Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Just-a babblin'....

Originally, I was going to type two posts here, one about the newspaper cartoon by the Post that heavily implies a violent racist statement on Obama, and about a You-tubed interview Bill O'Reilly did with knucklehead, tasteless rapper Cam'ron and the make-pretend-I'm-mature Roc-a-fella CEO executive Dame Dash. But what I had say about both of those things now seem ancient, dated, and not really worth writing about. Especially since the interview was three years ago and the cartoon is pretty well talked about.

Ah well, just posting here because I haven't done it in a while. Lately I haven't had the energy to hit the blog. Have just been.....lagging around. No good. Today I was set to write, but got caught up in a marathon of "Leverage" (great show! I love comedy caper thingys........like "Burn Notice" and the "Ocean's" series).

At any rate, I keep forgetting that you're supposed to write, even when you have nothing to write about. I keep encouraging others to do this because I know that I'll still read it, but I've gotten so used to not writing without having a point that there is serious apprehension in my fingers whenever I come to blogger.com. unless, at least, something is thought out. Ah well.

Oop........"Leverage" is coming back on.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Hangman: H_ _ _ t_ _ a_ _* [Amended]

"Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one's life does not consist in the abundance of possessions." (Luke 12:15)

[Elisha], a friend from church, had pains in her mouth and went to the local privitized dentist to find out what's going on with the gummy-gum-gums. The dentist examined her teeth and told her that she had to have her wisdom teeth pulled out. If she does not, the infection in the back of her teeth will continue to grow. Working for 4-1-1 (or is it 3-1-1?), which is a staple municipal service in all of America, I just assumed that she had h_ _ _ t_ _ a_ _ coverage that would just require to pay a co-pay fee. Nope. So the dentist charges her something upwards of $1,000.

Nice.

[Elisha], like about 2/3 else of the world, does not just have $1000 just lying around. I doubt she even comes across 1000 pennies at that many intervals in her life. Time (I think a week) passes by. Antibiotics and starvation (hurts to move her mouth for chewing) are involved. Luckily, a friend of her mother is a dentist. Being, of course, that they're friends and all and such, he says [Elisha] can come into the office sometime: he'll have a look-see and he'll see what he can do about pricing. So, she goes. He looks.

He says he can't do the surgery then and there, but he generously pulls out one tooth and [Elisha] feels like there's progress being made. She goes home, thinking the problem is solved and her wisdom teeth will be fixed in no time. She returns to the dentist's office, and he tells her that it will cost her $400 per tooth pulled (she needs three). Meanwhile, she's growing a gangrene Apocalypse in her mouth and no dentist has even bothered to tell her what will happen if the infection stays. Hell, I doubt either of them took this into any consideration themselves.

So, after G.P.O.S.'s** attempt to get himself some business by abusing her faith in him fails, [Elisha] decides to just go to the doctor and have them take it out for about $30 each..............which, if I'm not mistaken, she also cannot afford.

Hmmm.....funny. I was just reading a chapter in Master Liberal's book about how Americans hate paying so much taxes. We pay almost just as much taxes to the government as France does. [The average French family pays 22% out of their income while the average American family pays 19%. But you'd be hard-pressed to find a handful of French(wo)men who complain about being taxed that much.] Me? I have no problem with the idea of paying taxes. See, here's the thing.........France has:

  • Free schooling from community colleges to the most elite universities.
  • Free doctor visits and medical.
  • Free dental.
  • Unlimited FULL PAY sick days at the job.
  • Mandatory 30 days FULL PAY vacation.
As you can probably imagine, the French are generally healthier than Americans are. Hell, at this point, the poorest watering hole of Malaysians are probably healthier then Americans are.

Like I said, I have no problem with the idea of paying taxes. I know they're supposed to go to the infrastructure that makes daily life easier for me. But to what [are these taxes being contributed]? Here in Freedomland, I pay taxes out of my check, and then have to pay fees on top of taxes, and then have to pay taxes in addition to those fees. The Disturbed One is currently and constantly getting street-gang jumped by illness, and she can't even afford too many doctor visits although she works more hours in one week than the total amount of time it takes to grow an old fir tree.

Of course, people that make $100,000 and up pay [less than us, because after that amount of income, you don't have to pay Social Security tax at all] . Because the golden conservative logic is that the more money you have, the less you should pay. But if you're poor, you should be the carrier of every burden, the face of all failures, and the debtee of all debts.

What's also funny is that, right-wing pundits and the sheep who don't question things for themselves are always criticizing socialism. And every time I come across one of these criticisms, I also come across a country who is flourishing because of it's heavily socialized institutions.

*reference to an old word puzzle game
**Greedy Piece Of S&!#

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Blah.

Bollocks. I had definitely planned to travel this summer, but in the last couple of weeks, my pockets have been hemorrhaging money into various things. Still in the midst of plotting out these novels and teaching myself math.

I am tired and at a loss for words.

That is all.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Humility

"I've opened up my eyes, seen the world for what it is, and tears rain down from the sky"

Great song by a band I'm just discovering. What I especially like about this song is the extravagant, fantastical imagery the lead singer uses to describe how world leaders will massively feed their own bloodthirst to prove their way of life is bigger and better than everyone elses.

Speaking of greed, I had to take a moment the other day to remind myself that there is a world much larger than myself going on, and that my hopes are misplaced. A couple of months ago at my job, a salesperson was fired because (I'm told) they didn't make enough money for the store. Ever since that happened, I've been working harder to get some more customers sales under my belt. Usually, I ask customers if they need help finding bed sheets or quilts, and if they do, I help. If they don't and say they just want to wander for a bit, I respect their wishes. But I work with a woman who is extremely short-sighted mentally, so if she doesn't physically see me next to a customer, she will assume it's hers for the taking (even after she sees me tell them that I will be their salesperson). And I end up having to stalk customers in order to keep her away because half the time they won't remember or care that they're suppose to direct their questions to one salesperson. The whole lot of them are raging "toad face frumps"*.

But anyway, the last couple of weeks I've been cutthroat competing with her everyday to sell the most merchandise. I've been staying on the selling floor every minute, practically loitering in people's faces until they've bought stuff and even immorally returning the favor of helping her customers when she wasn't there. But during the last two sale events, she's out sold me. For every duvet cover or sheet set I'd sell, she'd sell two of each or a sheet set in addition to some other purchase. There's a whole bunch of other elements involved in sales that go into an explanation of this, such as the customer's mentalities and personalities, how she speaks to them and how I speak to them. At any rate, I'd become angry with God and ask why He's doing this. I respect people spaces and guide them. I make sure people knew exactly what they were buying and were fully satisfied with the purchase (all sales are final). But her aggressive and sloppy ways have been recently winning over. Didn't He know I was on the path to the Wayside of the Jobless (or so I was paranoid enough to think)?

I then asked (or perhaps He asked me), who am I to determine the way things should and shouldn't be? Why should money be drawn to me just because I feel that that's where it belongs? The world is much bigger than the Samurai. And so, with this peace of mind, I've gone back to working and helping whoever I can. Wherever I go, humility, ethics and Christ shall help me make the best of things.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Drugs, Gangs and Numbers

I originally came to talk about the recent criticism against Obama due to two members of his cabinet, Tom Daschle (Secretary of Health and Human Services) and Nancy Killefer (Chief Performance Officer) messing up on their taxes and bowing out to keep Obama's team from looking bad. I will simply say this: he's our president but he is still a person, he is not God.

At any rate, I came across a vid on CNN.com by Lou Dobbs, a news anchor whose stance against illegal immigrants is slowly evolving into xenophobia, on how gang violence and gang memberships are rising in America. Here's the 4-minute vid if you have the time and comp. programs to look at it yourself.

In summary, the lack of watch and law enforcement on open borders into and coming from Mexico has resulted in the spread of gang activity and violent drug cartel operations amongst the U.S. There is now an elevated level of danger in this, as a lot of trained retired military personnel with access to sensitive firearms also flee to Mexico to participate in the drug trade. The federal government has plenty of anti-gang programs in states near the borders and are active in them, but as long as that border remains open, crime will continue to spread. Note, however, how they choose to relay this information to you:

"1,000,000 people belong to more than 20,000 gangs."
"36 shooting or stabbing deaths this year."
"80% of crime in Los Angeles gang related."
"Gang Membership has soared 25% since 2005."
"More than 195 U.S. cities are now the site of operation by Mexican Drug Cartel."

Numbers, numbers, numbers. Easy for people to remember and recite to their friends, right? They also easily make the American mind turn these people into statistics. If you've watched the video, you will note that they talk about the Mexicans in nothing but imperialistic terms (they are taking over!!!). I don't suppose it becomes important to know why or in what atmospheric conditions people join these gangs, so that we'd be understanding and have a chance at reversing the psychology of someone may want to join. They also don't talk about other choices we could suggest. Nope.

Just numbers. And the Drug Cartel are taking over. And we must stop them. And.........is it just me or does this all sound more like a video game than a video game does?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Forgive

Quite the interesting sermon in Last Sunday's service of my church. I mean, all of the sermons there are interesting, insightful and spirit-guiding. But this one was especially personal for me. The pastor (I don't like the titles "priest" or "preacher", they've gotten bad reputations. Much like the word "liberal" [but I definitely still use that]) spoke on Anger. Yes, with a capitol 'A', Anger. As you've probably noticed from previous posts, anger is not some annoying trait that flares up against inconsiderate idiots who destructively take their own space in packed subway cars on the train ride home, or yellow cab drivers in Manhattan who seem to think life is just one huge line of stunts in a big-budget Hollywood film. It is an existential part of me. One that is expressed in everything I do, even when I'm not conscious of it. I believe, this is because anger is one of the only personality traits I've become acquainted and identify with.

The pastor said that we live in an angry culture, and often, we walk around with bitterness in our hearts. This could be from abusive relationships, or sexual abuse, dumb politicians or any kind of thing. The downside of walking around with this in our hearts is that we end up poisoning the communities we live in: our families, groups at the job, social groups, etc. We like to think that the anger directed at one particular thing just stays connected to that, but it shows up in everything we do. This damages our spirits and our connection to Him. I'm probably more guilty of this than anything, which I'm always blaming on the people I'm surrounded with now and some high school years of the Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold/Seung-Hui Cho kind. So how do we fix this? Forgive.

Forgive those who have trepassed against you and break the chains that attach you to the past. Or else, you become a slave to your own bitterness. This, in many situations, is much, much easier said than done. But if you're serious about evoking life and love, this must be done.