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Poor, Poor Pitiful Me

Yeah, it’s a song title, above.

Sometimes, I get down on myself, because I once had a wife, a daughter, a home, a ‘career’.

And now?

No wife, no daughter, no ‘career’ (I’m disabled).  I DO have share a home, though.

And that’s my point.

Living Freedom recently had a posting entitled

Poverty vs poverty: Seven traits of the successful poor

It mentioned traits of folks down-on-their-luck who, if they are not thriving, do more than just survive.

I could have been worse off than I am.  I lost my home as my income decreased, and a good friend took me in.

But, that’s not my point.

MY POINT IS I’M GRATEFUL FOR HER HAVING DONE SO!

Certainly, I wish things could be different.  It would be nice to have a wife, to have my daughter back.  To have my house back.  To have the income I once had.

But, not being a child, I know wishing doesn’t make it so.

So (most days) I choose GRATITUDE!

I’VE MADE IT!

I’VE MADE IT, yesterday.

I’m not normally a superstitious person.  I do sometimes say ‘knock-on-wood’ (jokingly) when wishing for a positive outcome, but really don’t believe it.  I own no rabbit’s feet or lucky charms.  I don’t throw spilled sodium chloride over my shoulder.  I’ve not crossed my fingers since I was, well, 7 or 8.

However, I do pay attention to specific calendar anniversaries, and some events have meaning to me.

And sometimes, I’m compulsive about them.

Case-in-point:  My Father passed away, after a series of smaller heart attacks in 30 days prior, from a heart attack, on August 14, 1977.  He was 61 years old.  His birthday was November 16th.  MY birthday is November 24.

I am currently 61 years-of-age.  (You do see where I’m going with this?)

We are of  similar physical types, and have similar ‘issues’ – like weight ‘issues’, diabetes.  Fortunately (knock-on-wood) I’ve no apparent heart problems.

Subtract 16 from 24, this leaves 8.  8 from 14 is 6.

YESTERDAY WAS AUGUST 6, AND I’M STILL ALIVE!

I don’t know why, but for the past 5 years or so, as I approached age 61, this loomed over me.  My Dad’s dad lived until he was 68.  My maternal grandfather until 85.  This shouldn’t have been an issue, or even a blip on my radar.  I’m a rational person.

But it was.

It didn’t help that I was born premature, with an unnamed twin brother, who died – I nearly did;  Lost my Mother in grade school due to emphysema; had a near-fatal automobile accident (in which my daughter was lost); have had flesh-eating bacteria, diabetes and two kinds of cancer.  Life and Death have cropped up more than with most with me, I think.

I’ve made it, AGAIN.

Still flipping off the Reaper!  :-)

PS – If I suddenly fall off the Internet, in the next couple of days, you’ll know he was delayed in traffic.

A Firm, Dry Handshake

My own Father was not a hugger (of other men).  Perhaps it was his generation (b. 1916), or time in history.  But for him, a firm handshake said it all.  A man’s word is his bond was often something implied in the handshake.  Whether the word meant agreement to an implied contract (Yes, I will clean up my room), welcome (Welcome home, son, good to see you!), or even LOVE. (no verbal statement made)

As a result, when it comes to interaction with other men, I welcome a firm, dry handshake – as described numerous times in Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels.  Not simply gripping the others hand with the tips of the fingers and thumb, but full engagement – thumb crotch to thumb crotch (or whatever they’re called).  Not the (again, intoning Mr. Fleming) slimy, wet, limp grip of the Middle East, which makes a man want to wipe his hand on his coat tails, either.

It has come to pass that scientists have determined over-use of soaps, antibacterial hand cleaners and sanitizers have weakened our respective immune systems.  In the effort to ‘keep clean’, we have invited more resistant microbes into the mix.

And now, scientists (I wonder if they are the same ones?) have determined the following:

Fist bumps ‘cleaner than handshakes’ (!)

I remember when I first saw the ‘fist bump’, as part of a ‘cool’ ritual of Black youth.  Instead of shaking hands (as the White Devil slavemasters had done) they ‘checked in’, sometimes additionally bumping forearms and even hips!

I thought it was well, stupid then, and my opinion hasn’t changed.

Then, a popular comedian and game-show host began fist-bumping.  He said it was because of his aversion to spreading or receiving bacteria. (I wonder if he kisses or has other personal contact with women?)

NOW, such behavior is reaching the mainstream (as shown in the news item, above).

I can see not wanting to shake hands with someone who is openly infectiously diseased.  That’s just prudent.  But fist-bumping like a hipster is just silly.

I know, I’ll probably die younger because of it.

But, my word remains my bond, and I’ve no other way I can comfortably express that.

And, I like hugging and kissing women, too!  :-)

Must be generational.

…and then, they died of an overdose…

My good friend Old NFO discussed this most recent of ‘infamous’ drug deaths.  I was reminded of the PBS Series on JAZZ.  They’d mention some historic jazz figure, and then, more often than not came this line:

…and then, they died of an overdose…

So sad.

Is it the artistic personality, fame, fortune or humanity which binds all these folks together?  Are we all, at our core, addicts of some sort?  (Wikipedia – List of Drug/Alcohol related deaths)

I come rife with an addictive personality.  I have excess weight, due to compulsive overeating.  I’m neurotic, but not particularly artistic.  My real mother died when I was in grade school as a direct result of her cigarette addiction.  She had emphysema. ( I remember her turning off the oxygen tank and lighting up!)  My father was an alcoholic, ate too much and smoked cigars.  I come by my addictions honestly.  Even though I’m getting ‘help’ for my addictions, in all seriousness, I don’t expect to see 85, like my maternal grandfather did.  My fraternal grandfather made it to 68.  My own father to 61.

I’m 61.

Today is my daughter’s birthday.  She would have been 31.  Auto accident, age 12.

At least it wasn’t drugs or alcohol.  :-(

I love and miss you Molly!Molly birthday1

Condiments

I’ve always been a picky eater.  You wouldn’t know that by looking at me.

mustardBut one of the things I’ve always enjoyed has been MUSTARD.  Hot sweet mustard, stone-ground mustard, spicy brown mustard, mustard mixed with horseradish, even plain ol’ yellow mustard.  And Grey Poupon.

On hot dogs, cheeseburgers, pretzels, Polish sausages, bologna; used for chip dip (!)

This liking isn’t too surprising.  I was born on the East Coast.  Many East Coast subcultures thrive on mustard.

Not so much out here in the West.

Many of the fast-food franchises stock mustard.  But, ask for it on a sandwich?  Or ask for extra?  It is as if you said staple that bag of onion rings to my forehead.  And extra means two drops instead of one

Most drive through help doesn’t get it.

I’ve a theory about this.  One of the subcultures not famous for mustard use is Mexican.  And many fast-food places hire Mexican help.  One place hired Bosnians.  Equal difficulty with the Mexicans in (not) understanding English, but they certainly understood mustard!

Don’t get me started on A-1 Sauce.  I LOVE A-1 SAUCE!  And loathe mayonnaise – especially on hamburger!.  And ketchup is meh…

h/t Brigid

A Girl and MSgtB – What a Team!

A Girl and Her Gun tells us of a story from MSgtB.  A boy and his dad, and the boy has cancer.

Being disabled, not a man of means and spending much of my day on the Internet sometimes gets me to whining.  The state of the Nation, our rights being systematically eroded, yatta, yatta.  And me with my own petty health issues – which I won’t detail here.

But here’s a kid who has his whole life ahead of him.  And his dad will shave off his ubiquitous (since high school) mustache to raise $500.  $500 for his son’s care.

$500!  Are you kidding me?

I can’t afford to contribute, but you can do so here or at MSgtB’s site above.  Let’s see if we can make it $5000!

Team Sammy

h/t A Girl, MSgtB

Magazines & Moon Clips…

…and crisp apple strudel.  (sorry!)

Before I moved (and subsequently) I took a hard look at those things I was taking with me.  I left many things behind, simply because I wasn’t using them and I’d no place to put them.  And I didn’t want them gathering dust in some storage locker based on the mistaken idea I’d eventually be able to free them for use.

So, it’s been over six months, and I’m still unpacking and looking for a real or metaphorical shoe horn with which to insert the remaining boxes of books, gun stuff, electronic gizmos and wiring and other effluvia into my new digs.

And friend Bob made a suggestion.  Part of what I’m ‘saving’ is a box containing assorted firearms stuff.  Stuff I no longer use, as I no longer have said firearms.  Holsters; ammunition; magazines, reloading stuff.  (Before you start emailing me, I’m not selling anything that might have legal restrictions over the Internet!)  And I’m left-handed.

I’m not selling the ammo, as while I am a capitalist, I don’t wish to inadvertently arm some miscreant.  And it only increases in value.  I might sell the holsters, although piecemeal over the ‘net is probably small return.

But, locally, I could sell magazines I’m no longer using!  Empty magazines.  At least until such time they become controlled or illegal.  Backpage, here I come!

Hasn’t happened, yet.  Like Congress, I’m a procrastinator…

Give me a couple weeks…

Compulsive? Me? Naw…

(written a couple days before Christmas…)

So (I told myself) “I’ll get all these different tasks accomplished in my roommate’s absence.”

Fat chance.  (Why are a fat chance and a slim chance the same? – George Carlin)

To be fair, I did go to two grocery stores this morning, in preparation for the Christmas feast.  But I thought I’d be able to rearrange my bookshelves to accommodate more books, and clear the remaining boxes from my room after emptying their contents into precise spaces in the closet.

Fat chance.

I did get some of the bookcase rearranged, but, between the bending, kneeling and having to wear ‘Ed’ (the really big shoe) to keep my pain level at a minimum, work took it’s toll.  (Note-to-self:  realize that self-made projects expand to fill the time allotted, plus 25%.)  My back, knees and hands are now killing me.

But, I DID make a dent.  Progress, not perfection.

More tomorrow.

PS – I wrote this the next day.  It’s been three days more, still having ‘issues’.  Guess I’m officially old and out-of-shape!

JOY

I recently had a conversation with a friend which sparked a bittersweet memory.

One of the things many of us miss as adults is the wonder, the surprise, the simple serendipity of joy.  In childhood we experience it often, probably because most things and experiences are new to us, and we’ve yet to become jaded.

One of my favorite memories of my daughter Molly was when I gave her a gift.  She was turning twelve, and I knew just as the Sun rose in the morning that soon she would be developing into a teenager, full of doubt and promise.  One who no longer trusted her parents to be all-knowing and truthful.  Because, of course, we weren’t and could never be.

But here we were, proud father giving his daughter a present.  She opened it, her eyes widened, and there was that sudden exhalation of breath.  Excitement, happiness, joy.  Innocence and appreciation in one second, one breath.  Followed by the big hug.

I don’t even remember what I had given her.  But what she gave me was so much more.  An everlasting memory of a happy young woman, unspoiled by the adolescent hormones of parental treachery.  Not yet jump-started into that distrust generated simply by being parents and adults.

Zen masters tell us to be in the now.  Live life as if each moment was your last.  This is what Molly showed me that day.

I’ve had many difficult times of year.  The holidays and my birthday comprise one such time.  Not because of those specific events, but rather because of who’s not there.

But, I’ve already received my present this year.  As I get every year – when I remember it.

Live in the now, with joy, and never be disappointed.

Thank you, Molly.

Some gotta win, some gotta lose…

Guffaw’s got the blues…

I try not to let the state of the World the Nation my life get to me.  I try not to be self-centered.  I do realize that there’s very little I can do regarding the state of either the World or the Nation.  I’ve let my opinions be known, and I voted.  I’ve spoken out on this blog.  In many places on the globe these things are not allowed, and subject to sever penalties.

But, I can do something about my attitude!  I’m approaching a landmark anniversary in my life (if you reckon in Base 10); I’ve no partner to share it with; no money – on disability (which is both a description of lack of funds and physical ability).

I’ve a number of chronic conditions, and seem to acquire more every day.  I owe medical bills.

I drive a 13 year old car, when I can afford gasoline.

And last Summer, because my disability income is 60% lower than my previous meager income,  I lost my home.  (“We lived in a hallway!”  “We dreamed of living in a hallway-we lived in a cardboard box!” – Monty Python)  Fortunately, a good friend offered me a place to stay.

Two weeks ago, my sister had a minor stroke.  (If there is such a thing).  She’s back to work, and coping, but it does get one’s attention.

But all is not lost.

Re: this upcoming calendar mark – My new neighbor and EX-wife (and friend) contacted me, and asked if she could put a little celebration together in my honor!

HOLY SHNIKIES!!

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, “If you have friends, you have everything!”  You know, like the end of that Christmas movie…

Time to remove my head from it’s regular inverted resting place and get moving.

Thanks for listening.

"One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas - how he got in my pajamas I dunno!" - Groucho Marx as Captain Spaulding in Animal Crackers

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It’s about who is at the tiller of this Republic’s Ship of State. - Guffaw

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The Four Rules

1. ALL GUNS ARE ALWAYS LOADED.

2. NEVER POINT YOUR MUZZLE AT SOMETHING YOU ARE NOT WILLING TO DESTROY.

3. KEEP YOUR FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER UNTIL YOUR SIGHTS ARE ON THE TARGET AND YOU ARE READY TO SHOOT.

4. KNOW YOUR TARGET AND WHAT'S BEYOND.

Certified EVIL!

FEAR

"I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain." - Bene Gesserit, from Frank Herbert's Dune

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“F**k Civility. Hyperbole, passion, and metaphor are beautiful parts of rhetoric. The marketplace of ideas cannot be toned down for the insane.” - Penn Jillette

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