Monday, December 30, 2013

They Can't Be Angels! Can They?

Okay! Okay! Okay! Such backlash! Not really! Only THREE of my TENS of readers expressed disappointment with the absence of a post this morning. Actually, three out of ten ain't bad. In the Major Leagues, batters with a .300 average are All-Stars! There is little hope of this little experiment ever gaining All-Star notoriety! But, we digress......

Trust me! I had no idea I would still be irritating you with my rantings at the end of the year. This thing started in February, with very little hope of making it past March. Topics are still swimming around in my head. But I wasn't sure how to proceed. Do I just tackle the next topic on my imaginary list? Do I do a year-end review? Do I threaten to quit (again), in an obvious attempt to garner faint praise from my tens of readers?

The reality is that I've had a blast with this thing. Most weeks, it has been fun. It's only felt like a deadline once or twice. And I continue to be amazed by the number of people who are NOT in the 150 (unfortunately now 170) who approach me and tell me they never miss an episode!

This morning, however, I just wasn't feeling it. I never got around to starting it on Sunday, and I actually needed to work this morning. Business is good and it's kind of a tough time of year to be working in the housing industry and, weekly, updating a blog.

This morning, I was being my typical self-centered, self-absorbed ME and I wasn't really concerned about the Blog. I keep telling all of you with topic requests that, "Hey! It's and it's free! Sign up and knock yourself out!"

Then, per usual, God did for me what I seemingly am never able to do for myself. He had me stop at a Pizza Joint I haven't been in since High School. In that visit, my attitudes, perspectives, and self-centeredness were all rearranged!

I had been following the fine work of Carolyn Benavides on Facebook and sensed that something special was going on at this place of business. Wow! I truly had NO IDEA!

I'm not going to quote the numbers because I am sure to get them wrong. But suffice it to say, that thousands of volunteer hours, by hundreds of volunteers, are being spent to feed Thousands of hungry kids and their families in the Carrollton/Farmers Branch area and  in Veterans' Hospitals in other towns. And this former classmate of mine (who I never knew in High School) is nothing short of a FIREBALL! Her passion for this work is palpable. And her energy is ridiculous!

We spoke of the dire need. I shared some of my experiences (hating to be outdone---I CLEARLY was). And before you knew it, we were both crying!

In the ULTIMATE reach to WIN, I decided to quote scripture! As humbly as possible (what a joke!), I declared, "Well, the Bible clearly says that we "...should not forget to show kindness to strangers..." Carolyn actually had the nerve to interrupt ME and quickly finished the verse, "for by doing so many have entertained angels unaware."

Carolyn has a heart, a zeal, and a passion for those who are less fortunate. You really need to stop by and see for yourself. And to top it all off, she evidently thinks that she just might be entertaining Angels!

Here's to you Carolyn Benavides (and Richard) and to the hundreds of folks that support and volunteer at Joe's Pizza Pasta & Subs in Carrollton, Tx! WELL DONE!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Tucker Said "Don't Do It!"

I am still standing firm on my stance to not entertain requests for this little Blog. I did, however, pretend to care what my TENS of readers thought last week when I teasingly asked if I should address this A&E/Phil Robertson Imbroglio.

Tucker (my son) decidedly advised against it. He said that going with this topic was just too easy.....kind of implying that it would be a cop-out. He's probably right. It is too easy! And truthfully, the whole subject bores me to tears. I really could NOT care any less! But since 99.9% of the inhabitants of this Planet are unable to see that which is SO CRYSTAL CLEAR to me, I am forced to say some of the same things I've already expressed in here in the past.

1) Truth is no longer discovered! We now live in a time when Truth is created. Under this paradigm, Phil Robertson's attempts to share the Truth will ALWAYS be met with belligerent denial!

2) Although it should be, The Bible is not regarded as the moral standard! As a matter of fact, the Bible is seldom read, much less understood. If the Bible was truly read and believed, THREE of the largest Religious Groups (each boasting memberships of  nearly a billion) on the globe would NOT exist! Yes I said it. Most of you are going "Islam, Hinduism.....Oh No He Didn't!" Oh YES I did. 

3) Christians continue to look foolish, if not down right stupid, when they act SO SHOCKED that pagans refuse to act like Christians! Stop it! You are embarrassing yourself! Even on one simple example, I just want to take them and shake them and SCREAM, "Really? Really? You are really shocked that atheists want to take down the 10 Ten Commandments from public buildings? They are ATHEISTS!!!! Why do you EXPECT them to believe and behave like Christians??????"

Stainless has said for years that "Mankind is perfectly capable of setting REALITY (or TRUTH) aside in order to meet a personal need." Consequently, the Duck Commander can quote all the scripture he wants. It is not going to make a bit of difference to those who are going to do exactly what they want to do, anyway. They have CREATED their own truth!

I did receive a private message from someone to whom I've given a moniker, but will remain nameless. This person's response to this controversy was "Who gives a S###?"

That response is the only good one. I know I don't! Phil Robertson exercised his freedom to express exactly how he felt and he backed it up with scripture. A&E exercised it's freedom to suspend the dude and they backed it up with their corporate policy.

If you are shocked and surprised by that, all I can say is "Bless your hearts!" You are in need of much more help than I am able to give in this stupid little blog! 

Sorry Tuck! You were RIGHT!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Paying for Radio....Siriusly?

I understand that in many things, I am old-fashioned and WAY behind the times. In the past decade, I have driven vehicles that did not come equipped with this new-fangled Satellite Radio. Oh, I had been in a rental car or two. And I have ridden with my successful friends and been exposed to it. But for the most past, Satellite Radio was reserved for those who had to listen to Howard Stern after his departure from the Free radio airwaves.

THEN, it happened! Although, not in the budget, I purchased a little truck a couple of months ago and for the last 60 days, I have been enjoying the Free 90 Day offer of Satellite Radio. I am beginning to believe that it should have been called CRACK Radio. Because it's kind of turned into a drug!

First and foremost, the quality of the sound is ridiculous. I believe it was the first or second day when I was telling Shoe (he drives a BMW, OF COURSE!) that the quality of the sound system in this little economy truck was unbelievable. I said, "Dude, you should hear the Bass! These foreigners have really upped their game in their sound systems!" Shoe kind of sounded exasperated as he paused, and scoffingly said, "Push the FM button, dumba**!"

Oh! There it was! That's the radio I'm used to! That's the FM signal we all love in a Metro Area of 6 million. I was deflated.

Secondly, the timing of this purchase was EXACTLY the wrong time. I drove my new little truck to the first night of the 3 Night Reunion Event that was my 30th High School Reunion. Three solid nights of 80's-Intensive music, to which I could drive home in my new little truck and listen to the 80's on 8. The brain-washing was on!

Now, over two months into it, I will be facing the decision of whether or not to subscribe and actually PAY for radio! The whole idea sounds ridiculous to me. I never thought in a thousand years that I would actually be considering this luxury.

But I do know this....Free Radio is AWFUL! And Free Radio is is detrimental to my quality of life!

Apparently, the whole goal of Free Radio is to generally irritate, annoy, agitate, and lure the listening audience into a complete state of depression. There is no doubt that is what Talk Radio does. ALL Talk Radio! Liberal, Conservative, doesn't matter. They are all equal opportunity offenders! Maybe someone should do a study about Road Rage and try to determine what these folks are listening to! Limbaugh, Hannity, and Levin aside....listen to Sports Talk. Really? Is Hitzges really screaming, cussing, and spitting about the Giveaway/Takeaway ratio? Is it REALLY that important in the overall scheme of things?

I can't really find a music station I like, either. ESPECIALLY in the mornings! These Guy/Girl teams that cater to the Soccer Mom and BEAT us down with their questions of the day! I would rather fall off a 60 Story building and catch my eye-lid on a rusty nail than listen to these women call in from "car-line" and discuss their infatuation with vampires!

And then there's the commercials! I think we've been duped. In any given hour, the music or talk seems to be less than 30 minutes. I know that's the case with sports talk. The Ticket is the leading sports radio station in America. Their Hosts do four "6-7 minute" segments per hour. That's about 28 minutes of talk per hour. The other 32 minutes is spent trying to convince their target demographic that they need a testosterone shot!

I do know this. I am hooked on Satellite Radio. And I know my quality of life is better. I have a lot of windshield time very day. And recently,  I've even ventured away from the 70's on 7 and the 80's on 8. Last week, I was almost exclusively on XM 32 The Bridge. My blood pressure is lower! I don't get nearly as agitated. And I don't walk in the door and kick the dogs!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Willing Schmilling!

"...the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."

Most of you Philistines that read my little Blog have no idea that the above quote is actually found in the Bible. Jesus made this comment to His followers in the garden when he found them sleeping after He had asked them to keep watch. He was encouraging them to be careful about falling into temptation because, "...the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." (Matthew 26:41)

What Jesus was NOT doing is giving mankind the ULTIMATE excuse for never getting off its A$$ for the next 20 centuries! I've heard it said, I've heard it quoted, I've seen it written, and yes, I even uttered it myself more times than I want to admit.

I would like to....I want to....I wish I could....I really desire to......I mean, truthfully.....believe me...The spirit is willing. But the flesh is weak.

This mantra has become, for me, the biggest load of MEADOW MUFFINS that we ever CAN or ever WILL speak! And quite frankly, I'm tired of it.

Dr. George Sheehan, a cardiologist and writer, whose writings sparked the running boom in the 70's spoke of this excuse in one of his essays published in The Essential Sheehan: A Lifetime of Running Wisdom from the Legendary Dr. George Sheehan:

"I had, of course, heard the excuse many times before. But for the first time, it occurred to me that the opposite was also true. The flesh is willing; it is the spirit that is most often weak. Our bodies are capable of astounding feats. But the horizons of our spirits do not reach beyond the TV, the stereo, and the car in the garage."

I read this essay a few weeks ago in the December Runner's World. And I can't get this quote out of my mind. No! No! No! I'm not going to break my streak at 45 and beat you all down with my running stories. The truth is, you really don't care! And my running record is a joke!

But speaking of getting beaten down. This excuse beats me down! I have heard of war injuries, sports injuries, bad knees, bad backs, weak hips.....on and on and nauseam! Yes, it seems that everyone I meet REALLY wants to get off the couch! Oh! They are so willing! But the flesh is weak!

Please tell that to whomever you want....hopefully someone just as pathetically weak-spirited as you. But do NOT tell that to me! I am no longer going to listen to it. And I'm no longer going to kindly let you off the hook if you go there with me.

In general, our flesh is fine. Our spirits are weak! Our flesh is capable of truly astounding feats.  We hear and read about them almost daily. Working moms are running marathons. Old men are climbing Everest. Chemo patients are completing Ironman Triathlons!

But for some reason, you find it necessary to give me a complete medical history after seeing the sticker on my truck. You don't have to tell me. I can see that your back hurts. It's because of that permanent curvature caused by the recliner. Of course your knees hurt. They have 40 pounds more weight on them than they should! Try some bicep work by doing some "push-aways" from the table!

Or, do nothing at all. I really could NOT care any less. I only care about my spirit and my flesh. But, don't lie to me and try to convince me that the spirit is WILLING. When, in reality, the  spirit is WEAK! I don't know how to change it. But it is. The flesh is fine!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Can't Do Either One

It was GREAT to have my daughter home for the week. I still had to work. I even had to work on Friday. But sitting with her in the Family Room, with a fire burning in the fireplace, and knowing she was asleep in her bedroom each night gave me a certain contentment that I had not experienced since August.

Thanksgiving is tough on some. I received news on Wednesday that a former college classmate's son had overdosed and died. I thought of her often during the last few days knowing that Thanksgiving would never be the same for her again. Sad! Very, very sad! There are simply no words.

Yesterday, November 30th, marked the 25th anniversary of my Mom's death. I know that it should not have been any different than 23 or 24. But for some reason, the whole "quarter of a century" thing made me think of her a lot more this year. Mom died a long, long time ago. Yet, in so many ways, it feels like yesterday.

In thinking of my classmate's loss and the anniversary of Mom's death, I am once again reminded of very specific directions in the Bible, when it says to "Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn."

I cannot seem to do either one. My self-centeredness prohibits it. I can only view your happiness or sadness through my own life's experiences and it renders me incapable of rejoicing or mourning with you. If you just received a promotion and got a pay raise, I'm jealous that I did not. I can't genuinely be happy for you. On the other hand, if your Mom just died, I will WEAR you out with stories of my Mom's death. And trust me. At the moment you are grieving the loss of your Mom, you could NOT care any less about when I lost mine.

These thoughts are really not an opinion as much as they are my real experience. Of the 700 people  who passed by my Mom's casket and hugged my neck, it seemed like 75% of them found it necessary to recount their Mom's death. I was in shock at what I perceived as their sheer stupidity.

But you know what? In this instance, people really aren't stupid and they really aren't insensitive. They just have NO IDEA what to say! Just like me, they have no earthly idea how to "mourn with those who mourn."

The truth is, the classmate who lost her son, really has no fondness for me. She and I just didn't have many things in common and didn't see "eye to eye." I haven't reached out to her yet and I'm not sure that I will. But my heart aches for her. She is experiencing something and going through things that I pray I will never experience. I have no words. I just don't know how to mourn with those who mourn.

Over the years, as my friends have started to lose parents, I am often the first person they call. They call me because they know "I've been through it." I often share what I just shared above.

People really aren't stupid. They really don't mean to be insensitive. They are not mean-spirited. They are just at a complete loss. Because when it comes to rejoicing and mourning, they just can't seem to do either one.