Politically-Correct Football

No Violence, Please!
No Violence, Please!

I just heard on the radio news that the Texas high school sports team names of Warriors, Indians, Redskins, and Rebels will be banned. What will we now replace them with? Kitty-cats, Hamsters, Bunnies, and Puppy-dogs?

Well, to be politically correct in our new gentle society, there should be nothing in the names to denote killing, warlike aggression, ethnic slurs or stereotypes, or anti-social behavior. Really? Isn’t the idea of physical sports games to score more goals or points than the other team by out-running them or blocking them or knocking them down and taking the ball away from them?

Football and hockey are especially violent. Players are required to wear padded uniforms and helmets, but they still get hurt. Many men–and some women–enjoy the primitive aggression of these games, either by active participation or by watching the games from the stands or on a wide-screen TV with other “fans.” The more action, the more they yell and cheer.

Does this help to vent or provide a healthy outlet for normal aggressive urges? It is claimed that without sports and other dangerous competitions, a society controlled by laws and regulations against aggression and injury will in time turn against each other or the government with riots and destruction. (Prediction: One day it will be a major discovery that terrorists were never allowed to play or enjoy viewing football games with their friends.)

Football teams are usually named for animals with predatory or aggressive behavior, though there are notable exceptions. Team sports are competitive, and someone is expected to win. But to take away any “hurt feelings” caused by politically-incorrect names, perhaps we should change them to something more socially and culturally responsible. But wait: that could have the psychological effect of taking all the “fight” out of the players. And do you think anyone would watch a game between the Cleveland Cooperators and the Washington Compromisers? ūüėČ

Sis  G.

ON JOY, OR LACK THEREOF

Perfect Expression of Form
Perfect Expression of Form

1.

Joy is a state of being,

Not of having.

In the moment that it comes,

There is¬†supreme wellbeing–

Instant and independent of one’s physical state.

And then, too quickly, it departs,

Leaving only the memory

Of having been,

And the longing to know it again.

2.

Too long have I maintained

An even temper, a stoic response

To misfortune, loss, or pain.

Too long since I have laughed aloud,

But merely showed the tired nod

Of mirthless affirmation.

I am not unhappy;

I do not lack for what I need.

Most of what I wished for has been mine.

The heart beats, the lungs breathe,

The body moves at my command.

Yet, incessantly the mind reflects

Upon its ultimate destination.

3.

What has made it worth the years?

Why did I wake and work and sleep?

Why did I eat and grow and learn,

And why did I birth my babes?

Only a few jewels worth the cost:

Discovery–a problem solved.

Beauty of perfect execution

And perfect expression of form.

Falling in love. Need I say more?

A first taste of something delicious.

A cat or dog who loves you,

As much as you love it.

Getting warm when you are cold.

And joy–out of nowhere, for no reason,

Often just when it’s needed:

The sense of one’s True Home.

KLM 082813

The Generic Linguistic Placeholder

¬†BKELEC“WIDGET” is my favorite term to call an object when I don’t know its proper name. I first heard it used at least ten years ago, and was charmed by it immediately, but it is much older than that.¬† Its first use in print is said to be as a “hypothetical product” of a factory in a 1924 play. I suspect that’s how the now legitimate generic name for a small, functional application on a webpage was born: some web designer did not know what else to call a small functional application, so s/he called it a “widget.” And it stuck. Now everyone with a webpage, blog, or smartphone knows what a widget is.

This is not true of the perhaps dozens of other habitual terms that we substitute for the correct one because we can’t think of what it is called, or never knew in the first place. The most popular slang term now used among younger people is “thingie.” Before that one came along, what you used as a placeholder depended on what your friends were saying, or what you grew up hearing in whatever part of the country you lived.

I’m going to list every generic placeholder that I have ever heard used in place of the correct name for an object¬† (or person.) I invite you to add one or more that are new to me, in your¬† comments.

THINGAMABOB¬†DEMOFLOTCHY¬†DOOHICKEY¬†WHATCHAMACALLIT¬†WHOSIS¬† ¬†WHATSIS¬†¬†WHOOZAWHATSIS¬†¬†WHATSHISNAME¬† WHATSHERFACE¬†¬†¬†¬†THINGAMAJIG…….???

I really thought I knew more, but I can’t remember DIDDLYSQUAT anymore! What’s in¬† your vocabulary?–Kaye/Sis G

I Might Have Been a Hippie

I might have been a hippie

If I’d ever had the chance.

I might have joined a commune

And learned to Sufi dance.

I might have found Nirvana

By intoning yogi chants.

But I missed the 1960s;

I never got a glance.

——————————————————-

I was a stay-at-home mom in the 60s. Part of that time I lived on a farm, 12 miles from the nearest town and no neighbors that we knew. That does not seem like “isolation” now, when I start up the car and drive 8 miles to church or 15 miles to the doctor, or make a 54-mile round trip to attend a friend’s birthday party. But back then, I did not have my driver’s license yet, and we did not have a TV. All I knew about what was going on in the world was what I heard over the radio.

I listened to the Beatles singing “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” while I cooked supper with a baby on my hip. I even sang along, “…I can’t hide…I can’t h-i-i-de!” And my son asked me quite innocently, “Why can’t you hide?” ūüėČ

It was in that kitchen that I heard the news that President John F. Kennedy had been shot. I had cast my first vote for him in the 1960 election, and I was stunned. I was not really a Democrat back then–I just preferred him to the other candidate.

I read Ayn Rand in the 60s, as well as the Bhagavad-Gita and the Upanishads–a strange juxtaposition. Both philosophies have stayed with me, and now the “Atlas Shrugged” movies are finally being made and shown.

Rand’s philosophy energizes my self-respect and willingness to do what I have to, and what I love. The Hindu philosophy fills in the gaps that Rand does not care about: where I came from and where I will go when I die. She also¬†did ¬†not believe that any of us were “put here” for a specific purpose, whether our own choice or God’s. It is up to each of us to make the most of our lives while we are alive. So, I have what I¬†think¬†is a logical belief that I am here because I am necessary. My influence will remain in the memory and DNA of those whom I have left behind, and my energy will become part of something else.

I have wondered a lot of late, whether it is better to embrace religion or to cast it aside as magic and superstition. Whatever the “truth” is, or whether it is even relevant, I know that when I die, I will either find out that there is an afterlife, or else I won’t be around to care. Either way, I have come to believe that it is better to leave this life holding someone’s hand, either a loved one’s, or an angel’s.

But I digress… Sure, back in the late 50s, I drank too much sometimes (but didn’t smoke any pot) and could have gotten into a lot of trouble if I had not married a good, responsible man, had several children, and left any possibility of a career undeveloped for 18 years. It seems that I always had to stand on the brink of disaster, or have a door slammed in my face, before I realized that I had to start off in a new direction. And the new door always opened as soon as I accepted the opportunity.

I finally became a hippie in the 1980s, just long enough to open up my creative writing, singing, and healing abilities. I also traveled a lot, went to retreats, met some fascinating people, and had a lot of fun before I went back to school and learned some marketable skills.

And yes, I even smoked pot a couple of times. (I didn’t like it.)

What does 7.9% Unemployment Really Mean?

…is it a straight percentage of all the people between the ages of 18 and 65 who could be working for wages, but are not, because they can’t find jobs? Of course not. Some of these people own businesses, are self-employed, or work for cash at whatever they can do. Some of these people are artisans and craftsmen who make items and sell them. Some of them (though not so many now) are famers and ranchers. Some are investors, buying and selling; some are artists, musicians, and writers. Some even make a living by panhandling. And some sell their bodies in one way or another for money…

How does the US Government calculate the percentage of people who are unemployed each month? A more fundamental question¬† is, “What is this figure a percentage of?” (Yes, I know I ended that sentence with a preposition, but it reads better that way.)

Moving on–is it a straight percentage of all the people between the ages of 18 and 65 who could be working for wages, but are not, because they can’t find jobs? Of course not. Some of these people own businesses, are self-employed, or work for cash at whatever they can do. Some of these people are artisans and craftsmen who make items and sell them. Some of them (though not so many now) are farmers and ranchers. Some are investors, buying and selling; some are artists, musicians, and writers. Some even make a living by panhandling. And some sell their bodies in one way or another for money.

So who are the people who are represented by unemployment figures and percentages? First, notice that they are reported in round figures–9,000,000 today–a frank estimate. How are the figures gathered? They are reported to the government by employment agencies where people who work for wages come because they have lost a job that they had and are looking for a new job. They come there to collect unemployment insurance checks, and in order to collect them, they must be looking for work. People laid off from jobs where they did not have unemployment insurance, or who were fired for cause, do not collect unemployment checks and are not counted (at least this used to be the case.) People who have never had a job yet don’t count. ¬†Also, those who stop looking for work and are no longer in the “system” are not counted. Those people may become part of another government system of welfare recipients, who may be employed or underemployed, but no longer have to be.

Did anyone think the government got its unemployment figures and percentages by sending counters around to knock on doors and ask if the people living there are employed?

Did anyone think the government sent out surveys in the mail or made phone calls to every household in the country asking how many of the residents were employed, unemployed, looking for work, how long, or had given up?

Even if government did such things as samples of the national population, and even if they gave them a dollar to answer the questions and paid the postage to mail back the envelope, could the results of such methods of counting be useful or reliable?

So what does it REALLY mean when we hear that the percentage of unemployed people in Amercia is, say, 7.9% and inching up to 8.0%? It means that OF THOSE PEOPLE WHO WORK FOR WAGES, FOR EMPLOYERS WHO PROVIDE UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE (GUI), THAT PERCENTAGE OF PEOPLE WHO ARE IN THE EMPLOYMENT COMMISSION SYSTEM AND WERE LOOKING FOR WORK IN THE MONTH JUST PASSED——IS 7.9%. Edit the statistics to include only certain high-risk ethnic groups, and the numbers go much higher.

More meaningful to most people is how many of their family members, neighbors, friends, and former co-workers are out of work. But it’s apparently the best that the government can do to keep a running count, and the method that produces the most cosmetic figure for the public media.–Kaye

“2016 Obama’s America”–a mini-rant

Liberty

And now, appropriate or not, I feel a moral responsibility to present a mini-rant here‚Äďnot about¬†my church, or about¬†religion in general, but about something that is hugely important. I may not persuade anyone who reads this blog, but I need to share what I believe. This is my opinion, and I am responsible for it.

Have you seen the movie ‚Äú2016 Obama‚Äôs America‚ÄĚ? I saw it with 4 friends on Friday. You need to go see it.

Does Pres. Obama not see that America really is the ‚ÄúShining City on a Hill,‚ÄĚ where even the poorest citizen lives in a higher standard than most people in the Third World countries? America was not taken over by exploiters, whose purpose was to use its resources for their own gain. Once our founders declared Independence, we were here to build a country such as had never existed before on earth, where its people had as much freedom as possible, and were governed by its own representatives. It has been a country that developed the greatest economy in the world by a system of free enterprise, where anyone with a good idea could invent something, provide a service, find a better way to power our industries and transport our goods, or communicate information, and can not only prosper himself and his employees, but improve the standard of living of the entire country‚Äďor the world.

We built a country from the bottom up, admittedly at the expense of the native people who were already here, and in our early years, by using slaves. But since 1865, we have done all in our power to enable these people to have the same opportunities as anyone else to become the best individuals that they are capable of being, if they are willing to work for it.

The first Americans may have come here as colonists from England, France, and Spain, to develop the natural resources of the land for the benefit of those empires, but once we became the Republic of the United States of America, we were building a home for our descendants and all who wanted to come here to make a new start. Unfortunately, Mr. Obama does not see the difference. In fact, he appears to hate America and wants to bring it down to the level of the ‚ÄúThird World.‚ÄĚ I guess he believes that if no one has more than the rest of the world, there will be peace, and no one will be able to take over another.

Nothing could be farther from the truth! Why should we feel guilty for our success? Why would anyone want to regress to a common level with the rest of the world, seeing the conditions in which most of it lives, and has been unable and unwilling to drag itself up from? Have all our dreams and struggles been for nothing? Will we tear down the Shining City on a Hill?

DON’T LET THIS HAPPEN !!

SPIRITUAL IDENTITY CRISIS (or It’s Not Easy Being Enlightened)

I think of the soul as an extension of the original self-aware energy (God) which suffuses my material body and keeps it alive. My body, brain, and nervous system are the organic tools by which this energetic being can interact with other beings and experience them as their projected forms, and experience myself projected as a form. This is why I am sometimes surprised when I see my reflection in a mirror: I don’t think of myself as the form that I appear to be, especially after 74 years. ūüėČ

But taking on a body in order to learn some lesson that I chose for myself before I was born seems like some idea we have come up with to explain why we are here, just as the Genesis story was written to try to explain how the Earth was formed and how we got here.

It’s true, I find out more about who I am as I experience challenges, but why should it be such a mystery? Why should I come into this life like an amnesiac who spends her whole life trying to find out who she is and what she’s doing here? And when I die, I have no feeling of assurance that I will continue to be aware of my existence, except that I can’t imagine NOT existing. At the age of 74, it is getting down to the nitty-gritty. Exactly what is this all about, and should I care?

And that’s why I feel weird. I’m not in the market for bedtime stories and fairy tales. But there is no such thing as Absolute Truth in this world, and there may be no need for it in the non-material world. Am I part of some big plan? I doubt it. Ever since the first disturbance in the Equilibrium, the entire universe has simply been trying to regain it. And so have we.

The trouble with having sorted all this out is that it messes with my ability to operate “normally” in the world. That may be why people who think this way often choose to live in monasteries, closed communities, or even in caves–and I guess you could consider my compact, one-room apartment a cave. I do have to leave it a few times a week and deal with the necessities of life in this society and on this planet. But it’s getting harder…