Archive for September, 2010

Ray LaMontagne on the brain

September 21, 2010

My BB and I recently went and saw Ray in concert at the Molsen Amphitheater in Toronto:

An excellent song, Ray quiets a crowd like Jesse Winchester…

If you haven’t heard his new CD you should check it out:

You won’t regret it.


money “grows” on trees

September 21, 2010

I found this interesting. 

I guess most of us are so used to gimmicks or gags that seeing money offered for the taking becomes suspect.  Kind of like the lottery.  People become really interested when the jackpot hits 100 million dollars.  As if 80 or 90 million is small change…

Now if on this money tree they’d been 100’s…

I wonder what would have happened then.


Social Insecurity (or How I Stopped Worrying and Love Being Less Self-Assured)

September 17, 2010

I guess it is no big news that the economy is in the crapper.  Just look at me, home on a work day.  Oh, it’s nobody’s fault, really.  Sometimes things just work out that way when you work construction.  You either have too much work or not enough.  It’s hard having it come in just as you need it.

I’ve reached an age where I can just about picture myself retiring.  Now that’s scary.  Because when you think about it, no one is conscientiously  going to grow old, are they?  We all are going to go on and on until we reach middle age, somewhere way in the future.  But grow old?  Never!

So imagine my disheartenment when I read this on the Internet yesterday…

I know how to fix social security.  It is very simple.  End it.  Baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964 still get it.  The rest forge ahead with a new program.  It will be called Social Assurance.  Families that take care of their own will benefit the greatest.  They will see reduced taxes if not eliminated all together.  Oh, there will be other means for the government to collect taxes, don’t worry about that.  But these families will not pay taxes on their wages.  Imagine that.  Keeping Grandma might be a better financial arrangement than shipping her to an old folks home. 

Medication and health care for those over 65?  Free.  F-R-E-E.  How can we afford this?  Simple.  Health care will become non-profit.  It seems a crime to me to make money on someone else’s illness.  Doesn’t that seem to be a conflict of interest?  If you make them well, they no longer need your services.  So just keep them coming back, stretch it out.  Suck them dry.  Nope, not anymore. 

In 2009 America’s #1 export was military equipment.  Our #2 export was pharmaceuticals.  If we don’t kill them we strive to make them well.  Remove the profiteers from these two “commodities” and we might be able to do away with a lot of things.

Did you know that there are a record number of Americans living in poverty?

This is happening while we claim to have a better way for the world.  Democracy.  This despite a 12 trillion dollar annual Gross National Product.  So how do we reverse the trend of more  people living in poverty?   Simple.  Stop giving jobs away.  We were at our greatest when we took care of ourselves first.  The Bible says, “Remove the rafter from your own eye, then you can better see how to remove the splinter from your brothers eye.”  Luke 6:42  If we don’t work, we don’t make money.

Did you know illegal substance abuse is higher now?

I guess it is because of the pressure of day-to-day living.  People need to escape.  Alcohol consumption is up, too.    Here’s a thought.  Decriminalize marijuana.  

I’m not saying everyone should smoke a fatty.  Everyone shouldn’t.  I don’t.  But you know, we spend billions on the war against drugs, why not divert our attention to national security instead?  We have not gained anything in making pot illegal, except making our citizens criminals.  More people die because of alcohol related abuse than any other single cause.  Think about it.  Crimes of violence.  Automobile deaths.  Health related deaths.  Work related injuries and deaths.  Throw tobacco in there and the cost is staggering.  Nobody ever knocked over a convenience store because they were high on pot.  

I say educate the public and let them decide.  You can legally brew your own beer, why not grow your own pot?  Curtail the selling of marijuana, yes.  Sell it as you do tobacco and alcohol, yes.  And of course, tax it.  Limit it’s use as we already limit alcohol and tobacco.  I don’t think we would become a nation of pot-heads.  Millions have tried it and left it behind.  Some have used it all their lives and functioned normally.  We can’t predict how society will respond, so why are we trying to protect us from ourselves, especially when it is an unpopular and costly effort that has not garnished any positive gains?  The definition of insanity?  Trying the same solution to a problem and expecting different results.  We need a broader mind, not a closed one.

And another thing.  This insurance business.

It comes down to profit again.  I don’t think the U.S. government should be in the insurance business.  In fact, I don’t think anybody should.  If it is broken, lets fix it.  If you are sick, let’s make you better.  If you have lost it, let’s replace it.  It is that simple. 

Our society should operate like a family.  We take care of our own.  There is no enrichment at another’s expense, there is no profiting off another’s calamity.  The old ways are gone.

Okay.  How are we going to PAY for all this progress?  Simple.

Social Assurance means faith in ourselves.  That we will be treated honestly and fairly.  That we will be cared for and looked out after.  This is a pact we make unto ourselves, this is a creed we will live by that as long as we are treated fairly, we will treat others the same way.  There is no greed because of an un-certain future.  There is no theft for lack of necessity.  There is no animosity or suspicion of motive.

What do we all want?  To live and let live.  To go our way, to be clothed and fed and sheltered from the elements.  To see our loved ones prosper, not just financially but morally, physically and spiritually.

Social Assurance means trust in each other.

Most dreams seem far-fetched… but the reality is, our set course is not our desired destination.


Our Father Who Art in Heaven, how’d ja know my name?

September 11, 2010

oh boy, I mean… Oh non-gender reference!  Yet another attempt to take the masculine out of the scriptures.  And, agree with it or not, you gotta wonder… why?  Why this feeling that God should not be a male figure?  And does that now include Jesus as not being God’s Son?

Rather than alienate us, doesn’t a father figure tend to draw us closer to the Almighty?  This is a term that we as humans can relate to.  A father guides and protects us.  A father provides for his family.  A father sets the example.  God as a person means He has characteristics; feelings, ideas, morals, empathy, etc.  Viewed as merely a Being it makes Him seem alien and distant.  He becomes just a force, similar to electricity.  If we are to have a relationship with someone, don’t we want to understand that person?  and be confident that He understands us?  For us to draw close to God would require us to have trust in Him, devotion to Him and faith in Him.  We could only do this if God has a personality.  Otherwise, it might be His power that holds us in awe (which it does) and makes us fear Him. 

God doesn’t want us to fear Him in the sense that He might smite us.  Rather, He wants us to love Him and trust Him like a child does his father, having a fear of dis-pleasing Him.  You know and love your father, not because of his strength, but because of his approachability and understanding of your weakness.  And that comes from having a grasp of him as a person, knowing how he will react to your affections, knowing he will return them in kind.  He will not view them as petty.
This does not diminish the fact that He IS the Supreme Being, as we are all human beings, He is a spiritual one.  By studying God’s word you learn who God is.  Not just the nuts and bolts of His laws, but the love He has that tempers everything He does.  You learn faith, not as blind obedience to a God that is distant and emotionally detached, but faith in the person you have built a relationship with.  You develop a relationship that is as close as the thing most dear to your heart, knowing He is one that you can trust with your inner most thoughts, fears, hopes and dreams. 

Imagine trying to love a father whom you have never met.  He sired you and left you on your own to grow up.  Could you love this man simply because he caused your birth?  Wouldn’t he become this “being”, this insemination machine who caused you to be born but didn’t take an interest in your development?  In that sense he would lose his masculinity and become an object, much the way taking the masculine out of the Bible will do.  But our Heavenly Father is not such a being.  He is a provider, a wise leader with a caring and nuturing character.  He communicates with us and informs us which is the best course for us as his children. 

There are times when God says we must be like Him.  Hating what is bad.  Slow to anger.  Being long-suffering and exercising self-control among other qualities.  We would not view these as being unattainable for us.  God wouldn’t put things before us and tell us to strive to reach these goals if they were not within our grasp, that would be cruel.  We are created in God’s image and can display the qualities of God, and God has given us free will, the ability to choose our life’s course.  All other creatures of earth have instinct, a programming of character.  God allows us the choice to be who we are at our own reckoning. 

The Bible mentions the nation of Israel as being God’s wife and He being her husband.  What better way to show that God wants to be involved with the nurturing and development of His people?  The Bible also talks about how God takes special consideration of the “fatherless boy”.  If the masculine is taken away from the Bible, how would this passage be rendered as relevant and still convey God’s compassion?

It seems religion attempts to be all things to everyone no matter how their lifestyle contradicts the Bible.  As we re-write history and God’s holy word, does it really make us better Christians?  Or does it soothe our desire to direct ourselves first thus enabling us to provide token service to some emotionally detached, all powerful Being? 

A creator that is so distant we regard Him as an afterthought?

The Bible says we are created in the image of God, male and female He made us.  It is reasonable to conclude that God has the attributes of both genders in His personality. 

But as the Father He planted the seed of creation.  Try as we might, we cannot change that.


John Lennon Sat Here…

September 3, 2010

I wonder if nothing is sacred?  But then again, I have a friend who is a collector and oddities are his specialty.  Sometimes it’s not what you do, but what you doo doo. 

I think that with John’s sense of humor and wit, this would have given him a reason to smile.  After all, didn’t he perform with a toilet seat over his head?  Another time he appeared in public with a sanitary napkin on it.

The new owner of this should put it next to Elvis’ throne.