Tuesday, February 02, 2016

MSNBC, Chris Matthews, and Hillary Clinton, An Exclusive Club

I have seen that look before.  He is completely smitten by her!

There was an interview between Chris Matthews and Hillary Clinton after the Iowa Caucuses on the following day. It was the most lopsided interview I have seen in some time. I thought I was going to see Matthews blow her kisses. Let me paraphrase the interview for you.

Matthews: Hillary you are great! Not like that looney tune, Bernie Sanders.

Hillary: Yes, I know. And you are right, there is a lunatic running for the nomination against me but I won't name names.

Matthews: How does that guy think he is going to win? He isn't as great as you. He doesn't smell as good as you do, either.

Hillary: I don't know why anyone would listen to him. Everyone knows that the status quo is what is needed.

Matthews: Of course the status quo is what's needed! He is talking about a revolution. FDR who gave us Social Security and JFK who put Americans on the moon would turn over in their graves if they knew someone would try to be as bold under the Democrat banner as that nutjob. (Note: I am not even embellishing this line much at all)

Hillary: Agreed. Bold ideas will never work. He won't get anything passed by Congress. The Republicans will block everything. It is such a good thing that the Republicans love me so much. I can work with those guys. They have always been willing to listen to me and treat me fairly.

Matthews: You know he isn't really a Democrat. He is a socialist. A SOCIALIST, I tell you!

Hillary: I know, right? Just because he caucused with the Democrats in the Senate, supported every Democratic policy for all the years he has served, and publicly praised Barack Obama's policies including ObamaCare and closing the gun show loophole, he thinks that is enough to be able to give Democratic voters a choice to support him! Just sickening!

Matthews: Well, best of luck, Madam President! You are a lock!

Hillary: Thank you, Chris. The check is in the mail, er uh . . . I mean . . . uh just thanks!

This interview was put on the air during the day time when MSNBC is trying to establish their straight news brand, in contrast to the Democratic leaning night time fare. I guess Bernie has another name to put on the establishment list: MSNBC. With all the sentiment in the country hating how the system is rigged against people who aren't in the establishment, this interview did nothing but provide a boost to Bernie Sander's campaign as well as to the ratings of CNN - well that is what it did for me, anyway.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Time Again for Presidential Endorsements - The GOP Primary

This is my snarky take on the GOP nomination derby.  Although some of it is tongue-in-cheek, if you look hard enough, you may find the substance.

The 2016 nomination derby might be the most interesting in history.  The Republicans boast of a virtual herd trying to position themselves to face-off against the Democrats in the fall. For the sake of time, space and interest, I will only touch on a few that many think have a chance. I will spend the most time on the overwhelming front runner because it is important to understand what currently has the most support.

Donald Trump

Mr. Trump is a fascinating candidate.  What is more fascinating than his candidacy is the fact that he has so much support.  People like to be mad and Trump gives them an opportunity to represent their anger.  He gives them an outlet for the "It's simple folks; we just have to keep Mexicans and Muslims out of the country and we will be fine" camp. Trump gives the "we against them" drive a place to light. He also just tells them that he can make all the deals that overwhelmingly favor the US and the other countries will go along with it.   Trump tells the masses that everyone in Washington are idiots and he is the only smart guy around that can save the country.  For whatever reason, they believe him.

Let's look at his specifics - that which we can find:

  • Trump's tax plan favors the poor and very wealthy.  It messes over the already shrinking middle class. For instance, a person who makes $151,000 pays the same rate as billionaires. Also, a person who makes $50,100 pays the same tax rate as someone who makes $150,000. These may look like small differences to a billionaire, but it certainly isn't to the folks who make those amounts.
  • His stance on 2nd Amendment rights is ineffectively stagnant.  He leaves too many people to able to get guns without the hinderance of background checks as long as they get their guns from a non-federal dealer of firearms.  I am surprised he doesn't draw them a map of where they can obtain them.
  • His immigration policy is insulting to anyone that is not Anglo.
  • In his presumably strongest issue, trade policy, he is very presumptuous about what he thinks he can get other countries to do.

In summary, we don't know that he has the best interest of the citizens.  He doesn't operate with principles because he brags about how he gamed the system as a businessman.  He doesn't have the ethical backbone to do what is right because if he had a penchant for ethics,  he wouldn't have gamed the system for personal profit.  There is no reason to think that he is influenced by ethics at all but by only what makes him successful - and success is defined by him.  He is just too dangerous to trust with the country's welfare.

He also doesn't seem to understand that there is a difference between a business deal and a deal made by countries that have other agendas besides profit which often implies the intricacies of diplomacy and the relationship with allies.

Finally, I don't think he takes the quest for the White House seriously.  It is like a hobby to him or a sporting match.  He is obsessed with his poll numbers rather than being concerned about pursuing a harmonious country.  It makes me worry that he believes it is okay if we all lose, as long as he wins.

Ted Cruz 

No one likes Ted Cruz except people who do not understand what governing entails.  These are the same people who also like Trump; it is just that Trump is more entertaining.  When a respected person like Bob Dole said he would rather have the clueless Trump in office over Cruz, that should tell you all that you need to know.  Cruz comes off like a televangelist in his speech and mannerisms which is a turnoff to most people not glued to TBN.

Cruz is the candidate of no.  He isn't as interested in governing as he is obstructing.  If he can't compromise in a republic, he isn't fit to govern in a republic because that is what democracy is all about - giving everyone a voice and a choice.

In addition, it turns out that there is a legitimate concern that he may not even be eligible to be president - and I am not trying to be funny here.

Marco Rubio 

He, like most of the other GOP candidates, believes that he is running against Barack Obama instead of his fellow Republicans or even the Democratic candidates.  As Americans, we were scolded by the Republicans if we insulted the president of the United States. To do so, made critics of GW Bush un-American.  Of course, that only applies to Republican presidents, I guess.  To rational thinkers, that seems pretty disingenuous.

Rubio also is against unions at every turn. I am not saying that unions haven't had their faults over the years, but unions are the backbone of labor.  Because of unions, even non-union shops have to treat their workers more favorably.  Killing unions would lower wages and make the wage gap even larger.

Rubio also seems to not have the kind of work ethic necessary to be the POTUS.  The presidency requires someone to be on the job 24/7 including vacations.  Rubio has a poor voting attendance record which is bad enough, but he downplays the importance of it which means he isn't too concerned with carrying out the job that he was elected to do.  Is it really a good idea to elect a president with that attitude?

The Also-Rans 

When considering the others, Jeb Bush seems to be in a daze like he can't believe he is losing.  He spends a whole lot of time bashing Hillary Clinton which isn't going to do him any good if he can't leap over the five or six Republicans ahead of him. He is one of the only candidates that is nervy enough to attack Trump, but that has been ineffectual.  In fact, he has slidden so far now that Trump, formerly his greatest adversary, now ignores him for the most part.

Chris Christie has a hard time telling the truth according to Politifact.  Besides, he doesn't even have the sense to go by his middle name, "James".  Chris Christie should only be forced on him; it shouldn't be his first choice. You have to pick the name that is most flattering.  Let "Chris Christie" go by the way of "Steve Stevens" and "Dick Dixon." At least go with the hip, "Topher." He should put his best name forward. You don't see Barack Obama going by Hussein or Barry now, do you? James Christie sounds a lot more presidential to me.  

Rand Paul just can't seem to get any traction.  He has some sensible ideas from his libertarian side, but it also provides some idiotic ideas so that is a wash. He slid his way out of the prime time debate in South Carolina.  Not wanting to be relegated to the "kid's table" debate, he just took his ball and went home.  He might as well stay there.


John Kasich.  
Sensible, successful and compassionate makes John Kasich 
the best choice from the large Republican field.

Kasich has a different attitude compared to the other candidates.  As governor of Ohio, he had the sense and the courage to adopt ObamaCare.  He, like the rest of the field, says he wants to repeal and replace it, but he is the only one talking about preserving access to health care to do it. He states that the Ohio model "provides the path forward to the nation." The thing is, the Ohio model is an expanded Medicaid program - which is also part of the Obama plan.  Be that as it may, Kasich does recognize that it is unconscionable to kick millions off of medical coverage for political expediency.

The other candidates are content to end the ACA and worry about replacing it at some later time (or more likely, not at all).  To illustrate this, the new Congress has already had a repeal bill pass and sent for Obama's veto, which he predictably executed.  With all the hollering of "Repeal and Replace,"  the Republicans have tried to repeal ObamaCare over 50 times without a single replacement offer.  At least Kasich has seen first hand the need and allowed it to be met in his state.

The people of Ohio, who knows him best, love Kasich.  He enjoyed record approval ratings going into his presidential campaign.  This shows the success he has achieved as chief executive in a heartland state.

In addition, Kasich has been the most open to governing instead of perpetuating the feud that has been going on in Congress for far too many years.  He champions a hopeful and positive campaign. He has demonstrated compassion driven by his faith that is determined to not leave "the least of these" behind.  That attitude isn't getting him very far so far in the GOP, "I got mine, let them get theirs" subculture, but it does provide the reason that Psychosomatic Wit endorses John Kasich for the Republican nomination for president.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Jesus and the Presidential Election

This has always been a fascinating topic to me.  The right wing seems to champion the founder of Christianity and claim to v
ote with their faith on their sleeves.  On the other side, the left wing can sometimes appear hostile to Christianity and those who adhere to the faith.  Jesus, not being a respecter of persons, would not be swayed by any of that.  So, the question is:  Who would Jesus vote for in the upcoming presidential election?

I'm sure that the answer to this would vary depending on who you ask.  I could take a pretty educated stab at it.  However, to try to leave as much bias out of the question as possible, I decided to leave it up to isidewith.com to determine the answer.  This site helps people determine which candidate shares the same values that they do - regardless of party.  I did my level best to answer the questions based on what the Gospel accounts attribute to Jesus' views.  Sometimes, I had to expand the search to other parts of the Bible, but I stuck mostly to the synoptic gospels.

There were a number of questions that I had to simply leave blank because there was no way I could determine the correct answer by the Bible. These type of blank answers typically came from very specific questions such as those concerning "common core," or term limits, or other specific contemporary issues.  I had to skip more questions than I had hoped, but I would rather leave them blank than try to editorialize an answer for Jesus.  Still, there were plenty of questions to paint a pretty clear picture.

The Results

Here is a summary of what the gospels teach us of Jesus' values.   The results of the quiz show that Jesus finds that standing up for the oppressed and those that are taken advantage are very important to him. Few could argue that this is a common theme in his ministry.

Jesus also sides toward the traditional which means that he believes in a civilized society that honors traditional morality and values.   The gospels point out that even though he has compassion, he remained "sinless." He also quoted Old Testament scriptures a lot and read them in the Temple.

The results also show that Jesus strongly believes in showing compassion, empathy, and rehabilitation for small time criminals.  The way he dealt with the prostitute and thief on the cross would support this claim.

It also shows that he slightly sides with regulation to ensure that business doesn't take advantage of the system and consumers.  That conclusion made me picture the anger that he showed at the money changers and how he converted two cheating tax collectors into honest followers.

Other items of note in the summary include being against social inequality, corruption and being an environmental centrist.

Drum Roll, Please!

Jesus is more aligned with Bernie Sanders than any other candidate.  His beliefs and values are consistent with Sanders' on a 79% of the issues.  The closest Republican was John Kasich with a 64%. So these would be the two men he would vote for in their respective primaries.

The conclusion makes sense for a number of reasons.  Sanders is against corruption of banks and is the champion of the "least of these" as Jesus called them.  It probably didn't hurt that both Jesus and Bernie are Jewish.  

Check out isidewith.com and see who you line up with and see if you see the issues like Jesus does. 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

The After-life is like Schrödinger's Cat

. . . or How Blaise Pascal was actually the first pioneer of quantum mechanics.

Whether or not there is an afterlife and/or a god or gods that rule it is a debate that has been going on for some time.  In fact, just search bulletin boards, chat rooms or Facebook groups and you will have more than your fill of choices.  Of course, being one that is not shy about debates, I thought I would weigh in here with a different perception.

Enter: Blaise Pascal. 
Pascal was a 17th century genius - a jack of all intellectual trades, one might say.  His work advanced both mathematics and physics. In addition, some of his philosophical arguments are still discussed today.  One of these is known as Pascal's Wager.
The Reader's Digest version of Pascal's Wager states that no one can know for sure about the existence of God and/or the after-life but everyone bets their life on one or the other - they have no choice.  The safe bet would be to believe in God and live like He does exist because even if one was wrong, he would lose nothing but a few years of inconvenience and then vanish into nothingness.  If the believer is correct, thus winning the bet, he gains eternal life.  So it is a not much to lose and everything to gain proposition.  Compare that to the person who bets that there is no God.  If he wins, then he lives as he pleases and vanishes into nothingness.  However, if he is wrong, he is subjected to a horrible and eternal afterlife.  For Pascal, the smart bet would be to believe in God and live like it because one would have very little to lose and everything to gain.

Schrödinger vs PETA
Fast forward about 270 years. Erwin Schrödinger was a Nobel Prize-winning physicist who was instrumental in the development of quantum theory. Schrödinger's cat is a thought experiment that deals with possibilities and outcomes.  The original concept was based on whether or not a radioactive atom is decayed in an hour's time. It is a complicated explanation dealing with the half life of the atom in question. Since I don't want to lose anyone in the explanation of it, I will modify the scenario in a fashion that will make it more likely that people will stay for the ride.  So here is Psychosomatic Wit's version of the Schrödinger's Cat thought experiment.

A cat was closed in a box with some food laced with deadly poison.  After an hour, it was assumed that the cat had either eaten the poison and died or did not eat the poison and is alive.  Until the box is opened, the cat can be considered both alive and dead at the same time.* This explication (known as the Copenhagen Interpretation) holds that it is the act of measuring (or in this case opening the box and observing) that changes the dual reality (both the alive and dead cat) into one conclusion. That is just one of the many interpretations of this thought experiment.** As nonsensical as this sounds to some, many reputable theorists still assign validity to this interpretation. 
The Afterlife has Gone to the Dogs - or in this case to Schrödinger's Cat.

Whether or not there is an afterlife is something that cannot be determined with any certainty until after one crosses over from this life into . . . well, that remains to be seen, doesn't it?  So if we are to use Schrödinger's thought experiment as a model we can conclude that while we are living, waiting for us is both an afterlife AND a state of nonexistence.  When we depart the living in this physical world one of those conclusions will remain a reality while the other will no longer be viable.  How then shall we live in the meantime?

Well, if it was your beloved cat in Schrödinger's box, you would anxiously cling to the living cat until you are finally able to joyously reunite with it or sorrowfully say goodbye.  If not, you would have said your goodbyes at the point the cat was placed into the box.

Why would we treat the afterlife any differently?  The choices are that one could embrace a hopeless destiny or a meaningful life full of hope.  With the former, we might muddle through this existence looking for some kind of meaning and only finding it by assigning purpose to helping a few fellow hopeless souls who also have a meaningless, finite existences. 
Or, one could choose the equally viable option of the afterlife. With that choice we could look forward to unending bliss in reunion with loved ones and embrace being part of an eternal plan that gives meaning to life by being a part of something much bigger than only a finite, random existence offered by the alternative.

I know that some would argue that even if the afterlife exists, it may be unpleasant no matter how one chooses to live and a seemingly infinite list of other negative possibilities.  That is a discussion all its own and should be given its own space. I will leave factoring the probabilities of the characteristics of the afterlife for another time.  So keeping it simple, one can choose which direction he wants to go in consideration of his appointment for death. The beauty of it is that there is no wrong answer.  It is just a question of choosing what kind of life you want to live and what kind of gamble are you willing to take.

I know what reality on which Pascal would have wagered . . . and he was a genius.

*No cats were harmed in the making of this blog post
**Schrödinger's Cat thought experiment was based on sub atomic particles, half life of a radioactive atom and a mechanism to determine whether or not the atom had decayed to the point of emitting radiation that would cause a vial of poisonous gas to be broken therefore killing the cat.  I explain this to hopefully dissuade egg heads from coming after me about quantum mechanics which would really just be a distraction that misses the plot.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Memories of Dad

Today, of course, I am thinking of my father.  He passed away when I was 18 - just six minutes after my birthday expired. Life was crazy then and the whole thing was surreal.  I watched him waste away from cancer the preceding months.  Everyone told me that he waited to pass so he wouldn't foul up my birthday.  I like to think that is true, but who knows?  If so, it was a nice present.

I didn't have the same experience with my dad as my siblings.  They knew a man that was gone a lot. They remember a father who probably drank too much and was prone to be a little scary as a result.  I am glad that isn't my memory.  In my years with dad, he was a nondrinker who made my dinner every night because my mom worked.  He was the guy that took me to every little league game and even coached a little for my team.

Dad was responsible for giving me my first friend of another race.  He helped a black man that he worked with get his son into the little league I was in.  A few times he and I, his friend and son went together to the games and got a bite afterwards.  I thank him for showing me how normal life should be.

My father had a keen since of humor which involved his own vocabulary.  He had names for everything.  He called orange juice, "Simpson," water was sky juice, and because we always tended to leave the vacuum cleaner (the tank kind with the hose), in the hallway as a hazard, Dad called it an automatic tripper.  There were MANY more names he had for stuff, I wish I could remember them all.

Dad loved corn bread and made it practically every day.  I never cared for corn bread as a child, but dad was determined to change that.  He would change up the recipes and add stuff to it just to try to win me over.  I remember one day he took some out of the oven and there were pools of butter on the surface.  He said, "Jeff, take you a bite of this.  I know you'll like it."   I responded, "Dad, you know I don't like corn bread, why do you keep offering it to me?"  His response was, "That's not corn bread; it is buttered corn cake!"

When I was 16, I got into a car accident.  It wasn't my fault - REALLY!  Some guy backed out of a Pizza Hut across three lanes of traffic and hit me.  I was really scared to call my dad.  I don't know why; me being 16, I just thought somehow everyone would figure it was my fault.  My dad showed up and made me believe right away that it was no big deal and it wasn't my fault.  He even fixed the fender in our driveway with his auto body expertise.

Anyway, that is the father I remember.  I am blessed with those memories.  I do miss him more than most people realize.  I miss you, Dad. And dad, I like buttered corn cake now.

Leave it All on the Field


She heard him say it a thousand times over the years. “Leave it ALL on the field,” Eric would bark at his players at the practices and games for the Freemont High School football program. That was his mantra and all on the team knew it well. Its aim was to make it quite clear that every tiny bit of effort, every ounce of strength should be expended in the attempt to win the game. He loved that phrase, but seldom believed it was accomplished.

Gina grew up with definite ideas about marriage and her duties as a wife. She was always there for Eric. She would run errands and provide drinks and fruit to the players. Every now and again, she may even cross the nourishment line and bring cookies. Whatever was needed, whatever she could think of to make things better or nicer, Gina was there to serve her man.

Although she took her role in the marriage quite seriously, she did have her own ideas and dreams. She did quite well as a kindergarten teacher at the neighborhood elementary school. She served in the PTA and had just published her first children’s book. Gina was a real go-getter and she knew what she wanted. She was successful at every endeavor, except for the one she wanted the most.

Gina was able to juggle marriage and career through love and conviction – the conviction of just doing what was right by her husband. In addition to her supportive duties at the field, she also tried to exhibit her dedication at home. She was always there to bring him a beer, chips and plenty of backrubs. She did love him and frequently told him that. But more than that, Gina gave her love hands and feet. This was just Gina.

However, this was NOT Eric. He was a perfectionist and was never able to find perfection. No matter how well his team performed, there was always something they could have done better. They won a few regional titles, but had yet to make it to the state finals. He would not be happy unless they brought back the state title, he thought. What Gina knew that Eric didn’t was that even THAT would bring only a fleeting smile. Eric was not happy and it seemed to Gina that he was determined to stay that way.

Unfortunately, Eric had this same attitude at home – particularly with his ever loving, and ever trying wife. He tried to do his part in his own way. He helped out at the house, especially the maintenance and outdoor chores. He would even manage to muster out a “thank you” when Gina was being her serving self. However, he never showed his love for Gina and seldom voiced it. He didn’t really understand it or what it was or wasn’t, but Gina knew. She felt it go right through her every day, sometimes every minute.

Gina felt that Eric’s affection was token as if he was hugging an old aunt that he hadn’t seen for years. When they shared intimate moments, Gina shuttered because she knew that she was a mere object to ease his frustration, not a wife to be loved or cherished. He was not always that way. Gina wondered how the change ever came about. She dealt with the temptation of blaming herself, but deep inside, she always knew that she could only do what she could do.

Day after day she endured this marriage, most of the time with a smile. She, in faith, kept serving him, loving him, being there for him at home, at the games, and in the bedroom. She was there, but she felt it dying. She wasn’t sure what it was that was dying. Was it the marriage? Could it be her love for him? Perhaps it was her life, itself. All she knew was that something important was dying and she was slipping, ever so assuredly, into survival mode.

One crisp October Friday morning, Gina started her routine. Knowing that there would be a game that night, she prepared for her husband a big, healthy breakfast. This got her up a full hour before him to clear out of the bathroom and have coffee and breakfast at the ready when he opened the morning paper at the table. Her preparations were made with conflicting emotions. She was excited to again go the extra mile for him out of faith and love, but at the same time, was agonized that it would be accepted with unloving apathy.

After breakfast, she sent him off full and awake ready to face his day. In return, he kissed the air a good two inches from her cheek and drove away. She noticed his game folder left on the oak secretary by the front door. She scrambled to ready herself for her day in a fashion that would leave her barely enough time to stop by the high school to “save his day”. She saw Eric outside the gym and rushed the folder to him. Her reward was a not-so-angry, “if you would have reminded me at the door, you wouldn’t have had to rush over here.” Tears welled up in Gina’s eyes as she turned out of the parking lot.

At lunch, Gina stopped by the supermarket and grabbed the makings of his favorite meal. Because her planning period was back-to-back with her lunch, she was able to get the meat and potatoes home and pre-prepped so she could have it ready and on the table after the game. She also managed to grab three cases of soda and four bags of apples to be put on ice in the back of her van.

She was there in the front row, when the Freemont Roughriders won in overtime that night. She cheered until she was hoarse. She supported her man. She presented the apples and soda to the players after the game and dashed off to make his meal.

Eric thanked her but never diverted his eyes from SportsCenter as she trudged up the stairs to bed. Somehow, she mustered enough hope to exercise her love and duty one more time before crossing off another hapless day on the calendar of their marriage.

She waited there for him in bed with a new gown that flattered her thirty-something body. Her wrists and body had the light scent of her most luring perfume. Anxious tears filled her eye wells as she heard him finish up in the bathroom a few feet away.

Eric knew what to do when he slid into bed. With not as much as an “I love you” or a mouth kiss, he finished his business with her and rolled over and fell into dispassionate slumber.

Saturday morning arrived not unlike other Saturday mornings. Eric slept in while Gina got up early. Normally, she would do laundry and prepare breakfast. Today was different; her chore was only for herself. She filled two suitcases, gathered her laptop, books and other important papers. Gina was nothing, if not consistent - always thinking of her man so she let him sleep. While he was snoring upstairs, she wrote him a note so as to not wake him on his cherished day off:

Dear Eric,

I devoted the last twelve years to you and our marriage.
I was there for you and I gave to you all I knew to give. I never asked
for anything in return, but I did need a husband - you know, Eric, a husband
to care for me, partner with me, but mostly to love me. Unfortunately, you can’t see that YOU need to be a husband for your own good as well as for the
prosperity of a marriage pledged to each other and to God.

I don’t know what else to do; I have nothing more to give to bring about
the kind of marriage I know that WE deserve and God wants us to have. You
should be proud of me, though, Eric. For our marriage, even though we
lost, I want you to know that I left it ALL on the field.

Your wife,

Monday, May 25, 2015

On this Memorial Day, We Want to Pay Honor to Those Who Serve

All kidding aside, my sincere thanks and respect goes to all those who have answered their country's call to defend and protect us.  I would also like to thank the families who have sacrificed and lost loved ones in order to make and keep this country strong.  We are in your debt.

No matter how certain military actions have been viewed or supported, these brave individuals do not have the luxury of asking questions.  They just answered the call.  Respect should be given to them from EVERYONE.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Why I Could Never be an Atheist

The Fountain of Eternal Life, Cleveland Ohio
Don't let the title fool you. I am not out to bad mouth those without faith.  I am merely telling you why I cannot be one of them.
"For in my faith, I stay connected."
I have been a Christian just about my whole life.  I realized more recently that even when I was doubting and searching, I was still in the fold of God’s mighty hand. That is one of the things that is so amazing about Grace. God's Grace was sufficient - even in my doubt and anger.

It dawned on me this morning how thankful I should be for that.  For in my faith, I stay connected.  Connected to God, humanity, and to those I love.

There was a time recently that I wanted to break away from my faith.  I felt a need to cut off ties to an unfair God, and to join the masses of God detractors. I was ready to take my place in the grand ostrich paradigm of spiritual reality.  You can read about it here.

I am so glad that God's Grace was bigger than my doubts and resentments. For by that grace, I am still connected.  I am grateful that there is not a storm so fierce that it can overcome the divine walls that protect His children.

A mother's love is not made of this world nor dissuaded by wound or strife. 
No house, no city, no world can contain it 
Nor can the constraints of this life.

This thankfulness hit its PEAK on the morning of Mothers Day. I lost my mom last year.  Because of the role she had in my life as parent, dependent, and best friend, she gave my life meaning. At some point after a period of serious grief, I realized that if we were on our own with no God, we would be permanently disconnected with our parents, our spouses, brothers, sisters, grandparents and friends that have passed on before us. It would be almost as if they had never existed at all - or had the same reality of a movie we once saw.

What if you lost a child or the baby in your womb?  There would be no connection; no present reality. We would have to pretend that temporal things or beings could give our lives significant meaning rather than not being any different than the roadkill we pass on the freeway on our morning commute.  
In atheism there is the admission that we cannot disprove the existence of God.  However, we must also admit that the faithful cannot prove that He does exist - not in a transferable way. Whichever way we go in matters of the spirit, we must have faith in the path that we choose.  

I had a preacher one time who loved to say "If I could take Jesus out of my heart and put Him into yours, you would never give Him back."  The older I get and the more I grow in faith, the more I understand that.  That is the nontransferable proof that atheists lack.  But even if I did not have that, I would still choose hope, because no pretending in the world can keep connections with those we love if we profess that those connections could not possibly exist.

So, I would still choose faith and hope because of love. My parents, grandparents, and other dear family and friends that have gone ahead of me are counting on it.  I count on it, too.

Brothers and sisters, we want you to be fully informed about those who have fallen asleep in death so that you will not be overwhelmed with grief like those who live outside of the true hope. --1st Thessalonians 4:13 (the Voice)

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Mom, Just Mom . . .

Yesterday was my mom's 80th birthday. I made her a cake.

First I got some fried chicken and made up some mashed potatoes.  Mom loves drum sticks.  As she got older, the legs were something she found was suited just for her.  She could hold on to them, there wasn't a lot of work involved and no unnecessary bones to dodge.  That and some good mashed potatoes made up the ideal meal for Mom - as long as she had a dessert!

That is where the cake comes in. It was chocolate fudge with milk chocolate icing. In the cake batter, I added some peanut butter.  That was my hack because my mom always loved the chocolate peanut butter shakes at Sonic. I also added a packet of Dream Whip to the batter because I know how important a moist cake is.

When everything was ready, I sat down in my empty house.  I ate two chicken legs, a little mashed potatoes, and for dessert I had peanut butter-chocolate fudge cake custom made for the woman I owe everything I have sweet in my life.  I love you, Mom.
The following message I have is widely considered a platitude.  People tend to smile thoughtfully and nod their head.  Then, most go on their merry way without it.  But let me urge you to take it with you and hold onto it tightly.  Let it become apart of your values and who you are:


Monday, May 04, 2015

The Blog that Relaunched a Thousand Words (or more)

What a great time for a blog launch – or in this case, relaunch.  There have been some things happening to me lately concerning my writing that makes it an exceptional time on a personal level, but that isn’t the only reason. This is an interesting time we are living in. With politics and other news, sports, and just everyday craziness that is afoot this season, there will be enough things to explore and laugh at for some time.  By the way, it is also a great time for you to go and “like” the PW page on Facebook!
Presidential campaign season is officially underway. Both parties should provide some interesting blog fodder.  On one hand, we have Queen Hillary and the Pips.  And what’s a discussion about the Democratic Party without the mention of socialism?  Thanks, Bernie Sanders!
On the other hand, the Republican primary seldom disappoints when it comes to providing a fascinating cast of characters and this year is no different.  YET ANOTHER Bush wants to fill out a change of address form for 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  In addition, the field includes an ousted business woman, a retired surgeon, a really thirsty guy, and a couple of guys with really bad hairdos. We could discuss for hours.
Then there is the rash of police/minority issues that have plagued the country the past couple of years.  This page will have plenty to say about that.
One thing that none of us can escape is the influence of God in our lives OR how the lack of a belief system puts those of us without faith on a specific path.  This blog is always concerned about this aspect of life.
In addition, PW will look at some sports issues.  Traditionally, there hasn’t been much of that here, but lately (for those that have been perusing the site) that has changed. With the NCAA tournament recently closed for the 2015 season, all fan eyes are looking at transfers and reloading for the upcoming season.  This site will touch on many teams, but be primarily concerned with Indiana University.  Baseball and football are also gearing up at the pro and  college levels.
There will be something of interest for most people (if not one post, perhaps the next one).  Some of you will agree with what you read; others will be irritated.  Then the following post may have the opposite effect.  As always, comments are always welcome - at Psychosomatic Wit  and on the Facebook page.  I look forward to responding to comments.  Without interaction, I will never find out that I am wrong!
So, what do you want to talk about?