Hot Button Catch Phrases

January 31, 2017

Politicians and the vindictive beware.

As we go about our everyday routines we probably do not intentionally pay close attention to everything. The people talking nearby in our workplace, the radio in our cars, the tv’s that provide the white noise we so desperately need while we do the humdrum chores at home, the feeds on our Facebook and Twitter pages, the notifications that incessantly pop up on our phones and computers.
But every so often our minds do something akin to owl or Exorcist head spins just at the mention of a certain word or phrase. Suddenly undivided attention comes into play, tempers rise and that sense of injustice roiling in our chests. Usually, at this point, it is a raw emotion which can govern our immediate actions.
There are several groups of people who know and use this reaction to their benefit-see above. Some even seem to delight and thrive in its creation and aftermath.
Calm down. Take a deep breath. Or two. Let the moment pass. Let your rational mind regain control. See these actions for what they are. Tactics. An agenda.
Forego the lashing out. Let cooler heads prevail. Add to the ever increasing number of biting-your-tongue scars and resist uttering/typing those words, once said/published, which will forever remain irretrievable. This course may not, at this particular moment, be in any way fulfilling but we shall see another day with one less pushable button.


Most Interesting Times

January 28, 2017

From varied points of view and even more varied times in our history it could be said by any particular group of people that we are living, or soon will be, in most interesting times.
Unfoundedly originating from an old Chinese saying, purporting to be an ironical curse, the times indeed they are changing and very soon may become most interesting for many.
Now that one political party has influence, if not complete control, over each of the three branches of our government, most of the state’s governorships and at least half of both houses of all our states legislative bodies, it is inconceivable for one not to assume that the word “mandate” will not become much overused in the coming years. If it is said often enough and loud enough and purported to be the truth by those who govern us, those who daily give us the news they have chosen what we need to know and any radio/tv show personality and blogger with a dedicated following, it will one day be the truth, as we will come to accept knowing it.
Let the most interesting times roll.

Promises, Promises

January 24, 2017

The words flow so easily from one’s lips. Words that you want to hear, words that you hoped to hear, words that you need to hear in order to go on believing in the person speaking them.
We can look them in the eye, we can listen to their tone, we can look into our own hearts and try to discern whether or not these words convey the truth.
We will believe because we want to believe. Until the next anger-issue punch comes out of nowhere, the next demeaning tirade attempts to belittle into submission or some sanctimonious political representative lauds the fact that he/she is acting for the welfare of the American people and still we will want to believe.
“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” Stronger, yes, but no less likely to judge correctly between and empty promise and a promise fulfilled.


January 23, 2017

We carry change in our pockets. Yes, the few coins receive when the paper money was just too much for the overall asking price. That is unless we eschew cash and rely on plastic.
We change our clothes. If we are lucky enough to have a closet with extra garments just so we do not look the same day after day and start to take on a ripe, personal space increasing smell.
We change our habits. Usually only after a life altering event that hopefully has just scared the beJesus out of us.
We change our minds. Rarely. We have put so much time and effort into becoming the person we are, the person we aspire to be, the person others think we should be that a change on this scale is probably harder than kicking an acquired drug/nicotine/alcohol addiction. Interventions based on data, facts, alternate facts, testimony hold no sway. Our minds have been made up and will never ever be altered. Unless we can say, “I’m sorry, I was wrong.” And just when was the last time anyone of us voluntarily said that? And meant it?

Ain’t No Sunshine

January 21, 2017

We knew it was coming. For months now we have been ignoring the forecasts. We have silently kept our fears at bay hoping that it would not be as bad as predicted. We have weathered the initial precursors of the expected change. It is now upon us all full blown. There is no circumvention, it must run its course. Our only hope is to keep open a watchful eye lest we are swept up in the ever darkening currents that threaten to engulf us. Vigilance will be the key and the courage to make a stand when stand we must to hold back the darkness in whatever frightening forms it may take.


January 20, 2017

Should never have watched that Program on PBS about Alzheimer’s. True they showed some of the scariest aspects of the disease but I am sure that most could recognize some of the small initial symptoms in ourselves, especially if we happened to be baby boom generation. There are surely medical tests that your doctor can run to find out if you are at risk and a myriad of things online that a Google search will turn up. My doctor, as kind and thorough as she is, says “Do you really want to know?” I do not know just how I would react to the information but I do know how I have reacted to past medical issues and the fear of dying or just the fear of the unknown itself has never bolted its way to the forefront. One step at a time, do what you imagine you are supposed to do, call 911, get to a doctor or hospital and let the professionals sort things out. Whatever is going to happen will happen and hopefully we come out the other side with a little more knowledge, a speck more appreciation of the life we have or we truly come out on the other side, if there indeed is another side.

In my little walk here, I seem to have stumbled into, what some may call, The Land of the Morose. It was never my intention but, occasionally, what we do and what we intend to do somehow get jumbled up along the way. Is there a way back to the initial point I thought I might have been making. In writing there always is, the new paragraph. Here we go.

Oh yes, memorable, the loss of the memorable and the loss of the just plain mundane because of a disease. It is by all accounts a slow and steady process, more painful to those witnessing it rather than the frustrated afflicted. Because let’s face it, to the afflicted, at least early on, the frustrations to recall things stored in memory can be consciously moved to some back burner to let the brain itself resolve this retrieval problem, which it usually does in its own flash of inspiration moment, though the time lag usually makes the eureka moment seem very out of sync with present circumstance. Usually this lapse can be artfully managed with a little trick of misdirection, magicians themselves would marvel at our dexterity, and we continue on with only the internal shadow of shame to mark the seemingly ever increasing number of incidents.

I can be fabulously clumsy, but since I live alone there are never many around to see the funny things that I do and/or happen to me except for my cat and she is pledged to silence, less I stop feeding her and giving her fresh water almost every day.
During the winter, when I am seasonally unemployed, and I do not leave the house very often so that cuts down on witnesses but take it from me goofy things happen to me or I actually initiate them. Perhaps it may be because I do a lot of repetitious things that keep me doing what I need to do to make it through most days. Without the routine, I invariably fall into my default state of procrastination (You do not want to know just how long it took me to pull that word from my increasingly failing memory even though I knew I knew the word I just could not retrieve it. This may not be goofy but just a reminder that other things may be at play here.) with the occasional bout of binge-watching. Maybe with the routine comes not paying attention or paying attention to the wrong things.
It helps to have a sense of humor to get through these moments. If you can not laugh at yourself, just what business do you have laughing at someone else unless it is just to keep from crying.

One does not always need a reason or even a season to write a few thoughts down in bits and bytes and I choose this medium over pen and paper only because my handwriting can become so atrocious when I am hurriedly trying to keep up with my thoughts. A keyboard is, at least sometimes for me faster and much, much more easily edited should I decide to change something later on. I have been told and I can also sense that something handwritten is a little more personal than an inkjet printed page of thoughts in that one might be able to gather a better sense of a person by their handwriting rather than the cold mistake free printed page. I guess I could agree but my scrawl is becoming worse with age and can sometimes not even be considered writing anymore. More a mixture of semi-block printed letters and cursive remnants dictated by habit than long ago grade school lessons on coarse lined paper.

I do still buy pens with which to write at times when a computer is not easily accessible and not the proper medium for jotting down the brief note about a passing thought of which you desire to keep a more than tenuous mental memory. I know that there are apps for that on one’s phone but that would entail more effort unlocking the phone and running the app than there would be just grabbing an always present pen from my pocket. I do like the way the new gel-based inks flow from a large rollerball tipped pens even though I may not be able to accurately decipher just what I wrote at a later point in time or connect the jotting to the whole thought stream I might have been having. At least I made the attempt.

I love the English language, American English that is. Probably because I can only profess to be semi-literate in the only one dialect. Speak to me in any of the other English dialects or one of the 6900 plus other languages on our planet and I will most probably look at you like the proverbial indignant American tourist abroad until my senses kick in and I once again return to some sense of humility and the less than worldly American that I am.
Sometimes a word or series of words pops into my head and I marvel at its meaning, cadence, connotation and several other traits that I just can not seem to recall at the moment. A couple of words prompted the start of this post but as happens so many times concentrating on these words have left those words lost in the foggy confines of my own mind. If I happen to remember at some point in the future I will continue with this post. If not I do believe that these words will be relegated to “Draft” status and may never see the LCD lights of your computer screen.
Okay, it is the future and I still have no idea what those initial words were and rather than condemn these words to the pit of “Drafts” I release them just to give you, the reader, a little insight to the everyday happenings in my world, as limited and boring as it is. I have learned to live with it and not be too disappointed that this is all there may be.

PS This was supposed to be titled, “Sorry, English Is My First and Only Language”, but since I got a little off track here I will have to come up with a new title. Perhaps I will revisit the original thought at another time. Mind willing.

Ha Ha Funny, But Not Funny

January 16, 2017

There are just some things that we laugh at, involuntarily of course, at first reading or seeing. Something that strikes our humorous neurons just so, that the giggle, chortle or outright belly laugh comes forth without any thought to political correctness, offensive nature or any other societal blockages that usually keep us protected from scornful, unbelieving looks and the occasional tirades from the Twitter and Facebook faithful.
It probably has something to do with our value system and the ridicule of something on the far end of our acceptance spectrum but then again there probably has never been any research done on this so we can not fall back on any studies to validate our suspicions. Invariably we just laugh and think about what we laughed at afterward and hope that we do not have to offer too many apologies later. Yet in our heart of hearts, there is a small chuckling voice whispering, “Now that, that was really funny.”
Sometimes though after much reflection, I come to think that we laugh some of the time in order to keep from crying.

“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”

What you don’t know. An awful lot and much of which will never, in any way, affect, influence or be more than a “Gee, I did not know that.” moment in a conversation.
What you do know. It is much too easy to just continue along the path of a chosen cozy life. Friends, a few if you are lucky and actually take the time to cultivate them. Money, you are not rich, rich but you do pay all the bills, have a somewhat secure sense of where it will come from tomorrow and you might, if you are frugal enough, have more than the average American, set aside for those unexpected occurrences and the future when you just do not want to participate with the daily grind of a job one second longer. Family, hopefully, still generations deep, healthy and not dysfunctional enough to cause any serious commotions on holiday and birthday gatherings. With the previous comfortably in hand, you can almost safely assume that tomorrow you will have a roof instead of an underpass over your head for the coming chilly night. At least for the time being.

The door, long closed and presumed locked, is now ever so slightly ajar. Every dark, malicious thought or action now assumes it is time to once again to attempt to gain a foothold in the light. Enough said.

We all have experienced that gut wrenching feeling that things are not going so well down in our stomachs. Whether it be from something we have eaten or drank or the latest tweet drivel from someone with whom we do not quite share the same views.
Usually the best remedy, though the taste is never quite pleasing, is to just let it happen. Expel the vile bile that is causing the discomfort, get past it, watch what you ingest in the future and hope that you do not so frequently repeat the experience. Much easier to do with food/drink, not so with tweet drivel. I guess you could unfollow but you would also be opening yourself up to a level of unknowing ignorance that you may have to answer for later. Better to develop a thicker skin, I guess.
Now I do realize that this goes both ways, right and left, our sensibilities can be easily trifled with no matter the side and I too can be as culpable as the next person. Let’s just work on thicker skin and solutions and hope that it never comes to a much worse situations.

It is a new year, a little time for reflection and a look toward the future.
I used to shiver, and do still harbor some fear, at the thought of rereading my own words. Curiosity, as is often the case, trumps better judgment and an awkward trip through old thoughts and memories usually ensues.
Occasionally, I am pleasantly surprised that my old words still retain their resonance and I do not have to embarrassingly scurry to the delete key in order to save face. I hope that I can say the same for future words when and/or if they too are revisited.
As for the future, we can not, at the present moment, predict coming events. We can look at the past, try to see parallels to present events and try to stave off the worst possible outcomes. Unfortunately our attention spans are becoming as long as our last tweet and grandiose self interest seems to be the mission of the day. We can only do our best and hope that someone else’s best and well intentioned efforts do not injure us beyond the point of recovery.