Saturday Posts . . .

Recently my wife and I were talking, and somehow the lyrics to “This Land is Your Land” by Woodie Guthrie came up.  Well, I have a peculiar ability to screw up the words to songs, and come up with something that actually makes sense, but has no bearing on the original song, and that happened again.

Here are my new lyrics to that song:

This land is my land, this land is your land,

From the bloated egos, to the trampled minions,

From the hostile bigots, to the liberal half-wits,

This land was made for you and me.

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Black and White . . .

On this day, one week before the start  of a new semester at the local university, I’d like to address something that all college students will be faced with throughout the coming year . . . the ongoing battle of good versus evil.

It’s so pervasive, and long lived, that the terms we have to speak of it are myriad – yet probably none approach the universal use and recognition of “black and white”.  Black – the color that represents the equal presence of all colors; white – the color that represents the absence of all colors.  Those terms have nearly eternally been recognized as the short-hand reference to the battle between good and evil.  Yet, I have a simple observation to point out that doesn’t get near the attention that it merits.

Good cannot exist in the absence of evil, and evil cannot exist in the absence of good.

Consider the typical, fully charged, battery.  You pick it up, hold it in your hand, and know that it has the power to potentially do wonderful things.  But it will do NOTHING until it is plugged into a circuit.  Electricity is just a potential until it has somewhere to go.  The same is true with an idea.  Thus, it does not matter what your idea of a better universe is (and I guarantee that someone out there considers it to be evil), it NEEDS the presence of an oppositional idea to have somewhere to go, something to do.

Good and evil need each other to serve any purpose for those of us who invest time in thinking about them.  Thus, it is an eternal waste of effort to invest yourself in the eradication of whatever idea is opposed to yours.  I guarantee two things.  If you succeed, it will be the death of your goal, because your goal will no longer serve a purpose.  And , even if you consider that to be a fair trade, there are others out there who feel the same about beating your idea.

This apples universally – most especially to religion and politics.  Thus, we need to all take a step back, a deep breath, and consider from a point of genuine sanity that what we honestly need is not a victory, but the ability to embrace in tolerance the ideas we most hate.

For those who enjoy reading anything that is not required for a course, or for work, there is one book I will recommend you read before this calendar year (2018) is completed:

GNOSTICISM: New Light on the Ancient Tradition of Inner Knowing – by Stephan A. Hoeller

Saturday Posts . . .

Kudos to my wonderful wife for sending this to me!

_______________________________________________

WE DO LIVE IN SUCH A DUMB COUNTRY!!

By Jeff Foxworthy:

If plastic water bottles are okay, but plastic bags are banned, — you might live in a nation (state) that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

If you can get arrested for hunting or fishing without a license, but not for entering and remaining in the country illegally — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

If you have to get your parents’ permission to go on a field trip or to take an aspirin in school, but not to get an abortion — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

If you MUST show your identification to board an airplane, cash a check, buy liquor, or check out a library book and rent a video, but not to vote for who runs the government — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

If the government wants to prevent stable, law-abiding citizens from owning gun magazines that hold more than ten rounds, but gives twenty F-16 fighter jets to the crazy new leaders in Egypt — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

If, in the nation’s largest city, you can buy two 16-ounce sodas, but not one 24-ounce soda, because 24-ounces of a sugary drink might make you fat — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

If an 80-year-old woman who is confined to a wheelchair or a three-year-old girl can be strip-searched by the TSA at the airport, but a woman in a burka or a hijab is only subject to having her neck and head searched — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

If your government believes that the best way to eradicate trillions of dollars of debt is to spend trillions more — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

If a seven-year-old boy can be thrown out of school for saying his teacher is “cute” but hosting a sexual exploration or diversity class in grade school is perfectly acceptable — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

If hard work and success are met with higher taxes and more government regulation and intrusion while not working is rewarded with Food Stamps, WIC checks, Medicaid benefits, subsidized housing, and free cell phones — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

If you pay your mortgage faithfully, denying yourself the newest big-screen TV, while your neighbor buys iPhones, time shares, a wall-sized do-it-all plasma screen TV and new cars, and the government forgives his debt when he defaults on his mortgage — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

THINK BEFORE YOU VOTE IN ALL UPCOMING ELECTIONS. MOST OF THE IDIOTS RUNNING THIS COUNTRY SAY ONE THING AND DO THE OPPOSITE KNOWING THAT THE PEOPLE WHO VOTED THEM IN DO NOT PAY ATTENTION

LET’S SEE IF I GOT THIS RIGHT!!!

IF YOU CROSS THE NORTH KOREAN BORDER ILLEGALLY YOU GET 12 YEARS HARD LABOR.

IF YOU CROSS THE IRANIAN BORDER ILLEGALLY YOU ARE DETAINED INDEFINITELY.

IF YOU CROSS THE AFGHAN BORDER ILLEGALLY, YOU GET SHOT.

IF YOU CROSS THE SAUDI ARABIAN BORDER ILLEGALLY YOU WILL BE JAILED.

IF YOU CROSS THE CHINESE BORDER ILLEGALLY YOU MAY NEVER BE HEARD FROM AGAIN.

IF YOU CROSS THE VENEZUELAN BORDER ILLEGALLY YOU WILL BE BRANDED A SPY AND YOUR FATE WILL BE SEALED.

IF YOU CROSS THE CUBAN BORDER ILLEGALLY YOU WILL BE THROWN INTO POLITICAL PRISON TO ROT.

IF YOU CROSS THE U.S. BORDER ILLEGALLY YOU GET ……. !!!
A JOB, A DRIVERS LICENSE, SOCIAL SECURITY CARD, WELFARE, FOOD STAMPS, CREDIT CARDS,
SUBSIDIZED RENT OR A LOAN TO BUY A HOUSE, FREE EDUCATION, FREE HEALTH CARE,
A LOBBYIST IN WASHINGTON, BILLIONS OF DOLLARS WORTH OF PUBLIC DOCUMENTS PRINTED IN YOUR LANGUAGE, THE RIGHT TO CARRY YOUR COUNTRY’S FLAG WHILE YOU PROTEST THAT YOU DON’T GET ENOUGH RESPECT, AND, IN MANY INSTANCES, YOU CAN VOTE.

Enterprise fallout continues . . .

On Wednesday I posted about how, through a combination of a corporate rule change and a zealous clerk, Enterprise Rent-a-car managed to keep my wife and I from attending the “life celebration” of my wife’s cousin.  What I didn’t tell you at the time was that the very next day was my 18th wedding anniversary with my wife.  Because of the extreme pain that I was in from the walk home, I was able to do nothing with my wife to celebrate the day – except aggravate one of my greatest ongoing concerns.

Let me back up the story.  Back when I was 16 years old, my parents split up, and as the oldest child of the family (someone at constant odds with both parents) I took their split very hard.  In fact, at the time,  I took it as my own personal responsibility even though there was nothing I could do to undo it.  Choosing  to move in with my father, and the woman who eventually became my step-mother,  I found that I had a ready access to alcohol.  Of course, I also knew that they monitored the liquor supply in the house – what responsible parent wouldn’t?  But with an IQ of 149, I’m nothing if not an efficient problem solver.  So, at 16 I started drinking hard liquor.  Gin, whiskey, tequila, even Everclear. I just consumed it in small quantities so the adjustments werren’t quickly noticed.

Eventually, I was caught.  No plan devised by a 16 y/o is fool-proof.  But, by then I had built up enough of a tolerance to liquor that I could consume quite a lot without losing all control.  My dad was concerned that I was an alcoholic, and on an intellectual level I had to grant that while I still felt I had control, it could be possible that the alcohol was deceiving me.  So, I quit, cold-turkey to assert my dominance over the possibility of dependence.

But, at the age of 17.5, I graduated from high school and reported to active duty in the US Army – where the accepted and normal way to spend off-duty time was in the copious consumption of alcohol.  Once again, the ugly specter of alcoholism reared it’s ugly head.  Mind you – I have never joined any sort of support group, nor have I every cried uncle when challenged by this foe, but my real point here is that this has been a demon I’ve kept a watchful eye on ever since.

I never quit drinking.  I also never allowed  alcohol to wrest control from me.  But at times, it has felt like a high-wire act to keep a balance between the ability to consume versus the effects of the consumption.  Never has that been more obvious to me than yesterday – when I wanted to be sober enough to enjoy our anniversary with my wife, but literally needed all of the pain relief I could get.  All because of what happened in my interaction with Enterprise Rent-a-car the day before.

We (my wife and I) ended up spending the day watching a marathon of season 1 of the Supergirl CW TV series, with her adding a shot of whiskey to every cup of my coffee.  But it upsets me that I was, once again, put in a position of feeling like I had to be mindful of that .

Enterprise Rent-a-car fail…

My wife and I have known for some time that our car is not something to use on long trips, so while we’ve been saving money towards buying a newer car, we’ve been using Enterprise Rent-a-car whenever we needed to travel.  In fact, we’ve been a customer of Enterprise longer than we’ve had our current car – going on 10 years, now.  But never again.

In 10 years, we’ve never turned in a car late, had an accident, or failed to pay in full.  We’ve also never had bad service (except once when I went through the 800-number call center to make a reservation, and they messed it up so the local office didn’t get notified and didn’t have a car when we needed it), so we were happy to continue giving them our business while we saved towards the newer car we hoped to get.  That all ended this morning.

Last week, we learned that one of my wife’s cousins – a woman the same age as my wife – had died of cancer.  She was cremated, and the family was having a “life celebration” this afternoon.  I made a reservation – last week – for a car we’d pick up this morning.  When I arrived at our local Enterprise Rent-a-car office, they had a car ready for us, and just a little paperwork to do.  It was all very routine – until the clerk doing the paperwork asked me for a 2nd phone number.  I told him that I don’t have a second phone number.  He pressed me for a cell, or a work number.  I told him that I’m disabled and unemployable, so I don’t have a work phone, and since I rarely leave the house I don’t need a cell phone.  My landline is all that I need.  He kept pressing.  I even told him that he had the same information that has been in there for the last 10 years, and nobody had ever refused to rent to us before.  He said that the company had asked him to get 2nd phone numbers.  I said “asked” does not mean “requires” – he said, “yes, it does.”  This went on for over 5 minutes.  Finally, I said that if he wouldn’t rent to me with the information he already had, he would loose a sale.  He apologized, but stuck to his guns that he wouldn’t complete the contract without the 2nd phone number.  I then told him that he’d talked himself out of a sure sale, and that when I had to explain to my wife why she wouldn’t get to go say a final farewell to her cousin, it was a certainty Enterprise Rent-a-car would never get our business again.

Then, to add injury to insult, they wouldn’t give me a ride home.  It’s over 1.5 miles from there to our house, and my daily TOTAL walking limit is “no walking more than a mile”.    I’m in a LOT of pain right now, because their corporate office decided not to rent to someone who chooses not to be part of the whole “Totally connected and wired in” generations.

Saturday Posts . . .

The Lectin-free diet is a bust – for me, at least.  If you’ve been following my story, you know that at one point my weight was just a couple of pounds short of 250.  To get that under control, I started the Paleo Diet, and lost nearly 60 pounds.  Well, when we switched to the lectin-free diet, my weight went back up to 230.  The solution, then, seems to be that the best diet for me is the paleo, sometimes also called the Caveman Diet.  So, we’re switching back.

Saturday Posts . . .

I’ve written before that one of my fitness challenges is the existence of a huge tear in the upper abdominal wall, which several different doctors and fitness instructors have told me makes exercising my abs dangerous.  Yet, through the years that I’ve carried  this trouble, I’ve found no way around the problem.

Until very recently.

About 3 months ago, I began to wonder if something like the old-fashioned women’s girdles might offer enough support to the hernia to allow me to exercise.  I kept this suspicion to myself, because I don’t want to spend money on anything – ANYTHING – without a good chance that it’s worth the cost.  I’ve been burned too many times.  So, I tried to research the idea myself.

Then, about a month ago, my wife came to me with the revelation that she’d read an actual medical journal article about a trial of this very idea – with incredibly positive results.  That was when I first shared with her what I’d been looking into, and I agreed to try it.  She found an adjustable girdle with velcro fastening that I could place high enough to support the heria, and I began.

I had to start slow – I haven’t exercised  my abs in over 25 years.  But, as I built strength and endurance, I also started to see a physical change.  I haven’t lost much girth, perhaps an inch, but I do see definition starting to form in the muscles, which is encouraging.

Saturday Posts . . .

I’m feeling a bit vindicated at the moment, over the whole “Lectin Free eating” idea.  But, it isn’t the idea itself that has me grinning, but a thought I remembered having as a kid.

If you were like me, your parents probably did two things: told you to take a multi-vitamin every day, and told you that drugs were bad.  That was probably the end of the similarity between us, because when I was a kid, my family got our vitamins from the local drug store.

I admit that this is very simplistic thinking, but to my childhood understanding, if drugs were bad, why were drug stores legal?  If vitamins look like drugs, why take them?  Shouldn’t people be able to get all the nutrition they need from the food they eat?

Well, it turns out that the “Lectin free eating” idea was a huge chunk of the missing data.  You see, if we never damaged our intestine, most of our standard health problems would probably never happen to us.  So, that 10 year old (me, a very long time ago) was right – we can get our nutrition from our food, at least as long as we’re not deliberately eating things that work against us.

Saturday Posts . . .

Well, it’s time to slam on the breaks, for me anyhow.

As my wife and I approach the one months mark of the lectin-free program, we have had mixed results from taking Dr. Gundry’s Total Restore product.  I have no problem with that – it was fairly obvious that I was in worse shape than my wife to start with.

No, what is giving me pause is the price of continuing.  When we ordered the first shipment of the product, we paid about $130 for 3 bottles – a 6 week supply with both of us taking it.  I knew that was an introductory price, but I did not expect for the refill price to be over $190 for 3 bottles.  Which is just what we learned it would be when we started getting ready for our spending on bills that needed paying yesterday.

As for the diet part, I’m going to continue with it.  If nothing, that makes the grocery shopping a lot easier for my wife, so it’s worth doing just for that.  However, the Total Restore is an expense I can’t justify,  at least not right now.  We have a lot of other needs, and they all require spending money.  This one will have to wait.