"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can break my heart..." Linda McCartney

Archive for the ‘Society’ Category

Sticks And Stones

In Brotherly Love, Civility, Feelings, Morals, Music, News, Society on October 7, 2010 at 9:25 pm

Conscience: a personal sense of the moral content of one’s own conduct, intentions, or character

with regard to a feeling of obligation to do right or be good. Conscience, usually informed

by acculturation and instruction, is thus generally understood to give intuitively authoritative judgments regarding the moral quality of single actions.”

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online

Once upon a time, good conscience used to be a character component PARENTS, some sort of faith, and community instilled in their children. Children also learned from the example of community leaders– their teachers, their preachers and their neighbors.
Train up a boy according to the way for him; even when he grows old he will not turn aside from it.”–Probverbs 22:6
It’s disturbing to me how the media is making it appear as though all of a sudden there’s this prolific increase of lack of good judgement and good conscience. The truth is, this is a social phenomena that has been going on for quite a long time.
Without a conscience, there can be no empathy.  Conscience is the little voice behind you saying:  Do you really wanna say, do, wear that? Conscience is: The awareness of a moral or ethical aspect to one’s conduct together with the urge to prefer right over wrong.- The American Heritage® Stedman’s Medical Dictionary
I don’t believe more Internet cyber-etiquette classes are gonna cut it here.
Linda McCartney very famously and poignantly put it this way:
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but *words* can break my heart.”
That, literally, is what’s at the heart of this matter. People not stoping to consider anyone’s humanity– their  feelings– anymore, probably because their own are so dulled down.
“…how can YOU speak good things, when YOU are wicked? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”— Matt 12: 34, 35
Words are powerful.  They are double-edged swords.  They have the capacity to heal and humiliate. Words can kill! They kill the spirit. People who think it’s fun or funny to kill another person’s spirit are, in my opinion, MURDERERS!

The cumulative effect of all of this seemingly innocuous, funny ha-ha mendacity is that it slowly, insidiously, bit by tiny bit, transforms potential friends and talented individuals into frightened, uncertain, helpless victims. Victimization leads to frustration. Frustration leads to anger. Anger devolves into resignation. Resignation leads to self-loathing and creates The 21st Century Zombie. Going through the motions of living on the outside. Dead on the inside.

It’s a slow and wretched existence. First of all, the psychological and emotional energy it takes damping down all that pain, reigning it all in– persevering and enduring, often with no end in sight every day. It. Is. EXHAUSTING!

Job only had to endure his torment three years. So did Jesus Christ.

Because you’re the victim, you have to do all the work. No one must ever know you’re angry, annoyed, disappointed, hurt, scared– fighting the good fight all by yourself in your head and in your heart.

Second, if you fail to understand how victimization works–  Poof! All of a sudden you’re not only a problem, you’re the one with the problem. You’re the difficult person, the malcontent, the complainer, the irritating source of all the friction. You don’t know how to “go with the flow.” You’re INFLEXIBLE! Everybody has bad stuff happen to them. You need to develop a “thick skin.” You have only yourself to blame. You should stand up for yourself!

“How does it feel to be a problem?”– W.E.B. DuBois, The Souls of Black Folk

These young people know: Tyler Clementi, Megan Meier, and Hope Witsell, just a few of the former members of the sad and tragic fratority of the walking wounded– the living dead.  Then there are the countless unnamed victims who dull their pain with alcohol and drugs and sexual promiscuity or acting out rages.  “How does it feel to be a problem?”

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be on your own
With no direction home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?— Bob Dylan

There are so many more stories like theirs in the naked city and silent suburbs.  Not only are children, teens and young adults bullied in schools and on college campuses all across America, but adults are being bullied in the workplace as well. People with children, and car notes, and student loans, and mortgages, and credit cards to repay are being forced to quit their jobs (another form of suicide) to escape the harrassment.

It’s neither fun nor funny to deliberately or maliciously make another human being feel like a victim, to kill their spirit.  When someone physically assaults you, or steals your property, or you lose a limb as a result of medical incompetence or malpractice, the law’s the remedy for you.  But when someone hurts, or assaults, or maims, or lacerates your feelings, where’s the remedy for you?

“Ouch! That hurt my feelings! Quick! Call the police!?”

Society says you just need to suck it up, act like an adult, shake it off, grow up, be a man, turn the other cheek, give it to God. But when mean people, their lies and their hateful machinations interfere with your ability to sustain or even have quality of life itself– when it interferes with your pursuit of happiness–  it’s a tad harder to just shake off.

And the effort. It takes soo much out of you, requires soo much energy.  It’s soo exhausting. Nowadays not even your home is a safe haven, or shelter from the storms or respite to recharge and gain your bearings and endure another day. There’s a note posted on your door. A message on your answering machine. An email in your inbox. A text on your mobile phone. A video on Youtube.

They’re following you home.

You want a friend you- can rely on
One who will never fade away
And if you’re searching for an answer
Stick around. I say  It’s coming up, it’s coming up
Its coming up like a flower
Its coming up. Yeah– Paul McCartney and Wings

No rest for the weary.

What needs to be talked about more, everywhere, is being of good character and valuing a good conscience. Having a good FICA score is not an indicator of good character! All that demonstrates is that you can pay your bills. And yet, that’s all we publically associate character with– a record of bill paying. No wonder no one really cares or has any regard for how anybody feels any more.

True happiness and joy rests in having a good conscience.  You get a good conscience by having goodwill towards everyone every day and all the time. It’s not how well you treat people, it’s how well you make them feel. A lot of the time, being good to one another requires no money at all.
When we can get back to being a society who cares more about the emotional health and well being of people and less about their credit scores, there may be hope for less of these true and tragic stories of people who are just plain mean to other people.
C’mon People now, Smile on your Brother
Everybody get together, try to love one another right now!
Right now!
Right now!
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Courage and Consequences

In Life, Society on February 10, 2010 at 12:01 am

IF you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies
,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating
,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
‘ Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!
If  |  Rudyard Kipling

Last night, I dreamed I won the lottery.  I waited the obligatory 180 days before coming forward to claim my prize during which time I met with my lawyers and a team of accountants.  I was being interviewed on TV.  The interviewer asked if I thought my life would change.  I realized then how fortunate I am, that even a shit load of cash would not affect my life in the least.

I couldn’t buy back my youth.  Or share my prize with the husband of my youth.  I would never share the prize with a friend I’ve had for thirty years or the family I’ve loved, been surrounded, nourished and encouraged by all my whole life long.  No church home do I have, no community where I belong.  No.  My life would not change in all the ways that matter at all.

Being different and having cognition around just how “different” I am makes for a life that is not full of pleasant surprises. At work, people abruptly stop talking when I happen by or worse, they’re talking about me just as I enter in and hear every word they’ve said. Before I got my dog, I can go entire weekends without ever parting my lips to utter a single word. The phone never rings and there is never anyone to call. I have never owned nor have I ever needed a day planner.

Now I have all this money.  I can pay my bills, move back to Manhattan and afford to live there and live the remainder of my days confident I will not be set upon or harassed by anyone calling themselves “family” or “friend.”

Living a life of principle based on reason is not the broad and spacious road.  The world rewards its own; those whose greatest hope and highest aspiration is to be different, just like everybody else.  After all there is safety in numbers, in not only thinking with the group but like the group.  While you may not be the most popular you’re not on the outside. You belong where it’s safe. And let’s not forget there is the emotional perk. Yup, yup, yup, it’s fun to be mean.

The greatest benefit though is you get to keep your job.  Keeping your job means you get to pay your bills.  Paying your bills means you get to create more bills, acquire stuff, send the kids to camp, keep in touch with mom and dad, lunch with your siblings. Own a dog. Your greatest ambition is to get invited to lunch with Mean People. It’s good to fit in.  It’s smart, too. You’re popular.  People like you.

Popularity is people liking you…

Courage is:

  • Following your conscience instead of “following the crowd.”
  • Refusing to take part in hurtful or disrespectful behaviors.
  • Sacrificing personal gain for the benefit of others.
  • Speaking your mind even though others don’t agree.
  • Taking complete responsibility for your actions…and your mistakes.
  • Following the rules – and insisting that others do the same.
  • Challenging the status quo in search of better ways.
  • Doing what you know is right – regardless of the risks and potential consequences

Source:  http://drlill.com/

Happiness…  is You liking you.

Which is hard to do when you’re unable to sustain a quality of life.  That’s why I rather dislike pithy feel-goodisms.  And being hungry.

“You are not deep.  You made your bed. Now sleep.”–Hater tweet

Decide! It’s Your Decision

In Despair, Life, Living, Music, Reading, Society, Unemployment on January 15, 2010 at 5:00 pm

No temptation has taken you except what is common to men.  But God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear..,”   I Corinthians 10:13

I guess this basically means, then, that if you’re like me and have a high threshold for emotional and psychological pain, He can let it go on ad infinitum. But can you?

They say that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. Is this really true?  Only if you’re Job.  Death is not the worse thing that can happen to you, you know.  God let Satan do anything he wanted to Job short of taking his life.  In the end, Satan had to leave Job just as he found him– alive and only wishing he were dead.

Job’s ordeal only lasted a whopping three years.  Come to think of it, so did Jesus’. So how do you cope when your ordeals are recurring, last much, much, much, much longer and there is not a locust, wild fig tree or even a false friend in sight?  What do you do?

Here’s a few things I didn’t do:  I never turned to drugs (prescribed or otherwise) or alcohol or sexual promiscuity to anesthetize my pain. I have never sought revenge against any other person or been involved in any deliberate acts of unkindness toward anyone. I have never committed an act of violence upon any person, or skulked about in parking lots or back offices plotting to have someone fired. I never willfully set out to hurt anyone or kill anyone’s spirit.  That’s murder as far as I’m concerned.

These are the usual ways the majority of people, (at least almost every single person I have ever met in my life) seems to deal with insecurity, unresolved adolescent issues, undiagnosed borderline personality disorder or “temptation…beyond” what they could bear.

I did take up smoking cigarettes for a time.  The rituals of smoking– the lighting of the cigarette and with what, the having of the cigarette with coffee and after meals, standing outside alone inhaling, then exhaling, watching streams of cigarette smoke disappear into the still, night air…  I did find comfort in that.

It was something to do, a way for me to regain control and a sense of routine during those stark times when I needed to occupy my hands and my thoughts.  But I hated the ash, and the smell of the ash, and the discarding of the ash.  The expense became prohibitive.  It was ridicules, so after a time, I just stopped. I didn’t need a buddy or a patch, or a scary PSA.  I just needed to decide.

Just how much can one person “bear?” What does “beyond” mean? Those filthy, dirty, discolored people you see pushing shopping carts filled with all their stuff and sleeping in subway tunnels–  do they know?  Those people who snap and kill their wives, or boyfriends, or parents, or child, or classmates–  do they know?  Schizophrenics, or people living with mental illness or who have suffered severe mental breakdowns–  do they know?

“…He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear…”

What about the millions of people who each year commit suicide?  Is the “what you can bear” threshold beyond life worth living? At that eleventh hour and fifty ninth second, did they cry out to God in their pain, agony and solitude and saw nothing beyond “beyond” at all to be afraid of?  Did they become like God, “KNOWING good and bad?” (Gen. 3:5) Is that why they did it? Could it be death is highly underrated?

” No temptation has taken you except what is common to men.”

Poverty, homelessness, disease, mental illness, abandonment, betrayal, isolation, hurt…  All human conditions “common to men.”  You’re not special, or unique, or being singled out for punishment or future increase.  You don’t get to stop bearing all things life burdens you with.  You don’t get to surrender your torment and become numb. Miracles ceased upon the death of the last apostle, so don’t overstay your welcome during the sackcloth and ashes phase of grief. Is there a limit to endurance?  Yes there is and guess what?  You determine it!

“…but along with the temptation He will also make the way out in order for you to be able to endure it.”

Popularity is people liking you.  Happiness is You liking you.

“Love… bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” I Cor. 13:4, 7

Some people have families who help assuage the pain.  The rest of us do not.  Some people have a circle of friends who help assuage the pain.  The rest of us do not.  Some people have a so-called church home, or a job, or a community or a passion or even a dog to help help assuage the pain. The rest of us..?  Well, we just have to like ourselves more.

“No temptation has taken you except what is common to men.  But God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear, but along with the temptation He will also make the way out in order for you to be able to endure it.” I Cor. 10:13

We just have to endure.

I hurt myself today
to see if I still feel
I focus on the pain
the only thing that’s real
the needle tears a hole
the old familiar sting
try to kill it all away
but I remember everything

what have I become?
my sweetest friend
everyone I know
goes away in the end
and you could have it all
my empire of dirt
I will let you down
I will make you hurt

I wear this crown of thorns
upon my liar’s chair
full of broken thoughts
I cannot repair
beneath the stains of time
the feelings disappear
you are someone else
I am still right here

what have I become?
my sweetest friend
everyone I know
goes away in the end
and you could have it all
my empire of dirt

I will let you down
I will make you hurt

if I could start again
a million miles away
I would keep myself
I would find a way

Hurt | performed by Johnny Cash

Mother’s Little Helper

In Civility, Death, Despair, Feelings, Life, Music, Musicians, Society, The Bible, Twitter, Unemployment on January 10, 2010 at 6:17 pm

I think I’ll just let these lyrics speak for me here and now.  It’s my story, only without the “little helper.”  But I think on it. We’re not designed to be perpetually alone.  Even Adam had Eve.  I think I’m being conversant. In my mind I want to be helpful or funny. Only year after year, decade after decade, I find I am characterized as a “know-it-all.”   The penalty for this harsh, unsparing indictment is death, first by insult, then some public humiliation, then banishment.  You may not work, earn money or live.  It’s a death sentence. Life without the possibility for parole.

Mick Jagger and Keith Richards penned and produced this tune in 1966. Unlike the paradoxes of the bible, the language here is straightforward and impossible for even the lowest level of understanding to miss.  It’s a great song. Mostly because She is Me.  I hope I will find my “little helper.”

♫What a drag it is getting old

“Kids are different today,”
I hear every mother say
Mother needs something today to calm her down
And though she’s not really ill
There’s a little yellow pill
She goes running for the shelter of a mother’s little helper
And it helps her on her way, gets her through her busy day

“Things are different today,”
I hear every mother say
Cooking fresh food for a husband’s just a drag
So she buys an instant cake and she burns her frozen steak
And goes running for the shelter of a mother’s little helper
And two help her on her way, get her through her busy day

Doctor please, some more of these
Outside the door, she took four more
What a drag it is getting old

“Men just aren’t the same today”
I hear every mother say
They just don’t appreciate that you get tired
They’re so hard to satisfy, you can tranquilize your mind
So go running for the shelter of a mother’s little helper
And four help you through the night, help to minimize your plight

Doctor please, some more of these
Outside the door, she took four more
What a drag it is getting old

“Life’s just much too hard today,”
I hear every mother say
The pursuit of happiness just seems a bore
And if you take more of those, you will get an overdose
No more running for the shelter of a mother’s little helper
They just helped you on your way, through your busy dying day  [clearspring_widget title=”Grooveshark Widget: Single Song” wid=”48f3f305ad1283e4″ pid=”4b4a7000e2ee16a2″ width=”400″ height=”300″ domain=”widgets.clearspring.com”]

♫Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Everyday…

In Agape Love, Barack Obama, Civility, History, Living, Manners, Politics, Racism, Society on September 15, 2009 at 12:46 pm

“On the other hand, the fruitage of the spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, self-control.” Gal. 5:22,23

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Everyday...

Elizabeth Eckford and Hazel Bryan

Elizabeth Eckford, followed and taunted by an angry crowd after she was denied entrance to Little Rock Central High School, September 4, 1957. (Will Counts Collection/Indiana University Archives.)

And Repeat…  Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Everyday...

September 11th Teabagger Festival, on September 12, 2009

September 11th Teabagger Festival, on September 12, 2009

Then, also, many… will hate one another. and … the love of the greater number will cool off. Matt 24:10-12

Ooooo… oooo…whaaaa aahhh  aaahhhhSee full size image



IF You Can Keep Your Head When All About You…

In Agape Love, Brotherly Love, Celebrities, Civility, Current Events, Elvis Costello, Manners, Morality, Morals, Music, self control, Society on September 14, 2009 at 8:07 pm

Courage is:

  • Following your conscience instead of “following the crowd.”
  • Refusing to take part in hurtful or disrespectful behaviors.
  • Sacrificing personal gain for the benefit of others.
  • Speaking your mind even though others don’t agree.
  • Taking complete responsibility for your actions…and your mistakes.
  • Following the rules – and insisting that others do the same.
  • Challenging the status quo in search of better ways.
  • Doing what you know is right – regardless of the risks and potential consequences

Source:  http://drlill.com/

On the other hand, the fruitage of the spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, self-control. Gal. 5:22,23

CHARACTER COUNTS! WeekMake character your cause for celebration

October 18-24, 2009 could be the best thing that ever happened to your town. We offer all the free resources you need to celebrate: lesson plans, Red Ribbon Week tie-in activities, and so much more!  Register here »

Serena Williams.  Kanye West. South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson. Jesse Jackson.  Barbara Bush. Elvis Costello.  Rush Limbaugh.  Glenn Beck:  October 18-24, 2009  is Character Counts Week!  Pass it on.

http://www.johnwmacdonald.com/blog/2006/03/brigitte-bardot-protests-in-ottawa.htmlBrigitte Bardot was convicted of provoking discrimination and racial hatred for writing, in her ardent defense of animal rights, that Muslims are destroying France saying she was:

”tired of being led by the nose by this population that is destroying us, destroying our country by imposing its acts.”

Vice President Dick Cheney’s  “joke” suggests a widely held belief of there exists a culture of generational incest in West Virginia:

“So I had Cheneys on both sides of the family and we don’t even live in West Virginia..,”


Don Imus on the the Rutgers women’s basketball team:

IMUS: Awesome rough girls from Rutgers. Man, they got tattoos.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some hardcore hoes.
IMUS: That’s some nappy-headed hos.

Don Imus, on Gwen Ifilldistinguished journalist, moderator and managing editor of Washington Week and senior correspondent for The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer:

“Isn’t the ‘Times’ wonderful.  It lets the cleaning lady cover the White House.”

Barbara Bush on hurricane Katrina evacuees in Houston who lost everything back in Mississippi or Louisiana…

“What I’m hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas..,   And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway so this is working very well for them.”

Costello “called James Brown ‘a jive-ass n****r’.” Of Ray Charles?’ He said, ‘Screw Ray Charles, he’s nothing but a blind n****r.’

Michael Richards…

‘Nuf said.

I could go on and on. I’m gonna channel Marvin Gaye here–  “What’s going on?”  Is the whole world losing its mind?  Whatever happened to a little som’ sompin’ called self-control?

Dictionary.com defines self control as “control or restraint of oneself or one’s actions, feelings, etc.” It’s interesting to note synonyms include discipline and levelheadedness. In the world of personal morality, then, has it really come to pass..? One day morality is in, and the next day it’s OUT?

You don’t have to be anti this or pro that to appreciate self-control.  It’s not about clinging to religion or right wing conservatism or any of these descriptors tossed about to silence those we disagree with or to disguise or justify why “WE” don’t like “you.” People are just opening their mouths and letting the toads plop wherever they may.

WHAT’S GOING ON!!!?

In the cases of Don Imus and Michael Richards, these men had deluded themselves into believing that just because they hung with Blacks who “reclaimed” the “N” word and other equally crass expressions often degrading of women, they were in the fratority. They felt safe to use the expressions themselves, after all “everybody knows I’m not a racist!” They actually believed they were not only down with them but down like them. Imus has said he’s learned his lesson.  Hmmm…  That’s easy for you to say, Don, now that you’re able to go on making a living.

More than racism is rearing its ugly head as these remarks and all the other recent verbal faux pas clearly demonstrate. These tiny thumbnails should be starting to switch on our collective alarm bells. These are no mere slips of the tongue. These are revelations, a heads up if you will pointing out what really lies beneath. Attention needs to be paid!

In the sixties, the hippies mantra was love, love, love. Today..?  What’s going on?  Where is the love?

http://www.elsarings.com/tennisbracelet/playersgallery_serena_williams.htmlIF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

Kanye-West-u07.jpgIf you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

http://www.slate.com/id/2140061/If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
‘ Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

If  |  Rudyard Kipling

Tax Payer Dollars At Work or Multiple Births For Fun And Profit

In Current Events, Life, Society, Television on May 28, 2009 at 10:00 am

Susan Smith. Remember her, the South Carolina woman who, in 1994 killed her two boys by driving her auto into a lake while the children slept in their car seats? Remember how she went on Good Morning America? That’s when we all knew something about her and her story was not right. Her demeanor, something about her and her performance that morning was just not quite right.

I’m having the same reaction to Ms Nadya Suleman, the Whittier, California woman the press has dubbed “The Octuplet Mom.” In a portion of the interview with the unbearable Ann Curry on NBC’s The Today Show, Ms Suleman volunteered that the biological father was “overwhelmed” by recent events but that she hoped he would want to be involved in the childrens’ lives in the future. Talk about entrapment. Did Ms Suleman bear 14 children to finally get her man? This relationship needs to be investigated.

If the children were all conceived through IVF, how is it that Ms Suleman appears to enjoy not only a longstanding relationship but an apparently complex, ongoing relationship with the sperm donor who she claims is the biological father of all her kids?  Who is this guy? And what does he do? Who’s paying for the premature birth and NICU expenses?

During her televised sit down with NBC, Ms Suleman repeatedly characterized the birth as “a miracle.”  So what then, is a miracle?

According to the American Psychological Association (APA):  miracle. (n.d.) citing Easton’s 1897 Bible Dictionary,* a miracle is defined as :

an event in the external world brought about by the immediate agency or the simple volition of God, operating without the use of means capable of being discerned by the senses, and designed to authenticate the divine commission of a religious teacher and the truth of his message (John 2:18; Matt. 12:38). It is an occurrence at once above nature and above man. It shows the intervention of a power that is not limited by the laws either of matter or of mind, a power interrupting the fixed laws which govern their movements, a supernatural power.

Hmmm.  Wilfully deciding to become pregnant, paying for IVF treatments and then cognitively participating with her doctor neither constitiutes an act of God nor a supernatural happenstance.  What happened here appears less a miracle and more like “a matter of mind.”  

Another Susan Smith moment for me was her appearance. Her nose (her lips especially) doesn’t look “natural.” Did Ms Suleman have cosmetic surgery in a pathetic attempt to make herself look like Angelina Jolie?

If so, how was this cosmetic surgery financed and when?  Was Ms Suleman influenced by the spate of reality shows featuring women with large families like the bewildering Duggars, or Jon and Kate Plus Eight? Does she believe this is her ticket to reality show fame and fortune?

Women have been devising creative ways to make a living in this world since time and memoriam, but when they take their act on the road and publish it on the airways and to the media for profit, that’s when the public, (and justifiably so) is outraged. When a human interest story reaches the airways, it generally brings out the best in all of us, our true altruism. We want to help and we do.

We love a feel-good story.  We love it when we can have a part in making someone else’s life better. For the featured family, the public airways is generally the last resort, turned to when all the other support mechanisms or government has failed. But lately there have been too many Susan Smith-like cases, too many GMA Queen for a Day sob stories, too many Live Ambush makeovers, too many people getting a new car simply for showing up at a taping of a popular talk show; too many people taking advantage and being taken advantage of.

And now Nadya Suleman. Her selfish motives are so obvious and yet who she really is remains a mystery. 14 lives are forever going to be affected by the decisions of this woman. Is she emotionally or mentally disturbed? From where I sit, something is not quite right with her. Mary Kay Le Tourneau was functional while mentally/emotionally impaired, and look how things turned out for her.  There is so much we don’t know about Nadya Suleman and her many enablers.  

Ms Suleman’s choice to bear 14 children, however,  is her private choice. It’s not for her to make the care and feeding of these children a public works project.  These expenses are hers to bear. If she has a longstanding and healthy relationship with a church as she suggests that she does, I think this is where it all should stay, as opposed to the public airways.

Alas, someone will pay for her story. It’s inevitable. It may even become a Lifetime Television Network movie event. Her book will get published and it will sell well. Hell, she may even get a reality TV show just like Jon and Kate, and a big, new house and a bus and Pampers and formula donated by the sponsor.

I hope she will also get regular home visits from Child Protective Services in Whittier, California. That some authority will be appointed to make certain the proceeds from her TV appearances will go to the care and upbringing of the children and not so Ms Suleman can continue to have pink acrylic French tips or more cosmetic surgery. Finally, I hope never to hear about Ms Suleman or her children ever again.

There is precedent. After all, the McCaughey seven born November 19, 1997 were the only family so far to really become famous. Diane Sawyer loves the McCaughey seven, and returns with her camera crew annually to update us on how they’re doing.

The Chukwu octuplets (born in December 1998 in Houston, Texas to Nigerian immigrants) were the world’s first set of octuplets. Born in the United States, the smallest of the octuplets, Odera, died a week after birth. There was hardly any fanfare in this country, but the birth was an international sensation and remains so to this day. Diane is not so interested in them. They appeared recently on The Today Show. It would really be disgusting for Ms Suleman to garner more national attention than either of these families, neither of whom exploit their children or their situations with reality shows.

People need to feel accepted and approved for who they are. Desperate times are forcing people to devise more desperate measures. How many women are out there now closely observing how things turn out for Nadya Suleman?  How many more children are poised to be exploited on reality television? Or become their family’s sole means of support? How many more multiple birth moms are out there waiting in the wings for their big TV break or their 15 minutes or Today Show segment at taxpayer expense?

Tick-tock… tick-tock… tick tock…

Originally posted February 20, 2009

*Retrieved February 15, 2009, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/miracle


I Only Wanna Be…

In Animals and Pets, Celebrities, Life, Music, Society, Unemployment on April 4, 2009 at 9:06 pm
That  ThatOne

ThatOne has once again exposed me to a whole new and different world: The neighborhood dog park. Yep. You read it right.

The neighborhood dog park is the fun, social hot spot especially for our times.  It’s the place to see and be seen. Different breeds freely associate with the only goals being to play and have fun and sniff some butt.

It’s the closest thing to life in the paradise earth in that people love their dogs, people love to talk about their dogs, the dogs make people smile and laughter, smiles, goodwill abounds. Love, love, love. It’s a wonder John Lennon never wrote a song about it.

Dog park etiquette is enforced like the mafia code of conduct. You are expected to supervise your dog. Your dog may not be aggressive. You are expected to pick up after your dog.

If you decide not to observe The Code, the Poop Police, ever vigilant, who caught your dog in the act will make you an offer you can’t refuse. But nicely. No cement shoes or severed horse heads between red satin sheets here. No one gets angry.

There are no flushed red faces, no outbursts of temper, or dirt kicking or pouting. No, everyone dutifully and often cheerfully marches right over to the temporary latrine, crisp, crackling plastic bag at the ready, and removes the offending mass. No static at all.

There are those infrequent visitors who are both indifferent and disrespectful of The Code. In that case, the Poop Police will pick it up, albeit grudgingly and after some bit of discussion, ever mindful of the fact that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

After a while, people are actually  falling over themselves volunteering to pick up the poop. Cooperation is the operative word. Consideration is the next. People don’t want to step in it and no one wants their dog to step in it, track it into the car or home, or worse, eat it.

The small dog park and the big dog park are adjacent, separated by a fence. The difference between big dog owners and small dog owners is like the difference between the blue jeans and tie wearing high school teacher and the multi-pocketed oversized jeans smock dress wearing kindergarten teacher.

“One pair of matching bookends, different as night and day*.”

Big dog owners seem to be a more mixed, more diverse, more inclusive and homogeneous demographic. In the big dog park there are no cliques, no ridicules “My dog doesn’t like your dog” prejudices. Young people don’t seem to mind at all hanging with the OG’s.

Everybody’s protective and tolerant of one another’s dogs. No one manhandles or is rude, or unkind to anyone’s dog. There is no disrespect. There are never any overprotective “parent” outbursts. When a regular is absent for a few days in a row, there is genuine concern. People take the time, not just to make small talk, but if you listen carefully, you may actually witness a whole conversation taking place.

In the Big dog park, people tend to use the entire length and width of the dog park as opposed to congregating in a specific area. It’s important to stand away from tables and chairs otherwise the dogs will congregate underneath and we all know what can happen when a dog feels cornered.

It’s just a great sort of hidden society. I mean, no one ever comes back to the office after the weekend and tells tales of their weekend in the dog park with Daisy or Rufus or Tank. It’s not a subject that keeps people gathered around the water cooler. It’s never a “hot topic” on the View.

People bring their collapsible canvass chairs, their gallon jugs of water and a book, but you will only get to read your book if you’re alone, you are determined to be alone, and there is no other person in the dog park. It’s not like riding the subway in New York City where possessing an open book screams: “Don’t talk to me. Don’t invade my personal space.” Having a book doesn’t convey the same subliminal “back off” message here in Southern CA. You need to stay home if you really want to be alone.

A well attended, well supported community dog park serves a purpose that is especially important in these difficult times when people are increasingly isolating themselves because they’re jobless or are experiencing some sort of personal and/or financial difficulty.

In my case, I find myself enjoying a sense of community I never experienced before and a sort of camaraderie (dare I say it.., even a level of goodwill) I never experienced in any office I have ever worked in; Goodwill that is freely expressed and that with no strings. It not contingent upon regular attendance. There is no tithe. There’s no joining, no public baptisms, no oaths– no conditions. You go and you– just be.

People describe the love of a dog or any pet they have as “unconditional.” ThatOne isn’t concerned about my anxieties or worries. He doesn’t care if I’m young, or wrinkled or whether my breath is minty fresh. He doesn’t care what I do or don’t do for a living. He’s the same in the back seat of a Honda Civic as he would be in a Bentley. He just only wants to be– with me– just the way I am. That’s how it is at the dog park. The only thing you have to do is be– just the way you are. Canvass chair optional.

Don’t go changing, to try and please me,

You never let me down before,

Don’t imagine, you’re too familiar,

And I don’t see you anymore.

I would not leave you, in times of trouble,

We never could have come this far,

I took the good times, I’ll take the bad times,

I’ll take you just the way you are.

Don’t go trying, some new fashion,

Don’t change the colour of your hair,

You always have my, unspoken passion,

Although I might not seem to care.

I need to know that you will always be

The same old someone that I knew,

What will it take till you believe in me,

The way that I believe in you?

I said I love you, and that’s forever,

And this I promise from the heart,

I couldn’t love you, any better,

I love you just the way you are.

I don’t want clever, conversation,

I never want to work that hard,

I just want someone, that I can talk to,

I want you just the way you are.

| 1977

*The Patty Duke Show Theme | TV series 1963-1966 |   

 

 

Jubilee Year

In Barack Obama, Current Events, Economy, Society on February 22, 2009 at 1:00 am

A couple months ago I applied for a job at Marine base in San Diego that paid $10.00 an hour. You would have to wait at least half a year before health and life insurance benefits would kick in.

On the second interview, there was a panel of three with a list of questions and after each response (and even during), they would be busy jotting down notes. I remind you, this was a clerical, data entry, accounting position, on a Marine base in San Diego, that paid a whopping $10.00 an hour and offered no health benefits until after six months!  Hardly a corner office on the 80th floor.

One of the questions I was asked was what were my goals for the next five years. I am a college grad. I went back to college 10 years later and earned a K-12 teaching certificate. I taught in America’s urban schools for six years. Today, I am 51 years old, and I am unemployed. My five year goals are to be:

(1).  alive. John Kennedy, Jr. didn’t live to see 51. Diana, Princess of Wales didn’t. Eddie Kendricks didn’t. Billy Stewart didn’t. Kurt Cobain, Marilyn Monroe, Phyllis Hyman, John Coltrane, Martin Luther King, Jr., Bobby Kennedy, John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, Medgar Evers, Jimmy Hendricks, Janis Joplin, River Phoenix, Donny Hathaway, those four little girls, Heath Ledger, David Foster Wallace, none of these people, not one, lived to see 51.

(2).  able to support myself (pay my bills) and not be a burden to my only child

(3).  able to care for my English Bulldog (EBD) ThatOne

(4).  able to have an EBD companion for ThatOne.

(5).  employed; to still be doing an honest days work; drive home; love my son; support my dogs.  Live a balanced life.

Alive.  Able.  Employed.  That’s it.   These are my simple, basic, unglamorous goals.

I don’t need diamonds and pearls.  I desire to remain content.  If ThatOne needs a hip x-ray I want to be able to afford that. When I run out of Bare Minerals, I want to be able to afford to replenish that.  I like to go to the movies. I love Asian cuisine.

I need access to the Internet. I enjoy my iTunes. That’s it. All I want to do is live until I die.

I have no delusions of grandeur. My needs and my wants are simple. I just want to feel content, just like I do now, only without the fear and anxiety. All I want to do is live until I die.

I have never been arrested. I have never committed a crime. I am a Christian.  I love God’s word, the bible. I don’t smoke, do drugs, drink to excess or indulge profanity.  I love to dance.  I love film. I love music. I appreciate writers and their writing. I love NPR and Public television. I enjoy Merlot, a good book, good news,  Stephen Colbert and a good joke. I am the Queen of Pop Culture and yet  I don’t watch The Bachelor or American Idol. I believe Ellen DeGeneres and Michelle Obama must be among, if not the most fortunate people on earth right now.

You would like me. I know I do.

There is a slovenly, bearded man who walks up and down Hwy 76 here every day, undoubtedly toting everything he owns. Every time I pass him by, I wonder: Where is he going? Why is he homeless? What’s his story? Who was he? Who is he now? Where did he come from? Why is he homeless? How did he come to be homeless? Why does he scare me?

Where do I want to be in five years? Ask me where I don’t want to be. I don’t want to be homeless, wandering up and down Hwy 76 or any other Highway in America. I don’t want to be pushing a shopping cart full of all my belongings up and down East Vista Way or any other Way in America. I don’t want to go to bed hungry. I don’t want to have to go without my Bare Minerals, or a shower or toilet. I don’t want to be afraid every day, or utterly and completely alone. Invisible. YOU (Employers; EE’s), YOU have the power to affect the course of a fellow Human Beings’ life.   Think about that.  YOU have the power!!!

Wow.

Who are You? I really want to know.

Don’t you?

http://www.barackobama.com/displayer/pages/econ-stories.php

Back during the Jewish system of things, every 50 years there was the Jubilee Year. The Hebrew word yoh-vel or yo-vel means “ram’s horn.” The sho-phar would be sounded during the 50th year to proclaim liberty throughout the land. Le 25:9. The Land was to have complete rest. This meant freedom for Hebrew slaves, the return of all hereditary land possessions sold because of family financial reversals, and individuals returned to their families who had been sold into slavery.

“No family was to sink into the depth of perpetual poverty. No one should come to be poor among you.” Le 25:8-10, 13; De 15:4, 5.

“The Jubilee law, when obeyed, preserved the nation from gravitating into the sad state that we observe today, where there are virtually two classes, the extremely rich and the extremely poor. The benefits to the individual strengthened the nation in that none would be underprivileged and crushed into unproductiveness by an economic crisis, but that all would contribute their knowledge, skills, talents and abilities to the national welfare. The law was read to the people during the Festival of Booths (De 31:10-12).*

It would be great if the stimulus money was funneled directly to each and every American with an income under $250,000.00. These families know how to stimulate themselves (https://killinmesoftly.wordpress.com/2008/12/11/so-president-elect-obama-if-yer-lissnin/).

These families would pay their bills off. Their paying down their bills would infuse money into businesses, money every American could all see and account for. This revenue infusion would stimulate business and perhaps extinguish layoffs.

The economy would be stimulated the old fashioned way:  by honest-hearted people happily paying their bills, and businesses happily  investing in their businesses, encouraging competition, promoting Laissez faire (from the French, meaning to leave alone or to allow to do is an economic and political doctrine that holds that economies function most efficiently when unencumbered by government regulation. Laissez faire advocates favor individual self-interest and competition, and oppose the taxation and regulation of commerce).

Adam Smith, father of classical economics, maintained in Wealth of Nations (1776) that Britain’s goal should have been the promotion of the welfare of individuals, rather than centering on national power and prestige. Freely functioning economies were capable of bestowing benefits to all levels of society**.

I wish President Obama publicly endorsed this more far-reaching, more historical grasp of economics and  history. We could learn a lot from looking at the original, pre-Christian model. The Jewish model failed because it was ahead of its time, and the people then did not support it as it should have been supported. Its legacy, however, lives on as a lesson for us today.

When I listen to the political shouting heads in the news, I am astonished by how unknowledgeable, naïve and utterly disinterested the House and Congress are in the financial machinations of Wall street and the Hamiltonian system. We have already “loaned” billions to companies that cannot account for how they spent this money.

Clearly, this infusion of cash during the last days of Bush 43’s administration did absolutely nothing to bolster the current economy. I want to know what happened to every cent of that initial bailout money. I want to know what happened to every cent of that initial bailout money. I want to know what happened to every cent of that initial bailout money!! Will I ever? Will the country?

Obama’s stimulus bill has already passed now. Can we learn lessons any from the old, pre-Christian Jubilee Year? Yes we can.

foxforum.blogs.foxnews.com

*Insight On The Scriptures |Watchtower Bible and Tract Society NYC | Vol II | 1998

**http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h844.html

Everybody Knows I’m Not Like That

In Barack Obama, Current Events, Racism, Society on February 20, 2009 at 1:00 am
FOX Forum
You Decide

Are We a ‘Nation of Cowards’ When It Comes to Race?

In a speech on February 18 marking Black History month Attorney General Eric Holder said:

“Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards. Though race related issues continue to occupy a significant portion of our political discussion, and though there remain many unresolved racial issues in this nation, we, average Americans, simply do not talk enough with each other about race.”

Some critics have called Holder’s comments “offensive” and others can lauded them as “honest” and “constructively provocative.”

YOU DECIDE: Are we a nation of cowards when it comes to race? http://foxforum.blogs.foxnews.com/2009/02/19/youdecide_holder_race/

Given the right situation and circumstance, the average, every day, experienced, habitual  practitioner of racism tend to be people who have an entrenched belief that they themselves are not racists.  

“You, African American, Black person, descendant of slaves may not work in my office, but I will happily welcome an Asian immigrant.  See?  I accept other races, therefore I am not racist.  How does this make me a coward?”

“You, African American, Black person, descendant of slaves may not work in my office.  I will not welcome your presence.  I will make the environment sooo hostile, so unpleasant.  I will try to provoke an anger response from you at every turn, and when you choose not to allow yourself to be provoked, I will decide you are a coward, you are weak and therefore I am entitled to torment you until you either quit or we succeed in getting you fired.  But my Middle Eastern immigrant co-worker likes me and I allow him so, see?  I’m not a racist.  How does this make me a coward?”

On Wednesday, February 18, Rupert Murdoch’s  New York Post published this political cartoon.  It clearly personifies our nation’s 44th president as a chimpanzee shot multiple times by police. 

The incendiary ramifications of this seemingly benign expression of 5th Amendment privilege is beyond the pale. It’s 2009.  We have elected an African American President and yet this decades old, hateful, racist comparison is still a subject for even-handed debate?  When are we going to simply just say no–  to racism?

If the subject of this so-called political cartoon was the Holocaust, the public outcry would have been overwhelmingly unanimous in its outrage.  The paper would have issued an apology so fast, the incident would have escaped the notice of the ladies of The View.  But no.

This cartoon has been defended as freedom of speech.  I have the right to yell fire in a crowded movie theater, but no one would defend this conduct in the absence of a fire, especially if people were hurt.  Just because you have the right to say it, doesn’t mean it’s right to say it. The defenders’ voices are also astonishingly mute around the fact that this cartoon’s inception and publication is a moral outrage.  It’s the middle finger in the face of every American who held a mistaken belief we were inching toward turning the page on collective racism.  

This cartoon is wrong on so many levels.  It invokes the memories of  Eleanor BumpursAmadou DialloSean Bell and reminds us of the antipathy that exists between the NYC police department and the black community.  It personifies our President as an animal, a “monkey.”

And then there’s that nasty subliminal subtext that makes it impossible for any thinking person not to reference Martin Luther King, Jr, Robert Kennedy, Medgar Evers, Abraham Lincoln, men all felled in a hail of an assassin’s bullets.   Worse, it has as its primary goal to undermine and disrupt (perhaps even crush?) the spirit of healing and growth that has galvanized the American psyche of late.

People genuinely began to allow themselves to believe President Obama’s election was a sign America was inching toward acknowledgement of and reconciliation for past crimes, attitudes and conduct.  This hateful, cynical, mean illustration was clearly designed to remind “haters” that some things will never change.  That’s just the way it is.  It really is about control.

I find it hard to believe this cartoonist would think there was anything funny or innocuous or even clever about this!This cartoon should never have been approved for publication by the managing editor.

It’s interesting to note Dog, The Bounty Hunter is now quietly back on the air.  Don Imus is back behind the mike at 77WABC morning radio, yet Isaiah Washington appears to have fallen off the entertainment radar.  So the New York Post will just skate on this just like all the others. And so  on, and so on, and so on…

“Stop the Madness!”

So Attorney General Eric Holder, while I appreciate what your words were maybe trying to acheive, I’m just not sure the expression “nation of cowards” was a characterization that was especially useful.  Your words are out there now, though.  You can’t unring that bell.  You should have just said it outright instead of trying to soft-peddle the message.  I disagree.  We are not a nation of cowards.  We remain, however, both to our chagrin and our horror, a nation that continues to excuse and tolerate racism toward descendants of slaves.  

“Everybody knows I’m not like that.  See? I am not a coward!  Now get out of here and let me get back to business as usual in my African-American free office!”

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