Friday, January 18, 2013
Yes, my taxes are finished. Sent. Done. And yes, you should be jealous.
Not really. But they are finished. I know it sounds like I'm bragging, but that's because I'm bragging.
Notice: I'm not telling you how I'm going to get them done early this year. I'm telling you they're done.
I have also cleared the file cabinet of the old papers. Yes, I have. At least the biggest chunk of them. There are a few things still to go, but it's down to a few hours of work.
And I have been getting through some serious reviews of things at work and at home. Working to get plans in place for work and home. Serious, careful plans to get real things done.
All of this, I have done, without having made a single New Year's resolution. Which is not bragging. It's simply a fact.
I've just never been big on resolutions, if by "resolutions" you mean those brief little wish statements people make at the end of the year. "This next year I'm going to do this or that!" No real plan. No real commitment to change. No serious self examination and thinking about how to follow through.
I don't like empty talk. It makes me nervous to talk about what I'd simply kind of "like" to do because I know how easy it is to talk, and yet how hard it is to actually do things that are challenging to do. I prefer the simple act of doing something and letting the doing of it be the evidence of my intent.
Matthew 5: 37 Simply let your `Yes' be `Yes,' and your`No,' `No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.
© LW Publishing 2013
Thursday, November 1, 2012
Did I happen to mention the time I met former Prime Minister of England Margaret Thatcher? No?
I am remiss.
So here’s how it went down. And, yes, this is a completely true story that really happened.
One day I was driving a delivery truck and had a little time to kill while waiting to be called back. With this particular job, I would deliver a package and, if it was fairly far away, they would have me wait to see if a pickup came in before heading back. It saved a lot of time and money, except when no pick up came in.
But I digress...
One day I had a little time to kill, so I stopped at a Border’s Bookstore. I liked this store. It was one of the early ones. It had the aroma of coffee and new books about it. One of the finer scents the human race has managed to manufacture over the centuries. And, as I was browsing around, I became aware of some Men in Black.
First I saw one, and then I saw another and another. Men in black suits, sun glasses and ties and white shirts with shiny black shoes. Just like Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones. But before that movie came out. My curiosity was immediately piqued, of course, so I looked around and noticed a line of people. I made the natural assumption that the Men in Black had something to do with it, so I joined the cue.
Just call me “Mr. Adventurous.”
Everyone was being really quiet. The place was in a real hush. It was a little odd, but I went with the flow and waiting silently with no idea of what we were waiting for. I figured I’d just get out of line if it turned out to be something stupid.
The line was long, winding around book shelves, so you couldn’t see where it ended. But then I could tell I was getting close because there were large stacks of books on the floor, hundreds of the same book. And just on the other side of the stacks, where you couldn’t quite see, was an author of some kind, signing books. I could see the signing table. I could see people at the table, but not the person signing. So I picked up one of the books on the big stack. It was Margaret Thatcher’s autobiography, the second part. Apparently the first part was a huge success, and now she was touring the States, signing copies of the second part. Here I was, about to meet Margaret Thatcher.
Now, what brings this to mind is that I watched the movie called, “Iron Lady,” a few days ago, about Margaret Thatcher. Which is very good in it’s way, though it presents her in extremes in the sense that she is either old and suffering from dementia/Alzheimer's, or young and over zealous/naive, or middle aged and working too hard to be too tough for too much of the time. You would get the impression from the film that her entire 11 year stint in office was spent huddling away from either screaming, angry mobs trying to kill her, or screaming ecstatic mobs who were getting rich during the eighties, all of whom had nothing better to do but to bang on her car windows and scream every time she left the house.
Aside from these overdone tones, the exceedingly liberal Meryl Streep, of all people, does a superb job of playing the very conservative Margaret Thatcher. Meryl is a marvel to watch, let me tell you. That woman can act. She absolutely becomes Margaret Thatcher.
How do I know? Because I met Margaret Thatcher. Yes I did.
I walked up to the signing desk with my book in hand. I had nothing much to say because I knew very little about her at the time. But she was very quiet and nice and asked me how I was doing today. I said very well, thanks. And she signed the book and handed it back to me. I said, "thank you," and she said, very distinctively:
That was one seriously British woman, let me tell you. And Meryl Streep was the mirror image of her. It was uncanny.
I would be willing to show you the book to prove my story, but I gave it away, a long time ago, to a good friend who I thought would appreciate it.
So you’ll just have to trust me.
Peace to you.
© LW Publishing 2012
Thursday, August 16, 2012
What’s going on? Why do people do the things they do? Why do I do the things I do? Why do I respond this way or that?
It seems to me, like it or not, that everyone has pieces of themselves they either can’t or won’t share with another human being. Even if you want to, when you’re willing to, there will be things you can’t share, because you don’t even know what’s going on yourself. Some things are unknowable. And these “unknowables” are what often lead us to the water, or the poison, we can choose to drink or leave behind.
Some people want to be “transparent” about their lives. They feel it’s false or fake in some way to hold anything back. But even if you managed, somehow, to totally reveal what you believe to be the “truth” of who you are, you would still be a mystery because you can’t even know yourself completely. How is anyone else going to know you that fully?
Don’t get me wrong. It’s worth trying, at least with some people. But it is futile in many ways and I think we need to admit that up front. We’re all just the tips of icebergs. There is a lot going on below the surface, and even a person who is amazingly dedicated to the art of self awareness and self revelation can be, I should say, “will be,” blind to their own motives and at least some of the realities that cause them to feel and eventually do what they do.
We feel things and then think things, and finally do things, because we have been convinced by some event in the past to respond that way. Sometimes, even long after the event itself is forgotten, the reaction lives on. We have been trained by experiences to respond, and our responses can tell us a lot about what’s going on underneath. But it’s like putting together a puzzle with missing and messed up pieces.
I guess you could say I believe in at least some aspects of behavioral psychology. But doesn’t it just make sense? In fact, I think it’s biblical.
Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
To change this reality, to “understand” your heart, you would have to remember everything you ever did, every thing that ever happened to you, and also be able to measure and calculate a proper emotional response to all that information on the fly as you move through the day.
Let me know how that works out.
You can’t always “choose” your emotional responses to things, but you can “choose” what to do with it. Where do you let it take you? What do you do as a result? A lot of people want to believe they have no control, or responsibility, for what they choose to do, because they don’t always have control over the emotional responses that lead them to that action. But you can always choose. You are not a cyborg, an automaton, a robot, or a thoughtless animal. You are not. You are a human being.
What you, and I, actually do each day, each moment, is the product of your decisions. And decisions have consequences.
© LW Publishing 2011
Thursday, August 9, 2012
There are many amazing things depending on you to realize they are amazing. In other words, if your eyes aren’t open to how amazing things are then nothing will seem amazing to you, which reveals, unfortunately, unfortunate things about your desire to learn and grow. It can reveal how much we take for granted. It can reveal arrogance and closed mindedness. I personally find a mind that can’t be amazed any more to be a little scary.
Consider: What does it take to amaze you? Do things have to explode? Does the world have to be a brand new circus everyday, putting on a show just for you in order to get some kind of response? Perhaps you aren’t seeing things that are right in front of you.
I certainly hope this is not the case. For anyone.
If you don’t know what I mean, I hope you figure it out. And to help people along, here are just a few examples of some amazing things a lot of people don’t seem to realize are amazing. Feel free to share some of yours if you are so inclined...
1. Bass players who sing lead vocals and play bass at the same time.
Guys like Sting and Geddy Lee. Paul McCartney. I seem to remember the guy from Thin Lizzy doing this as well. But it is fairly rare to see someone sing and play bass at the same time. Even more rare is the lead singer/bass player. You know why? Because it’s, like, stinkin’ impossible, that’s why. I have tried it. I can’t really play bass, but I definitely can’t sing lead vocals and play bass at the same time. Some players get away with it by basically playing root notes, plunk plunk plunk. Like Gene Simmons of Kiss. Not the same thing. I’m talking about guys who actually, really, genuinely play complex bass parts, peddling through the chords, while singing at the same time. I don’t know why it’s so impossible, but it is. More impossible than playing drums and singing, or playing accordion and singing, which is also very difficult, or so I’m told. But I’m telling you, if you see someone playing bass and singing lead vocals at the same time, be amazed. It is amazing. Probably the only thing more amazing would be a person playing a wind instrument and singing at the same time. I’ve honestly never seen that. I assume it's impossible, but what do I know? Still, if you see this kind of thing, bass guitars or otherwise, whether you realize it or not, you are witnessing something amazing.
2. Everyone’s kids.
Everyone thinks their own kids are amazing. And yet, to other people, they are just normal kids. Therefore, the inclination is to believe that the people with kids are biased and their kids are not actually amazing. But, in fact, the kids are amazing. All of them. Every single one. And if you don’t think so, it’s because you don’t get it. But that’s okay. You’re still amazing too.
3. Empty space.
Sure, seems boring, because it’s nothing. But if it’s nothing, then how is it still “there” in any way that makes sense? And if it wasn’t “there” what would be the difference between here and the “there” beyond the "there" of empty space? Some physicists argue, like Einstein did, that there is really no such thing as “empty” space because fields, such as gravity, fill all so-called “space,” including a vacuum, which is the ultimate empty space, I suppose. And I get what they are saying.
But that “space” is still there, isn’t it? In other words, the space is not, itself, the gravitational field that is “in” the space, right? Even if that empty space couldn’t exist without the forces acting on it and within it, what exactly is that thing that the gravitational field is occupying? Maybe it’s not technically empty, but it’s practically empty. And it’s space.
Perhaps we should call it empty space/time?
Okay. I seriously have no idea what I’m talking about anymore.
But I still think it’s amazing.
Peace to you.
© LW Publishing 2012
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
She: So you don’t want children at all?
She: (Looking down at her feet under the edge of the table.) And why not?
He: Do I need a reason?
He: (Slightly agitated.) Why would you bring a child into this world? Where we put children in striped shirts and bake them in ovens, like some sick reality TV version of a fairy tale? Why would you bring a child into this world when there’s nothing to live for anymore but a bigger, more impressive something or other?
She: (Looks him in the eyes.) So, why are you here?
He: That’s a good question.
She: What you’re saying doesn’t add up.
He: Yes, it does.
She: No. It doesn’t. You neglect the beautiful for the ugly. You see the dark without recognizing the light.
He: But the dark makes the light pointless.
She: You don’t really believe that?
He: Why not?
She: Because it’s the other way around. The light makes the dark pointless.
They finish the meal. They do not date again. Occasionally, over the years, they cross paths at the grocery store. They smile wanly and wave, but they have nothing to say.
© LW Publishing 2011
Thursday, July 5, 2012
And now, a word (or two) about farts.
Why farts? If you really need some meaningful rationale, then you should probably just move on and come back another day. MY reason is that I came across some things about farts that I thought were fascinating and, by nature, I like to share these things. Ya know.
For instance, I recently came across a flatulence based good news/bad news scenario involving mice. It was a string of articles written by different scientists about how human farts lower blood pressure in mice. It has something to do with the hydrogen sulfide in farts, which is the chemical that makes them especially stinky. The only thing is, if mice, or other creatures, breathe too many farts, it can begin to disfigure and mutate their sinus cavities.
Of course, this makes me wonder, automatically, how they gathered this data, and also how the carefully regulated use of farts might be beneficial to human beings suffering with high blood pressure. Also, what might occur due to an accidental overdose. I’m sure it has you wondering as well...
Go ahead. Let your mind wander. I’ll wait.
Dum de dum de dum dum dum.
I also discovered (though I didn’t take time to verify it) that the average human being farts around 14 times a day. But these articles didn’t say how much of that expulsion was during sleep. They also did NOT chronicle the average length of said farts, nor did they present the sonic pitch of the farts, which has a tremendous impact, I’m sure you know, on the actual volume of release per second of any given period of flatulence.
So, there’s my daily bit of info presented for the general good of humankind.
Better out than in I always say.
Peace to you.
© LW Publishing 2011
Thursday, June 21, 2012
I came across some different Symposiums that you could choose to attend if you have the right credentials and were so inclined. You can look them up online if you’re interested. They’re easy to find. Here’s what’s happening: While the rest of us are going through the motions of everyday life, a select few are involved in these symposiums, hidden inside large, air conditioned buildings, snacking on bagels and small bottles of juice, while we drive by on our way to the grocery and such.
I like the word “symposium.” It just sounds fun. A symphony of discussion. People sitting around, talking about important subjects. And what do they talk about? You too could plan on attending the following symposiums:
The 4th International Animal By-Products Symposium
This one has such stimulating topics as, “Safety of composting euthanized animals as a means of disposal,” and “Research and public policy on carcass disposal and the direction of future research and resources.” It literally rings with excitement, don’t you think?
And then there’s...
The 26th Annual Symposium of the Protein Society.
And what do you get to talk about there? Um. Protein. According to the blurb, you will discuss a “balance between the high-value protein science topics you’ve come to expect at a Protein Society Symposium . . . as well as focusing on the trending areas of research and current developments in protein science.”
Leaves one literally aglow with anticipation, don’t you think? And you must be sure that you don’t miss out on...
The Symposium for Professional Wine Writers at Meadowood Napa Valley.
Sorry, but that’s the actual name. I suppose they had to differentiate themselves from all of the other wine writer symposiums going on in the vicinity But it’s a little hard to figure out what they’ll be talking about from their website. It is clear that they’ll be drinking a lot of wine, so I’m sure they’ll think it’s genius, whatever they talk about.
I’m thinking the comic book conventions need to wise up and get with the program. Something like...
The Symposium of International Comic and Pop Culture Aficionados for the Prevention of Name Calling and Presuppositional Cruel Clique Categorizing by Uninformed Others.
Peace to you.
© LW Publishing 2011