A quick check-up from the neck up…

I have absolutely no idea why I wrote that as a title for this post…

Tru dat.

But since it is what it is, I guess we might as well just go with it.

Just go with the Flow of the Is of the Now…

Oh boy…

Anyway, since you’re here I was wondering if you could do me a favor.

Well, the two features Relating to Humans and the Indie Author Book Selection & Review thingy are beginning to get a little love, meaning, there is stuff up there just waiting for someone to look at it…

So, I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind stopping by every once in a little while or more and give a little of your own love in return.

I was wondering if you could read over the submissions in these features and, you know, “Like” those that you like. You know, give those Authors and Poets and Artists, all those Creators of the Sublime, a little support because, let’s face it, it can get a little scary putting our stuff out there like that in the open, all exposed and vulnerable like…

It takes a lot of courage sometimes to be original, to dare to be different and to be exceedingly loud and proud about it…

Yeah…

Can you do that for me?

Great.

Oh yeah…one other thing since you’re already here.

There are a lot of strange and interesting and wonderful and sad and scary things going on all around this petulant little planet of ours…

And I would love to know what your take is on all of it.

I mean…just look at all that is happening right now that will be defining this period of our lives – this Is of our collective Now – for years to come.

I mean…

Ferguson? How can something as tragic as what’s going on down there still possibly be?! I am very concerned about what could happen as a result of the forthcoming grand jury decision.

ISIS? I cannot even begin to get my head around that level of evil. But, really, what are all the historical drivers behind that beheading madness?

Russia and Ukraine? What in the fracas is going on over there?! I mean, it’s like déjà vu all over again, to quote that ever-prescient and wisely wry yogi-like Yogi of a Yankee guy…

Man*…

And that’s not even the tip of the terrible and towering iceberg…

It’s more like a minutely miniscule drop of condensation floating gas-like in the air looking for an iceberg to become…

So so much is going on right now…

So yeah, I was wondering…what do you think about all this madness of a mess that is happening Right. Now.?

I would love to know…

And not just because I’m an inquisitive querying kind of guy…

Which I def am…

But also because I believe you just might have the key…

That golden kernel of Karmic Truth…

That wise Way of how this wonderful world should wax…

Tucked right inside that magic of a marvelous mind of yours.

And, you know what…

I kind of feel it is incumbent upon you to share that wisdom with us.

You.

You have the responsibility for allowing us to know what it is You know to be true.

So we can, like you, be a better We like You.

I believe that.

Truly I do.

So please please please, share your Wiseness with us by submitting something, anything, to one of the Relating to Humans features.

And if you got something that just doesn’t seem to fit with any of the features already profiled…

Then hit me up through the Contact page and let me know.

Perhaps we can create a new Feature just to feature all of your amazing and fabulous features.

Can you do that for me?

Great.

 

*non-gender specific

 
 


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English is for Everyone

or

In Defense of Hoarders

The past week or so, I have been pretending to be a computer repairman (I guess in this gender-sensitive age it’s okay for me to say repairman instead of something vanilla (is it okay for me to say vanilla? does it matter that I’m white?) like repair person or repair representative, since I am, in fact, despite all the chemo’s and other drugs’s long-lasting emasculating attempts, a man). It’s funny how, no matter how useless they become, old computers, along with old video games, and old phones, and old power packs, and old chargers, and don’t even get me started on unidentifiable old CDs, kind of just hang around in a corner of the basement as if it were a technological sarcophagus — lifeless computers stacked forlornly, purposeless cables and chords twisted madly into an untwistable balled bunch… Yeah.

Anyway, the past week or so I have been Dr. Frankengeek: attempting to restore ancient operating systems, rooting around in old files, deleting an old this, saving an old that.

So, so much stuff tucked away within those old computers. Who really knows how much stuff is really on them? Of course we never should throw them away until the day a gadget is made that possesses unlimited memory and a magical ability to instantaneously copy old files onto it without any user prompting, whatsoever. And not just any old file, no, certainly not those intransigent .dll files or any other annoying and undeletable ones like them, only important old files. And not to worry, this gadget will know what’s what, believe me. Oh, and of course the gadget will be cordless and will have an infinite battery life.

Coming soon to an Amazon store near you…

Until I can get my hands one of those suckers, I promise all my old computers will stay unneatly stacked in my basement and conveniently out of your landfill.

Most of the past week or so has certainly been less than fun. It’s a good thing I’m jobless and have a lot of time on my hands because most of the past week or so has been nothing more than an intimate study of the Ctrl, Alt, Del keys.

If this is what the world is coming to, then I say, go ahead and let the geeks inherit it.

Geek salvation…boring.

However, every once in a while I did dig my way into a stash of old photos, or old school papers, or some other ancient gem that reminded me of how cool it has been to live with my wife and kids these past twenty-five years or so.

Take, for instance, the picture found at the beginning of this rambling post. I found it in a folder of old English lessons.

Back in the last century, I used to live in Japan, and for a time when I lived in Japan, I used to teach English on the side to some very wonderful Japanese folks. To find and attract those wonderful Japanese folks, I used to advertise my lessons as “English is for Everyone.” Quaint, ain’t it?

Those of you who know my family, know how talented my children are. My daughter is an especially talented artist. She always has been, as is evident by the drawing she made when she was, oh, I don’t know…ten? twelve?…and which is found at the top of this rambling post, and which became the logo for those old lessons. I believe we even made iron-ons out of that logo and pressed them on to tee-shirts. At any rate, we truly made a good time out of it, that’s for sure.

Within that old stash, I also found many of my old English lessons, and old worksheets, and old handouts. They all bring back fond and funny and fortunate memories. I miss all my — I hesitate to call them students because it seemed as if I ended up learning more from them than they did from me, so I’ll simply say, I miss all my friends from that period of my life.

What follows is a copy of one of the old handouts I put together to, well, handout to my friends during those old English lessons. It is a list of heteronyms (thank god for google (is that redundant?)) that exemplifies just how crazy and fun the English language is.

Come to think of it, this might be a stretch, but, English is kind of like my old computers… It’s a communication system and storage system and retrieval system, all coded and operated by a language that rarely deletes anything but continually accumulates and assumes bits and bytes of other languages into its own as it constantly and forever evolves and adapts its system to the demands of the times.

Yeah, I said it was a bit of a stretch, but still…

No wonder the English language is so difficult to learn

We polish the Polish furniture.
He could be in the lead if he would just get the lead out.
A farm can produce produce.
The dump was so full it had to refuse refuse.
The soldier decided to desert in the desert.
The present is a good time to present the present.
At the Army base, a bass fish was painted on the head of a bass drum.
The dove dove into the bushes.
I did not object to the object.
The insurance for the invalid was invalid.
The bandage was wound around the wound.
There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
They were too close to the door to close it.
The buck does funny things when the does are present.
They sent a sewer down to stitch the tear in the sewer line.
To help with planting, the farmer taught his fat sow to sow the seeds.
The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
After a number of Novocaine injections, my jaw became number.
I shed a tear when I saw the tear in my pants.
I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?
I spent last evening evening out a pile of dirt.

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED JULY 2012

Listen To The Colors

Listen To The Colors

Listen to the colors
For they have so much to say.
You’ll be surprised at what you hear
If you don’t let your fears get in the way.

Listening to the colors
Takes more than just your ears.
You must listen with all your senses,
For colors are hard to hear.

Listen closely to all the colors,
For each message from them is new.
What the colors say to me
They might not say to you.

Best listen to every color,
All the purples, pinks, and greens.
For the colors are all our tomorrows:
They’ll be painting every scene.

Please listen to the colors.
And listen closely every day.
For if we aren’t listening to their message
They might just go away.

 
From Poem Man

 

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Is

Life is all Briers and Berries
all Huzzah! and Hell fire!
Greek Tragedies, Comedies

Life is both a rip-roarin’ Kick in the Crotch
and a moist, long Kiss deep within the Secret Beyond

Life is all This
Life is all That

It’s nothing more than Everything
It’s nothing less than Nothing

Life Is
Period

And Periods are Eternal

今日も良い日になあれ!

If you are inspired by country living and pleasing pictures of our Mother Nature in action, you will enjoy HappyNest in America. Don’t worry if you can’t read the Japanese because the beautiful photography speaks all languages.

Follow, share, and enjoy!

HappyNest in America

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Sons of Anarchy: Hollywood’s Shakespearean Expression of the American Way of Life

FILM | TELEVISION | DRAMA | ACTION
SONS OF ANARCHY
RATING: ★ ★ ★ ★

Sons Of Anarchy

Today is Thanksgiving Day in the United States, and since I am American I must, like all Americans are doing across the nation and all over facebook, offer my thanks.

There are many things for which I am thankful: my family, my health, my freedom, football (football, the real kind, not soccer), you know, all the standard things a standard American is standardly thankful for.

But in addition to those standards, I am also thankful for the miracle of technology, for it allows me to experience right from my easy chair such wonderful, and cheap, mind melting joys like this and this and Netflix.

And I am especially thankful for Netflix, for it allows me to watch movies and television shows and documentaries and even some cartoons “on demand” (which is a very American way of putting it, no?).

And, of course I’m thankful for Hollywood, too, for without Hollywood, how else would I and the rest of the world know what it truly means to be an American?

And because of Hollywood, and Netflix, and technology, and my health (and all the free time it affords me), I just spent the past three or fours days (I’m not exactly sure how many it was because by the second day it all became a blur) watching a delightful, family show called Sons of Anarchy.

Well, it may not necessarily be a show you would want to watch as a family, but it is undeniably a show about family and the many challenges a typical — and non-typical — family faces.

Yeah, I know, as usual I’m late to the party. Four seasons late, to be exact. Season Five is already close to a wrap. Unfortunately, I will not be able to see it until sometime next year, probably right before Season Six kicks off; that is, if Netflix graciously makes it available for me to watch.

So much for “on demand” I guess.

Anyway, now, after that marathon of anarchy and mayhem I willingly subjected myself to, I can’t stop thinking, “What the hell just happened?”

You know, I’m not really sure. After four straight days of watching four straight seasons of head bangin’, rock n’ rollin’, face tattin’ motorcycle clubbin’, gun runnin’, drug slingin’, porn flickin’, bombs explodin’, race baitin’, back stabbin’ drama, I’m not sure of anything right now.

Except that the show is good.

Really good.

Once again, Hollywood did what it does best: exploiting, romanticizing, and glamorizing the most extreme of man’s deviant nature.

Hollywood did its job so well and the show is so good I gave it a Netflix rating of 4 out of 5 stars.

I briefly considered giving it 5 of 5, but it does have a few superficial flaws; however, over the entire well thought out and executed arc of the show, those flaws mostly become forgotten.

But for the curious, here are a few of the annoyances I noticed:

— A bizarre Irish Republican Army connection that put a bit of a drag on the pace and feel of the show for one of the seasons, season two, I think.

— A couple of cheezy reveals, especially at the end of season four, that pissed me off.

— Chuck Hunnam’s British accent. Mostly it goes unnoticed, but it is noticeable. It especially gets thick when he is talking with/screaming at Irish dudes.

But other than those minor flaws, the show is a masterpiece, as in Masterpiece Theatre.

Well, perhaps not but speaking of theatre — dammit, I’m American! — speaking of theater, Kurt Sutter, the show’s genius creator, is in no way shy about the show’s obvious draw off of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. For example, we have our conflicted prince (or Motor Cycle Club Vice President), we have our surrogate father king (or MC President and step-father of the VP), we have our ghost of the dead former king and father of the prince (or a manifesto written by the dead former MC President, which is found and read by the son/VP of said dead former MC President, and which conflicts said son/VP even more).

There are more parallels but I think you get the point.

Hey, if you’re gonna rip off someone’s storyline, who’s better to rip off than the Great Bard himself (who, by the way, is also accused of being a first class storyline ripper-offer in his own right).

Yeah indeed, it’s a raunchy, guns/drugs/sex-laden American version of Hamlet (heck, to make sure we slow on the uptake Americans didn’t miss the Hamlet connexion, Mr Sutter even titled the last two episodes of Season Four as “To Be – Act I” and “To Be – Act II” for us).

I haven’t watched such a deviantly fine contemporary adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s plays since My Own Private Idaho (yeah, I know — Keanu Reeves. But hey, his “style” of acting works in this flick and, besides, it also has River Phoenix (MHRIP)).

Yes sir (that would be a non-gender specific “sir”), Sons of Anarchy just about has it all; all, that is, except…anarchy.

Sure there’s all the killing and all the other subversion of societal “norms” one could imagine, but all that is done within the context of maintaining a structured and orderly, albeit somewhat illicit, motorcycle club. And clubs, especially those that are guided via vote and majority rule like the SAMCRO is (if you aren’t an SOA fan, you’re probably just as confused about the meaning of SAMCRO as I initially was when I first started watching the show…if you want to know what it means, ask Mr Google like I had to), represent anything but anarchistic ideals.

Clubs, especially those of the motorcycle variety, do not represent anarchy, they represent democracy and freedom.

And democracy and freedom, damn it, represent America!

Yes, the Sons of Anarchy, with its British leading man, and its British-owned storyline, and its Irish Republican Army and Mexican Drug Cartela dependencies and connexions–er, connections, is about as American as any television series could ever strive to be…

Or not to be.

Uhm, yeah…

Oh well, I tried.

While my dubious and corny conclusion may be in question, there is no question that, with Sons of Anarchy, Hollywood has served up yet another feast of a show for us turkeys to feed upon in our unending quest to fill our insatiable viewing appetites.

And for that, I also am thankful.

~~~~

Rating System:
★ = Unwatchable
★ ★ = Poor Show
★ ★ ★ = Average Show
★ ★ ★ ★ = Outstanding Show
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ = Exceptional Show

Toward the Happy End of Legislating Morality

You may be happy or sad over the reelection of Barack Obama.

I, for one, am happy.

You may be happy or sad over the reelection of the Congressional Incumbents.

I, for one, am sad.

And, you may be happy or sad over the historic legalization of gay marriage in Maryland and other states and the legalization of the limited recreational use of marijuana in Colorado and Washington.

I, for one, am beyond happy; in fact, I am completely and blissfully ecstatic.

Now, since I am happily married and have been so for over two score, and since my lung disease prevents me from inhaling any kind of smoke and my high liver counts discourage me from introducing THC into my system by any other means, I do not foresee me benefiting physically in the least because of the legalization of gay marriage and the decriminalization of marijuana use.

But I do benefit from it.

All Americans benefit from it because it represents a new mind set in our country.

A new hope.

Millions of Americans voted in this election to begin the end of legislating morality.

Yes, there will be legal challenges and set backs to these recent advancements toward the protection of our basic human right to live a life as we choose to live it.

Yes, we still have many states to go and many votes to cast before all Americans’s have the right to be human as each sees fit.

But we have just made a significant advancement, an advancement which sets the momentum toward even further advancement, and which minimizes the chance for significant setback.

And I, for one, am very happy about that.

Insurance Insures Ensures My Frustration

Back in February of this year, I posted the following gripe to my personal facebook page (as opposed to my public facebook page):

I am fortunate to have a rather decent long-term disability policy with Mutual of Omaha, which I, thankfully, purchased through my former employer prior to the diagnosis of my cancer.

One of my frustrations (of several) with the policy is, though, that Mutual of Omaha required/forced me to apply for federal Social Security disability compensation at the onset of my claim. Once approved, Mutual of Omaha then began deducting the amount the federal government pays me from what they pay me.

That seems like such a scam to me; however, from what I have been able to find out, it appears to be a legitimate scam.

Legitimate does not always equate to being right.

Regardless, since the American federal tax payer is providing nearly 33% of my disability compensation, I suppose it is incumbent upon me to say thank you to them for their support.

Thank you, American federal tax payer.

I would like to add an update to that gripe:

Back in May of this year I found out that, because I had been collecting Social Security disability payments for two years (which I was forced to apply for—see above), I would now be forced to apply for Medicare health insurance. Well, technically, I wasn’t forced to apply for the government-sponsored program, however, if I had chosen not to, I would have been dis-enrolled from my primary insurance program, Tricare, which is administered by the US Family Health Plan.

So, of course I applied for Medicare.

The fun part is, not only do I have to pay an additional $100.00 a month (well, technically I am not paying out the funds; they are automatically deducted from my monthly Social Security Disability payments—six in one, glass half empty in the other) for the government program on top of the premiums I still have to pay for Tricare, I am not allowed to use the government benefits which I am forced to purchase.

Ah yes. I must always remember…pain is just a loving reminder that I’m still alive.

Consider Yourself Warned!

Okay, I’ll admit—maybe Medicare will come in handy some day as a backup for Tricare.

But still…it’s all a little too hokie and borderline scam for my taste…

Short Verses and Other Curses #4

Haiku and other short poetry and prose I’ve left scattered about and throughout the various cyberhaunts of mine…

****

laugh long in woe’s stead
skip your stones across the deep
mock the keening call

*

scrape away the rot
’til only sweet meat remains
save what may be saved

*

who am i to say
who you have the right to be
who am i, indeed

*

women of the world
mothers and mothers to be
god hath ordained thee

*

entangled we roll
each clinging madly to each
caught in fate’s cross winds

*

even when hidden
even when undesired
happiness is there

*

money is the voice
which those with speak, and to which
those without listen

*

stitched and tightly seamed
joysorrowlovelossdespairhope
a patchwork of me

*

life offers it all
though, if it is not taken
life forsakes it all

*

listen not to noise
for it’s pronounced with meaning
once it’s heard, it’s heard

*

the pond, cool and deep
enlightened frogs bathe content
lo! first came their leap

*

with the winded leaves
with the doves in their mourning
I explode with life

*

staying still, quiet
showing only peace, they come
writing this, they flee

*

whither I go
wither go I?

*

is less truly more
to give even a little
seems to take so much

less is truly more
to give even a little
seems to mean so much

*

now that they have grown
into wonderful beings
every day is mine

*

tell not: show what is
ask not: do it just because
want not: agape

*

if not valued true
diamonds, soon, would lose their shine
surely, too, would we

*

dying, castro turns
after a revolving life
he turns to haiku

*

let the serpent slide
let the vulture pick the bone
let the angel be

*

seek within the grain
the smallest reveals the grand
imagine the sand

*

one accomplishment
if I can do just one thing
even just one thing

*

what compels the awe
are miracles miracles
or just is as is

*

what must be endured
before the blossom unfolds
heaven only knows

*

a sailor’s reward
life awash with memories
how grand the ocean