Lives and dispositions are changed at a moment’s notice.

Friends are our best friends and then they are gone.

You are in love, out of love, never was in love, You don’t even know what love means.

Always searching for answers, question God, don’t question God. How dare you to think you could question God?

Selfishness . . . everyone with their own agendas, you don’t want to be selfish, you want to be selfish, how dare you be selfish? We have to survive, don’t we?

We want to be touched, we don’t want to be touched, how dare you expect me to touch you? It isn’t our brains, but our spirits that long to be touched.

Life . . . just try to live it.

Non Health Care, Real Estate Woes, and Death

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.)
Writing (thoughts on the blog(s) or other writing projects)
Spirit (thoughts on God and/or the supernatural)
Family (or friends)
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 - I heard a despicable ad about health care reform recently. It was so twisted and deceptive. Insurance companies will do anything to scare people away from their profits. Why so many protect the interest of companies that depend on finding ways to deny folks health care in order to maximize profits, I will never know. I guess we get what we deserve. Now, this latest health care bill is useless. The Republicans do not want any bill at all, and mainstream Democrats just want SOMETHING at this point. However, the SOMETHING will cause more harm than good. Without a public option or a medicare buy-in, this bill will require everyone to buy insurance from insurance companies without controlling the cost. Instead of holding insurance companies accountable, this bill will give it a boon! Everyone hear deserves blame. Republican Congress for not caring about the health care of its constituents and poisoning their weak-minded, puppet followers, the Democratic Congress for compromising everything this reform was suppose to accomplish just so they can say they did something, and the president for not showing the leadership to see something good through!

ENTERTAINMENT - Dexter on Showtime is one of the most original and well written television programs that I have ever seen. It is more than a show about a serial killer. It is about the darkness of the human spirit and the search for normalcy among the shrieking cries of the soul. It is scary to think about, but there is a Dexter in all of us.

WRITING - As you can see, I am trying to resurrect this blog. It is hard because everyone in my blog community (save a couple) are no longer blogging. It appears that I am a man in the wilderness again.

SPIRIT - I have mixed feelings about this today. I am glad that I am not alone, yet I feel alone. I have had a tide of bad luck lately. I don't believe God is a genie that bombards us with material gifts and good fortune. I also know that hard times is a gift of sorts, because it improves the spirit and character. However, even "good things" such as these lessons are bad in excess.

FAMILY - My family has been getting more distant from each other. Individual problems and interests have broken off contact. I hate it. We used to have the best holiday get togethers. This year, for Thanksgiving, I took my mom and sister out to eat. Pathetic. Now, they want me to host Christmas. I don't want to for a ton of reasons, but I bet I will. Someone has to do something!

LOVE - Love takes a holiday - and leaves me behind. It is weird to approach the holidays without someone. Last year was my first Christmas season without my wife. My emotions were still such a train wreck that I couldn't even think about it much, just react - negatively. This year is different. I can meditate on how much it sucks!

ANGUISH - Is this part even necessary this time? See the rest of this post for this part.

SPORTS - My Bengals are in first place. That would be good, if A) they weren't playing so poorly as the playoffs approach; and B) one of their good young players hadn't died yesterday in an incident involving falling out of a moving truck. Sheesh! RIP, Chris Henry.

HOME - as per our agreement, I am getting nearer to closing on the house my ex-wife and I lived in. I am buying it from her. In the meantime, the person living at my other house has apparently stolen power from the utility company and now I am facing THAT bill in addition to not having power during the winter months there!

So, how are you?

Happiness or Joy

I have been pondering it lately. Happiness I think is a current state while joy is something intangible, but more permanent. If that is the case, people search too much for happiness and ignore the joy in a vain search to accumulate the
happiness to achieve joy. I just don't think it works that way.

My mind takes me on a journey. In this journey, I have no money and I am alone hundreds of miles away from home. I have to sleep under bridges and beg or raid trash
cans for food. I am struggling and very unhappy. However,
I know that I have a home. All I need to do is endure till
I get back there. I need to go home - home, where I have
shelter, food, friends and family that love me. Knowing
that I have that home waiting for me gives me peace - an
overall joy.

If my mind takes me away again on a similar voyage where I can
contrast happiness and joy. This time, I am still poor and
homeless, but I do not have a home anywhere, no family, no
anything. I am unhappy and unjoyful. But then, a stranger
comes up and gives me a $20 bill. It makes me happy
because the money represents food for a couple of days.
That is a great thing for someone in such shape. It makes
me happy. So now, I am happy, but still joyless. Joy is
more eternal.

When peace like a river attendeth my way

When sorrow like sea billows roll;

Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say

It is well, it is well with my soul.

~Horatio Spafford

Love, the Concept

The word "love" is thrown around a lot without much consideration.
Wise are those who profess that they have never been in love.

They aren't wise because they chose not to be in love - for it is not
of their choosing. They are wise because love is such a powerful
and enigmatic thing that they don't want to throw the word around
if they are unsure.

Infatuations and crushes are not even in the same caliber with true love.
However, they are often mistaken for love by the naive. People get a
funny feeling in their heart (or more accurately, stomach) and BOOM
they pronounce it love. Hardly.

Love is permanent and it is painful. Love attaches itself to you as
though you have discovered another part of your body that was previously
hidden from your perception. It operates in every system of your body and
you soon discover that it is necessary for survival - even when it is injured.

Love is eternal. You cannot fall OUT of love with anyone. That is like saying,
"I use to have a heart, but now I do not." If you think you used to be in love
but now you are not, you are mistaken. It was never love but something else.

How do you know if you are in love? The feeling (and I use that term way to loosely for it is much more that), when examined,
is patient. It will wait forever for the fruition of the relationship for it sees no other choice. There are no ultimatums in real love.
It also keeps no record of offenses and never holds the offender permanently accountable. It is a ONE-WAY street. It only flows
away from you. If love flows to you it is only because it comes from another's one-way street.

Love motivates toward a relationship. A relationship is steadfast work. Therefore, love motivates work. If you are lazy at your
relationship, you probably aren't in love with anyone. Love is inconvenient but is worth all the problems. Finally, love separates
us from the world in which we are confined. It is the only thing that can remove us from this awful place we live and allows us to
dwell in a higher plane of existence.

These things are components of real love and they ALL must be present for it to be considered love. One or two of these
attributes are not enough. Love is only fashioned by the divine.

Pig Knuckles

This is a blog post.  If I wrote about what I was thinking about a lot, it would be about the health care debate.  Of course, it would ALWAYS be about the health care debate.  So, that is why I am filling up this space with a little bit of nothing today.  I understand that a lot of people are sick of hearing about health care. So randomly, I will discuss something else.  

It is always easy to talk about things we don't like, yes?  Here is one thing I don't like.  It bothers me when people say, "You're fine."  This phrase seemed to surface a few years ago, I guess, because I don't remember hearing it all my life. What am I talking about?  I will give you an example, you are at a department store looking at vests on a rack.  So enthralled with a particular vest, are you, that you are oblivious to the woman who is trying to squeeze behind you to get by until she is painfully close.  As you squeeze further into the rack of vests, you say, "Oh, I am sorry, I was totally into the complexities and intricacies of the design in the weaving of this fabric in this tantalizing vest to notice you."   The lady answers, "You're fine."

Hate it.  Don't know why.  It seems condescending or something.  I don't know.  I do know that all of you will disagree with me because ALL OF YOU SAY IT.

That's my problem, though.  I will have to avoid all "excuse me" situations or just simply get over myself.

A Tale of Two States

There is a pretty big rivalry between Indiana and Kentucky around these parts.  In the Evansville, IN metropolitan area, there are two decent sized Kentucky towns:  Owensboro and Henderson.  I hear plenty of jokes that find the natives of the "other" state the butts. Depending on which side of the Ohio River you are, determines on whether you hear a Kentuckian joke or a Hoosier joke.

Why did they build the bridge between Evansville and Henderson?  So Kentuckians can swim across in the shade.  Not to be outdone, the editor of the Henderson Gleaner publishes a Hoosier joke every week.  It is all in fun till someone gets hurt.

Indiana knows about injury.  In 1997, Indiana went to class basketball.  Before then, the high school basketball tournament was legendary.  All schools, big and small, played for one title.  The championship game was carried on ESPN every year and the movie Hoosiers was based on a small school that conquered the giants.  Hoosier Hysteria was known from sea to sea.  Now?  There are four classes of high school basketball, four state champions and exactly four people who actually care about Indiana high school basketball.  My friends in Kentucky were quick to jump, "I knew you hoosiers were stupid, but not THAT stupid."

Fast forward to 2009.  Kentuckians get their comeuppance. As basketball is/was to Indiana, horse racing is to Kentucky.  Because of river boat and other casinos in the area, horse race wagering has been down in the commonwealth.  The solution?  Expand the betting experience at these tracks, to include slot machines or even video poker. 

So, the governor and the legislature got to work. They aren't going to let the "Sport of Kings" die out in the bluegrass state, are they?  Yes they are.  Every measure has been defeated in the legislature by one party (guess which one).  

This isn't about gambling.  It is about history, tradition and an institution.  It is about hoosier hysteria Kentucky style.

So far the fallout has been that Ellis Park in Henderson is announcing that this is its last season after 80-some odd years as a cultural and economic staple.  Even major players like Churchill Downs, the home of the Kentucky Derby, are taking a hits over it.  Some major players are moving their operations to other states.  The eight horse tracks in Kentucky will be fewer.  Ellis Park is the first to announce, but probably not the last.

So, now hoosiers get their chance to laugh at the stupid Kentuckians.  However, no one on either side of the river seems to find it funny.

Socialism, Different Strokes for Different Folks

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.)
Writing (thoughts on the blog(s) or other writing projects)
Spirit (thoughts on God and/or the supernatural)
Family (or friends)
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.
It has been a while since I had my old trusted NEWS FLASH.  There is no way I am going to be able to catch up.  That, I trust, will come about slowly over time.  However, I will take more of a snapshot of what is going on right now.
NEWS - For those of you with a memory, it won't be surprising to know that healthcare reform is the topic I would choose to cover in this segment.  President Obama, who promised reform, cannot emphasize enough that for those people satisfied with their insurance and healthcare, they don't have to change anything.  However, the public is getting pelted with scare tactics about (shutter) SOCIALISM!! (pardon me while I go lock the doors!). Not only is he not talking about a single-payer system like the backward, third world countries like France and Great Britain have, he is just trying to get everyone covered with an affordable plan.  However, since socialistic medicine is so bad, I think I am going to get my mother off Medicare since that is what IT is.  Plus, maybe I should lead a crusade to get all of the socialistic things out of our society.  Join with me while I opt out of police and fire protection in addition to shredding my library card.  Sheesh!  In insurance companies we trust!
ENTERTAINMENT - My latest guilty pleasure is  It is on my cable system as a free on-demand option.  These movies are great in some way.  They don't seem to be low-budget, but some of the acting is a little bad.  However, they are fun and entertaining.  I suggest Dee Snyder's Strangeland.  Snyder, best known as the front man from Quiet Riot, wrote, produced, directed, and starred in this thing.  Quite entertaining despite it being kind of . . . bad.
WRITING - Obviously, the blog is back.  I am still wrestling with opening it up to everyone.  Previously,  I had blog people, and real life people and never the two met.  My fear is that the worlds will collide or worse, I sensor some subject matter to spare people's feelings or sensitivities.  Just don't know . . .
SPIRIT - I am finding that I am a different person, spiritually, since my divorce.  I wouldn't say that I am weaker in faith, I just have a shift in priorities. As a matter of fact, I think my faith is stronger. I never felt I was a legalist (a person who strictly follows the rules for rules sake).  However, I am even less of one now.  I believe too strict a lifestyle retards communion with God.  In a since, following the rules becomes one's God.  So, I follow my inner conviction more, and fundemental teaching, less.  Of course, this may just be a phase I am going through as a part of healing.  I am open.
FAMILY - My sister had a major stroke last week.  It was quite a miracle, according to her physician (if you can believe that).  The doctor came in after reading her MRI and other test results and claimed to be dreading talking to the family because she expected my sister to be quite severely affected (perhaps even comatose or vegetative).  However instead, she was alert and conversing with us.  She is confused and has forgotten a lot of things, but she is far ahead of what the doctor expected.  He said, "People throw this word around too much, but this, indeed, is a miracle!"
LOVE - Love is never the same after a divorce.  There is fear and ego damage and an ever-guarded attitude.  I have seen a few people, but it is too soon to tell what is going to happen with the latest one.  I am really not completely sure about what I even want.
ANGUISH - I have been trying to buy the house I lived in with my wife.  She owned it before we married; it is in her name.  The bank (who presently shall remain nameless) had a good deal going for me.  Then, nothing!  I was supposed to close on May 15, but I haven't heard anything.  All my phone calls since then have been unanswered.  I stand to lose a great interest rate and a $200 application fee if this falls through.  I understand there is a deadline for the rate lock, but I am not sure what it is.  I am sure that if it expires, it isn't my fault.  There will be hell to pay.
SPORTS - Sadly, I was on hiatus during some of the best sports times.  We missed the Superbowl, and the Kentucky Derby and the fact that I was even present at the NASCAR Bristol Food City 500 and the Indianapolis 500 Time trials.  Well, I guess I covered it after all - sort of.
HOME - I finally have someone in that cursed house I need to get rid of.  He has the same deal the last guy had except a better one for him. What it is, is that he lives there at a VERY discounted rate in exchange for helping me improve the property for future sale.  The difference is that this guy comes recommended by someone that knows him well. He works in construction and apparently can do about anything. I am optimistic.  At some time in the future, I will address what happened to the last guy.  It is quite a story.

The Return of the Psycho or is it another False Positive?

I would like to think this is the beginning of a new era for my blog.  I miss blogging and expressing my frustrations, joys, and opinions.  I also greatly miss the exchanges with people that I learned to care about - those of you that would give a few precious moments of your lives just to see what might be on my mind.

I don't know if I would have ever stopped if I didn't really care if it was a decent post or not. I felt responsible for writing something that most people could tolerate reading.  When life became too tough, it was too much for me to be able to insure that.  So, I let it go.

I am not sure that I can let go of that blog value yet, but perhaps enough time has passed that I can at least satisfy my self-imposed standards and fire this puppy back up.  We will see.

When I do get this thing chuggin' along again, it has to start somewhere. It might as well be here.

American Idol - Analyzed.

In an upset of sorts, Kris Allen edges out Adam Lambert.  Some people wonder how this happened.  For many, it was obvious that Adam was the more talented vocalist and was much more polished a performer.  Here is my take:

1. The judges all but handed him the title before.  Fans do not like to be dictated to as far as voting.  So, there was some spite votes.

2. Kris got the "cute" vote.  All the 13 year-old girls voted for Kris a thousand times each.  The only ones that voted for Adam probably fall in the gay/bi/curious category.

3. In the real vs fake contest, Kris won that contest.  Call me skeptical, but I doubt a lot of people who like "the genuine deal" would vote for plastic-looking, eye-lined, polished Adam. That doesn't mean he didn't deserve the votes, just that he didn't get them from that group.

3.a A subset of the above reason are those who was really pulling for Danny Gokey.  Because of the above reason, I believe Kris took the Gokey vote.


4. It recently came out (in the proper circles), that Kris is a Christian and was somewhat active in his church's ministry.  Christians just LOVE to vote for their own kind.  The fact that this wasn't universally known eliminated the counter-Christian vote which is more visible, if not in high number.

Everything in life seems to be about things other than what they are supposed to be on face value.  The fact is that Adam should have won it if it was purely a singing contest.  I don't know if I should be ashamed or not, but I was content with the outcome.

I'm Back . . . at School

My name is Jeff and I am a slagger (blog slacker). Now that there is a new year and somewhat of a new me, I am going to give it another go. Things will hopefully be a little different this time around.

I have a few New Year's blog resolutions. One is that I am going to let my sense of humor flow more. I had lost my sense of humor for a while. However, I found it in the wall safe where my wedding picture was hanging. When she took the picture, she left my sense of humor intact. It was just a matter of finding it and reclaiming it. Thanks, dear.

I feel different these days. I laugh . . . a lot. I used to laugh some, but somehow deep in my soul I really knew it was a nervous laugh. The laugh of someone unsure about life, living, love and even laughter. The four l's . . . that wasn't intentional. I just love it when a plan comes together like that.

Are the goings on in my life better now than they were four or five months ago. Nope, not really. In some ways, they are worse. It just doesn't effect me like it used to. I know that a person is not the sum of his circumstances. He is the sum of his make-up. I was made up of rouge for far too long. Now my cheeks have the warm glows of yellows and golds. I hope everyone knows that this is an analogy.

Then there is providence. As God helps me heal and return to a normal guy, He also tells me things I need to know and insists on keeping me accountable. I am not a big fan of His methodology all the time, but I know how valuable it is for Him to keep tapping me as I start to feel a little cocky about healing.

For instance, last night I watched the movie "Hancock". It is really two stories. There is a scene in the first part that rattled my cage a little. It was God reminding me that although healing takes place, the scars will always be there. Scars are not to be ignored; that is why God puts them there forever. That scene and God's prompting will make me a better person.

Lessons . . . school is always in session. Excuse me while I make some spit balls and sharpen my pencils in order to stick them into the ceiling for this afternoon's festivities! Hey, lessons will still be learned, but I am still going to have my devious fun from time to time.