Hell of a Guy
Never trust a computer you can't throw out a window - Steve Wozniak

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Me, Normal?...


A friend on Facebook posted “I just want to be normal,” causing me to wonder what she was really saying.  Normal has about as many degrees as a thermometer, unless there is some mental health issue present. I think she is saying, deep down, what she truly wants to be is happy, and that is the easy part…it is nothing more than attitude.

Whenever I hear people talking their “situation,” be it normalcy or happiness or whatever they use to describe their state of mind, I immediately think back to my dear departed mother.  She and my dad lived an abundant life.  Were they rich?  Hell no!  My dad retired in 1967 and later told me the highest salary he ever earned was $7500.00 a year.  What surprised me about his earnings was the simple fact to me - and my four siblings – is that we never lacked for anything, never went hungry, had a warm, comfortable home and lived a pretty nice life.

These were simple people, living a simple life.  My mother thought she was in Heaven if she had a Filet-o-Fish, and order or fries and a cup of coffee at McDonald’s.  Dad just always seemed to be happy just to be with my mother.  This was their normal, their happiness.

Three and a half years ago a sister-in-law passed away after five years of battling melanoma.  She was a truly amazing woman and an inspiration to us all.  Never a complaint, she made the absolute best of an untenable situation, and though life through her curveballs she never lost her smile or her sense of humor.  She knew how to live, she was normal, and I believe to the very end of her life she was happy.

I commented on my friend’s post that she first needed to define normal and that I bet she is more normal than she thinks.  She really needs to define what makes her happy or what she thinks will make her happy, and then declare that happiness for herself.  Perhaps I need to call her and talk to her about the philosophy of The Best Day Ever?

Each of us has a choice in this, we can live it happy and normal or we can go wanting and searching all of our lives.  I choose happy.

And that is all I have to say about that…

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Retirement, Football and Politics…


These topics are presently rolling around in my petite cerebral mass and need to get out before they give me a headache (is petite cerebral mass an oxymoron?).

Let’s hit on retirement first?  The jury is still out on the retirement thingy.  I can say unequivocally I will not be going back to work, unless finances should ever require it, but I can also say without pause this retirement thing is not totally what I expected.  Having said this, I need to explain my thinking.  I should have put off my retirement date until the spring.  At this time of the year I am trapped inside, and while there are things to do inside, I am not truly motivated to do them, and a guy can only play computer games so many times, read so many books, watch so much TV and sit on his ass for so long.  Bottom line, I am bored.

My boredom will pass in about two months as the birth of a new spring materializes.  I have already begun planning my garden.  Very shortly my favorite power equipment company will pick up The Tank – my zero-turn mower – and get it ready for grass mowing season, a sure sign of the approaching spring.  I have a list of outdoor projects I want to complete and am longing for warmer weather to arrive so I can start them.  Knowing I am fully responsible for what happens to me in my life, I fully accept responsibility for my state of mind.  I am the dumbass in this.

Football?  The Nancy is the real football fan in this house, I am not.  I can watch it and enjoy it.  I can root for the home team – The West Virginia Mountaineers – as avid fans do, but my football interests can also be more than gratified just reading the results of the game in the morning paper. The Nancy can watch any game at any time, college or professional. 

Today there are two football games scheduled to broadcast; The Nancy and I will be firmly planted in our designated spots in our family room watching both.  Well, the TV will be on as the games being played.  The Nancy will have her iPad on and I will have this laptop in my lap, and both of us will look up as the ball is hiked.  Neither will have a horse in the race, the outcome matters not.  Thank God the football season will be over in to weeks.

And then there is politics, and that is a different story.  I am interested, The Nancy is not.  Some of you who read this are Republicans, others are Democrats.  I am not really sure what I am – Republican or Libertarian, but I sure as hell will never be recognized as a Democrat.

I do not agree with the Republican stance on abortion.  Personally, I am against terminating the life of a child, but will not, would not impose on a woman’s right to determine what is best for her.  I believe we need strict gun controls laws in this country.  I wholeheartedly believe labor unions have outlived their usefulness and are driving jobs out of the country.  I believe the right to vote should be given to those who have some skin in the game; if you pay no taxes you do not get to vote.  I believe everyone should pay their “fair share,” but I do not believe someone with a high income should pay a greater percentage than someone with a lesser one.  What the hell is a fair share anyway?  And then there is all this crap about corporate greed.  Somewhere along the line people seem to have forgotten the purpose of a corporation.  Very simply the purpose is to make money, but within the law.  As long as the profit is made legally, shut the hell up.  Lastly, I believe this current Administration is out of touch and ruining our way of life and they need to go. 

There, I have said it and I feel better.  It is off my chest and I am lighter for it.  Now I can go about the rest of the day and do my stuff…or not.

And that is all I have to say about that…

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Declining Middle Class…


I was listening to my favorite weekend morning news show.  The commentators where discussing the “declining middle class,” and of how children of people born in the late 50s and the 1960s that were raised in a “middle class” home cannot afford to live in that same lifestyle today.

One of the examples used by a guy they interviewed was that he is not able to take vacations like his parents were able to provide him and his siblings.  These unfortunates of the woe-is-me generation are being denied this ability by the mean, rapacious upper class.  This is truly a sad situation.  They cannot afford to go to Disney World on vacation.

I wasn’t born in the 50s or the 60s.  One of my children was born in 1967 and does not live at the same level as she was raised, but she is fully aware of why she does not, and I can say unequivocally she, to my knowledge, has never blamed anyone but herself for her situation.

Is the decline of the middle class the fault of anyone?  I think not.  The middle class is being used as puppets to promote a political agenda.  The decline of the middle class has occurred because the middle class wants it all.  Unfortunately we live in different times then our parents, and thank God we do.

When my dad retired in 1967 a male’s life expectancy was something in the neighborhood of sixty-three years.  He was sixty three.  He and my mother lived in a three bedroom, two-story house of not more than 1200 square feet that they had purchased in 1943 for $4500.00.  It had one bathroom.  At one time seven people occupied this little house.  We had one car, one TV, we ate in a restaurant maybe once or twice a year thinking we had died and gone to heaven, and we wore a lot of hand-me-downs.  We ate simple meals at home but never went hungry, and we always ate our supper together as a family, but not before Dad said Grace.  After supper we would gather in the living room and watch TV, which basically means we watched what Dad chose, and his choice was most generally a western of some sort – Gunsmoke, Paladin, Maverick. 

As kids we played outside most of the time, even in cold weather.  When the weather was inclement, we stayed inside and played board games like Monopoly and Parcheesi.  In the summer when school was out we all played outside with friends only coming home to eat or for band aids.  And we loved it.  Back then, we never thought about what class we were in, and, very frankly, we didn’t care.  We did know we were not rich, and we did know we were happy with what we had, and therein lay the difference between us and today’s middle class wannabees.

We all want, as our parents wanted for us, for our children to live at a higher standard than we had.  So these days every household has to have several TV sets, High Definition of course, and most assuredly more than one car.  We cannot live without laptops, Wiis, GPS, iPhones (each kid has to have one), iPods, iPads, apps, Xbox 360s and everyone has to have a college education (whether or not they can learn or are prepared for it).  The simple fact of the matter is, we are a spoiled society and have been since the end of World War II.

We act as though these days being a plumber, a carpenter, and electrician or any job in the trades is not a middle class job.  What we truly need to do is eliminate the class distinctions.  Then it won’t matter.  Still, even if some feel they are not able to enjoy the same lifestyle in which they were raised, we all live a life many people around the world can only dream about.  Our basic problem is that “we want it and we want it now.” 

I am not one of the 1%, but I sure as hell do not feel any obligation to support these malcontent, anarchist, wackjobs occupying the parks in our major cities screaming for a small number of citizens to “pay their fair share” when all the while these people pay nothing at all but suck the lifeblood out of the rest of us…but I digress.

No matter what we do, and Jesus could not do it either, these people will never be pleased, no matter what.

And that is all I have to say about that…

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Dr. Qunatum…


On the plane while returning home from our sojourn to the Orange Bowl I was enamored with Dr. Fred Alan Wolf’s book “Dr. Quantum’s Little Book of Big ideas,” an inspirational read explain “where science meets spirit.”

I cannot pinpoint the exact time I became interested in Quantum Physics and Quantum Mechanics, but I surely know I am fascinated by them.  Photons, neutrons, electrons, atomic particles and all that tiny stuff these physicists get into is way over my head, I can barely do simple mathematical equations.  These quantum dudes are thinkers, real thinkers, unlike me who gets hung up early with insignificant the details (or ignores them). 

Dr. Wolf, in the 2004 movie “What the Bleep Do We Know,” spoke of the strange behavior of atomic particles and of how while observing atomic particles they might disappear and then reappear in a different position.  His question was, “Where do they go?”  He says of “time” everything that has ever happened, is happening and will happen is occurring at this very moment.  In the book he explains we live in memory, explaining by the time our brain processes what our eyes see and our ears hear the event is over and our brains reconstruct what it thinks we viewed and heard.  He discusses connectivity, something Neale Donald Walsch talks about in “Conversations with God,” and it is something I so totally believe.  We are all inexorably connected; we are one spirit, or Walsch notes, “individuations of the one soul, the Soul of God.” 

Ponder this factoid for a moment: every atom that exists today has existed in some form since the beginning of time.  “Life is a journey. It’s a roundtrip.  We end up where we began” says Dr. Wolf.  He goes on to say, “There is no such thing as either a birth or a death.  They both are temporary markings having to deal with the illusion that we are each a body.  We can mark our bodies as having a birth and a death, but the ‘I’ has never been born and will never die.”

He speaks of parallel universes, something the thought of intrigues the hell out of me.  This gets into the area of quantum mechanics which explains every event has many outcome possibilites.  Dr. Wolf believes we may drift from one parallel universe to another when we dream.  I know I have been in some interesting universes from time to time, and awakened (drifted back to this one) at some inconvenient moments – bummer. “As fantastic as it may sound, the parallel universe theory posits that there exists, as if on a different but parallel layer, another world, a parallel universe, a duplicate copy, slightly different and yet the same as this one.  And not just two parallel worlds, but three, four and even more – no less than an infinite number of them make up a universe of universes.  In each of these universes, you, I, and all others live, have lived, will live, will have ever lived, are alive.”  Don’t you just love it?

I have to leave you now; I have had enough of this stuff.  I didn’t write this yet and I wrote it yesterday or was it last week?  At the key stroke of the last tittle and am out of here and out there somewhere into the great beyond.  Later, dudes!

And that is all I have to say about that… 

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