I look forward to many more years of enjoying South Park.

And I know they will remain Ted McGinley free.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Has 24 Jumped the shark?

First, of course, it should be defined what is jumping the shark?
Directly from the jump the website, here is the definition:
Q. What is jumping the shark?
A. It's a moment. A defining moment when you know that your favorite television program has reached its peak. That instant that you know from now's all downhill. Some call it the climax. We call it "Jumping the Shark." From that moment on, the program will simply never be the same.
The term "jump the shark" was coined by site founder Jon Hein & his college roommate of 4 years, Sean J. Connolly, in Ann Arbor, Michigan back in 1985. This web site, book, film, and all other material surrounding shark jumping, are hereby dedicated to "the Colonel."
The aforementioned expression refers to the telltale sign of the demise of Happy Days, our favorite example, when Fonzie actually "jumped the shark." The rest is history.

And there you have it.
Any time Ted McGinley, the patron saint of jumping the shark shows up, you know that the show has jumped. Not that Ted isn't a fine actor (see Revenge of the Nerds, one of the TV Sherpa's all-time favorite movies) but when he shows it is because the show is on the way out. Whether he is the TV equivalent of an EMS or a mortician, I'm not sure. But I do know when Ted shows up, it is a matter of time until the show ends.
I haven't seen Ted on 24 (yet) but I have seen the indications that 24 may have jumped the shark. And that herald is named Ricky Schroeder. I still like the show. It is still exciting, and I remain a big fan, but Ricky Schroeder?
The writers killed off the guy who played Curtis, and replaced him with Ricky Schroeder. And Ricky plays a mean, doesn't play by the rules type tough government agent. I just can't accept this. I'll watch the remainder of this season, but this will probably be my last. It is only a matter of time until Ted McGinley shows up as Jack's romantic rival for wait... Jack has no romantic interests because they have killed off everyone who has ever snuggled with him. Except for that one woman who didn't know he was Jack. And she hasn't been around for a while.
Maybe she is now living with Ted McGinley.

I am making it official.

24 has jumped the shark.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

What am I cranky about today?

I wake up, and I'm in a pretty good mood. I'm as shocked as you are. But it is just a matter of time until someone or something pisses me off.
I was watching the news, and it was reported that a school janitor (in his 50's) raped an 8 year-old girl multiple times over the past month or so. WTF?
8 years old? Rape is heinous enough, but an 8 year old? This proves once again that rape is a crime of violence, not one of passion.
When I worked at the Job Corps, I taught a course I called sex and drugs 101. I don't remember what it actually was called, but basically, I taught young adults about sex and drugs. It wasn't a how-to course, but instead it gave them information to stay safe and healthy.
One part of the course involved giving them a test, and one of the questions on it concerned rape. One of the answers indicated that if a woman dressed a certain way, she was "asking for it." Believe it or not, many, if not most, honestly answered and believed that rape was inevitable (perhaps even justifiable) if a woman dressed provocatively. Most surprisingly, this was the answer given by both sexes. When I questioned the women, especially, I was shocked when they confirmed that yes, hootchie mamas should expect to be raped because of how they dressed. WTH?

These were women saying this. Women who were around 20. Not kids who wouldn't know any better, but young adults. Some had kids of their own.
It made me very sad that these women, most of whom had such a sense of bravado, considered themselves to be... hell, I don't know what they considered themselves to be. But they did know that if they dressed "sexy" they should expect to be violated.
This was an attitude that one may have expected to find in the 1930's, not in the 21st century. But, there it was, right in front of my face.

Apparently, the attitude continues as an 8 year old was raped. Maybe she was dressed up, and turned the piece of crap on. I just feel dirty typing that.
This makes me angry, then so very sad.
No child should suffer from abuse, sexual or otherwise.

We need to be more aggressive as a society in dealing with such predators. I can almost guarantee that this isn't the first time this man has violated a female, and most likely not the first child.

Words are so inadequate at times.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Where you at?

I lived through the 60's where everything was "cool."

It was a universal term that just fit any situation. Everything was either cool, or not cool. No problem and cool became the most used word in our lexicon. And I was cool with that.

Then sometime in the late 80's or early 90's everything became "excellent." Curse you Bill and Ted!
Excellent was used to describe everything, replacing every single adjective in the English language. It even had degrees. Things could be most excellent, although I don't remember things being less or not excellent. Excellent never did acquire the level of "cool."

And somewhere in between, the kiddie set was indoctrinated with the acceptance of paucity of language by those ridiculous little incestuous blue critters from France, the Smurfs. The Smurfs just reinforced among our youngest and most vulnerable linguists that it was ok to have the verbal skills of an infant. Why develop a decent vocabulary when "Smurfy" described every situation? Have a Smurfy day, you are looking quite Smurfy, and of course, this is quite Smurfy.

And now today, the rap culture is creating an entirely new set of words and meanings.

Bling? What is that? Is that better or worse than bling bling? I have no friggin idea.
And currently, a relatively new commercial is airing. It is for a cell phone that tells one where the party one is talking to is located. I have no idea why anyone would want this feature. But the conversation is basically, "Where you at?" "I know where I'm at, where you at?" It goes on for the lenghth of the commercial with this inane crap.

When Meucci (don't believe that bull about Bell) invented the telephone, I do not believe for a minute that he ever envisioned his method of communication would ever be used for such trivial crap as this. Sadly, this is what it has devolved into.
A bunch of nearly illiterate morons, speaking what can barely be considered English, chatting endlessly about nothing.

So, what am I ranting about?

I suppose it's just that language is taking another kick in the head. New words constantly come into being. We need them because we constantly invent new stuff. Ancient Greeks and Romans didn't have computers, cars, jets and Big Macs, so we needed to name them. And gradually, our language became more developed and colorful.
It seems that now it is just getting stupid. Put any words in any order and try to figure out WTH the speaker is trying to say. I'm not saying that we all need to speak the Queen's English, but at least we should all get on the same friggin page.


Sunday, March 18, 2007

People in My Path

I'm not what would be considered an overly religious guy. I do believe in a Higher Power, who I refer to as God. I also somewhat follow the rules of Christianity. Ok, not all of them, just the ones I like.
But I do like to go to church on Sundays and some holidays, and when I can't, I tune in on TV. I also like to watch some of the TV ministers. I have even sent in money to a few that I found really helpful. One that I really enjoy is Joel Osteen. I try to watch him at least once every Sunday, and to be honest, sometimes his message is so good, I listen to him more than once.
Today, his message was really appropriate to my situation. He spoke that God sometimes puts people in our path who become an important part of our journey.
I was especially interested in this sermon because I have a friend who I have known for about a year who has become very dear to me. I truly believe this person has been put in my path by a Higher Power. On a regular basis, this wonderful person gives me so much inspiration and encouragement. I truly feel that I am not worthy.

In fact, it is funny. A lot of people have been very good to me. I have friends who I talk to on a regular basis. And, the most interesting part is that the overwhelming majority are friends I have made in the last relatively few years. Not that I don't have friends that I have known for decades, but I rarely interact with them. I could pick up the phone and talk to them any time, but it kind of bothers me that they have not reached out and called me. I wonder why.
Maybe, as today's sermon suggested, it is not important to think about this too much. Just realize that more great people are in my path, and just accept it.

For today, I will act as if I am worthy to have all these friends and be happy that they are in my path.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

St. Patrick's Day

This is one Holiday that kind of annoys me. I fully understand that people of Irish descent are proud of their heritage, and to be honest, the Irish people have done much to make America great.
So far, all is good. But here is where they get me pissed.
The overwhelming majority of those quaffing green beer and eating corned beef and cabbage know almost nothing about St. Patrick.

In fact, the majority can't tell you when he lived within 500 years. (around 450 A.D.) and almost no one knows where he was born (either great Britain or Scotland.) I don't really care that most celebrants aren't exactly scholars, but could they art least have some knowledge of the man they toast with such vigor. About the only "fact" most of them "know" is that he chased the snakes out of Ireland. This is a legend and not true. But who can stop anyone making a toast while consuming vast quantities of Guiness? I heard that as many as 150,000 glasses per second will be consumed today, in honor of St. Patrick. Corned beef and cabbage is about as Irish as pizza and pasta. But, I digress.

On to my rant.

Patrick was born to Roman parents (would that make him Italian?) and he had a very colorful life. He was a prisoner, and after he escaped, he then went back with a mission; to convert his previous captors and to minister to the Christians already living in Ireland.

Patrick was a man to be honored. He helped to change an entire nation.

But please, honor his memory with a little decorum, and some knowledge.

St. Patrick deserves better than to have a bunch of knuckleheads spewing green beer in a gutter following a night of drinking and debauchery.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Game Shows are Getting Worse

I have always been a big fan of game shows. I watched Jeopardy back before Alex Trebeck, when Art Fleming was the host. I have a love -hate relationship with most game shows, though.

Very little middle ground with me and my game shows.

I watch the re-runs on Game Show Network along with some of the newer ones like Lingo.
Hollywood Squares, Match Game, and dozens of others are among the best TV ever. I remember visiting my Aunt Josie after school and watching Password and You Don't Say with her. It was fun and the company was as good as the games on TV.
To Tell the Truth, along with so many other game shows are buried deep in the happy memories part of my brain. But, I also have some game shows that just piss me off. I have already ranted about the Price is Right, but it seems that a huge group of awful game shows are being cranked out. While I do like Deal or No Deal, 1 vs. 100 is kind of dumb, and Identity is pretty stupid, too.
But over the last few weeks, I have watched what may be the most gawdawful game show ever.
"Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader?"
I like the concept. It is kind of funny. But, to make the show work, they have to assemble the dumbest individuals who are allowed to legally walk around without adult supervision.
So far, I have seen two or three episodes and have answered every question correctly. Woohoo! Big F'ing deal. I am smarter than a 5th grader. Didn't everybody already know that?
But that is not my point. These contestants are friggin morons. I can understand having a problem with math. If one hasn't needed to find the area of a triangle since high school, it is entirely possible that the formula is forgotten. No big deal. But not to be sure of the country that is north of the USA? What friggin rock did that contestant climb out from under?
Another idiot did not know the area of a square. And he supposedly was a contractor. Please God, never let me enter a house that was built by that maroon.
Last night's episode had the contestant answering questions that were for 1st and 2nd graders, and she danced when she got them right like she just proved the theory of relativity. Have the producers trolled the hallways of a lobotomy clinic to get contestants? These mouth breathers make Wheel of Fortune players look like rocket scientists.
What bothers me most is not that these people get hung up on one question. It could happen to anyone. I'm sure if I was on TV, I may forget one of the easy answers. I may even forget my name. But these dopes couldn't answer hardly any questions. They have 3 "helps." And so far, every contestant has needed to use every one of them. And I have yet to see a contestant get any higher than 4th grade questions. To make matters even worse, the game is ridiculously slow paced. The dullards have to spend an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out these "questions."
At first, I was afraid that maybe the contestants might read this and feel badly. But then I realized that I used some big words, so they wouldn't even understand what I wrote.
Hey contestants:
Good job!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

I Wish I Knew

why I have been having nightmares lately.
Last night's was not as vivid as the previous one, but still just as annoying.

I dreamed that my leg was amputated.

One of my buddies analyzed my last dream, and I could probably do this one.

I am afraid that my leg is going to get cut off. Ok, not really deep analysis needed here. I do wake up with a sense of impending doom. So, when I wake up from these nightmares, it sucks because I then lay on the couch and watch TV for hours. I can assure everyone, the TV choices at 3:00 a.m. are fairly limited.

Infommercials that will make me a fortune in day trading, or other infommercials that will sell me 300 knives (and a few swords) for $350, or baseball card lots that will also make me an instant store owner, fully stocked with the best of the 80's cards that no one else wanted.

Just the other night, one sword package offered 8 swords for only $140.00. I don't know why, but I really want a broadsword. I have no idea what I will do with it. I like to imagine defending house and home with it. I do own a .357, which is much more effective. But, damn, the picture of me brandishing a broadsword, while holding highwaymen at bay, is truly one that is difficult to erase.

But, in my 8 pack of swords, how would I know which would be more effective at thwarting highwaymen? Sure, the broadsword is a fine weapon, but perhaps a cutlass or saber would be more efficient. The Bowie sword/knife is cool looking, and darned effective up close, but not really a good choice if my adversary is armed with a broadsword. I should probably bring all of my swords with me on the porch, just in case.
I might just go with the Katana, though. It looks like it may be easier to manuever from my porch and will keep the highwaymen at bay longer. This may be my best choice as long as I keep a dagger alongside, for close combat.
I really shouldn't spend so much time thinking.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

A leaf falls


I have no idea why this poem woke me up in the middle of the night. Actually, the poem didn't wake me, I had a dream that woke me up, and this poem popped into my head. I rarely ever read poetry, but today, for some reason, I read a bit of e.e. cummings. He is my favorite poet. This is my favorite poem, but surprisingly, this isn't one of the poems I read today. In fact, I forgot he wrote this. For some reason, I thought it was by Ferlinghetti, who often wrote in such a visual manner. I guess I'm starting to sound as if I understand about poetry, but I really know very little.
I've read about and enjoyed poems written by e.e. and Ferlinghetti, and of course, Joyce Kilmer. I know about him because Joyce Kilmer was born about a mile from the house where I grew up, located on Joyce Kilmer Ave. Kind of hard not to know who he was.
Back to waking up in the middle of the night.
I had this freaky dream where I was in my old neighborhood, the one where I grew up. And, for some reason, I was walking down the street, and it must have been fall. This is because I could hear the yellow and red leaves crisply snapping under my feet as I walked. I guess I dream in color.
And I felt so unbelievably lonely. I wanted to hold the hand of a friend, but no one was around. So I went and sat in my old pick-up truck, hoping my friend would see me and come out and hold my hand. The freaky part of this?
Not only did I have such an overwhelming feeling of, for lack of a better term, being overwhelmed, but the friend wasn't someone I have ever seen. I couldn't pick this friend out of a lineup, and no one was actually in my dream except me. It was just a feeling. And the pickup truck I sat in? I haven't had it since the late 90's. The truck was a wreck when I got rid of it, but in my dream it was brand new.
Lastly, the dream took place in my old neighborhood, but on a street that I didn't usually go to. It was the last street in what I would consider to be the old neighborhood, if that makes any sense.
I don't know anything about dreams, but this one is freaking me out. Not so much for the content, but for the feelings.
The overwhelming despair, the loneliness, and the fear of the unknown.
I can only guess that my subconscious is dealing with things that I am consciously choosing to ignore.
At least by writing it here, it is on paper, so to speak. For some reason, I now feel better and can deal with it.
I'm probably going to pop a Percoset or two for the pain, and also because they put me in a deep sleep.
For a guy who can barely walk, I certainly do run away a lot.


Sunday, March 11, 2007

Salad, We Don't Need No Stinkin' Salad.

Here I sit at close to 2:00 a.m. with a feeling in my stomach like I ate friggin lead for dinner.
What did I have? A Mexican Fajita Salad.
Calling this a salad is like calling the Queen Mary 2 a boat. It had sour cream, avocado, beef, onions, dressing, cheese, tomatoes, and somewhere, under all that stuff, a piece of lettuce or two.
I tried to finish it, but failed miserably. I can't imagine how I'd feel if I did.
I've been downing Tums for the last hour or so. My head feels as if I'd been drinking like in the old days.
Damn, how can a salad wreak so much havoc?

Better still, how can they call this 2000+ calorie thing a salad?

I shouldn't be in so much pain from eating a salad.

Bummer. I get taken out by a salad. I may have to turn in my manly man card.

I've been sick. Yeah, that's it, I'll blame it on being sick.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Life Sucks and then You Die

I just got some less than thrilling news today. My battle against my foot is not going so well. The part that was amputated is healing faster than expected. The doctor was pleasantly surprised. He even smiled. Then he looked at the part of my foot that has been hurting like hell all week. He definately had that "oh shit" look on his face now. A new wound has opened up and it is pretty serious. It is in a part of my foot that has been pretty trouble free until now. I am on antibiotics, so we are hoping it was caught in time. The doctor is reasonably sure it is ok, but he took cultures just in case.
I am running out of chances. If this thing is infected, I can be pretty sure that I am losing a leg.
My sugar has been really good, and my temperature is normal, so I am pretty optimistic.

But I still worry about it. A lot.

If I have to face another surgery, I don't know if I can handle it, emotionally or physically.

My life has been nothing but setbacks for the last few years. I take one step forward, and get knocked on my ass two steps backwards.

Just when I think I can see daylight, I get poked in the eyes ala the 3 Stooges.

I am really bummed out tonight.

Munsters or Addams Family

Betty or Wilma? (Wilma) Ginger or MaryAnn (Ginger) These are just a few of the questions guys quiz each other while quaffing various forms of liquid refreshment. I can't imagine two women asking "Fred or Barney?" Women just don't seem to get into these scenarios.
Generally, these can be answered quickly, and a case can't be made to have someone change another's mind. After all, few Betty fans can be persuaded to switch to Wilma, just as no died in the wool Ginger fan will switch because MaryAnn makes a mean Coconut cream pie.

I want to address what may be the greatest of all these, Munsters or Addams Family. Not only is this possibly the greatest question, but it is one that can actually be debated. I've been thinking about this because TVLand now shows the Munsters and the Addams Family every day one after the other. And anyone who knows me, knows that I am a huge fan of both shows.

But I have to decide which is the greatest 60's show.

The Munsters may have had the coolest rides (the Munstermobile and Dragula) but the Addams Family was just better. First, the home was based upon homes from Westfield, NJ. The theme music was just the greatest. Every kid in the 60's knew the words to the theme and at least one off color version of it. Without a doubt, it could be named after hearing just 4 notes.
And the ancilliary characters were awesome. While Grandpa Munster was pretty funny, Uncle Fester was "the man." Who knew more about explosives? Blowing up the toy train set was hilarious.
The Munsters had some sight gags, with all the dust and various ghoulish things around the house, but Gomez on his bed of nails or his torture rack? Humor at its best. And while Eddie Munster had his problems fitting in, Wednesday and Pugsley didn't fit in and were proud of it. If Eddie had trouble at school, Herman and Lilly wanted to help him do better. Boooring. Gomez and Morticia solved the problem by buying their own private school. Everything was just so over the top. The Munsters were a family of freaks trying to fit in, while the Addams Family was a freakish family who made the world adjust to them. The Munsters planned a vacation in the desert, Gomez wanted to go to the moon. For every weird pet the Munsters had, the Addams Family could match it easily. Spot, the unseen pet dragon? Kitty, the often seen lion. A pet bat?

Thing. What could be as cool as Thing? That's right.
Thing stands alone.

It is obvious which is my favorite, and easily the best show. The Addams Family, hands down.

Monday, March 05, 2007

I'm drawing a blank

I feel totally blah. Not happy, not unhappy. Don't feel like doing much of anything, except eat chocolate Teddy Grahams. Now the box is empty, so it is back to trying to find things to do to keep myself amused.
Most of my online friends are at work, as are my RW friends.

Daytime TV is boring. I have a new magazine here, but don't feel like reading it.

Isn't even anything I can get in trouble doing. I'm pretty much housebound, so any shenanigans will be my fault. I have no one to blame it on, nor can I claim I wasn't around when it happened.

Million things that have to be done (ok, a million is a hyperbole--can't be more than 359,458 things to do) and I just don't feel like doing them. I had a scare with my blood pressure for a few days, it was ridiculosly high, but that has come down into the normal range. Of course, I used some essential oils to do it, so my home smells like a flower shop. Not exactly a bad thing, and a hell of a lot better than having my head or heart explode, which is definately a bad thing.

I have some classical music playing, which I like a lot. I can't tell the difference between Franz and Mozart, but I don't care. I do like something called the Baroque period, but know so little about it. And I'm not interested enough to even google it.

But what has been on my mind is equity.

Not equality, but equity, that is, everyone getting their fair share.

I don't mean in the Communistic sense, but rather in the way that everyone has a fair chance at the golden ring. Maybe the golden ring isn't the right term, but it will have to suffice for now.

I guess it is on my mind because I know a number of individuals (myself included) who need a hand up. At least temporarily. Yet our system is such that it either gives assistance to individuals that don't need it, or makes those that do need it jump through hoops. Specifically, at this moment, I'm speaking of Social Security. The system is crazy. It takes months for it to kick in. The excuse is that they have to investigate each case. I filled out 14 copies of one form. Why? I have no idea. Another form needed to be filled out at least 3 times. This was so ludicrous since they have all the information readily available already. Talk about a waste of time and money. Someone had to send out and then read all those forms.
Then comes the really crazy part. According to SS, one's income will be limited and it is not on a case by case basis. I used to work with Developmentally Disabled adults. Some of them were able to work part-time. And some of them had to be very careful not to go over the maximum allowable earnings. (around $700 per month) I realize that this may seem like a lot of money to some people, but bear in mind they would not just lose the benefit, they would lose health care. Considering many, if not most of the DD population has much greater than normal health care costs, this can be catastrophic. Unbelievable. Is it not in the best interests of everybody to allow the DD population to earn every penny that they could, and then to simply reduce their benefit? It's not as if they will ever be able to enter the normal work world. And, when one loses a job, it is very difficult to find meaningful employment. Not a lot of openings for the DD population.
I guess where this is leading is universal health care. I was opposed to it for as long time, but I have changed my mind. I have heard all the naysayers, but I am willing to bet that not one of them has ever been in a situation where they did not have health care readily available, or with the ability to pay for it. Many people are in the situation where health care is not affordable. The choice then is to do without. Unless one gets very ill. Then they go into the hospital and are treated, usually at great expense, and they don't have to pay anything. This makes no sense. Preventative care is more logical, and I believe much more cost efficient.
Also, when I look at disabled persons, I wonder how many stay on disability because they need the health care? A few hundred extra per month in a low paying job is no trade off for the loss of health care. I also wonder how much of an impact this will have on illegal immigration? Low paying jobs may be more attractive if health care is available to legal citizens. I'm sure folks who are out of work would be off unemployment sooner if they didn't have to worry about health care. It may be worth reconsidering.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Peeling Onions part 5

Originally, I was going to call this Forgiveness, the Sequel, but it turned into some introspective crap. And it made me shed a tear while writing it...

I was reading A FORGIVENESS TECHNIQUE by Emmet Fox, and once again, I am faced with the realization that I need to forgive those from my past. I found 3 parts of the passage especially helpful:

When you hold resentment against anyone, you are bound to that person by a cosmic link, a real, though mental chain. You are tied by a cosmic tie to the thing that you hate. The one person perhaps in the whole world whom you most dislike is the very one to whom you are attaching yourself by a hook that is stronger than steel. Is this what you wish? Is this the condition in which you desire to go on living? Remember, you belong to the thing with which you are linked in thought, and at some time or other, if that tie endures, the object of your resentment will be drawn again into your life, perhaps to work further havoc. Do you think that you can afford this? Of course, no one can afford such a thing; and so the way is clear. You must cut all such ties, by a clear and spiritual act of forgiveness. You must loose him and let him go. By forgiveness you set yourself free; you save your soul. And because the law of love works alike for one and all, you help to save their soul too, making it just so much easier for them to become what they ought to be...

People have always made such a bogey of forgiveness because they have been under the erroneous impression that to forgive a person means that you have to compel yourself to like them. Happily this is by no means the case – we are not called upon to like anyone whom we do not find ourselves liking spontaneously, and, indeed, itis quite impossible to like people to order. You can no more LIKE to order than you can hold the winds in your fist, and if your endeavor to coerce yourself into doing so, you will finish by disliking or hating the offender more than ever. People used to think that when someone had hurt them very much, it was their duty, as good Christians, to pump up, as it were, a feeling of liking for him; and since such a thing is utterly impossible, they suffer a great deal of distress, and ended, necessarily, with failure,and a resulting sense of sinfulness. We are not obliged to like anyone; but we are under a binding obligation to love everyone, love, or charity as theBible calls it, meaning a vivid sense of impersonal good will...

Everybody should practice general forgiveness every day as a matter of course. When you say your daily prayers, issue a general amnesty, forgiving everyone who may have injured you in any way, and on no account particularize. Simply say: “I freely forgive everyone.” Then in the course of the day, should the thought the thought of grievance or resentment comeup, bless the offender briefly and dismiss the thought.

This got me to re-thinking my outlook on forgiveness. I have had some crappy things done to me. I often dismissed some of them as a lack of understanding on the part of the transgressor, but realistically, they knew exactly what they were doing in most cases. One who comes immediately to mind is my past supervisor at work. I've wished nothing but disease and pestilence for her. I'm trying a new technique; I am going to forgive her, and whenever I think about all the bad things she did to me, I'll simply say a prayer for her, and dismiss the thought. I don't have to like her. That may have been one of my biggest hang-ups. She is not a very pleasant person, she was actually evil, but by not forgiving her, she continues to make me miserable. And that is just stupid. So, for today, I wish her no ill will. I hope I never encounter her again as long as I live, but if I do, then perhaps she will have changed into a decent human being.
I also need to forgive some family members. I truly believe that, to a degree, they did what they did out of ignorance. It is a pretty lame excuse, but that is not mine to decide. To move on, I simply need to forgive them. For today, it is done.
The most important person to forgive, and indeed the most difficult, is myself. I have made a number of mistakes in my life, and heaven knows I have paid for them in spades.
But it is time to move on. The self-flagellation must come to an end.
Sure, I screwed up, but I will forgive myself for today. I'm especially focusing on the liking myself part. I'm glad I don't have to do that today, because I sure as hell don't. Maybe in time, I'll start to grow on myself and win myself over.

By the way, the entire passage, along with some other very spiritual insights are available at