It’s A Combination Of Remembering (AND reading) ~ Late Evening Thoughts…Intermezzo


A dear friend of mine, M. Christopher Boyer, is Pastor at Good Shepard Baptist Church. This morning, he took his congregation on a journey involving the Prophet Amos and the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin issue.

It’s a powerful piece and one I told him was worthy of publication somewhere.  He graciously gave me permission to post it here – and hopefully, he’ll find a wide outlet for his thoughts.

I was going to reprint it in its entirety, but decided to post this link to the printed sermon.  If I posted it on the page in full, I’d be wanting to break it up with pictures and such.  This way it stands alone … in all it’s power.  This being Sunday and all ….

It’s A Combination Of Remembering (AND reading) ~ Late Evening Thoughts…

By now, we all know the cover that uncovered a huge stream of hate/hysteria ….

I'd also direct your attention to the Willie Nelson story in the left hand corner ...

I’d also direct your attention to the Willie Nelson story in the left hand corner …

. Now, I have no argument that the picture is one of a self-confident, somewhat attractive youth.  The look of a lot of college students.  But, even as the picture hit the internet, before distribution – the flames began to fly.   OK, here’s where one of my points comes … IF the cover was only to glorify the bomber, then I don’t think they would have included this statement:


The article itself – which hopefully some people read online – while not exactly the world’s greatest journalism – attempted to deal with the question – why would someone who seeming had everything going for him do something such as this?  What failed him? Did his brother “turn him to the dark side”.  Some of these questions we may only get answers to at the trial…if ever,

I want to wander back in recent history a bit, and take a look at a moment in time and TIME magazine.  When this cover was published, TIME was pretty much everywhere and if not in most homes, was probably read somewhere by someone in that home.

Here’s a cover about Timothy McVey ….

The explosion killed 168 people, including 19 children in the day care center on the second floor, and injured 450 others.

The explosion killed 168 people, including 19 children in the day care center on the second floor, and injured 450 others.

Here’s a good-looking fellow, who lit an explosion that killed 168 people, including 19 children in the day care center on the second floor, and injured 450 others. And TIME is having a debate about should he die.  I don’t recall a huge uproar over the photo or the story.  I don’t recall people wanting to burn the issue or stores refusing to carry it.  It was published, distributed and seemingly “forgotten” as a major issue for people to deal with …

OK, let’s go to another TIME issue a little more recent…Osama Bin Laden

3,460: Approximate number of people killed in the 9/11 attacks in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., including firefighters and paramedics (New York Magazine /Guardian ) 20: Percentage of Americans who knew someone “hurt or killed” at the World Trade Center (New York Magazine )  422,000: Estimated number of New Yorkers with symptoms of PTSD post-9/11 (New York Magazine )

3,460: Approximate number of people killed in the 9/11 attacks in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., including firefighters and paramedics (New York Magazine /Guardian )
20: Percentage of Americans who knew someone “hurt or killed” at the World Trade Center (New York Magazine )
422,000: Estimated number of New Yorkers with symptoms of PTSD post-9/11 (New York Magazine )

So, just looking at the photo as a photo, here’s a fairly handsome person with a slight smile, piercing eyes – and to my untrained eye – has been slightly airbrushed.  Just slightly. And yet –

  • 3,460: Approximate number of people killed in the 9/11 attacks in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., including firefighters and paramedics (New York Magazine /Guardian )
  • 20: Percentage of Americans who knew someone “hurt or killed” at the World Trade Center (New York Magazine )
  •  422,000: Estimated number of New Yorkers with symptoms of PTSD post-9/11 (New York Magazine )

Now, admittedly you might think I’m begging the question with this one, but in a sense, it was presenting a very pretty picture of a very evil person …

Which brings me to the Rolling Stone cover … warts and all.  One of the Boston Police was so upset at the cover he released some shots of the capture (which has now gotten him suspended) .  Sgt. Sean Murphy, Massachusetts State Police photographer really might not have wanted his photos to be used as the cover but was trying to counter-act what he perceived as the glorification of the bomber.  Here’s his picture … and my comments below ..

 caused injuries and death totaling 3 spectators killed and 264 casualties whose injuries were treated in 27 local hospitals

caused injuries and death totaling 3 spectators killed and 264 casualties whose injuries were treated in 27 local hospitals

There actually people today demanding (on Facebook and other places) that Rolling Stone should reissue the magazine with this picture on the cover.  Here’s my problem with that.  Go ahead, enlarge the picture for a moment…. I’ll wait …

This picture does as much to glorify him as the other might.  You have the handsome – albeit blood spattered – youth, with his shirt pulled up above his abs and a laser target on his forehead.  For an arrest photo, it’s also quite well-lit. It could actually pass as a fashion advertisement in a glossy magazine. [if you didn’t know who it was] Certainly, nothing that would tell you “this is an evil, scary killer” …

Here’s where I’m at with this … people didn’t like the photo because it didn’t reach their preconceived notions of what a killer should look like.  It also struck deep into the biases and dislikes that people have.  And sadly, there is no arguing with that.  Let me repeat that – there is no arguing with folks who are biased, discriminatory or yes, even racist.

S. I Hayakawa in his landmark book “Language In Thought And Action” talked about the idea that once we have cast someone in the role of the enemy all communications and actions are immediately suspect and forced to fit the narrative we’ve given them.

Seem familiar? We’ve seen it at two MLB events in the last couple of weeks.  I was watching on Twitter someone attempting to counter someones frankly bigoted argument with the truth Puerto Ricans indeed are US Citizens (have been since I think 1917). the discussion went about as well as you would think … nowhere.

More on this anon ….

That’s So Darwin ~ Late Evening Thoughts …

Absolutely one of my favorite awards to read about are the Darwin Awards:

“Darwin Awards: We watch the watchman watch the watchmen.”
Natural selection deems that some individuals
serve as a warning to others. 
  Who are we to disagree?
The next generation, ever and anon, is descended from the survivors.

Here’s the link to their site  …. for sheer enjoyment ….

The problem with these awards, they are awarded posthumously.  You know, for those who have [thankfully] removed themselves from the gene pool.

As I was wandering around the internet … I discovered some folks that I think I’ll keep and eye on to see if they … um … show up in the awards.

darwin award nominee1 darwin award nominee2 darwin award nominee3 darwin award nominee4 darwin award nominee5 darwin award nominee6 darwin award nominee7These should be fun to follow right???



And They Came To Believe And It Came To Pass ~ Late Evening Thoughts

[updated video link 9/26/2012]

Hopefully, by the time I’m done this post will make sense.  Starting with Friday, this was an amazing weekend for me.  I celebrated a dear friend’s birthday, went with two VERY dear friends to Rocky Horror Picture Show with a wonderful, silly and noisy audience, and Sunday went to a club where I actually felt free to dance and not worry about the “youngers” standing on the sides going “ewwwww”!  I also, at the club had my inner theater geek (30+ years in theater will do that do you) explode as I got to see ~ but sadly not touch ~ the computerized controls for the entire light system.  Yes, it was an amazing, exhausting but fun weekend.  A true mountain top experience.

As we all know, you really can’t live on the mountain top ~ you inevitably must go down into the valley.  And that’s where I came to today.  One thing I’ve learned is that there’s really no good grass or water on the mountain top, it’s down in the valley.  While the valley may not be totally comfortable and it’s certainly NOT the high of the top, it still is very, very important and extremely worthwhile ~ if you let it.

As I was dealing with the “down” of today, my mind went to some of my friends complaints that I have a tendency to believe in people far longer than I should.  I know that it is sometimes a problem.  I had one person I was trying to help who fell into the pattern of using me to “have a place to stay to sober-up, get a little food to eat, clothes washed and a little money” – rinse, repeat.  I have another that I have such a soft spot for…a couple of years ago, he was trying to spark a business and I made an investment.  Not in the business, but in him.  I believed in him then, and I believe in him now.  I’m seeing some pay-off from the investment, but I must be the only one so far.

But as I was wondering in my mind ~ there is a saying that “My mind is a dangerous place to wander in, unaccompanied ~ especially at night ~ I began to question my belief in people.  Then, my inner “me” took me back through much of my life … the problems in college, relationships that failed – badly, the three suicide attempts.  It was the third attempt  (which I posted about here before – feel free to read the history),  when at the CRU – the Crisis Residential Unit – that someone actually said they believed in me.  Now, don’t get me wrong, there were plenty that believed in me, but somehow I had to come to the bottom before I could really realize it.  And as I climbed out of THAT “slough of despond” I became acutely aware of how powerful our belief in someone can be.  Oh, I’ve done it before, but there always seemed to be an agenda.  Now, I’m working agenda free.

To me, that’s where the power really begins.  You see someone not just as they are, but as they could be for themselves…..not as the person YOU want them to be.  I can’t change anyone, I can only encourage and believe in them.  They may not take the paths I would have or would have chosen – but they are on their own journey not mine.

I’m going to post more on this at another time, but also during the “down” of today, I found this video.  Here’s the power of only ONE person believing in someone.  He had only one person, his grandmother…I still cry each time I watch this video.  I want my life to be as she is … in the background, but believing.  That’s one of the things I’d like to be remembered for when – in the not too distant future – I’m gone that someone will say: “He believed in me”.

First off, I’m sorry there will probably be an ad (it is from You Tube after all) and please watch it all the way through and see what terrible power being told “you’re not good enough” can have over someone.  I’m not saying we have to encourage someone when they obviously can’t do something.  There’s no way at my age and (ahem) physical condition I’ll be an Olympic athlete – but there’s other things I can do…. and so can you.

[It appears I own an apology to Freemantle AND X-factor UK …Here’s the video embedded]

See people where they are, and for who they are … and as I used to tell my speech students, don’t change the pattern, just eliminate the flaws.

Intermezzo ~ Late Evening Thoughts

For tonight, I’m going to leave myself at the hospital with a broken arm, and various problems with Julius Caesar and Midsummer Night’s Dream unresolved. I wanted to head in a different direction for tonight …

Today I found out that D&D,who have been close (if dramatic) friends for over 10 years, are ending their unending relationship of over 9 years. I would like to say that this came as a complete shock to me, but it did not. For a number of years, they have sounded more like a couple that’s been married for a long time – but didn’t want to be. And their idea of communication seemed more to talk AT each other, rather than TO each other.

I haven’t done this for sometime, but I went back and looked at various quotes that I thought were relevant and realized again – any relationship/friendship takes work. Sometimes a lot of work. The advantage of friendship, as I see it, is that there is a separation inherent in the dynamics.

However, as I learned in my marriage that ended after 15+ years, marriage is not a minimizer but an enlarger. Those charming idiosyncrasies that are so charming when dating – can become major mountains that need to be overcome!!

(but it’s all worth it!!)

“Love is not written on paper, for paper can be erased. Nor is it etched on stone, for stone can be broken. But it is inscribed on a heart and there it shall remain forever.”

“It is strange how often a heart must be broken before the years can make it wise”
–Sara Teasdale

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless–it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.
–C.S. Lewis

“When love is lost, do not bow your head in sadness; instead keep your head up high and gaze at the stars for that is where your broken heart has been sent to heal!”

“A broken heart is what makes life so wonderful five years later, when you see that special guy in an elevator and he is fat and smoking and saying ‘Long time no see’”
–Phyllis Batelle

“The day you finally decide to love me will be the day after the day I have given up on chasing you.”

“I don’t miss him, I miss who I thought he was.”

” Maybe nature is fundamentally ugly, chaotic and complicated. But if it’s like that, then I want out.”
–Steven Weinberg

“Man is harder than iron, stronger than stone and more fragile than a rose.”
–Turkish Proverb

—and as Paul Harvey might have said: Tomorrow, more of the Shakespeare story

Writer’s Cramp And Pain ~ Late Eveing Thoughts

I have to apologize for the silence in this blog. I really haven’t fallen off the face of the earth, nor have I been captured by a mob bent on burning, raping and/or pillaging.

I have been deeply involved in two creative projects . . . one is total vanity on my part – I have been putting a book together which is now taking shape. It will hold it’s shape as long as I don’t get the “Oh, good Lord – what do I think I am doing” vision and use the delete key to take it all away. I don’t think it will happen as there’s been a bit too much of my energy, etc. involved in it.

I can tell you that the title will be “Do You Want Me To Bring The Ashes?” which comes from an incident involving my Mother’s funeral. Almost the entire book are base on my memories of things in and around my life. Much of the material has come, so far, from the postings in this blog ~ all of which has required a LOT of rewriting and “fixing” – especially when it comes to names and such.

The other creative project that has really consumed me, I was asked to create a theater piece. I have NO idea if it will be performed or even make it to a staged reading. It is a type of theater I have always had difficulty writing, but I am slogging though all this and fully expect to come out the other side. Perhaps I will not come out the other side triumphant but I certainly will have accomplished a major goal.

I think that things will begin to settle down now and not take quite so much of my time and energy.

Talks about writer cramps and pains … Sometimes creativity hurts!!!

Words, Words, Words ~ Late Eveing Thoughts

This is a two-part post tonight . . .

First, Good Ol’ Oxford University has complied a list of the 10 MOST irritating expressions . . .

The phrases appear in a book called Damp Squid, named after the mistake of confusing a squid with a squib, a type of firework.

The researchers who compiled the list monitor the use of phrases in a database called the Oxford University Corpus, which comprises books, papers, magazines, broadcast, the Internet and other sources.

The database alerts them to new words and phrases and can tell them which expressions are disappearing. It also shows how words are being misused.

As well as the above expressions, the book’s author Jeremy Butterfield says that many annoyingly over-used expressions actually began as office lingo, such as 24/7 and “synergy”.

Other phrases to irritate people are “literally” and “ironically”, when they are used out of context.

Mr Butterfield said: “We grow tired of anything that is repeated too often – an anecdote, a joke, a mannerism – and the same seems to happen with some language.”

Here is the list ~ I’m sure there are others we all would like to see added –

The top ten most irritating phrases:

1 – At the end of the day (a phrase I have come to detest!)

2 – Fairly unique (is this similar to being somewhat pregnant?)

3 – I personally

4 – At this moment in time (a bad song title as well)

5 – With all due respect (usually followed by something showing NO respect)

6 – Absolutely

7 – It’s a nightmare

8 – Shouldn’t of (instead of shouldn’t have ~ my Mother would be so proud!!)

9 – 24/7

10 – It’s not rocket science

The American Dialect Society ~ Word Of The Year

Their press release says it best:

Word of the Year is interpreted in its broader sense as “vocabulary item”—not just words but
phrases. The words or phrases do not have to be brand-new, but they have to be newly prominent or notable in the past year, in the manner of Time magazine’s Person of the Year.

The vote is the longest-running such vote anywhere, the only one not tied to commercial interests, and the word-of-the-year event up to which all others lead. It is fully informed by the members’ expertise in the study of words, but it is far from a solemn occasion. Members in the 119-year-old organization include linguists, lexicographers, etymologists, grammarians, historians, researchers, writers, authors, editors, professors, university students, and independent scholars.

In conducting the vote, they act in fun and do not pretend to be officially inducting words into the English language. Instead they are highlighting that language change is normal, ongoing, and entertaining.

2007 Word of the Year,
subprime, an adjective used to describe a risky or less than ideal loan, mortgage, or investment.
Most Useful: green- prefix/compounding form, designates environmental concern, as in greenwashing.
Most Creative
: googlegänger, a person with your name who shows up when you google yourself.
Most Unnecessary
: Happy Kwanhanamas! [Kwanza + Hanukka + Christmas] Happy holidays!
Most Outrageous
: toe-tapper, A homosexual. Senator Larry Craig was arrested in June for an encounter in a public restroom in which toe-tapping was said to have been used as a sexual come on.
Most Euphemistic: human terrain team, a group of social scientists employed by the US military to serve as cultural advisers in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Most Likely to Succeed: green- prefix/compounding form, designates environmental concern, as in greenwashing.
Least Likely to Succeed
: strand-in, protest duplicating being stranded inside an airplane on a delayed flight.
New Category, Real Estate Words
: subprime, used to describe a risky or poorly documented loan or mortgage.

These are the words for 2007, I will be posting 2008 soon . . . .

Show me – from My Fair Lady

Speak and the world is full of singing,
And I’m winging Higher than the birds.
Touch and my heart begins to crumble,
The heaven’s tumble, Darling, and I’m…

Words! Words! I’m so sick of words!
I get words all day through;
First from him, now from you! Is that all you blighters can do?
Don’t talk of stars Burning above; If you’re in love,
Show me! Tell me no dreams
Filled with desire. If you’re on fire,
Show me! Here we are together in the middle of the night!
Don’t talk of spring! Just hold me tight!
Anyone who’s ever been in love’ll tell you that
This is no time for a chat! Haven’t your lips
Longed for my touch? Don’t say how much,
Show me! Show me! Don’t talk of love lasting through time.
Make me no undying vow. Show me now!
Sing me no song! Read me no rhyme!
Don’t waste my time, Show me!
Don’t talk of June, Don’t talk of fall!
Don’t talk at all! Show me!
Never do I ever want to hear another word.
There isn’t one I haven’t heard.
Here we are together in what ought to be a dream;
Say one more word and I’ll scream!
Haven’t your arms Hungered for mine?
Please don’t “expl’ine,” Show me! Show me!
Don’t wait until wrinkles and lines
Pop out all over my brow,
Show me now!

Please Pass (over) The Nuts (3) ~ Late Evening Thoughts

I, along with many others, watched (in my case overwatched) the inauguration of a new President on the 20th. (Yes, I was still watching at the 10th Presidential dance! If their feet didn’t hurt, mine certainly did!)I was hopeful that a new beginning might signal a new start in areas where so much has been lacking. As a gay and fundamental Christian, I believe I have a Biblical obligation to pray for my leaders, even those I disagree with. As an American, I feel I have an obligation to hope and pray for the best from my leaders, and to “hold their feet to the fire” if they are not doing their best.

The cynicism that I posted about last, had even gotten into that area where I could no longer even look at any of the governments – federal, state and local – with any degree of objectivity or hope. In the amazing book “Language In Thought And Action,” the author talks about when we have cast someone in the role of the “enemy” ALL communications/actions by them are immediately suspect and are filtered through the lens of how I view the “enemy” regardless of the truth.

So, I began to climb out of THAT hole and back to the level playing ground of attempting to see what was truth and what was not. And based on the last several years of watching government, not an easy task ~ not an easy task at all.

Over the last couple of days, two instances of people working on the premise that someone is the enemy and all communications are to be dismissed as lies and deceit have really hit me. Both are disturbing in many ways, but most disturbing to me as to their own lack of humanity and belief in people. Both would claim that is not true, but sadly both would be wrong.

The first came from a supposed christian (small c) self-appointed leader. Joseph Farah is the founder of a very conservative web-site WorldNet Daily. It has a number of contributors who echo the views of the founder. That’s not a problem for me, as I will defend their right to say what they think, just as I will defend my right not to read it. I will also defend my right to comment on it, and give my view of it.

Back in August, I posted about christian hate and christian witchcraft. Christian witchcraft to me is asking the Almighty (however you regard that) to do something “to” another rather than “for” another. It’s charging into the Throne Room ~ demands in hand and expecting that regardless of the Person on the Throne’s attitude/statements/desire we will get what we want, when we want it and, “oh yes, make that yesterday” because I say so. In this case Joseph Farah does something a little more insidious than that. He cloaks his witchcraft in a seemingly nice Christian outfit, with a few well chosen verses thrown in for good effect. He is asking ~ Well, here’s the article. . .

Joseph Farah Pray Obama fails
Posted: January 19, 2009
1:00 am Eastern

Many American Christians believe, as an article of faith, that we are to pray for the success of our leaders.

It has become a sort of conventional wisdom among soft-minded believers. The biblical proof-text for this misguided way of thinking is Romans 13:1-4:

“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

“Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.

“For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:

“For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.”

What could be more clear-cut? At face value, it would seem the Bible is telling us government is a God-ordained good and that we are not to resist its terrors.

Many a coward has been bolstered in his conviction against challenging tyranny by not reading too deeply into the Scriptures. Yet, nowhere does the Bible ever suggest evil rulers are to be obeyed. When the rule of men conflicts with the commands of God, the Bible leaves no doubt about where we should stand.

That’s why I do not hesitate today in calling on godly Americans to pray that Barack Hussein Obama fail in his efforts to change our country from one anchored on self-governance and constitutional republicanism to one based on the raw and unlimited power of the central state.

It would be folly to pray for his success in such an evil campaign.

I want Obama to fail because his agenda is 100 percent at odds with God’s. Pretending it is not simply makes a mockery of God’s straightforward Commandments.

So you will not see me joining in the ritual of affirming Obama and his mission in public or private prayer this week – or any other week.

Instead, I uphold the words of Jesus in Matthew 15:14: “Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.” And I take warning from Isaiah 9:16: “For the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed.”

And please don’t tell me about “rendering unto Caesar.”

It’s important to consider the circumstances and the audience behind Jesus’ instructions to “render unto Caesar.” The Sadducees were attempting to trap Jesus into advocating open contempt for Caesar. He recognized their wicked and hypocritical little game and answered them with a totally truthful response that astonished everyone.

But think about it. There are two components to Jesus’ words. We are to “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s,” but we are also to “render unto God the things that are God’s.” Well, everything ultimately belongs to God. But, most of all, this injunction by Jesus instructs us that government laws cannot trump God’s laws – ever.

If government commands you to do evil, as a Christian you must resist. There is no alternative. Citing the “render unto Caesar” line is an apologetic for accountability to God – nothing more, nothing less.

Furthermore, it needs to be pointed out that in America we don’t have a Caesar. Never have, never will. You see, our system of government is called a free republic, and it is based on the concept of constitutional self-government. We have no “rulers” in America – except ourselves and our God. We believe in the rule of law, not the rule of men.

This is an important distinction, not a semantic one.

Nowhere in the Bible does it teach us to obey evil rulers. Nowhere.

This is a time for principled biblical resistance, not phony Christian appeasement.

If, indeed, Mr. Farah is the Christian he claims, and not the christian he seems to be representing here ~ there’s a very strong disconnect from the reality of Scripture. I’m not going to head into a theological argument here, that will be for another time. But I will say time and again The Bible makes it perfectly clear that indeed we do have leaders and we have an obligation to pray for them.

He also conveniently ignores the number of instances where Biblical characters not only DID support what Mr. Farah would consider to be evil, but actually in some cases ruled WITH them.

Yes, there is a time for resistance – but this is not one of them.

And a final thought on this man ~ if, indeed, the President WERE to fail would he stand on his cyberspace rooftop and shout that God had answered his prayer? I rather doubt it. . .

Then, today ~ I ran across this gem from someone who should know better, or is so desperate for ratings or sell his material that he would grasp at straws to accomplish his ends. Rush Limbaugh (remember him from the prescription addiction/pharmacy shopping episode). had this to say about being asked for a 400 word article on what he hopes from an Obama administration:

So I’m thinking of replying to the guy, “Okay, I’ll send you a response, but I don’t need 400 words, I need four: I hope he fails.” (interruption) What are you laughing at? See, here’s the point. Everybody thinks it’s outrageous to say. Look, even my staff, “Oh, you can’t do that.” Why not? Why is it any different, what’s new, what is unfair about my saying I hope liberalism fails? Liberalism is our problem. Liberalism is what’s gotten us dangerously close to the precipice here. Why do I want more of it? I don’t care what the Drive-By story is. I would be honored if the Drive-By Media headlined me all day long: “Limbaugh: I Hope Obama Fails.” Somebody’s gotta say it.

Again, this from the man who indicated a number of years ago that dissent was equal to terrorism ~ I suspect echoing the press secretary right after 9/11 who warned that “Americans…need to watch what they say, watch what they do.” They were chilling words back then and became even more so during these last years.

I’ve discovered I’m not as young as I used to be ~ my body keeps reminding me of that daily and going out and about reminds me of that as well. One of the things it has done is allow me the luxury of looking at things with very different “eyes” and outlook. These people are sad in different and similar ways.

I’m not joining the “cast them into the fiery pit of hell” crowd because dissent is a natural and important part of the American political process. What I, and I hope others, will do is to point out the hypocrisy and errors of their dissent.

And, alas, to pray for them.

Cyclic Cynical ~ Late Evening Thoughts

Every so often it comes over me. It’s a feeling not of despair or hopelessness ~ but one of deep cynicism. It is not a pleasant feeling or way of thinking. If allowed to run free, it begins to color so many areas of life. . . relationships, friendships and way of life.

As I was trying to track down where this was coming from or being “fed” by, I realized that the political arena was mostly to blame. I was surprised because usually my reaction politically is a heartfelt “Meh” (a new word in the dictionary) or a rather disgusted “Oh well . . . “. It seems that this time the political circus has moved beyond the annoying to emulating the Keystone Kops!

It started with Mr Pay-for-Play Rod Blagojevich, who, until we actually have a chance to hear/read the transcripts of the recorded conversations, seems to be guilty of nothing more than stupidity and babbling bluster. However, that was until the Senate leadership, in its infinite leadership wisdom entered the act. With extreme posturing ~ even by political standards ~ announcing that no one appointed by the governor would be seated in the Senate to replace President-Elect Obama. At first blush it seemed reasonable enough, however with some reflection I remembered there was a court case where the House was told by the Supreme Court no less, That Congress lacked power to fashion its own standards for admittance (back in 1967, involving Adam Clayton Powell ~ race surely coincidental). Of course, the Governor did exactly that . . . he appointed Roland Burris who one article described as someone who: “never lacked in self-esteem or retreated from long-odds challenges.”

This appointment boxed the Senate leadership into a nice corner of their own making.

Then, I read in this priceless bit of information ~

While the process slogs along, it’s also possible that Burris could take on some limited trappings of office.

Past practice (cue music from Fiddler on the Roof here) in the Senate has been to grant a senator whose credentials are disputed office space and payroll for a staff, as well as floor privileges—but not a Senate seat—until the situation is resolved. So Burris potentially could be allowed to enter the exclusive club, but not as a full member, without the ability to vote, speak or even literally sit at a senator’s desk.

At that point, my cynical meter was almost on overload. Everything but the ability to vote or have a seat on the senate floor? Are you kidding me?

It no longer is a surprise to me that Congress is unable to get anything done. They’re too busy living on tradition or trying to outdo or outshout anyone else.

However, all that paled when my cynic (OK, B.S.) meter finally exploded. I had heard this before, but it wasn’t until tonight that any of the anchors seemed to make a point of it . . . The Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had evidently called Mr. Blogojevich to tell him who NOT to appoint (evidently) because they would not be “electable” in the 2010 elections!! No name politicians such as: Jesse Jackson, Jr., Danny Davis or Emil Jones. Now, this has moved from the Keystone Kops to The Perils of Pauline!

While I am using the political situation as a “set-up” this is not basically a political two-part post. Tomorrow I’m going to explore what this cynical attitude can do to me and to those around me … after all:

“What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.”
—Oscar Wilde (1854 – 1900)

“The opposite of creativity is cynicism”
—Esa Saarinen

“A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin.”
—H. L. Mencken (1880 – 1956)

Golden Eggs (2) ~ Early Morning Thoughts`

Last night I recounted a fable about the golden goose that laid golden eggs.

[While many people see the story as a warning against greed or even the more you produce, the more you do, the more effective you will be.] . . . I suggest that within this fable is a natural law, a principle – the basic definition of effectiveness True effectiveness is a function of two things: what is produced (the golden eggs) and the producing asset or capacity to produce (the goose).

If you adopt a pattern of life that focuses on golden eggs and neglects the goose, you will soon be without the asset that produces golden eggs. On the other hand, if you only take care of the goose with no aim toward the golden eggs, you soon won’t have the wherewithal to feed yourself or the goose.1

At this point, I basically had an epiphany about some of what I had been doing in the past and even recently. (Epiphany can be a “nice” word for getting smacked in the back of the head with a 2×4)

I learned there are three kinds of assets – physical, financial and human.
Three years ago, I purchased a good computer. Later I purchased a very good monitor…(not to play World of Warcraft, of course) And over time, I’ve given some thought to their maintenance and upkeep – but not as much as I should have. Now, the computer is in need of some attention, by someone that is a little more knowledgeable than I am about serious maintenance. I was actually looking at the short-term and had started to run this asset down. Of course, I can say the same about my body – and trust me there is a LOT of work to be done there. (major overhaul for 600, Alex)

The next asset is financial. And I’ve had to make some changes there as well. Not that I, at this point, have to worry – but if I were to continue living my life as if tomorrow didn’t matter, I would soon be having to worry about tomorrow. Of course, our ability to earn and manage money is a financial asset as well. But, there will come a time when perhaps I won’t be able to earn money and I don’t want to do things that will get in the way of the now.

A year and a half ago, I took a job as a by-the-week apartment manager 1) because it was supposedly right up my alley and 2) it was going to pay me a salary that was much higher than the level of the job seemed to be. It was what seemed to be a good opportunity. Lots of promises were made and I signed on at the interview. The fact also that I had been without work for sometime might have played a part in it as well.

Now that I look back – especially with the golden goose in mind – I realize that this fable DOES contain principles. The properties were owned by a slumlord less than honorable group of people. There were serious maintenance issues, etc. I thought at the time, if I can only get the rents collected, keep the tenants happy keep moving people into empty apartments and get whatever maintenance needs accomplished I can within the system that I would be fine.

Right at the start what was being produced (the rents) was getting much more attention than the capacity to produce (the apartments). And as I look back over some of my posts about the place, I knew what was going to happen much earlier then I admitted it to myself. And now, I’m doing in six days what “normal” apartment managers do in four weeks. And each week I got the privilege of starting all over again.

So now, I’m fighting my ability to collect rents/fill apartments/evict those who don’t pay/keep the central family office happy (what is being produced) by my constant frustration over what isn’t happening and my feelings of sheer terror at losing the job and not having an income (producing capacity) as well as being determined to please the “boss.”.

Up until the last several weeks (the change due to a lost lawsuit about overtime) managers were basically on-call 24/7 and worked seven days a week. Something was going to give, and I can tell you – as far as the family was concerned – it wasn’t going to be what was being produced.

As I began to spiral downward from all that was going on – to say nothing of what I was fighting mentally that I didn’t even realize – I have to say that my rent collections were the best in the entire system of apartments (in three states). I had a positive balance on the spreadsheets – the bible of the owning family – and everyone had basically paid all that was owed and some were even ahead.

–more on this tomorrow
1. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen R. Covey pg. 56