Tag Archives: politics

Every Day Is Opposite Day

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Well, well, well look who is celebrating their 5th anniversary with WordPress. Ah, it feels like yesterday. 

Last year, in celebration of this glorious milestone, I posted an essay that is sadly more relevant today Weapons of Mass Destruction Have a FaceA big orange face to be exact.

So, here we are, one year later, with the shit literally hitting the fan. Oh, happy day … not.

In just 365 days we went from watching this country’s biggest hit reality show to actually being contestants. I’m just sitting here desperately waiting for this show to be cancelled. 

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2017: Every day is Opposite Day

The show, as I like to call it, is “The Opposite.” That’s right folks, we are all participating in a new reality where our host is the opposite of being honest, treating women or anyone else who isn’t white like people, speaking openly, confronting situations directly, having patience, and basically just being a good solid citizen. The Opposite is now leading our path. Where we’re heading has yet to be determined. 

In just a little over 30 days our host has brought several teams to the surface.

First, we have Team Merica. The bible thumping flag waving team who wouldn’t know the constitution if it were narrowed down to a bumper sticker, who take pride in naming at least two of the seven dwarfs, yet cannot muster up the name of a single Supreme Court Judge. They believe every alternative fact presented, including, but not limited to, our former president being a member of Isis.

The White Team is a sub group to Team Merica that includes well-intentioned educated folks who for whatever reason cast their vote. Some say it’s because he’s a businessman, others believed that he would “clean the swamp”, but most, in my opinion, did it because they were tired of a Democrat “giving away” everything they earned.

Next, we have Team Resistance. Not hired actors or paid by a 3rd party to participate. They are a feisty group made up of men, women, children, babies & dogs. They are taking to the streets to have their voices heard bearing signs, pussy hats, and passion for all that is good for the greater good. Their voices are speaking out for common human rights for all people. They are demanding answers from their elected officials regarding our planet, our healthcare, our animals, our freedoms, our sanity and OUR COUNTRY.

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Who knew different could be this bad?

Then we have Team Oh Fuck. This group really, really, really thought they were doing the right thing when they went to the voting booth to cast a vote for “something different” and now they sit quietly pondering the definition of “different.”

Next up, Hollywood. This crew brings money, glitter, glitz, glamor, a microphone and a stage to spread a message they feel should be heard. This group has members on all of the above teams.

Last but not least we have Wall Street. They bring money, mo’ money and of course, mo’ money, which can easily allow them to rule the world … literally. Just remember folks the lack of a moral compass, a soul, and their cloven hooves will eventually lead to their demise. Hopefully.

So, in just over 30 days since the season premiere of “The Opposite” we’ve certainly been kept on our toes with the daily cliffhangers. What’s next? never sounded more terrifying.

Our new host likes to keep the teams confused. As they wander around questioning whether facts are truth or if lies are now alternative facts, which in our old world were just lies, he is vigorously flushing distraction_xlargetheir tax dollars down the drain on his weekend getaways, our satellite First Lady, and my favorite, the 2017 Feed My Ego Tour a/k/a 2020 campaign rally. What just happened?

While the teams scramble to fact check like Ninjas, desperately trying to determine which news is real, fake or somewhere in between, Executive Orders are being signed sealed and delivered faster than a middle of the night Tweet. Diversion at its finest.

Thing have been tense between the teams. While each team frantically attacks each other via social media outlets, the wool is pulled further over their once bright hopeful eyes. Next stop, slaughterhouse.

Let’s just hope that this show will be cancelled long before the Season Finale scheduled to air November, 2020. Until then, crank up the music and Enjoy the Ride!

 

 

Let’s Put The “We” Back In The People

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If this gem doesn’t just scream my name I don’t know what does. That’s right folks, I’m officially hanging with the pigeon squad. 

I am EXHAUSTED!

Not by the hamster wheel of life, but by the behavior of my co-humans.

By the increased hatred and decrease in common decency.

By the lack of truth and over indulgence of misinformation and lies.

I am EXHAUSTED!

By the loss of common ground and the divided beliefs.

By the daily negativity of he said she said while important issues sit silently.

By the rise in civil obedience and the lack of active participation in the process.

I am EXHAUSTED!

By being told who to hate by our televisions, while books collect dust.

By judgments, labels & stereotypes in one hand and bibles, flags & hypocrisy in the other.

By the absence of faith, hope & charity and the escalation of greed.

I am EXHAUSTED!

By the Social Media scholars and their ignorant followers.

By the callous treatment of the less fortunate and the misguided definition of fame. 

By fear dictating our decisions, while common sense faces extinction.

I am EXHAUSTED!

By the abuse of our first amendment and the over extended defense of the our second.

By selfishness leading the way, while collaboration sits on the sidelines.

By the misconception that strength is loud and quietness is weak.

I am EXHAUSTED! 

By the thought of war being the answer and not giving peace a chance.

By the short memories and selective truths.

By the thought that I’m too optimistic, while others have surrendered hope.

Let’s TRY to celebrate our Independence and our Interdependence today by being free from our hatred, fears and differences. These are the freedoms that lay out a strong foundation for our future. These are the freedoms that unite. These are the freedoms that will thrive. 

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the Common Defense, promote the General Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to Ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Now, I’m not going to lie, I will have to remember all of this when my beer induced, wanna be pyrotechnic neighbor starts setting off fireworks from his weather-beaten, one spark short of an inferno deck this evening. I NEVER SAID IT WAS GOING TO BE EASY…anything worthwhile rarely is easy.

We’re all in this together, so hop in and Enjoy the Ride!

 

Weapons Of Mass Destruction Have A Face

Giving-Pledge-Words_thumbNothing better to push me to write than a big ole “Happy Anniversary” from WordPress. Yep, it appears that I entered the Blogosphere 4 years ago today. Time flies when you’re having fun.

In the spirit of writing, today I would like to touch on the power of words.

Remember this old saying:  “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Yea, it’s the biggest piece of BS ever written. 

Words are capable of growing, changing and spreading. They have even been known to influencing our world, for good or evil; and they have the power to hurt us directly or indirectly through others. Today more than ever.

I never thought about a word being “alive” but when I think of words spoken through history, written down and passed through generations, they seem to resurrect when read or spoken today.

For instance, when I listen to the powerful speeches of John F. Kennedy and Martin Lutherimages King, Jr. I can feel their words reaching out and raising me to my feet some 50 years later. That folks is how it’s done.

The words of these men were delivered with such strength and passion you could practically feel a gentle hand on your shoulder. Today it’s more of a shove.

“Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country” ~ John F. Kennedy

Now, let’s fast forward to today…..

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We are living in a time were our words, whether truthful or lies, courageous or weak, kind or hateful, have the ability to be heard, in some cases by the world, within seconds of leaving our minds via our mouths, phones and computers. We have the POWER!

Instead, we allow the Media to abuse their responsibility by silencing the good and sensationalizing the FUCKERY.

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

On the heels of the Republican “Debate”, I have been struck by a revelation regarding the power of words and the authority they can have over our lives. As a firm believer in our First Amendment, Freedom of Speech, I am stunned at the recent abuse of its power. No doubt good ole #1 crumbled itself up last night and headed for the nearest incinerator before the first commercial break. 

Why have we allowed this to continue beyond the F I R S T hateful message?

Why have we allowed O N E person to shine a spotlight on the worst of us?

Why have we allowed the media to continue to sensationalize this mess?

Why the FUCK aren’t we in the streets stopping it?

27b4ea021f2c548371dc500bc8733282The answer to all of these questions is Complacency: a feeling of being satisfied with how things are and not wanting to try to make them better.

Although I don’t believe we don’t want things to be different, I do believe we have become a society of dependent thinkers. A group of people who want someone else to fix things for us and a society that frowns upon people who take it to the streets to protest injustices. Sheeple 

In the end, we have no one to blame but ourselves. When we get the urge to point fingers, we better head to the nearest mirror.

Honestly, I’m not afraid of terrorist attacks, ISIS, bombs, mass shootings, Mexicans, Muslims or any other fears that are fueling our current hateful fire, but I am very afraid of living in a society that promotes, encourages and allows it to be exploited. That is some real shit to fear. 

“Half the world is composed of people who have something to say and can’t, and the other half who have nothing to say and keep on saying it.” –Robert Frost

Today, the most powerful weapon of mass destruction has a face. It’s orange, with bad hairfc5599bb6bbe9b95d7634a5793bc58e7 and a vile mouth. It uses words to fuel anger. It uses words to feed its ego. It uses words to divide this nation. It uses words to make others feel small, and worst of all it’s CONTAGIOUS!

This is our biggest threat and it didn’t cross a border, it was created by the Republican party and grew into the monster it is by our complacency.

The good news is there is a way to put an end to this shit show; stop participating in it. Unfortunately, we have become a nation addicted to crazy, so this is not going to be easy. 

Enjoy the Ride … on the Crazy Train.  All aboard!

 

 

 

 

The Power of PEACE

I came across this amazing story 3 years ago and believe it should shared yet again. These men and their non-violent sacrifices should be recognized for their service at a time of war and their lifetime commitment to continue that service right here at home.

With Memorial Day approaching I would like give a well deserved nod to a group of very brave men. We rarely hear about this peaceful group, especially on holidays that memorialize war heroes, but they are heroes too. The Conscientious Objectors or CO’s as they were better known, provided services that were not combative. Non-combative rolls served this country long after the dust of the war had settled.

In my personal search for “something more” I began attending a Quaker Meeting in my area. After years of attending regularly I proudly made it official and became a Quaker. It was among this group where I first learned about these very brave peacemakers. Being a pacifist in a country that prides itself on war could not be easy, but that’s how Quakers roll. Throughout history they stood for unpopular injustices without batting an eye.

This story touched me for many reasons, but it hit home since I was raised in a neighborhood that literally sits in the backyard of this hospital. I grew up looking at the shells of these abandon buildings. They were a constant reminder of the horrors that took place.

Please take a minute to read this well written story by Joseph Shapiro. He brings the works of these very brave men and the POWER of PEACE to life. Click below to see and hear the moving work of these men. Their quiet works should be an inspiration to us all.

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WWII Pacifists Exposed Mental Ward Horrors

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In September of 1942, Warren Sawyer, a 23-year-old conscientious objector, reported for his volunteer assignment as an attendant at a state mental hospital. The young Quaker was one of thousands of pacifists who had refused to fight and instead were assigned to work in places few outsiders got to see — places like Philadelphia State Hospital, best known as Byberry.

“Byberry’s the last stop on the bus here in Philadelphia,” Sawyer recalls. “Any young man on the bus, other people knew that we were COs working at the hospital. And they’d make different kinds of remarks, supposedly talking to each other, but hoping that we hear. And you know: ‘Yellowbellies, slackers.’ ”

Those slurs were harsh. But not nearly as harsh as what awaited the young men inside the gates of the chaotic and overcrowded hospital for people with mental illness and intellectual disabilities.

The young pacifists would be changed by what they saw in places like Byberry, and then become a force for change themselves.

Serving The Country At Home

Ten million men were drafted into the military during World War II. But more than 40,000 refused to go to war. These conscientious objectors came from more than 100 religions. But most were from the traditional peace churches: people from the Church of the Brethren, Mennonites and Quakers. Still, they wanted to serve their country. Many did serve in the military in noncombatant roles. Others did alternative service, like the 3,000 who were assigned to 62 state mental hospitals around the country.

“Well, I called them hellholes,” says Sawyer. “Terribly overcrowded. All we did and all we could do was just custodial care. Because when you have three men taking care of 350 incontinent patients with everything all over the floor, feces and urine and all that kind of thing.”

The smell got into his clothes and was so strong that even after he washed them, the smell lingered. “In the incontinent ward,” he says, “it took a few weeks before you got used to eating supper with the smell all through your clothes and everything.”

The “incontinent ward” was what the men called A Building. It was a large open room with a concrete slab for a floor. There were no chairs. There were no activities, no therapy, not even a radio to listen to. So hundreds of men — most of them naked — walked about aimlessly or hunched on the floor and huddled against the filthy bare walls.

Nearby was B Building; it was called the “violent ward” or the “death house,” because angry men sometimes violently attacked one another. In one room, rows and rows of men were strapped and shackled to their bed frames.

Sawyer wrote frequent letters home, and those letters provide some of the best surviving historical record of the conditions in those grim wards and of the work of the conscientious objectors at Byberry.

“It was in B Building, the death house,” he started in a letter written in September 1944 that explained one day of violence. “Due to the shortage of cuffs and straps and restraint locks that has prevailed in B Building for some time, one of the patients was able to get himself loose. He was a very dangerous fellow. He only had one cuff and strap on and he got out. He had a spoon that had been broken off at the end and was sharpened almost to a knife edge.”

“After he was loose, he went to another patient and jabbed him in the side of the neck on top of his shoulder and drove the spoon down about one inch deep, just missing the jugular vein.”

“Our work was to try to get attendants to realize these were ordinary people with a little problem and they needed help,” says John Bartholomew.

Working in such a brutal and chaotic place tested the men’s own ideals of nonviolence.

“But I found out there, the difference between violence and force,” says Hartman, who at the time was a young Methodist. “We used force. We’d grab a man and we’d pin him. And then maybe get a nurse if we could to give him a shot. But we didn’t use violence. And the difference was: It wasn’t unusual next day for the patient to come around and thank us for not using violence when we could have.”

There was lots of violence at Byberry. Many of the regular attendants were drunks who’d get fired at one state hospital and just move on to a job at the next. Some kept control by hitting patients with things like sawed-off broom handles or a rubber hose filled with buckshot.

Hartman says the patients came to appreciate the gentler manner of the conscientious objectors. “Cause they knew, the regular attendants, one of their tricks was to use a wet towel and put it around their neck and squeeze it. It, of course, choked them awful, but it didn’t make any mark on them so no state inspector could catch up with them,” he says.

These four men were all conscientious objectors during World War II. For each of them, the experiences they had serving their country at home influenced their future career choices. From left to right: Neil Hartman, Warren Sawyer, John and Evert Bartholomew.

Making A Lasting Impact

Still, the young pacifists worried that it wasn’t enough simply to show kindness. With the end of the war nearing, the conscientious objectors soon would be gone, but they didn’t want to leave behind a place where untrained and underpaid attendants ruled patients by brutality and violence.

So the conscientious objectors came up with a daring plan. Sawyer wrote about it in one of his letters home:

“We are working on a carefully laid out plan to blow this place open in two months,” he wrote. In secret, they went to newspapers, with details of the scandal inside the institution. “If we COs do nothing about this place to improve it,” Sawyer continued, “our stay here has been to no avail and we have accomplished nothing. Two other fellows and I are heading up this thing to launch a campaign and gather material.”

One of those other fellows was a conscientious objector named Charlie Lord.

Today, Lord, 89, lives in another Quaker retirement community, this one in Tennessee. In the living room of his brick bungalow, he flips through old yellowed photographs. “Here’s the original one. Here, 1946. This is the day room with dozens of naked men along the left wall.”

At Byberry, Lord sneaked a small Agfa camera in his jacket pocket. It was the camera he’d borrowed to take on his honeymoon. But he’d dropped it in a lake and then felt he had to buy the damaged camera from his friend. Now he could use it to take pictures to show conditions in the A and B buildings.

When no one was watching, he’d quickly shoot a picture without even looking through the viewfinder. “I’d try to fill the frame,” he says. “You know, not just have little people far away. I’d get up as close as I could. I was aware of composition. But the main thing was to show the truth.”

Over a few months, Lord filled three rolls of film, with 36 exposures each. His pictures showed the truth, in black and white. In the past, reformers and journalists like Dorothea Dix and Nellie Bly sneaked into institutions and wrote exposes about the horrific conditions there.

But Lord was one of the first to ever expose institutions by using the power of photography. “I just thought this would show people what it was like. It’s not, not somebody writing to describe something,” he says. “They can use flowery words or you know, do whatever they want. But if the photograph is there, you can’t deny it.”

One of the first people to see the photographs was Eleanor Roosevelt, in September 1945. A meeting was arranged between Roosevelt — whose husband, President Franklin Roosevelt, had died just a few months before — and a couple of the conscientious objectors from Byberry. They brought along Lord’s disturbing photos. But Roosevelt at first doubted them.

According to Steven Taylor, a professor of disability studies at Syracuse University, Roosevelt assumed these were photos from some institution in the South. She said she knew about those kinds of conditions in Mississippi or Alabama. When told that they had actually been taken at an institution in Philadelphia, Roosevelt then promised to support the reform campaign and wrote about what she’d seen to government health officials and journalists.

Going Public

Lord’s photographs would have their biggest impact several months later, when they were published in Life magazine in May 1946.

Taylor says the images of thin, naked men lined against walls echoed some other disturbing images Americans had just seen. “The immediate reaction by many people to these photographs were that these look[ed] like the Nazi concentration camps. People could not believe that this was the way we treated people with mental illness and intellectual disabilities in our society,” he says. “So it created a kind of mass uproar, nationally.”

Of course, one can’t equate the conditions in American mental hospitals back then — no matter how inhumane — with the extermination of more than 6 million Jews and others. In fact, among those killed by the Nazis were up to 250,000 people with disabilities. They were mainly people with mental illness and intellectual disability, the same disabilities as the people who lived at American institutions like Byberry.

Still, Taylor, who has written a new book about the World War II conscientious objectors calledActs of Conscience: World War II, Mental Institutions and Religious Objectors, says the photos punctured a national sense of American superiority.

“We saved the world. We stood for human rights; we condemned the Holocaust,” he says. “America’s confidence was soaring in the immediate post-World War II era. We were morally superior; we were militarily superior. And I think this was a stark reminder that America wasn’t perfect. America had its shortcomings.”

In postwar America, the country turned to righting those shortcomings. Conscientious objectors from Byberry started a national association that helped train and professionalize workers at state hospitals. And, most of all, they helped improve the lives of the vulnerable people who lived in those state institutions.

The COs from Byberry continued to work for social change, in political activism and in the jobs they chose.

Charlie Lord became a professional photographer and a social worker. The Bartholomew brothers both went into social work. John Bartholomew worked for a mental health group that moved people out of institutions and into small group homes.

Neal Hartman was a teacher. Warren Sawyer sold real estate and is proudest of the way he helped integrate neighborhoods.

Sawyer says what he saw at Byberry — and what he saw could be changed — fortified his dedication to work for human rights. His work at Byberry, he says “changed my life in terms of appreciation of people who are forgotten. It makes me want to make people aware of the many things that need to be done, that people need to be involved in doing things.”

The Truth and Nothing but the Truth

22f3413f964e0d774e694743286a4ddcToday I am here to bitch and complain about a couple that have been driving me absolutely batty for some time now. Please let me introduce you to Politics and Religion. Not that anyone really needs an introduction at this point…they get around.

However, I’m sure you know them by their more popular names such as the Buzz Killers, Room Clearers, Fun Suckers and of course the old school … Party Poopers.

At this point in our lives I think its safe to say that we are all aware of the huge invisible SKULL & CROSSBONES displayed at the entrance to all public gatherings warning us of these two. So, unless you are prepared for a full on debate, that could potentially turn into a scene from the Fight Club, you must heed to the warning and avoid these two like a plague. People are on the brink of cray these days. 

Sadly, thanks to technology, we now have the displeasure of facing these two in the comfort of our own homes. I know when danger-Will-RobinsonI open my dear friend Mac I just want to chill. I do not want to be exposed to a heap of BS opinions about these two, but BAM! they always make an appearance. Unfortunately social media does not come with and arm waving robot screeching … DANGER LISA! DANGER! before logging on.

Honestly, how many hateful misinformed memes or “news” alerts that MUST BE SHARED to spread the misinformed hate across the land can one person endure? Not ONE more!

Don’t get me wrong, I too have had my moments. This fun-loving non confrontational Pisces has been sucked right into the vortex on occasion by … dare I say … responding to the crazy.  I actually blow my own mind at how quickly I switch to Cap Lock and fire away.

It’s so frustrating to suddenly read the “opinion” of a well-educated, normally reasonable person, because it is based on the opinion of some half-truth media source. I think that’s what bugs me most….people have transformed from armchair quarterbacks to polarized parrots over night. 

ed67d87bd7685c9357cbf9a54189d245What the hell happened to waiting for the facts or heaven forbid the truth? I know they always seem to take their good ole time getting to the surface and their black sheep cousin Distorted ALWAYS shows up first reeking so much havoc no one even takes them seriously when they decide to sachet through the door….late as usual, acting like a couple of wallflowers!

I do have a solution to make some big changes, but it sadly doesn’t have a chance in hell of actually happening … even though it’s brilliant.

During my extensive research on this subject, I came to the conclusion that the only legit Truth & Fact tellers on this planet come in the form of a 4-year-olds. An advanced 3-year-old would also do. 

These uninhibited balls of cuteness don’t play around with appropriateness, they go right for the jugular and get away with it with one flash of their dimples. They don’t worry about filtering what comes out of their mouths and they certainly don’t have a care in the world about political correctness. The truth and nothing but the truth.

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I’ll tell you everything you want to know and then some.

They just let the truthful facts and common sense spew from their mouths without an ounce of concern. Let me put it this way … if a 4-year-old tells you you’re fat, chances are that is indeed a truthful fact. They don’t play!

Look at little Nancy Drew over there on the right. She took matters into her own little hands when her Kitty Bank was stolen by her babysitter. She just let the police know the truthful facts and BAM! the crime was solved. Kids are also very good judges of character .. we need to listen to what they have to say. 

“The bad guys stole my kitty bank, they stole my iPod. They also stole my Xbox and my Wii,” the little girl said. “That was really her being bad. She’s not a good babysitter.”

Now take a moment to imagine all the decision-making seats in D.C. filled with 4 year olds. They don’t lie and they have no concept of money! Why no one has made this suggestion before is beyond me. 

I can’t help but laugh as I ponder on all the conversations that may take place during a decision-making session. “Your Bill is dumb!” “No it’s not!””Yes it is!”  “Ok.”  Lord knows they would have these sessions wrapped up before snack time if little Mateo was running the show.

As we celebrate our freedoms today, let’s make a conscious effort to use these privileges wisely and Listen … Listen… Listen as we Enjoy the Ride! 

 

 

 

Those Were The Days

Father’s Day has been different for me over the years. My father died on Father’s Day in 1994. It’s ok, don’t be all sad, he planned the big exit so we would never forget. 23 years ago on the 19th of June.

Honestly, I always thought it would be Christmas, the big guns of the holidays, but having your father die on Father’s Day…well-played Jim, well-played indeed.

This was a man with a very large presence, who wanted to be remembered in a very grand way so I would say…mission accomplished dad.

My dad was almost 58 when I born..oops, which made my childhood a tad interesting, to say the least. It’s funny because I never thought my dad was old, he was just my dad. Until that Summer afternoon in my driveway when my best friend invited me to come to her Grams surprise 60th birthday party. She informed me it was going to be a big party because 60 is really old. This moment was equivalent having a friend fill you in on the whole Santa hoax. Wadda mean really old? 

Needless to say, the lightbulb went off, the calculator in my head was hard at work and 68 is the final answer. Should I be afraid that the Grim Reaper is lurking in the shadows?  Yes, which is exactly what I did from that moment forward. Side note: My mother was 20 years younger, just in case you were going to look me up in the Guinness Book of World Records as the baby born to the oldest woman or something.

He certainly didn’t act old. We went to the shore, amusement parks, and rides to Lancaster, just because he liked chicken and dumplings. We drove for ice-cream on a whim to a special place 45 minutes away, because it was better. We did everything the kids with a young dad did, just with more gray hair.

Mom? Dad?

As I said my dad had a big personality. He was a Jimmy Hoffa/Archie Bunker (without the bigotry) all rolled into one. If he had something to say, he said it. If you crossed him…be afraid. If there was wrong to be righted, he got the job done. How? Who knows and it’s probably better to leave some things to the imagination.

He was a feisty free spirit who lived his life according to his own set of rules. He was loud, stubborn, demanding, certainly not boring, full of life and definitely had a good sense of humor. He never smoked or drank a day in his life, which most likely helped him in the end. I couldn’t even imagine an alcohol induced Jim…I think I just got goosebumps at that thought. 

He was a Teamster and drove a truck for a living, but retired when I went to first grade. So in 1971, he became the stay at home dad and my mother went to work. Let’s just draw some more attention to ourselves as being different, shall we?

However, my mother was still required to cook & clean..come on now he was still the man of the house for god sakes it was 1971!

Both of my parents were very politically active during my childhood, so although he was retired from his job he always had something going on politically. He did go back to work part-time until he was 81. His motto was “always work hard, but remember you’re only a number”  and today my siblings and I are all incredibly loyal hard-working adults, despite being a number.

When my dad was 81 he lost part of his foot to diabetes. This was after Dr. Jim decided he would remove his ingrown toenail with pliers. Feel free to read that line again, yes you did read “pliers” and yes, as in the tool in the garage. 

Of course, no one knew how bad it was until it was too late. My mother had to retire at that point to care for him for the next 7 years. She refers to that time as “serving her sentence.”  The woman is a saint! There isn’t a jury in the land that would convict her if she accidentally sat on that pillow on his face…trust me. 

Jim was the worst patient in the ENTIRE world. Try telling an old free spirit …” you can’t”. The sentence “you can’t drive anymore, we need to take your license” was a million times more deadly than that gangrenous foot … for all of us. 

Although, I know there were highways out there cheering with joy that Mr. Magoo was finally parked for good. Sitting in the passenger seat could cure even the worst case of constipation.

Honestly, when the man behind the wheel is saying “I’ll drive wherever the hell I want..I pay my taxes” as your entering the street with the red and white DO NOT ENTER sign, you know why your bowels are rumbling!

Although I was born to an older dad, I was fortunate that he hung around long enough to meet my daughter. I found out I was pregnant with my son the day before his funeral. This was a huge surprise, considering I had no recollection of having sex. But, according to that blue plus sign on the stick, I did. My first thought was “Oh, shit!” and rightfully so, because sure enough, there is a stubborn, demanding, free-spirited, outspoken young man who looks very much like my dad, living in my house.

Just remember folks, at 58 my father lived another life. He died when I was 30 years old. So he raised me, watched me get married… twice, became a grandfather for the 7th time and taught me a valuable lesson … you’re never too old to Enjoy the Ride! 

Peanut 2016

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It’s not easy being this cute.

Most of you know that Peanut entered our lives back in April, but what you don’t know is he has become quite the celebrity around these parts. I guess that makes me part of his entourage. 

I can’t go anywhere without him being recognized! Our once 40 minute walk can now last well over an hour, as I stand on the sidelines while Peanut is mauled by his fans. By “mauled” I mean petted, hugged, talked to and scratched. 

The majority of Peanut’s fans are under 4ft. tall and 6 years old. Of course there are a good amount of adult admirers that give a passing “he’s so handsome”, “look at that handsome boy” and the most commonly heard “aren’t you a cutie?” but the little ones are certainly the majority. I just love these pint-sized bundles of honesty.

Just the other night I was walking my furry version of the Biebs alone, due to hubby’s long day, when I was immediately stopped by the cutest little red-headed boy down the street. This little guy can spot us coming a mile away. I have no doubt he is president of the Peanut fan club.

Boy: Hi Peanut! Apparently I vanished.

Peanut: Moves in for some love. As if he doesn’t get enough.

Boy: Hey, where’s Peanut’s dad?

Me: Oh, he’s taking a nap.

Boy: Did you make him take a nap?

Me: No, he likes to take naps.

Boy: Why?

Me: Because he had a long day at work and he was tired.

Boy: Why?

Peanut: Laying on the ground like a throw rug from all the petting.

Me: Well, he had to get up very early and he just got home and that made him tired.

Boy: Did he say “hi” to Peanut?

Me: Yep.

Boy: Ok. Bye Peanut, I’ll see you tomorrow. He was on his way to a hot game of Candyland on the porch next door.

Me: See ya!

Peanut: Starts to come out of his love coma to continue his walk.

We continued on our way to get some much needed business out-of-the-way before running into a brother & sister team. Emma & Mikey are adorable. They are usually bathed and sitting on the step with their parents, patiently waiting for the ice cream truck when we come by. They can barely contain their excitement! 

Emma: Hi Peanut!  Mikey: Hi Peanut! Mikey is Emma’s echo.

Me: Hi guys you look all nice and clean in your pj’s.

Emma & Echo: Do you just have one dog?

Me: Yep, just Peanut.

Peanut: Flat on the sidewalk in all his glory.

Emma & Echo: Does Peanut get a bath before bed?

Me: No, just when he starts to smell.

Emma: We don’t smell, but we have to get a bath every day. Mikey: Yea

Me: People are different from dogs.

Mikey: Why?

Emma: Sitting next to Peanut scratching his belly.

Me: Because dogs have fur and they can’t get wet every day. Why am I suddenly nervous?

Emma: Did you see the ice cream man?

Me: No, but I heard the music he must be close.

Emma & Echo: YOU DID? YOU HEARD THE MUSIC? WHEN?

Peanut: Jumps up thinking a riot is about to start.

Me: Umm a couple of minutes ago, I’m sure he’ll be here soon. Yikes!

Emma: Does Peanut like ice cream?

Me: Yep, he likes vanilla.

Mikey: Do you buy the ice cream man for him?

Me: No, he just has a little of ours.

Mikey: Oh

The ice cream man is approaching so we said our goodbyes as Emma & Mikey screeched with joy. Note to self: Do not mention you have any knowledge of the ice cream man’s whereabouts to small children.

Next up two of the cutest little boys you can imagine. One with white hair like a miniature surfer and the other sporting brown hair and a freckled face. Cute as can be so I know they had horns. They are best friends and reminded me so much of my son and his buddy Tommy when they were small. They were both 4 years old. I know because they made me guess. The dynamic duo or double trouble … depending on the day.

Duo: What’s your dog’s name?

Me: Peanut

Duo: Giggling…Peanut? Like a food?

Me: Yep, just like the food.

Duo: Why did you name him a food?

Me: I didn’t. He already had the name when we got him.

Peanut: Having his head rubbed by two hysterical children.

Duo: Giggling. Repeating the word peanut as if it was the funniest thing they ever heard.

Me: Laughing at their laughter.

Duo: Peanut you have a name of a food. Giggles. You smell like a peanut. Giggles. 

Me: I don’t think he smells like a peanut.

Duo: Does he smell like a poop? They are rolling on the ground with Peanut laughing.

Me: I knew it.

Duo: What?

Me: I knew one of you was going to say poop.

Duo: Out of control over the fact that said poop.

Peanut: Looking at me for help to escape the crazy.

Me: See ya guys.

Duo: BYE Peanut….poop….still laughing.

IMG_1239

Vote for “P”
He Never Smells Like Poop

Every night we make our rounds like we’re on the campaign trail. While Peanut is greeting strangers and kissing babies I’m holding his poop bag like a demoted Secret Service Agent. Ya know, Peanut  just may be the one to take 2016. If I can get the voting age changed we’re talking LANDSLIDE. 

Peanut 2016: I sniff butts, I won’t kiss them.

Peanut 2016: I wag my tail, not my tongue.

Peanut 2016: The only tail I’m chasing is my own.

Be the Dog: Be faithful … Be a good listener … Love unconditionally and Enjoy the Ride!

Stay Awake

tumblr_mctl04mveM1rabieto1_400People never cease to amaze me! Just when I thought it was safe to be line at the grocery store, something changed. Little did I know that someone, most likely the Fox network, must be dispensing portable soap boxes to their loyal listeners. This is what I’m going with since I have no other answer.

Hey, I am a huge fan of Free Speech, but for the love of God I can not tolerate when it is abused. Why on earth would a complete stranger feel that a hateful political rant would be a good way to strike up a conversation with ME of all people on this planet? guess the days of “hey baby what’s your sign?” are long gone. 

There I was minding my own business in the check-out line, reading the headlines on all the rag magazines, catching up on all the Kardashian bull shit news, when out of nowhere this person decided to egg me on while he ranted over everything under the sun. Maybe my peace sign bracelet set him off…who knows.

Well, that’s all I can say is THANK GOODNESS I’ve been graced with the gift of having my face come8a83b3cdb5d142b58ffcf58f0c7d9487 up with a quick response long before my mouth has a chance. Sometimes this can be a curse, but not this time. 

I have no idea what my face said, but I can only imagine it was something like “WOW!” or “Shut up you bigoted ass!” or perhaps both since I was then referred to as “one of them” shortly after my face had spoken.

There really were no words to respond, well I did think of two, but I wasn’t going that low. One would think that having a 5′ 9″ cricket as his only audience member would make him stop.

34f61adfcaba647773cb17bf7c5b7071Oh, this guy had all the answers. He was explaining everything that should be getting done “down there in Washington” and everything that would be getting done if “all the idiots” didn’t come out to vote. Can you feel my pain?

At this point I began chanting the ole “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” lecture in my head for sanity purposes. I’ll be honest, after the 3rd time there were F-bombs tossed in to keep me out of jail.

I stood in silence wondering what would happen if this guy spent a quarter of his energy actually contributing to something good instead of spreading his relentless mouth farts all over the place. Hmm, maybe … just maybe, it would loosen that padlock on his mind. 

Since that didn’t seem to be happening any time soon, I continued to silently ingest his gases while loading my groceries at the speed of light. As if food shopping wasn’t enough to suck the life out of me…seriously. 

“All of us wish at times that we lived in a more tranquil world, but we don’t. And if our times are difficult and perplexing, so are they challenging and filled with opportunity.” Robert Kennedy

As you can imagine this left me with a huge social hangover by the time I got home. You know that wonderful feeling you get when you’re around exhausting people for a long period of time. It was going to take something much stronger than CALGON to take me away from this one!

I decided that the toxic remnants of this encounter had to leave before they did any more damage so I went out on my deck, flopped onto my swing and turned on some tunes. I was swinging in the silence when out of nowhere BAM! Teddy Pendergast saved the day. Thank you higher power, thank you very much!

I’m glad I didn’t waste my words on someone who didn’t deserve to hear my voice. Sometimes the most powerful thing you can say is nothing at all. Stay awake and Enjoy the Ride! 

Revolution? Nobody Has Time For That!

0050_soap_box3I’ve been trying to get up on this damn soap box all week, but I kept getting distracted by one piece of insanity after the other. So here I am, finally **tap pssh tap** I hope you can all hear me out there in Blogosphere and beyond. Ok, here we go…..

I need to address the escalated chatter I’ve been hearing lately in regards to a Revolution of some sort that is prompting people to run out and purchase firearms. People, I might add, who have NEVER owned a gun in their life. Everyone suddenly wants a weapon for “protection” for this Revolution. Really? Have these people ever tried to organize a group of people for a cause? Please!

You can call me crazy, but I’m going to provide you with a little scenario explaining why I believe there will NOT be a Revolution.

SCENE SETTING: The rally is being held in a large arena with red, white & blue balloons strung across the large stage. The PopsOrganizer is in jeans, a tailored shirt with dressy work boots, hoping his outfit will appeal to all classes in attendance. Flags are waving, lady Liberty is being erected through the center of the stage just as the Uncle Sam dancers make their way up the aisle high-fiving the crowd. The speaker appears at the podium and everyone is asked to move down closer to the stage due to the poor turnout. Just keeping it real.

REVOLUTION SPEAKER:  Good afternoon. Thank you all for coming out today. I’m sure it wasn’t easy pulling yourselves away from your busy lives to make history, but I’m glad you chose to make this sacrifice for your country. Roaring Applause. I know everyone is feeling a little unsettled these days with the direction our country is taking, but this has been happening for a very long time. Between the chaos in the Middle East, school shootings, slow economy, healthcare issues, Social Security issues, Medicare issues and our everyday life issues we are all on edge. So, I thought it would be a great idea if We The People got together to form a Revolution. Enthusiastic applause. In order to do this we will all need to share in the responsibility of organizing events all over the country. Applause seems weaker. We will all need to do our part to make this a successful Revolution. The crowd begins to shift in their seats. We will be setting up tents throughout some of the largest cities in America. This means you may be living in conditions that you are not accustomed to for long periods of time. If your want change, you have to be willing to make some sacrifices. Section A leaves to use the restroom, they never return to their seats. We will organize groups to get the word out via the Social Media, but let me be clear, we will only use Social Media outlets to invite more of the We The People to join us. The majority of our mission will be held on the ground. Whispers are heard amongst the attenders. We need to show our strength in numbers by physically attending these events. A hand is raise and a question is asked from the crowd. Can we just “like” this Revolution on Facebook? Applause. No sir, this is real life. Forefathers begin spinning in their graves. 

SCENE SETTING: The sounds of “This Land Is Your Land” is playing in the background. The Uncle Sams’ and Lady Liberties exit to man the tables and serve refreshments.

SPEAKER: Are you ready to take your country back? Weak applause and unrecognizable mumbles. We have information tables set up right outside these doors, so please, enjoy the refreshments while you decide how your talents can serve this Revolution best. Crickets can be heard chirping in another county.

WE THE PEOPLE: The crowd heads out to the lobby. We begin to whisper while avoiding eye contact with the organizer and aggressively search for the Exit signs.

SCENE SETTING: Long tables are set up outside the arena. Women dressed as Lady Liberty are patiently waiting to be swarmed with anxious Revolutionary participants, while the Uncle Sam clad men are serving refreshments. The free red, white & blue Revolution pens are waiting to be picked up to fill those sign-up sheets. Some curious potential participants begin to approach the table.

WE THE PEOPLE:  First: Are these pens free? Um, is this Revolution thing going to be during the week, because I work?

                                          Second: Is there any way we can revolt on a Saturday? Oh, wait make that Sunday Jimmy has practice on Saturday. Oh, no wait Sunday isn’t good Mary has dance. Can I get back to you? Are these pens free?

                                          Third: Can I revolt from home? I work every other day, so I can revolt on my days off after my errands.

                                          Fourth: Do you think this Revolution thing will take long? I can commit to 2 weeks of my vacation time, but that 3rd week is mine. Are these pens free?

                                          Fifth: I really, really want to revolt, but Idol just started so, if your still revolting when the season is over I’ll be happy to help out. Hey, can I have this pen?

Instead of filling our homes with weaponry in preparation for a Revolution that may or may not happen, why don’t we figure out a way to honor the gift of American democracy. Impossible? That answer is up to all of us.

It’s time for me to leave the soap box and Enjoy the Ride!

Humanity Cliff

mw_1113_FISCAL_CLIFF_620x350The constant chatter about the impeding doom of falling off of the “oh so precious” Fiscal Cliff, had me crazy to the point of wanting to give it a big fat shove to help it along. Talk about beating a dead horse, or carcass in this case. Since early November we have been held prisoner to term “Fiscal Cliff.” What the hell does it mean?

Well, according to Fiscal Cliff for Dummies this is what it boils down to:

The United States fiscal cliff refers to a large predicted reduction in the budget deficit and a corresponding projected slowdown of the economy if specific laws are allowed to automatically expire or go into effect at the beginning of 2013.

What are we a bunch of wussies? I for one am much more afraid of things like Silence of the Lambs then falling off a fiscal cliff. Maybe we’ll have to struggle or god forbid sacrifice, but we’ll make it..simmer down. Remember the Great Depression? So does my mother, who was born smack into it and is still here to talk about it….you’ll all live. The imaginary money on our portfolios might take a hit, but we’ll all survive. I think some folks in that 1% category might have a much harder time than me…I’ve done struggle. 

The mascot went unnoticed

The GOP Mascot has left the building

While all of our elected officials were sweating over the demise of their tax brackets, a big ole polka dotted elephant made her way to the center of the House floor. Rumor has it she was stunning. I heard first hand that she was wearing a red tutu with flashing lights, but it still wasn’t enough to get her recognized. What does a girl have to do to get noticed on the House floor? Please don’t answer that. 

Her name was VAWA, she would have been 19 this year. Maybe you recognize her by her birth name, Violence Against Women Act. Sadly she is no longer with us since the GOP in the U.S. House of Representatives killed her this week. Yep, once again they will get away with murder. Why you ask? Other than the obvious, because they were too distracted by their own potential financial demise to give a shit, it’s because it would have expanded coverage of the law to more women including immigrants and Native Americans. More coverage, more money needed. It always comes down to the Root of ALL Evil money.

17654260Honestly, if we as a nation cannot recognize the importance of providing vital assistance, to vulnerable women and their children when they need it most, I think we all better take a glance in the mirror and ask ourselves…WHY?

Clearly there is a much bigger problem in this country and it has absolutely nothing to do with the almighty dollar. It’s the shortage of HUMANITY. We as a nation have fallen over the Humanity Cliff long ago. Where is all the hype about this freaking disaster? 

Oh, sure humanity teases us now and then when it climbs back up that mountain, all tattered and torn from its many, many journeys over the cliff. Poor thing is hanging on by a thread. We all see it peaking over the top in the aftermath of some horrific tragedy, but then as life returns to “normal” or what is then defined as the “new normal” we shove it right back down. We can’t survive on these tidbits, we deserve more. 

It’s obvious that the handful of good stories that surface in the wake of a tragedy restores our faith in humanity but it just isn’t enough anymore. These restorations need to be consistent in order to build a foundation that will prevent the fall. 

Do your little bit of good where you are; its those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world -Desmond Tutu

561We are materialistic to a level that is on the brink on insanity. 

Our family units are broken.

Our children are becoming disconnected at the speed of light.

Our sense of community is scarce. We are distracted, divided and headed for disaster if we don’t collectively recognize this huge void in our daily lives. A unanimous Ah Ha moment is desperately needed for the common good. 

It really is the everyday, unnoticed actions of kindness and caring that restore our faith in humanity. Practicing simple acts every 211106301254243494_jTQXJFTk_bday such as using caring words, providing a reassuring hug, lend a helping hand and confirm the acknowledgement of our existence by smiling at a stranger is a wonderful way to get started. Practice make perfect folks…we can do this together.

Remember, in the end that’s all we have is each other. So, take a moment to recognize that our obligation is not just with ourselves, but those who live with and within our decisions.

Keep it simple, make it significant and Enjoy the Ride! 

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