Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Passing Over

When we meet again?
A friend of mine just died and I'm hearing all this stuff again. What does it mean?
I understand it is a comfort to the family and friends to think that the bereaved will be sitting at the right hand of The Lord and all will meet again in the afterlife to have cocktails and talk about old times. That talks makes me uncomfortable.
Like when a musician or singer dies and everyone post on social media that they will join the incredible band up in heaven. Really? Do Jimi, Janis, Jim, Brian, etc. want another player?
First of all, I don’t think the rock & roll lifestyle means you will be taking the up elevator. Secondly the amount of egos involved in a band of that size would cause some really bad music.
Still I wonder why we fantasize about this imaginary place that we are suppose to go to when we croak. Sure I get that we can’t just accept that a body that has stopped breathing is gone forever. What about that turtle bought at the corner 5 & dime you put in a shoebox and thrown in the trash?
Culture has formed a ceremony and an industry for disposing the corpse. There are wakes (sometimes with an creepy open coffin) and a funeral to drop the body into the ground (because we stink when we rot, unless we set us on fire, then we still stink) and then the usual memorial service to remember the one who has passed over.
That someone is missing haunts us more than any Halloween thought. So we find a fantasy, like clouds and wings and harps that gives us solace in the inevitable. For we will all follow?

Impress Me

New car? Big house? Gold watch? What else you got?
Items that reflect your salary or position or prestige or linage are nothing more than stuff. They will all wind up in the land fill to be replaced by other worthless items.
What else you got?
Writings of the knowledge gained from employment? Memories? Self-absorbed efforts to stroke your ego?
What else you got?
What am I looking for?
What I am looking for is something that takes a person out of their normal comfort zone. Something different. Something unique.
People of wealth can pride themselves on philanthropy but it is just throwing money at a cause or an idea. They can form foundations or idealistic organizations as easy as buying a jet or a yacht.
People of few means have little to share except their own time and elbow grease. Is this what separates us?
With all the choices in life, some have made good decisions to accumulate more than they could possibly ever use and so share with their less fortunate neighbors. Is this a mere penance to the serfs who humble themselves to survive?
There is always a photo-op of some wealthy folk dressed in sparkling clean aprons ladling beans at a soup kitchen but they quickly left after the shutter snap. Is it less stressful to sit on the golden throne than face those who with education, shelter and an occupation could pull themselves up and possibly advance the species?
I suppose it would be easy to sit back and enjoy the lavish lifestyle and drown in the decadence while your brothers and sisters are suffering for it is not your problem and never was.
Just when all hope is lost, Morgan Freeman turns his 124-acre farm into a bee haven.
Thanks, I needed that.


Why do we do this?
It is almost that season when we send “Greetings” cards to our family and friends and business acquaintances and whoever was left on our mailing list. We send cards to those who sent us cards and we must reply but what do they really mean.
Greeting is an act of communication in which we make our presence known to each other.
Greetings are used just prior to a conversation or to greet in passing. Greetings expressed in both audibly and physically, and often involve a combination of the two. Greetings include military and ceremonial salutes and other cultural gestures. A greeting or salutation can also be letters, cards and emails.
The same word or gesture is used as both greeting and farewell like “Good day” in English, “Aloha” in Hawaiian, “Shalom” in Hebrew, “Namaste” in Hindi and “Ciao” in Italian. The bow and handshake are also used for both greeting and leaving.
A greeting can consist of an exchange of formal expression, kisses, handshakes, hugs, and various gestures. The form of greeting is determined by social etiquette, as well as by the relationship of the people.
A greeting may also include facial expressions, gestures, body language and eye contact. Greeting someone with open arms is a sign that a hug is expected, but crossing arms can be interpreted as a sign of hostility. A frown, slouching and lowered eye contact shows disinterest, while smiling and an exuberant attitude is a sign of welcome.
In Western cultures the handshake is very common, though it has numerous subtle variations in the strength of grip, the vigor of the shake, the dominant position of one hand over the other, and whether or not the left hand is used.
Politeness is our societies’ management of words and actions.
Having manners is a term preceded by the word ‘good’ or ‘bad’ to indicate whether or not a behavior is socially acceptable? Manners, a subset of social norms, are enforced through self-regulation, social policing and publicly acceptable behavior. Manners enable ‘ultra sociality’ by imposing self-restraint and compromise to status quo.
Manners typically demonstrate one’s identity within a specific sociocultural group. Adherence to cultural norm manners allows for the demarcation of sociocultural identities and the creation of boundaries which inform who is to be trusted or who is to be deemed as ‘other’. Nonadherence to the cultural norm would result in alienation.
Male greetings to a woman used to include the “tipping” or removing their hat.  If a man not wearing a hat, he’d touch his hair to the side of the front of his head to replicate a hat tipping gesture. This gesture was also performed by lower class men to social superiors, such as peasants to the landowner, and is known as “tugging the forelock”, which still sometimes occurs as a metaphor for submissive behavior. Women did not perform this gesture.
The Arabic term salaam (literally “peace”, from the spoken greeting that accompanies the gesture) refers to the practice of placing the right palm on the heart, before and after a handshake.
A Chinese greeting features the right fist placed in the palm of the left hand and both shaken back and forth two or three times, it may be accompanied by a head nod or bow. The gesture may be used on meeting and parting, and when offering thanks or apologies.
In India, it is common to see the Namaste greeting (or “Sat Sri Akal” for Sikhs) where the palms of the hands are pressed together and held near the heart with the head gently bowed.
In Indonesia, a nation with a huge variety of cultures and religions, many greetings are expressed, from the formalized greeting of the highly stratified and hierarchical Javanese to the more egalitarian and practical greetings of outer islands.
Añjali Mudrā, Bowing, Cheek kissing, Eskimo kissing, Fist bump, Hand-kissing, Handshake, Hat raising or tipping, High-five, Hug, Kowtow, Mano (gesture), Namaste, Pranāma, Pressing noses, Salute, Sampeah, Tehniyat, Waving, the gesture of moving one's hand back and forth, Wai are all greetings.
Etiquette became a self-conscious process of the imposition of polite norms and behaviors became a symbol of being a genteel member of the upper class. Upwardly mobile middle class bourgeoisie increasingly tried to identify themselves with the elite through their adopted artistic preferences and their standards of behavior. They became preoccupied with precise rules of etiquette, such as when to show emotion, the art of elegant dress and graceful conversation and how to act courteously, especially with women.
So with all that said, how do you introduce yourself to a stranger? How do you reintroduce yourself to a friend?
Personally, I don’t follow all the acceptable procedures to welcome another. Normally I will just say “Hey”. This allows me the time to try to place a name with the face. It is something I picked up from Carolina and seems friendly without being too formal.
After the handshake turned into fist bumps and high fives and whatever variations are hip, I avoid putting out my hand to press flesh. A wave will do.
I also try to avoid those uncomfortable hugs. Why would I want to hug someone or invite someone into my private space? What about a receiving line? How long would that take if you had to hug everyone? If you get that close do you give the other a peck on the cheek? Best to just stay an arms distance away.
I do respect the idea of announcing my name when approaching someone else as an identity that someone else might remember. Plus it allows someone else to start a conversation with a name. (Note: Not saying it is always my name, but the technique works)
“How are you?” and “Nice meeting you” are two responses to introductions that are NOTB!!! First, you don’t care how I am. If you did, you would already know. If you didn’t, this is just a waste of air. Second, you don’t know if it is nice meeting me or not. I might have some association with someone else you know or respect, but down deep I could be a horrible person you would not want to leave your daughter with.
Luckily in the age of electronic communication today’s greetings can be a simple emoji (smiley face here).

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Going to the Temple

No matter which affiliation or orientation or denomination, we all worship at this temple.
It is the Temple of the Tummy. The colloquial definition is a grocery. No matter what your age or occupation or income or creed or…. We all get hungry and go to the Temple of the Tummy.
We give praises to the pears; we sing tributes to the tomatoes; we give hallelujahs to the halibut; we sing carols to the carrots.
No matter the time of day or the lack of dress code, we walk up and down the aisles receiving our bounty from the abundance given by the Temple of the Tummy. When the selections seem bare, our ushers restock for our obsession with obesity. Oh for the greatness of gluttony.
The congregation fills their carts with every variation for any faith. Non-gluten, vegan, lactose intolerant are all welcomed and accommodated. Whether frozen or fresh or boxed or canned, precooked or raw or in some configuration in between, the Temple of the Tummy provides for our every need. The Temple of the Tummy can provide to cleanse your body, ease your sniffles, entertain your children, and change water into grape juice.
As the lines of tithing for our riches, each is tempted with sugar treats and heathen teachings of questionable journalism. Using paper or plastic, our gastric adventure into bloating, flatulence, constipation, diarrhea, and all sort of others malefactions continues. Even after all our trials and tribulations, we return to the Temple of the Tummy for we must to survive.
I attend the Temple of the Tummy according to the book of Kroger each and every day. I along with the grazers and the readers and the confused and the wanderers and the cookers and the micro-wavers and the couponers and the scooters and the old and the young and the families and the lost souls in the Temple of the Tummy have read the recipe book and have my list and check the ingredients to leave with substance to prolong my existence.
I praise the Temple of the Tummy for its ability to provide entertainment and provisions to maintain my wellbeing and fill my belly.
So why are you closed at Christmas?  Santa needs to eat.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

How Are You In The Polls?

Every week there are polls of financial importance and political standings, but what if YOU had to be polled?
Could you stand up to the questioning and evaluations on obscure and maybe uncomfortable subjects? Where would you stand in the polls?
 Political figures and those who want to be are constantly asked questions and results published with comments for every reader or listener or viewer to form an opinion, so pollsters can survey the public’s thoughts.
What if YOU had to go through that scrutiny?
There are yearly job reviews at work, but suppose there was a weekly polling. What does your boss think about your production this week? What do your co-workers think of your attitude? Do the stockholders believe you should keep your job?
Does your family believe in you? Do your children?
Where do you stand in the polls with your wife? Did you take out the trash on time? Did you pick up your underwear or put away the laundry? Did you belch when her friends came over? Did you fart at the dinner table? Won’t even get into the bedroom because the numbers will surely drop there.
If everyone else, friends and foes, could access these numbers every week, what would be the results? The value of your personality and influence and compatibility could rise or drop with a few percentage points.
Your life could be controlled by the ratings of strangers and those around you. Your family and friends could change in a blink of a few numbers.
And evaluations of your friends and family who are also rated would eliminate marriage counselors and most religions. Just pull out the spreadsheet and see whom you would like today.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

What Do You Need To Do To Be President?

The minimum constitutional requirements for someone to become president of the United States is:
1.    Be a natural born U.S. citizen. Someone may be born abroad, but only if both parents were citizens of the United States. The only exception to this was for those around at the time the Constitution was adopted. Their requirement was that they had to be a citizen when the Constitution was adopted.
2.    Be at least 35 years of age.
3.    Have lived in the United States for at least 14 years to be president. This does not have to be consecutive or even the 14 years leading up to becoming president.

There you have it. That is all the requirements from our founding fathers to become the president of the United States of America.
So why are we asking all these other questions? Getting all distracted by what the next possible CEO of this here America thinks about?
To run for the office of the President takes a bit of money. More every year it seems for the constant signage and robo-calls and Internet pop-ups and television ads and…. But what a minute, this is not the candidate’s money. This is money coming from corporations…er, foundations and non-profit organizations or super pacs that will pay for all that stuff so they can influence the candidate’s agenda.
Well there are those debates and interviews and constant questions so a candidate should be fairly resourceful. With all the photos and television coverage, a candidate should look something like a movie star on the red carpet. Knowing what to say to whom and when can get you elected…or not.
The candidate also needs an entourage that handles the details to make the campaign trail look professional and polished. Rounding up wholesome looking fresh faced American icons cheering the candidates’ name and covered in pins and holding posters for the photo-ops is essential for the five o’clock news.
The candidate should look ‘presidential’. A president must have the look of a person who can stand tall next to other world leaders. A president is a person who can board Air Force One and smile at the photographers. A president is a person who can stand behind a podium and make statements that will affect every citizen of every state in the nation.
A president should appear strong yet empathic to the human woe all the while offering a friendly positive impression that the government is in good hands.
For the candidate is applying for the top job in the government and we, the voters, are doing the job evaluations. We may speak different dialects and have different backgrounds and opinions and concerns, but in November, we will go to the ballot box with whatever information we have been able to conclude, flip a coin and choose a name. Then hope for the best?
Not like when you football team loses, there is no more next week’s game. This is the countries choice and we have to live with our selection for four years.
A government is the system by which a state or community is controlled. In the Commonwealth of Nations, the word government is also used more narrowly to refer to the collective group of people that exercises executive authority in a state. This usage is analogous to what is called an “administration”. The concepts of the state and the government may be used synonymously to refer to the person or group of people exercising authority over a politically organized territory. Government is a synonym for governance.
Government normally consists of legislators, administrators, and arbitrators. Government is the means by which state policy is enforced, as well as the mechanism for determining the policy of the state. A form of government, or form of state governance, refers to the set of political systems and institutions that make up the organization of a specific government.
Government of any kind currently affects every human activity. Political scientists argue that government should be studied along with anthropology, economics, environmentalism, history, philosophy, science, and sociology.
Political science’s goal is to create a typology or taxonomy of polities using comparative politics and international relations.
Identifying a form of government appears to be simple, as all governments have an official form. The United States is a federal republic, while the former Soviet Union was a socialist republic.
Identifying a form of government is also difficult because a large number of political systems originate as socio-economic movements and are then carried into governments by specific parties naming themselves after those movements; all with competing political-ideologies.
Other complications include general non-consensus or deliberate “distortion or bias” of reasonable technical definitions to political ideologies and associated forms of governing, due to the nature of politics in the modern era.  Yet what Americans now call conservatism much have the world calls liberalism or neo-liberalism. Since the 1950s conservatism in the United States has been chiefly associated with the Republican Party. However, during the era of segregation many Southern Democrats were conservatives, and they played a key role in the Conservative Coalition that controlled Congress from 1937 to 1963.
 Is the United States not a true capitalist society, since the government actually provides social services for its citizens? Is the United States a plutocracy rather than a democracy since some may believe it is ruled by the wealthy?
Could get into political coups or military take-over’s or dictatorships but I’m talking about electing the President of the United States. What does it take and who is asking the questions?
With all the media attention and variations of fact/fiction, what do we need to ask these men and women who want the highest office of the land?
Do we need to know their shoe size? Do we need to know what his or her favorite food is? Do we need to know why a certain kind of car or refrigerator or lawn mower was purchased? Do we need to know if any sports were played or debate clubs joined? Do we need to know if he or she went to war or not? Do we need to know why he or she has so many children or not? Do we need to know what razors used? Do we need to know if the toilet paper change is agreeable with their significant other? Do we need to know…?
This person, no matter the other silliness, will be the one who is the head of state and commander in chief.
What does the President think about transgender? What will happen when the President’s 15-year-old daughter becomes pregnant? What church does the President go to and how often? How many times a week does the President have sex? How many times does the President poop? How many shoes does the President have? What does the President feel about Southern Heritage? What does the President feel about blue hair? What would the President do to get that smell out of his car?
Or do we want a President who can run a nation of 50 very independent states and a diverse population guaranteeing them protection and an economic future? A President who sees the big picture and is not pulled down by political agendas or monetary obligations?
It is your call. It is your vote.

Saturday, October 3, 2015


Or living free

It is a strange thing how restricted our lives are. We must provide ourselves with shelter and food and all the normal life substances so we learn trades or skills and acquire occupations to accomplish the sums of cash to feed our needs and wants.
We complain about our ordinary lives yet we know we must continue to struggle for our lives continue to change with more demands of children and schools and community and larger houses and more cars and insurance and yet we continue to struggle.
While we numb ourselves with plastic entertainment we view a few and wonder. How do they remain free?
Those who build houses out of sticks or live in rock caves or wander the globe without a care. How do they do that?
Are they just freaks of nature and should be avoided at every chance for they are the wanderers and the adventures that don’t listen to the norms the rest of us follow.
Some may call them street people or homeless or vagabonds or hobos, but these few are living free.
These are the spirits we read about and wonder. These are those explorers that we wish we could follow but there is a nine o’clock meeting in the morning.
Our libraries are filled with recounts of visits with those who do not conform. They are our Don Quixote or Luke Skywalker or Beowulf or Ulysses. They are our dreams that keep our dull and boring life require. 
The adventure down the rabbit hole or the flight to the second star on the right were all conjured up by our minds to entertain the hope we could, even for a brief moment, live that fantasy.
So as we scoff at a person who is begging or a street musician or just the random vagabonds walking by or deciding to live free just try to remember. They may be living the life that will be read about for centuries to come with our envy and regard.

Friday, October 2, 2015


Just makes you wonder
I am fully aware that I’m not the most educated man and am not the most intellectual to discuss or analysis all the events of the world, but I do try to stay up-to-date with the news as presented through the media. I, like you, will listen and watch and try to learn while applying my own background information on the subject.
In today’s instant information age, what is unknown or somewhat confusing can be researched by a single click of the mouse, but is the information factual?
Yonder days back, whatever information you got was the truth. Whether it came from church or your parents or friends or newspapers, it was all you had to base your knowledge on.
Today with 24-hour news services and the constant chatter on the Internet, our brains are overwhelmed with what might be fact or what might just be opinions or just stilted agendas.
My question is why do we still listen to these clowns?
We all hear and watch and must decide whether to believe what is consumed or not. Yet, with enough bombardment of even the worst bombastic falsehoods, we will tend to believe.
With all our biases and opinions based on what has been presented to us and endorsed by our friends and family and clergy, we form our beliefs. If we only listen to those who promote our beliefs, we have confirmed our truth by repetition.
If presented by a charismatic talking head, like Hitler, Walter Cronkite or Jesus, we can become persuaded or evenfall under the spell of words changing meanings of our biases. If peer pressure or worst condemn any other alternative thought, we become prejudice and intolerant to any other idea.
I won’t pick on any particular talking head or ‘informational’ source but there are too many to question their opinions with their credentials. If a fact can be twisted to meet an agenda, is it still a fact?
While the flood of noise and irrational comments overwhelm us everyday, I take a few with a grain of salt, for tomorrow there will be a new trend and we will all follow like lemmings.