Friday, December 21, 2007

The Meme-ing of Christmas

The Meaning of Christmas

Michelle tagged me to do a meme about the meaning of Christmas. It is kind of a neat take from different bloggers. The instructions are:

1.Make a paragraph next to the last paragraph in the tag that is passed to you “What is Christmas to you” and put your name at the end of it linking back to your site, or the page that answered this tag.

2. You can use a title that will suit your Christmas idea.

3. Then tag as many as you can.


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The first entry is from Bahrain:

Christmas is an annual holiday that makes my little wishes come true. A pair of new shoes, new dress and gifts from my Godparents. That’s how I defined Christmas years and years ago until… I came to Bahrain. That’s when I realized what it really means. A special day to commemorate the birth of Jesus.

Here in Bahrain, Christmas is nothing. It’s just an ordinary working day for almost everyone, unless your boss is considerate, he’ll give you at least a half day to celebrate, if there are celebrations happening. But in my case, there’s nothing to celebrate literally. Everyone is at work, that includes my husband and myself. We attend the midnight (Christmas Eve) mass and that’s it, go to sleep and get back to work the next day, on Christmas day. My first Christmas away from home happened in 1999. I came here in October and had the most loneliest Christmas ever in my life - without my family. That made me realized their importance. On how meaningless celebrations would be without them. To cut the story short, for me Christmas is all about Jesus and family. If you have friends to celebrate this special day with you, that’s a bonus! When Silence Speaks

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A little while ago, I talked to my daughter about this year’s Christmas being different from the other Christmases we had. She asked me why. I explained to her that my husband and I are both undergoing financial difficulties since hubby has just been doing consultancy work since March and that means no extra money for the holiday expenses, not that we give expensive, extravagant gifts, we don’t. She said something like: “It’s okay, we don’t need expensive gifts, what is important is that we are together.” Thank you, Trixie, for making this easier. (Please click on her name to see what she has written in her blog about her thoughts on this.) We have always emphasized about the real meaning of this holy day. That this is about Jesus who came to save us from sins and give us eternal life. We always make it a point to go to church during the morning of Christmas day to give thanks to the Lord. Christmas is not just a holy day, not just a time of giving gifts but a time to thank the Lord for the blessings of life.

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Christmas is about the decision that God made to save mankind! The piercing truth is that Christmas is about so many decisions. First: It is the decision of God to send us Jesus Christ. Second: It is the decision of Mary to accept the will of God and cooperate in the plan of salvation. Third: Joseph decided to take Mary as his wife despite her condition. Joseph did not understand completely and yet because the angel told him so, he decided to say ‘yes’, too. Sometimes I feel that the yes of Mary overstated and the weight of Joseph’s yes was underestimated. If Joseph did not agree to the angel’s leading, the ‘yes’ of Mary would have resulted in a condemnable pregnancy that could have led to a dead mother and baby. Mary should have been stoned to death if Joseph decided to say no. Joseph’s decision was important. Fourth: It was also the decision of the wise Men to go another way and not collaborate with Herod who wanted to kill the Child Jesus. Fifth: It was the decision, too, of the shepherds to go in haste and tell the others what they have seen. So, for me Christmas is a story of decisions!
Dom

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hhhhmmmm, ‘what is Christmas to me?’ …..it is something that is very significant to my heart… Christmas to me is approaching Jesus with an offering of simple adornments, not gold or precious stones but a pure and clean heart! It is important to remember though that it is HE who wants to come to me, to us. How we look externally and/or outwardly might not mean as much to HIM but only a pure and contrite heart!…. He wants to look into our hearts because it is there where HE wants to dwell to bring to it beauty and light. His wish is that here, within the deep recesses of our hearts and souls, which HE fashioned with love after HIS own heart, only one STAR shines brightly!…. So our hearts must carry HIM and HIM alone. For HE is the light, like no other. And if we carry HIM in our hearts, there is no need for make-up, jewelry, or even a brand new colorful polo shirt or blouse and skirt because we will radiate with HIS light and beauty and when that happens, there can never be too much.
Gbex

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What is Christmas? hmmmm… When the month of “ber” comes and it’s getting colder, Christmas is coming and i’m always looking forward for this month and weather. When i was young, Christmas for me is vacation, wearing new clothes, meeting relatives and getting more presents. But it changed when i entered college and got a job. The meaning became saving money, meeting friends and buying presents specially for my godchildren. Generally, we defined Christmas as the birth of Christ. Everyone is busy buying presents but we never thought or gave anything to the Celebrant (Jesus). This Christmas, give your present to God. Surrender your life to Him and this is the best present that you can give.
idealpinkrose

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We celebrate Christmas because it’s the birth of our Saviour Jesus Christ. It’s all about Love why HE was born and died on the cross for us. John 3:16-17 says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” Therefore, for me the true meaning of Christmas is Love and with it comes forgiveness and reconciliation. We also remember His birth by giving each other gifts, worshipping Him, and being especially conscious of the poor and less fortunate.
Thinking Out Loud

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Christmas for me is the ultimate reminder on how much God loves us, that He gave His only Son Jesus Christ to be our Savior. For me, its a celebration of love and a time to share our blessings to others.. a time for giving and reaching out to the less fortunate and it’s also a wonderful time to be with your family. Christmas is not just all about santa claus or the gifts that you will receive or for shopping, we should always remember that Jesus is the reason for the season and let us reflect on how much God loves us.
Just Let Go/Pieces of Me

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Christmas is about giving love, forgiving. This remind us how lucky and how God love us when he gave us his only son Jesus Christ. A time for sharing our blessing to our family, friends and to others.
Celebrate Life/My Journey

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When I was younger, I looked forward to every Christmas because that meant new dresses, new pair of shoes, toys and a lot of presents and money from ninongs and ninangs. Now that I’m older, married, and have my own family, I view Christmas differently. Remembering the birth of Jesus and the real reason why He was given to us by God the Father is the true meaning of Christmas for me. Whether you’re having an extravagant or just plain simple feast on the table, being together as a family especially on this blessed day is what really counts. Giving random acts of kindness to people you meet everyday and touching their lives in your own little way is more than giving expensive presents. These 3 are the true meaning of Christmas for me which I try to teach my children.
Liza of moms…..check nyo & A Simple Life.

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To me, Christmas means my mom happily cooking to celebrate Jesus Christ's birth. She always sets up a tree, and her eyes shine as she does it - it is quite a treat for any daughter to witness: I love you mom!
MAX
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For me, Christmas means HOPE. Always has been, always will be. The fallen world has received the greatest hope of all: the birth of Jesus Christ. And since hope is all around, then it's only normal to see so many acts of kindness around Christmastime. In Indo, we never exchanged Christmas gifts, but now I live in Finland and I start to buy gifts for my loved ones. Christmas also means family gathering for me and candlelight service at church. Plus I get to sing Christmas songs and enjoying a Christmas play and dance. Other than that, for me Christmas also means SERENITY. I can feel a different kind of peace in my heart whenever Christmas comes along. And since Christmas is near New Year, it's also time for reflection for me: reflecting all the blessings that the Lord has given me and then thanking God for everything.
Amel

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As a child Christmas was the love of family holding me safe and stories of magic and miracles.As I got older I grew to realise that there are deeper forms of love and more subtle forms of gift-giving. The love of God giving his son to the world is echoed every day in the love of good people making sacrifices for each other without regrets. The love of friends and family giving time and sharing, understanding and laughter. The love of a life partner giving more than there are words to describe. And the more you embrace that truth of love the more the gifts grow.Christmas is a reminder that love is more than an emotion– it is the energy of miracles.
Michelle

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Christmas gets played at a lot of different angles for me. Sometimes, it is about money or the lack thereof. Sometimes, it is about Jesus. Othertimes, it is about a feeling. I think mostly Christmas is about an ideal not so much reality. We see in movies like It's a Wonderful Life that it can be about people pulling together and helping one another with a backdrop of snow and holly. I think we all want it to be like that. However, how many stories do you have, personally, that fall into that category. Yet, that ideal is still out there. It hasn't been thrown away - not universally, anyway. That, I think, is the magic of Christmas. Christmas makes us consider the possibility of love for one another to the point of sacrifice. Where does that come from? Ahh, I guess it is about Jesus afterall.


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Since we are running out days to make this meme meaningful, I am having an open tag. If this meme speaks to you, go do it and let me know that you did.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Confessions

The past week has been busy for me. My wife had been gone and that gave me an opportunity to get some things accomplished without the additional demands on my time that she exercises. I took some days off work during that time. She returned home yesterday; I'm back at work today. Now, like the butcher that backed into the meat grinder, I have gotten a little behind in my work. However, I haven't forgotten about Blogland.

Michelle, at Crow's Feet, tagged me for her Confessions meme. Her rules are quite simple. You post five confessions. They don't have to be life-shaking, like sex changes, murders, or that kind of thing. They can be simple or something that may inspire, "Really, that's a weird thing to know about him/her!" She did ask that we keep them to five to seven and we can tag five people, or not.

This is kind of a challenge to me. Sure, I have my quirks in the present and past, but they seem normal to me, so how do I know it is something I should confess? I decided to do it by eras in my life.

Confession #1 from my early childhood: I used to roll my head in bed. Let me explain, I used roll my head back and forth like watching a tennis game in my sleep. I wish I would have gotten some kind of long-term benefit from it, but alas, it was not to be. I can't remember when I stopped, but I can surmise that it probably was about the time I spent the night at friends' houses or vice versa.

Confession #2 from middle childhood: On a few occasions, I would take change from my big brother's jeans while he was asleep. You see, he was seven years older, had a job at a service station that a family friend owned, and he always had money. I never had money as a kid so I would make him share. I justified it because he tormented me like crazy.

Confession #3 from high school: My friend and I used to go to another friend's house for lunch every day. The thing is, the other friend had a different lunch period and didn't know we were going to his house. Somehow, or other, we got a key to the house and drove over there and raided his fridge. I remember one time, my buddy cooked something from the freezer, didn't like it, and put it back into the freezer for someone else to eat. Sick. We did it because we were cheap and we thought it was funny.

Confession #4 from college: I quit dating someone because she kept saying, "Hmm?," as if she was asking me to repeat something that she didn't quite hear. The thing is, it was never after I said something; it was just random and it got on my nerves like crazy. She was very attractive and affectionate, but I just couldn't tolerate her inquiring quirk. In a subsequent summer, I stayed at IU for classes while all my friends and fraternity brothers were gone. I ran into this same girl and decided to give it another shot. However, when "Hmm?" surfaced again, it was a one-and-done deal.

Confession #5 from recent times: I haven't been to my church since they changed the format and times back in October. I have been to other churches, just not mine. I will probably find my way back as part of a New Year's resolution.

Who to tag; who to tag? I want to tag Kristen, Chris, Meg, Sayre, and . . . Hoosiergirl.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

NEWS FLASH #23

NEWS FLASH is basically news or thoughts that may be changing over time - an update or an evolution of thought that covers a multiple of topics. It is what makes a blogger tick and it is the reason why we read. So, with that in mind, I came up with NEWS FLASH as an acronym that stands for what is going on in life:



News (or current events)
Entertainment (movies, TV, celebrity, etc.)
Work (thoughts on the job or employer)
Spirit (thoughts on God and/or the supernatural)
Family (or friends)
Love
Anxiety (a rant or a trouble)
Sports (also considered should be contests, reality tv, recreation, cards, games), and
Home (house, yard, or even another family type of thought.
___________________________________________________________________

NEWS - Well, as someone brought up regarding my predictions, another one (about copycat killing) may have come about when more shootings erupted after the Omaha mall shooting. There have been two since, one was a church killing spree. An armed guard killed the gunman after he killed a number of people in two locations. On the surface, it looks like the guard saved some lives. I can't argue with that. Still, I just don't see a gun-wielding security guard in a church. It just seems so unchristian.

"What would Jesus do?"
"He'd pack heat and blow that mother away, man!"

I just don't see it. Still, I am thankful that the gunman didn't have the opportunity to hurt and kill more people.

ENTERTAINMENT - Has anyone seen "Shrek the Halls"? I missed it the first time and if I hadn't done a little detective work, I would have missed recording it last night. It was listed in the paper and the guide as "To Be Announced". My wife and I like to see Christmas specials. Rudolph, Grinch, Charley Brown, Scrooge (the Alistair Sims one) and George Bailey ("It's a Wonderful Life") are holiday musts for us. I am just wondering if the Shrek special will be that, too. Anyone?

WORK - Work? What work? I have some projects I am working on for February, but things are pretty smooth.

SPIRIT - This could double as the NEWS portion like last time, but I am just not getting Mitt Romney. He states he is proud of his LDS faith. Fine. However, when asked about certain things about it, he dodges like someone NOT proud of it. I don't get it. Ask me anything you want about my beliefs and I will tell you. Some of it, I don't think you would understand or accept on the surface, but so be it. Truth is truth. I would think that Romney would welcome the opportunity to set the record straight instead of having people believe the worst of it, but no. He says it isn't an issue. BUT IT IS! He even made a speech about it because he KNOWS it is an issue - whether it should be or not. If I were him, I would announce that I was going to hold ONE press conference for anyone to ask me about my LDS beliefs and will only address the presidential issues after that day. I would have some clergy member up there with me since I wouldn't be expected to have all the answers. I would give these questions two hours and then be done with it.

FAMILY - I don't think I am ever going to have kids. I am too much of an expert in how to raise other people's kids to have that kind of responsibility that will only serve to hurt my credibility as a child rearing expert.

My friend has a kid that he brings to ballgames with me. However, she hates me because I am seen as competition for her dad's attention. I try to include her into the conversations, I bribed her with a stuffed bulldog (the team mascot), and other treats. No good. She still wants her daddy all to herself and says hateful things to me. I could deal with it a couple of years ago when she was eight-years-old. Now she is ten and there is NO DIFFERENCE.

My friend doesn't like it, either, but told me that he doesn't know what to do about it. I told him that he needs to tell her if she wants to continue to come to the games that she needs to be polite (and she is the rudest child I have ever seen). If she can't be nice, she won't come to the next game. He told me that he does tell her that. Then I responded, BUT YOU STILL TAKE HER THE NEXT TIME!! She doesn't believe a word you are saying so she has no incentive to modify her behavior.

He just changed the subject.

LOVE - The last few days have been marvelous. Of course, my wife has been out of town since Saturday. Anyone want to come and hang out with me in Evansville for a few days? I have the house to myself for another week - when she gets back from seeing her brother graduate from basic training.

ANGUISH - It's Christmas season and the seasonal stuff is all over the radio. However, there are a few tunes that I must turn off when I hear them. One is "Feliz Navidad". UGH, the repetitiveness and harshness of voice burn into my brain. Another one is the "Twelve Days of Christmas". I hate repetiveness; do you see a pattern here? Finally, I can't stand "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer". It is so white trashy that it makes my skin crawl. There! I got that off my chest.

SPORTS - There is a big rivalry here between Indiana and Kentucky college basketball. I love it when IU beats UK like they did Saturday. They beat them like a drum. I didn't get the same kind of enjoyment out of it this year, though. Despite my intern having to wear an IU shirt all day in the heart of UK territory (she lost the bet), I can't enjoy my team beating a team so bad as UK was. It was like the varsity over the masters in rugby from "Monty Python's Meaning of Life". Ahh, just go rent it!

HOME - I am growing a dislike for property. Too much money, too much responsibility. If my marriage fails (and I am hoping it does NOT), I am going to move into an apartment and stay there the rest of my life. No maintenance, no taxes, no trap. I will move if I want without obligation. Apartments are the way to go. I have been so foolish!












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Friday, December 07, 2007

Hanging Up the Crystal Ball

Last January I posted a number of predictions I had for 2007 on this blog. Some were pretty accurate, some COULD have been with a stretch or so. Some just missed.

However, there was a couple that I really FELT at the time that came to pass. To tell you the truth, I am not liking it. Here are the two predictions that has caused me to hang up my crystal ball and retire from the psychic game:

* A female celebrity will die and it will be drug/alcohol related. (Rest in Peace, Anna Nicole Smith)

* Something will happen in Omaha, Nebraska that will put it on the news for a number of days.

When I saw on the news about the man who killed eight in the mall there before turning the gun on himself, I got sick. I don't feel responsible for it, but I feel "CONNECTED" to it. I don't like that feeling. Every morning for the past couple of days, I have to watch the Today Show rehash and interview victims and family of this outrageous event.

So, this year, I am not going to make what I thought was going to be yearly predictions. I thought it would be fun to look back and see how close I got. Guess what? It isn't fun.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Talk What You Know

One of the things that drive me crazy is when someone with only a passive amount of knowledge in my areas, tries to tell me with some kind of authority about my own areas. For instance, many people try to tell me about politics or civil rights law when I know they have no credentials for either. Oh, I don't mind opinion, but I am talking about lecturing with some kind of authority. The reason it bothers me is that I have a degree in political science with emphasis on constitutional law.
This background is why I am an independent. I have an understanding that the parties have two or three legitimate issue stances and the rest of their issues are agenda driven. If you are reading this and think that the Republicans have all the correct views on the issues, or the Democrats know what is right in all matters of policy, you are caught up in the agenda game. They get you with one or two issues and sweep you in to all of the other ones because they gained credibility with you on the couple of items that you feel really strong about. But I digress . . .

What brings me to this topic today is a column I read by Richard Cohen of the Washington Post. I am not linking it, because I think you have to register to see content there (as I did), and I refuse to bait you into that.

Cohen attacks Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee because he wouldn't answer whether or not fellow candidate Mitt Romney is a Christian. Romney is a Mormon. Cohen contends that Huckabee, a Baptist minister, had a chance to show religious tolerance but bailed out instead. Huckabee just said that the interviewer should ask Romney, not him.

Since when is not commenting on someone else's religion intolerant? The term "Christian" is defined by different people in various ways. What definition applies here? Huckabee doesn't know. The term means something completely different to a baptist minister than it does to a Jew (like Cohen), or even an agnostic.

As Mark Mattison, from True Life Ministries, of Auburn University puts it, "What is a Christian, anyway? Someone of European descent? A persecutor of Jews? Someone who votes for only the most conservative Republicans? At times all of these answers have seemed plausible. Some use these definitions to this day.

In Christian circles the answers are no clearer. A Christian is sometimes said to be someone who has made a decision; sometimes, someone who belongs to a church; far too often, someone who confesses the right creeds. Which brings us right back to our question: What, really, is a Christian?"

I can only guess, but I would say that Huckabee's definition is along the lines of someone who has been "born again". How would he know if Romney made that decision and step? There is no way. Shoot, I don't even know if my wife is truly a Christian according to this definition - and she claims to believe primarily as I do.

I believe that Huckabee was being baited by the question. There was nothing he could say that would have been accepted by EVERYONE. If he would have answered, "Yes, Romney is a Christian," then many conservative evangelical Christians would wonder about Huckabee's own faith. You may think, "Big deal", but that is the man's political base. If he says, "No, Mormons cannot be true Christians," he would be labeled as an intolerant bigot - much like Cohen is labeling him now for just being noncommittal and probably even honest.
What is interesting about that is that Cohen in his column writes, "the Republican presidential field has some feeble minds and some dangerous ones as well, but none has done as much damage as Huckabee has. Religion does not belong in the political arena." Then why is Cohen and the interviewer (I think George Stephanopoulis) shoving that question in Huckabee's face? Cohen is being hypocritical here.

To conservative Christians, Mormons are heretics because of many conflicting (with fundemental Christianity) beliefs. These fundementalist claim that the Mormons deny the deity of Christ, exhalt the deity of man, and that God lives on the planet Kolob and mormons will someday be god of their own planet. Now I say that some FUNDEMENTALISTS believe these things because I don't truly know enough about mormon theology to say what they really believe. I choose to just talk what I know.

NOTE: I am not a Huckabee supporter. I can't foresee a scenario where he will be able to garner my vote.








Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Blame Game

A friend of mine recently asked me how I deal with anger. This was my reply:

The secret of dealing with anger is putting the things that cause your anger in perspective. Anger CAN be a good thing, but most often it is not. It is good if it motivates you to do something positive as a result of it. However, the other outcomes of anger are harmful. One can stew in their anger and put stress on their minds and bodies. Or, anger can motivate people to do something DEstructive. So, if you play the odds, the best thing to do is to let go of it.

That is where perspective comes in. I am having trouble with finances right now. That makes me upset and angry if I allow it to. The first thing we like to do is blame. I could blame my wife. She had a part in it, by quitting a job, being unemployed for months, and then taking only a part-time job when she did go back to work. On top of that, she spends too much, in my opinion.

I could blame God. He could arrange it so I would get a heavy winfall from someplace.

Or, the most painful, I could blame myself. Blaming the self is the least likely place people target in the blame game. We like to be victims, don't we? If someone else is doing something to us, we don't have near the hit on the ego and we can fantasize that if life was fair, we would be happy.

I would say blaming God is the most prevalent of the targets we have. There SEEMS to be no negative outcome. We don't have to deal with the friction blaming someone in our lives would cause; we wouldn't have to deal with self-worth and all the ugliness and pain that goes with that, either. No, we build a straw man (God) and blame Him. That way we get to blame, but do not suffer the physical consequence of it.

There are spiritual consequences, however. Oh, it isn't that God will punish us for blaming Him. He is bigger than that - and more loving. No, instead we separate ourselves further from the only One that can really help us with the problem, or the peace we need as a result of the problem. More importantly than that, we separate ourselves from a life of grace and communion with our Creator.

So, I let the anger go by putting it into perspective. I try to discover the actual source of the problem, not to blame, but to gain understanding. With understanding, comes peace. I, then, look at how things could be worse. I praise God that I have the blessings that I DO. I pray that I will see, understand, and learn from the trial - that I may be better as a result of it and that I will shine as a result of this "polishing".

Monday, December 03, 2007

NEWS FLASH #22

NEWS FLASH is basically news or thoughts that may be changing over time - an update or an evolution of thought that covers a multiple of topics. It is what makes a blogger tick and it is the reason why we read. So, with that in mind, I came up with NEWS FLASH as an acronym that stands for what is going on in life:



News (or current events)
Entertainment (movies, TV, celebrity, etc.)
Work (thoughts on the job or employer)
Spirit (thoughts on God and/or the supernatural)
Family (or friends)
Love
Anxiety (a rant or a trouble)
Sports (also considered should be contests, reality tv, recreation, cards, games), and
Home (house, yard, or even another family type of thought.
___________________________________________________________________

This one, I am afraid, is not as upbeat as last week's.

NEWS - Obama is making a run at Hillary for the Democratic nomination. Never underestimate the power of Oprah. She is actively campaigning for him now. I am not sure Obama is the best choice. He may be, I don't know. I never considered voting for someone in the past whose first name sound like a belch. It may be better for everyone if he gained a little more experience in the senate before getting baptized by fire in the Oval Office. Since he can only serve two terms, why waste them NOW when he may be a better president with more experience and the wisdom that comes with it.

ENTERTAINMENT - Yesterday the wife and I went to our local philharmonic orchestra's Peppermint Pops. It is the annual Christmas program that features local singers and dancers in addition to a national singer that accompanies our orchestra. It was exceptional. We look forward to it every year and it never disappoints. My wife's mother always sends us tickets to it as a part of her Christmas gifts. Our seats this year were fifth row, center. They were fantastic.

WORK - I am going to shift to my second job soon. I am tutoring kids as a part of the "No Child Left Behind" program. The parents have been difficult to get in touch with so far, but one is particularly excited to get help for his son, so that is a good sign. The school personnel hate the tutors and the program and I am still trying to figure out why. We can only HELP the kids in their classes. Don't we want the same things? Teachers, care to explain?

SPIRIT - I think there is something more to Christmas than a holiday where people go broke buying for each other. When getting to the real meaning of the holiday, I have seen even confessed agnostics touched by it.

FAMILY - My little sister with MS is in the hospital. The doctor wants to put her in a nursing home, but no one - especially my sister, wants that. I'm sure it will work out.

LOVE - Suffice to say that someone in the relationship can't stand prosperity.

ANGUISH - I'm running out of cars. The driver's side door of my Jeep is about to fall off. I need to get it fixed, but money is tight right now. So, for the time being, I have locked it up and am crawling over to the passengert side to enter and exit the vehicle. All that has done is rimind me that it is time to diet again.

SPORTS - There is a lot to complain about this week from my Bengals (who I am thinking of breaking up with) and my fantasy team that bottomed out this week. However, instead I am going to talk of my alma mater's football team finally going to a bowl game. Indiana will face Oklahoma State in the Insight Bowl in Tempe, Arizona on New Year's Eve. IU hasn't been to bowl game since 1993, so there is finally some excitement in Bloomington around the Cream and Crimson's football program. Go Hoosiers!

HOME - my tenant moved in last week. He gave me his "rent" a few days ago. He called me yesteday to tell me the front guttering has fallen off and the wood underneath is rotten. Now, I am going to have to go into more debt to repair it. I guess it is going to work out. What choice does it have?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Sayre is so Grand, Ten Grand, That Is

Sayre from SayreSmiles just happens to be my 10,000 visitor to Psychosomatic Wit. It couldn't happen to a better person (that is Sayre, not me). In honor of this milestone, I want everyone to visit her page.

Sayre has been one of the most frequent visitors of this blog. I am grateful for her friendship. As some blog friends come and go, Sayre has always been there. When I see that she has left me feedback, I get the glow that you get when family drops by. I am a better person because Sayre is in my life - even if it is limited to my blog life.

SayreSmiles is a great blog to visit. It overflows with that "family-warmth" feeling that I mentioned above. She invites her readers to be a part of her family. We get to share in her laughs and cries and even in situations that only Sayre can get into. It is great escape when surfing in blogland.

Thanks, Sayre, for being there for me!

Monday, November 26, 2007

NEWS FLASH #21

NEWS FLASH is basically news or thoughts that may be changing over time - an update or an evolution of thought that covers a multiple of topics. It is what makes a blogger tick and it is the reason why we read. So, with that in mind, I came up with NEWS FLASH as an acronym that stands for what is going on in life:



News (or current events)
Entertainment (movies, TV, celebrity, etc.)
Work (thoughts on the job or employer)
Spirit (thoughts on God and/or the supernatural)
Family (or friends)
Love
Anxiety (a rant or a trouble)
Sports (also considered should be contests, reality tv, recreation, cards, games), and
Home (house, yard, or even another family type of thought.
___________________________________________________________________

I hope everyone had a nice holiday (those that had one). Life has kept me busy going into and coming out of Thanksgiving. I haven't been neglectful of my blog - just unable to do much with it.
I also decided NOT to have "The Great Healthcare Debate II" on this blog at this point. I don't want to turn this into THAT. However, I am still willing to discuss it in small parts and in the comments for those who are particularly interested. As a little response to some of the criticisms to universal healthcare, I can say that no inconvenience or even small expense should outweigh some of our less fortunate the RIGHT to healthcare. It is unconscionable to deny healthcare to anyone - especally for selfish reasons ("it will cost me more or inconvenience me more"). Jesus, I am sure, hates this system. He taught that people should consider the "least" of society as they do God's own son. I doubt too many people would look favorable to the idea of turning Jesus away because of lack of funds, do you?

What also bothers me is that most of the people who are against providing unversal healthcare are the same people that support the pointless Iraq war and all the money spent on it. This would be conservatives and (Ready for the irony?) the RELIGIOUS RIGHT. It has cost us hundreds of BILLIONS of dollars to fund this war, but we let 18,000 people die per year because of the lack of healthcare available to them because it costs too much to provide it. Disgraceful!

But, I digress . . .

NEWS - I think from time to time as the primary season starts to heat up, I will give my take on some of the candidates. Today, it is Ron Paul. I like Paul for a number of reasons. For one thing, he is a Republican who doesn't keep rehashing the company line. He is a bit of a rascal and radical. I like that. I like the "idea" of some of his positions (e.g. he wants to do away with income taxes), but I fear that if he were president, he would spend a lot of time and resources on this type of thing, just to fall flat on his face because it doesn't look feasible. Even if it was feasible, there are enough politicians out there that do not believe it is, so they will fight it tooth and nail till it goes away (like Hillary's healthcare plan from the Clinton administration). In addition, Paul's libertarian philosophy and the strict "let the market decide" mantra is just not good or practical. If libertarians had their way, thier policies would lead to class warfare. Unbridled capitalism is just greed in action. In economics, a total capitalistic system is just a phase of a good economic model, not the end result. Unbridled capitalism leads to monopolies and the consumer ultimately is held hostage. With these kind of philosophies, Paul loses me because he is against universal healthcare which, to me, is essential for a civilized, compassionate society.

ENTERTAINMENT - I love this time of year because all the Christmas specials are coming on the television. I just can't get enough of "Rudolph" and "A Charlie Brown Christmas." Also, apparently I am getting TWO copies of "Sicko" for Christmas. I think it is an important film, but I only need one copy. :)

WORK - All is calm, all is bright. Not too many virgins, though. Work is calm and I generally take vacation around this time of year so I have no complaints.

SPIRIT - I have been in wonder over God's love and patience. He knows my heart. Although I have been failing in a couple of areas, God's mercy and wisdom surfaces and picks up the slack. The result: Peace.

FAMILY - We had a nice Thanksgiving. We went to my niece's house. We were the second team, however, as my niece's husband's family was there at noon and we came in at 4:00 pm. It was fine, though, and my famous turkey was awesome this year; I added a brine to the recipe.

LOVE - Things are pretty nice at home. My wife has been very helpful, loving, and appreciative to me. It is better than last year at this time so I guess we are steadily moving in the right direction.

ANGUISH - I have had a terrible time dealing with the water department. I may go into it later, because it sure would fill up a lot of space if I was to relay it here and now. When I get it settled, I will fill you in. Let's just say, that I am not a fan of the socialistic aspects of my city's water department right now. Kristen, I hope you are happy! ;)

SPORTS - I finally had a nice week in football. My Bengals acted like the Bengals of a couple of years ago and my fantasy team has high week (for the moment anyway). I am enjoying it while I can.

HOME - My tenant moved in and spent the night for the first time in the house last night. He is going to pay me Wednesday. Hopefully, this will be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.







Monday, November 19, 2007

The Great Healthcare Debate (REVISED)

The question each person must decide regarding healthcare is do some people deserve it while others do not? Is healthcare a right or a privilege?


Let's make it real for you like it is for me. First of all, I want to say that I have health insurance. Actually, I have darn good health insurance. With my place of employment, I don't even have to pay a premium for coverage for me or my wife. I do have a deductible, but there is a mechanism built into my plan that frees money up to pay the deductible. So for me, there is no health coverage problem. However, as I have said in other posts about other things, it isn't about me.

My sister is in another place, however. As I wrote in NEWS FLASH #17 (from October 17), she ". . .STILL hasn't been granted "disabled" status although she has multiple physical problems that prevent her from walking much. Plus, she is in pain quite a bit and is an acute diabetic. She cannot work; she is going to lose her apartment (the power has already been cut off). She applied for disability two years ago and even has attorneys working on it. Now, she is sleeping on my mothers' couch. Because she isn't technically "disabled" yet, she also cannot get healthcare or consistently take her prescribed medications. She needs insulin twice a day, but she rations it. I am genuinely concerned about her future here on Earth."

Nothing has changed in her status after since I wrote this, except that she is sick now (as I mentioned in the most recent NEWS FLASH) on top of her other problems. Is she not deserving healthcare because she is unable to work and has $0 income? She does TRY to go to the clinic that is for poor and indigent people. Guess what? If she doesn't have the minimum of $16, they won't see her. We (my family) try to help as much as we can, but there are only so many resources we can draw from. I told her that we should put on her tombstone, "I didn't have the 16 bucks." This doesn't even cover any medication (like her insulin).

But that's okay; she isn't entitled to healthcare, that leaves more for the rest of us who are deserving, right? Besides, we are getting a little overcrowded here in America the way it is with the big influx of people from Mexico and such. Maybe we need these worthless people to die to make room. The good news is, according to the Institute of Medicine of the national academies (iom.edu), there are 18,000 unnecessary deaths in the US every year because of the lack of health coverage.

Oh, but isn't that better than (insert evil laugh here) SOCIALIZED MEDICINE? What is it that folks are afraid of? Is any aspect of socialism so scary that we want to make sure that no facet of life is tainted by it? Should we do away with public schools? If one can't pay to have his children be educated, then the children should just not get an education, right? We need people to have careers at McDonalds and others to spend their lives making sure that the grocery carts are returned to the store from the parking lot. Maybe we should hire our own police and fire departments. Why should the government supply these things? It is too socialized; it must be bad! Close the libraries and have all books come from bookstores. Maybe we can rent books like we do movies. That will make sure that the right people are educated - it will be only those that can afford to send their kids to elementary school.

Oh, but Jeff, what about all those pesky wait times in Canada? Our system is MUCH better than that.

There are so many ways to respond to this, it wasn't easy to determine which wayto list first.

1. The US is not Canada. We don't HAVE to do things exactly the way other countries do them. We can take the best aspects of others' systems and come up with our own - a better mousetrap.

2. I haven't heard a Canadian yet say that they would trade their system for ours. There are a number of Canadians who read my blog. Do I have any takers on that? Evidently, the Canadians value their "inferior" NHS because they haven't tried to change it and they voted its pioneer, Tommy Douglas, the greatest Canadian of all time.


4. Everyone in Canada has free healthcare. There are 40 to 50 MILLION uninsured Americans, according to the Center for Disease Control. Wait times for medical procedures are bound to be a heckuva lot shorter if 50,000,000 people jump out of line in front of you, no? Coversely, if you give 50 million more people Blue Cross/Blue Shield in this country, the wait times would be longer, no? So the argument about waiting times is not really against socialized medicine, it is about everyone being covered. What greed!

5. The wait times in Canada have been greatly exaggerated. According to the Canadian government, one can expect to wait four weeks for a specialist visit, three weeks for a diagnostic test, and four weeks for non-emergency surgery (like a knee or hip replacement). In addition, the waiting times for half the patients in emergency rooms were six minutes (six minutes to actually see the doctor) and 86% were seen within a half hour. This beats the heck out of anytime I have ever been to the emergency room here for myself or with a family member.

I know there are and will be some problems with a national healthcare system here in the states. I might have to wait a week or even a month longer to see a doctor about my knee or a skin condition. However, I would gladly wait a little longer if it meant that people like my sister would not needlessly suffer, and God forbid, DIE like 18,000 others will this year because of lack of health coverage. Wouldn't you?
THIS HAS BEEN REVISED BY INSERTING LINKS TO MY SOURCES. COMING SOON (probably next week because of holiday) THE GREAT HEALTHCARE DEBATE, PT II.





Wednesday, November 14, 2007

NEWS FLASH #20

NEWS FLASH is basically news or thoughts that may be changing over time - an update or an evolution of thought that covers a multiple of topics. It is what makes a blogger tick and it is the reason why we read. So, with that in mind, I came up with NEWS FLASH as an acronym that stands for what is going on in life:



News (or current events)
Entertainment (movies, TV, celebrity, etc.)
Work (thoughts on the job or employer)
Spirit (thoughts on God and/or the supernatural)
Family (or friends)
Love
Anxiety (a rant or a trouble)
Sports (also considered should be contests, reality tv, recreation, cards, games), and
Home (house, yard, or even another family type of thought.
___________________________________________________________________

NEWS - The big news in politics the past week is that tele-evangelist Pat Robertson has endorsed "pro-gay, baby killer" Rudolph Giuliani for the Republican nomination for president. Now before some of you get your bowels in an uproar over my description in quotes above, I am saying that from a Robertson point of view, not mine - at least the Robertson we all knew and loved. ;) I would never describe Guiliani like that. I would rather describe him the same way Senator Joseph Biden referred to him when describing Giuliani's lack of experience. Check out this clip; it is only 27 seconds:



I have mixed emotions about Robertson's endorsement. On one hand, if he is representing evangelical Christians as he has tried to do throughout his ministry, this is a slap in the face to those who gave him credibility. Abortion IS the only issue that these folks have expressed that matters to them. Everything else (with the exceptions of the gay rights and prayer in school) are not relevant in this arena.

On the other hand, I have ALWAYS argued with my one-issue (abortion) Christian friends that to vote for president with that one issue as the only one that matters is foolish. The US had a Republican president for 20 of the last 28 years and 12 straight with Reagen and Bush Sr. Despite this flood of conservatism, Roe v. Wade is still the law of the land.

I guess, though, if abortion has been your chief concern, despite the lack of logic (as Robertson claimed lo these many years), I have to throw the flag of hypocracy on the reverend. My suspicion is that he is so scared of Hilary, that he is willing to sacrifice his own convictions to keep her out of office (polls show Giuliani has the best chance of beating her in the general election).

ENTERTAINMENT - I recently viewed the DVD, "The Good German". It could have been a very good movie, but for me, something wasn't quite right. George Clooney did a fine job as the lead in this WWII era film; all the acting was fine.. One thing that I thought was a nice touch was that the movie was made in black and white and guised itself as a classic Hollywood film from the era right down to the graphics in the credits and musical score. It looked like a classic . . . except for one thing. The dialogue was R-rated. It was so out of place with the rest of the film's aura that it distracted from the art of the film. It was akin to getting dressed up for prom with the tux's, gowns, and limo's, just to go to McDonalds for dinner.

WORK - Work is okay and calm the way I like it. The intern seems to be working out well. That's a switch!

SPIRIT - Recently, a blog friend did my star chart. It was very interesting how things seemed to apply to me. It was quite educational, actually. I know that many Christians will be eager to condemn me for "delving into the mystical", but I don't see it that way. There was nothing bewitching about it. It is presented as a science and I have not placed my faith in it. I like to observe something before I condemn it (see: Moore, Michael). ;)

FAMILY - Not much change. My sister is sick and that puts extra responsibility on me concerning her and my mother (since my sister can't help out as much). That's okay, though.

LOVE - At the risk of sounding callous, my wife just finds new ways to exercise her disfunction onto our relationship. Without getting into detail, she did a 180 degree turn on a particular issue without warning. This, again, hurt my feelings. I know, I am such a baby! This time, however, I was ready to express my feelings and let it go. She, in her "there is no way I am going to apologize" way, apologized. If you didn't know how to decipher her code, you wouldn't have known it was an apology - or maybe it was just wishful thinking on my part.

ANGUISH - The two halfway working cars are looking like they are heading in the wrong direction when it comes to operation. I simply have no money for repairs so I am praying they will hold out until I do.

SPORTS - Indiana University (my alma mater) started their season. Their new freshman guard, Eric Gordon, is a star. It is a good thing we stole him from the University of Illinois or I might lose the bet I am working on with Brian from the Office Blog (a.k.a. Sitcom Roots, Real Life Drama).

HOME - Well, my renter isn't in yet, but he has the key and has been working like a maniac on my house to suit his liking. That is cool, except he is ruining some of my stuff before I can get it moved from one of my storage sheds (throwing it out in the rain in junk piles to be hauled away, etc.). I must exercise restraint, though, because it is a small price to pay for all the improvements and the small return of my monthly investment. But, Dang! Down boy!

Coming Soon: The Great Healthcare Debate














Monday, November 12, 2007

This Blog is "Being the Blog"

According to Shan, anyway. My mate, Shan gave me the "Be the Blog" award. This blog originated here at Me and My Drum, by Mark.


Be The Blog award

The "Be the Blog Award" is given to blogs that, according to Mark, "really sums up what a successful blogger does. And what I mean by successful is that they make it their own, stay with it, are interactive with their readers, and just plain have fun."

I am humbled and flattered that Shan would look at my blog in this light. I guess I can thank the picture on my halloween post, in slipping me into the "fun" aspect of my blog. Don't worry, I won't subject you to a link of it. If you really must see it (again), you can scroll down a few posts.

Shan also, on his blog, told his readers that my blog, "If you want to learn a thing or two about life, come have a look here" (at this blog). This means a lot to me, too, because my life's lessons are primarily faith-based and I know that Shan does not share my belief system. This illustrates his open-mindedness. Go check out his blog!

Now, to nominate someone for this award. I will have to give it to Random Magus. Every time I read that blog, I usually find something there that makes me think. I haven't really been able to get back into the swing of reading and commenting on blogs lately, but RM was the first thing that popped into my mind. I have noticed that she hasn't written in a while, but her archives are just full of thoughtful nuggets that will keep you busy until she gets back.

Amber, you can pick up your reward here.

COMING SOON: NEWS FLASH #20, and The Great Healthcare Debate

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

NEWS FLASH #19

NEWS FLASH is basically news or thoughts that may be changing over time - an update or an evolution of thought that covers a multiple of topics. It is what makes a blogger tick and it is the reason why we read. So, with that in mind, I came up with NEWS FLASH as an acronym that stands for what is going on in life:



News (or current events)
Entertainment (movies, TV, celebrity, etc.)
Work (thoughts on the job or employer)
Spirit (thoughts on God and/or the supernatural)
Family (or friends)
Love
Anxiety (a rant or a trouble)
Sports (also considered should be contests, reality tv, recreation, cards, games), and
Home (house, yard, or even another family type of thought.
___________________________________________________________________


NEWS - There is a Christian ministry founder that is serving 10 years in prison for tax and employment problems in Florida. It seems that his sentence has been excessive beyond legal guidelines. The judge claims that she is "making an example" of him. This minister is kind of excentric and has some strong and unorthodox views of taxes and the power of the government. I don't think greed or anything like that ever entered into his thinking when found to be in violation of these laws. As a matter of fact, he never charges for his appearances and does a lot of debates and seminars for free. It has really been uplifting, though, to read some of his blog entries from federal prison.


ENTERTAINMENT - Sicko is out on DVD. Go right now and buy or rent it. Even if you don't like Michael Moore and he betrays your conservative Republican sensibilities, rise above the petty, political influences your mind has, and view this documentary with an open mind. It is not a pro Democrat piece. It is not an anti-Republican piece. It is an interesting, funny, and sad representation of the state of healthcare in the US compared to other countries. Even if you do not like documentaries, politics, current affairs, news or anything like that, I promise you that you won't be bored with this DVD. Don't bother to comment on this if you aren't open minded enough to check out what you are insulting. ;)

WORK - Work would be pretty slow and easy right now if I hadn't gotten behind missing time at work to go to my wife's dad's house. That is why I am having a tough time being timely with this blog. That and this new discussion site I am participating in. It doesn't help that I got addicted to Turbo Risk while at my F-I-L's. It is a miracle that I hadn't put it on my work computer - yet.

SPIRIT - Got it! Actually, I feel a little bogged down here, too. It is my own fault; I am putting the squeeze on my time I spend with God. It is going to help my life immensely to pick it up a bit. I do want to thank my friend, Anne for introducing me to that discussion site I am on. It has helped me think spiritually while debating such things with her. LOL

FAMILY - As mentioned before, I spent last weekend with my wife and father-in-law in Illinois. It was a nice time. Nothing real exciting, but I got along with my wife okay - till we got back, but that was in the last post. I ALWAYS get along with the F-I-L. The tiff wasn't that big a deal, really. I am going to respond to the feedback again, shortly.

LOVE - The wife and I are doing okay. She doesn't like it that I am picking up extra jobs. It makes her feel that I am telling her that her part-time job isn't enough. Well, it isn't, but I am not saying that. I can't help it if we need more income. I told her that I liked that she has the job that she has and I am not telling her to do anymore. It is her guilt that has a problem with me, I suspect. For the most part, however, we are doing fine.

Anguish - Nothing too bad, really. I wrote a comment on my local paper's web site ranting about the stupid bridge traffic again. All the lanes are open, but they still have a 35 mph speed limit on it and it doesn't look like it is warranted. I don't care, really, but they aren't visibly enforcing it so half the traffic is crawling and the other half is flying. It is kind of a dangerous situation. They either need to scrap it or enforce it. I also dislike people who do not bother to use their turn signal until after the light turns green (when it is too late for you to move to the other lane). If I forget to do that, I will go up a block and turn on a side street just so not to inconvenience the motorists behind me because of my carelessness. I think I am the only one on the planet who does this, though.

SPORTS - Everyone in football I like, sucks. Thank God basketball season is here. GO IU! The Hoosiers are looking good this year.

HOME - Well, I am renting the house I am trying to sell. It is both good and bad. First the bad, I want to SELL it - get it out of my responsibility list! Second, I am renting it so cheap that I am still paying a couple of hundred more on my mortagage payment than collecting in rent. But, a little is better than zero. Now the good, at least I am getting SOME return now. Plus, the tenant will pay the utilities and that will save me a little more. Two, I can use the back apartment on the lot as storage so that will offset any storage cost I would have to pay for elsewhere. Finally, the guy I am renting it to is making improvements to the property like crazy. He did all the outside work, mowing, weeding, landscaping even before he officially was renting it (he still isn't officially in as I am trying to move some stuff out still). This means that the property will probably be worth more later when the housing market improves. I am not thrilled with the arrangement, but it is a definite improvement.

That's it for this week. Why are you still here? I told you to go rent that DVD!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Small Time Election Day

Just a quick post about election day - which is today in these parts. This is the year that there are a lot of local elections.

In Kentucky, the state I work in, there is the big race for governor. I don't really see much of a race here. The incumbant Republican has been mixed up in some shady dealings regarding his staff. For that and other reasons, he has worn out his welcome, I think. He is pulling out all the stops, however, by putting The Ten Commandments up at the capital this week.

In my hometown, all the city elections are being run. There are a ton of signs in people's yards. I really don't like the whole yard sign thing. It takes away from people TRYING TO SELL THEIR HOUSES!

I think I figured out the yard sign thing. It isn't that anyone expects someone to say, "Hey, nice sign. I think I am going to vote for that guy." No, it is about A) name recognition getting in your head (Cuhhhh'-Stanza! - Seinfeld reference); and B) seeing a huge number of signs for the same candidate implies that "everyone" is voting for him. I mean, who would want to vote for the loser?

In this small Kentucky town I work in (pop. aprx 30,000), people do things a little differently than in the bigger city across the river in Indiana. On election day, you see people lining the streets holding up candidate (yard) signs and waving like idiots at the cars as they pass by. I say "idiots" affectionately, because I have to admit that I find it rather charming.

I wave back.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Relationship Lightbulb

As many of you know, I often comment (mostly lament) the struggles of my young marriage. This is one of those. I know some people do not believe that I should comment about such things, but I get the most hits with this kind of post, so you guys (you know who you are) are all hypocrites. ;)

Last night, my wife and I had a mild tiff. It was mild at the surface, but this morning it dawned on me why it is sticking in me after a night's sleep. It reveals a bigger issue for me: I cannot trust my wife.

Oh, it is not that I think she would cheat on me. I highly doubt that would happen. I just can't trust her with my feelings - to look after me in the emotional and nurturing way. She said something to me last night that surprised me and hurt my feelings. (Ready, everyone together, "Ahhhhh") As a result, I sat quietly in the recliner trying to process it and get over it. She noticed that I was "quiet" and asked me what was wrong. I made a mistake by telling her the truth - that she said something that hurt my feelings.

Quiz time!!! Guess how she reacted to my answer.
a. She came to me, put her hand on my shoulder and apologized for hurting me.
b. She completely ignored the answer as if she didn't hear me.
c. She got mad at me for being hurt.
d. She walked out the door.

If you answered, "c", you are right. This has happened before and I think I even wrote about it. I am stating that to make this point: What did I expect to happen? One definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expect different results. I am officially insane - or was insane. I think I have finally wised up.

So, I am taking responsibility for this now. I am not going to say any more to her about it, but I am holding myself responsible. If she is incapable of responding in a way that meets my expectations then in is on me to change my expectations. Consider them changed.

The big lesson here is that one cannot control what others do; he can only control how he receives or reacts to it.

Lesson learned - finally.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

All Hallows Eve

I am not on hiatus again, I was merely out of town. I went to my father-in-law's with my wife on and extended weekend thing. It was okay.
Today is Halloween and I have a number of things going through my mind. It is more significant to me, that it is the last day of the month, then it is some crazy holiday. Bills start pouring in now and I have to find ways to pay them. I used not have to give that a thought, but times - they are a changing.
Some people go all out for Halloween. I remember Roseanne on TV. She had great Halloween episodes. The Connors (Roseanne's TV family) practically worshipped Halloween. The Simpsons also have killer Halloween episodes, but I digress.

On the other hand, you have the religious zealots who think it is pure evil to acknowledge Halloween like it is some insult to God. As a Christian, I have heard all the arguments, but I just don't buy it. It is issues like this that makes a relationship with Christ turn into a legalistic religion. Halloween only has the power to be an evil force against God if you give it that power in your mind and heart. It can just be a goofy holiday where people dress up and kids get candy if you let it be just that.

If one is a Christian that shuns Halloween (and those who participate in it) as evil, then he should also shun Santa Claus, Christmas trees and Easter bunnies or risk being exposed as a hypocrite. If you don't like Halloween, fine - I don't care for it much myself. My advice is just igore it; it goes away, I promise. To make a big deal out of it is, well, just making a big deal out of it.



BOO!

Friday, October 26, 2007

A Tale of Two Hairdos, Part II.

A while back, I started a two-part post about hairdos. Then life happened and I didn't get to part II. It is funny, but through comments and on email, people have been saying how they are looking forward to part two. Well, if you are one of those people, today is your lucky day. To catch up, you can find Part One here.

MY WIFE'S HAIR

The past number of months, my wife has been on a change kick. She kept finding new things she wanted to change. I am not big on change, myself, on me or on her, but something was going to happen so I braced myself. Keeping my wife the way she was when I really fell for her seemed to be a good strategy to me. She has changed so many personality type things, that all I got is her appearance. Well, not that so much anymore.

My wife had long, beautiful, brown mermaid hair. Funny, the image I included here is not my wife, but it looks kind of like her. My wife generally wears contacts and doesn't have that sour look on her face, but other than that . . . I digress.

First, she wanted to cut her hair off.
NO!!!
Fortunately, she chickened out.

Then, she called me up from her dad's house in Illinois to tell me she had her cartilege pierced (the top part of the ear). She KNEW I didn't want her to do that, but . . .

Then, she started talking about getting a tatoo. I don't want to offend any reader but please . . . Let's just say that tatoos are not something I look for in a woman and leave at that. Somehow, she hasn't got one of those - yet. She doesn't even talk about it anymore, so hopefully, I am out of the woods with it.

A big change was inevitable (for some reason) so the next thing that came down the pike was changing her hair color. Since I know I have to pick my battles, I gave her my blessing (not that she needed it). She wanted to go blonde - not bleach blond, but a medium more realistic blonde. My sister came over and did it for her.

Most people that read me are female so I am not telling them anything new, but hair color is a crap shoot. If you want to get an accurate color before you dye your hair, forget it. It just doesn't work out. I guess there are too many factors.

My wife did NOT want any red in her hair. She believed that strawberry blonde was the worst thing that could happen. You guessed it, it came out strawberryish. Not too bad; I liked it, but that isn't important. She panicked, "It is ORANGE! It is ORANGE!!"

It wasn't orange. It had a slight red tent to it. I liked it - a lot. Stupid me. So at that point, she wanted to get it professionally done. Keep in mind this was in the midst of her unemployment and all the financial woes that come with that - that are still here, by the way, but I digress again.

She was determined, however, so her father who just happened to be in town took her. Seventy dollars later, she shows up with hair that is cut (layered), colored and highlighted. She was estatic! I was, too, because A) she was happy; and B) her dad paid for it.

Here is the kicker, though. I couldn't tell the difference between the strawberry blonde color she hated and this new color she adores. I started to tell her, but fortunately, wisdom got the better of me.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

NEWS FLASH #18

NEWS FLASH is basically news or thoughts that may be changing over time - an update or an evolution of thought that covers a multiple of topics. It is what makes a blogger tick and it is the reason why we read. So, with that in mind, I came up with NEWS FLASH as an acronym that stands for what is going on in life:



News (or current events)
Entertainment (movies, TV, celebrity, etc.)
Work (thoughts on the job or employer)
Spirit (thoughts on God and/or the supernatural)
Family (or friends)
Love
Anxiety (a rant or a trouble)
Sports (also considered should be contests, reality tv, recreation, cards, games), and
Home (house, yard, or even another family type of thought.
___________________________________________________________________

NEWS - For the life of me, I can't figure out why anyone would live in California. If earthquakes, mudslides, and an ungodly high cost of living isn't enough, they have to deal with these stupid fires once or twice a year! Jiminy Christmas! There are plenty of nice places in Kansas or Colorado that they can live!

ENTERTAINMENT - I want to see a movie in 3D. Back in the day, they had plenty of these type of movies, but you don't see them much any more. The last time I saw one was in high school, but I don't remember what it was. It was a horror flick; that is all I remember. People tend to think that you have to give up good stories and acting for 3D, but I don't see why that must be so! Bring back 3D!

WORK - My new high school intern seems to be working out. I am shocked. She is a go-getter and I actually look forward to her days in the office. Plus, she is not afraid to make a phone call, for heaven's sake! The last one I had . . .

SPIRIT - My life got better when I surrendered it all over to God. Most Christians THINK they have done that, but they really don't realize that they really haven't until things go haywire. I wanted to control things. I wanted to solve the problems. In the midst of my hiatus, I just decided that if I lose my house, I lose it. If God wants me to keep it, I will keep it. If my wife can't work, then God will have to provide. Once I let all that go, my wife got a job and sold all kinds of stuff on Ebay at the same time. During this time, I didn't say a word to her about any of it. I just worked it all out with God silently. Now, if He could just get on this pesky back of mine. I would go to the doctor, but I would rather let God deal with it. :P

FAMILY - I spent Sunday afternoon with my nephew and his young wife watching football at a local establishment. Since finances forced me to abandon the NFL Sunday Ticket, I have been relegated to going places that have it so I can watch my beloved Bengals. It was a nice time, although my sister (the one I mentioned last time) cried when her son (my nephew) didn't come to see her while he was in town. As she put it, "Your kids will break your back when they are young, but will break your heart when they are older," - or something like that.

LOVE - I love me some roast beef, mash tatus and gravy. Seriously, the love thing with my wife has really taken a turn for the better. I am guardedly optimisitic. She even sent me a sweet e-card a few minutes ago.

ANXIETY - I am a little anxious about going away this weekend. I am going to miss a meeting, put more responsibilities on my sister (with my mom and feeding our dogs). Plus, being away from home with back pain doesn't sound good to me either. I am kind of a homebody anyway, so all this other stuff isn't helping. I can tell my wife appreciates it, though, so it is worth it.

SPORTS - Basketball season is just around the corner. College basketball is my thing and is second in my love only to the NFL. Sunday, I am going to see the University of Illinois' basketball team in their season kick-off scrimmage. My wife is a big U of I fan, so she is thrilled. I can't wait to see my beloved Hoosiers. This is the best time of year for me with the NFL going full tilt and college basketball arriving!

HOME - I think I am going to rent that stupid house I can't sell. I am going to make another phone call to a prospective buyer, but after that I am going to have to rent. It is sucking me dry! I hate renting, though. I hate being poverty stricken more, though.

That's it for the 'Flash! How many of you are still doing it?

Monday, October 22, 2007

There is Pain, but not a Window Pane

Bear with me as I try to get back into the swing of things again. I don't have much on my mind today other than my aching back. I don't know what I did, but Sunday morning, I woke up with a horrible muscle strain in my back. It has been killing me for the past two days. The picture here is exactly where it is (except it is on the other side).


Nothing seems to help. I have taken a boatload of Ibuprofen, Tylenol, Skelaxin, and Flexeril. Nothing! If I move, the pain is so bad that it takes my breath away and even causes me to cough sometimes.

Yet, here I am at work today. Why? Because my wife wants me to go with her to visit her family next weekend - spilling over into next week. I can't miss any this week if I am missing some next week. I don't want to go, but I never do so I think I should try.

My sister is concerned about me because I had a "vision" last week of my her going to see my wife at work, crying and telling her that I collapsed. It seems that I might have died by the way my sister looked, but I couldn't really tell. I guess I made the mistake of telling her because now she is way too worried about it. Thank God I said nothing to my wife about it.

I know, you are are thinking, "What are you talking about? What do you mean, 'vision'?" I don't know what to tell you other than I while was driving last week, my temples twinged and I saw this vision - it was kind of like a dream except I was driving so I was in both places at once. It hurt (my temples, that is) like the dickens, though, and I think we all know how much the dickens hurts.

I really didn't think too much of it except just a morbid curiosity of whether or not it had any legitimacy. I do make good predictions, sometimes, you know.

So, if you don't hear from me . . . ;)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

NEWS FLASH #17




NEWS FLASH is basically news or thoughts that may be changing over time - an update or an evolution of thought that covers a multiple of topics. It is what makes a blogger tick and it is the reason why we read. So, with that in mind, I came up with NEWS FLASH as an acronym that stands for what is going on in life:


News (or current events)
Entertainment (movies, TV, celebrity, etc.)
Work (thoughts on the job or employer)
Spirit (thoughts on God and/or the supernatural)
Family (or friends)
Love
Anxiety (a rant or a trouble)
Sports (also considered should be contests, reality tv, recreation, cards, games), and
Home (house, yard, or even another family type of thought.
___________________________________________________________________
Bear with me while I am still unpacking. It was quite a trip (proverbially speaking), but it is good to be home.
NEWS - Have you heard about this new superbug staph infection thing that is killing folks in record numbers? I don't know if this could be considered as part of my predictions or not. Back in January, I predicted, "there will be a new pest related problem (insect, etc.) that will either threaten people's health or damage major agricultural production." Even though this thing is being called a "superbug", I guess it is a stretch. There was already some kind of thing that someone told me about that was agricultural some months back, but this is more what I had in mind.
ENTERTAINMENT - Saturday night, as a part of my one-year anniversary celebration, my wife and I saw The Classical Mystery Tour. It was wonderful! If you are even marginally a Beatles fan, you should do what you can to see this production. The Broadway cast of Beatlemania were accompanied by the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra in a stunning time warp extravaganza (I don't have a joke here; I just like to use the term, "extravaganza"). Do yourself a favor and check here to see if this show is coming to a venue near you. (Psst, Charles, they are coming to Rochester.)
WORK - The office has calmed down. I should cruise into the new year from here - barring unforseen tragedies.
SPIRIT - I have been doing a lot of self-reflection lately. I have determined that I am a wretched human being. No, I don't steal or cheat on my wife, but my heart harbors some awful things that leaves a bad taste not only in my mouth but on down to the deepest part of my gut. I may explore this more in the future - probably in my other blog that most of you don't read, so you will be spared. However, I am in too good a mood to go there today.
FAMILY - I have two disable sisters and one disabled mother. One of my sisters STILL hasn't been granted "disabled" status although she has multiple physical problems that prevent her from walking much. Plus, she is in pain quite a bit and is an acute diabetic. She cannot work; she is going to lose her apartment (the power has already been cut off). She applied for disability two years ago and even has attorneys working on it. Now, she is sleeping on my mothers' couch. Because she isn't technically "disabled" yet, she also cannot get healthcare or consistently take her prescribed medications. She needs insulin twice a day, but she rations it. I am genuinely concerned about her future here on Earth. When I think about the status of healthcare here in the US, I am sickened by the greed that rules us in the guise of "healthy capitalism". Did I mention that I was in a good mood?
LOVE - As mentioned earlier, my wife and I have made it a whole year. We had a wonderful few days of celebration. We saw a play, went out for a nice dinner, ate some year-old wedding cake, and capped the thing off with The Classical Mystery Tour. Whodathunkit?!?
ANXIETY - My dog, Marley, will not leave his hip alone. He had a problem with it in the past. You can read about it at the link above, but it healed up - a few times. I think he has developed a habit of messing with it and so it never fully heals up. It used to be a growth, but now it is just a sore where he continues to irritate it. A few days ago, I put a funnel-collar on him so he can't get to it. I can't tell if it is healing up or not, but he is dangerous with that plastic monstrosity on his head. He terrorizes the other dogs with it, unknowingly, but they are scared to death of him when he wears it. You would think he had a Hoover upright on his head, for crying out loud, by the way the other dogs are acting.
SPORTS - My Cincinnati teams now have TWO African-American head coaches leading them. The Bengals have Marvin Lewis as the head coach of the team for the past five years. Now, the Reds named Dusty Baker to take over the manager duties of the baseball team. This is somewhat significant because Cincinnati has a reputation of being backward when it comes to racially equality. Congrats to the men and the city.
HOME - Things at home were the cause of my hiatis from the blog. Things seem to be stable now and that is a plus. My wife has started work as a veterinarian' assitant/secretary. This will help in a whole lot of areas. We need the income as many of you have kept up know, but also she gets (or will get) significant discounts on vet care. Hang in there, Marley!
I am not going to get into details about the reasons for my hiatis. Some things are best left alone. I often wondered if anyone out there had theories why I was gone. At any rate, I am back for now and hopefully permanently - but I can't promise.