Thursday, March 31, 2016

All is Well with the World

So I wake up this AM, head to the garage and turn on the small radio seated precariously on a window edge.  I keep the radio tuned to that communist mouthpiece, NPR.  It's part of my morning ritual.  Knowing what those pinko Liberals are up to is a 24/7 job.  I want to hit the ground running in case they have made good on their plan to take over the US government.

So what is the first thing I hear?  Yeah, that's right, Donald Trump trying to walk back from his comments last night at another one of his town halls.  Apparently his latest comments have angered the both the Pro Lifers and the Pro Choicers.  Way to go Donald.  Then I hear his well informed take on the use of tactical nuclear missiles.  He would not rule out their use in Europe if the need arose.  This made many European butts pucker hard, I am sure.

As I listened to the radio in the garage, I realized that if Donald was the topic, then all was well with the World.  I had not entered another dimension or universe in my sleep.  I was still on planet Earth and another day on the planet was about to begin.  Excellent.  It's always nice to know I didn't wake up dead.

Keep it 'tween the ditches .........................................

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Musings From the Throne

The magazine rack next to the throne had a new rag sticking out of it this AM.  Almost notebook sized and it looked substantial.    As I am prone to do when conducting the kingly business that happens when on the throne, I will choose from the variety of periodicals and read to distract myself from the necessary but boring duties I must deal with while on that throne.  A king's work is never done and well, I take my entertainment where I find it.

I pick up this new addition stuffed in the magazine rack.  It is a Reader's Digest.  It is at least 2 times bigger than the Reader's Digests I remember hanging around doctor offices everywhere when I was younger.   The cover has the classic Reader's Digest logo in huge letters.  Nearby the words, "Large Print" tells me this Reader's Digest focused readership are old farts.

I immediately forget wondering why there is a Reader's Digest  even mixed in with the normal rags found in the throne side rack.  I shift to a feeling of being insulted.  I am sure my lovely wife is the culprit who placed this reminder of old age at my fingertips.  She's sneaky that way.  Always leaving little tokens around that tell me I screwed up somewhere.  Dirty dishes piled up at my place on the kitchen table.  Bags of trash piled in the living room I neglected to remove in timely manner.

But  a copy of a large print Reader's Digest?  What could this mean?  Her point seemed way more subtle than my pitiful excuse of a mind could handle.  I could still read fine.  Did not need large print anything yet.  Although it does seem the miserly bastards in charge of the print world now are  using smaller print.  If she had left a hearing aid next to the TV remote, I would immediately get the point.  But a large print Reader's Digest?  Her possible motive was beyond me.

I lost interest as to her motivation once I opened the mag.  Immediately, memories of waiting rooms form my youth came flooding back.  I remembered one doctor I visited while we lived in Tallahassee, Florida.  I had a recurring appointment schedule with him after a collapsible wooden chair tried to cut one of my fingers off.  Over the course of a two to three month period, he had the same two magazines in his waiting room.  Both were dogeared and almost unreadable.  One was a Time from several years before and the other a five year old Reader's Digest.   I read both enough, I almost had them memorized.

As I thumbed through this modern day version of Reader Digest's effort to fight the digital tide, my wife's possible motives faded.  The larger type threw me off at first.  As each page turned, I saw one familiar feature after another.  "Humor in Uniform", the obligatory crossword puzzle, word power quiz, "Points to Ponder", all the old go to features were there.  This was Reader's Digest alright.  Bigger maybe and on cheaper paper, but it was the same as I remembered from years ago.

Oddly, this brought me some comfort.  No matter how much things change, tokens from the past hang in there, reminding us that the past is never very far behind us.

Keep it 'tween the ditches ...........................................

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Honoring Easter

"..... And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made."

"And God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it."  ~~~ From the beginning of Chap Two - Genesis

Grouped together to the side of the Church entrance in small clusters of 3 or 4, the ladies hug and exchange gossip while carefully checking out what everyone is wearing.  Their white gloved hands hold small handbags in one hand and in the firm grip of the other hand, the wild child from their brood pulls hard like a dog on a leash.  They speak in whispers and cast secretive glances at the women in the other circles.  Their Sunday bonnets  are carefully placed to accentuate any movement of their heads while starched dresses swish, sounding like a soft wind passing through a picket fence.

The men, stiff in their Sunday go to Meeting best, stand across the main walkway in small groups smoking and speaking in low voices.  Their macho affection is passed hand to hand or the occasional squeeze of a shoulder.  An irreverent laugh is heard from one group or the other causing some of the flock to purse their lips in disapproval.  How dare levity be allowed to break the solemn moment about to come.

A church elder opens the two big doors.  Organ music flows out to the crowd announcing this week's broadcast from Station WGOD is about to begin.  Cigarettes are crushed, ties adjusted, and dresses smoothed.  The two genders come together on the main walk and re-group with family and close friends.  They head into church to find their seats.

This is how I remember it.  Not this exactly. but something like this happened every Sunday in the first 13 years of my life.  Sunday was a big deal in my youth.   Such a big deal in fact, I soon realized at about age 8, that if this was supposed to be a day of rest to honor our creator, then why did we spend the better part of an otherwise perfectly good day not following the example he had set.  God was taking a breather, then by jeezus, so should we.

Spending an hour getting ready to go to church, another 30 minutes in the car to get to church and then an hour plus alternating from sitting to kneeling and back again.  Back in the car and another 30 minutes home ......... well, in my childish mind, this church going activity could hardly be considered restful.  Not for me, that was for sure.   Going to church was the most work I did all week.  The six other days of the week I was busy being a kid wearing holes in my knees and not washing behind my ears.  Church on Sunday for me as kid was an obligatory punishment like sitting in the corner at school.  Only I had done nothing wrong. I had broken no rules.  Why was I being punished?

When I grew older and decided that God really didn't keep very good tabs on us, I went my own way.  But just in case he was there and paying attention to the silliness of me and what I got into,  I hedged my bets and honored his command to not do anything on that seventh day of the week whenever I could.

On Sunday, Laziness is next to Godliness ................ That's my take anyway.

Happy Easter

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Atomic Collisions

If I entertain the notion that Life is an accident, existence without a reason, then I only embrace the outer crust of Life.  Certainly, the arbitrary joy and pain that accompanies the events of a Life could lead me to believe that Life is but a crap shoot with random dice.  Existence is unfiltered, raw, without a goal. ............ But am I missing something just living Life on this rigid surface?

If I feel that Life is the fulfillment of well made plans and calculations made before Time was invented, am I also just living Life on but another of Life's rigid planes?  Certainly, the science Humanity has come up with to explain things could indicate that some blueprint was at least consulted before the Big Bang or the 6 day fabrication by God.  There is just too much logic and math in the physical construction of what we call Existence for me to believe that what we have here is an accidental confluence of atomic collisions.

Who is right?

Over the years I have considered various takes on Existence, Humanity and the Cosmos.  As a child I was indoctrinated with the comfortable and accepted explanations of the Judaeo-Christian world I was born into.  Fantasies were constructed to fill me with shock and awe about vengeful Gods, and where I would end up if I dared to cross them.  I soon realized that what was wanted of me was to believe myths as truth and turn me into an obedient servant of the culture that surrounded me.  Enlightenment was possibly a perk, but not the first order of business.

I wanted to believe in God.  An all caring and forgiving God.  The more I became aware of the events unfolding around me, both near and far, it seemed that God was not all that caring.  Forgiveness was not even part of their plan.  We were left to our own devices and how we existed would only matter to us and not God.  "I planted the garden.  Now you are on your own".  And Creator moved on to the next project on the to do list.

I tried to embrace the idea of Atheism and just could not do it.  They have their points, but again I feel there is just too much order in the nuts and bolts of the Universe to dismiss it all as an accident.  Atheists are like fundamental religion folks.  Their narrow focus on a Universe larger than our imaginations dismisses too many potentialities and possibilities.  I came to the conclusion sometime in my 20's that because there were so many what if's available to my meager mind, conventional organized religion and current Atheistic slants were only a few of the infinite number of possible explanations for Existence.

I sought and am still seeking my own explanation for the reason we even exist.  Some days I wonder if it is not part of some grand plan.  Other days I am sure we are the result of doodling on a page far out in the Cosmos and then tossed in the recycle bin awaiting shredding.  But most days, I don't give Existence a thought.  I rely on Descartes to dismiss and apologize my shallow thinking....

....... I think, therefore I am.  The rest is all Bullshit.

My apologies to Rene and anyone else for reading between his lines.

Keep it 'tween the ditches ............................................

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Same Old Tired Issues

Every election cycle the same tired issues and their even more tired solutions pop up.  These issues hover around every national campaign, sometimes moving front and center, sometimes just hanging out on the periphery with their tired, loser friends.  There are too many to count or is it, too many to rant about in the short time I have given myself to write this post?  Who knows?  Who cares?

Today folks, who may or may not be waiting with bated breath for the next great piece of wisdom or stunning observation I have to impart,  uh .... Where was....... Oh Yeah.  Today, I have my panties in a bunch over "Term Limits".

No doubt there is nationwide disgust with Congress.  I have not talked with anyone who thinks Congress as a whole is conducting business as it should.  Matter of fact, I don't think I have ever talked with someone who thought everything was wonderful and trusted our legislators as stand up leaders of our country.   And while we hold Congress as a whole in extreme contempt, when we are asked if that includes our state's specific Senator or Representative, there is an even chance we do not include them as part of the overall cluster fuck that is DC.  It ain't "their guy or gal", it is all those other Bozos from away screwing things up.

Like the weather, Congress has always been a go to whine we pull out of our Complaing quiver when some inside the gulliwots emotion needs purging.  Complaining is a national pastime.  And when the complaint is regarding elected officials, one of the solutions used to alleviate the stress of complaining is term limits.

Somehow by instituting a limit on how long they can stay will magically make Congress work better?  Hmm ............... Is there any real proof this would work?  Or is it just wishful thinking?  If indeed the latter, then I would say no to term limits.  Too many laws based on wishful thinking have been passed that fell flat on their face.  It is the system that needs changing, not the time frame of those who sit in Congress.  Both parties have quite an extensive network of farm teams with players just waiting to replace those who have to leave because of term limits.   They are eager to please those who run their particular political machine.   The same political and economic interests will still be pulling the strings.  Under term limits, they might wield more power I am thinking.   It is often easier to control the rookie than the seasoned vet.  Especially if they have come up through the party ranks.

 An experienced politician, well liked among their electorate, should be allowed to continue as long as the electorate wants them.  An experienced politician is more likely to garner goodies for their district than a rookie.  Term limits would increase the power a larger populated region or state has over the less populated areas.  And besides people, we already have friggin term limits.  They are called elections.  If we do not get off our butts to toss them out, then we get what we deserve.

Okay so say you don't agree with my take above.  That's fine.  There are other arguments I could field to defend my contempt for the notion of term limits.  But I won't.  It comes down to the responsibility of living in our so called free country.   My mother ingrained in me the idea that if there was one key duty as an American, it was to vote.  Term limits just make it easier to shirk that duty.

My distaste for term limits does not mean I would cast them aside completely.  I think term limits tied to elected officials is a bad idea.  But if we want to discuss the possibility of term limits for appointed officials not tied to administrations changing hands, uh like say SCOTUS, then I would gladly back a movement to limit the time a Supreme Court Justice can arbitrarily affect our lives.  We could limit the terms to a length of time long enough to not be tied to the current party who was large and in charge.  Make it a 15 year appointment and make sure it falls in an off election year.  Or something like that.

Keep it 'tween the ditches ........................................

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Loss

In a few minutes I will take a break from writing this to dig a hole in the backyard as I have done all too many times before.  I will take some time to pick just the right spot, as if it will make a difference and somehow allow her to lay comfortably in the afternoon sun, the morning sun or out of the wind that often blows tirelessly over our hilltop.

Somehow finding the right resting place is important in my grieving process.  In my mind I know it matters little what I do with her physical remains.  But in my heart, picking the right piece of ground brings me some small comfort and eases my pain if only for a moment or two.

As I plunge the spade into the ground and scoop out the earth, each shovel full will bring with it a memory of our 13 years together.  And with each shovel full of dirt, I will come closer to accepting the notion that she will be truly gone from my life, ....... from this life.

I will shed tears.  I always do.  The little bastards always manage to find their way into my heart, even as I deal with their inevitable accidents and stupid pet tricks.

But the time has come.  Prolonging her life at this point is not doing it for her.  It is prolonging it for me and my wife.  Her suffering must end, and today is the day.

R.I.P Stub, I will miss you.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

It's Never Been This Bad

Bullshit.

I hear political comments like this more and more about the sad state, the nation and the World are in.   If most were talking about the rest of the World, then they might have a leg to stand on.  But when it comes to political, social, and religious issues, the citizens of the US really need to take a friggin breath.  Other parts of the World are enduring serious heartbreaking and dangerous situations.  Here in the States, we have it made.  Our piss ant issues pale in comparison to the events unfolding in half the World at least..

It has most certainly been worse here in our past and not that long ago.  In spite of ourselves, this country manages to stumble in the right direction in many ways.  When I think about some of the misguided and evil policies fostered on our citizens in the last century, and then see what is going on outside our shores, I realize that for all my skepticism, the USA is not a bad place to be stuck in.  Wrongs get Righted here, even it feels like pulling teeth.

No matter what area of social injustice you might care to look, the US has been a leader of the pack or close behind in addressing those injustices.  Righting wrongs was and will  always be messy and results often mixed at first.  But once the change has had a chance to really settle into the collective mindset, then down the road we will consider the firestorm that resolved it as just another footnote in our progess to find true civilization.

That's what's on my mind this AM........ Later

Monday, March 07, 2016

Toss the GOP Out On It's ..........

................... Ear.

And when we have done that, start kicking the Democrats out.

I only give the GOP priority at this point in our political history, as they have done more harm recently than the Democrats.

And I am not talking about this current Presidential election.  This recent campaign just points up how dysfunctional the whole system has become.  If we want to re-claim any semblance of the democratic process, we need to rid ourselves of the two party system as it currently stands.  These two parties have colluded over the years and rigged the division of power so that only they wield the big sticks.  And behind the scenes the same uber elite class pulls the strings for both.

So I propose we kick out every Republican holding any elected office of any kind.  Particularly the elected officials in legislatures at the state and national level.  Do not let them get away with the excuse that it was not they who did this or that, it was their predecessor, or the opposing side or lay the blame on a bureaucracy the system they are part of put in positions of power.  Make them responsible for the stupidity their party has practiced over the last two decades.  Hell, if I had my way, I'd make them pay for pushing Ronnie into our lives in 1980.

What we have in this country is not the Right / Left ideological struggle the two parties have created.  It is really a Class War based on economic standing.  Ideology matters little to the leadership of either party when it comes to serving the whims of their rich benefactors who are very comfortable and cozy living their lives in the shadows.

This cozy arrangement is nothing new.  The influence of the rich has been part of political history forever.  A country can handle a certain amount of it, but there is a tipping point.  We are approaching that tipping point.  Often, when the rich get out of hand or try to control too much, the resulting kick back is not just change, but catastrophic failure and downfall of the existing social and political system.  History is chock full of examples.

Later .................................

Saturday, March 05, 2016

Our Real Enemy

When we criticize the current state of the present day political, economic, social cluster fuck unfolding before our eyes, many of us need to find someone or something to blame.  I am certainly guilty when in knee jerk mode.

We blame Obama.  We blame those damn Republicans, Democrats, Aristocrats, Holy Rollers, or sleazy banker investment guys safely ensconced in glass and steel castles found in the heart of every city in the world.

We look for scapegoats when we should be looking in the mirror.  It took all of us to create what we have, good and bad.  The good, usually is a result of cooperative effort by a few or often the many.  The bad, well, from my viewpoint, it usually happens because too many are too lazy or self absorbed to pay attention.  Apathy is our greatest vice and as a species we seem comfortable ignoring its impact.

My favorite quote that succinctly captures my point is comic strip appearing on Earth Day, 1971.  Pogo nails it:

We Have Met the Enemy and He is Us

Later ................................................................

Friday, March 04, 2016

Hi Yo Silver

The Lone Ranger from Utah gallops in to defend the Grand Old Party from being taken over by an impostor and sullying the high ethical standards and holier than thou moral values held so near and dear to the hearts of true conservatives throughout the land.  For him to make this trip, God must indeed be angry.

He wears his righteous indignation on the sleeves of his Brooks Brother suit and proclaims, "Donald Trump is a faker and con artist ........... he is playing the American people for suckers."

I was positive that the GOP comedy unfolding before my eyes could not get any crazier.  Yet, last night before the debate and during, it did.  High schoolers running for student council act more mature than the clowns swapping "mine is bigger than yours" insults in front of a national audience.  This is no longer a street fight.  It has devolved into tussle between snot nosed brats on the kindergarten playground.   Kasich was the only one who even came close to looking presidential and he came off looking like the flustered teacher in charge of the playground that day.

And then good ole Mitt claims that Trump is playing Americans for suckers.  Oh the Irony.  The only difference between Mitt and the Donald is Donald is a used car salesman and Mitt is the real estate sales guy peddling acreage in the swamps of Florida.  But I guess it takes a con artist to recognize another one.

This shit you just can't make up.  Absolutely a wonderful case of Truth being way stranger than fiction.

Keep it 'tween the ditches ..............................................

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Stupor Tuesday

The clown circus was stretched pretty thin trying to make friends and insult enemies in the 11 states up for grabs yesterday.  I have to say they did an admirable job though, showing up sometimes in 3 or 4 states in one day.  It's like the Oscars I guess, I don't care who won or who lost.  But it is fun to watch them parade down the red carpets.

The victors yesterday blessed their adoring crowds with heart filling slogans to make us feel proud that our land of the free and home of the brave is going to be, not just great again, but finally whole also.  The losers, well, who cares what they said?  Just more sniping bullshit no one wants to listen to.  After all, this is a great country that has no time for losers, has beens, and whiners.  Right?

I was labeled a cynic recently in a comment on a previous post.  When it comes to American politics, I have many years of dashed hopes behind me.  It amazes me I have not just given up and joined the majority of American Homers who watch Housewives of New Jersey instead of watching this political joke we deal with every four years.  It really does not matter that the idiots we allow to lead have real impact on our lives.  As long as our cable still works, we can access Facebook, and tweet to our heart's delight, whatever else happens is of no concern.

Wow, That last paragraph was damn cynical.  Okay, I am going to try to find a ray of hope and puppy dog goodness in recent political events. ............... Uh ............Hmm .........  Hey, I'm working on it.  Back off.

Okay, I walked away from the computer to allow my mind to take a breath and relax.  I engaged in mindless routine.  I scooped poop from the litter trays.  I loaded dishes in the dish washer.  I filled the ice cube trays sitting sink side.  All the while, doing my best to find one small smidgen of Hope in the scam we call our political process.  Sadly, at the moment I just do not see any.  Until we insist on better leadership not tied to a rigged two party system, we will continue to elect people who serve interests other than ours.  Voting for those who tell us what we want to hear rather than electing those who tell us what we should hear ensure the same old clowns control of our lives.

Later ......................................