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Archive for the ‘It Bugs Me’ Category

Care & Cleaning of Equipment Day…

In activity, blogging, It Bugs Me on May 27, 2013 at 3:17 pm

My Uncle George, who raised me, referred to days when the weather was miserable and/or the body was unwilling to comply with any requests from the brain as “care and cleaning of equipment days”. This was a holdover from his days in the Army in the Second World War.
Those types of days were (and still are) low energy, high pain index, and zero visibility brain fog days… much like today.
I woke up around 0830 with pain in all my “bad” joints, the beginnings of a cluster headache, and about as much energy as a twenty-year-old car battery. I took care of the immediate necessaries, and, with the advice and consent of My Beautiful Wife, I went back to bed.
I finally got up and moving about 1330 hours. I hadn’t had anything to eat until just now, when I had something light. (My stomach wouldn’t hear of anything else.)
This is becoming a balancing act between forcing myself to stay out of bed (and nursing the aches, pains, and popping/snapping/grinding noises that come from moving around slightly) and giving in, going back to bed, and conceding the entire Memorial Day as a total loss with no insurance.
It’s a near thing, either way.

The (Almost) Food-Free Diet Plan…

In It Bugs Me, Just Because..., no excuses on April 20, 2013 at 6:01 pm

I’d been holding off a little while before I write about this, but it is a part of my life now, and I think it should be discussed.

Recently, at Project Healthy Living, my wife and I got our blood tested for allergies – they offered a few different profiles to choose from. The cereal grains profile showed I was allergic to wheat gluten, rice, barley, rye, and buckwheat. This was not news I was eager to have; but wheat allergies are more common than most people think, and it would explain certain things about my life.

The more irritating part is that I’m actually more allergic to rice than to gluten, so using rice as an alternative to wheat (as is done with most gluten-free products) was not an alternative.
So I find myself eating things like shiatake noodles (made from a type of yam), quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wa), sorghum flour, tapioca flour, and other things outside the “normal” realms of food.
Fortunately for me, I don’t have more than a couple of issues with meat, so if it doesn’t have monosodium glutamate, sodium nitrates, or sodium nitrites, I can have it. (There’s uncured bacon that doesn’t have it, so I am not deprived of this marvelous food.) I can also have coffee; I stopped drinking sugar in my coffee years ago, when I found out I was diabetic, so that’s not an issue. I also found I like soy milk and almond milk better, in many cases, than cow’s milk.
So, then, wish me luck… hopefully, this will increase the general tenor (as well as the soprano and baritone) of my health.
Sometime again!

White Nights…

In It Bugs Me, Just Because... on February 6, 2013 at 6:55 am

There are nights when I awaken in the middle of the dark, and getting back to sleep doesn’t seem to be an option.

It’s usually when one or another of the joints I have that act up is hurting like it’s Judgment Day, my bladder is full, and what I had for dinner the previous night is generating enough gas to run a refinery in New Jersey.

No fun.

I’ve been up for about four hours already, and even the cats went back to sleep.  But not me… I wasn’t that lucky.

Oh, well, no use whinging about it… or whining, either.

Maybe I can get a little more sleep now… I’m getting some tired, although not pain-free.

Sometime again, folks… from here in snowy/sunny/snowy/sunny Michigan.

Questions 67 and 68…

In It Bugs Me, Just Because... on December 16, 2012 at 9:34 pm

The shooter at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut last Friday, who killed twenty innocent children, six adults, and himself,  was purported to have a mental illness that greased the skids to send this young man down his personal path to hell.

Under ordinary circumstances, I would view someone who kills his own mother, while she sleeps, with a bullet to the head as a coward.  I would view this person, breaking into an elementary school with an assault rifle and two pistols and opening fire on defenseless, innocent children and adults as a coward.  I would view this person, who killed himself with a gunshot before the police could arrest or subdue him, as a coward.

That would be under ordinary circumstances.  But the mental illness this shooter suffered caused a twisting of the reality the shooter perceived.  We may never know exactly what was in the shooter’s mind… but we can, and will, pry, dig, and speculate from the evidence we uncover.

The evidence is showing, also, that the true cowards are crawling out of the woodwork in the wake of this tragedy… the Westboro Baptist Church, who protest at high-visibility funerals (such as those of our military KIA), claiming that because our country is tolerant of gay rights, God called them to yell things at the mourners such as “God hates fags” and that our soldiers (and others) are dying because God is punishing the United States of America, this selfsame Westboro Baptist Church intends to protest at the funerals and memorial services for these twenty-six dead.

Were I a more vindictive man, or uncaring about my future, I would let the Westboro scum assemble, and then do something that I would in no way regret later.  And that’s as far as I will say.  The stench of hypocrisy almost overpowers the stink of cowardice in their case, but in both instances it can’t be missed.

And coming from a military family, where duty, honor, and country are as necessary to life as food, air, and water, the gall of these people to actually be proud of their cowardice is an affront to all my family and my wife’s family stood (and stand) for.

My wife says that there must be a special place in hell for people such as the Westboro scum; I wonder if there are new additions to Dante Alighieri’s nine circles.  And if there aren’t, where can I put in a bid for the construction contract?

The Lost Art of Compromise…

In It Bugs Me, Just Because..., Think About It on October 14, 2012 at 5:20 pm

The old saying goes,”Politics is the art of the possible.”  Back in the day, business actually got done in Washington – Democrats and Republicans were able to see the bigger picture past the partisan issues, and give enough to the other side to produce a palatable product… nobody was totally satisfied, but everyone had skin in the game.

With the rise of single-issue politics, and the increasing polarization of the political process, any chances of effecting a workable compromise seem to shrink like a snowball in a blast furnace.  Anti-tax crusaders (such as the “Tea Party”) refuse to consider any measure that might increase government revenue (e.g., taxes), even when it may prove to be necessary.  Anti-abortion forces mobilize against anything they perceive as promoting birth control, abortion (of any sort), sex education, or anything that transgresses their views of the sanctity of life.  Groups who demonize gays, lesbians, transgender persons, and bisexuals wish to deny them the rights and responsibilities that normal Americans enjoy.

The gulf between these factions gets larger even as I speak.

What, if anything, can be done to get these groups to even consider talking to each other?  Are we doomed to partisan gridlock, where insults and hate are hurled from massively fortified positions, with incessant battleground maneuvering for advantage?

Maybe… just maybe… there’s a way out.  Maybe we need to sit them all down, and start from the beginning.

The very beginning.

First and foremost, each of us is a person.  Each of us has the same rights and responsibilities as anyone else…but each of us does not have the same talents and abilities as everyone else.  This is an important distinction.

When each person uses their unique talents and abilities for the betterment of all, not just their own select group, progress happens.  The saying goes, “A rising tide lifts all boats.”

It is also necessary to realize that the things that divide us are not as important as what unites us as people.  We all need food, water, shelter, air, and love.  What we must then realize is that not all of us have access to all five of these things.

The important thing is to “level the playing field”, so all have a fair shot… this is not the same thing as “redistributing the wealth”, despite what some people (who, by some chance, happen to be the ones who have more resources) would have you believe.

Next, no one belief system is better or worse than any other belief system.  (This would seem to be a difficult pill to swallow for members of organized religions, like Catholics, evangelical Christians, mainstream Protestants, Muslims, Jews, Mormons, or of any other faith.)  To follow the tenets of your own belief, and to be a moral person in the eyes of your own particular Deity, is not a bad thing to work for.  But no one else has to believe as you do… nor, for that matter, do you have to believe as they do.

There may be times in a particular negotiation when a suggested course of action, though it may produce a desirable result, would transgress your moral guidelines.  So then, what should you do?  I suggest you pause for a moment, take a deep breath, and think.  Is there a way to achieve this desirable result without breaking your moral code?  If you search hard enough, there just may be… this may then be offered up as an alternative.

Another thing you need to do is to learn to prioritize.  There are usually four levels of priority in any negotiation.  They are:

  1. Things I can’t live without (a/k/a Deal-Breakers)
  2. Things I want badly.
  3. Things I’d like to have.
  4. Things I’d take if nobody minds

Anything in level 4 can be horse-traded away to get something you’d classify as a level 3, or even a level 2.  Level 3 items can be negotiated for a level 2 from the other party.  You get the idea.

The big thing comes down to the Deal-Breakers… So, consider this.  Are those items there on your list purely because of the dogmas of your belief system?  Is there a logical reason behind them?  Is there any latitude in the interpretation of these beliefs?  And, most importantly, do they even need to be referenced in the negotiations at hand?

If they don’t need to be there, then they don’t need to be there.  You don’t need to negotiate it if it doesn’t need to be there.

Seems simple to me…

Vlog Around The Clock…

In It Bugs Me, Just Because..., Think About It on October 13, 2012 at 4:11 pm

We are moderately proud to announce…

Not one, but TWO new blog posts!

The first one, #3, is at the following link:

And the second one, #4, is here:

I hadn’t thought this blog would end up being about politics, but since I’m offered such a wide-ranging sweep of topics in politics I think it would be downright rude of me to refuse, you think?


The Video Connection

In It Bugs Me, Just Because..., Think About It on October 5, 2012 at 8:33 pm

Well, I gone and done it… I started to try to make a video blog.

The first result is now up on YouTube, and implanted below:

Look at it, tell me if you think it’s acceptable or not.


I received a few pieces of feedback on my previous post, “The Nuances of the Tentpole”… the people who responded to me were unclear about my usage of the word “tentpole”.

A “tentpole” movie – in the common Hollywood usage – is the movie whose receipts support the remainder of that movie season’s releases… in most cases, summer, the “blockbuster” season, ever since Spielberg’s Jaws in 1974.

Hopefully, that makes everything clear…

They Don’t Know Jack…

In It Bugs Me, Just Because..., Roughly About Films on September 17, 2012 at 9:00 pm

The leader of Hezbollah has been crying that the United States should pass laws to quash the piece of trash video that some hack Coptic Christian made, making fun of the prophet Muhammad, calling him a womanizer and a pedophile.

This shows an absolute lack of knowledge of the American way of doing things.  The government has absolutely no input as to who can make a film, or write a book, or post to the Internet… they also have no jurisdiction over the Internet, except as to the violation of copyright.

The people in the Middle East who assume (a mistake) that nothing can be made or publicized without the consent of the government do not understand democracy or free speech.  They have NOTHING to say about it, unless it violates a law of the United States.  And no law can be passed by Congress that criminalizes something retroactively; this is the “ex post facto” clause.

These people seem to think that we operate under the same sort of restrictions as their authoritarian governments that disappeared in the dawning of the “Arab Spring”. They are completely surprised and disbelieving that we could live in such anarchy; they don’t seem to realize that we not only expect it, we glory in it.  The unrestricted nature of our creative society, the pride in the lack of controls, is a uniquely American thing… something we tend to take for granted, but is unique in the world.

We are free to speak as we will… we can disrespect officials of our own government, heads of religions, blaspheme against our own god, other people’s gods, or what those who profess atheism hold sacred.  We can ridicule our own beliefs, other people’s beliefs, or anything else that strikes our fancy.

We can tell the leader of Hezbollah to go take a long walk off a short pier… we can tell the people of Egypt, Lebanon, Yemen, and the other places having a cow to take a flying leap at a rolling donut.  Our government has no control over creative people… thank Ghu, Foo, Roscoe, and whoever else.

I am just sick and tired of it.

A Shot In The Dark…

In Film and Related, It Bugs Me, Just Because..., Roughly About Films on September 1, 2012 at 11:42 pm

Let’s begin at the (putative) beginning…

Since getting out of university this past May, I have been trying to motivate myself to write something I think is worth shooting, and shoot something I think is worth showing.

As you may infer from the previous statement, those attempts have proven to be less than fruitful.  It’s been four months, and I’m not happy about this.

I have images of wonderful scenes flitting through my consciousness, but they aren’t really amenable to being knit together into a coherent whole.  I have characters developing in the “stewpot” on my mental “back burner”, but no situations they’re suitable for.  And I have situations that would fuel a gripping, suspenseful movie, but no characters other than one-and-a-half-dimensional placeholders to work with.

‘Tis a puzzlement, to be sure.

Did my time at university sap my creative “juice”?  Did being forced to write their way render me unable to write my way?  Or is there another explanation I’m just not seeing?

Stay tuned… the adventure continues.

More of the Same…

In It Bugs Me, Just Because... on August 27, 2012 at 8:39 pm

A friend of ours, Malcolm, who worked for the state government in Lansing, and whom we had known and worked with for many years on Detroit-area science fiction conventions, died today, succumbing to acute myelogenous leukemia.  The announcement came on the Facebook group founded to keep all his friends up to date, posted by his brother, Anthony.

Another thing I saw on the news today was that there was a shooting of one student by another student at Perry Hall High School in Baltimore County… an area I used to know fairly well.

I’ve been dealing with diarrhea most of the day, ongoing pain in both my shoulders and my leg, and a less-than-sparkling disposition.  My cat keeps piddling in places where she shouldn’t, and I despair of the world, from time to time.

About the only thing that keeps me from going off is cheese.  I prefer weapons-grade cheddars, usually served with Triscuit crackers.  But this may not be able to continue, thanks to the creeping onset of Type II diabetes…

Such is the way of things, I suppose…

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