Q Is For Quality or Quantity? #atozchallenge

Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.” Mae West

Indeed, Mae, indeed. So which is it, “quantity or quality?” asked the girl with commitment issues. Decision?

Both. In both there is a measured enough. Plus considering the option is a good exercise to know what you truly value.

If it’s quality you desire, satisfaction is your measure. Your sense memory holds an enduring, satiated state. Your standard has been met. You feel calm in being aware of, knowing and appreciating quality.

On the other side of the coin, the satisfaction in quantity also holds a feeling of contentment. Your experience and satisfaction remain in the sense memory. If quantity is your standard, you feel the equivalent state of calm and an awareness of and appreciation for the quantity enjoyed.

Our daily lives are filled with quantity and quality choices, some without great consequence like premium or regular gas, vending machine chips now or veggies when you get home, cleaning the bathroom for company with a quick wipe or deep disinfecting. Other quality and quantity choices with greater consequence might be to save years for a rainy day or for a big purchase or spend a little money regularly on small enjoyments, take a job you hate for big bucks or do work you love with other rewards or wait for Mr./Ms Right verses take Mr./Ms Right Now and now and now? Every choice has consequences.

Choosing quality in life is great. Of course, it will edit what you bring into your life. Limiting your own choices may be worth it, even if satisfaction is delayed. If you don’t achieve the same measured satisfaction in quantity and are left longing for the quality, it’s worth the wait, unless your measure of quality was wrong.

Quantity definitely has its benefits. Variety is the spice of life, they say. Life is finite so getting as much as you can out of it is great. In quantity there is less regard for delayed gratification, which might not be worth the wait and might never come. And quantity may be the route to finding what one truly wants, even if what one wants is quantity, unless you missed the quality filling up with quantity.

In either case, desire rooted in envy, gluttony, greed, anger, pride, laziness or lust (the seven deadly sins) is poisoned and will never fully fill your wish, void or desire. Nothing good comes long term from those seven deadly sins and there are always negative consequences. (I have this theory about karma that the longer it takes for bad deeds to catch up to you, the worse your karma. Think O.J. Simpson. If I commit a small wrong and get payback in the same day, I am simply grateful for the lesson.) Materialism is our culture’s best example of bathing in the deadly sins and encompasses at least five of them. I’ve never known anyone driven by materialism who isn’t substituting for a deeper, inner desire for which neither quantity or quality will ever be met.

The choice of quantity or quality is the road diverging in Robert Frost’s yellow wood but which for you is the one less traveled and, therefore, the one that makes all the difference? Can you achieve the perfect blend of both? I don’t think anyone can tell someone else what is right for them. Perhaps the right choices is feeling a happy medium, in which case Mae just might have a point.

QuantityMaeWest

Advertisement

Population: Fruitful Mission Accomplished #atozchallenge

I tend to approach issues at their root cause to find objective solutions and often use the “Conditional Formula,” meaning, “if this, then that.” Therefore when it comes to social and political issues, my life-long, number-one issue is the human population, because there is not one problem that isn’t rooted in our ability to manage 7+ billion humans. I figured someone has to opt out. So I did.

I, hereby, out myself with this deeply-held conviction. Not to compare or minimize what LGBTQ folks endure, but as a straight woman in a society with a near idolatry of all things children, I usually keep my position to myself, thus feeling closeted. I’m a liberal and believe in free will and understand the human desire for fulfillment through parenting. I understand for those with children nothing is more important in life, as nothing should be. I derive an equal level of joy knowing I am mitigating my impact on this planet the best way one can and in alignment with my core principle. I don’t hate children but I don’t want any. Nor do I think that 250 live human births every minute is a miracle. But I do think describing natural, human biology as a miracle is part of the problem. My parents raised me with free will and not only abhorred the idea of imposing one’s beliefs upon another, applauded and agreed with my decision. However I have been chastised and ostracized.

PopulationBabiesThanks to the Internet, I don’t feel quite as alone as I used to with my choice, although most of my friends (no coincidence) don’t have kids, either. The “childless” stigma has abated somewhat in America but is far less taboo in Europe. I share my choice with Helen Mirren, Gloria Steinem, Stevie Nicks, Oprah Winfrey, Chelsea Handler, Jennifer Aniston, Ashley Judd, Marisa Tomei, Margaret Cho, Portia de Rossi, Ellen DeGeneres, Dolly Parton, Katharine Hepburn, Betty White, Lily Tomlin, Anjelica Huston, Liza Minnelli, Kim Cattrall, Candace Bushnell, Cameron Diaz, Zooey Deschanel and lots of not famous women, all who have spoken out about their choice. (Guys, not that you don’t count because you have options, you just don’t have a womb.) Fortunately being first-world females, we have the choice and the ability to live and support ourselves without needing a husband and a family for sustainability.

While I realize there is more emotion tied to human procreation, I submit it took decades to convince the majority that the responsible thing to do was to spay and neuter dogs and cats to avoid over-population. Except for a few who still breed animals for financial profit (and the dopes who support the industry), this is now the norm. Human overpopulation is far more devastating and we have long surpassed the tipping point to our survival. I know how gloom and doom this sounds to some and I know how defensive people get about this. Unfortunately, every reason I chose for not having children has come true and at a faster rate than predicted. We’ve long passed our planet’s optimal maximum for sustainable quality life (depending upon the study, sustainability is between 1.5 and 3.5 billion) well over fifty years ago. Life as we know it, as we are living, is simply unsustainable. But let’s see if my premise is correct; that population is the root to all our problems:

The environment. First, the only reason we call a “natural disaster” a disaster is because it causes harm to people. Hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, forest fires, floods, blizzards, mudslides, volcanoes are natural events. But the more people inhabiting the planet, the greater nature’s impact upon us. But the actual, poisonous damage done to the planet is human caused. And the faster we use up our planet’s resources, the harder it will be to continue to sustain 7+ billion. The western world may feel cushioned but not so for island nations in the pacific that are disappearing under water due to the ice cap melt. Still, Florida is raising their highways because of rising water levels, while California is in a drought and has a year of water in reserve. Our ecosystem depends on the rain forests, which is vanishing at a rate of 80,000 acres a day as land and lumber is needed. Fifty thousand species go extinct every year. Our meat-eating costs an exorbitant amount of land, water and resources. And we continue to disregard the need to wean ourselves off fossil fuels.

Drought

The more people, the easier to exploit labor with more people than jobs. Wages fall. More people means more traffic and more aggressive wear and tear on roads and bridges. The more people, the more hungry mouths to feed and the higher cost to produce more food. And poor countries have a higher death rate so people have more babies so some make it to adulthood. So the birth rates in poorer countries is much higher, putting a bigger drain on limited food and water. One third of our global population is under 20 years old and in under-developed, poor countries. We are in military conflicts for natural resources (oil), which is depleted faster due to more people. And the Syrian conflict is actually over water.

Of course there are other factors that impact society’s problems. But the suffering is greater on 7 billion than three billion. It breaks my heart what we did to this beautiful planet. I know no decision we make is more personal. But it also has the greatest impact.

P Is For Population #atozchallenge

I tend to approach issues at their root cause to find objective solutions and often use the “Conditional Formula,” meaning, “if this, then that.” Therefore when it comes to social and political issues, my life-long, number-one issue is the human population, because there is not one problem that isn’t rooted in our ability to manage 7+ billion humans. I figured someone has to opt out. So I did.

I, hereby, out myself with this deeply-held conviction. Not to compare or minimize what LGBTQ folks endure, but as a straight woman in a society with a near idolatry of all things children, I usually keep my position to myself, thus feeling closeted. I’m a liberal and believe in free will and understand the human desire for fulfillment through parenting.PopulationBabies I understand for those with children nothing is more important in life, as nothing should be. I derive an equal level of joy knowing I am mitigating my impact on this planet the best way one can and in alignment with my core principle. I don’t hate children but I don’t want any. Nor do I think that 250 live human births every minute is a miracle. But I do think describing natural, human biology as a miracle is part of the problem. My parents raised me with free will and not only abhorred the idea of imposing one’s beliefs upon another, applauded and agreed with my decision. However I have been chastised and ostracized.

Thanks to the Internet, I don’t feel quite as alone as I used to with my choice, although most of my friends (no coincidence) don’t have kids, either. The “childless” stigma has abated somewhat in America but is far less taboo in Europe. I share my choice with Helen Mirren, Gloria Steinem, Stevie Nicks, Oprah Winfrey, Chelsea Handler, Jennifer Aniston, Ashley Judd, Marisa Tomei, Margaret Cho, Portia de Rossi, Ellen DeGeneres, Dolly Parton, Katharine Hepburn, Betty White, Lily Tomlin, Anjelica Huston, Liza Minnelli, Kim Cattrall, Candace Bushnell, Cameron Diaz, Zooey Deschanel and lots of not famous women, all who have spoken out about their choice. (Guys, not that you don’t count because you have options, you just don’t have a womb.) Fortunately being first-world females, we have the choice and the ability to live and support ourselves without needing a husband and a family for sustainability.

While I realize there is more emotion tied to human procreation, I submit it took decades to convince the majority that the responsible thing to do was to spay and neuter dogs and cats to avoid over-population. Except for a few who still breed animals for financial profit (and the dopes who support the industry), this is now the norm. Human overpopulation is far more devastating and we have long surpassed the tipping point to our survival. I know how gloom and doom this sounds to some and I know how defensive people get about this. Unfortunately, every reason I chose for not having children has come true and at a faster rate than predicted. We’ve long passed our planet’s optimal maximum for sustainable quality life (depending upon the study, sustainability is between 1.5 and 3.5 billion) well over fifty years ago. Life as we know it, as we are living, is simply unsustainable. But let’s see if my premise is correct; that population is the root to all our problems:

The environment. First, the only reason we call a “natural disaster” a disaster is because it causes harm to people. Hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, forest fires, floods, blizzards, mudslides, volcanoes are natural events. But the more people inhabiting the planet, the greater nature’s impact upon us. But the actual, poisonous damage done to the planet is human caused. And the faster we use up our planet’s resources, the harder it will be to continue to sustain 7+ billion. The western world may feel cushioned but not so for island nations in the pacific that are disappearing under water due to the ice cap melt. Still, Florida is raising their highways because of rising water levels, while California is in a drought and has a year of water in reserve. Our ecosystem depends on the rain forests, which is vanishing at a rate of 80,000 acres a day as land and lumber is needed. Fifty thousand species go extinct every year. Our meat-eating costs an exorbitant amount of land, water and resources. And we continue to disregard the need to wean ourselves off fossil fuels.

PopulatonDrought

The more people, the easier to exploit labor with more people than jobs. Wages fall. More people means more traffic and more aggressive wear and tear on roads and bridges. The more people, the more hungry mouths to feed and the higher cost to produce more food. And poor countries have a higher death rate so people have more babies so some make it to adulthood. So the birth rates in poorer countries is much higher, putting a bigger drain on limited food and water. One third of our global population is under 20 years old and in under-developed, poor countries. We are in military conflicts for natural resources (oil), which is depleted faster due to more people. And the Syrian conflict is actually over water.

Of course there are other factors that impact society’s problems. But the suffering is greater on 7 billion than three billion. It breaks my heart what we did to this beautiful planet. I know no decision we make is more personal. But it also has the greatest impact.

 

O Is For “The Outsiders” #atozchallenge

I need to take a blog break with a lighter topic, a boy-toy sorbet if you will, as we travel into the final half of the April A to Z blog challenge. Gonna give a shout out down memory lane to “The Outsiders,” the Frances Ford Coppola film with what seems like every boy candy actor in 1983 (including Tom Cruise’s original and, in my opinion, better nose).

The story is set in the 1960s but it could be any time, making it relatable to audiences of any era. CopolaOutsidersA Fresno elementary school class originally brought the S. E. Hinton book to Coppola’s attention. And Coppola brought it to glorious life with gorgeous scenes with illuminated sunsets as backdrops to those baby-face close ups. The cast includes C. Thomas Howell, Ralph Macchio, Rob Lowe, Patrick Swayze, Matt Dillon, Tom Cruise, Emilio Estevez, Leif Garrett  and Diane Lane.

Watch this:

Just watching the trailer awakens personal sense memories and emotions of adolescence; the warmth, stirrings, intensity, passion, discovery and maturing within a teen summer. Warning: I will be objectifying males. No apologies. I mean, come on!:

 

DillonRobLowe

OutsidersHowelBlondemacchip

Leif  EstivevCruiseOriginalNoseSwayze

Segue moment: I can’t help but flash on the “Men on Film” bits from “In Living Color,” with Damon Wayans and Tommy Thompson, as I am about to discuss the young, adolescent stirrings of group of young “mens” entangled in conflicts and adult situations that are much too challenging for their years, as they run wild together in the warm, coming-of-age summer, often shirtless and sweaty. I give “The Outsiders” “two snaps and a twist!”

(I can hear my ex now, “Down. Debbie.”)

As much as I seem to imply you can get all your enjoyment from “The Outsiders” with the sound down, I assure you these performances are worth hearing, too. The movie was a hit and was nominated for best film by the Young Artist Awards, as was Coppola for director and Lane for best actress. Howell won the Young Artist Award for “Best Young Motion Picture Actor in a Feature Film.” This is one of Howell’s best, both believable and heartbreaking. His character, Ponyboy, also narrates the film. Macchio’s performance as Johnny is wise and powerful beyond his years. Swayze, Dillon and Lowe have their stand-out moments, as well.

Coppola manages to capture and highlight the unique energy of each actor’s budding stardom, as well as those subtle moments of adolescent awkwardness. One of my favorite moments is between Ponyboy and Cherry (Howell and Lane). Cherry is academically and socially above his class so when she notices this motherless child is without a coat. Howell tries to conceal his embarrassment and his goosebumps. You feel his shame as he distracts her and over-compensates with his cigarette-lighting skills. It’s a lovely, real and tender moment, of which there are many to warm your heart and make you cry, 

PonyCherry

The story’s “Greasers,” “Socs” and a gang knife fight carry parallels to “West Side Story” but without dance numbers. And unlike the musical, this movie is about the characters and A-level performances, coupled with a glorious soundtrack composed by Carmine Coppola (also did the Godfather soundtracks and is Frances’ dad). Stevie Wonder sings “Stay Gold,” a memorable song you will be humming the next day.

Did I mention the eye candy? Thanks to Coppola and cast, this thirty-three-year-old movie will forever stay gold. Stay gold, boys, stay gold.

 

N Is For Now #atozchallenge

As humans, it is a challenge to stay in the now, the present moment. There are philosophies, religions, spiritual discussions and entire industries on how to practice living in the “now.” There’s even a “New Age” store in Minneapolis named Present Moment (nice store, actually) focused on the practice of staying present in the only reality – now. So I won’t get too philosophical or profound but share my own struggles with living with intention in the now.

Our society seems to fight us from living in the present. Technology bombards us constantly. Where do you need to be later? Did you respond to the emails from yesterday? What will be tomorrow’s April A to Z blog topic? There are pop culture distractions, personal demands and stressful workplaces where it is impossible to be creative and calm. Then add human emotion and our feelings and reactions to all the stimuli and it’s impossible to be truly in the moment.

It takes intention to be in the now. Yet being in the present is the start of all intention. NowDaisyOne feels calm, complete, contentment and connected in the now. True emotion or being completely engaged with the senses can ground you in the moment. Love, grief, anger, passion, joy, creating. Our senses – tasting, touching, smelling, seeing and hearing – help ground us but are often tied to memories, which can take us out of the blissful present, with memory or expectation. Being in the moment is fleeting and takes practice.

Like much of my life right now, it’s about intention, It’s about shedding former identities and the superfluous, dismissing those places, people and roles that no longer serve now. I know how important it is to be aware and alive. And it’s a struggle to equally let go of the things we want to shed and that which we long to hold. But the only way to honor this life is to truly desire life now.

M Is For McCarthyism #atozchallenge

In this crazy political era of unprecedented polarization (with the possible exception of the Civil War), I wouldn’t be surprised to find defenders of former Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy (R), best known for the “HUAC” (House on Un-American Activities’ Committee – Senate, too) Congressional hearings he held in the cold-war 1950s, accusing everyone from government officials, to military personnel, to people in the entertainment industry of being Communist spies or sympathizers. To this day, the term McCarthyism is known for attacking reputations with unfounded accusations and extortion, because when McCarthy and his gang would call someone to the hearing, the only way to shake the taint of being under suspicion of being a Communist was to give names of others. Terrifying. He certainly is the poster-boy of paranoid right-wing nut jobs in Congress, from which many of late have followed or carried the mantle. Today the Republicans just use their media outlets so they don’t need a single Senator McCarthy to promote the latest boogeyman scare to make sure their base is afraid of some group at all times.

McCarthy riled up an already nervous country following World War II, which caused the mere mention of a name associated with his investigations to become shrouded in suspicion and, thereby, blacklisted from finding work. The entertainment industry was one of his major targets, although no one was safe. Coupled with some pretty aggressive battles at that time (shortly after the Screen Actors Guild union was established) between the powerful studios and its writers and actors, McCarthy’s  “red scare” also became a convenient ploy in contract negotiations. If you are looking for a good movie about the period from the entertainers’ perspective, “The Front” is a great movie to see the truth and its absurdity of McCarthy’s investigations.

I first became interested in Joseph McCarthy when I watched old movies with Mom. Every now and then she would tell me some actor had been “blacklisted.” Wikipedia has an impressive list of hundreds of names of writers, producers, actors and musicians who were targeted. Everyone from musicians like Harry Belafonte and folk singer Pete Seeger to composer Leonard Bernstein, Ruth Gordon (Harold and Maude) and Will Geer (Grandpa Walton) were blacklisted from getting any work. Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall were rumored among a list that was never released but anyone even leaning to the left politically was under threat of being called a Commie. Bogie and Bacall (damn, I love that dame. Rest in peace.) were some of the few who eventually spoke out against the hearings. That took tremendous courage.

Now, if anyone thinks I am going too far in making parallels to the Republicans of today, I submit the “birther” accusation against Obama’s birthplace, the whole Clinton Whitewater investigation accusing them of murder, Benghazi, voter (not election) fraud, “Fast and Furious” and claiming Sandy Hook was faked in order to take our guns, just off the top of my head. But what may be the most McCarthyesque moment was in 2008, when then Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann said on MSNBC’s Chris Matthews’ Show that she wanted to, “”find out if they (congresional members) are pro-America or antiAmerica.” She was serious! 

 

 (SMH)

To this day, I consider that cold-war era head council to the U.S. Army, Joseph Nye Welch, a brave hero when he said while under questioning by Senator McCarthy the following: 

Wish he, Bacall and some other people with cojones would stand up and ask this of the entire Republican Congress today. Shameful.

L Is For, “I Am a Liberal” #atozchallenge

You damn right, I’m a liberal. And damn proud of it. Unabashedly so, thank you very much. I marinate in my liberal philosophy. I bath in its war, milky, all-encompassing, pool of equality for all and we the people.

I don’t know about your upbringing, but Mom and Dad talked about Jesus’ philosophy when I was small. He turned over the tables of the money changers in the temple. He told folks not to judge others because no one’s perfect. He was peace-loving. He fed folks and healed the sick. It wasn’t until I was ten years old that my friend Leslie and I asked my folks if we were Democrats or Republicans and Dad said, “We’re Democrats,” that I began to understand that Mom and Dad really practiced what they preached in loving thy neighbor, being kind to those less fortunate and favoring equality for all. And that all just felt right to me at ten and I have lived that philosophy since.

I have already written about conservatives and asked what they conserve. And I certainly can’t wrap my head around their form of Christianity with their nauseating prejudice, hate and belittling of any “other.” And while I understand the intentions, I don’t understand the motives of the folks on left or the apathetic non-voters who scream how no announced presidential candidate is ever good enough. And if I hear, “Both parties are the same,” I am going to scream! You can’t be serious or you must have an agenda to give Republicans more power because I can guarantee while folks on the left standing in their circular firing squad, the Republicans will vote and march in lockstep. (Nazi analogy intended.)

No one in Washington is far enough to the left for me so I share the discontent. But politics is the art of the possible, to quote Otto von Bismarck, and the perfect of the enemy is the good, to borrow from Voltaire. And, Lord, don’t make me quote Dr. Phil. “Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?” Do you want to see the next president appoint up to four Supreme Court justices to the right of Attila the Hun, I mean Samuel Alito? Or do you want to help this country move back to sanity? This is a massive cruise ship, not a schooner. Redirecting takes time and nuance and politics!

Are the Democrats the Republicans of the 1970s? Absolutely. But they didn’t magically sprout out of the ground overnight like Jack’s planted beans. While the Republicans have been building their corporate power and messaging to magnetize all the bigots and zealots to their voting block, our entire political system was corrupted by K Street lobbyists and obscene amounts of money. Democrats either went along or were forced by the outrageous influence of money in our system. It’s a mess. But it’s our mess. We the people are this government, unless we let them take it. Sitting out is not an option. Making ourselves a voice to be reckoned with to leaders who will listen is. President Obama listens. In 2016, Hillary will listen. Ted Cruz or Rand Paul won’t.

Republicans have done NOTHING for the 99% since Eisenhower got the highway system built. Do you know what liberals have done for you? Here’s a quick ,short list:

Workers’ rights like the 40-hour work week, the right to form unions, workplace safety laws, child labor laws and vacations; Social Security, voting rights for women and minorities, civil rights, public education, Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act, food support, infrastructure including massive dam projects and railways, the postal service, local police and fire, the EPA, the FDIC, libraries, unemployment insurance, defeating the Nazis, saving democracy and declaring independence from England to form these United States of America.

And every one of these things from which you and those you love benefit can be taken away. As a citizen in this country, apathy is not an option.

K Is For An Open Letter to Charles and David Koch #atozchallenge

Dear Chuck and Dave,

You’re outnumbered. You may be playing for all the materialistic marbles, be damned any consequential eco-destruction, human suffering or poverty, but there are more of us than you. There are more smart, educated, engaged, progressive-thinking people on this planet. And we’re outsmarting you. We will dominate you.

I can’t fathom your financial and political motives other than in your life condition of obscene wealth (you’re worth an estimated $30 billion – no wait, a second went by – $31 billion) and subsequent power, you still harbor a great deal of personal insecurity and mortal fear. Contrary to what delusions you may have, life is not a game of Monopoly, which was the point of the game’s inception. I learned long ago not to waste too much time on the motives or psychology of those seemingly intent on doing harm, or are oblivious to doing harm, to me or others. But with that preface, I submit you may wish to model the world to your Machiavellian, Libertarian experiment, but the Zeitgeist isn’t coming along. We have evolved. As Willy Wonka said, “You lose. Good day, sir(s)!”

Now I know you’re not wasting your increasingly limited, precious time – or your little people’s time – reading this letter. And trust me, if it weren’t for the fact that you now have even more power to manipulate our democracy, following the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which you funded, I wouldn’t give you a moment’s thought. You are of no significance to me. You have no talent, bravery, gentleness, wisdom, intellect, genius or beauty to admire. The only reason you are in my purview is because I can’t ignore the damage you do on a daily basis to the planet, this country’s social security, global safety and the minds of the ignorant you have managed to ensnare in your philosophy (one-issue 99-percent folks like the evangelical Christians, misogynists, racists, bigots or your deeply loyal emasculated, inferior gun fetishists).

But since the infamous 1971 Powell memo, all you and your fellow right-wingers in this country have done is hand-select your corporate figureheads to play presidential (and congressional and gubernatorial) candidates to be your puppets. Thirty-four years ago, Ronald Reagan hypnotized enough of the 99-percent boobs to fall hook, line and sinker for his b-movie-grade corporate-shill performance:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/xhYJS80MgYA” target=”_blank”> 

Why would anyone want to be the leader of the free world and run on the claim government can do no good? Who, for the love of all goodness, would vote for that? Wake up, sheeple (talking to your ignorant followers and not you, Chuck and Dave)!

Now, in you defense, it isn’t only personal insecurity and mortal fear that make you do these things. You have daddy issues. Freddy got supremely pissed when that Commie Stalin stopped his pillaging of Russia’s oil fields and, with an “I’ll show you,” Richie Rich kind of bully pay back, founded the John Birch Society, which your legacy continues with your Cato Institute, Americans for (your own) Prosperity, climate change-denying Donors Trust and your new Koch-founded/funded Tea Party. Really Koch kids, how long do you hold a grudge? Even “W” thinks the grudge has gone on long enough.

So again, because I don’t even want to diagnose what appears to be your sociopathic mentality I ask rhetorically, what is wrong with you? If I had your money, I would realize it’s enough for me and my loved ones to more than chill and enjoy life. Other than enjoying life, traveling, hanging with friends and inventing fabulous new cocktails, I would stop trying to amass more and help my fellow humans. I would dedicate my wealth and influence to make sure everyone forever had food, shelter, health, education, a living wage and job security. I would see soldiers stationed in oil-rich countries got the hell out. I would promote clean, renewable energy. If for no other reason, I would do this to make up for all the poison I had made with dirty energy production and my unholy greed.

Contrary to what you or your loyal, greedy followers may think, most of us don’t want to be in your (based upon my Freudian-based analysis, what I presume are) teeny, tiny shoes. We know having all the marbles is not winning. See with or without you and your progeny, this planet is preparing to toss us off like a bad virus, thanks in no small part to your biggest industry, if we don’t get our collective junk together. We know we are in this together and are sick of folks like you doing us wrong.

So while you get your comfy eight hours of cushy sleep tonight, you might want to try it with one eye open because the sleeping giant is awake and it doesn’t like what you have done. Neither, boys, does Mother Nature. You didn’t spike enough of our mothers’ milk with your Kool Aid and you are vastly outnumbered. But I am just another one of the unwashed you ignore. Sweet dreams.

 

J Is For Jury Duty #atozchallenge

Jury duty is the duty of being a citizen. And were it not for the unfair justice system in the country, I wouldn’t mind so much serving. That being said, I am also a bleeding heart so even if I thought a guy was guilty, I would consider hisJustice social circumstances or other factors and favor a lighter punishment. So I don’t think anyone would want me on a jury.

I was called for jury duty a few years ago. I was screened for a serial killer trial. Even locals wouldn’t remember because the accused and victims were poor, forgotten, under-educated, marginalized and mostly minorities. When I was being screened, I told them that there’s a better than 50 percent chance when someone is arrested, he or she probably is guilty. But I also said that wealthy people have a better chance of getting off because they can afford the best council. I am sure that last remark didn’t make me a favorite with the defense. I was not selected. But as I sat there, I noticed the poor defendant looked so pathetic. It was clear he was of limited mental capacity. Yet after he was convicted, the prosecutor called him the most dangerous psychopath he’d even encountered. The man also was tried for attempted murder while in prison. I still contend he is a victim of his upbringing. See why I don’t belong on a jury? See why I should never date?

Just this week, the surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was fond guilty and awaits the jury’s second phase determining whether he will receive the death penalty or life in prison. It goes without saying I am 100% in favor of abolishing this heinous, archaic practice of capital punishment. And I am equally uncomfortable with the US blood lust for a brainwashed child. He was 19 years old when he committed this act with his radicalized brother. His crime is horrible. But what does killing him solve? It makes us no better than any murderer.

We are way, way too punitive in this country. It’s ingrained in most people. Whatever a punishment, it’s “not enough.” Really? For you? Or to pay the price of the social wrong and earn one’s place back into society? What about rehabilitation? Redemption, Christians? We don’t even want people to vote after they’ve committed a crime. Why? And we’ve got more people in prison in this country than any other country. There are more African-American men in prison than employed in the U.S. Private prisons are now big business in this country. That simply encourages corruption. Is this all to help society or to maintain an underclass?Scales

Our scales of justice are far from balanced and Lady Justice is far from blind to money, fame and power. Former CIA agent and current Defense Attorney and radio host Jack Rice said anyone with $100,000 will never get the death penalty in this country. We all know how many poor minorities are sitting on death row and the number proven innocent is in the hundreds. Yet I lose count of all the rich who have gotten away with murder, literally. Our war proliferators and profiteers face no justice at all. George W. Bush and Dick Cheney lied us into Iraq and the world knows it. This country does nothing. In fact, neither Bush or Cheney will travel to Europe because they risk being charged with  war crimes by The Hague. That kind of justice could right a whole lot of wrongs.

But even as guilty as I thought O.J. was, when I watched them read the verdict, just before they read the verdict, I genuinely felt sorry for him. I can’t help but feel compassion for any human being who falls so low in their moral path. I feel pity. (OK, then my jaw dropped when I heard the verdict.) I agree with Thomas Jefferson who said, “Better one hundred guilty men go free than one innocent man be condemned.” Leave me on jury duty a week or so and we can improve those odds! I’m not trying to avoid my civic duty; I’m just being honest.

 

 

I Is For Ignorant Or Stupid? #atozchallenge

Wading through political discussions on social media, it doesn’t take long to encounter name calling. I often get called an idiot on Twitter. Since an idiot by its classic definition is someone who is not engaged in politics, I am not going to accept the moniker. Further, I believe and it is commonly believed, when you resort to name calling, you have lost the argument. So I don’t feed the trolls. I mute them. It is better for my health. Further, I don’t use the words ignorant or stupid on social media, but I do frame my comments based upon whether I determine a person is ignorant or stupid.

Being ignorant is simply true if you lack information or knowledge to understand facts or a subject. When someone without a background in science or a grasp of scientific terms sees snow or lives where it gets cold outside, he or she might conclude the Earth’s climate is not changing and our atmosphere is not warming based upon their reality. This person is ignorant but ignorance can change through learning. So when a journalist or an elected official says there is no change in our Earth’s climate because it snowed, I am certain he or she has read scientific literature or their staff has, so they are stupid.

If someone is bigoted toward a group of people, he or she may have never met anyone from that group and may have been told by others the group is dangerous or inferior. Their ignorance can change. If someone still believes a group is dangerous or ignorant after exposure to the contrary, they are stupid.

A couple months ago, while an Alabama judge was refusing to allow same-sex marriages, Alabama veteran Todd Addaway posted a video describing the evolution to his views on the LGBT community after serving with a gay commander. His parody and then explanation brilliantly explains the transition from ignorance to awareness or a grasp of new knowledge.

Good on him.

It is easier to feel empathy for the ignorant because it is generally isolated to one subject and the result of a lack of exposure. Stupid is just plain thick in the head. Not to learn from experience would make you stupid, because you refuse to learn, process new information and evolve. It is not a matter of intellect, either. Remaining unchanged in light of facts is rooted in fear and hate.

In my “C” post on conservatives, I discussed how studies found liberals more readily process new information and change their views accordingly, while conservatives are more fearful to new things. Now I don’ t want to draw any correlations to conservatives being more ignorant or stupid. That’s not fair. Neither will I apologize for my observations of folks who hate.

I believe Forrest Gump put it best. “Stupid is a stupid does.”