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Do actions have consequences, a fictional discussion

Father Frank happily lived a life of personal sacrifice and denial of certain physical pleasures. He considered these sacrifices to be worthwhile due to his life being in service to something he felt to be greater than himself. As a priest of the Roman Catholic Church he made every effort to live the best life he felt a human being was capable of living in order to be certain of his place in Heaven.

That was a development of the past fifteen years. The twenty years before that had been spent living a life of Sin.

As a result of his dedication he made every effort to treat all people he came in contact with respectfully. He strove daily to serve as an example to any member of the community he could, regardless of their religious affiliation.

One of the very few guilty pleasures he looked forward to was the smell of fresh coffee wafting from the kitchen in the annex to the main Church at 6:30am Saturday mornings. The weekly meeting of the men’s prayer and discussion group was something he used to arrive at early enough to provide everyone else with that olfactory welcome.

In recent weeks one of the parishioners had been taking over the task. Frank considered this to be a fantastic treat. If coffee were a Sin he knew he would have real professional problems.

Approaching the door to the annex he couldn’t help but notice it was time to paint again. The New England winter months did take their toll on the exterior of the Church.

Making his way to the kitchen he saw George, “Good morning George. You beat me here again. Thank you for bringing some muffins as well. Someday I will figure out how you carry all this and still use that cane,” he said with a smile.

“Just one more time I want to offer my condolences on the passing of your wife. These past two months must have been a daily challenge. However, it does appear as though you are starting to move on with your life, and I think that is very positive,” said the Priest.

George had been an active parishioner at Saint Michael’s for almost four decades. After the recent passing of his wife he was seen at various Parish activities more than he was at home.

“Thank you, Father,” he said. “I have been feeling a little better each and every day. The first week was possibly the most difficult week of my life. I still sometimes wake up at night and think she will be there right beside me. I guess forty one years with the same woman makes it hard to get used to not having anyone there next to you. The Matheson household was a much better place for her presence. She was the reason I am the man that I am. She challenged me and made me strive to be the best person I could be while she was part of my life,” the old man’s voice quivered slightly as he spoke about his late wife.

“Our entire community was a better place due to her presence. Someday you two will be rejoined in a better place. I just hope you are here on Earth with us for a long time to come. Men such as you make our Congregation the dynamic living body that it is. That, and I do so enjoy your coffee,” Father Frank said as he sipped at the aromatic, steaming hot fluid.

The two men put themselves to work positioning chairs around the horseshow shaped table in the main room of the annex.

“Father, I was thinking about last week’s discussion. I agree that we need to find a way to stop the decline of morals so that our little township can once again have a strong foundation. Once we reestablish that foundation we can once again find ourselves back on the road to a world that can not only flourish spiritually, but also, hopefully, economically and perhaps find our world at peace. Not the least important result would be to get the high crime rate to come down. The reason I bring up economics is that I think the high crime rate is largely happening as a result of the bad economy. In other words, I completely agree with your theory that our society’s morals are the foundation of all of our behavior in life. If employers pay people what they should, if people do their jobs, and if we stop this greediness that has permeated throughout every inch of society we can reshape our world. While I agree with all of that I wanted to add something to your thinking if you would permit me to do so,” George said.

“Certainly…Discussion, and thereby improving of our ideas and understanding is why we have these meetings,” explained Father Frank.

“If a man or woman’s morals start to slide, where to they draw the damn line? A person’s morals are were all of their behavior is formed. With strong morals you will want to help your neighbor when he is in need. Without them you want to walk into his house on the one day the neighbor was careless enough to leave the door unlocked and help themselves to the television.

“Basically, what I am saying is that with strong morals we can build a strong societal foundation for our future. While I completely agree we should attempt to be a moral example to anyone we come in contact with, I also think we must work doubly hard very early on in our school system to teach Christian morals from day one. We want to teach our children regardless of their parent’s actions or desires. Strong morals are the key to all of our futures. If we sway the children this concept will get through to society in the long run. At least that is one cranky old man’s opinion,” explained George, the quivering in his voice disappearing as he spoke.

“You really have been thinking about this. Let me explain how I formed my opinion. Teaching morals and values in schools is, or course, important. However, I think if we don’t spend some effort leading by example at all levels in our society that lesson will just not take hold. If we can’t sway some of the adults we interact with we are lost. Merely ‘indoctrinating’ the youth is the typical method of tyrannical groups throughout history, and something the Church should probably avoid,” Father Frank replied.

He looked at George and realized the old man was still not fully on board, “Let me give you an example, if we enforce these morals at school, but children see their parents behaving differently, the lesson will not stick. We really need more adults to come into the light, and yes, we also need the kids. We must think big, and perhaps get some celebrities, sports stars, and even politicians to come out publicly in support of us, rather than just generic statements that support nothing, and can be interpreted by everyone as supporting anything they want to do.”

Father Frank took a sip of coffee before continuing, “If we hold up these more recognizable people as examples while simultaneously showing that bad morals, low morals, misplaced morals cause nothing but trouble in the long run. When considered in the short term, they may bring you pleasure, but in the long run they will cause you nothing but pain and suffering. The biggest problem is that as a society we have a very short attention span.”

The Priest was glad to see that these discussion group meetings were causing at least some of the men to think about how these Biblical topics could bring positive changes to the community even after they left the room. He had been adamant with the Bishop that men needed a place to meet and talk with other men. He argued that spiritually stronger, more righteous men in the group would lead, and that would result in the others following their example. This would all be in a similar fashion as Christ had been a Spiritual example to the men around him. It appeared as though, at least in the case of George, some lessons were taking hold, and even growing. The Priest’s argument had been, and he still hoped he was correct, that thinking about a problem was the first step in finding a solution.

Having completed setting up the room the two men waited for the rest of the group in the kitchen where they continued to chat and drink coffee.

As always there was a wide array of attendees that showed up. They ranged from blue collar to white collar, from old to young, from talkative to quiet. It didn’t matter all were welcome. Every week there were a few regulars as well as some men who joined in either sporadically, or even a few who showed up several times before never being seen again. All were welcome, regardless of regular attendance or position in life, everyone was equal in the eyes of the Lord.

Inside the congregation everyone seemed to know everyone else’s profession. No one cared about such trivialities except when leaning on one another’s skills to solve problems facing their community. Everyone was just as important a part of the spiritual community as everyone else. Everyone was here due to their mutual interest in living their life in as a reflection of God’s teachings.

When he watch read exactly 7AM Father Frank, as was tradition, flipped the lights off and on several times as a sign to everyone that it was time to begin the meeting. As the men all took their seats and their polite laughter at one another’s jokes died down, Father Frank began the discussion, “Gentlemen, and I use that term loosely,” he said with a smile. “Let us begin with a prayer.”

They all made the sign of the cross and dipped their heads.

The Priest spoke the words for the group, “Heavenly Father guide us in these troubling times. Help us find a way to make our neighborhood, State, Country, and the World that You have given us a great and glorious place once again. Help us to have the wisdom to transform it into a place where all of Your creatures can live in peace, harmony, and prosperity free from evil, amen.”

The group repeated the final word in unison.

“Now, let us have the weekly reading. I have placed paper copies around for each of you, so please, follow along. Michael, would you please do the honor?” the Priest asked.

“Yes, Father,” the middle aged man said. “We have a reading from the book of Exodus.”

“If people are fighting and hit a pregnant woman, and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious offender, the offender must be fined whatever the woman’s husband demands and the court allows. But if there is serious injury you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.”

“Thank you, Michael,” said the Priest. “I want us to think about the passage in the context of the problems facing us today, not how it was used at the time it was written. Let us ask ourselves the following question. Does this passage apply today? Do people believe their evil actions have consequences any longer? As a part of this discussion, I think today should be part brainstorming session on what, if anything, we can do about the situations we are faced with each and every day. Crime is rising quickly, unemployment is skyrocketing, and people are losing hope.”

Father Frank noticed the group was paying more attention than usual. He had hoped this passage would be something that got them to think more than usual, “As a group I think we congregation members can do much to deliver a positive message, but this message, while it is one of hope, doesn’t do much to change the situation people face if it remains mere words. We need action. So while we have the opportunity here in this room I hope we can find some ideas in the experienced minds we have. I think we need to become proactive in bringing some sense of normalcy back to our community. I think this for many reasons. First and foremost is that families are turning to the Church for food because their houses are being broken into and the only thing being taken is food. This indicates a real problem to me, but I’m unable to put my finger on exactly why. Does anyone have an idea why this is happening?”

Officer Jonathan Pierce was an average sized man with a large and thankless job. He was a local police detective raising two children with his wife of seven years. He had a perpetual look of fatigue about him from long hours of work. He rarely spoke out at these group meetings, choosing instead to just observe. Not today, this time was much more personal to him than to most men. A real distaste for crime is what had driven him into his profession, “Father, I can confirm your claim. The police have been called to home after home to investigate break-ins. These days when we go out and look into them, many times it is just empty pantries and refrigerators being reported.”

He stood up and began walking around the table aimlessly as he continued, “A year ago the calls were valuables, or anything that could be sold. Now, the fact that it is almost always food indicates a couple of things. The first is that most homes have either had all their valuables stolen and not replaced or they have sold these things off themselves. The second is that we discovered the local food banks are either running out or are very low on food. This is causing people to go hungry, or turn to the church, or they just go out and steal what they can. In addition to all of that we are aware that drugs and prostitutes are getting much cheaper due to a massively increased supply of both.”

As he finished the group started talking all at once. A series of ideas began to be offered, none of which would be workable.

Suddenly Officer Pierce snapped his fingers and shot out of his chair, “Guys, how about this? Don’t bother trying to solve the problem just yet. Everyone here needs a closer look at the actual issue. I can arrange for a everyone to take a ride along with an officer on duty. This will be in different parts of town, and at different times of day. This way you will all get a first hand look at what we see every day. Then you will have a much less abstract idea of which areas of town have the biggest problem, and understand those issues a little better than from what you can get on the evening news. Then we can figure out which problem areas we can and should focus on. Some areas might be a little dangerous, but I can pair you with solid officers and keep everyone safe.”

Donald Hinkle, one of the oldest and most respected members of the group spoke up, “Gentlemen, I am 78 years old. I don’t have much time left on this Earth and I, for one, don’t care how dangerous whatever we come up with is. I want to do something to at least attempt to repair the problems in this nation I love.

Everyone knew Donald was a combat veteran from the Viet Nam War but rarely spoke of it. It was rumored he still had difficulty sleeping through the night due to something that happened while he was there, all those decades ago.

Donald paused to sip his coffee from a small Styrofoam cup before continuing, “Not all of the nasty desires people have are meant to be fulfilled. For instance, prostitutes are just about everywhere these days. We must be honest gentlemen, there have been times in my life, long ago, that I wanted to be with just about every woman I saw. Does that mean I should just about every woman I saw. Does that mean I should just go ahead and be unfaithful to my wife? Hell no. I for one think that consequences have long since ceased having meaning in our country. Criminals are released from prison quickly, large companies are able to get away with what amounts to criminal activity as long as they donate to the right set of politicians. Couple all of that with our laws being weakly enforced, except tax law, that is if our judges enforce penalties at all. It all adds up to our Police Officers being faced with a nearly impossible job. I believe the passage from our reading today need to become reality once again.”

Father Frank rose from his seat. He stood straight and tall letting his robes flare a bit. He employed this kind of theatric from time to time. His 6’4” frame commanded attention even though he felt he needed to exercise a bit harder than had been his habit of late, “Gentlemen, let us coordinate the first step of ride along nights with officers on duty. Officer Pierce, how do we get this process started?”

The smile on Officer Pierce’s face was the most expressive anyone had seen the man since his younger son’s baptism. “Well, it is really pretty easy. We get a pile of waivers for everyone to sign then just get in a squad car. I’d also like to give anyone who doesn’t already have it my cellular phone numbah,” his thick Boston accent coming through more and more as he became excited. “All I need to know is who is available which night and I can find everyone a patrol cah. The Officers on duty during the night shift will be especially happy to have the company.”

“Thank you, Jonathan. Are there any safety tips you can give us?” the Priest asked.

“There really isn’t much to it. Stay in the car unless the Officer you are with says differently. Other than that just do what they ask, and if anything happens just keep your head down. Father, I will coordinate with you on what areas of town to start in. Just stop by the precinct Monday mornin’ and we will figure it out,” Jonathan answered.

“Easy enough! Now, I would like to throw out a question to the entire group for brief discussion in the short time we have left. It is more of a philosophical question that I, myself, have struggled to answer. We all know the way those of us here like to live our lives. We all tend to agree, more or less, on the way God intended our world to be. We don’t like the crumbling infrastructure, or other things we have discussed today. The real underlying problem as I see it, is that a growing portion of the global population has lost any kind of understanding between right and wrong. However, in solving the problem, does the ultimate goal of righting some larger wrong justify doing one or two things outside the accepted norm in order to accomplish the ultimate goal of the greater good?” Father Frank inquired.

The other men at the table merely looked puzzled. They were unsure where he was going with this new line of discussion.

“Ok, I can see I haven’t clearly described my dilemma. We have an entire society succumbing to temptation at every turn. We want to pull it back from the brink of destroying itself. Sometimes, in the process of achieving some greater good we have to do things we wouldn’t otherwise do. For example, let us assume we are discussing a soldier during a war. There is a battle raging. In that battle, he observes someone from the enemy’s military waving a white flag of surrender. On the surrendering soldier’s left and right are two solders who are not surrendering and are still shooting. Would we consider as evil a soldier who used a hand grenade to eliminate the threat to himself in the form of the two shooting soldiers? Would we do so if in the process he killed the one with the white flag as well, just due to the nature of the weapon at his disposal?”

There was a quiet murmur among the men around the table. The Priest continued, “Gentlemen, in our attempt to clean up our town, and ultimately our society I am not suggesting we start a war or carrying automatic weapons. It’s a hypothetical question.”

Jonathan Pierce looked up from his habit of staring at his hands, “Father, I say in the situation, you described the soldier had done his duty. He has not committed an atrocity.”

Father Frank leaned back in his seat feeling deeply satisfied as the room exploded into immediate, intense discussions with all the 30-odd men agreeing with the officer. They were all encouraged by each other’s opinion and wanted to add their perspective to the groups thoughts on the matter.

The Priest stood once again, “Well then gentlemen, let us all think about this and perhaps have a more in depth discussion across the next several weeks. Perhaps we can even make enough sense out of it that I can make it the focus of a future sermon.”

“Perhaps we should even consider taking this discussion one step further and consider if we think it is ok to root out evil in our world even if it must be done by the application of force. It don’t believe anyone could claim that Hitler could have been talked out of European domination. The man had his delusions of conquering the world. The clearly had to be dealt with in a fashion he understood. Overwhelming force was the only way to stop him. Bring a priest I believe in peace and tranquility. I have struggled with the question lately. Is force sometimes the only option? I am starting think there are certain limited circumstances in which we are left with force being the only option. There are certainly Scriptures showing God felt the same way. Let me finish my ‘soapbox moment’ by saying I am not suggesting or condoning force or violence. That is best left to the professionals. These are merely offered as topics for thought.”

“Now gentlemen, let us adjourn and meet again next week. There is a happy young couple I have the honor of marrying today,” the Priest was looking forward to the wedding. He hoped at some point on this day he could get some of the confessions he had heard out of his head, and maybe find a way to help at least one of those confessors.

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Modern America – Are we in a better place?

I have been on this planet for more than four and a half decades. In that time I have done and seen many things.

The news strikes me as odd the older I get. There are news reports that can take an event and twist it one direction, and on a different channel you will see the exact opposite conclusion drawn about the very same event.

You see politicians make claims of “fake news,” while other people will make claims that someone used “alternative facts.” It is just weird to me. Facts are facts, and news is supposed to be a discussion of what happened, not someone’s opinion of that event.

Here is another funny one.

I see news interviews where the person being interviewed is there to discuss what they said during an interview on some other news station. In other words we have the media interviewing the media about the media.

What the hell is that all about?

How are we regular working folks supposed to sort it all out?

As soon as I ask that I know someone will chime in and tell me to ignore the station they disagree with, but that’s only because there is a twist to the station the like.

I see politicians blame the other party, and refer to them as evil.

I see news pundits, politicians, and people refer to the leader of the political party they disagree with as “literally Hitler” because of some policy. That one bothers me because it means that we aren’t teaching World War 2 History in school anymore.

So, are we better off than we were 30 years ago?

I’m not sure. We certainly have a shorter attention span. The average home in this nation is larger than it used to be. Cars are nicer, but we are more divided, and lonely than ever (despite social media).

Where am I going with this?

Absolutely nowhere. I’m not here to tell you what to think about the state of this nation.

I’m merely here to say that 30 years ago children had more respect for adults, families took more meaningful time away from work, and parents had a clue what was going on in their children’s lives. Today those things are not as common.

I find that parents are afraid to let their kids go out and play without knowing their exact location, and kids go through anxiety attacks if they are without their smart phone too long.

Are we better off?

The data suggests in some ways we are. In the less “tangible” things I don’t think we are. But, like I said, I’m not here to tell you what to think, I want you to think about these things for yourself and decide.

The Hardy Boys #1 – The Tower Treasure, I read it again in 2018

image1Anyone who follows my blog knows I have small kids. Well, not as small as they were, but still reasonably young. My oldest son is borderline the right age for The Hardy Boys to be read level appropriate. So, I re-read one. Honestly, I haven’t picked one up since I was a kid in the 1970s.

Ok, my versions are not the originals, they are the ones that were updated to get rid of the racism present in the original text written just post WW I and pre WW II. The language is dated, and kids just do not interact this way anymore. I started thinking to myself this is not going to see the light of day again….ever.

Then I started thinking…should it? Should something like the way these characters be out there in the world? Could something like this exist in the current marketplace?

I’m not sure of any of the answers to those questions, but I can answer one.

I started thinking that the story just wasn’t believable. As someone who has written a few fiction books, you always want the story believable. The way the two brothers get to the solution is a bit of a stretch, but the stories are written for 10-14 year old kids. For them, it probably isn’t.

So I argued with myself, can a series of books like this be believable in the current market? I think so. Someone is going to do an insta-comment below disagreeing with that.

Let me remind you, the most popular movies out there right now are super hero movies, and one of the most beloved, best selling series of books to ever exist on this planet (again aimed at this age range) involve a student wizard who is also a sports hero to his school.

Can the Hardy Boys ride again? Can a mystery series of normal every day kids having adventures become popular in 2018? Who knows, but these books are nice for a trip down memory lane, and wow it would be nice if people were as nice to each other as the characters in these books tend to be.

I pledge that this year my website will be more active. It has been a bit slow lately, and that changes now.

Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

I have been watching the Hulu series derived from Margaret Atwood’s dystopian book called the Handmaid’s Tale.

handmaids-tale-wall-cover

There is a lot that can be said about this show/movie that hasn’t already been said because everyone seems to love it.

I thought it was ok. It is different, I will give it that much. But wow does it evolve into a “wtf” is going on condition for the viewer that I almost turned the channel (would have if my wife hadn’t been there).

What I can say is this. The world has a declining birth rate, some strange overthrow of the US government by a religious group. That group implores (ok forces) those who can have kids to do so…only not necessarily with the people they want. They are breeding a “elite” group.

All I can say is that I do kind of want to know where they are going with this but I can follow the story by watching the first five and the last ten minutes of every episode.

Other than that all I can say, and if anyone asks me about it conversationally is that Margaret Atwood has a screwed up imagination. That isn’t a criticism, as a writer myself you have to have a few screws loose to do something original.

All that being said once I forced through 2-3 episodes I kind of started to enjoy it a little.

 

 

Murder at the ABA by Isaac Asimov

Isaac Asimov wrote more book, articles, encyclopedia entries than I thought one human being would be able to do.  To say he was prolific I think is an understatement.  He had some good, some bad, some forgettable, and some locked in my brain forever.

This one I read years ago at the urging of my father.  It turned out the Asimov at one point in his career realized he had published something in almost every genre imaginable except mysteries and romance stories.  So he wrote one of each.

This is the mystery novel.  The basic story is that there is a murder at a meeting of the American Booksellers Association.

Trying to solve a mystery in the middle of a bunch of fiction writers would be a challenge for the investigators.  It is a cute idea.  Asimov even went so far as to make himself a character.  So what have is a reasonable idea and some nice plot twists.

That is about the only good thing I can say about this book.  It is not horrid.  I’m not mad that I spent time reading it.  But if it weren’t a mystery written by Asimov (which is an outlier in his career) I would not remember it.

If you come across a copy it is a quick read, if you are on an airplane it won’t bother you to read it.  But you won’t run off and tell your friends that it was so great they just need a copy.

Cult of Personality – Awesome 80s tune or modern political guidebook?

So, no big secret here, I play guitar. Not terribly well, but I do try.

On top of that I am a HUGE fan of 80s rock music. Yes, even the hair bands. However, I was listening to one of my favorites the other day and I was struck by the lyrics.

Over the last decade politics in the United States has gone from a necessary evil, where there were rules, written and unwritten, that people generally followed. Candidates were informed, they really wanted to make a different (typically), and now it has changed. Politicians want to be famous, they want to have people scream their name, and many of them could not possibly care less what the average voter thinks. It is all about donors and developing this “Cult of Personality” around you amongst your support base.

How do politicians do that and what does it have to do with rock music?

Well, there is a bank called Living Colour, and they have a song, Cult of Personality. It rocks, you should listen. But let’s review the lyrics.

Look in my eyes, what do you see?
The cult of personality
I know your anger, I know your dreams
I’ve been everything you want to be
I’m the cult of personality
Like Mussolini and Kennedy
I’m the cult of personality
The cult of personality
The cult of personality

We just finished a Presidential election cycle with candidates on both sides who could be easily described by this verse. They want us to think they know what we want out of life, and they are the only ones who can get us there. Helpful hint to everyone, no one else can impact you reaching your dreams than you. Who is in an elected office will not make as much of a difference as hard work. Just sayin 😉

Neon lights, a Nobel Prize
Then a mirror speaks, the reflection lies
You don’t have to follow me
Only you can set me free
I sell the things you need to be
I’m the smiling face on your T.V.
I’m the cult of personality
I exploit you still you love me

Well, we just had a President who won a Nobel Price for not being the guy that held office before him. He was the smiling face on TV, and seemed like a nice guy. But what he did to my personal insurance rates, and the amount of coverage we get for that money have gone in the wrong direction. Yet he smiled and said we could keep our plan, and things would get cheaper. Well, I guess in a way. There is a cheaper plan, and I could have kept my plan, I just can’t afford it. But now the deductible is so damn high its irrelevant.

I tell you one and one makes three
I’m the cult of personality
Like Joseph Stalin and Gandhi
I’m the cult of personality
The cult of personality
The cult of personality

There have been politicians who have come on television and just lied. Lied their asses off. “I did not have sex with…”, “I did not send nor receive classified”, “We have $300Billion a year on prescription drugs in Medicare…”, “We have fired a whole bunch of people who in charge of those VA facilities…”, “CNN has never provided me with questions, absolutely never…”, I could go on but you see the point.

Neon lights a Nobel Prize
A leader speaks, that leader dies
You don’t have to follow me
Only you can set you free

In some parts of the world, when political leadership speaks up, they do have a tendency to be killed. Roughly 10% of our Presidents have died or been killed in office. It is all because people disagree with them. So yeah, this happens.

You gave me fortune
You gave me fame
You gave me power in your own god’s name
I’m every person you need to be
Oh, I’m the cult of personality
I’m the cult of, I’m the cult of, I’m the cult of, I’m the cult of
I’m the cult of, I’m the cult of, I’m the cult of, I’m the cult of personality

So many people running for office are now getting rich in the process it is a really good gig. The salary from the government is tiny compared to the book deals, speaking fees, and whatever else you can think of comes their way. The average salary of an ex-congressman is $2M a year. Yes…$2 MILLION. Why would anyone stay, now I understand why they would go, but why stay?

We need to do figure out how to elect people who matter. Not people who have a way to scare a certain demographic into voting for them. People we want to vote for, not someone who we choose because we are against the other guy. These politicians of today are getting so damn good at making us be against the other guy is disturbing. We need to do our civic duty and get these assholes out of there. Get the right assholes in there.

Autism and Depression as an adult

I read this article recently about being autistic, an adult, and dealing with depression. Being on the spectrum, and depressed from time to time it was interesting.

They said that adults on the spectrum I agree with it a lot.

It takes years of trying to fit in with the crowd. You finally finally finally find your little place in life where you are comfortable. You are getting by, you are happy, then someone comes along and just fucks up your balance.

I spend a lot of time trying to understand my neurology, or in some cases just hide it away, and that’s really hard. You become exhausted just trying to cope as though you are normal. Then, when you realize you don’t fit in, or can’t get things going the way you want (usually because someone comes along and takes advantage of you for your differences) you just want to hide.

It is depressing to consider that there isn’t a great place in the world to fit in. It is even more depressing that people will take advantage of your difference over and over and over again.

This author nailed this particular passage:

“I’ve paid for people to visit family members. I’ve fixed people’s cars, their computers, etc. for free. I’ve taken on tasks at work I didn’t need to, even though I would have been better off focusing on my own projects.

Generally people are appreciative, and it feels good. But sometimes, they wind up using me, under the pretense of friendship, and when I come to realize that this has happened, I feel utterly betrayed and furious.”

When this kind of stuff happens it pisses me off. They ride my credentials, they ride my good will, then when it’s time for parity, or for you know…a promotion or a job out of it they find someone neurotypical to work with.

That’s fine fuck them, I enjoy writing my books, blogs, and inventing technologies and functionalities and I will continue to do that. I will be successful despite the lowlife shits that take advantage of those of us on the spectrum. Part of me hopes one day some of them are thrown into prison and are not given the aid of anal lubricant.

 

Mass Shootings – An alternative solution

Every time one of these mass shootings happens, at a school, movie theater for a showing of Batman (forgot about that one, didn’t you), or other such mass insanity it is always some loner who doesn’t have friends and was never involved in any activity outside the minimum requirement for school, or surviving in someone’s basement bedroom playing video games with the majority of their waking hours.

APTOPIX_School_Shooting_Florida_50409-780x520Then, as soon as this madness happens, there is the quick, instant call for gun control, by any means necessary because after all, “it is the only way to save the children.”

Then there is the other side of the political spectrum that instantly calls for arming the teachers because that, “is the only way to save the children.”

Ok…two things. First, mass shooters are already breaking the law, what is one more for having an illegal weapon. This solution is very short on reality as there are so many guns in the world already and you can’t possibly ever do mass confiscations.

Second, anyone who thinks more guns will instantly create “peace” is kind of a little looney tunes.

So, what the hell is the answer.

Getting more involvement in the community.

I was in a community center the other day. I remember when I was a kid these were places that kids would go after school, perhaps elderly would hang out and play cards, basketball, ping pong, all kinds of things would go on. The place was a ghost town, neglected and dusty. I live in a nice part of town and this is not how things are around here if they get any use.

Now, can we reawaken community rec centers? Well, maybe.

Let’s focus on kids, as if you raise well balanced kids you end up with…wait for it, well balanced adults.

When I was in junior high and high school it was challenging (but doable) to be involved in a variety of extra-curricular activities. You know, that stuff where you stay a little after school to be on the football team, in the band, drama club, whatever.

Have you ever noticed it is never a student athlete that does this kind of thing?

Is sports the answer? Well maybe not for everyone but perhaps for some. So why not mandate it? Well, that’s silly, but perhaps making it easier could help.

Let’s look at one of the most popular sports in the nation…football.

To be involved in High School football is certainly a pair of shoes (cleats – $50 at least), some pads, a uniform, etc.  Call it, by bargain shopping $500-$1000. There are doctor appointments, enforcing the no pass no play laws, rehab from a potential injury, training, gyms, driving to and from practices, and even getting to and from a game. It is a time and money sink hole for a lot of families that in a day and age when we have more two income families (or single parent households) this would result in time lost from work, and income lost.

What is the answer? Well, certainly finding ways to ease the cost on families that can’t afford it is one. We can do 501c3 stuff for that but it is an annual slog to accomplish (but one worth doing). But what about that other nasty one of time for driving around, practices, etc.

Well, perhaps a series of websites (easily built) that can help parents coordinate carpools, perhaps a smartphone app designed for the same thing. These could be setup for individual schools and aid parents in sharing that burden of time by taking turns in a much more organized fashion than we do these things now.

What else? Cost…501c3? A new tax to pay for it all? What might be that answer?

Well, certainly top rated equipment at affordable prices, especially for safety (we are working on that through some concepts at a startup company I’m pulling together).

What would a 501c3 have to do with this? Well, some communities have kids who literally without financial assistance would not eat regularly. In these communities a charity (also working on that) can help defray some of the costs for equipment. This is a challenging thing given the scale of the need, but certainly worth doing.

Now, before we get lost in the weeds what does all this have to do with school shootings.  Simple inclusion. When kids are included, part of the group, active in their communities they don’t do this kind of thing. They also tend to stay out of gangs, not commit crimes, have higher rates of attending and graduating from college, and launch far more successful lives.

Perhaps part of our solution to this problem could be helping kids who don’t come from families situations that would enable them to be involved to get into some programs. You know, be neighborly. Don’t just friend someone on Facebook, actually friend someone and help them out as you can.

We need communities once again, not just tall privacy fences and anonymity.

Hunting Hitler on the History Channel

Like many people, I have been seriously into the History channel show Hunting Hitler.

hitler-getty

I know, I know they aren’t all that realistic. They “discover” that there were Nazi communities all over South America after the war and that some of the high ranking Germans made it there. Not shocking given that there were many of the captured years after the war.

If you don’t take the show as trying to discover new things and look at it differently some of that criticism goes away.

I take it like this. Don’t think of it like they are actually going to uncover evidence of where Hitler was (assuming he didn’t commit suicide) after the war. Look at it like they are educating people who don’t know what happened in those years following WW2, and educating them on what really went on considering much of this stuff isn’t taught in History classes.

If you look at it as educating in an entertaining way, all of the leaps they make are tolerable. Otherwise, every time they find a printed word in German and they claim that “oh look Hitler must have been here” will just be annoying.

It is fun, they do educate, and even I have learned a few things and I’m a history buff for this kind of stuff.

As always, thank you for buying my books, and I look forward to many more pages turned on the new ones in the coming years!

Tim

Superbowl Sunday – What the players think

Super-Bowl-LII-logo-777x437I have a project kicking off with a guy who was in a previous Superbowl. He was a Tight End and has a ring. One of the things I have always wondered is what it is like the day of the game for those on the field. The world is watching, tons of hype, maybe some controversy, but what the hell is it like for those guys inside the bubble.

Apparently, after a ton of work throughout the season it is kind of different than I would have thought, so here is what I learned.

  1. Wake up thinking, whew finally the day is here. It has been a long season, this is it, the end, and here we go. The players are sick of staying in hotels by this point. They have been there for five or more days and not in their own home. For most of us, a five day hotel stay is a vacation, this isn’t. It is work, and it has been a long season with a lot of travel.
  2. There is a lot of waiting, and a lot of transfers from one place to another to eventually get to the stadium. Those of us that have been in the military can totally sympathize with this (military travel sucks, even if it is 20 miles).
  3. Before you even get to leave the hotel there are a few short team meetings. There has been a crap load of detail, strategy, game film, and preparation within the last 2 weeks and this is the last chance for more information or any kind of a refresher of the most important bits.
  4. Once they finally arrive at the stadium and on the field they are finally comfortable in their environment. This is it…Time to roll.
  5. Kickoff means it is finally showtime.

Once showtime starts, as we have all seen, it takes a bit of time but sooner or later they get into the familiar rhythm, and get to do their job. One team will win, one will lose, but if is the finale, the last game, then it is vacation time. Some will retire after this some will return, either way it is a day they will remember for the rest of their lives.

Enjoy the game, and let’s all pray no one gets hurt.

T.I.