Saturday, December 25, 2010

Here it is........Christmas morn'!

What a tremendous Christmas here at Freddy's! The kids are 11 and 6, and still believe in Santa. How long do we perpetuate it? I guess as long as they keep believing. It's fun to see the excitement in their eyes, though I could do with them getting about half as much stuff, simply so they could focus more on what they have, but my wife loves to shop for them and I'm not about to discourage her from that part of the Christmas joy.

Is Christmas over commercialized and saturated with sappy sentimentality? Sure it is. And that's the point, I think. If we can't have one time a year to reflect on our lives, take stock in the love we share with family and friends and light up the souls of children, then why bother existing at all?

Here is what was big in our household this Christmas;

1) Justin Bieber--- The kid runs my home. There are trading cards, cardboard cut outs (yes, they are life sized....yes, they are VERY scary), CD's, magazines, shirts, blankets, wallets, spatula's, dolls, condoms, posters, butt plugs, toe nail clippers, jewelry, tampons, and anti-itch creams.......all about Justin Bieber. The dude has his face on everything. Heaven forbid that he hooks up with Hannah Montana and they have a kid. I'd probably have to build a shrine to it in the front yard. We seem to be, much to my chagrin, Bieber Believers.

2) I-something or another----Apple pretty much rules the world we live in now. I resisted for so long. Then, my cousin got an IPod. Not to be outdone....I got an IPod. So my wife wouldn't miss her one. Now, my oldest daughter has one. What am I gonna do now? I'm gonna have to become a cyber criminal. There is no way to afford all the music that is going to be asked to be put on these contraptions. Napster move over, there's a new pirate in town. "Arrghhh....Ya got any 2 Live Crew, for downloadin' on yer web site, matey?" (in my best pirate voice)

3) The wife got a new lap top!!! The old one just wasn't cutting it anymore. I love that my wife resists all these temptations of the flesh (TV, satellite radio, mp3, cell phones, etc), but when she finally succumbs, it's like a Robert Downey cocaine relapse! She gets into it. I shit you not....she played bunco (yeah, I did say bunco) on Facebook for 3 hours the other night. And who was on the old lap top? My daughter. Also playing bunco. But that's not enough, they are playing bunco, in the same game room, against one another. That's just a waste of valuable internet space! What if someone was desperately trying to get emails through the internets and they were clogging up the wide world of webs? It's dangerous and irresponsible!

4) Nintendo DS....or DS-I....or BS..Wii..or...Wii-Wii...hell, it's hard to keep up. When I was a kid and you had a Nintendo, that's just what you had. FRIEND: Hey, do you have a Nintendo? ME: Yes, I have a Nintendo.  It was just that simple. Now, my six year old can get on a toy, connect to the internet and exchange pictures with some six year old in Japan (which is pretty cool) or she can look up porn (and porn to her would be outtakes and deleted scenes from I-Carly).

5) Bluray movies---- Yes, that's my area. I've been stressing the importance of my receiving movies for Christmas, for about 10 years. It's finally paying off. All the episodes of "My Name Is Earl", a comedy or two, and the best of the Nipsy Russell Show.

6) Cash----No, not Johnny, but money. Who doesn't love to get cash or gift cards???  Now, you can go spend money the way you want to. And no, don't be one of those people who pays bills with your Christmas booty! (well, unless you are freezing cold or hungry) Get something that you WANT, but wouldn't ordinarily buy for yourself. Like a Vin Diesel snuggie or an autographed picture calendar of your favorite stripper. I'm gonna load mine up on a card (well, after I buy the stripper calendar, of course) and buy a few books for the ole' Kindle (and I say "ole" because they came out with a new version about 10 minutes after I bought mine...thanks Amazon) and probably a couple more movies that my wife refuses to spend the money on, for me.

And the greatest line of insincerity exposed happened in our home this morning;

My six year old was plowing through the mountain of gifts. Her reactions were perfect, as she beamed, gloated, and had breathless excitement as each gift was opened (it could have been a can of sardines and she'd pee herself). To go with her Nintendo.......DS........I..........she got one of those little memory cards. She opened it and was like " switching gears and back to her usual subdued self). Seriously. I have no idea what this is." 

Ah, kids......can't live with 'em and you can't put 'em back.

Happy Holidays, Christmas, Hanukkah.....or whatever it is you celebrate this time of year.

Whoops....sorry kids....Santa pissed himself again. Give him a break. It was a long night.

"Joy, Love, and Piss on Earth"

Monday, December 20, 2010

Consciousness And Why It's Important!

A definition of consciousness:  A sense of one's personal or collective identity, including the attitudes, beliefs, and sensitivities held by or considered characteristic of an individual or group

Consciousness has made quite an impact on my life. There is an awareness and openness in my mind that I have really failed to know for almost my entire life. As soon as we begin to think about our surroundings, ponder the meaning of stimuli, or become aware of our own mortality, we are becoming conscious. At that point, our inner dialogue begins to take over for instinct. I'd say it's fairly safe in assuming that most people never actively engage their own consciousness. Why? Because we just think on a surface level, make decisions quickly based on the accumulation of stimuli throughout our lives, react and go about living. Taking the time to stop and think about beliefs and actions is what I'm talking about when I use the phrase "raise my consciousness". For much of my life, I formed most of my opinions and world view around the concepts of my religion, up bringing, experiences, and politics. I just never was prone to objectively looking at my beliefs and actions.

Once a person starts to examine their beliefs and they try to understand the other side of issues, problems, and conflicts, it becomes much easier to see how we should engage those things and how we think about them. It's not merely about changing your feelings, because self examination and critical thought about held beliefs and stances on issues may well be solidified through deeper thinking and being able to see those things from the other side. But, by thinking about life in a manner that is not the norm, we will help ourselves to understand our own feelings as well as the feelings of others. Strip away all the preconceptions, look at life and sometimes you can see there are things that you won't even believe you cared very much about in the first place.

Let me use an example, to explain what I'm saying. And this isn't a debating point, it's simply an example of how I  have raised my consciousness on an item of thought/belief. I used to be very much against gay "marriage" (I prefer legal union as a non-religious way to think of a marital partnership, because if a church doesn't want to perform same sex marriages, they should not have to) and gay adoptions. Why? Because I believed that Bible God was against it and I was raised to believe there was something sort of wrong and almost evil about homosexuals. I wasn't raised that way on purpose. Those who raised me and influenced me were reacting on the basis of their up bringing and so on and so on. A couple of years ago, I started thinking about it from the homosexuals point of view. As an American citizen, we are told we all have the same right to pursue happiness and that we are all equal under the law. Well, we are not. Because of sexuality, we are withholding rights from a select group of society. Why? Mostly because of religious views and the inability to let others live their lives based on our own bias.  I thought, read, studied, and thought some more and realized I was pushing my beliefs and feelings on to a group of people that wanted pretty much the same things I did. And, by supporting my own religious view/world view, I was a part of keeping people from being happy and to live their lives. I made the decision that there was nothing wrong with civil unions and all Americans should have the same rights under the law. I started considering the following; How ridiculous is it that two men or two women can't share their lives, under the law, just like a man and woman can, with the same benefits as every other person? It's insane and immoral for me to impose my feelings on others. Will it cheapen marriage? I think not, since 50% of all marriages end in divorce, it's cheapening itself just fine.  All we are doing is treating certain citizens as unequal and unqualified for the same rights as the rest of us expect. Remind you of anything? Women's rights? Civil rights? What were we protecting ourselves from in those parts of history where we withheld freedom and equality from women or black Americans? Well, seems like nothing. Someday, history will look back on the homosexual movement and say "what was the big deal?", just like we do now when we talk about women's rights and civil rights.

The process must begin and be allowed to push forward. It has happened in our culture before (as outlined above) and the quicker we are to raise our consciousness, the easier and faster we can allow ourselves to find and discuss our process with someone else. If every one of us can begin to sort through our own minds and do house cleaning, then we can find one other person to help do the same. It shouldnt' be a negative experience at all. It should feel good to think without the filters of the life you have constructed, or that have been constructed for you through the subconscious. To honestly, at the base level, think as yourself. Not through the Bible, not through what your best friend says, not through cynical eyes, not through the Koran, not through a political platform, not even through science, art, the media, or your parents! Just think, and shape beliefs through understanding the other side and understanding yourself. What a freedom that is!!!

 We have a finite time on earth, either way it shakes out (whether we just go away, go to heaven/hell, or are reincarnated, etc) and we can use our mind for better things than impeding the happiness and well being of other people. Most people don't realize that their own consciousness is the only real form of reality. I addressed this in another post about reality, awhile back.  Each of us, through our own experience, applies our perceptions on to life. I firmly believe that our conscience is who we really are. No matter how we behave, no matter what we say, and no matter how we feel......the voice behind the voice is who we are. Let's suspend all thought on where we all end up at death, if we can for a few moments. Everything you do, see, hear, smell, and taste is the movie of your life. It began when you became aware of your existence and it will end when you take your final breath. So all that is going on is for you and you only. You can experience the same event as someone else, but you will not perceive it the exact same way. So, own your mind and thoughts. They are original and you have the ability to really enjoy and love who you are by self examination and thought. Nobody else is listening to you think. So, let 'er rip! It's YOUR mind. What a wonderful thing that is! We have the unique ability to KNOW we are going to die, which gives us the opportunity to live life in the way we want to, the opportunity to treat others the way we should (with love, care, and understanding), the opportunity to see things the way we really know they are, and the opportunity to truly love other people without hang ups about sexuality, skin color, politics, religion, past experience, or any other stimulus that has built up a filter through which we think. You can truly be responsible for your own happiness and that can transform how you feel and how you treat family, friends, strangers and the world around you.

For me, I have come to a point that I would not trade myself now for any other point and time in my life. I finally feel like myself. Before I started going through life and being attacked at all sides by media, friends, teachers, family, religion, sports, politics and all sorts of other experiences, I remember being a pretty happy, quiet, satisfied child. Before about the age of 13, that is closer to the person I am now. I didn't have all the baggage. But sandwich in 30 years of all the aforementioned stimulus and I got to the point where my true self had to start filtering through all the garbage I picked up over time. I have stopped doing that as much as possible and it's taken over two years to get the point where I can always use my conscience in my waking hours. (and I'm not done altering my thought process!) I make decisions now, not based on politics, religion, or a preconceived notion of who I am supposed to be. I make decisions, say things, form opinions and all that stuff by using my mind without the filters and without putting others expectations on my thoughts and actions.

I think I have made some headway on helping my mother raise her consciousness. I have got her to start thinking about things from the other side, and not from what she has been told to think over the years. Again, I'll use the example of homosexuality. Her religion has led her to believe that gay folks were going to hell, were bad, and detrimental to our society. Even though she had made friends with gay people in her work life, she never gave how she felt about homosexuality, a real thought from her own mind, without the trappings of religious thought. I asked her to think about God and the attributes given to God and then see if that lined up with the discrimination and hate some of our society has towards the gay community (it doesn't).  I asked her to consider how she would feel if she were openly gay and knew that she was turned down for a job because of it. Or that she wasn't allowed to have the same benefits as a man and woman if she had fell in love with and wanted to share a life with someone of the same sex. All because and only because of sexuality. When stripping away all of the layers of life and bringing an issue down to being personal, you may take a differing view. My  mother may not be open wide to gay marriage and all of that, but she certainly has started to think differently about how she feels (or at least I perceive that she has) on the topic, and that's made me feel closer to knowing her, as she really is.

 If this were 50 or 60 years ago, we could very well be talking about race. Yes, there was a time when black Americans couldn't vote....only got half a vote.....couldn't marry out of their race.....had to drink out of a different water fountain.....couldn't dine in "white" restaurants or even sit at the front of a public bus. For the same reasons we ostracize gays today, we ostracized black Americans for a great deal of our history. Before that and even during that time, we treated women the same way. We used to work kids in sweatshops. How much better is it, now that we have (mostly all of us in society today) raised our consciousness on those things? There is no basis for discrimination or abuse. We caused so much harm by a lack of understanding and thought.

I would love to see a world where everyone examined all their beliefs, loves, hatred, bias, and emotional scars. It sure wouldn't mean that we would change our minds on everything.....maybe not anything, but we will have taken the time to know why we think the way we do and it will make it quite a bit easier to let others live their lives in the manner that they want, without it having an effect on us. I do take this pretty seriously, because I feel the good it's done me every single day. I enjoy my life and other people/family more than I ever have. My misanthropic ways are eroding and that's a good thing!

In closing, I urge everyone who has read this, to take on a bias, an issue, or a dislike and examine it for awhile. Read about how people who feel differently than you do think about the subject. Try to understand how they see. Then try to understand why you feel the way you do. Whether you feel the same afterwards, or different, or indifferent, you can honestly tell yourself, I know why I feel the way I do.

Thanks for sorting through this, the few of you who will. Enjoying how you feel about life is work. It really is. I'm living proof and I know others who are experiencing the same sort of raised consciousness about life as I am. The effort is worth it.      

The link below is a pretty good article on the progression of raised consciousness if anyone it interested in how it may work. It's not easy, but you'll be glad you took the time and effort to think about the world around you and how you can enjoy it with a little less dislike, aggravation, and worry.  

I need someone to show me
Illumine my consciousness
Remove the dark from in me
And give me that which I have lost

"That Which I Have Lost"
George Harrison

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Answered Prayers?

Before I get rolling, I don't want anyone to get the idea that I'm picking on their religion.....which I am....but try not to get that idea. Thing is, I hear lots of people say that they pray for this and that and how God answers those prayers. Furthermore they are appropriately thankful and like to spread the news, via conversation, Twitter, Facebook or whatever.

I'd like to say that it's probably not a good idea to spread the news about your answered prayers. I see it as making God come off looking petty, random, and unworthy of any thanks at all. Lots of people are very serious about their religion, no matter what that religion is, and I understand prayer is a big aspect of that faith.  The angle I'm going to come from is Christianity, since most people who read this, are likely to live in the USA. If not, then imagine I'm talking about the God of your choice.....should be easy to imagine.

I've seen and heard people pray for, or ask to have prayed for, the following things over the past couple of months;

* Get a new job
* Get a raise
* For protection on a trip
* Help on scholastic endeavors
* Relationship help
* For help finding a mate

Also, we all know that prayers are always being asked for, for the following;

* Personal health
* Matters of the health of children
* Health of a friend or relative
* Protection of a friend or loved one at war
* Help to those who are victims of a disaster

The latter are very prayer worthy. And any God worth praying to should at least take those into consideration. I submit to you that the former reasons shouldn't really be put out for public consumption, basically because they are things you may have control over yourself and it's pretty selfish to ask God to help you with a blown radiator hose when there is a child dying of starvation, AIDS, or cancer every minute or so. When a person posts that they want to thank God for finding that "special someone" out there, I can't help but think that it was a wasted prayer. What if God said, "OK, I'll answer your next prayer." and you ask to not get a ticket for running a red light?

I realize that the Bible says that you should bring all your stuff to God (not really sure what the Koran or Jedi handbook says on the matter), but praising God for helping you out on trivial matters when we all know damn well there are parents crying, begging, and praying over a dying child, or a soldier praying over a wounded friend, and those prayers probably won't be answered. Perhaps in some cases they are, but not anywhere close to a majority. I'm not saying don't pray for little things. I'm just saying that, in the grand scheme of things, it's silly to advertise an answered prayer over something insignificant, when there are so many people who are praying in earnest over matters of life, death, and health.

Maybe if you got a new job, you had a good interview and have done well enough at other jobs that you deserve a better gig. Maybe if you got that raise, you worked hard and deserved it. Perhaps you studied and worked hard and that's why you passed algebra. I'd say if you met a potential mate, that you were probably deserving of finding that mate due to your own character as a human being. If those little things are actually intervened on, for you, by God, what are we to make of the people who are praying for uncontrollable life altering circumstances? Are those things God doesn't feel like getting into? Is it too tough for God to make the heart disease of a 40 year old not kill him/her, leaving behind a wife/husband and kids?

Really, you all know it's none of my business what, when, where, and to whom anyone prays. I just want to make people aware that it really seems to cheapen the process. Most of you guys know I'm not all. Again, is there a God? I don't know. But I do know that if God is helping Joe Blow hit the Pick 3, and some child is abducted and tortured, but no prayers get answered in that horrific scenario, I don't have any use for that God. Plus, if 5 billion believers in the world are praying all the time and God is also listening to the thoughts of the total world population (over 6 billion), then why tie him up with little things and draw his attention away from stuff that matters? I'm not making fun of anyone for praying or believing that God has answered some of the things I'm talking about. So, if anyone believes I'm writing about anyone specific, that's not the case. This is truly a post that is just my thinking out loud in a very general manner.

For full disclosure, there were some things I prayed for very hard. Like, when my grandmother (the most wonderful, caring, giving, and selfless person I've ever known) was dying. I can say without flinching that there was an instance of unexplainable progress in her situation, though it was only temporary.

There have been studies done on prayer. Does it work? Is it nonsense? I don't know the answer to that, and this stuff that I'm writing is not asking anyone to NOT pray. Just to use some discretion in announcing an answered prayer. Anyhow, here are a few links to some of the research done on prayer. Interesting stuff.

The above links come out in favor of using prayer to help out in matters of health, and I'm not surprised. The mind is powerful and if there is a God, well......why wouldn't it work?

Now troubles are many
There as
Deep as a well
I can swear there ain't no Heaven
But I pray there ain't no hell
Swear there ain't no Heaven
And I'll pray there ain't no hell
But I'll never know by livin'
Only my dyin' will tell, yes only my
Dyin' will tell, oh yeah
Only my dyin' will tell
Blood, Sweat, & Tears

***This blog is dedicated to my wonderful wife, who, I'm sure, prays for me daily. Hope it works***

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Country Music : RIP

Well, this is long over due and someone has to say it; country music is dead.

It's been dead for quite some time, though most listeners don't know it. It's a shame that there is no room on country (and I use that term VERY loosely) radio for the pioneers and hit makers of the past. The tradition of the past isn't really a part of what Nashville (or L.A. or New York) are selling these days. Artists (and this is another term I use loosely) such as Tim McGraw, Carrie Underwood, Brad Paisley, Kenny Chesney, and Keith Urban may want to be "country", but buying a cowboy hat and driving a pick up doesn't qualify anyone.

Now, there are some folks out there who try to continue the legacy of the greats. George Strait, Alan Jackson, Vince Gill, Reba McEntire, and Dwight Yoakam are out there beating the drum for those who went before them. Not to say that these artists have not changed their music to fit in with the new crowd, but at their core level, they are still about the music and less about the show.

Today's country is a hybrid of twangy guitars, hopped up fiddles, and drum machines. It's got no soul. There is no life behind it. The performers and songwriters have not lived the lives they sing about and they have no real connection with the very things they say they are all about. Honestly, aren't we passed gimmicks and half-assed hillbillisms? "Achy Breaky Heart"? "I Shaved My Legs For This"? "She Thinks My Tractor Is Sexy"?  Really......those were hit songs? If I didn't know better, I would have thought these were Weird Al Yankovic tunes.

Once upon a time, country music was rooted in musical sensibility, simplicity, and experience. The stars of the past paid their dues by playing in small bars, county fairs, and street corners. They pedaled their songs around Nashville, working odd jobs and gaining life experience until they could catch a break. These people came from Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and other areas that were generally populated with small towns. You probably couldn't find too many of them that came from New York City, Los Angeles, or Chicago. Today's music is all about marketing. If you have a pretty face, who the hell cares if you can sing, play, or write......your producer and label can make you a star. How many of today's stars look like they have seen tough times and have drawn on those experiences? When you see a picture of Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, or Merle Haggard, you know where they have been.

There is some good roots music out there, it's just tougher to find, because you won't hear it on hit radio. Artists/bands like Old Crow Medicine Show, Son Volt, Scott Miller & The Commonwealth, Kelly Willis, Drive By Truckers, Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle, Uncle Tupelo, and Whiskeytown (which was fronted by Ryan Adams) are all much closer musically to authentic country music than almost anyone you can hear on hit country radio. They are the artists that use steel guitars, fiddles, and banjos as serious instruments and not just background noise.

The pioneers of country music lived life on the road, with little time for awards shows, banquets, and living like stars. They sold their music the old fashioned way......they played the dives night after night to earn their chops and sell their music. Hank Williams, Hank Snow, Bob Wills, Patsy Cline, Jimmie Rodgers, and The Carter Family branched off from bluegrass and started country music down the road that led to the legends. For my money, artists like Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Loretta Lynn, Willie Nelson, Tammy Wynette, Charlie Rich, and Kris Kristofferson should go down in music history with the likes of The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison and others. They made real music and made no apologies for doing things their way. Those performers from the past may have been coined "country" but really, they just played music. Music they loved and felt good about. They didn't care about genre. They cared about the music.

How many people realize that as recently as 2004 Don Williams released an album? Bet you didn't hear that on the radio. What about Loretta Lynn? Surely at her age, she has long since retired or is hitting the oldies circuit, right? Nope, in 2004 she released a great album "Van Lear Rose", which was produced by none other than the White Stripes own, Jack White. But, it didn't get radio play. At least one of the most artistic people in music today appreciated Lynn and still felt her relevant. Loretta Lynn is also planning two new albums this year. Willie Nelson? Still making records (and still taking the pot). Hank Jr? Still making records. Oddly enough, the real country artists are no longer welcome in the modern world of country music.

So, with that, I proclaim country music, at the chart level to be dead. I urge anyone who loves good music, regardless of what genres you think you like or don't like to give some of these tunes a listen and discover how good some of that old (and new, but underground) stuff really is. Good music is good music and reducing what we love into genres limits our ability to expand our mind and find quality in areas we ordinarily wouldn't look.

Waylon Jennings (I Don't Think Hank Done It This Way) w/intro by Johnny Cash

Ryan Adams & Whiskeytown (Excuse Me While I Break My Own Heart)

Willie Nelson & Merle Haggard (Pancho & Lefty)

Kelly Willis (Take Me Down)

Scott Miller (I Made A Mess Of This Town)

Son Volt (Catchin' On)

Saturday, November 27, 2010


Reality. What is it? Is reality a concrete state of the universe or is it flexible and different in the minds eye, from person to person?

Why do I ask, what amounts to such a meaningless question? Because, it's interesting to me. It's really amazing that three or four people who experience the same thing, can recall it so differently just a short amount of time later. Ever see one of those pictures that looks like one thing, but if you see it differently, it seems to be something else?

You either see an old couple or a couple of Mexican lookin' folks. Maybe you see both.

The brain itself, is closed. Your brain is enclosed in a dark place. When you see light, it's not going in, so your brain can see. It's your eye pushing information to your brain and your brain interpreting that information. When you hear, it's simply interpretation. Your brain makes the decision on what your perception is. When you touch an object, you are not feeling the actual object, you are feeling what your mind tells you, you feel. It's not theory, it's the truth.

All that we hear, see, touch, taste, and smell are all subject to the individual and may not be exactly the same from person to person. Think about a person that is called insane, who sits and talks to an invisible person or thing. So far as the "insane" person is concerned, everything about what they are doing is reality for them. And it is. We call them crazy, because they are wired differently. But to them, it IS reality. You can tell them that they are talking to themselves, but they don't believe it. Why? Because your reality is not theirs.

Yeah, I realize this isn't much of a post, but it's just something I have been learning about lately and I find it really interesting. I want to write something on consciousness, but have not been able to find the right angle yet. I believe raising consciousness in your own mind and then trying to help others to do the same can be one of the great gifts in life. It's being able to free yourself of the box you have been thinking in for most of your life. It's changed me, and I feel it's been for the better.

She drove me to the point of madness
The brink of misery
If she's not real then I'm condemned to
The edge of reality

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Got Demons?

The link above will take you to a USA Today article that asserts the Catholic Church has to recruit and train new exorcists, because they are running short. Every once in awhile, when I read something like that, I have to peek at the calendar to make sure it doesn't say April 1st. How many times have you heard "Truth is stranger than fiction."? Well, in this case, it's dead on.

From the article;

 The two-day training, which ends Saturday in Baltimore, is to outline the scriptural basis of evil, instruct clergy on evaluating whether a person is truly possessed, and review the prayers and rituals that comprise an exorcism.

Now, I could be wrong, but wouldn't it be much better to send a person who MIGHT be possessed to a psychiatrist? I've read up on this a little bit and found some interesting tidbits, like a couple of priests in Bolivia were convicted of manslaughter in 1976 for performing an exorcism on and killing a 23 year old woman, who was an epileptic. Oh, by the way, her medical treatment was discontinued in favor of the exorcism. Also, in 1996, a Protestant priest trampled a woman to death (contrary to rumor, this priest was not a horse) during a four hour exorcism. He was sentenced to prison, where I'm sure he had ample opportunity to cast out all sorts of demons. But, Father Gabriele Amorth of Rome thinks that when in doubt, a good old fashioned, hell raising, demon conjuring exorcism can't hurt. Father Amorth said "an unnecessary exorcism never hurt anyone". Guess he isn't as good with Google as I am.

So, there are 110 priests and bishops attending this conference in Baltimore. That, along with the article would really lead one to believe that we must be in the midst of a crisis. Possessions must be taking place everywhere, right? I just gotta think that some dude in a weird hat was watching Sesame Street, flipped the channel and heard about lots of repossessions going on. Not well tuned into society at large, this person didn't realize the newscast was about the housing market. So, after he gets finished with his business, he closes the children's underwear catalog, and calls Rome to tell his Popeness that demons are running amok and the world needs more exorcists! And so, here we are, in 2010 training exorcists. Instead of using money, for....ummm...let's see...I don't know....maybe helping the homeless or starving children....they use their tax free, public donations to hold exorcism classes. Sorry.....just had to take a glance at the calendar again.

Are we really supposed to take this seriously? Surely USA Today put this story up to make light of the conference, right? For my money, I'd rather not consider the Catholic Church, the Vatican, or his Popery as jokes. Child rape, and a horrible policy on condom use and AIDS really don't make me think of these people as a bunch of kooks, who have been watching too much late night TV, they make me think they are dangerous to society.

My name is Satan and I approve of this message.

Friday, November 5, 2010

A Good Wife Knows Her Duty

This blog is not mine. This is supposed to be a real article from Housekeeping Monthly, circa 1955. Who knows if it's real or not, but it sure is funny. It was a simpler time then. You could hit your children without fear of legal entanglement. You could drink all night, drive home and if you were pulled over, the cops would just pour our your beer and tell you to be careful. You could hate those who were different without society calling you a "bigot" or "racist". Gas was about .20 a gallon and there was no such thing as "date rape". If you sprung for dinner and a movie, she owed you. Whatever happened to the good ole' days when Fonzie ruled the world?
(btw, lest you get the wrong idea, my tongue is in my cheek)

FROM: Housekeeping Monthly May 13, 1955
The Good Wife's Guide

Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready on time for his return. This is a way of letting him know that you have be thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they get home and the prospect of a good meal is part of the warm welcome needed.

Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so you'll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh-looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people.

Be a little gay and a little more interesting for him. His boring day may need a lift and one of your duties is to provide it.

Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives. Run a dustcloth over the tables.

During the cooler months of the year you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too. After all, catering to his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.

Minimize all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer or vacuum. Encourage the children to be quiet.

Be happy to see him.

Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him.

Listen to him. You may have a dozen important things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time.Let him talk first - remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours.

Don't greet him with complaints and problems.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Reboot Star Wars?

So, now we are going to get Star Wars in 3-D. I have an idea that is better than that. How about a Star Wars reboot? Whooooaaaa......pump the breaks there folks. I realize just how influential and important the original Star Wars films were/are. I'm a fan. But, George Lucas has screwed the series up and I don't think that can be debated by any serious fan. The prequels were great in small spurts, but overall, the acting was sub par and I have to think that quite a bit of that was due to poor writing and directing. Any time that Anakin and Padme' had scenes together, I couldn't help but cringe at the over acting of Hayden Christensen and the poor dialogue. Jar Jar stands on his own as one of the all time worst movie characters. It would have better if Lucas had used Alf instead of the Jar Jar character.

There is one director/write out there who could pull it off. Christopher Nolan. What he has done with Batman has been nothing short of brilliant and spectacular. I would expect him to be true to the story and not monkey with the basics. The dialogue needs an adult tone to it and the plot lines need to be tightened up. I still find it ridiculous that Lucas allowed the light saber fights to be so advanced in the prequels. In my opinion, it cheapened the work in the original trilogy.

I love how the original Star Wars film had a western feel to it. The guy in the white hat against the guy in the black hat. Good versus evil. Light against darkness. Freedom overcoming tyranny. There wouldn't be any need for any major plot lines to be changed in the originals (except maybe making the Wookies the heroes instead of Muppet's....Muppet's that defeated Imperial troops, for chrissakes!) but, the prequels could use some  tinkering. The story of Anakin becoming Darth Vader was supposed to be the story of the prequels and I guess it was. But it just didn't seem right. He was happy to be a Jedi one moment and then he suddenly turns. Come on, give us some pain and torment. No way he made that decision and went full bore evil in a span of 15 movie minutes.

So, chew on that. Maybe I'll do another blog on who I'd like to see play some roles. I believe I will probably get more death threats than Salman Rushdie for this particular blog. So, into exile I must go.

By the way, if you have never seen the episode of South Park where George Lucas and Steven Spielberg are must! Season 12, episode 8.

You don't have to be a rocket scientist to realize what South Park is saying in this scene;

Saturday, October 23, 2010

It Is Time For A Change.....again.

I'd love to be one of those people who says, "Get out and vote! Make a difference!", but I know that there isn't much of a difference to be made. With the open and all encompassing nature of the mainstream media, along with the internet, I think we all should be able to see by now that our political system is corrupt. It's not necessarily that all the people in politics are corrupt, but the system in which they work is, and thus corrupts them in ways I'm sure they did not think would happen.

In Kentucky, we have two guys running for the US Senate seat being left (thankfully) by Jim Bunning. Bunning was a good representative for Kentucky for quite awhile, but I'm not a fan of anyone being long in tooth in politics. Anyhow, I see and hear Rand Paul and Jack Conway being demonized and demonizing each other every single day. Are these men evil? Of course, far I know. They hold positions of ideology which are different from one another and that doesn't make them bad people, it makes them opponents. Because Paul holds a libertarian view of personal property rights doesn't mean he's a racist. Because Conway supports abortion, it doesn't mean he wants to kill babies. We have to raise our consciousness on many things in this country and politics is one. It serves no purpose to be hyperbolic, when discussing the future of our nation, in regards to individual politicians and parties.

The Democrats are not out to ruin American. The Republicans are not out to make this a fascist country. It's all about difference of vision. But, the system we have is to archaic for the development of our society. Two choices are not enough. Too much polarization and venom has corrupted how we view those who disagree with us on almost anything. It's like Cowboys and Steelers fans or U of K and U of L fans hating each other. There is no basis for that other than who a person roots for in a sport. It's mind numbingly stupid. It's great to have fun with and pick at each other over such things, but we have taken things too far. I question whether we even consider ourselves to be Americans anymore. Seems like we are a country where we are defined by our politics more than by the common ground we stand on. We really do need people running for office that are less locked into ideology and more inclined to compromise and see solutions that most people can live with if it moves us forward and helps us to solve problems.

But, we punish those who are not in lockstep with the platform of a party or go full tilt with the ideology of being a liberal or a conservative. For example, would a Republican ever get nominated by their party for the position of president if they were openly gay or was not staunchly opposed to abortion, in any case? Would a Democrat get the nod if they supported abortion restrictions or wanted to restructure entitlement programs? We all know that's not going to happen. And why? Because there is a refusal to understand the other side of a belief we hold or a position we take. There isn't any room for us to bend. It has to be our way all the way or nothing. Rudolph Guliani would have been a very good presidential candidate. But he didn't last long in the Republican primaries, because he was moderate on a few social issues that the far right didn't like. No matter that he did a masterful job of getting New York city back to a place that people felt safe and good about. Never mind that he showed brilliant leadership after the 9/11/01 attacks. He wasn't for repealing Roe V. Wade, so he couldn't run as a Republican, even though most of the national security and economic positions he held were in line with what most Republicans wanted out of a candidate. So, what we got was a guy, McCain, who pandered to every right of center group in the country to get the nod, and then had the balls to call himself an outsider and a maverick.

Change was coming in the last election and by putting McCain on the ballot, we gave up choice. Obama was a good candidate and the situation was ripe for the picking. I believe any Democrat was going to win in '08, if they were not having to run against a moderate. Obama was the far lefts dream candidate and the right gave him the election, basically unchallenged. Obama has done some things that this moderate agrees with and has done some things I don't like. I simply don't believe he is the leader that we need, but I'm not willing to call him a Muslim appeaser or weak on foreign relations. Nor will I call him a Marxist. He seems to be a good family man.

Point is, we need real leadership, right now. We need politicians who will not throw their fingers in the air to test the political winds. We need change, real change. We need a revolution in how we choose candidates. We need to encourage third parties such as the Tea Party, Green Party, and Libertarians. Even if we don't agree, it can't be a bad thing to have them in the game. Competition breeds excellence and we only have two games in town and even though they are on different ends of the spectrum, they perpetuate one another and want it to remain that way. I guarantee you, the Republicans or Democrats don't really ever want to see a strong third party. It would weaken them both and limit the amount of power and wealth they can obtain. So, we are going to continue to get politicians instead of leaders until we decide we are not going to stand for the status quo any longer.

A candidate I will vote for doesn't need to be all things to me. Just reflect some of my values and be willing to compromise on things where progress can be made and be tough enough to stand up to special interest groups, who only want things one way.....their way.

I want to see candidates that support things that I believe can bring our system some integrity and give us the freedom to explore new ideas as a country and how to move us forward, towards prosperity for the greatest number of people. Things I would like to see a candidate do or things I'd like to see happen at the national level in our politics;

Support term limits.
 2 to 3 terms in the senate or congress is plenty. We need those who are willing to help out the country, without becoming locked in to endless campaigning.

Cap campaign contributions.
There should be a hard limit on contributions. I don't believe any corporation should be able to pour millions into any candidate. Limit for profit companies to a certain amount that has to go to the general fund of a particular party.

No gifts to any politician from lobbyists.
Our politicians are being bought left and right. It's almost to the point where nobody cares and that is tragic. This issue alone has had a tremendous impact on our nations ability to function at a level where everyone really does have a chance at prosperity.

Third trimester abortion, illegal. First trimester legal. A national debate on the second trimester.
This is an issue that is very polarizing. But, there has to be a way to compromise. I truly don't believe ANY person wants more abortions to happen. So make it a rare option. This is a subject of much nuance and should be treated that way. It's simply not black and white.

Support a flat tax or a national sales tax.
Isn't it time we stopped all this nonsense and got rid of the bureaucracy of the IRS? We need to encourage the most wealthy among us to expand their business ventures and find ways to put more people to work in tangible manufacturing jobs. People need to keep more of their money, so they can save or invest. More money in the hands of consumers, along with some trust that our economy can rebound will push the need for goods, thus creating production and jobs.

Take the large amounts of money out of campaigning for any office. Candidates should get free time on broadcast TV to make their pitches and articulate their plans. No more commercials. Publicly funded debates, along with radio and TV interviews can be sufficient without all the waste on negative ads.

Limit some of our trade with other nations. We need to create manufacturing jobs here, to put people to work and there isn't anything wrong with making 9 or 10 bucks an hour making clothing. Or 15 bucks an hour manufacturing radios and TVs. Why do I need Nike's made in Taiwan when my unemployed friend could be working in a factory making them. If a company like Nike or Levi's wants to produce their goods in another country, they should have their tax burden increased to a ridiculous level. But, if they keep those jobs here, they should get tremendous tax cuts. The producers in the USA need to not be treated like the enemy.

Stop spending money on anti-marijuana interests.
We KNOW that marijuana is not nearly as harmful as cigarettes, alcohol, or coffee. Yet, it's illegal and 2/3 of the 15 billion dollar war on drugs is focused on law enforcement, instead of education. Go after meth labs. Heroin and cocaine are harmful drugs and we should be putting all efforts into eradicating their use. The health care system has gone amok and people are being priced out of getting quality health care, and quite a bit of the blame can lay at the feet of alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, and refined sugars. Yet, nobody has ever died from using marijuana.....ever. Not to mention that using hemp in industrial production can cut the amount of harm we do the environment tremendously. Our planet really can be saved if we put industrial hemp to use for fuel, food, garment manufacturing, and paper/pulp goods. We are trying to make one of the most useful plants on earth extinct. It makes no sense.

Look at solar and nuclear energy as the future.
It's time we went full bore into the future with our energy policy. Our "leadership" always talks about dependence on foreign oil, but they never do anything about it. Now is the time. RIGHT NOW.

Re-think our attitudes on crime and punishment.
Should someone with possession of marijuana be in prison? Should someone who cheats on their taxes be in prison? There simply has to be a better, more efficient, and cost effective way of punishing and rehabilitating non-violent criminals. Weekend work programs, mandatory social classes, stripping away of some privileges(voting privileges, driving suspensions, etc) could be far more useful than making hardcore criminals out of people who are of no threat to society. We have started privatizing prisons and security. Wow....I still can't believe that. The potential for abuse is there. Someone is making money off of crime and it's not always Vito Corleone' or John Gotti.

Well, that's my election season rant. I have plenty more but this is already so long that nobody will even make it to here. Folks, I believe we are in for even harder times. We are not making anything easier by being unwilling to find gray in areas we have always viewed as black and white. Serious problems can only be handled by serious leaders and the willingness of those leaders to do what's necessary to find a way to put us on a path to meaningful progress. Hate and dismissive attitudes will not rebuild our nation.

So, vote......or don't. Make them give us something to vote for, not against.

Monday, October 18, 2010

42....think I'll stop and rest awhile

Well, today (October 18th) I turn 42 years old. Most of us probably used to see that the age of 40 was a long way off. That it was an age for the old. Now that I'm starting to get up a head of steam towards 50, I can honestly say that being in your 40's isn't all bad. I've learned quite a bit in my life and one of the things I've learned is that I still have a lot to learn. I thought, since I haven't wrote in awhile, that I'd write some things that apply to me since hitting my 40's, that were not necessarily true of me at younger ages. Some are serious, some not.

I do not know everything about anything, but it seems I know a little bit about a lot.

I don't see myself as invincible, I see myself as an extra in the movie of life.

Shows about space and nature ARE interesting. Who knew?

 I don't care much about clocks or watches. My IPod keeps time.

My mom and dad were right about some things.

I have to take medicine to keep me from dying early. But it doesn't protect you against getting hit by a truck or shot with a stray arrow in the chest from a hunter while you are walking in the forest.

I have to take medicine to keep me from killing.

I realize how good of a show "Seinfeld" was.

I enjoy being around people younger than me in many ways. They are not as set in their ways and have not had their dreams dashed....yet.

Seeing other people's points of view and trying to understand them doesn't mean you are compromising your thoughts and ideas, it means you are interested in truth.

Mowing grass still sucks.

I'm better in bed. It's been years since I've fallen out.

Sleeping means less to me. Learning means more.

I still am not sure if eggs are good or bad for me.

Children should be shaken, not stirred.

"Thriller" wasn't really THAT great.

I have the capacity to change a great deal in a short amount of time.

Baseball is not better than sex. Information I could have used when I was 17.

I still care about the friends that have been close to me at different parts of my life, even though I can't interact with them the way I used to.

I need my kids more than they need me. Although when they were babies, they needed me more. My kids couldn't even feed themselves or go to the bathroom properly when they were babies. They're late bloomers.

What truly matters is who has the best bands on their IPod. I see that now.

Chickens are not very good house pets.

I think life is much more enjoyable at 42 then it was at 22 or 32. But somehow, it's not as fun.

Thanks for reading and caring. Enjoy you life, someday it will end. If I've ever loved you and considered you a friend, I still do and always will in that place and time.

Never do what your told, plenty of time for that shit when your old
Paul Westerberg

Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm 64
Paul McCartney

Howdy Doody, baseball cards, and birthdays take me back
to a world gone away

Hey nineteen, No, we got nothing in common, No, we can't talk at all
Steely Dan

the cannons don't thunder, there's nothing to plunder, I'm an over 40 victim of fate
Jimmy Buffett

still crazy, after all these years
Paul Simon

Friday, October 1, 2010

A Brief Chat With European Hoopster Nouha Diakite

 Former University of Louisville basketball player Nouha Diakite was kind enough to answer a couple of questions for me about where he's at and how he's doing.  Nouha is still playing ball and seems to be enjoying it. I added a couple of links at the bottom of the post, where you can see how he's doing and also follow him on Twitter. I love reading  his Twitter posts, as often he'll give you a glimpse of what playing pro ball in Europe is like. Again, I want to thank Nouha for taking the time to correspond with me for this brief e-interview.

FOM:  Nouha, tell the fans a little bit about where you are and have been playing basketball the past few years.

ND:  Since I left Louisville, I've been in Spain, the Czech Republic and for the most part in France, first and second divisions.

FOM:  How does it compare with life as a college basketball player at Louisville? 

ND:  Its totally different because in college you need to (do well) in class and study hall. When you playing pro, all you do is basketball and you have more pressure. Sometimes if your team doesn't get good results they can delay your salary, or in the worst case, don t pay you. But I never been in the last situation.

  FOM:  Do you see yourself as continuing to play professionally for quite some time, or is there another interest in your life that you are wanting to pursue?

ND:  Basketball is what I love the most and I will play until my body says stop to me.

FOM:  Do you continue to keep up friendships with your former teammates and coaches from your days at Louisville? (through phone calls, Twitter, Facebook, etc)

ND:  I'm still talking with (Alhaji) Mohammed and I'm following the others with Twitter and

FOM:  Being a professional basketball player takes quite a bit of hard work and time in the gym, not to mention traveling. Do you get the chance to watch Louisville play during the season?

ND:  It's hard to watch the games with the time difference. But I tried to watch one or two games and the tournament.

FOM:  I appreciate your time, Nouha.

ND:  Thank you for this interview and take care.

Nouha Diakite Highlights

Follow Nouha On Twitter

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Things That You Just Have To Laugh At

I fancy myself as having a decent sense of humor. I enjoy a good laugh and have a great time entertaining others when I can. There are so many things in the world that I come into contact with daily that just makes me shake my head or laugh. I'm hoping that some of you entertain yourself in the same way I people watching and gawking at the ridiculousness that life can show us, especially when looking around on the 'net.

1) Line Beards: if you refer to my write up on douchebags, you'll find that a lot of young people with the line beards are kind of goofy and seem to believe they are cooler than thou. Not all line beards look bad.  But really, how can you take a person seriously that CHOOSES this look;

2) People that put ridiculous tattoos on themselves. Do they realize that some day, they will be over the age of 35 and then the spider and the skull won't be so cool anymore? And what about people having celebrities put on their body. The shelf life of the average "celebrity" in this country is about 48 hours. Don't expect anyone to be nostalgic about your Justin Bieber tattoo in 5 years.


3) Sometimes.....people are just goofy and they don't mind who knows it.


4) You ever see a car in some sort of weird wreck or odd place? Many times, I just can't figure out how in the hell something like these things happen.


5)  Ever seen someone reading, looking in the backseat, or putting on makeup while driving? I always get a kick out of that. Even though those idiots may be getting away with it now, their time is coming and the result will not be pretty, even with the make up.


6) Really, really bad sun burns crack me up! It's 2010, for crying out loud! I'm pretty sure you can buy sunblock at McDonalds. Or better yet, don't lay out in the sun so long that you start convincing people that you WANT to get skin cancer.


7) People who get so drunk in public that they can't control themselves is also a riot. If they piss themselves or throw up in a public place is a real bonus. I can't help but laugh at that scenario!



There are plenty of other stupid things to laugh at. Like someone ordering a biggie sized, double quarter pounder, and apple turnover and a diet soda. Everyone knows that the internet is full of stupid people. So, if you are ever down, having a bad day or just want to get a good laugh, do a google search and prepare to be amazed at the wonder you will find. Or, just go to a Wal-Mart, grab a soda and look around.

Everybody knows, that the world is full of stupid people
well I got the pistol, so I'll keep the pesos
yeah, that seems fair
Bandito's---The Refreshments