Journal Archives- Jan. to Aug. 2007
Finally, justice has been served…!
There is a tendency for high profile figures to attempt to slip certain things under the radar. For instance, if a political snafu or embarrassing action is to be made public, they release the information late on Friday afternoon. This way, most people aren’t paying attention to the news and by Monday, the whole thing’s died a quiet death on page 6. That is, under the radar, but not out of my watch!
And so, I was not terribly surprised to find not one but two of the Four Bimbos of the Apocalypse in last Friday’s NAEM. To refresh, the FBA is made up of Lindsey, Paris, Britney and Nichole, and represent the sure sign of the end times, as far as our place in history as a thriving and civilized nation.
Friday morning it was announced that Lindsey Lohan was being formally charged with seven misdemeanors in connection with her hit and run DUI of a few months ago, and the one in which she pursued the mother of her former assistant right to the headquarters of Santa Monica PD a few weeks ago. In both instances, she was found to be in possession of cocaine (not hers, she just holds it for people), but “not enough to make it a felony”.
Later Friday afternoon it was made public that Miss Lohan had, through her attorney, accepted a plea deal and pleaded guilty to four misdemeanor counts. At first, it sounded to me like her sentence was to be 96 months, of which she would serve half. After all, I’m accustomed to jail terms being in years or months. However, when they restated it, the actual time was to be 96 hours. Of course, since she had already served 24 hours of hard time, she had only 24 left to go to complete the 48…
Let me see if I got it right now; Miss Lohan, fresh out of a court ordered rehab, at a party where she’s drinking heavily, gets mad and takes off in an SUV that doesn’t belong to her and without the permission of the owner. In driving off she runs over the foot of the owner, and two other unwilling passengers are forced to either go along for the ride or leap from the vehicle at 100 miles an hour. She then chases down the woman at her home in Santa Monica, causing her to call the police to report she is being followed by a maniac and drive to the police station for protection.
On the ride, the men in the SUV strongly urge Miss Lohan to stop and warn her of the possible consequences. She replies, “I can do any thing I want, I’m a fucking celebrity!” Upon her arrival at SMPD, she is greeted by officers to whom she proclaims, “It was the black guy!” pointing to one of the terrified passengers in stolen the SUV.
Once again, Celebrity justice has been served! Miss Lohan was not in court herself to enter the plea, as she is in Utah at rehab right now.
But wait, it gets better! Just when we thought jail terms couldn’t get any lighter, we have now gone from years to months to hours… to minutes! That’s right, you didn’t misread, I said minutes…
Still on Friday evening, just in time to miss major scrutiny, the news announces that Bimbo number four, Nichole, has been released from jail. Wait, did we miss something? Nichole Ritchie? The girl famous for being friends with someone famous for being famous? She was in jail?
Well, yeah, but don’t feel like you weren’t paying attention, as the announcement that she’d been released came in the same hour as the announcement that she’d reported to jail in the first place! In a clear attempt to set an all time land speed record for celebrity justice, Miss Ritchie has served an astounding 82 MINUTES of serious hard time in the big house. (No, not the big house where Paris lives, in the real “big house”).
The Sherriff’s Office spokes hole assured the NAEM that Miss Ritchie had not received any special treatment, as this would have been the case for anyone under the same circumstances.
So please, if there is anyone out there who has been arrested driving after midnight with no headlights at a high rate of speed, going the wrong way on the freeway, high on Vicodin and pot; please let us know, how long did you spend in jail? Call me jaded, but I am willing to put some money on it being measured in at least days, not minutes!
I’ve always taken a very sideways glance at people who claim that white people do less time then black people for breaking essentially the same laws. Yes, I know Nichole is half black, but she hangs with rich white-trash. Lindsey, on the other hand, has been twice arrested while committing dangerous crimes and found in possession of cocaine. I have to ask myself, if it had been a black woman in Inglewood racing the stolen SUV with two kidnapped people in it found to be holding crack, how long would she have served… Is Lil’ Kim still in jail, by the way…?
Reminds me of the days…
I must be getting older, because I really am thinking more often about how it was, “Back in the day”. And, of course, more and more people are emailing me things about “Remember when…”
Well, someone finally sent me something that moved me to the point that I felt I had to share it, and for a number of reasons. First and foremost, I think what is said here is profound to the point of clearly illustrating the depths to which the News As Entertainment Media has taken us. Second, I am reminded of how it is possible for Americans to be positive and have hope in the future.
President Ronald Reagan was called the Great Communicator, even by those who loathed him politically. I think the title serves well, as even his greatest opponents (the media and the left, not the Soviets) had to admit he made his points with logic and humor. In fact, just reading his words again has burned through the fog in my outlook, if just for a few moments.
And so, I share with you a refreshing glimpse into the past with a nod to the future. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you President Ronald Reagan:
"Here's my strategy on the Cold War: We win, they lose."
"No arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is as formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women."
"The most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help."
"The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they're ignorant; it's just that they know so much that isn't so."
"Of the four wars in my lifetime, none came about because the U.S. was too strong."
"I have wondered at times about what the Ten Commandments would have looked like if Moses had run them through the U.S. Congress."
"The taxpayer: That's someone who works for the federal government but doesn't have to take the civil service examination."
"Government is like a baby: An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other."
"The nearest thing to eternal life we will ever see on this earth is a government program."
"I've laid down the law, though, to everyone from now on about anything that happens: no matter what time it is, wake me, even if it's in the middle of a Cabinet meeting."
"It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first."
"Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it."
"Politics is not a bad profession. If you succeed, there are many rewards; if you disgrace yourself, you can always write a book."
"If we ever forget that we're one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under."
Mr. President, I couldn’t have said it better.
Why can’t I put it down there…?
It seems like an eternity since I reported on my wonderful evening at the Police concert. Checking the math it’s a little over a month; roughly the timeframe I had promised myself that I’d have written four or five journal entries. So, I ask myself, why haven’t I written anything?
It’s not like there’s nothing going on to talk about. God knows I burn up the cell and ears of friends, spouting about my take on the day to day happenings of the world. In fact, there’s been so much “worthy” of comment lately that I think I may be wearing out my welcome with a few folks!
But, I realized, that’s just the problem! I really hate going negative, so much so, that I tend not to write about things that I can only bitch about. Instead, I make a nuisance of myself to those close to me, unable to contain my building irritation.
I thought it over. Am I so concerned about “appearing” negative on here that I filter my musings? I have to admit, I think I have! So, dear reader(s), pardon my venting, but I have some un-positive things I need say, and I may again in the future!
The biggest thing on my plate these days is an item that I knew was inevitable, and is not a bad thing in reality. Eddy, my beloved and adored, has been mulling over the idea of retiring from the LAPD. We’ve talked it over for the last few years, always saying that it would be wonderful to have our lives to go where we wished and do as we pleased. He’s got 22 years on now, and could retire at 50% of his current pay (tax free, so it works out to be like ¾ of his take home). Every time we discuss it, we both get edgy and it’s pretty clear that neither of us really can fully get out hearts around it. I mean, come on, he’s 44, what would we do as a retired couple anyway? (Yeah, I retired at 26, but that was a lot different! Besides, I HAD to get back to work or go nuts…)
Eddy was “encouraged” to take the bump to Detective III a few years back. It’s a huge deal to make DIII so early, and he’s earned it. But once you take a promotion you have to stay on at least three years to be eligible to retire at that grade. So we accepted that it would be at least three more years before retirement; and those years are now past.
However, it wasn’t long after he took the bump that certain interested parties began encouraging him to take the Lieutenant’s exam. I was dead set against it, to be honest. I know my man, and I know where his heart lies. He’s a street cop, born to work out there, doing the job and making a dent in the case load. If it hadn’t been for the fact that in his unit the DIII’s still work cases, he wouldn’t have accepted that bump, as it would have put him at a desk, doing administrative paper-pushing. The bump to LT would surely land him in the same bureaucratic malaise…
So, it was my position that he should keep on doing his thing and let the powers that be go find another wunderkind to groom for the slot. The money would be nice, but we make a comfortable living already. Three years of indentured servitude only added to my feeling that it wasn’t a good idea. Mainly though, I was certain that I would be on the receiving end of his daily disappointment; wading through the papers and politics, making himself miserable.
But sometimes things are not so cut and dried as all that. And fortunately, sometimes, those same powers that be actually do have best intentions at heart. They assured us that, should he accept, the new LT of the unit would be a field supervisor, actually working cases with the rest of the team. He’d be responsible for more administrative tasks than before, but he’d be on the street as much as he needed to be…And so we decided together that our world could survive the promotion.
That he passed the test was a foregone conclusion. That he’d look so sexy with those shiny bars on the collar of his dress uniform, well, I never imagined. So we’ll wait another three years (or so) to retire; it was the right thing for us to do.
There, that wasn’t so negative, was it? I guess I’ll get to the crap next week… Bridges being “Structurally Deficient” for 17 years prior to plummeting into the Mississippi, sports figures running dog fights being more “news worthy” and drawing more public outrage than those that murder their families before hanging themselves, and, of course, the Four Bimbos of the Apocalypse (Lindsey, Paris, Nichole, and Britney). I really need to vent, so fasten your seat belts!
Somebody call The Police…
No, not the LAPD… I mean the quintessential power trio that virtually defined their genre back when my musical tastes were being warped beyond anything resembling a “nice country girl’s”. I’m referring to Andy Somers, Stewart Copland, and Sting; could there be any other?
While the LAPD may be trying to steer clear of big crowds of screaming people these days, The Police have regrouped and brought the fight to the fore. The venue, Dodger Stadium, certainly isn’t what you might call intimate, but with a little help from an army of sound engineers, the house was rocking, ‘80’s style.
The local goddess of concert tickets, Rhonda be thy name, managed to wrangle a gaggle of top deck tickets, and the Western branch of the Odd Squad was determined to make New Wave new again. Audrey, who wouldn’t have missed it for the world, even took the rare Saturday night off from her prowling of Hollywood Division. And so, she, her hubby, Doug (the closet punk accountant), Eddy, Neil, Rhonda, and I all headed for Chavez Ravine.
While I will admit that the top deck is better suited to a baseball game than watching three guys out by the backfield bleachers, the sound people did an incredible job of getting every note and word out past the rafters!
We found our seats and then Eddy, Doug, and Neil handled the beer and hotdogs while the girls ogled the souvenirs in search of memorabilia. The shirts were cool, and we picked some that had the boy’s pictures from the early days on the front and from today on the back.
The first band began at about 6:30, while we were in line. At first I though we were missing the main act, as the lead singer sounded exactly like Sting. Their name was Fictionplane, and if I heard correctly, was fronted by Sting’s son. They were interesting, though I can’t say we really got to listen as we were preoccupied trying not to spill relish and mustard on brand new $35 t-shirts. (Honestly, I don’t even know why we got Dodger dogs anyway, I HATE them! Oh well, when in Rome…)
After a short reset of the stage the second band came out, The Foo Fighters. I guess you’ve got to be a real legend in the industry to get a mainliner band to open for you, but they seemed humbled to be honored with the spot. I’m not a real fan, but I do like their music, so it was fun to settle in while they played.
The lead guitarist wowed the crowd by walking out and down into the floor seats, nearly being pushed through the fencing that protected third base from being trampled. He then made his way up an onto the base rigging of the lighting tower and played a while longer before making it back to the stage. Good showmanship.
As it got dark, the stage was reset and the main event finally arrived! Stewart came out first, taking his place at the drum kit and quickened the collective pulse of all of us. Then Andy appeared in the lights, wringing melodic sighs from a fire engine red Strat. Finally, the crowd went wild as Sting came into view, pounding on a road worn sunburst Telecaster base. (There’s just something about a guy who plays a Tele!)
They opened with Message in a Bottle, massaging the melody just enough to say “this is live!”, but familiar enough that no one was left behind as the train left the station!
I have long held that Sting is one of the smartest song writers out there. He was a college professor when he and two of his students formed The Police, and he brings that learned hand to the lyrics he crafted around the signature Reggae meets New Wave rhythms.
While Sting is the only one of the three to continue doing solo albums after the band split, Copland and Somers have kept their chops honed producing and the like. And the production this night was everything a serious Police fan should expect. In a word, it was near perfection!
They played all the mainstays of their legacy, leaving none out that I can recall. Surely, Audrey was missing some of the B sides that only she or Doug would have known anyway, but the singles and more were brought out and fired up.
Of course, when the band hasn’t released a new song in 15 years, and you’re name is Sting, you have to mix it up a little… And so, several of the songs were reworked a bit. Most were true to their roots, changed only in subtle ways to freshen things up while leaving the familiarity intact. The exception, and my only complaint of the evening, was a veritable butchery of Audrey’s personal favorite, Don’t Stand So Close to Me.
When they began the song, it wasn’t recognizable, and there was a general stirring as the crowd groped their collective memory to discern what they were hearing. By the time Sting came in with the first verse, there was a palpable wane in the energy that could be seen as well as felt all across the mammoth arena. People were visibly disappointed as they struggled to sing along, unable to figure out the new melody, beat or phrasing. It was saddening, and I thought Audrey might draw blood, her fist were clenched so tightly.
But, as the great band that they are, they recovered and soon the crowd was once more in their spell. All the way through the end of the third encore.
For me, the high point was Invisible Sun, played as deeply haunting as ever, with a bottom end so large you could taste it. Eddy’s fave was Roxanne (he can be soooo conventional sometimes).
All in all, a great show and an excuse to pull out some of those old spandex tops one more time… God that brought back some great memories!
What part of this is “Reality”…?
I was ignoring the afternoon news (or should I say NAEM?), today when I heard something that made me look. They had taken time off from pretending to report the news to give the dear viewers a taste of something, clearly more important.
It seems that there is a new “Reality Show” slated to premier soon. Unlike the mindless drivel and bug eating of the past, they seemed to say, this one begs a socially vital question, as yet unanswered by the tele-shrinks. The question that burns at the very soul of our culture, “Does love have an age?”
Now, there is an important topic for us to halt our busy lives to learn the answer to. And in the eternal wisdom of network broadcasters, the National Broadcasting Company is poised to deliver the truth to our waiting eyes.
Ok, ok, ok, I know what you are saying, “Red, there have already been dozens of ‘one guy dating 20 hot chicks’ shows! Why is this any different?” True, so true; there’s The Batchelor, The Batchelorette, The European Batchelor, Date My Mom/Dad, even Average Joe or whatever they called it…
Well, dear reader, it is different, because this time the women are from two different age groups, so that makes it different. At least, I’m sure that’s what the genius who pitched it to the exec’s said! This time, instead of one hunky twenty-something, well-to-do guy dating a dozen stunningly attractive twenty-something girls, half the women are forty-somethings!
To quote the TV trailer, “Of the 13 women, half are in their twenties, and half in their forties. [Am I the only one who wonders how half of the 13 will be divided…?] The guy is a studly Euro-hunk tennis player who I’ve never heard of, but I guess he’s big across the waters. That seems like reality to me, everyone is stunningly attractive and there’s not a fatty or a geek in the bunch!
I can’t begin to fully express how deeply I’m sickened by these shows. The show lasts a season, or half of a season, 10-20 weeks, and in that time, the object is to find true love, and if the sponsors get their money’s worth, end in a marriage proposal. If that’s not stupid enough, let’s not forget that while the show lasts those 10-20 weeks, it is shot in about 30 days!
I’m sorry, but to even think anyone could truly know someone well enough to commit a lifetime to them in a single season, let alone a single month, is borderline criminal. Dr. Laura repeatedly tells her listeners you can’t be truly in love (at least not enough to marry) without at least 18 months of close, personal interaction. I, myself, say love needs at least four seasons (as in summer, fall, etc… not TV seasons) to be sure enough.
More troubling than that is the premise that is presented to the drooling little girls, glued to their TV screens each week to see if the girl they wish they were gets the guy, is this; Since the entire event is totally artificial, there is no way for the contestants to have any idea what they are really feeling! And worst yet, you get any number of women in one place to compete over a guy and they will do anything to “win”, even if they really don’t even like the guy!
If you doubt that, I turn your attentions to a show called Elimidate… (Come on it’s ok to admit you used to watch it, I know I did!) Ok, if you insist on denying you watched, I’ll recap. The half hour starts with an available guy and three girls. The cameras follow them from place to place and at set points in the evening, the guy “elimidates” a girl until he is left with the one he wants. Of course, on Elimidate, no pretence of love is made.
I think I’ll use Neil’s description to more fully express the concept. He said he discovered that he’d been going about the dating thing all wrong. After watching the show he realized the secret: You show up looking like you slept in your clothes, get three sleazy skanks and take them immediately to a place that serves alcohol and then let them catfight until you have the one you know will definitely put out and send the others home.
Well, it seems that NBC agrees, because that is exactly what these “Reality Dating” shows are. Sure, they put them up in lavish mansions, send them on dates in limos, and spread it out for a month, but this is just a dressed up version of Elimidate. Too bad they don’t admit that, but instead try to make it about “finding true love”. In this case the guy gets a chance to sleep with more of the women, but will be expected to marry one at month’s end.
You know, I just finished reading the new book by Lee Iacocca, Where Have All The Leaders Gone. In it he laments the painful lack of decent and courageous people to lead us out of our national lethargy. I’m sorry to say it Lee, but even the greatest of leaders won’t be enough to save us from this sorry, drooling mob of widening couch potatoes.
I have to go now, I think there’s some news on about Paris’s plight in jail…
Are you a Celebutant…?
Stand back people, I’m ticked off this time for sure! I guess our society has descended to a new depth, a level of vapid moronics as yet unseen. If the whole Anna Nichole Smith tirade wasn’t enough to make a thinking person believe in reverse Darwinism, then the latest creation of the “news as entertainment” media is (henceforth referred to as NAEM). Hold on to your lunch ladies and gents, it’s time to introduce the “Celebutant”!
A bit of linguistic exploration is required to truly prepare oneself for this venture into the mindless void. Perhaps you’re acquainted with the term debutant? This originally referred to a young girl of high social stature, once she had “debuted”, or made her official public appearance. It sounds so archaic, but once upon a time, a young woman was not to be seen in formal public prior to her coming out, at which time she was available for a proper suitor to court, with an eye towards marriage.
Likewise, a celebrity was a person whose achievements were cause for celebration; an athlete, a star of stage or screen, an author or orator who had stirred minds and imaginations.
Well, as of last night’s official unveiling by the NAEM, we now have a new class (low class?) of public icons… The Celebutant! And who is to be crowned our nation’s first Celebutant? None other than the queen of mindless, classless, clueless debauchery, Paris Hilton. (Wow, that’s hot…)
I suppose that, in a way, Miss Hilton is a debutant; after all, she has publicly shown all she has and more! And I can say she does have a tendency to be seen in places of celebration, namely where mass quantities of alcohol and drugs are being consumed by the most trendy and cosmetically appealing of people!
But, what exactly is it that our nation’s premier Celebutant offers us? Well, she was born to money; but that was not of her own doing. Egg meets sperm; no amount of riches can make the product of the conception a worthy human being; that requires outside influence. She has the anorexic physique of a breed highly prized in our society, the “Supermodel”. But that only makes my case too easy to prove!
She has appeared in movies and even recorded a CD… (Do I hear crickets chirping?) Oh, and her video of her screwing a guy she used to date; that’s bad porn, shouldn’t that count too? (Please don’t misconstrue that as a negative to actual porn workers, who do offer so much more than Paris!)
She was Grand Marshal of last year’s LA Gay Pride Parade… (I know that someone, somewhere has a very interesting sense of humor). I’ll never forget her speech that night, “I just love the gay lifestyle. You are so hot…” Of course, she sounded stoned off her ass, but that’s her normal tone, isn’t it?
Oh, let’s not forget her TV series with gal-pal Nichole Ritchie, The Simple Life! Yes, that was, indeed, a major contribution to the furtherance of reality TV in America.
Paris Hilton might have had all the money and opportunity in the world, but the end result is that she is famous only for one thing, being famous. She hasn’t worked to right some social wrong, assist those in need, find answers to questions and quagmire plaguing humanity. She hasn’t even planted a garden anywhere! Instead, she uses her wealth and status to just be “hot”.
And if that were all there were to it, I’d have nothing to say on the matter. But, the NAEM has elected to elevate her to the icon status and name her Celebutant. And that is truly saddening.
More so, her latest foray into the white-hot-spotlight; Paris goes to jail. (Wait, didn’t Earnest already do that movie?). She was arrested for reckless driving a while back, and as is so common, where you or I would have spent time in the County Jail, paid huge fines, etc…little Miss Hilton got a fine and a suspended license. And then she got caught driving on a suspended license, violating her probation.
Again, you or I would have gone directly to jail without passing Go or collecting $200. Not our favorite Celebutant, though. Before she even served a single day of her reinstated sentence, her lawyers had negotiated a reduced term for “Good behavior”. I guess they just knew she’d be a good girl inside, so they could count off that time in advance!
And so our queen of the little screen turned herself in at 11:30 last Sunday night, so that she’d get credit for a full day’s incarceration! And then, after serving almost three whole days, LA County Sheriff, Lee Bacca, saw fit to release Miss Hilton to serve her remaining time under house arrest with an electronic monitoring device. Yes, that’s right, she’s now forced to stay in her FOUR BEDROOM, THREE BATHROOM ESTATE WITH POOL, SAUNA, AND A FULL STAFF! The poor thing!
The truly sickening thing about it is that the Judge who sentenced her SPECIFICALLY ordered that Hilton NOT BE given any sort of furlough, work release, or electronic monitoring! He wrote it in his own hand on the court documents! But, poor Miss Hilton experienced a “medical” situation, and the Sheriff decided to violate the Judges orders.
Never mind that the County Jail system has medical facilities. Never mind that there are inmates in County custody who are being treated for everything from skin irritation to end stage AIDS. Miss Hilton has a medical issue, and just can’t spend one more night in that mean old ugly jail place!
So, lets all take the Celebutant test:
Do you repeatedly get caught on video drunk, high, and violating the law?
When caught, do you pay a fine equal to a short evening out and walk away?
When you speak, do people stare and ask, “Whaaaat?”
Have you ever “accidentally” taken off your clothes and preformed nude?
If you were convicted of a crime and then caught violating your probation, would you be allowed to spend a month and a half lounging by the pool?
Well, if you answered yes to these questions, congratulations! You are a Celebutant! If, on the other hand, you are one of the hard working people who goes to their job each day, just tot try and keep up with the bills, has to actually answer for their mistakes, and is held to the letter of the law; well, you are NOT a Celebutant…
Sorry, guess you’ll have to watch the real Celebutants on Extra, The Insider, ET, and all the rest of the trash TV. Or, just turn on the 5:00 news, because the NAEM is working overtime to bring you each heart wrenching minute of today’s Celebutant incarceration. Watch fast, because I mean it when I say “minute”!
What’s wrong with me…
Let me start out by saying that I’m in a very good mood, so the title line isn’t a negative as you might infer. As I write this Eddy and I are enjoying our 16th wedding anniversary, relaxing in a lovely hotel in San Luis Obispo, California. We took off yesterday, smoothly rolling up the coast in my Camaro, top down, tunes up…
Looking back on the last 16 years is fantastic; I couldn’t have imagined that things could turn out so well, overall. But, I also have to admit there were some very bad days (weeks, months) in there too. We got through them; relationships are supposed to be worked on, not ridden.
But that dichotomy helps me illustrate something that’s been troubling me for some time now. And therein lies the topic of this entry.
Ask any of my close friends and they’ll tell you I’m perpetually upbeat, nearly always in a positive mood, and rarely pessimistic. I’m no Pollyanna, but neither am I battered about by every whim and wind of emotional tumult. Yet, I have been uncharacteristically negative of late; not in my day to day life, more in my mood regarding the state of “things in general”.
Let me be further specific by saying, where issues of the news, politics, and the state of our society are concerned, I’m finding myself more and more down. And so, I need to unload a little (Eddy has graciously asked me to write it down, and is out stretching his legs at the moment).
I’m, frankly, disgusted with the state of politics in this country. While I stand firmly as an ideological and positional Libertarian, I tend to vote Republican, as their platform most closely resembles my convictions. The concept of smaller government, less intrusion into our private lives, lower taxes, and more personal responsibility are nearly the same as that of Libertarianism, and most Libertarian candidates are simply “unelectable”. (Which is, I suppose, where my frustration begins).
While I find the platform of the Democratic party to be so diametrically opposed to my own values, the actions of both parties become more and more self serving and egregious each day!
The current series of party debates began a few weeks ago, and what may have once been a legitimate means of letting the public see what the various candidates really think has regressed into a muted version of the Jerry Springer show!
Hillary: I oppose the war, now that I see it’s not a nice, happy war, even though I liked the war when my constituents liked the war. Vote for me because my body produces estrogen! Oh, and I hate Bush…
Obama: I oppose the war and have always opposed the war, even when my constituents liked the war! Vote for me because my body produces higher quantities of melanin! And I hate bush twice as much as you do!
Everyone else: Yeah, well we all oppose the war and hate Bush too! We hate bush so much we don’t even know how to tell you how much we hate Bush!
Meanwhile, Al Sharpton is picketing Obama’s headquarters, questioning if he’s “black enough”, and Hillary is doing “black voices” while visiting southern churches.
On the other side of the isle, comedians and commentators are whining that the Republican candidates are all “rich white guys”, as if the Democrats are all poor folks who somehow got past the “old boy machinery” that is supposed to be blocking the door of opportunity! (Anyone looking over Barack Obama’s financials lately? When’s the last time any of these people ate cup-o-noodles because that’s all that was on the shelf?)
All the while, President Bush has left his voter base so far behind, none of us (yes, I DID vote for him, both times) seem to be able to remember why we used to like him so much. Actually, I do remember; he’s a man who holds strong and life directing convictions. In this case, I see that his convictions have caused him to lose sight of a number of realities in the pursuit of his ideals.
Namely, he is totally committed to the war in Iraq, as he should be considering we have our soldiers fighting there. It’s his conviction that we must do all we can to liberate the oppressed that drives him here, and the problem is he can’t see how the opposition (in our country, not the insurgents) is painting him and his policies into a corner.
Secondly, his idea of making “the American Dream” a reality for all has caused him to favor what is, in arguably, the worst immigration amnesty move in our history. He calls it a “Guest Worker” bill, but calling a person who illegally sneaks into the country a guest worker is a little like calling a bank robber a guest withdrawer or someone who vandalizes a school an undocumented redecorator. (More on this later).
The drive-by media (thanks to Rush for that very accurate descriptor!) has adopted a politi-speak that makes Orwell’s 1984 look like Charley and the Chocolate Factory! And the country at large sits on their McAsses and lets Oprah and Cattie Currick convince them what’s really going on out there. The news media is more impressed with themselves as the ultimate authority on everything than with actually checking the facts that come off the wire services.
CNN televises “breaking stories” by repeating 30 seconds worth of information, stretched for five minutes over video feeds of people looking crisis oriented. Then, when no actual facts are available, they let unverified “eyewitnesses” call in to talk about what they kinda, maybe sorta saw… a little bit. “I wasn’t there, but my roommate told me her friend was next to someone who heard everything!”
What really gets to me is how we all seem to sit back and let it happen. No one seems to have the time to actually find out what’s really going on, nor do they want to filter the obvious hogwash coming across the TV screen, “Now in HD with Double Doppler, Super Duper, Mega News Weather!”
To make matters worse, the so called reporters are no longer content to report on what happened (forget that they have no facts, only sound bites), they must now tell us how they feel about it, what they think, even what they think should be done! Where have the newsmen (and women) gone whose most prized attribute was their objectivity and personal integrity? And if there’s not enough news “happening” they have to go and find some to tell us about… “The food you’re eating may 9or may not) be killing you, news at 11…” or “The air in your home is killing you…” or “The air outside is killing you…”
Hard news and honest, objective reporting are gone the way of the dodo. The media is now the end all and be all, and to question them is tantamount to modern blasphemy. If Oprah says it, it must be so, thus sayeth the news!
I had to mentally stifle my own emotional reaction when I saw on the news that actor and former senator Fred Thompson was considering running on the Republican ticket. Here, again, the image took it’s grab at me until my brain said, “but what do you know anything about the guy’s actual stand on things?”. Frankly, if he’s anything like the character he plays on Law and Order, he’d likely have my vote. However, like most of America, I was quick to assume that the man and the character are one and the same. Unlike most of America, I’ll do some research and get back to you on this!
Glad I got that off my chest. Now I can go back to enjoying my anniversary!
Ok, I admit that I’ve been very remiss in posting lately. The truth is that while I’ve had a lot on my mind and a lot of things I wanted to talk about, I actually was too angry to gather myself and put it on paper. I’ve actually been planning an entry titled “May Day…May Day…”, since the first of the month.
Well, a good friend sent me something last night, and I think it’s well enough said that I am going to post it. Thank to Buckster for the e’mail. I’ll put up something of my own soon.
The Ant and the Grasshopper
The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.
The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.
Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed. The grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold.
MORAL OF THE STORY: Be responsible for yourself!
The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.
The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.
Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving.
CBS, NBC, PBS, CNN, and ABC show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food.
America is stunned by the sharp contrast. How can this be, that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?
Kermit the Frog appears on Oprah with the grasshopper and Al Gore, and everybody cries when they sing, "It's Not Easy Being Green."
Jesse Jackson Al Sharpton stage a demonstration in front of the ant's house where the news stations film the group singing, "We shall overcome." Jesse and Al then have the group kneel down to pray to God for the grasshopper's sake.
Nancy Pelosi & John Kerry exclaim in an interview with Larry King that the ant has gotten rich off the back of the grasshopper, and both call for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his fair share.
Finally, the EEOC drafts the Economic Equity and Anti-Grasshopper Act retroactive to the beginning of the summer. The ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the government.
Hillary gets her old law firm to represent the grasshopper in a defamation suit against the ant, and the case is tried before a panel of federal judges that Bill Clinton (who's looking for the queen ant) appointed from a list of single-parent welfare recipients.
The ant loses the case.
The story ends as Fox News reports the grasshopper finishing up the last bits of the ant's food while the government house he is in, which just happens to be the ant's old house, crumbles around him because he doesn't maintain it.
The ant has disappeared in the snow. The grasshopper is found dead in a drug related incident and the house, now abandoned, is taken over by a gang of spiders who terrorize the once peaceful neighborhood.
That’s really the only way I can describe how I feel at this moment. Enraged, by the mass murder of 32 innocents, to be sure; but far more so at the needlessness of this totally preventable atrocity.
I should first define a few words, as our schools and media have so graciously eradicated the meaning and veracity of the language. Even the words we use have lost their weight and few have any regard or understanding of their true meaning.
Tragedy: This is when something terrible happens to someone through accident, unintended consequence, act of nature, etc…It also applies when a soldier, law enforcement officer, firefighter, etc… is injured or killed in the line of duty. By example, when a police officer is shot down during a traffic stop, it’s a tragedy. When a toddler falls into a pool and drowns, it’s a tragedy. When a soldier throws himself on a grenade to save his comrades, it’s an heroic tragedy.
Atrocity: This is when a person or group of people, by intentional action, cause great harm or loss of life to others. When domestic terrorist murdered 168 innocents in the Oklahoma City Federal Building, that was an atrocity. When Hitler’s Nazi’s exterminated 13 million people (6 million Jews, 7 million non-Jews), it was an atrocity. When Muslim extremists hijacked commercial aircraft full of people and flew them into buildings full of people, this too was an atrocity.
Tolerance: To accept or allow something which is, by its nature, offensive, repugnant, distasteful, outlandish, or even, intolerable.
Acceptance: To not react negatively to an action or condition which may not be to your personal liking or within your personal system of belief. An example is this; I am bisexual. I ask for no one’s tolerance as this would mean my bisexuality was intolerable, and therefore needed to be “put up with”. Rather, I ask to be accepted as a person who harms no one and seeks only to live and let live.
Judgment: To acknowledge that there are things which are good and evil by their nature; that there is a difference between right and wrong and to choose one over the other. Example: I judge that it is wrong to see evil being done and do nothing to stop it. I judge that someone who murders an innocent is a bad person doing a bad thing.
Condemnation: To acknowledge that something is intolerable, unacceptable, wrong, or evil. Example: I condemn those who flew the planes on 9/11, as they have done evil.
This said, I wish now to condemn the legion of people who witnessed years and years of frightening, irrational, and dangerous behavior by the man who finally reached the inevitable end of his escalation. I won’t glorify the murderer by sighting his name, as the media has chosen to, but I will enumerate the ways the false notion of “tolerance” allowed him to reach this point.
The murderer was a deeply troubled youth whose aberrant behavior was observed by neighbors, teachers, law enforcement, and even medical professionals. Some say he was bullied for his strange behavior. All seem to say he acted in ways that caused concern or even alarm. Teachers passed him along through the system and only rarely referred him to get help with his serious mood disorders. Rather, they turned their heads and crossed their fingers that he’d not do anything in their classrooms.
He started a fire, the one that the media has told us about, in his dorm room at college. I’m certain he had a history of fire setting, as this is expected behavior in a person as disturbed and troubled as he. However, in all likelihood, people glossed over his intolerable acts with excuses like; “He’s just a kid”, “He didn’t mean any harm”, “It’s his first offence”, and the like. Our politically correct society is so afraid to appear intolerant or judgmental that the very things that require judgment and intolerance are let to pass.
So, despite a traceable history, no actual record shows up when he inevitably escalates.
In college, Professors reported that he frightened them to the point that they passed him, fearing he “might do something” had they given him the grades he deserved. Others stated they “just wanted him out of [their] class”. Of all of these, only a few ever informed anyone that there was a very obvious problem with this person. They allowed the man who they feared to go on his way, unchecked and left it open for him to terrorize others, so long as it wasn’t them anymore.
In 2005 he was reported twice to police for stalking and harassing two different women. One declined to press charges, but there was finally something on the record. The second recorded offence landed him under psychiatric evaluation. However, since we now value a “patient’s right to privacy” over the safety and wellbeing of the rest of society, no notification was ever made to police. In fact, this was not the first time he had been referred for observation, having displayed suicidal ideation and depression in the past.
When a person is deemed to have been a danger to themselves or others, even for a short time, and even if not involuntarily hospitalized, they are prohibited by Federal law from possessing firearms for a period of 10 years. However, it’s against the law for a medical professional to tell law enforcement that the person is a prohibited person, as that would breach the patient’s privacy. And so, when the murderer went into a Federally Licensed gun dealer and lied on the screening paperwork, the background check showed no problems and he was allowed to purchase his guns. It was a Federal offence for him to even enter the gun store, to even touch the guns in the store, and more so, to actually buy a gun; yet his privacy was respected, allowing him to fool the police background check.
John Douglas, the former head of FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit (later known as Investigative Services), has stated that when a person displays certain actions such as fire setting, repeated intimidation of peers, stalking, peeping, etc… that these almost always indicate that the subject is likely to escalate to more serious and often lethal behavior. Children who terrorize school chums, harm animals, set fires, etc…can be expected to become more destructive and more violent if left unchecked and without treatment.
Yet, this murderer was never reined in. His pattern of violent, harassing, destructive, and even suicidal talk and actions was “tolerated”, not “judged”, and people who could have done something turned their back, glad that it wasn’t their problem anymore.
And then, as the pattern indicated, he meticulously and with deliberate calculation and intent, murdered 32 people. He even stopped to take photos and video, package it up, and mail it to a major network media office. And, then he went and murdered more people.
The teachers and authorities who did nothing, I condemn. The legal system that values the “privacy” of a homicidal sociopath over the innocents, I condemn. And most of all, I condemn the media vultures who have been conducting a feeding frenzy for the past week: passing on lies, conjecture, fabrications, and worst of all, the video made by this sick, twisted, evil murderer. (More on this later).
This need not have happened.
Springing the trap…
Well, operation Blue Ball Therapy has been a success! If you read my last entry you know about the build up; for those who haven’t here it is in a nutshell. I get hit on a lot from guys who frequent a certain “adult” networking site I hang out on. Most of the boys (as opposed to men) who hit on me have some sort of learning difficulty, because I spell it out very clearly; I’m not there to hook up, date, cyber-sex, phone-sex, or in any other way, entertain their little friend.
Still, they send their cut/pasted come-ons. “ur hot I want to pleez u. lets have a drink and see whut hapens…” (I present the spelling much as it arrives). And then there are the “Fly Ins” who e’mail every woman in a geographical area to let them know they’ll be in town for a few days if any are available for free sex with a stranger. When I remind them that had they read my page they’d not have wasted either of our time, they get angry and call names…
Well, lately I’ve been getting especially annoyed with these creeps. To make matters worse, after telling two of them off in February, they both wrote me again, not even noticing that it was the same woman who’d shot them down a few weeks earlier! This was the straw that broke it!
Eddy and I set up these two, pretending I was interested and sending them e’mails written in their style (illiterate, misspelled, using numbers for words, etc…) telling them how eager I was to hook up, have a drink, and then “see how far we can go…!” We would set a meet, and then sit quietly in another part of the bar while Mr. Dreamy sat and fidgeted, wondering why his fantasy slut never showed up!
The first guy, Mike Volki, works for a trucking company in North Hollywood, and he’s married. I let him chat me up a little on IM and told him how I would love to get together with him. He was as inadequate at the basic conversation as he was at writing interesting e’mails, but I played along, dangling the bait. He quickly took the hook, and I had him on the line, playing him like a small fish. Frankly, I had anticipated better spot of it, but I guess I was fishing the wrong stream for the energetic sort!
Finally, after feigning mild trepidation at the idea of stepping out, I told him his sexy pictures (of him screwing other women!) had made up my mind and I was now going to make all his fantasies come true…
And then he chickened out! I offered a time, a place, and suddenly he had every excuse in the world why he couldn’t do it then and there! So, I told him that he had one last chance, he could either step up and have a wild time, or he could run away and know he turned his back on it…I still haven’t heard back from him!
Prince Charming #2, Steve, is an Amtrak train conductor from Texas. I had thought they raised them better down South, but it just goes to show you how bad things have gotten. Steve was a “Fly In”, planning to arrive in LA on the 25th for a few days. I set it up the same way, chatting on e’mail and telling him how much I was turned on by him (no action photos, just bad grammar and cheap come-ons). Again, the plan was to set a date and time, then let him squirm.
This one worked perfectly! At 5:00 I called his cell (I blocked my number, of course) to confirm; drinks at the bar in Union Station at 7:30. At 7:25 I called to say I was running a little late but would be there in about 15 minutes. Then, at 7:45 I called and said I was almost there, and asked him to order me a double Bushmill’s. I specified a single malt Irish whiskey, because I know they cost more… Then, I went to the site, went to his original e’mail come-on, and replied, “If you treat a woman like a whore, expect to be treated like a John…” That done, I blocked his account from contacting me, and went on to have a wonderful night at home!
Ok, some of you are shaking your heads and calling me a bitch. Don’t deny it, I can hear you! Honestly, I generally give this sort a little room, allow for poor upbringing and the dumbing down of our culture at large. But these two really pushed my buttons. I had already told them no, and even reminded them that their approach was insulting and impolite. And yet, they couldn’t even pay close enough attention to remember they had already crossed that line once.
In my heart, I know that these guys will probably never learn anything. But I had fun and we had a good laugh at their expense. Yes, I let the “Evil Linda” out to play… Funny, but “Evil Linda” isn’t all that far removed from “Good Linda”, but I mean that in only the best of ways!
Reforming the illiterate…
Many of my long time readers know that I got a sort of “start in online entertainment” on a personals site called Adult Friend Finder (AFF for short). Yes, the same site they referred to in the new movie, “Because I Said So”, but they don’t have a front page quite like the one in the movie…
Anyway, the thing about AFF was that I spent a lot of time there on the advice pages, dishing out my special brand of solutions and logic. While most of the people posting questions were whining about some adolescent fantasy not quite coming true for them (I.E. “My wife won’t let me bring another woman to our bed, should I have an affair?”), some folks were actually asking serious questions about serious subjects.
I found that lots of these folks would write to me directly and thank me for my input. Many would also ask me about subjects they didn’t feel comfortable posting in public view for fear of ridicule (some people could be quite mean!), etc…
Well, the advice board got meaner and meaner, it seemed. It got so bad that many of the regulars like myself deserted in droves and found other places to hang out and talk, joke, and in general, have “adult” conversations. I say “adult”, meaning intelligent, cogent, having maturity as opposed to “ID required”.
The point is, I’ve been active on AFF for over four years and have met some good people there who I genuinely enjoy chatting with, exchanging ideas, dishing with, even lending the occasional cyber-shoulder to cry on.
The downside; since day one that I’ve been on AFF, I’ve endured the onslaught of horny guys who think that just because it’s “adult” that they can treat all the women like whores. Boys in men’s bodies who honestly think that, since it’s online, they don’t have to treat anyone with even a modicum of respect or dignity.
Sure, I state in irrefutable clarity that I’m a happily married woman with no intention of hooking up or swinging, etc… but that has never stopped the illiterate drooling apes from sending their ill-prepared come-ons. I highlight it, put it in **** asterisks, repeat it in several locations…I even tell them that if they send me a phone number they should expect a call from my hubby! But, if they can’t (won’t) read, what’s the point?
So, I get e’mails with such thoughtful things as; “u r hot! I want 2 make u cum and screem…” To these I usually respond by pointing out that had they read the part where I say ***I do not meet anyone, anytime anywhere, for any reason, ever!***, they wouldn’t have wasted either of our time. Some get very angry at this and call me names. I guess that they think this will turn me on and get me to sleep with them after all. Interestingly, they all seem to be unable to spell, use capitalization, or punctuation! That, and the intolerable habit of using numbers in place of words… (i h8 wen u rite lik this and ask 4 sex b4 u even say helo)
But, worst of all the illiterate apes are the ones I call “Fly ins”. These are the guys who write the same note to a couple hundred women in a geographic area; “ill b in town on the 25th how about we get 2 gether for a drink and c where things go…” These guys usually score a scathing rebuke about how rude it is to treat women like a bunch of call-girls just waiting to service their needs for the weekend. I remind them that if that’s what they want, to call a hooker.
Well, it seems I’m back in season for these guys again… In the last month I’ve gotten two or three times the usual idiot mail. So much, in fact, that two of them have done it twice! That’s right, they wrote asking to hook up, (one for a fly in), I shot them down, they got pissed, and then a couple weeks later they wrote again…!
You see, these sorts never keep track of whom they’ve already contacted…! They cut/paste, and send out their notes to anyone who’s listed as female, over and over and over! So, Eddy and I decided to teach these two a lesson. We call it, “Blue ball therapy”.
Adopting a similar writing style, we replied to them; “i wood luv 2 meet u and c how hot u make me get 4 u!” The plan is, we chat it up a little, arrange a meeting in some public place, get there early and settle in to watch the show… or the no show, actually! We have even thought about doing the “Catch a predator” thing where Eddy shows up and tells them they’ve been making sexual advances on a 15 year old and that we’re going to put them on camera and expose them to the world!
So far, it’s going well. They both took the bait and have swallowed the hook. One is an Amtrak conductor (roll in rather than fly in?), the other, Mike Volki, works for a trucking company in the valley. (Yes, I got his real name but we haven’t had any luck looking up his address or home phone number yet…) I’ll keep you posted how it goes!
You know, I bet that even if they wind up reading this, they still won’t think it’s them!
The envelope please…
No, I’m not commenting on the upcoming Oscars®. Frankly, that silliness rarely gathers my attention. Instead, I’m talking about the query letters we’ve been sending out.
Last year we sent off three query letters to literary agents, seeking representation to get my book published. We carefully paged through the Writer’s market publication to pick the ones we felt most likely to take us on as clients. It was gut wrenching, but we took the step and mailed the letters. All three came back as not interested.
This year we each made resolutions to mail out three queries a month until we found an agent. And, we’ve been doing that. Only this time we decided to be a little more pragmatic. Rather than attempting divine the “right one” from the pages, we’re simply taking them in order of appearance in the book. We’ll skip the obvious misses, such as those specifically saying “We don’t handle any gay/lesbian topics; please don’t send them.”
We sent three in January; I’ll be sending the next three this week. I’m treating it as a numbers game; each no is that much closer to a yes… And I’m not hanging my heart on each letter. This way is just smarter.
Recently I’ve been talking at length with Neil about a program, ironically titled, “The Secret”. He viewed the video a few months ago, and I’ve been hearing about it for some time as well. In a nutshell, The Secret is a presentation of a metaphysical concept that the producers term, “The Law Of Attraction”, or “How to have everything you want”.
Simply put, the video and book put forth the idea that by focusing on positive images and the things we want in our lives, we actually bring those images and things into being. For example, if you get up in the morning and say to yourself, “I’m going to accomplish all I set out to do today!” then you stimulate positive energy within the universe to make it so. If you focus on “I want a nice house in a good neighborhood!” you set things in motion to gain it.
Of course, there is the counter, if you focus on negatives or what you don’t want, you also bring that into being. Focusing on, “I’m gonna get fired, I just know I’m gonna get fired…” makes exactly that happen. “I hope I won’t get stuck in traffic, I’ll be late” calls the traffic and lateness right to you!
Being that I was raised a Pentecostal Christian during the 70’s and 80’s, I do see an awful lot of parallels to the “faith movement”, or “name it and claim it” preachers. They taught that God would give us every desire of our hearts, if we’d only ask and believe. In their world, if you had not, you asked not, and if you had asked, you hadn’t believed enough…
Ok, said all that to say this: While I don’t know how much weight I put in the whole thing, I do see some very cool realities in it.
First and foremost, by just realizing there are two ways to wish for something, you begin to understand a great deal. This is the classic, glass half full/empty conundrum. Let’s say you hit the freeway and you need to get somewhere…If you focus on “No traffic, no traffic, no… Aw damn there’s traffic!” So, how do you make “no traffic” into a positive image? How about seeing the traffic and focusing on, “I’ll get there in plenty of time.” and then relaxing while you drive?
Look, I don’t know if this mindset will cause the universe to speed the flow and get you there on time, but I do know you’ll stress out less!
As I mentioned, Neil and I have been talking about this stuff. He related a conversation with his brother many years ago in which they debated the morality of playing the lottery. Neil, the consummate religious legalist (at the time) stood firm that it was gambling, and therefore immoral and wrong. His brother, a reformed legalist himself, retorted, “I’m not gambling, I’m buying a license to dream that it could happen!”
So far, no matter how many times Neil’s focused on “I’m going to win the lotto tonight!” he still hasn’t. However, he did say something the other night that clicked in my brain. He said he’d given himself permission to dream again.
When we’re little, we dream big. We imagine we can be anything we want to be, can have what we want, and the world hasn’t yet shown us that we’re wrong. As we grow we learn that some things are out of our reach, and we understand disappointment and heartbreak over losing what we could never have anyway. And then we learn to protect ourselves from the pain by not wanting what we simply can’t have.
By the time we’re “grown up” we have learned that we’ll never be more than we are, never date the prom queen/sports idol, etc… We accept that we’ll always live in the place we live, drive the sort of car we drive, go to a job we barely tolerate until we either die, or worse, retire. In short, we dare not dream because dreams will break your heart.
Sure, there are those who never stop dreaming. We look at them and either say they’re incredibly lucky, or a bum with no sense of responsibility.
But I’ve seen something in my friend over the last few months. While he was doing well at work, he got an offer to go to another company. He decided to try to do the new job part time and his regular job full time; after all, the money would help a lot. Then as he was considering what working all night, catching a nap in his car, and then going in to his “day job” would look like, a thought hit him. “I’m acting like a guy who has no choice and has to do this…”.
That epiphany made a marked change in him. He promptly turned down the second job.
Years ago he had conceived of his dream car; a 1970 Camaro Z/28 (good taste Bro’!). He had read all the car magazines and designed the car in every detail, ordered catalogs and planned. And then reality taught him that such a car simply wasn’t practical, and he’d never be able to afford it anyway. That was 20 years ago.
Just last week, he spotted a magazine on the rack in the grocery store. It was the Hot Rod Magazine, Camaro 40th anniversary, Special Edition. And in it was a picture of the car they had feature back in 1982; the very one he’d modeled his dream after.
That magazine is on his coffee table now. He’s given himself permission to dream again. And even if the universe doesn’t move to bring him that dream car, or the dream house in Culver City, or even that lotto win on Tuesday, he’s learned it ok to dream. As far as I can see, that’s a step in the right direction!
Back in the dark ages, about 1974 I think, I saw a poster in a record shop that read:
“I’m sure you believe you understand what you thought I said, but I’m not convinced that you realize, what you heard is not what I meant.”
Ok, that’s as clear as mud…! And the sad thing is that in one way or another, that seems to be the way most people “communicate” these days. I don’t know, maybe the free spirited ‘60s generation got so in touch with their inner child that they forgot how to present a cogent thought without muddying things up to the point of incomprehensibility. And then they raised children of their own who learned (or didn’t learn) how to communicate from their parents!
What’s got me ticked is that the longer I’m on this earth, the more it seems I am presented with otherwise intelligent people who can neither listen nor speak! Oh, sure, they can talk; that’s all they do all day. They talk on their cell, they talk about people behind their backs, they talk about what Oprah thinks is the answer to the world’s problems. The problem is… everyone’s so busy “talking” that no one’s hearing anything.
I had the occasion to sit in on a meeting the other day in which a small group of people were trying to express why there was a, shall we say, “difference of point of view”. One though the other had agreed to a new schedule in an ongoing plan, while the other thought they’d been requested to alter things for a day or two. A week had passed before the one had confronted the other about not sticking to the new schedule, and things became “unpleasant”.
I sat, feeling a migraine developing, wishing that these two would just listen to each other a moment rather than rehashing for the tenth time what they though had happened. Of course, neither would, and so it went round and round for the better part of an hour. Finally, it came out that the project at hand was being done, exactly as scheduled, and that no one had actually asked if things were being done as agreed.
I sometimes get comments from co-workers after I finish a phone call, wondering what the person on the other end had done to make me so frustrated. When I replay the conversation it almost always comes back to my having to repeatedly ask them to just get to the point rather than spend an eternity building up to a simple question. Worse yet, the infuriating people who ask a question, but then won’t let you speak to answer!
Yes, I do get it. People aren’t taught to listen and they’re never forced to think beyond their own immediate wishes. We live in a world of adult children of adult children! (Thanks for the phrase Neil, it covers it perfectly!). Rather than outgrowing the childish nature, they perpetuate it and no one can be bothered with anyone else!
Is anyone listening? Tap, tap, tap, is this thing on? Oh just forget it…
My gawd! You’d hardly know it’s LA out there today! The air is seriously cool, much more than just a little “crisp”, and the wind is blowing. Everything’s staticy and my hair is frizzed like a wild thing! In short, it makes me a little homesick!
I think I’ve forgotten what it’s like to live in a place where it feels like this. I see sunshine and think it’s t-shirt time… But then the familiar bite of cold hits me and I’m back home, watching my breath and feeling the tip of my nose tingling.
Weather like this makes me thing of good things, times with friends and family, in places that were both beautiful and part of my everyday. There is too much truth in the saying that you never see what’s right in front of you. Home is like that for me, I knew it was wonderful, but never really treasured it until I wasn’t there anymore.
So, I think it’s time I started looking at my new home and appreciating the things I see every day here. The way it’s most always sunny and warm here. The mountains I can see in the distance on clear days. The peculiar mix of foliage that isn’t quite all from any one place. The way the cactus and the maple trees blend to say “Dude, it’s LA, ok?”
I haven’t had to shovel a driveway in nearly 20 years now. The only time I have to use the four-wheel-drive on my truck is when I intentionally go off road. Of course, that also means I will miss out on riding around, looking for ditched cars to help pull back onto the highway with my winch! (What we won’t do for fun!)
Anyway, I am enjoying the change.
Happy New Year everyone! My GAWD it seems like just yesterday we were popping corks for 2006, doesn’t it? And now here we are, 2007 has begun, January is well underway, and soon it’ll be summer, then winter once again!
Maybe getting older does make it seem like time goes faster, but I’m not totally convinced that it’s just that. Back in the olden days (no, not 1980, further than that!), people got up, worked the farm until breakfast, then worked till lunch, took a short break, and then were at it again until dinnertime. Evening meant relaxing a bit, then off to bed to rest up for the next day.
On an eventful day, a trip into town or to a neighbor’s was on the agenda. Other than that, things went at a slow, but constant pace.
These days we try to stuff so much into our day that we can’t help but feel rushed! Seriously. How many of us get up and rush through our morning routine just so we can commute an hour or more to a job where we never seem to catch up. We squeeze in a trip to the gym if we can, maybe a salon if we must, if there are kids, about a dozen extracurricular productions; karate, soccer, dance, music lessons…
No one has time for dinner as a family, so it’s fast food at the drive through and TV till the kids go to bed and then we catch the “good” shows till 11 or 12. Grab a quick 5-6 hours of power sleeping and we’re back at it again. Oh, and don’t forget two hours a week at the therapist because we don’t feel fulfilled and we’re unappreciated.
Yes, yes, yes… Any of my close friends will be the first to tell you I’m part of that mad rush! I can never seem to say no to more assignments and projects. Gym three days a week, Tanning at least once (must retain my natural glow!), Krav Maga every Monday, chatting with friends a couple nights a week, etc… Sunday at 10 is The L Word, Monday is Heroes and Studio 60, Tuesday Law and Oder Criminal Intent and SVU, Wednesday is Medium, Thursday ER while I record Shark and watch it from 11 to 12, Friday is Law and Order. Thank god there’s nothing good on Saturday!
On top of all that I try to squeeze in some creative time, if I can still see straight! It’s gotten to the point that I have a Quick-Text saved on my phone that reads: “Running 15 minutes late… Stop laughing!”
Ok, in truth a do find ways to have “me” time. Saturdays are to spend with Eddy, and we schedule our time to fool around, just to be sure not to let the urgencies of life overcome us. Sundays we tend to hang out with the Godsons and their parents, just to force a little perspective into it. That helps a lot.
I am trying to limit what I get myself into, but fighting one’s own nature is an uphill battle.
I’ve been listening to Jimmy Buffett’s new album a lot, and there’s a song I’ve taken to heart. It’s about the situation in New Orleans, post Katrina. The song is called, Breath In, Breath Out, Move On, and it goes like this:
I bought a cheap watch from the crazy man, floating down canal. It doesn’t have numbers or moving hands, it always just says ‘Now’. You may think that I was taken, but this watch is never wrong, and if there’s a problem, the warranty said ‘Breath in, breath out, move on…’
I’m more and more convinced as the world speeds up and we try to pack more into the few remaining hours that haven’t already been taken, that Jimmy’s philosophy is all the more valid. His music has never been busy, and though his perspective has matured slightly, he’s still got some insight for all of us to heed.
So, I ask you to pledge with me to spend a little more time in Margaritaville, and less on the frazzle! Even if it’s just a quiet time at home after the madness, take that time; breath in, breath out, move on…!
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