Goodnight, Carrie Fisher

I don’t really follow celebrity news. My eyes tend to gloss over whenever a person famous for nothing other than being famous is on the news. The names that are most familiar to the 18 to 25 market tend to have me asking “who is that and why should I care.” But 2016 has really sucked for some of the losses. People like:

-Muhammed Ali, one of the greatest athletes ever and a pro-peace activist.
-David Bowie, the man who made glam rock great and gave us one of the greatest albums ever “Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.”
-Leonard Cohen, the great poet and singer.
-Steven Hill, best known for his long time on Law and Order as the DA, he also was the first team leader on Mission: Impossible.
-Harper Lee, one of The US’s greatest novelists. Every teenager must read To Kill A Mockingbird.
-Garry Marshall, he had a great acting career but I loved his guest spots on Murphy Brown more than anything else he did.
-Prince, again I wasn’t a major fan but still he was an icon.
-Alan Rickman, best known for playing Snape I best remember him on Galaxy Quest.
-Abe Vigoda, ok not one of my favorites but he was a star on one of my father’s favorite shows, Barney Miller.
-Gene Wilder – Comic genius, nothing more to say.
-Anton Yelchin, ok not really one of the greats but he showed great potential as an actor and not just as the new Chekov.
-And others who are not named for time or simply because I don’t wish to acknowledge their life… he knows who he is.

Unfortunately in the closing days we must also say goodbye to Carrie Fisher who is most remembered for being the iconic Princess Leia. Also to Debbie Reynolds, Fisher’s mother who died a day latter. I can only wish peace to both their families and extended families in their time of loss. I know the chances of any of them reading this is between the probabilities of zero and hitting a small target with a peanut while traveling in a jet, but I can say I lost someone significant to me this year. But I can’t understand your pain, I hope you find peace.

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Sacrifice

It took me a long time before I appreciated the word. Think about the word “sacrifice” and what it might mean to you.

The way I see it there are two meanings. The first is what are you willing to give. In other words, what are you willing to give up for someone else for nothing more than their betterment or for many others for something greater than yourself. The second meaning is how many are you willing to destroy because you say you’re looking for something greater. In the second case one might claim to be searching for a greater good but are truthfully only looking for self betterment.

So in this HOLLIDAY season, ask yourself how do you define sacrifice. We may need to know all of our answers sooner than later.

The War on… What?

Ok, I’m sick and tired of hearing about the “war on Christmas.” First of all if you’re really offended by Jews having Hanukkah or some Africans having Kwanzaa (ok, I still have no clue what the holiday is) or some Seinfeld-ians having Festivus well then that’s your problem. And go back to where you come from, a backwards age that we’re trying to leave.

Second, even if you do have a problem, there are TWO holidays that are a week apart. Saying “Happy Holidays” is just a faster way of saying “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”

Finally, if you have a problem because you’re Christian and want to acknowledge Christ, well listen to his own words. In Matthew 22 it is written “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”

So, HAPPY HOLIDAYS everyone.

Cabinet of Terror

Ok, so it’s been a while since I posted. In that time our new president-elect, who I feel the need to continually remind people lost the popular vote, has picked out most of his cabinet and advisors. Let’s look at them so far:

State: Rex Tillerson. The Secretary of State is commonly the head of foreign affairs and oh boy do we got a doozy. The chairman of ExxonMobile with close ties to Russia and Putin. He also retains a great deal of stock in his company. My guess, he’s gonna care more about his checkbook than the citizens of the United States. Oh and I forgot to mention he was suggest by several former government officials… who profited from ExxonMobile. Also as an oil man he thinks climate change isn’t real.

Defense: James Mattis. Nicknamed “Mad Dog.” While that should say enough Let’s look at his own words from 2005 – “You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn’t wear a veil,” he said. “You know, guys like that ain’t got no manhood left, anyway. So it’s a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them. Actually, it’s a lot of fun to fight. You know, it’s a hell of a hoot. It’s fun to shoot some people, I’ll be right up front with you; I like brawling.” So to all you people who said Hillary would start WWIII… our new Secretary of Defense is a hawk who likes violence.

Homeland Security: John Kelly. While I find very little to dislike about the man as he seems to have kept out of controversy, The Guardian has a quote of him making a point against diversity. I have no back up for this so I have to say this is the first pick that doesn’t scare, sicken, or disgust me.

Treasury: Steven Mnichin. His nickname is the “Foreclosure King.” I’m guessing this is the draining the swamp by adding alligators method.

Attorney General: Jeff Sessions. Has a history of racist comments and praised the KKK… don’t believe me, look up how he failed to be a federal judge in the Regan era. Welcome back “stop and frisk.”

Labor: Andrew Puzder. The former CEO of Hardees and Carl’s Jr opposes raising the minimum wage and government regulation. But hey, at least the new president says he is a hero of the working class. Psst… I don’t think this guy will look out for the working class interests.

Health and Human Services: Tom Price. Wants to privatize healthcare even more and attempted to defund Planned Parenthood. We pause now for our commercial break – https://secure.ppaction.org/site/Donation2;jsessionid=40480EF4C11C541F1C1DE648DED31263.app20108b?df_id=12913&12913.donation=form1&s_src=Evergreen_c3_PPNonDirected_shorturl
Now back from that commercial. He’s also described as “100% pro-life.” Or as I would call it, who gives a damn about the woman she’s just the incubator.

Energy: Rick Perry. Wait, seriously? This guy has been a national joke for the last 8 years… If it wasn’t for Palin we’d be making far more jokes about this guy. Oh by the way he’s another climate change denier who once tried to say in a debate that he wanted to eliminate the Department of Energy… but apparently he couldn’t remember that it existed.

Housing and Urban Development: Ben Carson. As child who grow up poverty who’s mother relied on welfare and food stamps he’s become a champion of such programs. Wait, hold on a sec… no I was wrong, he wants to eliminate them. Then there’s the conspiracies he believes in… there’s just too many. I’d say he’s the scariest pick… put then again, look above.

Commerce: Wilbur Ross. Basically on old friend of the new president who has been nicknamed “The King of Bankruptcy.” Oh yes… the Secretaries of Treasury and Commerce are kings of foreclosure and bankruptcy. Nice. Once again, who do this people represent? Something about a swamp?

Transportation: Elaine Chao. I actually have nothing to say about her. So the second that doesn’t scare, sicken, or disgust me.

Interior: Ryan Zinke. While he is a self proclaimed conservationist he does have a history of voting for drilling on federally protected lands.

Education: Betsy DeVos. She’s lobbied heavily for school vouchers and criticizes public schools despite never attending one or sending her children to any. It should also be noted her father-in-law is the co-founder of Amway (A pyramid scheme) and her brother is the founder of Blackwater (known for it’s war profiteering).

New CIA Director: Mike Pompeo. After the Boston Marathon bombing he insisted Muslims everywhere rejoiced (false). He also praises torture, opposes the closing of Guantanamo, believes in NSA surveillance of US citizens, and wants Edward Snowden executed. Welcome to the scary old days of the CIA.

EPA: Scott Pruitt. Despite evidence to the contrary he’s stated that most scientist don’t believe in climate change. Nuff said.

UN Ambassador: Nikki Haley. While she did ban the confederate flag following the mass shooting in South Caroline she did so mostly because she had little choice. Most of my real complaints about her are minor.

Small Business Administration: Linda McMahon. Best known for having the voters of Connecticut not wanting her to be their senator and donating millions to the president-elect’s campaign. Proving once again if you can’t get voted into government, you can buy your way in.

National Security Advisor: Michael Flynn. After the recent “Pizzagate” fiasco he stated on twitter that his statements needed to be proven wrong or else he was right. So basically the National Security Advisor position is being renamed Czar of Fake News.

Chief Strategist: Steve Bannon. King of the alt-right… yeah, I just can’t go on.

Stay tuned to hear about the next Secretary of Agriculture and Veteran Affairs. I can’t wait to hear how they scare me.

Be Kind. Don’t Rewind.

I recently read several online articles about a Utah woman named Christie Jameson. Despite being an elderly woman who has lost her husband she has adopted 35 children over several years. Apparently all of these children (or most, the articles seemed conflicted) required special attention for medical or educational needs.

When I read about this I felt a few things. The first, because of my personal skepticism was “I hope this is true” and “I hope she is as saintly as the articles suggest.” The second feeling was joy. If a single person could be that kind to some of the weakest in our society then doesn’t it mean the rest of us have that potential?

I went food shopping today. When I got to the check out counter and the young lady said “hello” I asked her if she was “having a good day,” which was my normal and automatic response. We were apparently both preoccupied in our own thoughts and after a minute she suddenly apologized for not answering the question. I smiled and admitted my confusion until she reminded me that I had asked her “having a good day?” It turned out she was having a lousy week. She told me a couple of customers had screamed at her and a few rude people despairingly called her a transsexual (for the record I do not know if she was but I do not care, the point is coming up in the next sentence). In other words she, despite having a lousy week, was nice to me and I despite having a stressful week I was nice to her.

Why can we not just treat each other with basic kindness? Even if you dislike the person for a reason, turn the other cheek and be kind. This will be how evolution starts, by remembering that there is a social contract between us all. Simply be kind.