Archive for July, 2006

blinded by foresight

July 22, 2006

No doubt you have heard of 20/20 hindsight.  You know, where everything that has gone wrong in the past now seems clearly avoidable as you look back on it.  Where what seemed a good choice at the time now has bitter consequences so that you wish you could call for a “do over” ?  I wonder why it is so difficult to move away from those episodes.  Why is it that we have an uncanny ability to perceive the obvious and seem blinded by foresight?

Have you noticed how easy it is to diagnose someone else’s problems?

Joe: “Doc, everytime I do this it hurts.”

Doc: “Well, don’t DO that!”

I think our government is making a big mistake in trying to force morality on it’s citizens.  I know we live in the land of the free and the home of the brave, but there are choices being made in light of someone else’s view of Christianity that may not be the majority’s view, and isn’t that what a democracy is all about?  If the majority of the nation wants to run around half naked and whoop it up like wild Indians, should there be a government (paid for by the same people that are whooping it up, half naked) that says it is immoral and we shouldn’t be doing it?  I don’t think that poses a threat to humankind, social values or national security.

There used to be a time not too long ago that chiropractors were viewed as being in league with the devil.  Natural treatments and age old remedies were being scoffed at as being “unreliable” and “deceptive”, “unproven” and “unscientific”.  Like synthetic drugs (man made) are better than organic (plants and herbs) concoctions.  Anything new that comes down the pike is immediately viewed as “poppycock” and “ridiculous”, “far reaching” or “immoral”.  Research is a two edged sword.  People want cures for disease but if something is proposed that seems out of the ordinary it is branded as “unorthodox” and “barbaric”.

There is research out there that is cutting edge, that promises to change the prospect of living for every man, woman and child for the next hundred years if it is allowed to be properly funded and the shackles are removed.  But that future is postponed while a few in office feel the moral duty to conspire against it for the sake of their interpretation of a Godly view.  Those same people have no problem with waging war, by the way, which seems immoral to me.

We are the richest, most influencial society in history.  We should be looking forward to the future and utilizing our abilities for the common good.  What those in power are doing is stifling our chance to vault mankind into a future that he has dreamed about for generations.  Stem cell research should be embraced for all its potential known and that to come.  If our abilities are truly God given, they should continue to be refined and used to their potential.  That is what proves us to be in His image, because we continually try to improve ourselves.  We may never reach perfection, but we shouldn’t hamstring the efforts that move us closer to it.  Perhaps as we come to realize that, we won’t use God as a crutch to blind our foresight.  

But there I go being non-political again.

Pet Peeves

July 20, 2006

Holy Moly! Two posts in one day! Again! It must be incredible being you!  I have been contemplating this blog for awhile now, not because it is so breathtaking (like most of them are) or groundbreaking (like the rest of them are) but because it is on a subject dear to my heart.  It does not contain my 19th nervous breakdown, but includes some real irritating situations that you might recognize.  We may actually share a common bond, after all.

I hate the fact that smokers have to hang outside the door to a restaurant to smoke their cigarettes.  Not only do they create a cloud of second hand smoke that we non-smokers have to hold our breath and walk through, but they do it defiantly…  like we can’t keep them from the nasty habit they are addicted to… so there.  Also we have to have their butts all over the sidewalk.  Smokers think the world is their ashtray and make no bones about flicking them like boogers all over Gods creation.  Smokers are real selfish people and resent the laws that govern them.  They should all be shipped to Siberia.

I hate the fact that I can go to a restaurant and see long haired people preparing my food.  You can’t tell me that a little cap or visor is keeping all that unclean filth off my McMuffin.  Not only do I see people with long hair flippin’ my burger but they also comb and braid it back there as well.  Discusting.

People that rush through traffic to stop at the light first defy logic.  Why do they risk life and limb (plus waste all that gas we pay taxes for) just to make it to the intersection and screech to a halt just baffles me.  I hate tailgaters and boom boxes, too.  It may be hard out here for a pimp, but I don’t have any sympathy for them while thumping at ultra-low decibels.

Rush Limbaugh has got to be one of the most annoying people on earth.  I can’t stand the way he gloats when he is right every once in a while, and I don’t like it when he brags about how smart he is or when he repeats himself over and over. (like most drug addicts do).  I also felt that if you have any smarts, people will notice.  You don’t have to broadcast it, people recognize brilliance and admire it when it is accompanied with humility.

I don’t like the news all that much, it seems shallow to me… too controlled, too politically correct.  Especially local news, I don’t need beautiful people talking about things that I have no interest in like some talk show host and labelling it news.  There are many worthwhile things we could be educated on, but to me news programs are like popularity contests.

I don’t believe in reality T.V.  Paris Hilton proved that anybody with mediocre looks and less talent but still obscenely rich could also be famous, but why would they want to be?  I get embarressed for people with their unquenchable desire to be admired, what were they lacking at home?

Howard Stern is a has been, he should do his contract and then retire, he just isn’t funny anymore.  It was better when he had limits and feared the FCC.  Now he’s just resting on repeats from the past, he’s done.

People that constantly offer me credit cards should be fined by the government. 

I do miss the advertisements that said I may already be a millionaire, the odds were in my favor.  I’d like them to be right once in a while.

Christmas music in September.  That is just wrong to me.  Halloween is the second most popular holiday of the year.  We don’t hear about it in July.

Classic rock music to sell anything is a sacrilege.  It is by itself anti-establishment.  “Stickin’ it to the Man!”  It is not about selling Cadillacs, that should be reserved for Country and Western.

Lame movies about dumb slobs that always get a babe.  Just plain fantasy.  No hot chick wants a dumb, beer bellied guy who dropped out of high school to live with his mom.  It was funny at first, but now it isn’t.  Don’t the movie makers realize that there are  people out there that are influenced because they actually believe what they are seeing?

And last but not least (there are more but I’ll save them for now) Politicians should not act like good ol’ boys who get where you are or say they remember where they come from or want to do the right thing or any of that hogwash.  They also should not try to straddle the fence, be politically correct or non-confrontational.  If they have an idea in their head they should express it and stick by it.  Not explain what they said by re-defining what they said to appease the people that question what they said and why.  Get a backbone or don’t run… dare to be different.

I would also like to apologize to anyone who smokes outside restuarants or drives too fast just to reach the intersection and stop first or listens to ultra-low decibel music if anything I wrote here offends them.  My sincere sorrow is certainly expressed to the long haired food preparers, or those of you who may work at a local news station and/or admire Rush Limbaugh.  I also regret speaking tersely about Paris Hilton and reality T.V. in a despairingly way.  Howard Stern is still King of all Media in his own mind.  Credit card people are certainly only looking out for my well being.  Christmas music should always be in season.  Fat slobs need love, too.  And if listening to the Who inspired you to buy your Cadillac, you may be alright, too.

P.S.  My hat is in the ring.

Repeal the Fuel Tax

July 20, 2006

I hate being political, though I think I’d be very good at it.  I really have no hidden agenda or pet projects, I don’t know any oil barons or corporation moguls.  I guess I can’t expect to be very successful as their pawn in the game of political intrigue.  But I do have an idea or two on how our government could be more friendly to the American people.  Right now more than at any other time in our history people are feeling alienated by the goings on in Washington D.C.  It wouldn’t be too hard to win them back if politicians would only stop and think for a moment.  One very easy way to restore the public’s confidence would be to repeal the fuel tax.  Make it illegal to impose federal, state or local fuel taxes.

Gasoline prices, for example, would drop about 40% in most areas.  Think of it, gas at less than 2 bucks a gallon.  Right now the high price of gasoline has effected the price of just about everything else.  A 40 lb. bag of water softner salt goes for over 6 dollars.  For salt?  One of the most readily available components on the earth, but due to the cost of fuel it’s cost has risen 33% in just a few short months.  There was a time when gas cost about 18 cents a gallon.  Ofcourse the cost of EVERYTHING has gone up in the past 50 years, but proportionally gasoline ranks higher than the average inflated dollar, which purchases about 10% of what it did 50 years ago.  If that scale held true to gas prices we’d be paying about $1.80 a gallon WITH all the taxes included. 

So we should repeal gas taxes and the cost of shipping goods would go back down which in turn would stimulate the economy because people would have more money to spend on other things, like food.  Oh, I know some might argue that gasoline taxes pay for better roads, but don’t we pay taxes on a local level for these things?  When a new mall is built, don’t they have to make improvements on the ajoining roads as part of their development?  Also, don’t we get taxed every year for driving a car each time we renew our license plate?  And our drivers license?  When we buy tires and belts or have our car serviced?  What about insurances?  Aren’t they taxed?   I’m sure there are a dozen creative ways we could get money for road repair and expansion.  The government has a cash cow in the gasoline taxes and they don’t want to let it go.  Imagine the BILLIONS of dollars they garnish EVERYDAY from taxes we pay on gas!

The call to repeal the fuel tax is not limited to gasoline, I would have it include heating fuel as well; coal, propane and natural gas.  Picture Grandma in the dead of winter struggling to heat her home on a fixed income.  Enter the government capitalizing on her misery by taxing the only means she has to survive!  It seems immoral to me.  Government should be more sensitive to a citizen’s struggle, taxes shouldn’t be a burden but a joy!  You know, a working for the common good.  I think the majority of people wouldn’t mind paying taxes if they had some say as to where the proceeds were spent.

Also I would include jet fuel and diesel.  As I mentioned earlier, most items we buy have to be shipped, usually by truck.  Lower fuel means lower costs to ship which in turn means lower cost to buy.  Gasoline is shipped by truck, truck spends more for diesel, gas prices go up even more.  Consumer confidence would soar if the government took the needed steps to say, “Look folks, we know it is tough out there.  Repealing fuel taxes should help lift the burden a bit.  After all, we buy commodities, too.” 

It shouldn’t be considered a luxury item to travel by aircraft.  Some people commute daily to work, others travel to visit Grandma and shouldn’t have to pay a tax on fuel when travelling to visit.  Imagine reaching Grandma’s house, (which is too cold in the winter time) offering tidings of comfort and joy while having to be taxed for that.  Some may not even be able to visit Grandma during the holidays because of high fuel costs.  This seems heathenistic to me, and we are supposed to be a christian nation.

As I said, taxes are a part of our society, but being taxed as we move to and fro eking out a living, delivering goods (like relief supplies to flood victims) or traveling throughout this great nation of ours seems to be contrary to our citizenry and heritage.  We are a free people.  Being taxed for fuel is like being taxed to walk, talk and breathe.  We deserve better and should expect it from our government. 

If you don’t believe me… ask your Grandma.

God Needs An Hour With Doctor Phil

July 17, 2006

Okay, I know what you’re thinking…  what does Phil know that God doesn’t?  But before I address that question let me elaborate a little on why God needs an hour with Doctor Phil.

I don’t know how many people out there watch Phil or have read his books but I do know that he is very popular with at least 1/3 of the population in our house.  On the rare occasion that the two of us are home in the late afternoon together, his program is the one of choice by at least 1/2 the people sitting on the couch, and it is usually the predominant half.  I’m not saying that I am a wimp (you are, no doubt) but I just find it easier to go with the flow.  I have surmised that it might have had something to do with what happened to me during pre-birth to persuade me now to be so easily maneuverable  in my relationships though I know have just acquiesced to the alpha male gender bender military complex hex tootsie roll popular opinion poll that men don’t know what they want anyway… or at least we don’t know what is good for us.  Is that clear?

So I come home tired and hungry, a little bit grumpy but otherwise easy to live with…  what I really want to do is put the CD player on random and chill with some Dave Matthews and the like but what I get is Phil giving out this advice that you’d swear YOU HAVE SAID a dozen times before but it now suddenly makes all the sense in the world because PHIL said it and I think… “I need a gig like that.”  Just to sit back and espy with out any fear of contradiction or a challenging of ones credentials must really be hard on the old ego.  I’ll bet he even picks out his own ties.

It amazes me that Phil can hear testimony during the span of say… 17 minutes, and know EXACTLY what the problem with you is and he KNOWS how to fix it!  I’ve also noticed that the other experts on his program always seem to agree with him.  I think it would make for better television if Phil had a guest therapist that might question his summerization or diagnosis.

Phil: ” Robin has a paranoid compulsive disorder.”

Guest therapy person: “No, she’s suffering with an identity crisis.  I’d say that she’s a Winona wanna be.”

Phil:  “You mean as in  ‘Girl Interrupted’ ” ?

Guest therapy person:  “No, as in a shoplifter afraid of being caught.”

Anyway, getting back to why God needs an hour with Dr. Phil.  Phil’s good ol’ boy home spun country charm and dynamic good looks are only preceded by his uncanny ability to be right ALL THE TIME!  There has never been a challenger to Dr. Phil’s ability!  When things go wrong in the world people all most certainly blame God for their woes, or when the world is in such a fix it isn’t Phil’s fault… it’s God’s!  People always say, “God made me this way… that’s why I do what I do.”  Like the fault is with God and not their own.  I NEVER hear ANYONE blame Dr. Phil for their being born black or poor or mentally challenged, or for that matter… being born white or rich or competent enough to pick out their own ties.

So there you have it, God needs an hour with Dr. Phil… if not for any other reason than to prove to the world that Phil’s advice is not God given… or maybe it is.  Perhaps the packaging has just been over looked. 

sweet 16

July 16, 2006

My first love was named Frances, the moment we met we knew we were meant for each other.  There were many other girls to choose from, a lot of boys on the playground but we were destined to be married and live happily ever after.  In our minds there was never any doubt about that.  But circumstances were not right for us early on, like all young lovers we ignored rationality and fell head first in love.

She had soft brown eyes, honey blonde hair and a smile that melted my heart.  I found myself doing all sorts of foolish stunts just to gain her attention and approval.  Ofcourse I had competition for her affections and had to prove my worthiness via a skirmish or two with other suitors.  I came from a poor family and she was uppercrust, but love is a great equalizer.  She saw potential in me and I was smitten by her graciousness.

Frances and I would have been a storybook tale if not for cruel fate.  Her parents seperated us and moved to California.  It was a tearful goodbye.  I spent a long time pining over her and denouncing the cruelties of love.  Our year and a half together still resonates in my soul and I often wonder what became of her.  Does she ever think of me and our brief time together back in Iowa?  Did she marry and have children, did she go to Hollywood and become a star?  I’ve often wondered how we would react if we were somehow united after all this time, if we would recognize each other. 

I’m sure it takes a lot to impress a Kindergartener, because  I don’t remember much else about that time in my life, but I do remember her.  People talk about young love at the tender age of 16, but by then I had already met mine and had it denied me.  By the time I had reached 16 I had moved on to other relationships many times over.  I had discovered the loss of my virginity, the realization of a social status denied and suffered being deprived of the potential Frances must have seen in me. 

But I am also an eternal optimist and I believe in love.  Wherever Frances is I know she grew to be a wonderful, sincere woman and when she loved again her emotions became a lasting, unreserved love that poets write about… and dreamers hurry to rest in the hope of sharing in. 

And I do dream…

5 – 5 – 5

July 8, 2006

I know what you’re thinking… 2 posts in one day, how did we get to be so fortunate?  Well, it is a rainy day and there ain’t much on T.V. so…

Whenever things get me down (yeah, it happens to me, too) I like to reflect on all the positive things in life.  I feel it really helps boost the ol’ soul engine, if you get my meaning.  There are many things going on around us that we cannot change or perhaps even influence.  But there is much to be grateful for.  I think we sometimes forget the blessings we receive and fail to recognize because of their simplicity…  in everyday items, like pizza.

Pepperoni and pineapple has got to be one of the greatest taste sensations known to man.  Blend that with a deep dished saucy crust  and you have a blissful  indulgence un-parallelled in the annuals of dining.  I enjoy curling up with my remote, Coke and pizza and watching old black and white movies.  Can’t imagine ever feeling blue during that time, especially if it is a Bogie and Becall flick or a Tracy and Hepburn.  Times were much simplier then, actors had to act…  locations were real and special effects meant scenery whistling by a car window.  Classic movies are a reward unto themselves.  When the pizza executives came up with the idea of three for 15 bucks they definately got my attention.

Ice cream is another food group that does not allow me to be in a bad mood while partaking of its flavor.  I can’t imagine anyone feeling suicidal while eating ice cream, it is that good.  About the only down side to ice cream is choosing which flavor to buy.  I can stand in front of the freezer at the local grocery for what seems eons just to select the one that properly suits my mood.  Not that there is any BAD ice cream (except for coffee, ugh!) but each has its own unique qualities that will best serve my particuliar need.  Most frequently purchased:  Rocky Road, Neopolitan and French Vanilla.  Ice cream on a hot, summer day restores my faith in science.

Popcorn.  I love popcorn.  I didn’t realize how much I loved it until I had to be without it for awhile.  When it returned to me, I proposed.  Popcorn at the theatre is a must.  (I don’t enjoy the movie houses like I used because of unruliness, cell phones and airborne germs but popcorn is a great equalizer that makes me tolerant)  If I have popcorn, twizzlers and malted milk balls even a movie with Jennifer Lopez doesn’t seem half bad, unless I consider the acting.  No, popcorn is a happy food and mood altering.  If during WWI they were hurling popcorn balls instead of hand grenades the armistice would have come months earlier.

One final food that I’ll mention here is corn on the cob.  I don’t think a sit down meal with family, (especially on a holiday)  can be complete without corn on the cob.  Steaming hot with real melted butter (salted to taste, ofcourse) is pure heaven.  Can you picture an argument or any other unpleasantries while hunkering down on fat morsels of juicy yellow nuggets of corn?  No, ofcourse not.  A family gathered around to break bread has got to be one of the most satisfying experiences a person can have, and probably one of the most overlooked.

Oh, there are many other things to lift me from the doldrums that I won’t go into now.  But the key to me has always been the simple things, the ones we sometimes take for granted, like friends and family, a good book or a blazing sunset after a lingering thundercloud.  Rainy days like today aren’t dampening to my spirit, hopefully the rain doesn’t come down too hard upon yours.

2 weeks

July 8, 2006

Maybe it is just me, but I often wonder why certain numbers were attached to the accepted standards of conduct.  For example: 2 weeks notice.  There is no law that I know of that requires an employee to give his boss two weeks notice before leaving a position, but that seems to be the norm in business.  Then again, termination by an employer can be immediate.  Where is the justice in that?  Ofcourse there are things such as severance pay and the collection of benefits earned, but the employee usually must depart on the day notice was given. 

Another standard that comes to mind is the 2 week vacation.  How did this become the accepted reward for a years hard work?  With 52 weeks in the year, 2 weeks vacation isn’t even 5 percent of the year.  Imagine how much better things would be if we could take 10 percent of the year off as vacation time!  With 5 weeks off in a year I think the stress level of the American worker would drop significantly.  That would be on average a weeks vacation every two months!  Something to look forward to at the end of February, April, July, September, and November! That would surely be a boon to the hotel/motel/casino industry and all those related service fields.  I think the economy would rock then and society in general would be happier.  It is a well documented fact that we are over stressed, tired and apathetic towards any positive change in government.  This would solve a lot of that, and even create jobs for the part time work force.

Also, there is two weeks between office visits to the doctor/dentist/therapist.  How is it that our little antibodies are in tune with the 14 day time table we put upon ourselves?  If I have a lower metabolism than the average person, two weeks may not be long enough for me to properly heal and I may die.  14 days might allow my teeth to fall out or grow in crooked.  336 hours may convince me that I am not crazy and no longer need a therapist then be enough time to make me go berserk if I am wrong.  No, to me two weeks is not conducive to sound medical practice.

But finally we come to the biggest puzzle of all in the 2 week cycle and men know what I am talking about.  Understanding why God wanted to split the month right down the middle when it comes to being in good graces with the female gender?  It seems cruel to me, to be going along minding my own business, being generally the same well rounded and happy go lucky individual that I am then wham! I discover that I am a typical male!  Bummer.  You know, if God had wanted to He could have gotten the entire process taken care of in about 15 minutes and saved mankind a lot of headaches.  So ladies, get mad at Him, not us!  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy doting on a woman and being sympathetic as much as the next guy, but these re-occurring conditions of the female body/mind/soul are not our fault! 

So guys, the next time a two week cycle of ANYTHING comes your way, consider what we have discussed:  Notice, take more time, heal and understand…   You are a typical male, bummer.


Bakers Dozen

July 1, 2006

I like Donovan, ‘Catch the Wind’ is such a cool song.  (I’m listening to him now)  They say Donovan was the epitome of sixties music and culture, which may be true… flower power and surrealistic pillow notwithstanding.  I believe youth in the sixties really were more optimistic than people give them credit for.  If you look back through history they  had to endure a bunch of social trauma, you know… with the Vietnam War and those assassinations, plus riots in the streets and plenty of stereotypical hogwash from the ‘establishment’. 

It must have been extremely difficult to etch out individuality in those days, sure glad we don’t have to contend with that anymore (whew!)  I wonder how todays generation would measure up under those circumstances.  Anyway, Donovan’s music seems uplifting to me, I’d recommend him… either as an aquaintance to the mood of the era or as a nostalgic trip through the light fantastic, Donovan is not the elevator music from your Fathers day.

The moldy, golden oldie radio stations are dead… I have heard satellite programs and I am here to say they are our future.  Which is way cool because I have been on a mission of my own these past few years to save the classic music of a generation whose time has not past, but seems to have ebbed slowly to a halt.  That vibration has not yet faded, I firmly believe that.  Anyway…

Groups like King Crimson, Blue Cheer and Frigid Pink have been on my radar as of late, as well as the Rascals, the Youngbloods, the Hollies and Eric Burden and the Animals.  Years ago I discovered that most FM stations seemed to have about 30 songs that they played over and over again.  It almost squelched my appetite for period music.  Now I love Zepplin, Hendrix and the Who… but I get baked when they get played out worse than the current top 40.  ….and I enjoy groups like Dashboard Confessional, Radiohead and Dave Matthews, too.  They don’t seem to get worn in my head, but ask me how I feel about that in 40 years… they may have over stayed their welcome by then (but I doubt it)!

So if you’re a bold type of person looking for a different take on music, why not try a Lovin’ Spoonful of Cream along with some Vanilla Fudge on your Sugarloaf?  You can bet your Moby Grape that your palate will thank you.  Shucks, there’s 13 groups or individuals worthy of reheating in your microwave.  If you try I’ll bet you could come up with a few more.  I know I could, and probably will… ( perhaps in the future we’ll rehash this topic).  Who knows, maybe this will help open communications between the generation not yet passed with the one not yet passed out. 

But right now all this talk about food has made me hungry…