Monday, October 31, 2016


Un-social media. Can I make the break? Can I withdraw?
I did it with television, but can it do it with social media? Can I break the habit of going to the computer with my coffee every morning thinking someone has sent me a thought or a message or a link and I must respond immediately?
I will clarify that I do not Tweet or stream or Skype or even use a Smartphone and have limited sites that I go to, but I realize the computer is on all the time. I appear to be binging.
Am I so bored that I constantly scroll through pictures of babies and kittens and drunken folks I don’t know while hoping to find the latest news or some creative idea or an interesting factoid?
Obviously I am guilty as charged.
As with television, I fell into the habit of the ‘Today’ show first thing in the morning and following a routine of programs that wasted my time. I could excuse my addiction by saying “I’m multi-tasking” but I’m watching the computer screen while watching the television screen and listening to the radio. Where is my focus?
To begin with my quest, I went through my list of “Friends”. Who are these people? Do I ever hear from them? If I comment on their post do they ever respond? Time to clean the closet.
Next is to clean the clutter of links. It was so easy to bookmark all sorts of places that were only visited rarely and could be found again if necessary. This action also cuts out much of the spam emails.
Will this cut out my junkie addiction to trying to be liked and accepted by people I have not seen face-to-face in years? Old work mates I didn’t know that well then or school chums from before puberty are so overwhelming my life with their chatter?
Now I do appreciate social media of staying in touch but just like neighbors, there is only so much I need to know. Wherever you are and whatever you are eating really is not that important. Cute photos of your kids or your pets or your spouse looking silly are filler.
As in a face-to-face conversation do we need to check our phones or is it just not worth the separation?
Can I man up and withdraw in time?
Not a big fan of protection during my potent years, I paid the price (literally and emotionally) for withdrawal and the consequences. Withdrawal is more difficult than it seems.
Can I detoxify without knowing who is getting married or seeing the latest photo of a sunrise/sunset? Will you email me your complaints or just post your irritations on Facebook? Can I rationally decide who to vote for without the constant bickering and rude behavior?
Just take a breath and shut down. The email will still be there tomorrow. The thread of social silliness will be even faster to scroll through in the morning without the need for your comment or review.
What will be next?

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Look What I Did

I know you’ve seen the pictures. Selfies taken with the kill of the day fill the scrapbooks and the social media sites. Stories of the ‘one that got away’ are as numerous as the trophies heads on the wall.
Editor’s note: What follows may (or will) offend some so read on at your own risk.
Now I realize that hunting and fishing are classified as sports and the 2nd amendment guarantee the right for any schmo to go into a store and come out packing and that history shows our necessary for killing animals to survive.
Yet today, in the 21st century, with all the options to questionably nutritious food, why do we still feel the need to go out and kill something? What would make a civilized individual wake in the middle of the night, put on layers of camo, place traps and decoys and wait for the prey to come close to surprise them with overpowering force?
Wouldn’t it be more of a ‘sport’ if you chased a deer on foot? Face a bear off with a knife? Swam underwater to catch a fish with our opposing thumb hands?
Of course not, for we have superior intellect to outsmart creatures just trying to find water, shelter, and enough food to continue their evolution. Besides we have a massive industry grinding out new and more deadly methods of killing the helpless.
Genesis 1:26-29 King James Version
26 And God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth”.
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth”.
We have been assigned by God to have dominion over all the animals. Dominion means a self-governing autonomous state. From what I read autonomous means acting independently or having the freedom to do so.
I fully understand if a tiger has been pushed out of its territory by over development and is attacking children for food that protective measures must be used. If wolves attack our flock more intense measures than a dog are needed.
Our history shows we have used our ‘dominion’ with glee, just ask the American Buffalo.
Today as we throw that steak or salmon on the grill, we have lost sight of the animals raised for slaughter. We avoid sight of the cramped living conditions or the herding into trucks to be filed into killing zones to be sliced and diced and hung out to dry. The dominative animals didn’t know what was about to happen anymore that those at Auschwitz Birkenau.
Of course you have seen the trawlers ‘harvesting’ the sea with giant nets scooping up masses of families and friends out of their natural environment to drop them on the decks. That little floppy dance they are doing is merely suffocation, the same as if they dragged you down to the oceans depths.
Like any animal, there are natural predators. Those that feed off the weak or vulnerable for survival, but is it sport?
Through all this rambling, my point is ‘Why?”
If we raise our pets and care for them yet go out and kill defenseless animals how are we following ‘God’s word?’
What is it about wearing a fur around our neck that makes us glamorous? Putting a stuffed head on the wall makes us macho? The last tiger rug on the floor will make interior design awards?  Are those real ivories or plastic keys on that piano?
Let’s face it; we like to kill. Any reading of our history is about the continuous bloody trail of bodies.
We have settled to not only have dominion over the animals but we expanded it to each other. I think the 5th commandment said something like “Thou shalt not kill”. Seems we threw that one out with the trash.
If the violent video games don’t fill your thrill, we continue to find some reason to amass armies and invade lands of others and create carnage of innocent and guilty. After you sign up and are handed the latest technology for mutilating another human being remember, they shoot back, unlike the animals.
Proud mama and papa as you take that photo of your youngster on their first fishing outing watching in amazement of what they had done to another resident of the planet and you are pouring glorifying praise on the accomplishment of killing, tell your child to look into the camera and say, “Look what I just murdered”.  

Monday, October 24, 2016

Just In Time For Halloween

Do you make-up your bed?
It is a chore taught early in life and becomes a routine.
Are your parents coming over and will be disappointed by seeing you failed them? Are you trying to impress someone to join you between the sheets?
Are you trying to sell your house?
At camp before you put on your sneakers or brush your teeth, the first responsibility is to make up your cot. The same is true in the armed services to the point where authorities other than your parents will check and if not approved will have to be ‘re-made’ until right.
You are not actually making your bed because that would require springs and padding and sewing, you are just putting make-up on your bed in linens and covers.
So when you wake up and shake the cobwebs off and get dressed and go about your daily business, what does the bed do?
Like your toaster or television or toilet, it just sits there until put to use again.
Unless you are sick or have an active sex life, your bed as well as your bedroom is doing nothing but gathering dust until the lights go out.
Does it impress you to pull back the covers every night like a freshly made bed in a hotel?
A bed is a comfort to climb under your sheets and cuddle with a pillow. When exhausted, it doesn’t matter if the sheets have hospital corners or the blanket perfectly lined. It is a place to lie down and rest. Get off your feet; close your eyes and dream.
If living in a Martha Steward world, the bedroom must look like House Beautiful and one must spend hours dusting and vacuuming and straightening. What a waste of limited time.
Now your bed knows you better than any other piece of household items. The bedroom is the sanctuary within the sanctuary of the home. Only the bathroom is as private but you don’t want to sleep in there.
The bedroom is the place where secret conversations are whispered. The bed relaxes the tired muscles and the sheets absorb the sweat and dirt of the day. Tossing and turning with the frustrations of the day, you bed only bounces back like a prizefighter taking a punch and waiting for the bell.
How does this tie into Halloween?
Halloween is our celebrations of ghost and goblins and things that go bump in the night. We decorate out houses with fake spider webs, tombstones, skeletons and sheets for ghost. The same sheets that adorned your most personal contact are now hung out to display your dirty laundry.
If an un-made-up bed was a sign to friends that your household was not acceptable to established values are you shamed? The same would be true for dirty dishes or leftover toys shrewd on the floor.
Now remember in keeping with the season, the sheets know you. They wrap around your body every night. A stack of blankets and comforters pile upon that and your soft pillows engulf your head.
There is no stretch of the imagination of the ghost sheets strangling you with the other covers suffocating the last nightmare. 
Ever wake up in a sweat and the room is littered with pillows and sheets? 
What kinds of battle took place during the sleeping hours?
Nighty, night. Sleep tight. Don’t let the bedbugs bite.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Motivational Speaker

Have you seen any of the TedX talks? They are refreshing presentations on topics from everything under the sun. Do they motivate you?
Back in the day, a motivational speaker was my father saying if I didn’t get out of bed he was going to throw cold water on me.
My teachers provided history, mathematical formulas, grammar that was required to be regurgitated. The motivation to learn was to pass onto the next grade or fail and be held back while all your friends moved on. Now these poorly paid professionals are substitute parents, law enforcement, dietary and medical assistants trying to motivate the distracted youth into an unknown future.
The best motivations speakers are preachers. Here is a person who stands in front of a congregation of people and promotes eternal peace. There are no data charts or factual history but they read chapter and verse from whichever book is acceptable to motivate people to donate their hard earned cash to their building, salary, and good deeds for the poor without a receipt.
The armed services must have the best motivational speakers. They can recruit the disadvantage and unskilled with the promise of being fed and clothed and trained. Then they break it to you that all those exotic foreign lands they offered to deliver you to would have people there shooting at you, and you were expected to shoot back. It must be a special motivational skill for officers to order people into certain danger and possible death.
Worthwhile employers will have motivational speeches. They will tout the companies’ achievements and further growth to inspire the workers to work harder and faster without offering any additional benefits for their efforts. The best motivational speakers were the ones who told the workforce their salaries would be reduce due to a bad economy but things will turn around with constant effort.
Advertisers are some of the best motivational speakers. They present promises for better breath or faster cars or cleaner laundry if you part with your money for their brand. Unlike preachers, the advertiser has a physical product or service to offer in exchange for your monetary offering.
Not all motivational speakers have the best intentions. Some motivate others to perform unspeakable acts.
Yet some motivational speakers can offer just the right solution to someone in need. Invest in a retirement plan, mediation, marriage counseling can be recommended by a professional presentation or a close friend. It is up to each individual to decide whether the promise of a better life is smoke and mirrors or not.
So now comes to the presidential debates. Their goal is to convince you the public through words to elect them the leader of a nation.
Where is the motivation?
Plenty of questionable numbers and accusations are presented debuting the other political candidates but what is the motivational message?
Where is the vision of schools or transportation or balancing the massive budget? Does anyone present a plan to repair the infrastructure or increase employment beyond the minimal wage or accept that illegal aliens are the ones who are keeping our food cost down? What about the poor and the disabled and unskilled who are wandering around looking for economic scrapes?
 There will always be war and poor and the campaigns are focused on the masses that support has enough income to survive.
No matter the ideology a presentation of two people vying for an esteemed office will appear on screen and whatever prejudices one will listen and reflect.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Person of Interest

You are out there. I may be here? The search is the best part of this game.
I may find you attractive or illusive or endearing and you might find me charming or vulnerable or humorous. We might make some temporary emotional connection, but how long can that last?
If you agree to hang out with me, you can be my sidekick for I will be getting together with my buddies everyday to work on cars or play sports or jam in the garage. You can run and get me drinks and smokes but you will not get my full attention. Save your stories of hair color and clothing choices for your girlfriends for I don’t care. As long as you appear fine to me but not too inviting to other guys, I’ll be happy. I’ll let you wear my stinky jacket to show others to avoid my mark. I’ll take you out for those silly lunches and find “our” song on the jukebox, but my eyes will wander.
When the time comes, I will show you my personal flaws and drown you in physical pleasure. In time we may become friends or our brief passing will be nothing more than a notch on the bedpost or a notation in a diary soon forgotten.
With a lack of alternatives, we may tolerate each other. With shared life experiences we will bond.
Other than children, bills, jobs, and cutting the lawn holding us together, we should have separate likes and hobbies that can interest both of us. Discussions of philosophy, religion, politics, family, death, etc. can have conflicting points-of-view, but if we both respect each other’s opinion we will learn something about the other. The fact of finding another person’s visions interesting makes everyday an adventure and relationships should be hidden treasures of exploration.
To talk to a person who spouts a doctrine of repetition quickly becomes boring and it is time to move on. To talk to a person with original ideas or can expand a conversation in many directions holds your attention and fascination for more.
So there is a person of interest out there somewhere. It is beyond the false profiles and touched-up photos. The list of accolades or accomplishments may somewhat revel an interest but awards don’t show much. Philanthropy to different organizations and foundations only shows having enough money to be a member of the club. Living vicariously through your offspring shows a lack of legacy.
The writers, philosophers, theologians, visionaries, and other great thinkers we acclaim in our history were interesting. Imagine walking on a beach with Jack Kerouac. What would that conversation be? Having lunch with Socrates or Buckminster Fuller or John Lennon. Want to share your fries?
Not saying that everyone is a great mind or well read intellectual marvel but we each have ideas, thoughts, dreams that can become inventions or works of art or can just make a conversation interesting.
I’ve been privileged to know a few. It didn’t matter their fame or position or fortune or lifestyle, in the shared time together, they were just interesting people. Some have been lasting friendships and some were just brief moments in time but all were thoughtful with somewhat surprising possibilities of where the mind can go. Each has enriched my life.
Growing older I reflect on the instances in my life and the people who leave an endearing mark. They all presented me with ideas I never would have thought possible. A person showing me taking a moment of picking up a baby crow was life changing. It didn’t have to be an epiphany moment but in that time and place, their association made a difference.

Thursday, October 6, 2016


So you need some money. You can take up a life of crime and steal whatever you can until you get caught and thrown in the slammer or you can get a job.
Maybe that extended education just isn’t your bag so you drop out of school. Still you need some money.
You find some “Help Wanted” locations and fill out an application. Things are looking up.
Now the folks who posted the “Help Wanted” read your application. There are certain requirements for the job. Does your application show you can perform the task?
The next step is to get an interview. A face-to-face confrontation with a person who can hire or not just by an overview of how you look and act. All the books say to look sharp like you are going to court for this is more important. If you don’t make a good impression then there is a dozen more behind you ready and willing to gobble up the job.
If the job is about flipping burgers or simple assembly you may pass the test, but if the job requires problem solving technical coding and you only learned to read on a 5th grade level, you are wasting your time.
So suppose you grin and get the handshake for acceptance to the job, what will you be paid for your trouble?
The employer will have to spend the time and money to train you how to do the job and a supervisor will give you hours to work and the costume requirements and whatever benefits of lunch times or break times or use of phones or parking arrangements. Perhaps the employer allows for medical or dental or family leave or maybe not.
How much do you know about this employment opportunity?
Has there been a discussion of the employer’s monetary compensation for your effort to comply with their requirements?
“A good day’s pay for a hard day’s work” might be your goal. The government has set aside regulations on the number of hours worked, minimum wage standards, and safety requirements, but there are always extenuating circumstances.
If you are single and living out of your car, a minimum wage might be enough to buy some gas and a few burgers and you will be satisfied. If you have a family of four living in a ratty one-room apartment, it may not be enough to put food on the table and pay the light bill?
As with any job, requirements change and the employer expects you to keep up with the new process. If additional compensation isn’t given for the higher expectations, friction can occur.
Groups of workers without proper instructional training or desire to extend their horizons for the companies investors can form a union to counter the demands with a threat of walking out and leaving the employer with no one to do the work.
From the employer’s view, keeping cost down and raising profits is what the dream is all about. Assembling a car or grilling a burger or constructing a house or removing the garbage, the goal is the same. Increase profits and reduce cost. The first threat to the industrial age was automation. Finding a machine that could process a task in half the time looked pretty darn good unless you were one of those replaced by the machine.
As global trade expanded, manufacturing in a third world country without the regulations of this country suddenly exploded in low price products flooding the market. At first there was a backlash of opposition to these cheap products but it became clear it was easier to replace with the next model than to repair.
Employers took note and started shipping their jobs overseas to take advantage of this cheap labor. If the quality control standards could uphold the brand then it was a productive move. Plants shut down and employees who had ancestral promises of loyalty to a company were left.
Is it fair? Is it just? Is life?
Now the complaint is that refugees are migrating into this country and taking all the remaining jobs. What’s a poor boy to do? Build a wall? Hate? Them or you?
Trade schools, community colleges, technical training centers are flourishing but generations of limitations may not be able to help a mechanic write a new app?
The consumer’s interest has changed from buying bigger clunky items to staring at a screen hoping to find love or expressing their anger to the world. The consumer knows that everything from food to transportation is easily available and cheap so their requirement for compensation is to have enough money to purchase the latest upgrade.
Is this what society has become?
Raise a question to a friend and see how you are compensated. Take your mate out for a meal and are you compensated for your time and effort?
For emotional compensation is more expensive and valued than all the money in the world. A touch of a hand is better than a king’s ransom. A simple smile lights the sky better than sunshine. A kiss can compensate all the pain and suffering and change a vision of life itself.
A heart needs a home.