Saturday, October 15, 2016

How Do You Keep Going?

How Do You Keep Going?

I have a million other things to do, but I must take a minute and ask, “How does a person keep going, when everything that comprises their overall situation seems to be going to hell in a handbasket?”

We are in a situation as a species, where we simply cannot continue to function as these distinct groups; i.e. Nations, Races, Religions, Genders, Political Factions, etc..  Our own ingenuity, inventiveness, basically evolution has brought us to a place where anyone can be just about anywhere on this weird rock in rotation around a burning ball of gas, can be in constant contact, including visually, with anyone else on the same rock.  I have a brother who lives in Australia.  I have gone there for a visit and it took nearly 36 hours of extremely exhausting travel to get there.  And, that is because we can now travel across an ocean that would have taken years just about one hundred years ago (okay, maybe 150 years ago), in less than a day.

That was 20 years ago.  Now I can hit one button, with one finger, on a device I can hold in one hand and be basically on his back porch with him and we can drink a glass of wine and watch the Australian fruit-bats fly overhead together.  He can be right there with me when I am riding my motorcycle in Virginia and see just what I am seeing – as I am riding.  I have attended business meetings with people in Minneapolis, San Francisco and Beijing; not from Minneapolis, San Francisco and Beijing, but each of us en locus (in those places!).  We see each other, converse in real time and exchanged important documents, altered, edited and voted on final drafts in real time.

I have seen a new device advertised that is capable of translating any language, on the fly, into any other language and is the size of a standard hearing aide.  While this may not be quite ready for International Marketing, you just know it will be, and soon. 

I have six grandchildren.  I am Caucasian (full blooded as far as I know).  NONE of my grandchildren are.  In one generation we have become a Rainbow Family.  As a High School teacher for 30 years, I have seen my general student class make-up change from mostly white to just about an even split and the last few years to kids who were multi-racial.  Many of them a mix within two generations of multi-colors and ethnicities.  I had one student whose mother was a French Black woman married to an Arabic man who had parents who were Asian, Black and White jumbled all together.  His mother was Catholic, his father was Muslim and one of his grandparents was Jewish.  This ten-year old spoke five languages, two dialects of Egyptian, played the piano and the violin and was a member of the “Pi 100 Club”.  He was great kid.  He was one of several with nearly this kind of family.

I just don’t see how it is possible to stand in one place anymore and not realize that you can instantly be anywhere else on the whole planet, at least in perception, and believe that there can exist an US and THEM. 
I had to retire from teaching because my own responsibilities went from writing one basic report on each of three three-month grading periods and attaching a letter grade for each student to – an on-line report on each student after every class.  And to do so within the ten minute change period between classes or receive a reprimand.  To do this and clean up and prepare for each successive class and then do all the prep for the next day after work (?), well, the stress became just too much. 

And, I know I am not alone with this kind of daily work stress.  The general global daily stress load for every single human has quadrupled, by my own observation, within my lifetime.  In Developed Nations every single action by every single human can be, and often is, observed by every other human in those places.  It is digitally recorded and stored in-the-cloud for fucking forever!  Currently, in today’s world, if you are born in just a reasonably Developed Nation, you had better never fuck up (sorry for the language) EVER!  From birth! 

Hospitals, by law in this country, used to take a footprint of the right foot of every infant born and stick it on your Birth Certificate.  That was it.  A single copy of a hand type-written document, signed by Doctor and parents, with a little black ink footprint.  The only proof you existed.  When you turned 16 you could get a Social Security card with a number on it and a Driver’s License.  The Driver’s License didn’t even have your picture, or anything on it, when I was sixteen.  When you needed to prove you were who you said you were, you just showed your Driver’s License and said you were who this limp cardboard card said you were.  And the response was always, “Okay”.  I am 5’ 7”, my brother is 6’ 2”.  We have the same last name.  I could have flipped out his card and unless they bothered to read the tiny, tiny print, nobody would know!!!

When I was in College I got in and out of Canada AND Mexico, by walking across the border … !  If I was stopped I could have shown any kind of card that said I was George Washington (!) born in 1725 and nobody would have really questioned it.  Of course, now they take a DNA sample, record it in about a thousand databases and you can be identified with 99% accuracy with a dab from the inside of your mouth.  Or a hair follicle.  Soon by a single skin cell left on any surface, anywhere, at any time.  GEEZE! 

All in all, even if the population doubles (which would not be a good thing actually) every human could be instantly located, almost instantly, almost anywhere, at any time.  And, their identity be 100% established, instantly.   WE have become a single beehive, with a single identity and truly a single purpose – to survive.  The sooner as a Global Population, we recognize this as nearly fact … or soon to be a fact, the better our chances of not going down the dinosaur route. 

So as a species, humans become one mind in billions of separate bodies.  However, Free Will will always exist, as long as we are not actually physically co-joined (which is not only impossible, but would be a logistical nightmare).  How would we get on and off the subway?  Or decide on what to restaurant to go to – since part of us would already be there?  It would be a problem.   And since, Free Will would still exist, things like religion and indigenous cultural differences would still exist.  With language ceasing to be a barrier, and language has been the actual greatest barrier for the length of our existence as a species, we are just going to have to learn to be tolerant and get along. 

There really IS no other way to avoid an apocalypse.  We have the capacity to also instantly kill each other by the millions in thousands of absolutely horrible ways.  You never feel the urge to take out your family and true friends, so that is what WE have to become; accept each other as Family.

That’s it, really.  That’s the ONLY way forward and out of the conundrum we find ourselves in. 

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Crows: Vol. 2 - Not In My House!

Crows: Vol. 2 - Not In My House!

“A murder of crows” refers to a group, a crowd, a bunch of, crows.  These linguistic tricks of English with pluralities I find very intriguing.  Why, is a “herd” of cows and a “pride” of lions and stuff like that?  To me crows are really fascinating animals; supposedly one of the smartest birds, even smarter than … say … dogs … (although dogs are not birds – I do know that) Whatever.  So considering their intelligence, their personalities are very curious.  Hence, I use their iconic nature to make isolated and interesting evidences. 

- Why does the American political party, that emancipated slaves, want to reinstate that same condition?  Return to the Founding Fathers thinking?  The only citizens, according to the U.S. Constitution, in 1776, allowed to vote were white men who owned property??!!!??

- The Maori people of New Zealand are large framed people, as I understand.  Or, very large of stature.  The largest American, by and large (get it, ha-ha), would be the men at like 5’10” and let’s say around 190 to 210 lbs. on the average.  So how did we get so big?  As big as the average male Maori, but not due to genetics?  I sit in my local coffee shop and one after the other, they come in and these Americans are yuge!  I mean like massive!  Men and women.  I drive a two-door Toyota Yaris.  I could not give a ride to these persons.  They could not get into my vehicle!!  One of the reasons I rarely lock the doors – there is hardly an American who could get in it, in order to steal it.

- The Philly Cheese Steak is the gourmet signature meal of the City of Brotherly Love.  First you take red beef, full of stockyard hormones, antibiotics and fat, and then you put American cheese, a basically artificial non-food food product, full of weird ingredients, including red and yellow food dyes – known to cause cancer – melted all over the whole mess.  It’s like a heart attack with arterial chocking cholesterol on top.  Yum!

- Apparently Canada is about to euthanize, gas – get rid of – kill – a big bunch of stray dogs.  Public health issues and safety, or something.  I predict a ton of Americans will rush to their rescue.  And, for some reason we can’t help out humans who are war refugees – including several hundred thousand children!  Worried about terrorism.  Hmmm … if a human is like eight years old and hasn’t had a full meal in about two years, weighs maybe 85 lbs. or less (probably less) and can barely walk across a room, how is this child going to commit any kind of an act of terrorism?  What are they going to do, throw handfuls (handsfull) of gravel at people big enough to kill them by sitting on their chest? 

- Hate; - what do you do if you get stuck somewhere in an emergency and the only person who stops to help you is somebody from some group you have decided you hate? 
Caveat; - what if you decided not to hate anybody?  Wouldn’t that be easier?
Caveat 2; - what if you forgot that you had decided to hate a person, and they did something really nice for you, something that you really needed help with and then later remembered, “WhoopsI, I was supposed to hate that person.” ?

- I have decided that I am going to be civil to everyone – even Republicans!  In general I am civil to everyone anyway, but it’s going to take a lot of effort not to loose it with the … no, I’m not going to say it.  Everybody gets a smile.

- Drivers – I don’t think most drivers, here in the USA anyway, notice it, but despite all the warnings about using cell phones while driving, is totally ubiquitous.  Now, if it were a national requirement that everybody must ride a bicycle in their normal everyday life for – say – three months, before being allowed to drive on the highway, I doubt there would be as many distracted drivers – trying their best to kill everybody else.  Or, they could substitute a European style motor scooter or even a motorcycle.  Any mode of self directed type of wheeled vehicle, where they do not have seat belts, air-bags, crush-zones and two to three tons of steel and plastic and shatter-proof glass surrounding them.  Enough close calls with idiots on their phones, eating, music way too loud, drinking beer and turning around to talk to another idiot in the back seat and just maybe they would focus a bit more when they are captaining their own tank in the middle of the rest of us.
Yes, music too loud – when I’m next to some person at a stoplight and I can feel the vibration of their crappy rap or country western noise up through my feet straddling a 600 lbs. bike – it’s too fucking loud.

- If “disco” is dead, why have so many contemporary movies chosen to use it as background soundtracks?

- The 90’s were incredible and I feel sorry for those of you who missed it.  And I have sympathy for all those who prepped for the fall of humanity when it flipped to the year 2000.  I was a large school’s Director of Technology and we didn’t have a single computer even hiccough, let alone crash.  What a bunch of pussies.  We knew it was coming, we adjusted for it, prepared and – blip – nothin’ happened.  Now Nov. 8th this year has me concerned, even more than Y2K.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Guns – Stirring The Pot

Guns – Stirring the pot.

He’s not going to actually write an article on guns.  Not really … no … why is he going to do that?  Well, only in America, versus pretty much any other country on the planet, is the use of decidedly dangerous, destructive, deadly, conveniently useable, and deadly (did I already say deadly) – yes, deadly murderous tools, such a hot topic.
Just addressing the topic of regulating guns, in this country, can get you shot by one.

Evolution in the application of Common Sense has taken a reverse turn in America, when it comes to guns.  The 2nd Amendment - when it was written, it took the average person nearly a full minute, lots of experience, several different ingredients used in precise manners for it to fire one bullet. And 25% of the time it didn't work.
I think in reference to true and honest history, any American ought to be able to own and operate all, and any, of the single shot muzzle-loading firearms they want.  Have a hundred of them, all set in a row in your living room, if you want.  Nail them to the front of your house if you want.  Carry it on your back, stick down the leg of your pants – open-carry; conceal carry (if you can).  WTF ever!

The ONLY restriction would be that it may not be capable of firing more than one bullet per minute.  That bullet may not have a force more capable than passing through one thin crust pizza before all of its energy is expired.

Any other form, model or design of firearm should require some proof of certified skill and learned provable responsibility.  JUST LIKE A FUCKING CAR!!!  Why is that such an infringement on personal liberty?  Hate the government that provides you with overall international safety, schools, roads, bridges, fire departments, police departments and thousands of other necessary elements you don’t even think about – hate that government all you want.  That is also your right, and it is your freedom under the 1st Amendment to stand on a street corner and shout your hatred towards that government. 

I do not believe it is the right of every man, woman, child and large dog to carry around an instrument that can spit out thousands of rounds of bullets per minute, capable of putting holes through the average house wall!! 

Having had two suicides by gunshot in my immediate family, I can say that in both cases I doubt sincerely that either would have occurred if a gun had not been available. Both were women, who supposedly rarely use guns to take their lives. However, both were wonderful young vibrant women and highly intelligent. I have always felt certain that had not a gun been right at hand and were they forced to think of some other manner, they would not have done it. Guns were not within their immediate daily lives.

Other methods were, with some truly deep intent, are available to anyone at anytime. However, none of these other methods are "sure things". Overdosing, using a vehicle, high bridges - the list is pretty endless. Most of them have a reasonable risk of survival. A bullet to the brain has NO risk of survival and intelligent people know this. No person who is aware they are someone with deep depression keeps a gun around, they just don't. They frequently do have medically prescribed highly effective psychotropic medications, generally a fair amount of those. They do have access to cars, etc.

I myself, a war veteran I might add, live with bipolar disorder and PTSD. I also would add that I have never owned, or will own, any firearms. I was taught to use them when I was in the service. I even have an "Expert Marksman Medal". But I wouldn't be put out if I showed up on a "No Purchase List".

I had a cross-medication reaction once and totaled a car due to a blackout. My driver’s license was revoked before I got out of the ER. It took six months, a required Drivers Ed class and convincing a Judge in court before I got even a conditional license to drive myself to work. And, I was on a "Conditional License" for two years after that. WhyTF don't we have any kind of system to deal with firearms, Constitutional Amendments or not.

Other than that in one score plus a half-century of life, I have never ever broken a single law.  I do have some experience with Police Officers, but that is because they just happen to be friends or neighbors.  No traffic tickets, no law suits, not even a rock thrown at me.  Nu-huffing.  World’s nicest, peace luvin’ guy.  I just like to have the thought tucked in the back of my brain, that the guy next to me packin’ a .38 Special knows how to use it and isn’t a bipolar nut-job like me.

And, that when he’s not packin’, that gun is put away somewhere to which only he has access.  That’s all.  Is that too much to ask?

Sunday, September 4, 2016

How Does It Happen?

How Does It Happen?

Just doing week-end chores, stopping at grocery store and a couple of strip-mall joints.  Hardware store, etc..  So many – so many of my fellow American citizens have become yuge!!  Not just a little bit, but absolutely massive mounds of human flesh on the hoof.  Wa-a-ay beyond big-boned.  Nearly eight out of ten are easily over the 250 lbs limit a lot of lawn furniture states right on the stickers. 

I’m sure when these products were designed and prototyped in China and elsewhere, they were tested and the rest of the world just assumed 250 American pounds, was way past any conceivable need.  Can’t you just hear these 125 lb Chinese engineers and factory managers saying, “250 lbs, that’s 113.4 Kg!  Nobody weighs over 100Kg,  113 oughta be heavy enough.”  Well, dudes, ya gotta come over here and just take a look.  115kg is not out of sight in the U.S.A. any longer.

And this is not any kind of evolutionary adjustment,  It’s not   like   people are just getting taller, so the lower body has gotten bigger.  I admit I am short for an American male, about two inches under the average.  So generally a lot of Americans are as tall or taller than I am, and that hasn’t changed.  Say all seem to have stayed at about the same eye level.  They have just become so wide, two of them cannot walk side by side down a store ailse.

People in the thirties are using those little electric carts to get around SuperMarts.  Bodies are massive, but their faces don’t look all that old.  Their eyes seem to be getting smaller, more embedded pig-like­ in the midst of baby fat that never went away?  I find myself opening doors for disabled people who have got to be my junior by no less than 20 years!  I do not mind at all being courteous to those physically challenged, or whatever, it’s my pleasure and moral duty to do this, but still …?

I really can’t see this as any kind of body shaming.  If a person is born genetically short or super tall, large framed or exceedingly slight … fine.  Hey, ya’r what ya’r.  No big deal, that’s great – diversity and all that.  I had a roommate in college who was 6’8”.  And, really big boned.  Really kind of a giant.  Very nice person, we’re still friends.  He weighed in at maybe 300 lbs..  But he wasn’t at all what you call fat.  He was just really big.

But if you’re 5’8” or 10” and obviously have a regular bone structure, 400 lbs is a bit over the limit – maybe.  Butts the size of ripe watermelons.  Not a watermelon, but two full sized ready for market ripe watermelons – well, time to lay off the pizza and chocolate croissants.  It is not healthy to be 35 years old and have to triple-turn to get out of your car door.  To be 40 and have to grab an electric cart in the parking lot to get to the door of the store, even before you start go-carting around in the product aisles.  Then to have two or three little blobs (children) running behind whining that they have to walk while you ride. 

Sigh … … …
When I walk down the parking lot and I nearly get run over by some enormous pile of person (one person) who has one fist full of some kind of whopper-burger in one hand and their cell phone in the other, also juggling some bucket sized drink, well – I get annoyed.  What are you steering that two ton steel monster with???  I mean, ker-rist, put one of those ham sized hands on the steering wheel – just maybe?  Only a polite suggestion, really.

Thing is, I have to go to the health club, or Fitness Center as they are called these days.  No less than three days a week, I must go there, because two of my Doctors keep telling me I really need to do this.  Sure I’m packing about ten extra pounds, but I am also 70 years old and my metabolism has almost nearly stopped.  Two oatmeal raisin cookies and I seem to gain a pound.  If I don’t weigh myself every time I go to the Fitness Center and force myself to burn off 500 or so calories, I’d get massive like that too.  In just a couple weeks, I can gain 20 pounds these days, if I don’t do my best to work off what I eat.

Since I don’t have any fields to plow, horses to curry or sheep to round up (or shepard, I guess), as most – like 95% of us, I gotta get on some dumb machine and ride ten miles to nowhere, or row ten miles on a dry floor.  My pants get tight if I eat two donuts two days in a row.  How, on earth, does anybody get to the point where they a seatbelt extension on an airplane – without noticing it!  When you haven’t seen your genitals without a mirror in   like   a year!  Doesn’t that set off any alarms in your sense of vanity.  Or, even sense of dignity.

When a standard chair at Starbucks will not contain 50% of your butt, maybe you don’t need that 475 calorie frappe-dappa-chino with four squirts of vanilla hazelnut syrup and four inches of whipped cream on top.  With a 400 calorie chocolate croissant on the side.  Right there you’re surpassing the daily, maybe weekly, allowance of calories of most Third World children.  AND, for most Americans, that’s just a snack between meals.

If you’re forced to buy larger clothes every six months, my compatriots, hey!  You are just eating too much of the wrong foods.  You’re killing the Health System Insurance.  Friends, Medical Science is amazing these days.  It has saved my life because of my bipolarism.  It really can’t save your life if your heart just craps out at 45 because it has not evolved enough to do double or triple the job is was designed (by nature) to do.  Medical Science can prolong your life by 20 years over just three generations ago, but damn!  It’s not Miracle Science, it’s Medical Science.  I think you’re confused.

Take a hint.  If every birthday you have to tell your friends to add an extra “X” to the gifts clothes they get for you, then … well … maybe … something is happening?

Thank you Dear Reader and Joy be unto you.

Just published  “Twelve Roses for Kathy – A journey on a motorcycle out of the darkness of bipolar disorder”