Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas

We look forward to Christmas each year. There is something about the season that means fun, laughter, good food and drink, family and love, lots of love. For us in These United States the beginning of the Christmas season starts with the parades throughout the Union bringing Santa Claus into one of the major department stores of the area, in New York City it is the end of the Macy's Parade that signals we can sit down eat the Thanksgiving feast and then go out on Black Friday, very early, two or three In the morning and start shopping for Christmas gifts and great bargains. Then everything we say and do seems to point to Christmas. The day never seems to come then suddenly it is Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and then it is over. Christmas of the future becomes Christmas past seemingly as quick as a blink of an eye. The best thing about the process is that we are left with a collection of memories that can warm us on cold Winter nights.

The peculiar part of this whole memory thing is that I can't remember specific Christmases rather it is like a collage of memories from all the Christmases of the past which can change depending on the time I am remembering. The earliest memories of Christmas revolves around being at my Aunt and Uncle's on Christmas Eve. The day was a fast and abstinence day, which basically meant we couldn't eat in-between meals and no meat. We didn't have the seven fishes but it was spaghetti with Marinara sauce with fish in it. There was card playing by the grown-ups until about eleven then the younger people would leave for mid-night Mass. When they returned about one thirty in the morning we'd have a feast of all kinds of stuff . We'd get home about three in the morning. My brother and I would get up about five and rush downstairs to open up our toys. We got clothes, things needed for the year or at least until Easter and one toy or game each. We were products of the depression and children of people who were really dirt poor. They were so poor it hurt. A good soup was hot water boiling and greens the Vegetable store was going to throw out and maybe a bone purchased for a nickel from the butcher. But we were poor or at the last rung of middle class and the toy or game was one for each of us and not necessarily what we asked Santa for. One Christmas my brother got a Charlie McCarthy doll all dressed up in top hat and tux. I got a cardboard rendition of an air plane cockpit. We were aesthetic. I personally like Mortimer Snerd but when my brother got tired of Charlie later on I picked up a book on ventriloquism and tried hard to throw my voice but never did a good job. Later that day after morning Mass we went back over our relative's house for a feast that lasted about four hours. After cake and coffee the grown-ups played cards. The men argued the women talked too much causing confusion and that was why the women won and the men lost. Lots of yelling and laughing.

The faces I remember from Christmases past are of my Uncles and Aunts who are no longer here. My uncle Tony would slip us five bucks which was a helluva' lot of money back then. My uncle Nick would let his eyelids flutter like crazy when the guys would set him back at a four hundred spade hand in Pinochle which he was sure he would make. One time he ripped up the dollars and threw it at the other guys when he lost a "sure" hand. They laughed like crazy and he calmed down. One time one Uncle showed up two sheets to the wind (drunk) and he insulted Uncle Nick's wife and they almost came to blows but the other guys and girls stopped them. Nobody held grudges. A blue collar immigrant related Italian family always argued, got mad and forgave. What is family for if one can't show emotions, let it all hang out and then kiss and make up.

My cousins from Christmas past have thinned out but I remember their young faces full of joy and expectancy of a good life. Sometimes that didn't work out but for the most part it did. One cousin I always felt close to had Christmas as her birthday she shared with Christ. We usually didn't get together on Christmas but we did during the year and an occasional Christmas every now and then. She was closer to my brother but she was always like a sister in my eyes. She was beautiful then and still is only a trifle older, and shorter. My male cousins were always playing ball and laughing and treating me like the baby because they were ten or more years older. I was about six, and World War Two was on and three of my cousins were home on leave from the Army one Christmas. My mother was complaining I was getting into too many fights, which by the way I was winning. One cousin, Sam, took me aside and taught me all he knew about fighting. I didn't win a fight that year until I forgot what he told me. But he was fun.

I remember the faces of Christmas past that were past World War Two, ones from my early days of marriage. The faces of my seven children when they were young children filled with the wonder of Santa Claus and the magic that turned the world from a cranky place into a world of fun. I was looking into those same faces this year, this recent Christmas past of 2012, the eyes still have the young light in them. Despite the thinning hair, maybe a slower gait, I still saw the seven of them around the Christmas tree and believing their mother and father were the wisest people on earth. My how that has changed. I remember the beautiful face of my wife long gone, and how happy she was because her children were happy. I remember the faces of my Mom and Pop now older than when were at my Aunt's and Uncle's. Their gait much slower, until my father's disappeared in Jan. 1971.

Now this Christmas goes into the memory banks. There was all my kids, their spouses, my grandchildren, my great-grandchild, all of us. A lot of changes and I guess my gait has gotten slower but it has picked up since the middle of 2012 for that is when I received my Christmas present early. A new found love for an old man but so far she hasn't noticed. I think. A new face that is lovingly stored in my memory banks along with all those that I have loved, and still love. It may be too early to start thinking of the future Christmas maybe I should get New Year's over with before thoughts of Christmas future take over. But Christmas is a good time with good people always filled with love and laughter for which I am one grateful SOB to have been blessed so much in the past, present and I am sure the future.          

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Slaughter of The Holy Innocents

Over two thousand years ago after Jesus was born Herod the mad king of Judea set out to destroy him but had no idea who he was so he went to the town he knew he was in and slaughtered all the male children under a year old without disregard to person figuring Jesus would be among them and be destroyed and would not usurp his reign. There was weeping and wailing by all the mothers and they were inconsolable.

Down through the years crimes against humanity continued to be done by those who were afraid of losing power, wealth or status or just because they were suffering from mental disorders or disease. Even to this time where we are considered to be civilized, genocide, crimes against children, women, against humanity are still be committed and tolerated by the world for some excuse or another. Sexual abuse of children in Thailand is well known. Women are continually kept as second class citizens in much of the world and young girls are sex slaves. The world's governments and leaders know far more than we do about the practices and where these practices are tolerated. The world and its leaders do nothing about the situation.

This past Friday, December 14, 2012, a mad young man forced his way into a elementary school in Newtown, Conn. after he murdered his mother at his home and senselessly murdered six adults and twenty innocents not older than six years. Here in the United States these type of happenings are becoming almost common place. The reaction is of horror, grief, some words of comfort then it all slips away in our collective consciousness until the next time.

There are those who cry out, "Where is God now? Where is your loving and caring God?".  Maybe they should look inward and cry out "Where were we? Didn't we see this happening right before our eyes? Why didn't we do anything to prevent it?". Tighter gun controls, yes of course. Let people hunt but keep the assault weapons with the ability to have clips with lots and lots of bullets that were intended to use in war, for killing lots of enemies  out of the hands of the general public at large. Yes of course. Let us set up clinics that really help people with mental disorders not to control them unfairly but to make sure they can function in society as good citizens. This person certainly must have been seen by his mother or some neighbors as slipping away into the world of madness. Denial must have played in their minds that he could not have disintegrated into such a destructive soul. So she did nothing. They did nothing. He was left alone to do unmentionable destruction finally destroying his very self. So I pose the question, where were we as a society, caring and watchful? Hopefully the President and our political leaders will face up to the problems as they exist in our society and try to stem the use of violence we perpetrate upon ourselves. We have to look at our society as a whole and ask ourselves why we let our video games be so bloody? Why our entertainment on television and the cinema is so bloody? It is easy to blame the makers of these shows but we as a nation patronize them. We pay money to see the blood and guts. Sooner or later all that is portrayed gets into the psyche of our young as well as our old, our society as a whole. Sooner or later all this violence played out on the big and small screens gets played out in real life.

But to the atheist and non-believers, and even the lost faithful who ask, "Where is your God in all this? Where is your God now?" I can only offer this response:


Where was our God yesterday? Probably right in the middle of it knowing we never could understand how he/she could just let this happen or how such injustices keep going on in this world of ours, such as children abuse, sex slavery and genocide. Because this happened so close we feel it more but tragedies are occurring all over the world practically every second of every day. Yet through faith we believe God is present and those upon which these tragedies occur are comforted in a later life. So only through belief, though faith can we believe that God is taking care of it all in His/Her way in His/Her time. Faith and hope are coupled together because they are something we can't see or realize because who hopes in something he already has? But through faith and hope comes trust and all we can say our God is here to help. This we believe. Not much of an answer for those who do not believe but there are some while not believing in a God per se, believe in a Greater Power, something outside themselves because they can't do whatever they want to do by themselves, ask any addict in a 12 step program.


Maybe our God is in us waiting for us to take action that is needed, action based on love and concern not caring a whit about money, power, or imagined freedoms being snatched away but rather what is right and just .
     

     

Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas Parties

He was introduced to Christmas parties the first year he went to work. It seemed like a great idea. The office shut down at the half day mark. The food was delivered and the bottles of wine and whiskey were brought out. He thought it was a great idea. Everybody was happy  Everybody ate. Everybody drank. Everybody loosened up. When the office party wound down many went downstairs to the bar to round out the evening. They drank until they were so loose that many went home together and got to "know" one another much better. The Monday following many were trying to appear as though nothing happened and soon as time went by only the ones involved retained the memories of the Christmas office party.

This practice went on for a few years. Nobody was concerned with drunk driving because then not much was said about it, besides, everybody thought they weren't drunk and could drive better by being careful. How wrong they were. The party in the office was stopped when one day someone happened to open the CEO's office door and found him and his secretary in "flagrante delicto" which led to the banning of all parties actually taking place in the office. This did not stop the practice of office, now called business parties. The parties just moved from the actual office to a hall or club where the exact same purpose was  pursued, which of course was stated to show deference and joy to the season but actually was a yearly excuse for enjoying oneself to the extreme. During the year there are other reasons for having such parties but they fall under different pretenses.such as Training, Conventions, Conferences, et. al..

He personally had no complaints about Christmas parties, in fact he looked forward to going to them. This was the perfect setting for meeting some of the women under circumstances where they had led their defenses down and they got to "know" each other in a way that wasn't related to business. When he first came upon this part of the Christmas party most of the women reacted in a way that led him to know that discretion certainly was the better part of valor. But as the social mores of the society changed nobody seemed to care if anyone or everyone knew of the liaison in fact it was no longer considered an indiscretion. He personally was happy with this progression of social morals. He found life much easier this way. That is, however, "easier" until she came into his life.

She was a new hire and they knew each other just about the year ending. They had not got along when they first came in contact with one another but work projects forced them to spend more time together and the more time they spent together the more they grew to like one another. They dated and then became a couple without officially presenting themselves as in a relationship, but anyone who knew them knew they were in a relationship. There were no limits placed on them and they were free to act in anyway they wanted. So far this had worked out all  OK as they showed restraint and care in not doing anything which would hurt each other. They decided to go to the Christmas party together. They figured they would have a good time. He figured they were together. He knew he had to be on good behavior and trusted that those with whom past Christmas parties led to short liaisons would show good enough deference to whom he was with. The party started  out well. They danced a bit, had something to eat, a few glasses of wine but then she started to switch to Margaritas. One drink led to another and she was starting to get out of control. She was no longer dancing with him but with any guy who asked her to dance. She danced fast dances, and slow dances and no matter what dance she danced she managed to rub sexily up against her dancing partner. He never saw her like this and quite frankly didn't know what to do about a situation he disliked intently yet had no right to say anything. Finally he started to drink Margaritas also and just let all abandon go. He danced with his old sweethearts  as well as with new ones he felt could be possibilities.  For both of them the night became a blur. They went with new partners to new homes and both woke up in beds with heads aching and souls wishing they could have turned the clock back and had a redo of the whole night.

That Monday they came rather sheepishly into the office and got to work on their project. They barely spoke of anything but business. They went home barely saying goodnight. For the rest of the time she was with the company they barely spoke. Finally she left to go to a new job. That year when the Christmas party was coming up he declined the invitation. He just about had his fill of Christmas parties and all the fun they seemed to offer.     


Monday, December 3, 2012

Thanksgiving Is Not Only In November



He was a prisoner in his own body. He couldn't open his eyes. He couldn't move. He figured he was in a hospital because he had all sorts of things sticking in and out of his body. There was a lot of people around him and they talked in hushed tones. From what he could discern he was in this condition for some time. The serious of the voices indicated that he probably was getting close to checking out. He wished he could see those who surrounded his bed and spoke in hushed, serious tones. He was pretty sure he recognized his children voices. He was hoping to hear her voice but he was just fading in and out of consciousness and except for his children he really didn't recognize anyone else.

He was coming out of another series of blackness and he guessed that it was a Doctor he was hearing telling those around the bed that maybe he had a few more hours, perhaps a day at most, at that. He heard the voices softly talking to each other about how close it was to Thanksgiving and how it looked that this holiday that was always so important to them would have to be passed because it wouldn't seem right to celebrate if he wasn't going to be there. He wanted to shout to them to go ahead and have the biggest Thanksgiving feast they could have because he had a great life that was filled with so many great events he could spend an eternity issuing thanks for the ride of his life. He started to slip out of consciousness into a blue fog and suddenly it was a Thanksgiving that happened some sixty years ago.


His mother always had the Thanksgiving feast. He had a very large extended family. Even though it was just his brother and parents they had dozens of cousins, loads of Aunts and Uncles, who were more like brothers and sisters and surrogate parents. They weren't all there at this feast but a lot of them were and the others would be reached by phone. The meal started with antipasto, the prosciutto was delicious and melted in his mouth as it was spread over the melon. Then came the pasta and the meat in the home cooked ragu .  Mom used to spend hours making that pasta gravy, sauce to the purists. Then the turkey which back then seemed to be served only at Thanksgiving, potatoes, vegetables followed by dessert of many cakes and pastry. The wine and beer flowed as did the conversation loud and filled with laughter and arguments. These were good times and everyone there seemed so young and full of life. But the talk and laughter started to fade, echo as he came back into consciousness. What a family he thought. He was so thankful he grew up in a family that had so much life, whose relatives were so much closer than the titles they carried of cousins and such. Even at this late stage he cherished his cousins who were left and thought of them as sisters and brothers. Most of the family had aged, wizened, died. He thought now he would see them again.


Again the haze took over and he was at another Thanksgiving feast. This time it was his family. He had a large brood and they were loud and boisterous. He had met a beautiful fiery Puerto Ricana who captivated him and they loved and lived for over fifty years until she was eaten up by a terrible disease and left him alone. But this day was a day some forty years ago when he they had their family and moms and pops and cousins and she had prepared a fest similar to the one he had envisioned some time before. They ate, laughed, argued, yelled and just exhausted themselves enjoying the day and each other. He saw his children grow to be people who he was proud of and who he loved very much. But he let his wife show the love for he was too much of a man to become too mushy. But he loved them all and was very proud to have fathered such a crew. As he was coming back into semi-consciousness he thought he made mistakes but the existence of his children made up for a lot of those mistakes and gives him much to be thankful for. He felt the loss of his wife but the love they felt for each other was worth the time spent battling that awful disease. More reason to be thankful.


He felt himself slipping into eternity once more but he didn't want to go, not yet. He still didn't hear her voice, feel her presence, he couldn't go without knowing she still loved him even in this state. And suddenly he was back at that day after his wife was gone for a half a dozen years and he figured he was getting too old for any of the romance that might have been left in whatever life he had in store for himself. Then he met her. She was a lot younger, full of life fun to be with. For some reason they hit it off. He thought it was crazy but besides liking each other there was an animal magnetism between them that just had to be explored. Suddenly life had more bounce to it, more fun to it, more reason to live in it. Each meal they shared was for him like mini Thanksgivings. Each experience shared just drew them closer. They were in love. Something that shouldn't, couldn't have happened but did. They were enjoying life, enjoying the moment then everything seemed to go black. And this time he almost came into full consciousness because he realized he had a medical occasion that threw him into this semi-comatose situation. Now he was being drawn into eternity, towards the light but not yet, not until he heard her voice once more so he could take her love, her caring with him into the great beyond. Suddenly he heard some rustling around and in hushed tones, one of his kids was saying to someone, "We tried to get in touch with you but you know how he is, he never gave us your number." In answering them he recognized her voice and he felt her draw closer. She still smelled great. He sensed she was crying. She touched him and whispered, "I love you." And then he was ready. He lived a full life and he headed towards the light full of the love he shared, full of thanks for a life lived with love.


But just as he was heading towards the light he felt something stopping him from moving forward. Instead he started to see the distance between him and the light to grow and soon the light was gone. The voice of love was calling him back as was the will of all those around the bed. He knew he must return because his life was not complete. He knew he had to share many more holidays with those who loved him. He knew he still had something to accomplish with his life so he fought with great resolve until he opened his eyes and saw them, saw her. He smiled, and said "I'm back. Your collective love let me know that there is too much here for me to do, for me to experience and I must stay until my journey is complete.". With that he reached for her hand, he held it and said, "Stop crying! I'm back to love you even more than before.".


And they lived a longer life than they could have ever expected sharing their love with all and especially with each other. With all this giving thanks was a no brainer!
 

Friday, November 30, 2012

He Didn't Want To Lose Santa Claus Also

Growing up has always been painful to him. His earliest memories were of his mother hugging him to her breasts as he suckled on her teats. He was hungry, cold, and a bit fearful. His mother fed him, kept him warm against her soft body and all fears he had were gone because his mother was there protecting him. As he grew older his mother hugged him less and while she fed him a lot she couldn't calm his fears as they grew in proportion to his gaining in age. Worse than that she became more of a nag. She didn't like his staying out late. She didn't like his drinking hard whiskey. She wanted him to be more responsible. He wanted to be kept warm and protected but becoming an adult wouldn't allow either of them to be as loving or needing as when he was a baby.

On top of everything else he found out all the stories he was told that made life a wonderland were untrue. The stork did not deliver babies. There is no tooth fairy only a mean old Dentist who seemed to enjoy poking at the nerves of teeth with a very small pick. Popeye was not a real person who got strong by eating spinach  So when he was told "Eat your spinach and you'll grow strong like Popeye!", it was a lie. Spinach didn't give him big forearms and never would and his parents had lied to him. And even if he didn't eat everything on his plate, "The people in China would die!" was another untruth that only led to him overeating and getting fat. As he grew up becoming an adult and leaving his childhood behind he had to let go of more and more of the magic land a child lives in and face the reality of life.

But one thing he found hardest to let go of is if there is actually a Santa Claus. Wow! This is a great guy he thought when he first heard of him. A fat jolly elf dressed in red who worked all year long up in the coldest place on earth just to get toys and games to all the kids around the world. He really didn't understand how he did it but it was done in one night in a great celebration of the Birth Of Jesus to make all the kids in the world to have a good time even if only for a short time. He was amazed over the fact that despite landing on some icy roofs Santa never fell and hurt himself. He never stubbed his toe and got mad enough to say "Damn". He always chuckled and laughed. Whatever he did he did for others and that was what gave him the most satisfaction. Amazing, Santa never thought of himself.

The older he got the harder it was to believe in the existence of Santa. His brain told him the whole Santa thing was a myth. How could someone go down chimneys without getting stuck? How could one guy make toys for all the kids in the world? How could one old fat guy be happy all the time? All the old fat guys he knew were old grumpy men. But the harder it got to believe in the myth the harder it got to let go of such a wonderful spirit of love, concern and good nature. He finally made a decision that would let him to keep believing in Santa Claus while at the same time recognizing that perhaps an actual person called Santa doesn't actually exist.


The spirit of Santa Claus exists in the spirit of good will and love that lives in humankind because that spirit is endowed by its creator. "We humans weren't meant to be sad, mad or indifferent". So the Spirit of good will, of wanting laughter not tears to fill the world, to really want all children, and we are children regardless of age, to be warm, well fed and safe and to grow in a world full of love even though the actual condition for most of us is not so. He thought, "The Spirit of Santa, will drive us collectively, as a race, to eventually find this place of love and safety in the world we live. This is the Santa Claus he holds onto, refusing to give up because this Santa lives in the hearts of all men and women waiting to burst forth with the spirit of happiness and love.

   

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Best Part Of Thanksgiving

Back in the day when he was a big fish in a small pond and he ran the whole east coast office of no more than sixty people, he just about did whatever he wanted to do, as long as it was within reason. His office was at 165 West 46th. Street in New York City Seventh Ave. and Broadway almost intersected and the statue of George M. Cohen proudly stood. He could look out the window of the office of the Vice President of International and had the complete vista of the teeming bustling New York street laid out before him. It was a grand view, one which would have the Macy's Day Thanksgiving parade with Santa Claus and the balloons of Popeye pass before them almost close enough to touch and yet be inside where it was warm, dry, a real happy place. The office would be closed on Thanksgiving day and he had a key. His wife knew all about this and the fact that he could do anything he wanted, almost, and she wanted him to take the five boys into town this Thanksgiving to give them a thrill and get them out of the house as she prepared the feast for about fifteen
guests of family and friends, with them that made twenty-two for the day.

She had suggested that he take the kids in for the morning. "They would be so thrilled to see Santa and the comic balloons!", she pleaded. He fought this idea but as the time came closer her nice pleadings became more like shrill commands. "Hey! I'm the man. I wear the pants in this family! When I say no I mean no and that's that!". So the Thanksgiving day came about and he took his kids on the Seven line out of Flushing to Queens Plaza where they changed to the BMT and got off at the forty-ninth Street station and walked to his office. Before they went up to the floor he took them into the luncheonette where he ordered breakfast. The five kids were jumping around and almost got into a food fight with each other. He was steaming inside but he wanted to show her that he did care and he wanted to be with his kids. He wasn't quite sure how he arrived at this reasoning because that wasn't the way he felt a few weeks ago but it was something or should I say a lot of things she said that made him realize it would be better this way if they were going to have a Thanksgiving day feast for twenty-two people. The day was damp, dank, dark and cold.

They finally got into the office where he ushered the five boys into the VP's office and showed them the beautiful view of the parade that was coming down the street, with the music playing, the bands marching, the girls strutting and the Balloons flying majestically in the air. All this held the attention of the five scamps about ten minutes. They started to infiltrate every part of the office going in the rear where there were two more offices on of which was his. He reprimanded them sternly not touch anything and definitely not to play with the phones. Meanwhile he was trying to enjoy the parade and get them interested. "Look here come Popeye!", he shouted and they just ran to other parts of the office. Once he thought he heard the phone ring but he thought who the hell would call on this day, so he forgot about it. Anyway he became so enthralled with the parade he forgot about the kids until he knew that Santa was a few blocks away. He realized he was alone in the VP's office so he went calling after the little imps and looking for them. He passed one office which smelled like there was a fire inside it which caused him to peek in and he saw nothing unusual. Finally he got them all and made them under penalty of death to look out the window which he now opened and shout at Santa and wave and act like little fools. He was shouting and waving and having a grand old time until he noticed he was alone the little bastards left him screaming and yelling while they disappeared back into the halls of the office. He shut the window, noticed it was past noon and he had to get back home so he rounded up the kids while muttering to himself that this was never going to happen again. But he had to admit HE really enjoyed the parade and Santa and especially Popeye even if they didn't. They went home had a great feast where the wine flowed like, well like wine, the deserts were great and best of all his office was closed until Monday. His wife was pleased and showered him with affection as he told her what a great time was had by the kids. Everybody was happy.

That Monday he got into the office a little late like he always did but this time his secretary told him the VP wanted to see him ASAP. He threw his overcoat over one of the chairs in front of his desk and went directly to his office wondering what the hell could be so urgent? Nothing ever was! When he approached the area the VP's assistant waved him in and he was greeted by, "Do you have any idea what may have gone on in this place over the weekend?", he of course answered he didn't know what he was referring to. It looks like someone got into the office there was paper strewn on the floors in almost everybody's office. The Shipping Manager had a bunch of his shipping orders burned in his waste basket and now without copies he is at a loss as to what was or wasn't shipped. On top of all that Moraski called from Mexico and said he had a conversation with someone who said he owned this company and he was thinking of firing  me The VP of International and if Moraski didn't shape up he was going too and then he hung up on him.

He reacted the only way he could with all honesty and truth in his voice and eyes he told the VP he would get to the bottom of this matter and assured him that it would never happen again, that the culprits when found would be fully prosecuted to the full extent of the law. He left the office retired to his office. He hung up his coat. Decided he would do nothing and pray that this too shall pass. First things first, he told his Secretary to make a luncheon appointment for him at his favorite spot  and call his friend so they could share this story over a few Gibsons. Then he shut the door and called his wife. He began, "Honey have I got a story for you..." and they shared a few laughs as he told her of the happenings this morning.    

        

Friday, November 16, 2012

Petraeus, Sex, Love, et. al.

Way back when I spent two years in the US Army, two years in the Active Army reserve. I have known quite a few people who have served in the Air Force, Navy and the Marines some on a very personal basis. Based on my personal experience and those related to me by others I wonder what the hell all the fuss is over David Petraeus' peccadillo with a younger, sexy, attractive woman. I would bet that this isn't the first time a General, or any other serviceman has strayed. I would bet that everyone knew he was a player because most of them are, especially when you go up the ranks. Generals live like potentates. Yeah! That's right, they have people waiting on them left and right. They walk through any area like they are kings in charge of their domains. This attitude is allowed and given assent by anyone who is in charge of the services because those in power like our Congressmen and Senators, also enjoy the rights and privileges of royalty. Infidelity abounds in our society and even more so as we allow people to become elitists. We allow our Generals to do whatever they want and only punish them if they are stupid enough to become an embarrassment and be caught. The Media participates in the cover-up and all look the other way. So what the hell is all this shock about our Generals like Petraeus being  unfaithful? The shock should be that he was stupid enough to be caught. I wonder how many times his wife has forgiven him for past indiscretions?

Have you noticed that no matter who is caught in sexual dalliances like Elliot Spitzer, David Petraeus or your best or worst friend they never refer to such as having anything to do with love. In effect they are porn stars in their own movies only interested in the sexual thrills, experiences. If they are public figures they have to show remorse especially if they hope to keep their marriages going or have hopes of a public life after the dust settles. But in all truth they really have no interest in love, they just enjoy sex, the game of doing something they shouldn't and not being found out only adds to the thrill. The likes of Spitzer paying prostitutes in a way is more honest and actually helps the economy. He gets his jollies, she gets paid handsomely, and goes away and spends the money she so rightfully earned. The other guys use their power and the facade that they are invincible and maybe they lie and say they are in love but they are not. They are the users of another's vulnerability, and gullibility. When they are done with them they throw them aside and go on to other victims. They are not only men who do this, women participate in this game also it just seems that it is more overloaded with males. Maybe once the ceiling is lowered and more women get in power they will become more active in the game. For now though women are more the prey, the hunted, rather than the hunter. Unfair as this game seems the female sex allows it to happen using their wiles to get ahead rather than their brains and inner fortitude.


Loving is a nice thing especially if done from afar like the Knights of old did. Being in love is nice too. There is another person besides yourself that you really care for, that you want to be with, that you want to touch if only through holding hands or a warm embrace. Some confuse companionship with the state of loving but they are wrong. A dog is a companion. The guy who used to play ball with you is a companion. Someone to go to a movie with because you don't like to sit in a cinema with empty seats on each side is a companion. Being with someone you love, is enjoying that latte a little more, wanting to discuss your reaction to the movie you have just seen. Being in love makes that latte taste like the greatest dessert you ever had. Being in love makes you want to hear what your lover thinks so you can get to know your lover better and then sharing your thoughts so you are known better, and hopefully loved better. But there is also the "sucky" side of being in love. If you are riding shot gun all you have to think about is yourself, your likes and dislikes. Maybe someone doesn't like you, so what? They could take a long walk on a short pier. Now you are "in love". Suddenly without even knowing it is happening you are thinking more about their benefit rather than yours. Hey, that person who your lover is so fond of hates you, and that is not good for your relationship.  Times when you were ill you could retire to your cocoon and live or die but you only had you to think of. Now you don't want to die, you want to get better quickly so you can be with your lover. Now your lover gets sick and this really bothers you, concerns you, worries you. You would hope this situation wouldn't bother you but you can't help it, if your lover hurts you hurt even more and there is no cocoon to crawl into, you are helpless until your lover gets back to feeling well. Unlike the Pretraeus', the Spitzers' and those good buddies who involve themselves in sexual peccadilloes the thought of sex translates to making love with intimacies bonding two souls through physical contact. There is never any thought of going out for a night to see what may develop because, you are "in love". You are bound to another, monogamous  and that is a good thing. Loving, being loved, being in love and having someone being in love with you is a bumpy ride through your feelings but I venture to guess that this state is the best state to be in for the rest of your life.

With all this about sex, love, power and elitism it makes one think perhaps it is better NOT to be a part of the elite they seem to lose their grip on what is most important and that is loving and being loved.      

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Day After Election Day 2012

Well we all know that President Barack Obama will be our President for the next four years. He eked out the popular vote, but it seems to be near an even split reflecting our overall view of this election as a nation. But we all know the electoral college really rules the roost and he won by a wide margin. You can tune in the cable stations and get all the breakdowns of who voted for whom and what that means so I won't bore you with all that. Instead I will tell you what I think the next four years could hold for us as a nation.

First let me say don't believe the pundits that say after the election the congress and the Presidency remains the same as before so nothing will change, everything remains the same. That is a lot of bunk. The big change is in the fact that there is no re-election that Obama has to be concerned with. By law this will be his last term. He will be more concerned with his legacy and building it through giving the citizens of this country what he thinks will be a better country in all ways through polices and laws enacted. He will compromise. He was always for compromise.

Any compromise needs at least two parties, like the song says "Two To Tango". Up to this point the Republican controlled House and the filibuster mangled Senate were the reluctant partners in this dance. I think that now that there is no longer a fear that President Obama will return they will be forced to negotiate in good faith and come to a compromise or face an electorate that will reduce the Republican party to a regional party without any national hopes. Remaining as obstructionists, as they have been will stand out like a sore thumb and practically guarantee the Democratic party a win in the Presidential election of 2016. The Republican party can and should remain the conservative party but not lean so far right that they seem mean and determined to win their arguments at all costs. There have been great Republican statesmen, and great politicians with great ideas and there are still great guys on the Republican side they just have to be ready to come out with these sane ideas despite the venom that seems to come from the far right of their party.

I have great hopes that we shall see great things happen to this great country of ours as our leaders will finally lead with conviction and for the benefit of "we the people". President Obama could be a great leader and I pray that he will be. Our Representatives and Senators can also rise to be great as a body and I pray they will. I think the next four years will lead this country to greater heights because we will move forward as a truly United States of America

    

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Day Before Election Day 2012

Here in New York City Newsday and The Daily News both endorsed Mitt Romney. I read both editorials explaining their positions. They make the case that Romney's background indicate he can manage the economy better that Barack Obama. That he has a plan and a vision for the next four years. They then proceed to say that he hasn't provided details of that plan and vision but they trust that he will govern differently than he has campaigned. They acknowledge that he has taken different positions about everything and then say that is OK. They say in effect it is OK for a contender for the highest position in these United States to lie about everything he says just to get the votes of the party and then the populace. They are saying that when Romney says "Trust me!" he is to be trusted not to screw you and me for the benefit of the wealthy. All those things said in the primary and behind closed doors really don't mean a thing. I ask if he lied before what says he won't lie again?

President Obama has been far from perfect but he has tried to get things going and an obstructionist Republican Congress has stopped much of what he has proposed that would benefit the country as a whole but not if you would want to defeat him in an election and in effect wrest power from the Democrats and get rid of this Black Guy named Obama. I think we know what President Obama proposes; infrastructure rebuilding America which would give more jobs; tax relief for the middle class with a small increase for the very rich; never turning medicare into a voucher system; never privatizing social security; proposing a big plan which cuts many programs including medicare and social security but not destroying them but making them stronger as was done in the past, and increasing certain revenue parts of the budget while attempting to restructure the tax laws; universal health care which is covering most of our populace and providing benefits like keeping the insurance companies honest by making them accept rather reject applicants because of pre-existing conditions, children can remain on parents coverage until age 26,  companies can no longer impose lifetime benefits on heath care. Romney says he will reverse these things, whoops he did say that until just recently he said he'd keep much of the plan but didn't say what he'd keep and what he'd junk.

So what do we have facing us? Romney who provides no details of his vision and plans while asking us to "trust" him to do the right thing. Or President Obama who while not perfect certainly has a record which is filled with a lot of pluses which besides the above could be further pluses by remembering Osama Bin Laden
is gone, and his handling of the aftermath of the hurricane named Sandy has brought plaudits for his leadership and concern in bringing the forces of the Federal government to bear for the good of those who need it most. Just think back to Katrina and remember the mess that followed for years.

I don't know about you but as for me the choice is clear. The last time someone asked me to trust them I bought a bridge but never held the title. But what ever you do get to the polling place and VOTE!      


Friday, October 26, 2012

Sometimes You Get What You Wish For AND It's Good!

When he was younger he thought it would be best to get rid of everything he had a connection to and life would be easier. He loved his Dog and she died way too soon. He loved his Grandmother, and she passed before he could ever tell her how sorry he was that he was so disrespectful to her. He loved High School but before he knew it the four years passed and everything connected with High School was gone, the guys, gals and the teachers that he grew to love. All gone and he was without the places, things and people he loved.  He got married and before he knew it his kids grew up and didn't need him anymore. His wife got sick and passed way too soon. His latest pet, friend, a mixed breed named Jessie left him all too soon.

So he figured the best way to protect against the feeling of loss and the pain of separation was to place himself behind a wall, a facade, that no one could penetrate. He kept his feelings to himself. He made sure all the things that had to be done when he passed was done. He no attachments. He could now pass gently into that dark night whenever the time came. There would be no more loving and caring. All that was too painful.

He lived in this manner for a number of years and it was good. He had nothing to consider but himself. He didn't have the closeness of his early days of marriage and an active family. BUT he was protected he couldn't feel the pain of love lost, and the end of relationships brought about by time and events. Yes, he was comfortable. But he was also becoming a bit bored. The challenges of the life he set up for himself just wasn't challenging enough. He was safe behind his walls of indifference but he was becoming more of a lump on a log rather than an active living human being.

He thought to himself maybe he should get out and meet with some of the guys he knew from his childhood. He did this and there was other people he met, new people. This is good he thought as there was some activity happening but he did miss the feeling of caring for someone, the feeling of being in love. But while he thought this was good this was too much of putting himself back in the position of being hurt through rejection or separation through events that one couldn't forestall from happening.  Too much had to go into relationships that included love. Therefore, while wishing for something like a loving affair he shied away from that type of relationship.

One day he ran into her, a gal he knew from a time half forgotten in his life. She was full of life. She was witty, full of fun and ideas that challenged and on top of everything else she was good looking. What seemed like a sudden rush he was falling for her. He became frightened that this was going to lead into the hurts that he felt throughout his life when he loved deeply and then lost the very things, the very people he loved. But he couldn't stop himself. The magic of her personality was too much for him as it drew him more into what seemed like a relationship he wanted. Suddenly he wasn't thinking only about himself. He was thinking about her, her problems, her joys, her life. He wanted to become part of that life but was afraid if he let her know that she would reject him letting him down softly with the offer of remaining friends.

Now he was kicking himself in the pants. He let his guard down and he was in love again. He was caring. His life had picked up a great deal of verve, elan and panache and he was enjoying every minute he could spend with her. At the same time he was open to be hurt. Maybe her family and friends would reject him. And he couldn't help but think over and over again that maybe he didn't fit into her life. Maybe he was that bumbling oaf that he saw in the movies that always screws up and looks foolish.

He finally came to the time that he had to chuck all his fears aside. He had to broach the subject with her. He had to find out if she had any feelings for him the way he had for her. They went to their favorite restaurant, and over a glass of wine he told her how much he wanted to have her in his life and how much he wanted to be a part of her life. She let him ramble on for what seemed a long, long time to him. When he finally came to the end of what he was saying, she sat with some tears in her eyes while she sipped her wine in quiet reflection. Well he thought, here it comes, "Let's be friends." speech. He was starting to feel foolish and he wished she would say something because he felt he said enough. She reached over the table and they half rising met over the middle of the table and their lips met in what he thought was a most sublime moment. After they kissed she said,"We've only known each other for a short time and I believe that it takes longer to really know if a deeper relationship is possible.", his heart began to drop as he figured the kiss off was coming. She went on after a short pause, "I am not sure I am ready for a relationship and all that it brings with it. My heart tells me to go with my feelings but my mind tells me to hold off before any commitment is made. Can we just take it a bit slower and see where it leads to?". He took a deep breath and figured it was worth the shot so he answered, "OK, we'll give it some more time, meanwhile we'll continue to see each other and let our emotions take us where they will". With that they kissed deeply and ordered another glass of wine. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Decisions Faced! Decisions Made!

Here he found himself with a decision that might have a profound effect upon the rest of his life. The day started out as any other. His wife wanted him to take something to her mother. She also wanted him to take the kids with him so they could get out of the house for a drive but really so she could see what it felt like being alone in the house without five little boys yelling and fighting. So he figured what the hell if I give her this maybe I'll get that after with a smile. So he loaded the kids into the back seat, no seat belts back in the day, and he took off. It was always an adventure trying to find a parking space where his in-laws lived. A couple of guys actually beat him out of really good spots and he was fuming as he parked ten blocks away. Then he had to unload the kids who were already jumping out of their skins because they had sat in one place for a half hour or so. The ten block walk to where he had to go was an adventure and he was already hating the walk back after he had to be nice to his in-laws who never really liked him and whom he thought were a little, maybe a lot, nutty.  He got to his in-laws and the kids always liked the ride up the elevator but today they were fighting over who would press the buttons until they pressed every button so it was a local up nine floors. He finally reached the apartment and entered with the kids, the grandparents were never too happy to see the kids all at one time so he figured they'd get the bums rush out of there after he delivered the parcel, which by the way he was very happy with.

The exchange of pleasantries with all the kisses went well and after fifteen minutes they were on their way down in the same elevator with the same childish nonsense going on and stopping at every floor. The walk back to his parked car was as exasperating as the walk to it and he had to hold himself back from whacking his little darlings. Happily they got into the car and they were on the way. His mood however turned much darker than when he left his wife a short time ago. He was behind a car at a light that turned green but the car wasn't moving. He blew his horn and the car stood still. He drove around the car and flipped the driver. He was driving for a few blocks and when he glanced into his rear view mirror he noticed the car following was the same guy he just flipped and he was gesticulating  furiously. "Goddamn", he thought that guy is trying to catch up to me. He tried to ditch him by turning up some back streets but the guy was still coming. He was in a foul mood already but suddenly he was furious and he thought about the lug wrench he kept under his drivers seat for such a moment. Forgetting everything, he let the guy cut him off and when he got out of his car he was humongous. However with all that was happening he thought, "I'll wait til he gets near the door I'll open it in his face jump out and crush his skull with the lug wrench. I don't give a damn if I kill him!" From the other car he could hear the wife calling him back as she held her infant in her arms. As he was approaching the thoughts raced through the mind of the father with his five sons in the back seat. He saw himself slamming the car door in the intruder's face. He saw himself jumping out of the car and crushing his skull until the blood covered the road. Then the thoughts came flooding into his mind, that now the wife with the infant in the other car would be without a husband and a father. That the police would come and there would be a trial and he could spend a lot of time in prison. That his wife and sons would have a miserable life without a husband and father. That if he let go with all his anger he could ruin ten lives which were before him and who knew how many to follow, as well as all others who were peripherally tied to them.

The big guy reached the door and called him all the names he could think of, challenging him to step outside and settle this. He was tempted, as he felt he looked cowardly to his kids, but his mind kept going back to destroying lives that needed a chance to live, to make mistakes, to experiencing joy. He was faced with a choice that would change the world for all concerned. So he ate his pride and even though his manhood felt crushed he said he was sorry and told the guy to go back and comfort his wife and kid. The guy left and laughed as he said "You are not a man!".

He remembers the incident clearly even though it took place some fifty years ago. Few times in one's life is a decision made that can have such a profound effect on the rest of a family's life. He was always afraid his sons would think of him as a coward but they barely remember the incident. He and his wife had two more children after that incident. Those children would never had been born if he opted to crush, "Jerry", was the name being called to from his wife. And if those two children were never born the world would have missed great joy. His five sons grew and lived well and enjoyed life. He and his wife lived and loved a long, long time after this incident. After the incident he put the lug wrench in his trunk to use only to take flat tires off the car. There are only a few decisions of the many we make in a lifetime that profoundly affect the rest of our lives and touch other lives as well. He thought we should remember all that we can of these decisions so we can appreciate just how lucky we are that we did make the correct decisions, hopefully.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Let Me Vent 2012 Version

Have you noticed that most drivers here in the Eastern seaboard of the USA never pay attention to Full Stop Signs? Why bother? There are the full go right through drivers. They cut everybody off and never are in the accidents they cause. Then there are the "genuflecting" drivers. They almost stop but just bend a little then gun the engine and cut the other guy off. As they pass the flip the other driver. Cops never get these guys but somehow get the guy who does everything right but is going 2 miles over the speed limit.

This brings me to the Police who are parked by a street corner in plain view. They think they are going to catch a traffic violator? Why? If we can see them only the real dumbbells would cause a violation. They are really there because they are near the time they will sign out or have lunch and hope they aren't called on their radio. In other words they are wasting time. When some fool does break a traffic law they are very mad because this fool is holding them up from what they want to do which is go home or eat.

On the Parkway, Southern State mostly, there are bikers that are going way over the speed limit. The travel many times in gangs. They go up the lines between cars clearly violating that law as well as the speeding ones. Do you ever see the highway patrol pull them over? I never had and don't expect to. What about the jackass who swerves in between the cars going from one lane to another while he is doing 80 miles per hour? The Highway Patrol never pulls them over. Who gets pulled over? Why you and I who maybe going five miles over the speed limit while we stay in our lane and all these fools are passing us. Where's the justice?

Why are some of the smartest people I know buying Romney's recent debate victory. He clearly lied. I mean bold face lie. When pressed on his stance on his tax plan instead of providing details he said something like "If I say it will not cause a deficit then who are the so called experts to say it does?" But he just goes on to the next lie, like his health plan has the same provisions as Obama care, which it doesn't. Oh yes he clearly won the debate. But he lied his way through it and the brilliant people around me say he is a genius. They also believe he and his wife really are plain folk like you and me. Now my parents were poor, my father had to work two jobs always, my mom cooked left overs. And when I wanted to go to college they would have loved to lend me the tuition which was much less back then, BUT THEY DIDN'T HAVE THE MONEY! Get the point? He grew up in luxury. We didn't (you and me). When he married and they had their five boys I don't care what she says she had to do, Anne Romney, she didn't approach what my wife had to do with 7 kids in diapers. And Mitt, he didn't have to have two jobs, go to school at night like we did. Nor did he have any loans he had to pay off. I think it is great that they live and have lived in the lap of luxury all he has to do is admit it like a man and stop trying to sell himself and his family as the common man!

Love is a great thing. Why do the young and the rest of society think it belongs only to them? You may see a young couple kissing and sigh isn't love wonderful. Yet you see Octogenarians do the same thing and you might turn away in disgust. You certainly won't sigh and say "Isn't that wonderful.". And have you noticed that today's 25 used to be yesterday's 15? Don't believe it when they tell you today's 50 is yesterday's 40. It isn't. Lose a job at that age and go without one for many months and you will understand  what I am saying.

And speaking of love, anyone see "Hope Springs"? A story about an aging couple who became bored with each other as they fell into the rut of living without excitement. They have to regenerate the exciting romantic sexy part of their lives or they shall die of boredom. Why do people think that only happens to those who have been together for a long time? I have noticed many in their 20's who after the first spark have settled down into TV watching, Chips eating and beer drinking couples after dating for a few years. I never see a picture of that group trying to regenerate their sex lives. Maybe it is funnier to see an older couple like Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones struggle with their sexuality than to see a younger couple with the same problems. Ageism at work?

The Yankees are playing uninspired ball to say the least. No one is hitting. Jeter has a broken ankle and is out for the rest of the year. They are dispirited and need building up. Yes that's correct they need building up! Instead the fans at the game are booing and saying insulting personal things. I am ashamed to admit these are New York people. These guys are professionals making big money but they are human beings too. Boo if they aren't trying or you think they aren't but leave out the personal stuff. I read in the Papers that Nick Swisher has received personal insults for him, his family and wife. Swisher is one of the most energetic guys to have ever played here in NY. He is full of life. He is full of joy. No one tries harder than he. Yet he is attacked by fans? They are fickle people here. Yes we booed Joe D. as he ended his career but we never stopped loving him. We booed because we felt the pain of his eroding talents. But we never got personal. Today's fan doesn't understand. While these guys are playing for themselves they play for the team and the team plays for the fan. Everyone tries his best and they need support more when they slump than when they succeed. They have to be lifted up when they fail. Baseball is a game of failures. To bat .300 one has to make out 7 times out of every ten at bats. And .300 is a good average yet it means the batter failed 7 out of ten at bats. Ted Williams in 1941 hit .406 and no one has hit .400 since yet it means he failed almost 60% of the time he set this amazing average. So all I am saying is I am almost ashamed to say I am a Yankee fan because of the horrendous way the Yankee fan has been acting during the struggles of their team. I hope the Yanks come back against Detroit and get a chance to play before their fans in New York. And I hope they will be cheered win or lose and in some way Swisher gets an apology.

I have not been a fan of Joe Geradi as a manager but this year pulling A-Rod and pinch hitting for him was a gutsy move probably not made by many managers. The way he has held the team together with the loss of his stars, Rivera, Jeter and the lesser stars like Gardner has made me a fan. He had to manage with his gut, as well as his statistics. Also his father died while his team was in the title run. He was extremely close with his father. But he kept it from the papers until a local OBIT printed it. He kept it from his players so it wouldn't become a distraction. All in all, win or lose, this was Geradi's year he became a real good major league manager.


 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Once Upon A Time

There was a time he was robust. That was at the beginning. He didn't know it at the time but now that he was at the end of his existence he fully understood it. She was lonely but never fully understood it. She thought her life had been full but it lacked someone to share with fully. Oh she had lovers but they were shallow and the association always came down to being there for the moment but not forever. One or two might have held out the promise and they shared her family problems and helped in raising her children. When it finally came to making the full commitment they backed off. They weren't bad guys only weak ones.

Way down in her psyche without her realizing it she pined for someone to share love, to share life on a deeper level, one with meaning that touched the soul not just the senses. Out of nowhere he came along. What she wanted seemed to be embodied in him. Not at the start, but as they got to know each other they seemed to be fulfilling each one's needs. It seemed her thoughts were creating him to be the one she never had but needed so desperately in her life. He seemed real but he was only a figment of her imagination. As long as she loved him he grew strong and vibrant.

Then one day, there was something, she couldn't put her finger on it, but that "something" started to make her feel that he wasn't everything she wanted. Somehow that type of thinking pervaded her thoughts and the less she thought of him the more she thought that her past life wasn't so bad. The more she felt the need to return to her past lovers the less robust he seemed. His life was being sucked out of him as her love for him decreased. She never fully realized it but she was the the reason he had life, he had meaning.

She didn't want him to leave but he couldn't remain with her as she took the lifeblood out of him. The less love she had for him, the less she wanted to be with him, the more he started to disappear. He tried to reach out to let her know he was losing his ground and was disappearing. She didn't hear him. Finally, he just disappeared. She missed him greatly but not enough to want him back. So she returned to her old ways. She had plenty of friends, pursuers. She had a great business and social life but it all lacked the deep meaning she pined for the love that cut to the soul not the relationships that only touched the surface. But then the deeper relationships required giving up too much of herself, and she was not ready for that.

She lived out her life alone in a very nice assisted living situation. He of course was never heard from again.

 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Recognize Where You Are Today! Enjoy It!

I saw an old picture the other day based on a novel by Graham Greene published in 1951, made into a movie in 1955 and remade in 1999. It was a powerful telling of an adulterous love affair that spanned almost a decade. It told the story of three people who never had the chance to fully live the lives they wanted. In my mind they never had the chance for fulfillment because they never fully communicated what was in their hearts. The lack of communication came about because they never fully trusted each other to understand what was in their hearts. There were many themes in the picture but this writing is focusing on the love affair and how it affected their lives as the time went by.

The lovers experienced ecstasy when they were absorbed in each others desires for one another. They never revealed their inner desires to one another which lead to a feeling of mistrust and a feeling of possible betrayal . The cuckold husband is certain his wife is unfaithful but is too timid to risk showing his love and in the end lives with the fact. The lady is a beautiful woman who seeks love that the marriage never held for her. Her marriage took place in the  late 1930's and even in that time all marriages were not necessarily based on love and desire but rather on accommodations. In the end she dies of an incurable disease being cared for by both men.

As the story unfolded it was to me an unfolding of life. Where we have times of love, of happiness, of deceit  of truth, of floating on clouds and then being thrust down to the earth with such great force that whatever we had built up within ourselves was broken into dust, which settles into the surrounding dirt. The characters never took the time to slow down just a bit and enjoy the good times. There were good times but while they were enjoying them they were too busy doing "things" and not taking the time to just look at one another, to enjoy just being with one another. No they had to be doing, had to be planning had to be busy until she died and then everything slowed down to a halt. For the men at least for the mourning period, and who knows how long that would be, everything was over, all the plans were useless  she was gone only to live in their minds and soon the memories would fade as they tried to get into the times of their lives that was presented to them without her. Somehow, we have to take note of the time we are in. Slow down and enjoy the person we are with, the situation we are in and then when the other times come at least we can say we enjoyed the good times because the bad times will come as sure as there is a heaven, as sure as there is a God.

Ecclesiastes says all of this and The Byrds made a song "Turn, Turn, Turn" which I suppose says it all in an updated way we can all understand.



To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
A time to every purpose under heaven

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
And a time to every purpose under Heaven

A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones, a time to gather stones together

To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
And a time to every purpose under Heaven

A time of love, a time of hate
A time of war, a time of peace
A time you may embrace, a time to refrain from embracing

To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
And a time to every purpose under Heaven

A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time for love, a time for hate
A time for peace, I swear it's not too late


Friday, September 21, 2012

I Woke Up and I Was Dead


I woke up one day and I was dead. I knew something was not quite right since I was floating above my bed which held my body. I really didn't feel too much different than I felt when I went to bed the night before. I had a slight headache, but nothing to take an aspirin about. In fact I felt pretty good. Dave Letterman's monologue was pretty funny and right on target as he lampooned both of the current pretenders to the Presidency. I directed the remote to the TV as I hit the power button. I laid in the same fetal position I have always laid in while I pulled the covers over me and laid my head softly on my pillow. It seems to me that I fell asleep almost immediately which is something I haven't done in quite some time.
AHA, that's it! I didn't fall asleep immediately. I died at that precise time! Boy that was really peaceful. I haven't felt that much at rest in my whole life. But then if I died then what the hell am I doing floating above my body between bed and ceiling? Aren't I supposed to be somewhere other than here? Aren't I supposed to be getting judged or something? Why do I feel like I am in a sort of limbo. Yes I am dead but I can't leave here until I find out what is holding me here and stopping me from going to wherever I should be going.

I had to focus. I had to think. The last day I was alive what was it like? I mean Dave Letterman's monologue couldn't be the most important moment of my life. It really was just a fleeting moment of nothingness that at least gave me a laugh before I departed this earth for eternity. I have to go back over the last day before I decided to go to sleep.


Let's see, I woke at the usual time about ten minutes before the clock radio went off around five twenty in the morning. I remember wishing I could sleep the day away like I did when I was a kid but those days belonged to the past the way I did. I sort of wandered around around the room trying to shake the cobwebs from my mind and get my bones greased up enough so I could move without any aches and pains. The radio blared with an old Beatles song, "All you need is Love". A nice thought I figured as I hummed along with them. I listened to the early news headlines, the weather report and then I shut off the radio. I shaved, took a shower and groused most of the way as I got ready to meet the day.


Then it struck me. I was floating between bed and ceiling because the last day of my life was thrown away without realizing all the good things that were there before me. I couldn't leave this earth until I rectified this.
I forced myself to re-listen to the Beatles "All You Need Is Love", to listen to the word's meanings. When I remembered shaving I actually felt the warm water finding my face and the nice soft feeling of the suds on my face. I remembered my shower making my body come alive with its warm water awakening my bones.


I wasted the day grousing and being grouchy and never looked at the beauty of the trees as they majestically kissed the earth while raising their arms towards the heavens. I wasted the day thinking of only myself. I withdrew into a shell. Why? Who knows why we do stupid things. I should have called my daughter and told her how much joy she brought into my life. I should've called my sons and let them know how proud I was of each and every one of them. But all I did was draw into myself. Couldn't let anyone know I am soft after all I am tough. Right?


The pride that kept me from showing how much I loved also kept me from letting whomever was close to me at a distance. When I let my wife know how much I loved her she was too far into Alzheimer's to know the depth of my love. Now it was too late to express all I felt to my new love. Sometimes it is easier and far safer to let a joke end the sentence. And now it is too late. I am stuck in Limbo between bed and ceiling looking down at my dead body. I can't experience the goodness and beauty of all the earth has to offer. I can't experience the joy of love shared between parent and children. I can't experience the wonder of loving and being loved. I was too worried about pride. I let the moment escape me and I can't do anything about it.



As I was looking down at my body in bed I realized I needed another chance. I knew if I received that chance I'd probably screw it up again but I needed just one more chance to give life a try. As I was wishing for this chance I felt a sensation, sort of like a vacuum, that was drawing me downward towards my lifeless body until with a great swoosh my spirit entered my body. My hand raised to wipe the sleep from my eyes. I really didn't know what had happened. I would have to give this experience a lot of thought. But I awakened and was glad that I had only dreamt that I was dead. After all it was only a dream, wasn't it?



Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Judge and Be Judged

A few things stuck me as I thought about the arguments that are floating about this political season that have to do with social issues, especially those which are promulgated by the religious right. The same sex marriage issue is hot. Birth control has gotten into the discussion. Not so surprisingly even the size of the family has been injected not so blatantly rather insidiously.   And of course abortion has raised it's ugly head. The feeding and caring for the poor came up for some discussion when the Catholic Bishops pointed out that Paul Ryan's budget was harsh on the poor and vulnerable in our society. But that discussion was short lived. I wonder why? This is not a posting which wants to discuss the merits of the arguments rather it is a posting that wants to point out that many of the religious right that is against many of these things quote the Bible which clearly lists many of these things as "sin" and it follows that those who follow such practices are doomed to hell. Thinking about this got me to ponder the fact that many of the people I know, including me are doomed to hell if we believe these naysayers.

Who among us don't know gay people? They may be members of our very own family. You mean they are condemned to hell? This isn't the God I have grown to know. How many people do we know who are divorced and remarry? Roman Catholics might have to look upon their brethren as doomed to hell for eternity unless they change everything that may be good about their lives at this moment. Who doesn't know someone who is practicing birth control within or without the bonds of marriage? Well unless they don't change their ways they too are doomed to hell. No matter how you slice it, looking at the past, looking at the present and what we know the future is going to bring there seem to be many more don'ts than dos. This means that the Religious Right can quote, "Many are called but few are chosen.", and seem to be right. They can live with the fact that many more are doomed to hell than those who are destined for glory. And they seem smugly OK with that.

The God I know, and many may argue both on the right and the left that my God does not exist, is a God who does not create to put his creation in a losing position. He does not create to cause confusion and blurry ideas that can only be explained by a few who the masses follow. He does not create to fail. The God I know, and like I said previously, some on the right and left may say does not exist, loves His creation so much He will find a way to make sure his creation is a success. He will make sure that instead of most going to hell they will go to heaven. I don't quote scripture to prove points anymore because one can find conflicting thoughts throughout scripture of many religions And knowledge of the scriptures doesn't necessarily mean the one quoting is  inspired by God for it is said by theologians that no one knows the scriptures better than the Devil.

So rather than put my trust in those men who are always telling us what God wants for us I shall look for guidance from those that seem to speak with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. I shall chew on it, pray over it and then accept or reject it depending on where the Spirit leads me. But I refuse to accept anyone who says the ones I love are destined for hell just because they have different ideas or life styles those who wear robes say they must have. And most of all I will not judge anyone but myself and I will try and be lenient in my judgement.  

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Unrequited Love


“I have to admit, an unrequited love is so much better than a real one. I mean, it's perfect... As long as something is never even started, you never have to worry about it ending. It has endless potential.”
― Sarah DessenThe Truth About Forever

Reading the above quotation was truly enlightening. Think about it, unrequited love, one in which one's love is not returned is always thought of the most depressing thing. The one thing about it is its over before it has begun. There was no point of being the pursuer or the pursued. No part of building promises and trust that lay waiting to be broken. No passions rising and falling as one breathes.  No exchange of vows be they public or private. 

Unrequited love is much like romantic,courtly  love where one worships from afar, never approaching the beloved. There is no chance for for the lovers to ever touch maybe never meeting but one is always the beloved and the other the lover, never to change. 

The whole thought of marriage being the result of love between two people is relatively new, perhaps a phenomenon of the twentieth century originating in the United States of America. Marriage from the time of its inception was an arrangement between two families that brought stronger bonds for both families. Usually it was wealth and power that was the consideration. But even the very poor made these arrangements. My Grandmother met her husband at the age of 14 and he was about a decade older when her father and his friend fulfilled an agreement made in youth that their families would be united by a marriage. They were poor and had nothing to gain except the fulfillment of a childhood promise which affected their children. The thought of love being involved was so far fetched that it wasn't even considered. This took place in the USA in the year 1889.  The love my grandmother had to give was given to her children. She had plenty to give but it was not to be shared with a man of her generation.  She also lived at a time when women had no rights and could be abused as the husband wished, or not.

Unrequited love can be like courtly love but many times the pursuer makes his or her feeling known and then is rejected. Whether it be courtly love or rejected approaches nothing was ever started so nothing was ended. When the feelings are exchanged there is a beginning, middle and an end. This is where it becomes excruciatingly painful because there are many promises made or assumed that never come to fruition. Untold visions of a future that are dashed. This is where the people involved let themselves open to shown vulnerabilities and can be hurt leaving scars that may never  heal. Yet to quote Tennyson, "It is better to have loved and lost than not to have loved at all".  But best of all the following quote:

Oh, seek my love your newer way
I'll not be left in sorrow.
As long as I have yesterday
Go take your damned tomorrows.

(Dorothy Parker )

    

  

Friday, August 31, 2012

IMAGINE, John Lennon

When I first heard Imagine I thought it was kind of blasphemous. Imagine, no countries, religion! This can only lead to anarchy and no rule or reason. No religion? Where are our moral leanings coming from?  I thought. But as I grew older and I became more aware of the difference between what was being said by our leaders and what was really meant. I have come to the conclusion that John Lennon really had the right idea. In a way Lennon was being a prophet calling us to rethink all the things that motivate us and let love rule.

Just think if we didn't have to think about borders and stuff like patriotism, we wouldn't have to defend positions taken because it would benefit one country over the other. Food could be distributed to every one without thought of political purposes but just because we had brothers and sisters who were hungry. And religion is still causing more problems in this world because there are things like "holy wars" over supposed sins that are really caused by one sect trying to suppress another. Are Imams, Popes, Bishops and ethnic churches really necessary to remind us to "love our brothers as we love ourselves? Isn't this what they should be doing? Reminding us that God is love and to be God like is to love not hate, which certainly goes on between organized religions.

Lennon does say he probably is too much of a Pollyanna, a dreamer but considering the condition of the world as it was when the song was written, before that until now, maybe we should all consider the ideal and make a little change in ourselves which might start this crazy world to change. The change has to start small and grow. But just imagine, a world where we can really be one in hope, love and happiness. Really, consider it, it's not a bad idea.  Just as a starter read the lyrics to John Lennon's Imagine listed below:

Imagine there's no countries, 
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will be as one
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Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will live as one
Imagine there's no countries,
 
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You, You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will live as one

Friday, August 24, 2012

Heal Not Hurt

The world is full of people with opinions who happen to think their point of view is correct and only those that agree with them are correct and the rest of us are in error, some great some small. Most of these people are quick to judge others for living a misguided life while they see themselves as perfect in most respects.

You would think those who follow Jesus would be the last to make judgments about anyone but themselves.

Matthew NIV: "Do not judge or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you." and "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?"

I would say that is pretty clear wouldn't you? Jesus seems to be saying pay attention to your own salvation and mind your business. Stop being so harsh on others while you've got a bit of stuff to clear up in your own mess right now. All that with the admonition that if you are not careful YOU will be judged in the same harsh manner that you mete out your judgement on others.

The ultra conservative Christian, Muslim, Jew anyone who follows the religion of their choice and uses the written word as their guide has to be careful about words written hundreds or thousands of years ago when the common thought was different and scientific discovery of the universe, the body and the psyche was light years away from what we now know as truths about life. To follow those words as written is sure to lead into error, like holy wars, cutting off hands of those who steal and stoning of prostitutes. Surely one has to use knowledge gained through the collective learning of mankind to understand these type of things no longer apply. We have to look past the words to the intent and if you are Christian one truth prevails and that is love is the most important element of existence. Understanding that we are put here to help and build up rather than to tear and breakdown. I would bet all true religions have this concept at their base.

Yet we find people who would look at a life style and say those living it are hell bent. These very same Judges pass by the homeless, and sick without even looking while they eat well every night. Do you get my drift? The imagery here is pure and can be applied to those who say we should not give food stamps or care for those who are beaten down because they are probably in the position they are in due to their own frailty. And so what if they are? Are we to just go by and forget our brothers and sisters?

It is not only we the people, individuals who seem to forget that love is what is supposed to drive us in this world but it is our very institutions who continue to foster the idea that some of us are better than others and those deserve better treatment. The Catholic Church is run by Shepherds who put the institution's needs above children who were getting molested while they were saying that those who use birth control are committing mortal sin. The old boys club which is still running the Church is still committing women to second place as is shown by the recent attempt of humiliating the Nun who wrote a treatise and, heaven forbid, happened to mention masturbation in it and the right of women to have a special place in the church. The whole order was chastised publicly. You can look it up! The leaders walk around in splendid  robes while many of the followers are seeped in poverty and are mistreated by their own government while the church remains silent for political purposes. Without passing judgement on any one specifically I join in passing collective judgement on us all for allowing it to happen. The individual is acting in what he believes is the best interest as dictated by divine intervention. The individual should know better but doesn't. Collectively the institution should know better and probably does but it's blinded because love isn't the driving force, the life of the institution is. To end this I want to quote a few things that might explain what I think Jesus is all about and maybe what life should be about be you Christian or not.

"A new commandment I give you, love one another as I have loved you. By this all men shall know you are my disciples, that you love one another as I have loved you." AND

"Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - Think about such things."