On the Way Home

No matter what I’ve gone through

Or how many errors are now on trial

If a million more mishaps take me to the goal

Then they all have been worthwhile.

This moment is right just as it is.

And will remain so until judgment

Passes it’s shadow upon perfection

Then lost in the night is contentment.

It’s not in the forms but the spirit of them.

She is the lady I can’t live without.

Spirit gives nothingness a life apart

Though we’re one beyond any doubt.

Futile hours not escaping the pain

Wanting half of life’s feeling.

We struggled so long to find the answer.

The answer was ~ to stop struggling.

This moment is perfect just as it is.

To wish it were more is a foolish prayer.

Since we don’t know where we’re headed

Any path will take us there.

Are You in Danger, Really?

Stress! Its moving up in the ranks of crippling diseases. We’re all afflicted with it. There’s no cure on the horizon, in fact, its self-perpetuating. Just thinking about the amount of stress you’ll probably have tomorrow, adds to your tension. But something must be done about it! I don’t want to stress you out with statistics, so I won’t tell you that half the men in America will eventually die of a heart attack. A major contributing factor is cholesterol, so you’ve been watching what you eat, but look out, stress affects cholesterol levels ten times more than dietary factors do.

Calm down, you’re looking a little nervous, there. Its not all that bleak. All this stress is stressing you out, but thats no reason to fly off the handle. There is hope. No, not hope in eliminating stress, are you kidding me? But there is still a way to beat it…. join it!

I know you’ve heard this one:: “It’s not what happens to you that counts, its what you do with what happens to you.” Could it also be true: “Its not the amount of stress that kills you, but how you feel about the stress.”? When you look at all the different reasons we feel stressed, and the great variety of emotions it dredges up, you can see that there is a lot of decision making involved in how much physical damage it ends up doing. Those decisions are the key to succeed or succumb. For example:

Five minutes before giving his quarterly report to the trustees, the young executive discovers his notes are missing. His heart rate immediately skyrockets and he ages six months in the next six minutes. His chances for early death by heart failure have increased ever so slightly. Across town, a man is playing his best game of tennis ever. His heart rate is shooting up too. In fact, the stress on his body is indistinguishable from that of the young executive’s. But the tennis player is enjoying his stress. The harder he works and the more pain it causes, the better he feels. Both men are going through the same chemical processes involving hormones and neurons, but their response to it is completely different, and so are the physical effects.

That example is probably no grand revelation but what if you could enjoy the stress of your job, your relationships, your finances, etc., as you would enjoy the stress of working out, reeling in a bass, or even saving someone from drowning? It isn’t the stress that happens to us that counts, its what we feel about the stress that happens to us!

It takes all kinds of people to make a world, and some of the weirdos in this particular world live for stress, get off on it, and then go after even more stress. Pressure is a word more commonly used in place of stress. “Oh, he lives for the pressure.” is a typical compliment for that intense corporate manager, or the winning college football coach, or any school teacher. Some of us would like to get away from it all, but these folks would go crazy with the stress of having nothing to do for a couple days.

The funny thing is, the pressures are less likely to produce ulcers or heart failures for people who are stress-friendly. The adrenaline rush of deadlines, impossible missions, and formidable adversaries, has a rejuvenating effect. Can you imagine your worst day at work being equal to your best day at racquetball? It really depends on your attitude. Its possible that stress is falsely accused of taking us down when the real culprit is fear. It may not be a sense of difficulty that weakens us, but a sense of hopelessness. Let’s look at those two ideas in detail.

Its no longer just the bible that states, “In those days men’s hearts will fail them for fear.” it’s a medical statistic. Fear is being recognized as a cause and an aggravator of disease. The emotions are capable of causing physical manifestations. When a person finds out they have a disease, the condition immediately deteriorates. Why? The fear factor weakens the immune system and seems to encourage the advance of the condition. On the other side, if a victim is told that a treatment or remedy has just been proven to eliminate their condition, they start improving before they receive the treatment.

We can witness the process of thoughts becoming a physical entity every time we feel fear. We could not experience the adrenaline rush of fear without the chemical, adrenaline. A physical molecule, adrenaline courses through our blood to trigger the feeling of fear. Without adrenaline, the discomfort in the pit of our stomach would be impossible. However, the moment before we hear the gun shot, or the canine growl, or find out that mother-in-law is paying a visit, there is no adrenaline stored in the body. The chemical is manufactured in the microsecond between stimulus and reaction. The notion that we were in danger created a molecule that provided the defense alert. All emotions are experienced this way. For each specific feeling, there’s a specific chemical that is manufactured by a gland in the brain and secreted into the blood stream to communicate that particular sensation.

How we react to situations and conditions is founded in our own beliefs and the beliefs of all our ancestors. Our personal history and the whole history of man have a part in what we consider fearful, dangerous, exciting, aggravating, and so on. Some fears grow slowly like a small fire fed by twigs of impending doom. Others happen faster than a conscious decision to feel afraid. Either way, the resulting emotion is dictated by instinct or beliefs. It could be a thought we had a moment before, or thoughts imbedded ten thousand years ago, and still lying dormant in our psyche waiting to be resurrected.

Though we can’t stop the initial defensive action, we can practice acknowledging it for what it is and make a healthy response to it. Such as, “I realize this fear is my security system which was installed before the first mountain lion snarled outside my cave. I will calmly evaluate the situation and act appropriately.” Give it lots of time. Over-worn habitual reactions are strongly rooted, but keep at it. Repeated conscious involvement rather than mindless capitulation will gradually shorten the time between alerts and the moment we take control of the situation. Control meaning – I will not fear. I’ll accept this challenge and it will not harm me. Well, if it may indeed harm you, fear isn’t going to help anyway. Every day humans stress about 1000 things that never happen. You can expect a longer life of contentment by not worrying in advance.

How Do You Fix a Planet?

I’d love to be part of the discussion on what to do about global warming but nobody will include me ‘cuz I’m just a shmuck. So, here in Vinnyville I’ll ask some questions and take a stab at some answers.

Why can’t I find a job in the allegedly exploding green industries? We’re going to spin our wheels if the business of solar panels and windmills is some elite club of engineers with experience back to the day the windmill was invented.

We have to have a plan for the fossil fuel sector if there’s any hope of transforming the world into a sustainable living space. Obviously, the corporate giants want to keep cranking the oil wells and firing up the mining equipment until we’re all dead since they don’t have a collective brain in their asses. Any ideas how we convince the guy who’s boyhood hero was Lex Luther to disperse his billions in the Caymen Islands into solar panels? I doubt you can make a windmill out of parts from an oil rig. Collecting solar and wind energy is the easy part. The tough stuff is transforming factories, homes, 18-wheelers, etc. into sunlight-burning devices.

Since these top 1% rich A-holes have the government working for them, I guess we need to mastermind an even more unlikely plan that convinces politicians that life is more important than short term wealth. One idea that came to me is to pay them so much money they wouldn’t know what to do with a bribe when it’s offered. I’m talking huge salary. No, not huge, staggering stacks of cash… obscene piles of money… oh, just pay them like they were professional athletes. Another brilliant thought is taking away campaign contributions from the rich A-holes and their super PACs. New law: No TV or radio advertising allowed (The nation cheers!). Candidates can only campaign on a website and donations are limited to a few thousand bucks per entity. The internet is free, at the moment, at least, so anybody could run for office, not just financially endowed A-holes. You could find the candidates that suit you on Hub Sites where you can search out the ideal civil servants using keywords as you now search for the 10 celebrities you didn’t know did prison time. When the election draws near, we would have a list of the most popular candidates according to the people, instead of the ones most popular with the media and rich A-holes.

I hope the number of Climate Change deniers is dwindling as the recent meteorological trends should be sufficient to scare the crap out of all but the staunchest conservative. My plea is: If the solution is to pollute less and stop draining the planet of oil and gas, shouldn’t we do that regardless of the global warming debate? You did see pictures of the air quality in China, right? Again, the hard question is: How do we drastically decrease the polluting we’re creating without causing financial collapse?

Final thought of the day: We can’t just keep asking questions. Somebody has the solutions buried in their consciousness beneath a pile of insignificant social trash that fills our heads through the constant stream of propaganda flowing out of our smart phones, computers and televisions. Is it you? If you were asked the save the planet, what could you come up with? You might have to look up from your phone for a moment and think. Remember thinking? We did that in the days of old before others did the thinking for us. Our beliefs are now provided by social media and paid for by the A-holes that are building the world around their beliefs, such as, Whoever dies with the most toys, wins.

I’m Twice Knightley and here is the news.

We have an old saying in this country: “GET OUT!” But I don’t want to talk about that one. An even older expression is, “It’s just common sense.” The truth is, very few people have that, so we can’t call it “common” anymore. It has become, UNCOMMON SENSE. Here’s an example: The news anchor tells the nation which terrorist group is taking credit for the latest bombing. Then they cut to commercial break and I learn that there’s a new disposable razor with 8 vibrating blades for an even closer shave than the one with 6 oscillating blades. That company paid a gazillion dollars for the ad, which they add to the cost of the razor. So, I have to pay the razor company, so they can pay the TV network, which apparently gives terrorist groups their advertising for free.

Ever use the expression, “If I could get my hands on the guy who designed this……!” It’s one of my favorites too. An example that’s right at my fingertips is this keyboard. I’m not a fast typist but it’s not entirely my fault.  The question mark is in Florida and the exclamation point is in Alaska! The editing keys – backspace (most important key), and delete keys are out of reach while the semi-colon is a home key. I don’t even remember what a semi-colon is for. Resting my pinky? “If I could get my hands on the guy….”

I was about to enjoy one of my favorite drinks – strong, pungent coffee from freshly ground beans. Mug in hand, I begin to pour the steaming liquid, which drooled down the front of the pot right into my sock. I immediately conjured up the image of the over-paid engineer creating this glass appliance, making a test pour into a cup. The liquid drools down the front of the prototype splattering on his shoes. With a smile he says, “Perfect. Let’s make millions of them.”

I’d love to get my hands on the designer (obviously French) who thought toilets would be more fashionable with square exit ports rather than round ones. He must have dozed off in Toilet Design 101 when the professor discussed the principle of trying to put a round plunger in a square hole. 

Would it be asking too much to own one comfortable piece of furniture? Is everything designed by the Spanish Inquisition? Before I sit on my sofa for extended periods of torture, I gather pillows that I have collected over the years. You have to have a variety of large fluffy, and small, firm, tube shaped cushions as sitting props. I even used a large Winnie the Pooh with some success.  Sleeping is where comfort gets complicated. If I sleep on my back, it seizes up to the point where even Winnie the Pooh is inadequate for days. Or I can sleep on one side or the other, depending on which arm I want numb the next morning. Rethinking the mattress, well, that’s complicated too. They tried the memory pad that molds to your body shape, but if you roll over it becomes an arbitrary hole in the ground. I think I’ll just sleep in the recliner.

I don’t know who to blame this nonsense on – the engineer of the can opener or the can architect, but cans and can openers don’t work together. The only exception is if you buy a $9 can opener it will work three times. If you buy three of them for $3 each, they’ll work once. Here’s where it gets good. We solved the problem with the invention of cans that pop open with a pull on a ring with your cotton pickin’ finger. So why don’t we just make all cans that way? Over in the produce department, I’m standing by the mangoes for several hours trying to open the plastic bag. Alternately pinching both sides and blowing on the opening (I doubt that there is an opening at this point) seems to work best. At another store, the bags open like a rose blossom when you stretch them sideways. Why aren’t we just making this one? We should require the perps of the other crime to open their bags all day, every day until one of them burns the factory down. Next to the mangoes proudly rests the seedless watermelon, the greatest achievement since rye bread without caraway. You don’t have to spit seeds down your chin or be forced to eat outside. If we can grow just seedless melons………..right?

The Flow-through Teabag. Invented by Lipton, this marvel of modern science and tea technology changed tea drinking forever with the simple addition of a tunnel through the bag. How did we ever survive with tunnelless teabags? Apparently, without the tunnel, all of the tea wouldn’t get wet. The tunnel was supposed to allow access and the bag was dubbed, “The Flow-through Teabag. The only problem was, when you dropped it in the cup, the tunnel slammed shut. Attempts to reopen it with a spoon handle resulted in a broken bag. It’s actually a good thing the tunnel was a flop. Have you ever had Lipton Tea? Has anyone? More than seven seconds of bag soaking, tunnel closed, and this brew will remove varnish and cure leather. 

Excerpt from Uncommon Sense, an ebook available on Amazon.