Tuesday, November 25, 2014

New Year Resolutions

             

by The Urban Blabbermouth
~
It's that time of the year again when I start to think about what became of this year's New Year Resolutions.  Last January, I was stingy and I made only two resolutions on the belief that I could concentrate on only these two items and improve my chances of succeeding.  It did not turn out that way. 

The first and I suppose the most common New Year's resolution is to lose weight.  We all make that one and we all seem to fail at it.  I am no different and I want to make some excuses for my failure.  Obviously I cannot claim that the dog ate my lunch since I don't have one, so what kind of excuse can I give and yet sound reasonable.  I can always blame someone else - my wife.  If she did not cook so well then I would have lost the weight.  She made the most scrumptious roasted Rosemary Chicken, Coq au Vin, Chicken Tandoori, Chicken Parmigiana, Chicken Piccata, Jerk Chicken,  and, Curry Chicken, and that was just week one.   If I did not eat her cooking, she would think that she was a terrible cook and I would feel so guilty.   I did not want her to eat alone so I ate with her.  I ate her portion and mine, to save her from herself, you understand, so that she could lose weight too.  See what a thoughtful husband I have turned out to be.

My other resolution was to save more money.  Well, that did not work either.  Here I really do have a legitimate excuse, two of them really.  One, I just do not make enough money.  It's simple, if my boss paid me more, then I would have more money to save.  Second, my bills got bigger, much against my will.  The worst is always the cable bill followed closely by the cell phone bill.  We all know about the cable lament -- 1000 channels for hundreds of dollars each month and not a decent show to watch.  Now the cell phone is second but is working hard to replace the cable bill as my most irritating bill.  Used to be that cell phones were only to call people.  Now, there are data plans, texting, and apps for shopping, travel, games, pictures and some rather nefarious purposes, all of which cost much more money.  The least thing done with a modern cell phone is to call people.

My next year's resolution will be the same as last.  This is the fifth year in a row, an anniversary of a sort, that I have made the same two resolutions.  All I can say is that I am in good company with the Lord on this.  You know how the Lord works, keep repeating the same experience until we learn His lesson.  I will keep repeating my resolutions until I learn my own lesson.  Don't bother me with what that lesson is as I haven't yet learned it.

So, see you next year at this time.
___________________________________
Note: Photograph shows the world-famous Maru.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

My Daily Sexist Commute

                          

by The Urban Blabbermouth
~
My commuter railroad has new cars.  They are beautiful, fabulous and a joy to ride.

I don't know how they did it, but the inside of the new cars is wider with lots more space,  and the train still fits in the station.  Looks like they re-arranged the seats to create more seating.  What I like most is that there is a hand rail down the center aisle for those times that I get caught out of position and cannot hold on to the rails above the seats.

The new cars have gadgetry.  There is an electronic map with all the stations and it shows you where in the world you are on the train route.  Looks like a version of Google maps.  There is also a video screen that tells you the next station, the estimated time of arrival, and shows safety messages.  No commercials, at least not yet, unless you include the railroad's shameless self promotions, "We are the greatest railroad you have ever been on.  Here is our latest project to..."

The train still has audio announcements.  It a beautiful voice, very soothing, and the diction is perfect.  The station announcements sound so interesting that I am tempted to get off at every stop.  Clearly professionals,  you know, actors, the ones who do voice overs for radio commercials.

But here's the odd thing.  The voice that give us directions, that announces the next station and the transfer points is female.  The voice that give us instructions, the voice of command that tell us "Watch the closing doors" or "Get your fat ass inside" if we are too slow in obeying, is male.

Who knew that this iron horse, dripping in modernity, and completely devoid of gender, could be so sexist.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

My Training Bra

                     
by The Urban Blabbermouth
~
I still remember my first struggles with the clasp of a bra.  It is a rite of passage for young men just learning about relationships and women to struggle to open a bra.   Bras, in general, are like chastity belts for the breasts. They have a special lock, the clasp, and of course, are ridiculously difficult to open.

On the  eventful day, things started out normally enough with my girlfriend.  Let's call her by another name, Beverly, to protect her virtue (probably long gone by now).  Beverly liked to wear turtleneck sweaters.  You know how turtleneck sweaters just show off the female form.  Well, I got to noticing her soft round breasts, which lead to me taking liberties and having a wonderful squeeze.  Beverly's response to this was, "Did you enjoy yourself?"  Duh!!  Anyway, somehow I ended up trying to unclasp her bra.

Not so simple.  The clasps that close a bra are designed to frustrate us. Perhaps it is women's way of testing us. If you can open this mechanism, then you are manly, virile, and worthy of its contents. Yes, bra clasps are a conspiracy led by women. It’s not like Beverly needed to wear a bra.  She only had her breasts for a few years and they were perky enough to easily stand up on their own. Nope, she wore a bra to test me. 


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Low Art of Cat Calling

                                 

by The Urban Blabbermouth
~
"Hey Baby, your headlights are on.  Come with me and I'll light you up tonight, all night long.  I'm cocked and ready to go," exclaimed Joe as the woman scurried down the street, blank-faced, clutching hard at her bag.

Charlie chuckled as he wiped down the backhoe, "Man, Joe, you sure have a way with words.  You should write a book."
"Nah, I ain't no writer. These things just come to me."
"Well it's like poetry.  You must do OK with the ladies?"
"No more than usual. But the ladies do like to be told how sexy they are."
"You should start a school.  Mind if I use your line?"
"Feel free."
"Thanks.  Tonight is Belgian Beer at Pinkie’s. You coming?"
"Nah, I'm tired.  Been a long day.  Nite."
"See you tomorrow."

"Hey Baby, your headlights are on.  Come with me and I'll light you up tonight, all night long," exclaimed Charlie in the dimly lit bar, to a buxom woman in leather pants with a tightly wound whip hidden on her opposite hip.
She looked at him, "So you think you can handle a woman like me?"
"Yup, cocked and ready to go."
The woman's eyes lit up wickedly as she touched her whip, smiled and said,  "My, aren't you the macho one.  I accept your challenge.  Let's go."


Meanwhile, Joe enters his front door calling out, "Hello, I’m home."
"Upstairs, be down in a minute," replies his husband.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Cain and Abel and Ishmael

                    


Daniel Quinn's groundbreaking book Ishmael offers a fascinating, non-traditional analysis of the Biblical story of Cain and Abel. 

First, the Biblical account: 

In Genesis Chapter 4, Verses 1-12, Eve gives birth to Cain, who grows to be a farmer, and Abel, who tends flocks.  Both brothers bring offerings to God, but only Abel's portions from his flocks are favored, while Cain's offerings of the fruit of the soil are not.  This leads to quick resentment on the part of Cain, who lures his brother to a field and kills him.  God quickly discerns what has happened, though Cain initially lies to cover it ("Am I my brother's keeper?").  God puts Cain under a curse ("Your brother's blood cries out to me from the ground" - v.10 and "When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you." - v.12).  

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

My Pot of Gold

                
by The Urban Blabbermouth
~
I have been thinking about my 401K.  For 2015, the maximum is $18,000.  I want to contribute the maximum money into my 401K.  I have never done that before. 

When I was young, just out of school, I had a life-changing  experience.  I was laid off.  The economy was bad and it was difficult to get another job.  I was down, literally, to my last dollar.   I was living on unemployment and my savings.  Eventually, my savings ran out and all I had was my last dollar.  I was worried.  I borrowed some money from my ex-girlfriend -- proof that it pays to be nice to your Ex.  The next week, I got a job and paid her back.  Lucky.

The experience scared me.  Saving money became important.  I read financial planning books and followed their advice to the letter.  I made a budget and I carried a little book to record every expenditure just to be sure that I would not forget any.   Eventually, computers came along and I transferred my budget to a VisiCalc spreadsheet. 

VisiCalc allowed me to go berserk.  So much easier to record and track how I spent my money.  Every penny of my pay check was accounted for and reconciled to the expenditure.  From big bills like rent, to the weekly bill for groceries, to the twenty-five cents for a pack of gum.  The spreadsheet summarized each expense by week, month and, of course, year.  I plotted out graphs of income and expense flows.  Today, I no longer have a spreadsheet.  Time does heal.

Unless I win the lottery, I will never own a Mercedes-Benz or live in a mansion.   Maxing out my 401K is my personal achievement statement, the same as owning a Mercedes or living in a mansion.  It is a confirmation that I had a great year, that I have made so much money that I have excess money to put into my 401K, and that I officially became a financial success.

Truth is that I don't have the money to max out my 401K.  I suppose I can find extra monies by cutting my expenses.  I can give up my expensive smart phone and use a phone that only makes calls.  I can certainly give up my cable.  I can give up wonderful Starbucks coffee and drink cheaper and horrible Cantina coffee.  I can give up tasty food and live on bread and water for the next year.  It is an awful way to live but I must stuff my 401K with money and not my belly with tasty pastry.   

Now where did I put that VisiCalc?

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Speaking for the spoiled brats, underachievers, and bleeding hearts

                               

Your child does not have to love you every minute of every day. He’ll get over the disappointment of having been told “no.” But he won’t get over the effects of being spoiled. –Dr. Phil

…what we have is an entire generation of young adults who got everything they ever wanted with little or no work, we have a cultural norm and it’s a problem. –Kristen Welch

Perhaps the biggest problem with entitlement is that under its illusions, there seem to be no real consequences in life and no motivation to work for anything. Someone will always bail you out, get you off the hook, buy you a new one, make excuses for you, give you another chance, pay your debt, and hand you what you ask for. –Richard and Linda Eyre

The entire idea of my parents having four kids on one income made us make tough choices all the time. We hardly ever ate out.  We nervously asked my dad for two quarters to play video games…but never more. “That’s too much,”  we’d say to each other. –Ramit Sethi

The younger generation doesn’t want to have to really “work” for a living. They want everything handed to them. They don’t want to have to go without their “extras.” They “deserve” everything, and cannot fathom having to go without it because they cannot afford it. No one is entitled to anything, and unless one works for it, you don’t deserve to have it. – Kathy Lambert

~

If there were some sort of "agree-o-meter" to measure the extent of universally shared opinion on any particular topic, this one would probably be off the scale. It seems there's no one on this whole planet who sees any worth whatsoever in parents not running their households like pure capitalist systems - I give you a dollar, you'd darn better work your little tushie off to earn it.
Yeah, it's true -- kids as a rule don't understand the value of money, and they always want things. I don't think there's any force on earth that can change that basic psychological fact of the human condition. My son, raised in the 1990s-2000s, had that mindset, but so did I, three decades earlier. It might be a "new" thing, relatively speaking, as in, post-World War II, but it isn't something that just sprang up with the current generation.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

I saw that!

                                
by The Urban Blabbermouth
~
An intern in my office remarked, “I wonder what my life will be like.”   I don’t know if the intern realized it but she wants the ability to know the future.
 
What she really means is, “…tell me all the good things that will happen to me in the future.”   Yes, she wants to hear that she will be offered a job that gets her to the CEO position, then she will leave there to start a new company that creates a product that saves lives and changes the world.  Tell her that her husband will be handsome, smart, kind, love only her, and will never look at another woman, ever.  Tell her that her children will be well behaved geniuses.

She also means, “…tell me all the awful things that will happen to me so that I can change it.”   By sheer coincidence, her next boss is an ungrateful terror but she saves his job when she comes up with a brilliant idea for a product.  Her boss now loves her and promotes her.  Plus, she is getting mugged and this hottie man rescues her.  They fall in love, marry, and live happily ever after.

I am sure she did not mean that she wants to know the really awful things.  Tomorrow, you will die.

But you know, life is not so simple.  Life gets complicated.   Let’s say that she ends up married to a wealthy man and has fifteen children, one per year for the next fifteen years.  Is that good or bad? I don’t know.  How about this: she leaves home, gets run over by a bus, but she has the winning lottery ticket in her pocket.


Perhaps she should have wanted something far simpler, like to read people’s minds.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Book Review: The Hour I First Believed, by Wally Lamb

                         

This article by Vol-E was originally published elsewhere.
~

April of 2009 marked the 10th anniversary of the massacre at Columbine High School.  Wally Lamb's novel, The Hour I First Believed, is a fictional account of one woman who was on campus during the shootings, and survived.  The story is told from the point of view of her husband. 

If the story had been told with the wife, Maureen, as the narrator, I suspect the novel would have been much shorter and more manageable.  As it is, Caelum Quirk, Maureen's husband, has a story of his own to tell.  Correction:  He has roughly a dozen stories -- everything from early marital failures, Katrina refugees, Mark Twain and his dinner guest Nicola Tesla, the Cocoanut Grove fire, post-traumatic stress disorder, women's prisons, the Miss Rheingold contest, illegitimate babies, and abused teens, to addiction, and beyond. 

Many of the elements that make this novel a success are the same ones that cripple it.  Caelum's story is told in real-time.  He is sitting down in front of you, spilling it all.  Is he a sympathetic character?  That is difficult to say.  He is blunt and truthful about his failings, but behind the confession is a wheedling plea for love and acceptance.  He can't help being angry, losing his temper, and letting his wife suffer alone and unsupported -- all this was caused by his childhood, and if you don't believe him, he's gonna take you back a century or two and work forward from there until you give in and tell him it's really, really all right. 

In Lamb's favor, every one of the sub-plots is fascinating, and each one "goes somewhere."  That's part of the problem.  You're trying to follow one storyline, but then have to detour into devices such as letters and psychiatric appointments.  Lamb gets back on track numerous times, only to find yet another spur along which to meander.  

The reader may find it useful to take notes.  Caelum Quirk's family of ancestry includes Lizzie, Lillian, Lydia and Lolly, and the story jumps back and forth through time, spotlighting each woman in turn.  There is, certainly, a point to all of these threads.  But ultimately, it is Caelum's story, not Maureen's.  Her part of the story ends on a less than satisfactory note.  

In Lamb's defense, it can be said that this is what life is like.  Working on mysteries without any clues, trying to keep plates in the air while the dog and cat are chasing each other around your legs and the phone is ringing.  He reminds us that for many of us, childhood should be classified as a terminal illness.  While we seek to recover from it, the here-and-now has a bewildering way of sneaking up and switching your medical records around.  

At the very least, we can read this novel and breathe a sigh of relief, that no matter how convoluted and exasperating our lives may be, they could always be worse.  We could always be Maureen or Caelum Quirk.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

MoneyKiss, an intimate performance app

                         

Disclaimer: This is not a real smartphone app -- yet. But if it should ever hit the market, you heard about it here first, and Your Faithful Correspondent gets the credit and the bucks!

 How long did it take you to get to first base?  Second base?  How many home runs do you have?  Now track your intimate relations performance with a new app, MoneyKiss

Yes, our society measures athletic prowess, ranks colleges, and creates  lists of the world's top ten beautiful people.  Thanks to MoneyKiss, we can now add your performance in intimate relations.

We have taken the statistical and mathematical evaluation methods developed in Baseball and explained so well by Brad Pitt in the movie MoneyBall, and brought you MoneyKiss to track your performance between the sheets.

Thanks to smartphones, you and your date can easily enter your performance into MoneyKiss.  You no longer have to spend the rest of your life wondering how good you are.   Learn how you compare to all the men in your town.  You will be ranked with the local men, and if you desire it, you can get a world wide ranking too.

A special feature of MoneyKiss for men is that you can enter your date's identity and you can compare your performance to the other men she dated in the past.

Women have their special features too.  Just enter your date's identity and you will immediately learn if he has the "package" you want.  See his performance ranking from his previous dates.  Weed out the duds.  No more trial and error.

MoneyKiss is revolutionary.

Here are some of the MoneyKiss performance indicators:
  • AT -- At Bat.  The number of time you were at bat or the count of your attempts to get to first base.
  • BL  -- usually has an asterisk to indicate the use of the "Little Blue Pills"
  • GL -- Girth Length ratio.  There is an old saying, " long d**k is not big d**k."  The girth matters too.  The closer to your number "1" the better.
  • KAT -- Kiss And Tell measures how many time you have been caught kissing and telling
  • OKI -- Orgasm Knocked In.  How many times you deliver the big O in one night's match
  • OO --  Oscar not orgasm.  Tells how good you are at faking your performance
  • RO -- The Romantic Operator indicates your overall performance ability to show a girl a good time.
  • HP -- Horsepower, your running power.  In short, how long can you last
  • SPM -- Strokes per Minute.  The strokes or hip thrusts per minute.
  • $$$  --  Measure of the "fat" of your wallet.  Some think that this is a superior size indicator than the GL.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Astrological insights into sticky relationships

                                                   

This article by Vol-E was originally published elsewhere.
~


If existence is a wheel, it isn't the kind on a stationary bike.  It's more like a wheel on a car, constantly revolving, but also traveling the miles, exploring new territory through the years. 

In light of this, we may wonder why certain patterns seem to repeat themselves, defying the convention of moving with the wheel, learning from the old, embracing the new.  In particular, when someone returns to an ex-partner or ex-spouse repeatedly, is it karma or weakness? 

The best recourse is to conduct a reading on both parties - since returning to a relationship requires two partners who allow it.  Clearly, this repetitive pattern indicates something gratifying and compelling -- if not in a lasting way.  A qualified astrologer or psychic can offer the detailed insights that go far toward answering these puzzling questions. 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Black...ish

                  
by The Urban Blabbermouth
~
Black..ish is a new TV show exploring the affluent black middle-class cultural identity.  The implication from the show is that black people lose their cultural identity when they become affluent.  I say the show has it wrong.  Instead of losing black culture, we see the development of a new black middle-class cultural identity.

For the first time in American history, there is now a sizable black middle-class.  There have always been educated and affluent black people but they were small in number and tended to blend into the black community and were not so visible.  They were part of the existing black community and were part of the existing black culture.  Now that we have a large and visible black middle-class, perhaps it is time to develop a black middle-class culture.

Ironically, the closest example to the development of a black middle-class is the European immigrant experience.  The first European immigrants, let's call them the founding immigrants, came here and kept many of the old country ways. Their children, the next generation,  became the hyphenated generation, Italian-American, Irish-American, and so on.  The Hyphens observed the old country ways in their homes but when they walked out the front door, they put on American clothes, went to American schools, and ate American hamburgers.  The third generation, the grandchildren, were completely assimilated and were completely American.

Black people, in many respects, are immigrants in their own country.  There was a great migration of black people from the south to the north.  They brought with them black culture that was created from slavery, Jim Crow, segregation, and from the Civil Rights movement.   The next generation did become the hyphenated generation of African-Americans.  Unlike the European immigrant experience, generation here is not parent to child to grandchild.  No, this generation is a cultural generation and consists of parent, child and grandchild as one generation. The next generation is the establishment of a black middle-class identity.

I am no seer so I cannot tell what the new middle-class black identity will be.   There may be clues to be found in observing black celebrities like Jay-Z or Sean Combs. They came from hip-hop and appear to be morphing beyond their hip hop beginnings.  I can only say that in observing white culture, there will be a two black identities, The Haves and The Have-Nots.

To Mr. Johnson, the father from Black...ish, I say don't worry.  Take a look at your children's faces.  They are black and will always be black.  Unlike other immigrants, they cannot blend in and become invisible.  No amounts of American clothes or American hamburgers can change this.  Your children will always and forever be black and whatever they chose to do or not to do will automatically be Black Culture.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Film Review: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

                                    

This article by Vol-E was originally published elsewhere.
~
"You can be as mad as a mad dog at the way things went. You could swear, curse the fates, but when it comes to the end, you have to let go."  

"You never know what's coming for you." 

If these lines sound like something Forrest Gump might have said, it's probably because Eric Roth, screenwriter for the 1993 film that won Tom Hanks an Oscar, is also responsible for this acclaimed 2008 motion picture about a reject who manages to live a life of significance. 

Based on a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button takes us from birth to death and beyond, and invites us to reconsider how we define those terms. 

Benjamin (played by Brad Pitt) begins life with the outward features of a very old man and dies, many decades later, as an infant in the arms of the only woman he ever really loved.  In between these two points, he experiences the same type of life as anyone else.  He learns how to walk, how to work, how to get along with others, and how to care for loved ones.  His life reflects the irony that confronts each of us, sooner or later:  By the time we have enough wisdom in our hearts and minds, our bodies have lost the power to help us use it.   

Bracketing the Button biography (told via a diary and flashbacks) is the present-day circumstance of a very old woman facing her last hours in a New Orleans hospital as Hurricane Katrina is bearing down. The patient's name is Daisy and her caregiver is Caroline, her daughter.   

We know that Caroline's father is no longer living, but that as far as she is concerned, Benjamin Button is a stranger she never met.  He is someone from her mother's distant past.  But we also know that Caroline knows little about her mother's life before she was born.  She is shocked to learn that her mother was an aspiring professional ballerina.   

Caroline learns for the first time that Daisy had a grandmother who lived in a pleasant convalescent home in New Orleans in the years before World War II, and that Daisy's best friend there was a funny little old man with the innocence and curiosity of a child.  However, it seems that only Daisy fully realizes this about Benjamin.  Her grandmother sees only a strange old man who whispers secrets to her granddaughter, under a bed, with only a candle's illumination. 

Caroline learns that Benjamin eventually left New Orleans and went to sea as a crew member on a tugboat.  While the tugboat captain has his doubts about how much work a frail old character like Benjamin could do, he eventually comes to reconsider his assumptions.  At one point, he questions his own perceptions:  "Either I've been drinking too much, or you've sprouted," he observes to Benjamin, who turns away to hide a smile and replies,  "Well, Captain, you do drink a lot..." 

As the story unfolds, we see Benjamin walking, growing hair on his head ("and other places"), and meeting more and more women who find him attractive and sympathetic.  But his travels bring him back again and again to New Orleans, and Daisy comes back, too.  At the beginning of their relationship, they are an old man and a young girl.  By the ending credits, their roles have reversed, and their sweetest memories are now in the past: The memories of their years together, when both were in their 40s.  

The story is a sad one, but hopeful for the audience.  As Benjamin reminds us, it's never too late for anyone ... or too early.  




Wednesday, September 24, 2014

How the earth was created

                                          

By The Urban Blabbermouth
~
Did you know that the earth was created square and looked like a cube?  When God created the earth, He took the stuff of the universe and began to knead it.  Every time He kneaded it, He would slap the earth on His work bench creating a flat side.  Knead, slap, knead, slap, creating flat sides as He worked.  When God was done kneading and slapping, the earth was square. 

After God put the earth in its place in the Heavens, He created some plants and animals on it.  The plants put down roots and were happy.  The animals were not happy because they kept falling off the edge of the earth.  God noticed.  God grabbed the earth, cupped it in His palms and rounded the edges.  It worked and the animals were happy.

God then created man.  Man then made the world flat.  The world was not really flat but man thought so.  I don't know why man thought this when man could have easily walked around the world and seen for himself that the earth was round.  Galileo came along later and showed that the world was round.  For making man look foolish in man's eyes, man punished Galileo.

Science has a different story of creation.  Science does not dispute that the earth was once square since none of the scientists were there at the beginning.  God had not yet created them.  To this day, scientists still don't know how the earth was created.

Science does have a theory that the earth got to be round because the wind and water flowing over the square edges wore down the edges into roundness.  Since this is a scientific theory, they were asked for proof.  The scientists said, "Go to the beach.  There is your proof.  There isn't a square stone to be found.  The wind and the waves wore down all the square edge stones into roundness.  The same thing happened to the earth's edges."

So, now you know how the earth was created.
 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Book Review: The Four Agreements

                        
Note: This is first of a series of articles first published elsewhere. I dedicate this post to my good friend Lloyd, who first told me about The Four Agreements.
~
Mesoamerican shamanism is a subcategory of New Age thought, of which Carlos Castaneda's writings are the best known.  However, don Miguel Ruiz distills this school of thought, softens and considerably demystifies it in his first book, The Four Agreements.  This is a practical sort of knowledge that addresses everyday obstacles to serenity, joy and successful relationships. 

Much of childhood consists of learning what Ruiz calls "the dream of the planet" - what we might call the conventional wisdom.  We are taught the viewpoints of our parents, then our teachers, friends and leaders.  We internalize what we are taught, and when we choose to agree with those teachings, they become ours.  Ruiz refers to this as "the domestication of humans."  After awhile, what we think are "beliefs" are more like laws to us -- we dare not deviate from them.  Our human brains are sophisticated enough to judge the "wrong" thoughts with guilt (punishing ourselves) and blame (punishing others).  

Ruiz discusses the concept of hell, which is shared by numerous religions around the world.  We create hell inside ourselves, he says, with such emotions as anger, envy, jealousy and hate (all of which come from fear).  These emotions create a fire within us; guilt and blame keep that fire burning throughout the eternity of our existence.  

The Four Agreements are simple ways to release ourselves from "dreams" imposed from outside us.  

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Plot Thickens?

                           
by The Urban Blabbermouth
~
Synopsis of a novel I shall never write --  I saw on the TV News that some students invented a nail polish that would detect date rape drug in a drink.  Just dip your finger and you would know.  Nail polish implies that it's men who sneak the drug into women's drinks.  Got to wondering under what conditions would a woman sneak a date rape drug into a man's drink.  Clearly not for sex, well not exactly....


Jennifer kept stroking his maleness.  It just would not co-operate as hard as she tried and the man was not co-operating either, asleep as he was.   Things were just not working out and she would have to start over again.

Jennifer met the man in the bar of his hotel.  She had been researching him and lately took to following him just so she could plan her entry point.  The man was John Rich, and he was rich.  That was the point, to find a rich man and have sex with him.   It was a rather common plan.  That did not worry Jennifer for he was her first and if this worked, her last.  She would make enough money from this plan that she would have the life style she wanted. 

Jennifer read in The Wall Street Journal that his company, Rich Black Box Investments, was planning to take over another company in Chicago.  She planned her entry point there.  Jennifer sat next to him in the hotel bar and chatted with him while she slipped Rohypnol into his drink.  She knew he was faithful to his wife but her plan needed him to cheat.

Jennifer kept stroking his maleness.  "Damn drug", she thought as she felt his maleness swell a bit in her hand.  "At last we are getting somewhere", when suddenly, the soft part started to spurt.  Quickly, Jennifer collected all the sperm.  That's the gold she wanted.  This was worth a lot of money.  Wryly, Jennifer reflected that, "This is what they did with thoroughbred horses, sold their sperm to the highest bidder." Jennifer was pleased.  She worried that he had sex with his wife and he would be out of sperm.  The test tube filled up.  Got lucky.  Jennifer left the room and left John Rich sleeping on the bed.  Tomorrow, she would meet with the women who were the next part of her plan. 

The Plan, how simple it was -- just get a rich man to father five children with five women and have him pay millions in support.  Five women impregnated in one night of debauchery.  John Rich would claim that he was faithful to his wife and that he never slept with anyone.  No one would believe him.  The Rohypnol insured that he would not remember and the DNA would prove him the father.   Jennifer, acting as broker and agent, would collect fifty percent of the settlement with the mothers.  Tiger Woods was her inspiration.  "Ten women and not one of them had his baby.  Wasted opportunity."

John Rich was not a kind man and he did not want to be.  He firmly believed, "Behind every great fortune lies a crime."  In his case, many crimes, carefully hidden.  He had a sense that what was his "was his", and should always remain so.  Jennifer did not know this.  She did not know that John Rich would never pay the mothers any support for his children.  Instead, he would take the children.  They were after all... his.  This shortfall in her knowledge would almost cost Jennifer her life.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Ain't gonna work on the content farm no more

                               

About 5 years ago, I found what felt like a satisfactory, and mildly profitable, outlet for my creative writing urges. Some may call it a content farm, but they prefer to think of themselves as a "peer-reviewed citizen journalism website."

Sure. Whatever.

What caused me to take my toys and go home was the fact that, despite a good many of my articles having garnered good "ratings" for years, they were abruptly yanked by some anonymous, behind-the-scenes judge, who claimed to have discovered previously unnoticed flaws. There was no appeal process, and their one-line explanations for the deletions were condescending, to say the least. I'm still young enough, I suppose, for this to have hurt my feelings.

So, I managed not to let the door hit me on the way out. I didn't save every published article, but recently came across a pretty good stash of them -- enough for weekly postings to last into next January -- and decided to share them here.

Since this was a "public" site, with writing geared toward "educating the masses," or some such, I endeavored to maintain a level, neutral tone in whatever I published. I read those pieces now and think Who is this boring, sterile person? Me, of course...but not really. They were, you might say, colorless, odorless, tasteless, non-toxic and inert, like certain elements at the lowest end of the Periodic Table. So, before I put any of my old items up here, I'll try to re-inject my somewhat cynical, sarcastic style. Then they'll really be mine. See you next weekend.

/v

P.S. The content farm, er, peer-reviewed blah blah, is closing up shop at the end of the year. Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of folks.





Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Inherit the Wind

     

by The Urban Blabbermouth
~
The day I die, all the treasures of my life will pass to my heirs, whether they want my stuff or not.  I have over twenty years of accumulated stuff that only I find interesting and most of it, I found interesting twenty years ago.  Today, much of this stuff falls into the clutter category.

A sad event got me onto this morose topic.  One of the feral cats living in my backyard disappeared.  I don’t know what happened but I assume that the cat encountered a fatal accident.  I am saddened about losing my feral cat, but the next day, a replacement cat showed up and took over the empty space in my yard.

The same thing happens to us people too.  We replace each other all the time.  When I retire from work, someone will take my place.  Fair enough since I inherited my place from a retiring person many years ago.  The home I grew up in is now the home of someone else.  My first apartment is now rented to someone else.  Life goes on in an unstoppable way.

The stuff that fills my home is valuable to me and probably no one else.  Individual items may be valuable to other people but the specific combination is only valuable to me.  My stuff reflects my personality and tastes and is what makes me an individual.  My stuff will not be so valued by my heirs. 

Take my books.  I like to read so I have lots of books.  I have developed an emotional and comforting attachment to my books.  I have spent years reading the good books and weeding out the uninteresting books.  Only those that I like are left.   I like to know that they are there on the shelf and that I can pick up a favorite book and re-read it at any time.   I have little doubt that my heirs will toss out my books like trash.  You would think that as we are family, sharing the same genes, my heirs would have the same tastes.  

I suppose that the sensible thing for me to do is to start clearing out my stuff.  I can start selling my stuff on Ebay since that's where they will end up anyway.  Accumulating money instead of stuff to pass to my heirs will delight them.

I can always give away some cash to the younger members of the family who are short on money.  They can pay their bills and begin to accumulate their own stuff, preparing for the day when they too will have a house full of clutter that nobody wants.  Serves them right for not wanting my stuff.

So, there it is -- a lifetime of living and work reduced to stuff that my heirs do not want, stuff that becomes fill for storage warehouses or goods for the next garage sale.

Begone ye stuff -- exit, stage left.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Tattoo My Heart


                        Hmmm...you mean, like this?

by The Urban Blabbermouth
~
I am walking on a downtown street and for some reason, all I am seeing is tourists covered in tattoos.


I pass a tourist with tats (short for tattoo) all over his body.
  In the old days, if you saw a man covered in tats, he was a Hells Angel biker, a mean scary bastard to be avoided.  Now, a guy covered with tats turns out to be a gay Starbucks Barista.  He is so nice, smiles and greets you with, “How can I help you today?”  So harmless.  

Then there are the ladies with the "tramp stamps".  A whole generation of women with tats on the base of their spine just so you can see it, along with their thongs.  Yeah, pretty trashy.  The best tramp stamp ever is still, "Don't you wish your girlfriend was hot like me."
 

Some tourists' tats are roses, snakes, or naked ladies.  It’s obvious that they are a Born again Hippie Flower Child, a Veterinarian, or an aspiring Lothario.  Some tats are a strange cosmic pattern design with no discernible reason for it.  Implication, “I am a deep mysterious person.”   

Tattoos are a mystery to me.   Every one  seems to have one and I don’t understand why.   I took a bold step and asked a young lady passing by why she had tats all over her body.  She said, “Because I like it.”  Well, I like rib-eye steaks but I don’t go around wearing raw meat like Lady Gaga. 

I spy Black people with tattoos too.  I can just barely see their tats and that's only because I am looking for them.  Let's face it, tats are made with dark inks and dark inks just don't show up well on dark people.  Kinda tells you that tats is a white people thing.  If white people wanted black people to have tats, they would have invented light inks. 

Clearly, tattoos are some kind of personal statement.  If I put your name on my body that will tell you, "I like you very much."  Maybe it’s more like a sign that says you own me or own my heart.  So now, in typical people fashion, we fight and we break up.  Your ownership of me ends and I am stuck with your name on my body.  My next girlfriend will hate you forever since your name will live forever on my body. 

I would not get a tattoo. The short for tattoos -- tats -- puts me in mind of tatas, another word for boobs.  You gotta be a boob for putting tats on yourself.  Must be a pun about tats on tatas in this somewhere.  

I see tattoos as a commercial device. We tattoo domesticated animals so we can identify them.  We tattoo thoroughbred race horses so that we can always trace their all important lineage.  We tattoo cattle so that the ranchers can tell who owns them.  Hate to say it but I think people are sheep for following a fashionable trend to get tats. 

Let's say that one day in a wild crazed moment I weaken my resolve and get a tattoo.  I would get something symbolic like the dollar sign, a “$”.  Then, some strange cosmic karma design will kick in and I will be blessed with copious amount of “$” and become the world's richest man.   Now I will own you and I will tattoo my name on your body.