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Of Politics, Sports and Sex

OK, so there won't be a LOT on here about sex, but tell the truth, that's most of the reason you entered this site, right? So, I'll slip some things in from time to time just to keep you coming...back.

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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Alternative alternatives


I guess I first realized I was out of touch with the country's mainstream views back in the late 1960's when I was 12 years old and I realized that people who watched Hee Haw actually laughed at the show while I laughed at anyone who did.


As time goes by, I think I am getting even further out of the mainstream. For instance, on these topics, I don't think my view is the same as either the left or the right:

Confederate statues - If I were a Southerner, I wouldn't be leading the fights to keep them up, I'd want to have them taken down from the embarrassment of what they mean. As a Northerner, I can see an argument for wanting them to stay up to show people exactly the kind of racist, subhuman mindset that thought owning other human beings for your own economic benefit was just or moral by any definition or rationalization. And maybe selfishly, I might want them to stay up to remind those knuckleheads that we won, dammit, and that Good won over Evil.

Colin Kaepernick - When I see him protesting during the anthem, if I were a military member, I would take pride that the causes I put my life on the line to protect were there in all their glory, like the right to free speech, including protesting one's government, which would get people killed or thrown in jail in much of the world.

Sports teams named after Native American Indians - Given the way Indians have been treated since the day we Euros arrived on these lands, we have treated them even worse than African Americans in many regards. To name the groups many of us most revere - our sports teams - after Indians could be seen as a high honor, keeping the memory of their history alive, when most people choose to ignore them. That said, words do have meanings and a name like "Redskin" needs to be changed.




Monday, September 18, 2017

Maybe older, but still mahvelous


At a certain, age, losing weight makes one feel younger and look older.

It's worth it, no matter what Fernando Lamas thinks.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Of Emma Watson's boobs (semi-clickbait alert...as if there weren't enough Emma Watson and boob references in the post already)


A facebook friend of mine, and a former high school big-time crush, let's called her Selden...since that's her name...recently posted this column on her page from Huffington Post...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/emma-watsons-boobs-prove-why-we-still-need-feminism_us_58b8bd55e4b02b8b584df9f4?ncid=hpinst00002

(Inserting gratuitous Emma Watson Vanity Fair pic here. Hey it's in the HuffPo story too!)


...and asked the question on FB: "Would love to hear thoughts from my women friends, young and old, on this article. Is baring your boobs consistent with feminism?"

...and the first response to her q was this:

This is a really interesting question - I think I have sort of noticed two completely different strains of feminism: for simplicity's sake I'll call them American and European. European feminism is about women owning themselves completely, including their sexuality and the power that their sexuality, and other peoples' response to it, gives them. There was an excellent essay by a Swedish model who came to the United States - I'll try to find it and share it. On the other hand, the American version of feminism seems to be primarily about asserting women's absolute equality - almost to the point of non-differentiation - with men, and which looks severely askance on women who use their "feminine charms" as an asset, if you will, to shape the world around them. What do you think?

And Selden responded:

I think I always bought into the American version, believing in absolute equality, and also feeling that if you didn't want to be objectified by men, you shouldn't dress in a way that flaunts your sexuality. But I find this article to be intriguing and leads me to re-think things a bit. The idea that women should have freedom to be whoever they want to be, whether it's being a sexual being, or something else, makes some sense.


And this is what I soon added, even though I didn't qualify to answer, not being of the societally-defined feminine variety:

This is a topic I've thought a lot about, actually, and not JUST in terms of Emma Watson's underboobs. And it fascinates me. I think women just have about a 10% idea of just how much power they have and how superior they are to men in every way except physical strength. I know that isn't the point here, but it is part of it. There is nothing wrong with femininity! Well, except how hard it is to spell. It can be a tool of power...or not. It bugs me that people still see it in any negative way. Or that only women can embrace it. I showed someone that just for fun once with my wife, we painted my toenails a pretty bold red and the person said "You are obviously so secure in your masculinity" to which I said "Wouldn't it be cool if one could say that I was secure in or proud of my femininity?" And isn't a shame that until I wrote this just now, I was embarrassed to let anyone else know that we'd done that? I kept my toes covered for weeks, not wanting to remove the polish, until I finally took the time to take it off. Thanks for asking, Selden, and I loved your input too, Deirdre. Very interesting.


(Not mine unfortunately)

My fear is that by saying that "...femininity as a tool of power...seems manipulative and dishonest" is seeing femininity as a weakness of some kind. If one dives deep, I see it as saying that there is something wrong with using all of one's gifts, whether they be intelligence or sense of humor...or physical attractiveness. I see nothing negative in using one's physical gifts as readily as using any other gift. Male privilege certainly draws from size. Taller people certainly have an advantage over short people. Studies show that kindergarten teachers give more attention to their best looking students. Not saying those things are right, but it will never change, so when women don't generally have the advantage of being as physically imposing as a man, isn't it fair to use their own God-given attributes?

I am semi-obviously a big fan/defender/supporter of femininity and I'll be sad if any trend toward total androgyny continues to grow. And I also wonder if women are embarrassed or unaware or ashamed of this power they have...which only keeps them from achieving the power and equality they incredibly still don't have on a par with we inferior quasi-masculine-types. 

But in general, as my sister Judy once said about men and women, though I'll expand it to masculinity and femininity:

Vive le difference! 




Wednesday, September 13, 2017


Why do we care if there is a God? 

The more I think about a possible answer, the less I care if there is one.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Or maybe they are the ones who listen and tell us what a dumb story it was


I wonder how often we tell stories that are more fun to tell than they are to listen to?

Our best friends are the ones who listen and laugh anyway. 



Monday, September 11, 2017

On the other hand, they might see a marketing opportunity for increased business from Trump voters


Somehow, an incredible 64,600 read my last post of 2016. (Yet in this blog's entire history, only 157,800 people have ever viewed any page of the entire blog.) I'm not sure why it was read 64,600 times, and I'm even less sure how it was that that many came across it, but seizing on such momentum in order to maximize my distinct and oh-so-valuable literary contributions to the world, I have made exactly one post in the 10 months since then, a post read by exactly 35 people.

So back at it this week then, with what I hope will be a series of posts coming from notes I've taken, often after a beer or three that I've memo-ed to myself into my phone, usually while down on our pool patio late into the evening while amongst friends, that will hopefully still make sense when I read them again fully sober. If not, I'll post them anyway, in case anyone chooses to read them after they've had enough beverages that maybe makes them more understandable. More understandable that is, than those last few sentences.

So my first post-worthy observation is simply this:

I wonder if the PTBs (powers that be) at the company Big Lots have mandated that every store manager, as his or her very first priority every morning when they come into work, check to make sure that the letter L hasn't fallen off their store sign during the night:


Thursday, June 1, 2017

And maybe this thought is God's way of getting me to stop posting anything else

News Item:

"God Will ‘Take Care Of’ Climate Change If It Exists.”

Republican candidate Rep. Tim Walberg told a constituent last week that God can solve the problem of climate change if the global phenomenon truly exists:

"As a Christian, I believe that there is a creator in God who is much bigger than us. And I’m confident that, if there’s a real problem, he can take care of it.”
------
Makes me wonder if there are any religious fundamentalists who think that the increased visibility and acceptance of homosexuality is God's way of addressing world population overcrowding concerns.

OK, maybe not worthy of my first post in 6 months, but I had to post something to break the logjam.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Postscript to the Previous Post


(See post below, first.) On the other hand, I think I will write a little more about the impact of the election on me and the people I love. The other, currently inaccessible, entry has more to do with political wonky stuff. This one has to do more with my psyche.

The morning after the election was a dark day: for me, for all 4-6 kids, for my friends. I’m not including Cheryl here because she was already upset even before the election. She was so unnerved by politics in general, and I believe the Presidential race in particular, and what politics was doing to her, that she didn’t even watch the election returns. This from a delegate to the Democratic Convention just 4 years earlier. She was depressed about the election many months before the rest of us came to be.

But as dark a day as it was, I found it to be the perfect time to re-order my priorities. This is part of what I wrote on my Facebook page the next day, part of a much longer post that is what the other post-election blog entry will consist of: “So it’s back to basics. Back to connecting with each other. Back to making people feel validated in their life’s choices. Back to volunteering to help those who need it, from the old widow down the street who needs the leaves raked in her yard to helping feed people who have less than us, to, well whatever might be one’s passion. What drives you? How can I help? How can I help my kids help? What can I do to put a smile on someone’s face?

"I find myself feeling like I did when I came back from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota a few months back. A need to re-focus on all that is good and most important. Re-prioritizing. So I learned that then…and apparently needed to be taught it again last night. I get it, God. No need to keep finding ways to beat it into me! I’m good. Thanks, though!”
And so since I wrote that, almost 4 weeks ago, how am I holding to it? I see it as a strong challenge to my Quaker beliefs – am I still able to see that of God in everyone, even supporters/voters/enablers of someone to run the world who has said and done the terrible things DT has? I need to, I have to, and so far I have.


I want to walk ever more peacefully upon this earth, with my family, with my friends, but in some ways even more importantly, with people I don’t know and may well never see or interact with again – the receptionist at the doctor’s office, the driver who cut me off, the person who posts something demeaning on Facebook.

And how can it be more important that I treat people I don’t know, as or more kindly than my family and friends? Because my F & Fs are already wonderful, loving, FORGIVING (of me) people. It is the people we don’t know who we need to set a higher standard for, both in how we deal with them but also in our expectations of them. I need to do my best to bring the best out of them.  That means driving more slowly, though certainly not too slowly! It means not just thanking someone for something, but taking an extra two seconds to throw them a smile – a smile that lasts past that fleeting second that goes with the thank you.
This actually happened with me a few days back, at the aforementioned doctor’s office. After I finished checking out – paying, getting a printout for bloodwork – I thanked the woman behind the counter, smiled, and just held it for an extra moment, while looking carefully into her eyes. And even though I’m quite certain that if that woman came up and sat next to me this very moment, I’d have no idea who she was, for that brief moment, I felt like I had a significant, kind human interaction with her. I don’t know if it had any impact on her day, but the return of her smile certainly made mine.

And that’s what I expect of me going forward. Not to dwell in the ugly negativity it would be so easy to slather myself with in the face of what happened November 8th. But to use it as the proverbial wake-up call, challenging and changing my previous perspective, making the world a better, more positive, kinder, more loving place.

As clearly as it seems that 2016 has been one of our worst ever. I want the lessons I’ve learned, starting with Pine Ridge and continuing through the election results, to make 2016 the best year ever.

At least a little catchup...and hopefully a lot

So…two months since I last posted anything…and a lot has changed since then. Well, actually only one major thing has happened, which is that we have a new President-Elect. Not the one most of us expected it to be, though I did post on my Facebook page the Friday before the election that I not only expected Trump to win but that by Tuesday it was even more likely that he would win. As the next 4 days unfolded, I pulled back on those predictions, partially because of the FBI Director’s re-clearing of Hillary of any email wrongdoing, but also, I’m ashamed to admit, because of the virulent protests of my friends who were certain she would win by plenty. As can be said of so many more important decisions in one’s life, I shouldn’t have let their opinions sway my own.

What I couldn’t get rid of though, was a gut level feel that the passion for Trump outweighed the passion for Hillary, particularly in central Pennsylvania. And it led to my new political theory that the Presidential candidate whose voters have the most passion will always win. I believe that can be said of every winning candidate in my lifetime, at least going back to 1976, and likely even back to 1960 and beyond.

Anyway, the other thing that has happened recently, is that we were hit here at work with a nasty ransomware demand and at least for now, have lost all access to our saved files, folders, software, network and even the internet for 3 days, which wasn’t as bad for me as everyone else here as I was sidelined with a nasty cold, so I stayed home anyway.

So, since I have no access to any of those things at present, the beneficiary will be this here blog, where I will try to write up some entries I’ve put off for, well, months now. If I get some completed, I’ll save them and post them sporadically, so they don’t all crash through at once.


I had also started one long Election Reaction-based post that I’ll post later. I had saved it at work and of course, can’t get to it again yet.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Smoke on your pipe and put this in (West Side Story reference)


Karl Marx once said: "Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people".

Given the decrease in people’s attendance at churches over the past 40-50 years and the epidemic level increase in the use of opioids, I am starting to wonder if the reverse could now be true, as opiates now seem to be the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions…and the new religion of the people.
Or maybe it's Donald Trump.
 
 

Thursday, September 1, 2016

So Dad maybe is STILL the Easter Bunny!

For posterity:

Soon after Trev was born, I wanted Dad to hold him and whisper some advice in his ear – some words to live by so I could remind him of it when he got older.

 


Dad thought for a minute and with me expecting something very profound, he said “Listen to your parents!”

To this day, Santa writes that on his thank you note for his cookies, and the Easter Bunny writes it at the bottom of the instructions to the kids for hunting for Easter eggs and presents at our house when they get home from Meeting.


Wise man, that guy.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

A Letter to the President


Hello Mr. President -

I write today in hopes that you will please consider the case of Native American activist, Leonard Peltier. As I'm sure you know, Amnesty International placed his case under the "Unfair Trials" category of its Annual Report in 2010. 

I recently returned from an 8-day service trip to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota with 14 members (including my 15 year old son, Trevor, and 7 other teens) of our Quaker Meeting in Downingtown (Chester County) PA, organized by the William Penn House in Washington DC. (We were joined there by 2 of Sasha and Malia's classmates from Sidwell - 2 really amazing kids, by the way - Emmett Stern and Liam Kirsch.) We found terrible conditions on the reservation (80% unemployment; poorest county in the USA, life expectancy of 48 (!)) but also a number of people trying to improve the lives of the people there by teaching them about sustainable organic farming.  We helped them with their work there and then helped set up and then participated in a sun dance - a very sacred ritual that outsiders aren't usually allowed to be a part of...though I'm sure they would welcome you and your family if you asked nicely! :-) 

Anyway, in speaking with folks there, it was clear that there is a great deal of pain surrounding the case of Mr. Peltier, who they feel was given an unfair trial. They very much hope you'll review his case and find that he should be set free before you leave office.  

Thank you for your consideration, Mr. President. 

With gratitude for all you've done,

Jamie

Wednesday, June 29, 2016


Everyone has heard of Catholic guilt and Jewish guilt, but with absolutely no knowledge of what either of those things entail, I submit that Quaker guilt can’t be any less powerful.
Quaker guilt surrounds the idea that we aren’t doing enough in the world. We aren’t doing it right. We need to make more of a positive impact on the world.

Over the years, a number of young people have said to me how unhappy they are with their jobs, primarily because they are embarrassed by it. It isn’t an ideal job, not because of the pay or responsibilities or because it doesn’t meet their passion. It’s a feeling I am well familiar with because I was once that kid. Heck, I was once that adult. And whenever one of those kids comes to me with that concern, I tell them this story.
Many years ago, one of the people from our Quaker Meeting who had known me since I was wee, passed away. I’ll call him Jim. Jim McQuail. Just a random name. He was a guy I had a great deal of respect for, and after listening to the messages at his Quaker memorial service, I realized that my respect for him was dwarfed by the dozens of people who spoke that morning. I don’t remember a single message specifically, but every message was about some way Jim had helped that person in their time of need or struggle. Some of them were clients of Jim’s, hiring him as their CPA, and some were members of our Meeting, and others were just friends he’d made on his journey through life.

(I said earlier that I don’t remember any of the messages specifically, but come to think of it, I do remember one, from his wife Virginia. Ever the blunt speaker, either with a comment that could make you feel a mile high or as low as could be (having been on the receiving end of both examples), but always said in love and with a smile, Virginia listened to nearly an hour of adoring messages reflecting on what a wonderful person Jim was, when she rose to speak, all of us expecting Virginia to add another touching tale to those already proffered. She stood, paused, and said “Well, now, he wasn’t THAT great!” The place erupted.)
Anyway, when the service was over, we headed over to the schoolhouse across the driveway for a luncheon reception where I found myself talking with a childhood friend, Jim’s nephew David. David asked me what I was doing with my life, and I told him about my accounting job and how, even though I generally liked my job, I felt unfulfilled, as I didn’t think I was making much of a positive impact on the world.

David listened to what I had to say and when I was done, he gave me a disappointed frown and said “Weren’t you just in Uncle Jim’s memorial service?” I told him that indeed, I had been. And he said the words I’ve never forgotten and have repeated so many times over the years:

“Then you heard all those people stand to talk about Uncle Jim. Did you hear any of them say anything about his job? About how he had saved them money on their taxes? About financial advice he gave them as their CPA? No. They all talked about the huge impact he had on their lives as a person, the help he offered, the personal advice he gave.”

Thanks, David. And thanks, Jim, for setting such a wonderful example.

 

Monday, June 6, 2016

And I'd bet The Donald would assume the Blacks aren't very good swimmers for some reason



You know you’re too obsessed with politics when you get this email, look at the subject line, and assume there is a Donald Trump joke waiting inside.

Sent: Monday, June 6, 2016 8:44 AM
To: Jamie McVickar
Subject: Invite From the Blacks

Hi from the Blacks!

If anyone forgot to RSVP to the pool party today no worries, come on over! 

Please see the below information from Sarah Black regarding their end-of-year party!

End of year pool party
Come over after the 6th grade picnic; After school - 5:30pm; Monday 6/6/16
Siblings are welcome. Bring bathing suits and towels. We will have plenty of snacks and drinks  

- Sarah Black

Friday, June 3, 2016

It must be Loyal Reader Week!

About once a week, I get a spam comment that tries to get itself posted to this blog, but can't be unless I accept it as post-worthy. They are often so complimentary, I just revel in their kind words until I get to the second sentence which usually asks that I check the exciting link they provide to their particular site, which, well, don't promote the sorts of behavior we like to share on this site. Not judging though!

This one below came through a few weeks ago and I decided to copy and paste it here, just because it reeks of such sincerity...and it reminds me of loyal reader, Becca Jane, for reasons she'll understand.

WWICS Review has left a new comment on your post "Filling your blog brain shopping cart with News It...":

Very attractive theme of your blog and i have have learn your blog and it's really in very nice. Thanks.

No no, really, thank you! I'm sure your blog is Very Attractive too. :-)

Since I'm such an expert on how to be a good Mom


I received a really nice email from another loyal reader, name of Judy, coincidentally NOT related to me, but is just about the sweetest person with one of the nicest, most sincere smiles you'll ever see. And she has a blog that is 10 times better than this one, but I'm not linking to it until she promises to make a new entry, even if it doesn't have anything to do with clutter! :-)

Anyway, with her permission, here is the email she sent me:

Hi Jamie,

I've been meaning to tell you how touched I was by Reat's journal entry words you quoted in your recent blog post.  (And a tip of the hat for keeping at your blog, unlike some people ... Ahem.)  

You reminded me of a few sun-drenched memories of mine, talking to Reat while waiting for Emily to finish her art class with Paul. One time she told me she had been reading over her journals, and she said, "I thought, wow, I was a really good mother!"  Such an enviable revelation ... especially to me ... one who is overly, overly self-critical.  She was so very special.

Love,

Judy

Well, first of all, thank you for taking the time to send me that, Judy. And secondly, judging from the quality of your amazing kids, you too are "a really good mother!"

But yeah, Mom was a great mom. I guess it's safe to say that we kids saw a side of her that many didn't, and are aware of decisions she made that we like to think we might have handled differently, and, I believe, in retrospect, that she wished she had too. (As is certainly true for me as a Dad as well.)  As wonderful a mom and person as she was, she did go through some tough times when she and we were much younger, but regardless, I put her in the small category of Quaker Saint from back in her era, along with people like Enid Brown, Virginia McQuail and Jane Moore. Not necessarily parent-related, except in the It Takes A Village scenario, in which case, since they certainly all helped raise me and my sibs, I think they certainly qualify.

I know Mom worked her butt off to be the best mom she could be. Funny, now that I'm a Dad, and have been for the best 18 years of my life, partly thanks to my kids, in some ways I have both more and less respect and awe for my folks. More, because I realize how incredibly hard it is, especially in terms of time and energy. But also, less, because I, like most of us, put my folks on a pedestal. A pedestal of perceived perfection (!) that though I still feel an element of for them, the idea that my kids may feel that way about me is just crazy. Whatever nice things they might think of me as a Dad, well, thanks, it means a lot, but there is so much I might have done better.

Mom was a mom during an important historical parenting transition, one I don't think has been written about much, at least that I have seen. Up until Dr. Spock (no, not this guy), the one who wrote THE book on parenting in 1946 which was a bible to post-war moms. But even past that, the women who were moms from the mid- to late-50's and into the 60's, when the idea of kids being seen and not heard was not only questioned, but pretty much abandoned. I don't know whether it was the moms who caused that to happen or the kids, starting around the time that Blackboard Jungle (really hitting Wikipedia hard today!) was written (another of the rare books that I actually read!...ok, it's a not a rare book, it's a book read by me, which is rare. Sorry, grammar/syntax-police.) and the movie version was filmed. (Movie note: "It is remembered for its innovative use of rock and roll in its soundtrack and for the unusual breakout role of a black Bahamian-American cast member, future Oscar winner and star Sidney Poitier as a rebellious, yet musically talented student.") Awesome book, awesome movie!

I remember a time in the late 60's/early 70's when Mom became really, really into reading up on all kinds of new parenting and education-related techniques. The book Open Classroom was especially important to her - not geared toward parenting, per se, but I know it had an impact anyway.

I guess that's all I wanted to share for now, when I think of Mom as a mom.  I guess the nicest thing, of many, that I could say about her as a mom, or more importantly maybe, as a person, was that after she died, my sisters and I decided going forward, without her as a person to help us with our day-to-day challenges, we would approach each such challenge based on WWMD: What would Mom Do. And that mindset has rarely, if ever, failed me...when I've remembered to use it.

All that said, the two things I always try to come back to related to parenting are:

1 - I believe that we play way less of a role in our kids development than we think we do, and...

2 - As our wise friend, Wanda, who lives in St. Croix in the Virgin Islands once said; "We're all doing the best we can." Amen, Wanda.

And thanks again, Judy.



Thursday, May 26, 2016

Maybe I'll meditate on this if I ever start meditating


We have a guest contributor today. This was written by my mom 51 years ago in her journal, lovingly transcribed and forwarded by loyal reader, and coincidentally, also my sister, Laurie:

Monday, May 17, 1965:

I believe there is a possible story in a woman or woman and man who are trying to prepare their children for adulthood.  And with this difference: we all are doing this of course, but we are preparing them for the adult world that we know, not the world which will be in 20 years.  This woman and man of my story are like Paul and me who have a complete life in each other and in their own quiet interests.  Meeting people and having to get along with people is difficult for them.  But their children’s world will be crowded.  Their children must get along with people they meet.  And they must learn how to obtain solitude while among people.  Maybe the Friends meeting house is an example of how this is done. 

So many truths in those wise words of yesteryear. This was truly prescient:

But their children’s world will be crowded. 

How did she know?! I am frequently struck when reading Laurie's daily transcriptions, of how simple life seemed back then. It probably didn't seem simple to them, so maybe that's how they knew, but that doesn't seem to be what her prediction was based on.

And this is brilliant too:

Their children must get along with people they meet.  And they must learn how to obtain solitude while among people.

These are both daily goals and challenges for me - getting along with people who annoy me, as sadly, I am way too easily annoyed, and of course finding solitude.

I just gotta start meditating. As soon as I find a time and place where I can have some solitude.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

And that's the truth, the whole truth and maybe isn't even close to the truth


I've been so scared of this blog lately. Scared like for most of the past 4-5 months, except for that one mini-post a week or 2 back. I don't know why. I have a feeling once I get going again, it won't be hard to get into the swing again.

I say I don't know why, but more likely it's because I've known for months what my next entry had to be about. It's an entry I've been putting off about...The Truth.

I was challenged by a Facebook friend in the midst of an argum...I mean, in the midst of a discussion about religion and politics, since he and I always stay away from any controversial topics, with this question:

What is The Truth?

It seemed like one of those navel-gazing questions that I have absolutely no interest in and would only serve to make my head hurt, and I tried to wipe it from my mind, so I quickly shut Facebook down to avoid having to think about it. But I couldn't stop, and now this, 4 months later, is what I came up with:

The truth is whatever one defines it to be.

But then I realized that there may actually come a time when we find out whether The Truth was/is what we define/d it to be - a time none of us is particularly looking forward to, except those who actually are sure they know what The Truth is, even if they really don't, even if they are eventually proved to be right. That would be the folks looking forward to The Rapture, or some equally convenient belief in what happens when we take our last.

So I had to refine the definition to this:

The Truth is one of two things: It is either what we say it is, or it is something we have absolutely no proof of knowing for sure that we are right. Unless we were right in the first place, in which case, we may never know that we were.

If one believes in God and an after-life in Heaven, you will never know if you were wrong.

Four months ago, I thought that was all pretty profound. Now that I've tried to put it in writing, I think I know why I've been afraid of this thing. Because trying to put it in writing makes as little sense as anyone thinking we know for sure what The Truth is.

And now...my head hurts.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Or as much as we can spare anyway


We go to Quaker Meeting on Sunday mornings to let the light in...in hopes we can let it back out the rest of the week.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Hear me now, laugh at me later

So freaking behind on all the blog posts I've been wanting to make, but here's a quickie:

A friend asked me on Facebook yesterday what my prediction is for the election in November, and it took me a day to come up with my reply and here is what I wrote:

"Hard to give a short answer to this, Chris. If you and I get a vacation day for every time one of us hears in the next 8 months how it will all come down to turnout, we'll get most of 2017 off. The other one we'll hear a spitload of times is how these 8 months are a political lifetime and SO much can happen between now and election day so it's impossible to predict. So let's stipulate those two alphorisms (if that's what they are) are a given.

There are great arguments for why each of DD  (Donald Drumpf) and HRC will win but to keep it simple, assuming there are no surprises and turnout is roughly the same for the Ds as the last 2 elections, which is certainly not a given, I'll go with what I have been saying for months and even though I've been wrong everywhere but Iowa, I'll double down on it here. I can not believe that when voters enter that booth in November and see the name Donald S Trump on the ballot, no matter how intrigued and entertained they were over the past year and maybe even supported him, when they really try to picture that guy in the office for 4 years...they'll swallow hard and vote for Hillary."

But just remember that this is from the same guy who said a few months back that Jeb! would be the R nominee and he is long gone. And I still have not given up on a miracle - that R voters will come to their senses and make Kasich the nominee!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Go ahead and try me - tell me what you REALLY think of this post!


So…back on January 4th, I wrote about the 3 topics I wanted to cover here that I was going to remember based on the letters S, O and T which was a great idea in concept though at the time, I forgot what the O was for. And I wrote about the S, which stood for Strategy, but that post was a total disaster.
And here we are a week later and I remember what the O was for now – Opinion (I think) - but forget the T. I think it had something to do with my niece’s husband, whose name contains no Ts. So I have that to work through.

Fascinating, eh? And of great concern to you all, I’m sure.
So…Opinions. Here’s my take, and interestingly, I’ve seen quite a few Facebook posts to this same general concept in this new year, including one on a Quakers page (as opposed to a Quaker’s page. This one is directed at Quakers).

I’ve been thinking a lot about why people, and by “people”, I probably mean me, so I’ll just go first person from here out, get so easily offended when people…and this time I don’t mean me…either have a different opinion than I do or say something about me that offends me.
And as often happens when I actually take the time to write these things down, they seem way more obvious now than when I formulated the thought, but in the Seriously? It took me 59+ years to figure this out? category, I realized that for every opinion, there is a dissenting opinion.

If everyone had the same opinion, it wouldn’t be an opinion, it would be a fact.

So, if one starts with that…opinion…fact (!), then why should it ever upset any of us, I mean me, that someone has a different idea than mine?  Certainly sometimes it’s because we believe it so strongly, that we want others to feel the same way, and our frustration isn’t with them as much as it might be with ourselves for our inability to convince them. Or maybe, to us, it is a sign of why the world isn’t a better place. And of course, in those circumstances, the first thought that comes to mind is politics.
But it might also apply to when we are trying to make an important decision with our relationship partner, when they want to go with the blue window treatment and I, I mean she (!), might want Phillies season tickets.

So, also somewhat of a New Year’s Resolution for me is to value our humanness. To allow other people to think differently than I do, to drive differently, to vote differently, to like different seasons of the year and to get the damn blue window treatment.
And of course, the whole thing extends past opinions to that same issue of humanness to include personalities. Why does a particularly outrageous or sullen or goofy or serious person put us off? Instead of allowing myself to be put off by what I don’t seem to enjoy in a person, I will try to look for what Cheryl might call The Connection. What is it about that person that I do like, that I do enjoy, accepting that there are, not flaws, but differences, that needn’t be more dividing than that which brings me pleasure about that person?

And from a Quaker perspective, George Fox’s phrase, “Walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in everyone” does a nice job of summarizing it, though I might substitute the word “seeking” for “answering”.
The tougher challenge comes when someone says something seemingly judgmental about me or my tastes or about people I love. If someone were to visit my house and say “Gawd – how could you live in this weird place? And what was your father thinking with all these windows? Was he some kind of perverted exhibitionist (wow – multiple judgments in one sentence!) ?!”

Or if they were to say something mean about any of my 4 or 5 or 6 kids (give or take an Iraqi or 2), or about Cheryl!? Would I be able to find God in them when they say such things?  
I look forward to the challenge…not that anyone ever could find something negative to say about any of them obviously. Or maybe that’s the key – I’ll just assume they couldn’t possibly mean it, and I’ll laugh.

I’ll try to post some examples in the coming weeks to let you, and history, know how I’m doing.

 

Monday, January 11, 2016

Filling your blog brain shopping cart with News Items aplenty

I'm often torn as to whether to post certain things to Facebook or here. Maybe a handful of people will see them here, but a hundred or more will see them on FB. But is that the goal - to have people see these? As I say over and over - it's all about validation, babee - the secret to life and motivation.

(Or is that one of the dozens of posts that I always plan to write about here? I even have a written list of many of them, that I plan to write about, and then don't because I've thought of it so often, I end up assuming I must have finally written about it?)

So...some random thoughts:

I'm starting to wonder if Bernie can actually beat Hillary. I doubt it for a lot of reasons. One of the biggest, but least reported on, is the hundreds of Super Delegates that have already committed to Hillary. She messed that up 8 years ago, but gets it...and got them...this time.

But if it turns out that Bernie somehow was able to win, this will be the moment that I look back to as the beginning of the end:

News Item: “Girls” star Lena Dunham, stumping in Iowa City, said Clinton faces unfair attacks because she is a woman.

Please. Lena - you're insulting women with this.
--------------------------

News Item: The Supreme Court today will hear arguments from a group of California teachers who say it violates their First Amendment rights to be forced to pay dues to the state’s teachers union.

Hear me now, believe me later. No chance the unions win this (or should, in my opinion). I'm anything but a huge fan of unions, but this will be terrible news for the country as a whole. Just another shot at lower income folks.
-----------------------------

Finally some good news for American Indians!

News Item: The tagline of a new ad from a Ted Cruz super PAC, going up today in Iowa, is: “You can take your country back.”
------------------------------
And one more:

News Item: "The Clinton campaign released an ad touting her electability, to air in both Iowa and New Hampshire. It includes clips of Trump and Cruz talking. “Think about it: one of these Republicans could actually be president,” a narrator says. “So ask yourself, who is the one candidate who can stop them? Hillary Clinton.”

And from my perspective, the same answer can be given to a similar question:

So ask yourself, who is the one candidate who can stop Hillary Clinton?

Friday, January 8, 2016

It is the Show Me state after all


News Item from the Kansas City Star : "Lobbyists who have sex with a Missouri lawmaker or their staff would have to disclose it to the Missouri Ethics Commission under a proposed state measure. The bill, sponsored by a Republican, defines sex between lobbyists and legislators as a gift. 'As such, sexual relations would have to be included on monthly lobbyist gift disclosure forms'."
 
Sooo many thoughts:
 - This guy must be so sex-deprived, that he considers it a gift when it happens.
 - Or maybe he has fantasies about sex with lobbyists (he is a politician after all).
 - Or maybe his wife is a lobbyist.
 - Maybe they should offer the Disclosure Forms for sale...and then, with Amuricans' fascination with all things sex-related, those things would probably jump to the top of the NYTimes best-seller list.
 - I suggest that any time the State Legislature f*cks over the good people of Missouri, they should have to report that on there too.
 - I can't help but wonder if the words "a Missouri lawmaker or" were taken out of that first sentence, that if this law included this guy too, he would need to report so many times, he'd run out of forms. Better be careful how the bill is written to get all the commas in the right places. 
 
 
 
 

Thursday, January 7, 2016

In keeping with my resolution to be less sensitive in my posts, here are two:

It finally struck me why there have been so many problems in the Middle East for centuries. They don't eat pork at their New Years dinner, duh!

And discovering further evidence of God's love of irony with perhaps a slight sense of humor, I realized yesterday that some things that are so soft make me so hard.

OK!

One more thing - for those of you who receive emailed updates of new posts, but won't see edits to previous posts - after a conversation with Cheryl yesterday, I updated my post about my "strategic interests" from Monday, so if you care, you'd have to go to the actual site to see what I felt compelled to update.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Thus the title above, apparently (Editor's Note - or apparentl not)

Happy 2016, everyone! We had a really wonderful 2015, so I hope for more of the same this year. I need to go back to look to see if I posted any new year's resolutions last year to see how I made out. But in the meantime, here's one for 2016: To post in this blog more often! And to not care about how I might offend anyone reading it, not that that is ever my intent - offending, that is, not caring whether I do.

Last night, I laid/lay/lied in bed (countdown til Sherry corrects me...3..2...1), trying to fall asleep, thinking about 3 different posts I wanted to make in here, and used the acronym of SOT to try to help remember them, and at this point, I only remember the S and the T, so that's frustrating because I'm sure the O one was incredibly profound!

So here's my first post of 2016:

I was enmeshed in a Facebook dialogue with someone whose opinions on such things never fail to impress me, mostly in terms of the care and intellectual depth of his thoughts in this topic, which is one that interests me very little - and that is religion.

And it got me to wondering why so many topics that fascinate others don't interest me at all. Once a conversation wanders away from politics or sports, I have very little of interest to share. And it got me to thinking that there are so many topics in that category besides religion, including gardening, movies, books, the weather, astronomy, dreams, birds, body modifications (Hey - sorry - I googled "things that fascinate people" and that was on someone's list) in which I have little or no interest and it struck me that the dividing definition of my very short list is that my two things involve a great deal of strategy and that list contains none.

So maybe that's what I need involved in a topic for me to have interest.

Except sex. I can talk about that at length too. Probably. Maybe. Depends, I guess, on who's involved. Which at one time would also have defined the other way I would decide how to partner with someone on the same topic. Also as to how much I'd had to drink.

ONE DAY LATER:

It has been pointed out to me by one of my favorite readers of this blog, namely, my amazing wife, that there are a great many things wrong with the post above. To enumerate:

1 - The tone is judgmental, as if there is something inferior about an interest that doesn't involve strategy. I sure didn't mean to imply that, so I apologize.  I think a voracious reader, or even an occasional one, uses a far higher % of the brain that sitting watching a Padres - Phillies game and trying to figure out whether the pitcher should tempt the batter with a low and away slider or bust him up and in with some heat.

2 - You do too like movies! OK, yeah, she has a point there. I do.

3 - There is a great deal of strategy involved in gardening, and believe me/you, I got quite the extensive run down of such crucial decisions, some involving soil amendment indentation implementation, or something involving multiple syllables that my first thing in the morning brain didn't quite comprehend.

 4 - Cheryl didn't mention this part, but I can even disagree with me on another point - racism is also a topic in which I have great interest, and reading newspapers (3-4 a day) and magazines (3-4 a month), so ya know...just forget the whole dang thing.

And now I owe you 5 minutes you might otherwise never get back.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

There was a young woman...ah, fuggit!

 
So, many years ago, I was dating this girl and before long, it was clear to me that she was way more into me than I was into her. She was writing me weird love letters full of references and concepts I just really couldn’t make heads nor tails of and calling too often.
And I was way too nice (read cowardly) to tell her that I just wasn’t that into her. So I tried the usual guy approach which was to just not call or write back.
So one night, I was walking into a party with a buddy who was fully aware of my situation, and who should be in the doorway as we walked in, putting on her coat to leave but my young lady friend. So she saw me and ran up to me and gave me a big hug and asked if I’d gotten her letters, to which I said I had. And then she asked me what I thought of them and I paused, my mind racing, trying to decide to tell her the truth or to avoid it. Finally I made my decision. I said, "Your writing...your letters are like poetry to me!"
So after another even bigger, longer hug, she left and immediately, my buddy grabbed my arm and said “What the hell?! Why did you lie to her like that?! ‘Your letters are like poetry to me’?! You liar!”
I looked at him and smiled. “I wasn’t lying. I don’t like or understand poetry either.”
 
I know – it really wasn’t worth it, was it?

Monday, November 23, 2015

I am no longer burning, and hopefully neither is Paris.

Sooooooo much I keep wanting to write on here, and I always run out of time to give it the time it deserves, but I just have to get this off my chest.

And to go all Hank Kimball here, as I am so often wont to do, it's probably a good thing I didn't find the time to write this a few days ago, because it would have been a completely different post as I'll explain as long as I can kick my buddy Hank out of here, well, actually out of me, for now. I'm sure he'll be back, well, I'll be back, or maybe...(just watch the clip on the link above.)

Anyway, the big topic in the news since the Paris attacks last week has been the issue of whether we should allow or restrict Syrian refugees in coming to America. I was upset to see the Republicans quickly pass a bill seemingly restricting it (though arguably, the bill was pretty pointless from a policy or regulation standpoint).

And for a few days since it passed, I was pretty upset about it and feeling like more than ever, it was yet more proof that we have two Americas - dark red and bright blue. And if I had posted about this earlier than this morning, that would have been the gist of my post.

But as I thought about it more, I decided that this was such a missed opportunity for our legislators. When one looks past the sound bites, I really believe that we are actually all on the same side of this issue. Well, except for the racist fringe that was against the idea even before the Paris attacks.

We all want to feel compassion for those people fleeing the atrocities of an out-of-control civil war. People on the Right have only slightly less compassion on this issue than those of us on the Left. And we are concerned about the security issues as well, though not to the point of paranoia.

And this was a golden opportunity for the Republicans to pass that bill, emphasizing not the fist-pounding xenophobic fear mongering to keep people out, but how much they believe in the strength that immigration has brought to our country, not to mention how poorly we have handled it in the past, with Jews and the Irish as 20th century examples. And that this time, once certain security standards are met, we are going to do it right. We are going to throw open our doors to once again show the world that we take great pride in our Melting Pot society and show that we have no ill will toward Muslims or any peace-loving people.

And similarly, President Obama should have said the same thing, but emphasizing first that as President, it is his job to keep America safe, and that he will not allow one single (or married - yuk yuk!) person to come in to this country without 2 years of vetting by the greatest security system in the world.

And this afternoon, I had a perfect opportunity to tell my Congressman, Ryan Costello, exactly that point, particularly since he co-sponsored the House Bill I referred to above.

And he listened to everything I had to say and said "I agree completely. What should have happened was...well, exactly what you just said. The Republicans should have emphasized compassion and the Democrats should have emphasized security. Yeah...exactly what you just said."

OK, Hank and I are done...for now.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

And if their prayers are answered, would that person take the (newly) evangelical vote away from Ben Carson?


Considering I attend religious services almost every Sunday, maybe 3 of every 4 weeks anyway, it might seem hypocritical for me to say that I think this is really good news:
Pew Research Center study finds “U.S. Public Becoming Less Religious”: “An extensive new survey of more than 35,000 U.S. adults finds that the percentages who say they believe in God, pray daily and regularly go to church or other religious services all have declined modestly in recent years. The recent decrease in religious beliefs and behaviors is largely attributable to the ‘nones’ – the growing minority of Americans, particularly in the Millennial generation, who say they do not belong to any organized faith.”

That said, they should give this poll again come next summer, when we’ve narrowed down the Presidential race to Hillary Clinton vs Ben Carson. I’ll bet the number of people praying regularly goes up significantly, and all probably with the same prayer:
Give us a Third-party candidate!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Then we can get to work on controlling personalities - as long as it isn't mine


Okay, I just need to get this out there because it’s been weighing on my brain since my ride home from work last Thursday.

Why-oh-why must we all, when we get fed up with our (non-Apple) PCs, feel the need to control alt-delete?!

Why can’t we just let alt-delete be alt-delete?!

(Sorry – sometimes I just need a goofy little post like this one to get back on track on this blog.)