Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas Edition ... TTOT ... That's Life ... Sometimes!!!

Yes, I've been procrastinating as of late.  Oh, the novel writing is moving on ... slowly ... but
moving forward.

What hasn't been going on has been posting in my blogs.

My apologies!

Please refrain from utilizing your cat-o-nine-tails skills upon my bare backside.  Tempting, I know, but please reserve your skills for those that enjoy them during those S&M sessions.

I dropped by Facebook and saw I'd been tagged by Clark for my misdeeds. Alas, his sharp perception did not allow my hiding to escape. He's aware of all and see's all ... a fact I must remember in the future.

Christmas is upon us!

Ho! Ho! Ho! and a bottle of rum!

No, that's not right ...

Ho! Ho! Ho!  Merry Christmas!

Okay, that's better.

The season of sharing good cheer, joyous blessings, and the giving of gifts has arrived.  Retailers are smiling the world over.  Amazon.com is loving it!

Yet, somehow and some way, we have to pinch ourselves and remember what it's really all about.  As everything in the world seems to be up for debate anymore, I won't say it's the birthday of the baby Jesus. To be politically correct, I will say it's the day we celebrate the birth of the baby Jesus.

If you're still not happy, suck it up!  That's the best you'll get from me.

Other religions have their own values, ways, and dates of celebration. I have no problems accepting those. It is a person's right to believe in what they believe.

However, if you don't believe at all, go to work on Monday and stop mooching off of our holiday. If you're gonna bitch about it, forget it and carry on normally. That's your right!  You'll save your friends a lot of money spent on wasted gifts that you obviously don't want.

'Nuff said.

I won't do a repeat of my Christmas story I did a few years ago.

Some of you really hated it.  lol  Hey, it was supposed to be a satire, not fact!
Where's your sense of humor?

So, instead, let's forego the story this time and get right to what this blogging group is supposed to be about ... Ten Things Of Thankful!



This week, I'm thankful for ...

1) A few people that are smart enough to see the hatred of the world.  Yep, just check out Facebook any day of the week. You'll see political posts from both sides that demonstrate nothing but hate. It's to the point of ridiculous.

 I made up a sign and posted it earlier this morning in direct retaliation to their stupidity. The lack of class and respect for others this time of year needs to stop.  I don't care if you love or hate the president and what's being done.  There are 51 other weeks of the year to complain and show how ate up and obsessed you are with hate.  Like others, I've had enough of it. How about a break?

Show some class, concern yourself with your fellow man and his well being, and do your best to spread the good cheer the holiday is meant to express.

Hell, you might even find you like it!

2) Fruitcakes.  I know, many of you despise fruitcakes.

So what?  I love 'em.

Fruitcakes bring back memories of Christmas dinners at my grandparent's home.  All the uncles and aunts, cousins and friends, gathered around the Christmas dinner table, stomachs too full of tremendous offerings to move, and the good feeling of belonging to something bigger than yourself. The gifts would soon be given out and love shared throughout the day.

Yeah, every time I bite into a slice of fruitcake, it takes me back to those days. So, if you don't like 'em, that's fine.  I'll take your slice, sit back, and remember a time when Christmas dinner consisted of good times and conversation, instead of phone checking and texting.

3)  Facebook Scams.  Yep, every once in a while, we need to be reminded that Facebook is filled with unscrupulous individuals and companies that lie to make a living. It keeps us from making too many mistakes and losing too much money.

Last Tuesday, I saw an ad for a Snoopy Coffee Cup that I thought perfect for my wife. Checking the ad, I found that if I paid an extra $4 in shipping fees, I could have the cup by Friday.  So, I eagerly submitted the money through Paypal.  Well, Friday came and went and the tracking showed the cup had yet to be shipped.  The TeeSassy Company will never receive another dollar from me.  I don't imagine they get much repeat business as most people won't put up with their crap. I'm just hoping to spread the word about them.

Nothing like a satisfied customer.

4) Good Cheer ... Cash.  My wife and I were lucky enough to receive a small inheritance from a relative of hers.  We were able to pay off both of our cars and still put back some for a rainy day.  It was a nice change and a good feeling.

However, my heart isn't as hard as I thought. I've had a couple of Facebook friends that are experiencing times that were taking them down. Sending them a little money to help out around the holidays meant a lot to them, but it meant even more to me. I've seen what the heads of various charitable organizations make and hate to contribute to their paychecks.  Yet, when a friend is in trouble, it makes you feel good to be able to help them out.

By the way, I'm tapped out now. If you'd have only let me know earlier ...

5) My wife. Yeah, after 37 years together, she finally admitted she was lucky to have me ... voluntarily.  lol  I've known it for years about her. Not many would put up with all I've put her through over the years. Moving around during my radio career ... my absence at home during my comedy career ... and many other things that usually tear apart households have done nothing but bring us together.

She and I are a lot like the characters in one of my books. To see us together and hear us talk to each other, you would never think we cared about each other. But, to think of life without her ... well, let's not.

Don't give away my secret if you see her around!

6) Good friends. When I was young and in high school, I was a fairly popular person. Yeah, I was class president a couple of years and student body president my senior year. After graduation, I turned my back on the small town I came from and never looked back for over forty years. The web wasn't around back then and I pretty much just made new friends wherever I landed next.

I attended a class reunion during the summer and reacquainted myself with many of those I'd left behind. Since then, several have picked up where we left off as if the years didn't matter at all.  I've been able to be there for a couple of them that were going through tough times and help them through it by many hours of talking in PM's on Messenger. I always try to leave them smiling and feeling better than when we started.

Several of the "friends" I've made since those days proved to not be friends, but backstabbers.  It's nice to know that there still are good folks you can believe in these days, even if they come from way back when.

7) Christmas Music. I really don't like Christmas music. I know that sounds bad, but I spent too many years as a disc jockey in radio playing the stuff day after day during the season.

The only song I hate worse than Christmas music is "American Pie."  I worked at a station that was being purchased and the word was out that the new owners wanted to change the format.  With the staff reduced due to holiday vacations, I went on the air at 8 pm, and didn't get off until 12 noon the next day.  All during that time, it had been decided we'd protest the change by playing "American Pie" and only "American Pie" back to back/over and over again as a tribute to our station's format and music dying. So, if by chance I'm in a store and hear "American Pie" over the speakers, at least this time of year I know I can leave and go to another store that has Christmas music playing instead.

8) Gift Giving.  I know, the "commercial" phase of Christmas.  Still, seeing the smile and the joy in my wife's eyes when she opens her presents makes fighting the crowds worth it!

For the first time ever in our marriage, I was almost done shopping for her a couple of weeks ago. I've purchased a few things online (like the damn cup by the TeeSassy Company that won't make it in time), but I had just about all wrapped a week and a half ago.

I had to do something since Kmart had closed and there was 
no Blue Light flashing on Christmas Eve to tell me what to buy her!

9) Family. As one gets older, the family they grew up with grows smaller. Loved ones pass and are no longer there. Even though the young new additions are there, it's not the same as it once was. Roles change and families tend to be separated by great distances.

I still have my father, but his age group is all gone now. No uncles or aunts or grandparents to tease and joke with. It's different, to say the least.

Several cousins have moved away, some don't talk to each other, and there are only three of us that seem to be attempting to stay in contact with each other. We're there for each other when we need support, love, or just someone to bitch to when things go wrong.

It's nice to have them around.  
Otherwise, you'd have to listen to me bitching all the time!

10) My writing.  I know most of you have yet to purchase one of my books.  No big deal. I haven't purchased yours either.

Yet, writing has been a Godsend to me. It has allowed me to seek sanity in the creation of worlds others have yet to visit. The characters I develop and attempt to bring to life become real people that I control the destiny of and can lead them to happiness and justice. It has been very fulfilling and enjoyable.  (Editing is hell, though.  lol)

Being able to early retire this year has been a blessing. I'm finally able to cast away the life I hated and pursue a life of which I'm truly thankful, and those that read my novels seem to enjoy.


So, that's it!  Another TTOT complete!

I do wish each and every one of you Merry Christmas, 
or whatever the holiday greeting is for your own belief. 

 And, if you're a non-believer, 

"Enjoy the day at work!"

Ciao!

*Btw, since there's been a plague of spammers on Blogger, I've had to turn on the moderation portion of the blog.  If you don't get an immediate response to your comment, please check back.  I'll okay it and answer it as soon as possible!  

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Sorry, No Jokes This Time ... Ten Things Of Thankful

Join Other TTOT Posts HERE!
So, it's been almost a year since I've written a post for Ten Things Of Thankful.  Please don't think that I turned my back on the group.  That's not the case at all.  In fact, there was a constant gnawing to return, but time just wasn't available.  

Busy?  My gosh, "Yes!"

Anyway, instead of my long intro into "Ten Things of Thankful" that I'm known for, let us begin without further ado.

This past nine months, I'm thankful for:

1)  Early Retirement - In January, I made the decision to take early retirement.  I had been dissatisfied with my previous career for years and the lies that were constantly a part of it.  I'd been told in the past that I didn't have enough "larceny" in me, which in all honesty, made me feel much better as a human being.  As I'd seen numerous management changes within a year take place, I knew in my heart that I needed to get out and pursue what I really loved ... writing.  When the opportunity presented itself, that's exactly what I did.  Thankfully, early retirement was an option that I could take advantage of.



Available Here!
2)  Horror Across The Alley - Yep, In February I began writing my first novel and completed it in May.  It has been a constant seller on Amazon.com and has received great reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.  

Horror?  From a comedy writer and past performer?  I know, it seems strange, but I actually love writing things that stir the emotions and will put the reader on the edge of their seat.  This one achieves that.  However, it seems many of its readers have been from outside the Horror Genre.  People seem to love the characters that were created within it.  Some have admitted to laughing at times and crying at others as they became so involved in them.  

I'm thankful that I'm finally able to move forward with a writing career.  Life has a way of turning lemons into lemonade if one seeks it.  That has indeed been the circumstance here.



Available Here!

3)  They Lurk In Summer -  You guessed it right!  In late July, I released my second novel, "They Lurk In Summer."  I left the Paranormal / Horror genre and decided to pursue a tale of six youngsters during a summer vacation in 1966 middle America.  Of course, they face a few advisories ... an abusive husband/father, venomous reptiles, a psycho thief/kidnapper, and a pack of man-eating dogs, but what's a summer vacation without a little challenge?

This book hasn't sold quite as well as the first. Perhaps, I need to return to the paranormal/horror genre.  Or, could it be because I haven't offered it at a reduced price as I did the first one?  (Could two whole dollars keep people from purchasing?) It's a longer book, and I believe a much better book all the way around than the first.  It still has an overabundance of suspense and shock factor, but it also concerns itself with the coming of age of a group of young people and first love.  It's been described as "Cujo meets Stand By Me" by one reviewer, which should set it off.  But, it's just sitting there for the most part.  

Still, I'm very thankful that I was able to get it out to the public and out of my system.  It proved that I wasn't going to be a one book author and then fall back into nothingness.  I was thankful that I proved I had it in me to move on.  So, without hesitation, I started my third book!


4)  Problems Arise -  At this time, problems started to make themselves present.  I was working on one book and another kept creeping into my mind.  There was a sense of urgency to apply myself to the second that I just couldn't shake.  So, I put aside the one I was working on and immediately went to work on the one that obsessed me.  Within eight nonstop hours, I'd developed ten major characters and completed an outline of the story complete with timeline.  Then, as if an afterthought, I found myself changing the names of the characters as it worked itself out perfectly to be a sequel to "They Lurk In Summer".  It was all falling into place too easily, but I was thankful that my decision to delay my efforts on the first was proving correct.


5)  Murder in Alabama - Taking a break one Monday afternoon, I perused Facebook to see what people were up to around the world.  I caught an article that had tagged the name of one of my best friends (an adopted sister if you will) that lived in Alabama.  

It had been years since I'd seen her ... over twenty plus.  She'd left her husband for another and I'd lost all contact information.  We'd only found each other on Facebook a couple of years ago, but the friendship was as if there had never been a break period.  She'd been one of my advance readers of my first book.  I'd sent her an autographed copy of which I've been told by many she had on display on a bookstand in her living room.  We'd even talked the Friday before in a message.  She'd just received my second and couldn't wait to read it.

That never happened!

According to the article, on Saturday, both her and her husband were shot and killed between 12 noon and 2 pm in their own home. 



To say I was shocked would be an understatement.  Sadness and anger joined that shock to make a type of emotion felt in such times.  It is one I do not wish to ever experience again.  I'm thankful that I saw the article on Facebook.  Had I not taken the time for a break it might have passed me by and I'd be upset because she was ignoring my messages.  I almost think I'd rather be dealing with that.


6)  My Visit To Alabama - Susan was a dear friend of mine.  I could do nothing in Kentucky.  I had to go to Alabama.  

I awoke the next morning with an intensity within.  Going to Alabama and finding out what happened was the only thing that filled my mind from the time I arose, through my morning shower, and to the time I sat down and discussed my thoughts with my wife.  I couldn't stand by and let things just happen.  I needed to be a part of it.  I needed to write a book about it!

No, it wasn't going to be another "In Cold Blood" as some have suggested since that morning.  I didn't know what it was going to be, but I was driven to do nothing else.  I cast aside all fiction and devoted myself to finding out what happened, why it happened, and what could be done to find the one(s) that did the heinous act.

I found out from my friend's son that the funeral was going to be that Friday.  So, I left my house in Kentucky at 8 pm Thursday night and began my journey.  I was met with a downfall that was so bad the truckers were doing less than 25 mph on the interstate because the visibility was so bad.  A deer crossed the road only yards ahead of me, forcing me to brake while knowing the semi behind me wouldn't be able to stop.  Somehow, he was able to avoid a collision.

I wondered, "Is this a warning?  Do I need to turn around and go back home?  Is God telling me not to go?"

Shaking my head, I proceeded down Interstate 65.  Within fifteen minutes, the skies had eased the downpour to a light drizzle.  Then, another hour and all was clear.  I knew it was my fate to move on.

I arrived in Brewton, Alabama at approximately 7 am.  I stopped by the newspaper office there wanting to talk to the editor that had covered the story.  Knowing it was a longshot, I found them closed.  On to option number two ... Flomaton, Alabama police station.  There, I was able to talk to a police officer that covered the crime.  We discussed all that he was allowed to discuss and became friends in the meantime.  Hitting it off, we later became friends on Facebook.  We'd both been in the military, and I'd done some time wearing the badge as a ship's Master-At-Arms on the USS Coronado.  It was a good common ground to work from.

My head swimming with the information I'd learned, I returned to Brewton and the newspaper office.  The editor was more than willing to talk to me and gave me some additional information that shocked me, but was needed for a partial picture of the "Why?" to form within.  She was more than gracious and I appreciate all she shared.

I then traveled back through Flomaton to Atmore, where the funeral was to take place.  I had a couple of hours to kill so I explored my old home.  I'd arrived there in 1979 to take a job at a radio station there.  It was a small town, but friendly in nature to outsiders.  I'd been taken to an old house where the station had procured the upstairs apartment for me.  Pulling the U-Haul truck around to the back of the house, I'd just started unloading my furniture and fighting to carry a couch up the stairs by myself when Susan had stuck her head out her bottom floor backdoor and asked me in for a cup of coffee.  We'd hit it off immediately as friends.  It was all I wanted at the time, and she was in a relationship anyway.  

The town had changed.  The Porch Band of Creek Indians had opened a gambling casino close to the interstate and had taken much of the town's business.  So much so, the main street was filled with empty storefronts.  Still, fast food places reigned supreme.

I drove all along the four ways into and out of Atmore, seeing the changes.  Some good, some bad, but changes just the same.  Returning to the funeral home, I entered an hour early.  I won't describe the emotions felt or the things that took place there.  Susan had talked about me to many of her friends about my comedy career and my books.  It was almost as if I was a celebrity of sorts to some.  After the service, I found myself going into the comedian character for a short time trying to raise spirits of those hurting.  It worked!  I'm thankful that I still have those skills.  As inappropriate as I felt it was, the smiles I was able to bring made it feel as if I was doing the right thing.  Many have become friends on Facebook since.  Maybe, it was as God intended.  Maybe, it was as Susan intended, too.


6)  My Return To Kentucky - Leaving the funeral, it was after 4 pm my time (Atmore was an hour behind as they are on Central Time). I filled up with gas and hit the interstate.  

To say I was an emotional mess would be making light of my state at the time.  I'd learned things I wished I hadn't but had been common knowledge there.  

It was no longer going to be a book of "Good vs. Evil", but one of "Things Going Wrong" in life.  I can't and won't go into detail, but people change in life for one reason or another.  We live in a time where the elderly are forced to pursue avenues to financially survive.  Unfortunately, these paths lead to dangerous territories where escape is not often an option.  It is sad that society has gone this direction, but it has happened.

I arrived home a little after 1 am Saturday morning.  I'd been at it for over thirty-two hours but was so wound up that it was another couple of hours before I could make myself go to bed.  My wife was thankful that I returned safe, but had worried as I'd ignored getting a room in which to sleep.  I was thankful that I hadn't felt the need to sleep anywhere along the way.  Adrenaline and the man upstairs had done their jobs.


7)  Since the Trip - Since returning from Alabama, my mind has been a wasteland.  I wanted to write, but couldn't.  Oh, I've tried a few times, but I might as well have been playing a football game on the computer.  I'm lost in what direction to go.  I know I need to write about the crime, but the story isn't complete.  No one has been arrested for the crime, so I can't go into the actualities as to why it occurred.  I don't have the details I need from the crime scene as it's still an open case.  I'm not asking the police officer to endanger his position by giving me any information beyond what he is technically allowed to state.  I do know that the FBI has some sort of involvement, but I don't know what type.  I'm in an area of "what direction do I go" at present time.

Common sense would tell me to go back to one of my other books that need attention.  I have made an attempt, but there are no creative juices flowing.  Fiction just isn't there right now in my brain.  Still, I'm thankful that I have the first two under my belt.  


8)  Conservatives vs. Liberals vs. Conservatives vs. Liberals  -  As my creativity has temporarily taken a vacation, I've spent more and more time analyzing where the United States is going.  We seem to have an overabundance of anger. Hell, let's call it as it is ... HATE!

In fact, the hate is so bad that a CBS VP announced this last week that she didn't have sympathy for the victims of the Vegas shooting because they were mostly Trump supporters. (Since when does a person's politics make them less human than another?) She was fired, but not for what she said, but because CBS was afraid they'd suffer ratings losses due to what she said.  The trouble isn't just her as this same sentiment was echoed many times on Twitter, Facebook, and other social sites.

We've become a divided nation, much like during the Civil War.  Friendships have been lost, and families separated.  There are three groups in America right now: 1) Liberals, 2) Conservatives, and 3) us folks in the middle looking at the other two shaking our heads at the stupidity being exhibited.  

The two extremes continue to wear blinders, neither willing to take them off.  They are allowing hate to ruin their lives without seeing what's happening.

A few of us were raised with a little common sense, unlike many that fill society today.  There was a concept back then that if you disagreed, you discussed the differences and came to a compromise. Today, people are unwilling to talk.  Oh, they love to preach it when it comes to political figures doing their jobs, but when personally faced with one that doesn't agree, there's no listening to what the other has to say.  It's worse than the late 60's when Buffalo Springfield first came out with "For What It's Worth."



"Nobody's right, and everybody's wrong."

Doesn't that mean anything to people?  No one nationally recognized political group can be completely right or wrong.  It's a fact of life. Both have their share of bad (I have to question if either side has any good).  So, why then is it happening?


It's a government of the rich succeeding in creating division within the masses. 

Why? People have strength when they fight as one. The government witnessed this strength in the early 70's when the two sides began to recognize that civil rights were needed and that the war was only for the profit of industry. We came together and forced laws to change and the war to be exited.  


The government doesn't want to see the people have that strength again.
Division means strong government control as the peons squabble.

We once knew "United We Stand and Divided We Fall", but today's society ignores that fact.  They're too busy blindly hating each other.


So, why am I thankful?

I'm thankful and hopeful there's time to change and perhaps enough people
will open their eyes to make change take place.  I have faith they can, 
but the question is, "Will they?"

Or will Hate win out?


9)  Indiana University Football - I'm thankful they're as sorry as always.  I'd hate to get my heart excited watching them actually becoming a contender.


10)  So, What Next? - If you've stayed with me this long (I know this is a novella size post), I'm thankful for you.  I know this wasn't my typical joking style, and it brings about a side of mankind that none of us like to believe exists.  But, there are times we have to honor our souls and write what's within.

I can't say a lot about what I've been doing lately, besides what's already been stated. Some of it may lead to a future book and some of it may lead to other important things.  Perhaps, today might be one of the most important things ... getting back to what I do best.  Writing may be a form of healing for me.  If so, this post is long enough to heal the dead.  Maybe I'll come back to life and creativity will flow again.



CIAO !




Thursday, May 11, 2017

Horror Across The Alley - An Author's Review


Hear Ye, Hear Ye ... I have returned!

Yes, it has been around six months since my last blog post.

Kind of forgot about me, didn't you?


No, over the last three months I've been writing and publishing a book.


Yes, miracles do take place, even in today's world.

Seriously, I decided to get off my duff (as others have been after me to do for years), and write a book.  So ... I did!





Now, you're probably saying to yourself, 


"Rich is known for sarcasm and humor. 
What the hell is this? Horror? Rich? 
You've got to be kidding!"

Actually, if you check out the tabs above, you'll see a couple for Gabriela, The Demon Cat. I wrote these many years ago on Hubpages and went through pure hell with their moderators. With the changes they required, the stories lost some of their substance. I got aggravated with the site and moved them all here.  (Check them out sometime if you get a chance, but remember they are covered by copyright laws.)

I was faced with a decision when determining the type of book to write. I could 1) make it a humorous fare and do my best to make people laugh  2) make it a political satire and demonstrate that politics are nothing more than a game to keep the rich from being bored, or 3) I could combine #1 & #2 and write a Horror story!

I picked #3 ... but with no politics whatsoever.

There were things I wanted to cover in this writing:

  1. Narcissism and Control Freaks,
  2. Sociopathic behavior,
  3. Love and the time it takes to develop trust,
  4. How fanatics can influence our lives and behaviors,
  5. What it's like to get old and find yourself not able to achieve the things you once did.
I attempted, and several of my advance readers have said I accomplished, to do this by intertwining the relationships of four couples and an outsider. It was my desire to get the reader to know the characters so they could make up their own minds on whether to love or hate them. One of my readers stated, "I couldn't believe it. You actually made me cry."

That was my intent in that part of the story.

Oh, and let's not forget, along with the human characters, Horror stories need a demon or ghost or monster or something involving the Paranormal to succeed. 

This one has that, too!

Now, my next task was to make the story unlike any other so that the ending would be unpredictable.  I think when you read this you'll find there are four surprises that take place, so you'll have to read it all the way through the Epilogue to find them. You may guess one of them, and those randomly shooting out possibilities may get two right, but the other two are surprises that you may find happy or sad. It's up to you.

If you're familiar with my writing, you know I strive to achieve what I call "Common Folk Language" or "Simpleze", both my own terms for what I work for. I remember having to pause time and time again to look up words in my youth and then fight to get the story line back. It's not my goal to educate one's vocabulary. Instead, my goal is to present a story in words simple enough for one to enjoy without having to stop and search a word's meaning. Some of the best storytellers in the world do so around a campfire, where no dictionary is present. And, after all, isn't fiction just storytelling?

Horror Across the Alley isn't your typical horror story. Many of today's writers concentrate totally on the entity and leave the people behind, or use them as throw away characters. People aren't meant to be treated that way.

So, in closing, Horror Across The Alley will make you wonder what's taking place the next time you hear a door slam or see new neighbors moving in next door. Are your neighbors enjoying life as they present themselves to be, or are they hiding secrets that shouldn't be shared? Where do you find safety when there is none? And, who or what are the enemies of whom we need to be wary.

Guess you're going to have to read it to find out!

I thank you in advance for doing so!





Monday, December 12, 2016

Christmas & the Fat Man In Red ... Your Job Or His?

Let's see, in Christmas posts in my past, I've pissed off just about everyone I could.  


Why should this year 
be any different?

I vow to not attack religion this year as I did a couple of years ago when I provided a new look at immaculate conception by a horny superior being.  That one got a lot of people thinking that I didn't believe in God.

Of course, I believe in God.  Oh, like most individuals that have had more than their share of bad luck and struggle in their lives (unlike the "Silver Spoon" crowd that has had life provided them on a silver platter) I've questioned the existence of the upper Heaven level management deity.  However, even after using logic, my upbringing tends to renew my faith.

Look at it this way ... at my age, gambling with the afterlife isn't the most intelligent thing a borderline entrant could do.  If there's nothing there, it doesn't hurt anything.  But, if there is, why not buy a ticket before they're sold out?

However, I'm going to attack the myth of Santa Claus today.

Damn, I just lost about half of my readers.

No, I'm not going to debate his role in the modern Christmas celebration, only the disadvantage parents put their children in by passing on this legend to generation after generation.


As if that many parents teach their kids anything these days.

His role, of course, is to get the little monsters to be good, go to bed early, and learn to accept that his sleigh will only hold so many presents (so they can't get everything they want).  Of course, many would argue that it also teaches their children the philosophy of supersonic speed and the ability to magically carry enough gifts to make all the children of the world happy, but these folks are so obviously full of it that even their kids realize it!


Hey, Sis, think we can get mom and dad to play video games
 so they'd learn something?

In essence, parents are teaching their children how to be future politicians.  Act good when in view of the press, keep your private life and those you screw on the side as secret as possible, and learn that you can only buy (or bribe) so many corporate votes, regardless of how much money you have to spread around.

"Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.  He lives in everyone's back pocket.  His spirit of giving is based on the value of return.  You don't always get what you give, but, it's better to give to others so you can hold it against them later!"

Now, let's discuss Santa's entry into the home.  Less than 10% of homes in America have chimneys.  This leaves over 90% of the children nervously wondering, "How in the hell is Santa going to get in the house?"

While many youngsters grow out of this mental stress, some never do.  They grow up to work at the post office and carry AK-47 assault rifles in their cars for those days that the voices inside their heads never stop talking.

No, children that find themselves living in a normal house without chimneys expect their parents to stay up late and let him in to disperse the presents under the tree.  Children, that live in apartments, find themselves writing their apartment number in large bold letters in their annual correspondence to the man in red in hopes that their PlayStation won't end up with the brats downstairs that broke the last one.  And, children that live in mobile homes find themselves wondering how many holes the reindeer hooves will put in the tin roof and pray their father realizes that deer hunting season is over!


"Where's my assault rifle, honey?  Damn, must be ten or more deer on the roof 
just waiting to be next Sunday's main meal!"

Unfortunately, homeless children are too busy holding on to their shoes while they sleep in fear that someone will steal them away.  They learn early to tell the difference between Rudolph's red nose and the red nose of the drunk snoring in the shelter cot next to them.

Another problem that parents face on Christmas Eve is what type of snack do they want Santa to eat.  You know, the one that Santa is supposed to munch on when he's done dropping off the goods.  


You figure at a cookie a household, Santa has spent a lot of time in Colorado with some really good smoke and has one hell of a case of munchies!
Beware the chocolate chip cookie diarrhea syndrome!

Traditionally, milk and cookies are the expected norm.  However, I always believed that a good Porterhouse steak and loaded baked potato curbed the hunger much better, especially since I was going to be up all night trying to put together toys with directions that couldn't be deciphered by the entire teaching staff of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

We did have to draw the line when it came to saving him a glass of wine, though.  One year, one of my girls surprised us with a late night trip to the bathroom.  She looked at her mother drinking the red and said, "You'd better save some for Santa or I'm gonna be really mad!"

That's when I looked at my wife and added a sarcastic retort, "Don't look at me. Obviously, she comes by it naturally.  Eggnog, anyone?"  

My wife is still mad about that one, at least when she's sober.

Instead of an obese individual breaking into home all over the world by sliding down a chimney too small for most squirrels, instead of creating a nervous tension over the youth worrying about every little lie they stated about how nice their mother looked in spandex or tights, and instead of them wondering if a strange man wandering from house to house was looking for the one bad child to take back to the North Pole and abuse for years to come, why don't we simply teach our children about the true spirit of Christmas?  (I know, it was one hell of a long run-on sentence, wasn't it?)

Let's teach them that every person has some good in their heart even though they don't show it the other 364 days of the year.  Let's teach them to appreciate the smiles they can bring and the warmth they'll feel in their hearts by giving.  If others give back, fantastic!  If they don't, maybe they will in the future when they, too, learn what a great feeling giving can provide them.

Why not help them understand that at least one day a year it's better to share and bring happiness than to want and exhibit selfishness?  Perhaps, by making this a part of their upbringing, they'll understand that happiness doesn't come from material objects, greed, and status, but from what you can do for others to make their lives better.

Maybe they'll grow up to own their own business and share these feeling among their employees.  Maybe they'll cast aside the profit line and treat the employees as important members of the business and reward them properly so they take a greater interest and work together to improve it as a true team would do.  Maybe they'll even feel wanted and give more than those that don't have the benefits others do.

See, this feeling of happiness has nothing to do with popularity contests, greed, or material goods.  It's a general lesson that all have to learn so that mankind can come together and appreciate what each individual has to offer.  

It's been proven that kids join gangs, join gaming clubs, wear like outfits, and act differently because they all want to be wanted.  Many don't experience that at home for one reason or another.  In their minds, they're either looked at as moochers, slave labor, or inconvenient expenses only validated by the annual tax write off the parents receive.  

Kids are people and people are not numbers or dollar signs.  We all need to learn to treat all people as people, regardless of their age, race, religious background, or geek rating.  Assuming the role of a teacher isn't just a temporary thing, it's a lifestyle and obligation.  

Most professionals agree that children love to learn.  Unfortunately, for whatever the excuse, learning is too often forgotten at home.  The kids have to learn from their peers that reside in in similar environments.  It's no wonder the youth of today generally fit the mold of ... "rude, selfish, violent, and uninterested in anything adults have to say."


If you never got listened to, why not return the favor?

Christmas is an excellent time to provide them a lesson for life.  Demonstrate your love and teach them how to share theirs.  Don't depend on the fat man in red to do your work for you.  How about doing it yourself for a change?

Unless you happen to be a fat man in red Spandex, that is.  

I don't know that I'd admit it if I was.

You might find a red nose sniffing at your butt.


MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!



Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Battle With The Adult Protection Service Is Over, But Another Battle Is Sadly Lost

I'm Free!!!  The APS Case Is Closed!!!
Like a couple of posts ago, this will be out of the norm of this blog.  The sarcasm will be mostly absent, the humor will be minimal at best, and the topic is one that can actually have a bearing on your life one day.  

This is about a victory my father and I had over the Indiana Adult Protection Service!

My last posting about the APS drew quite a few views.  One might even say that I cast aside my sarcastic trademark and provided a human interest story.

Okay, so I won't make it a habit.

Still, I have to boast a little.  Regardless of the efforts made to incarcerate (a more fitting word than the phrase "confine to a nursing home") my father, as they did my stepmother, they have now closed the case!

In addition, the sister of my stepmother is now attempting to regain guardianship of her and move her out of the nursing home.

We can only hope it's not too late.

But, let's first look at my father's case.

Attempts were made, first by the nursing home, to generate a feeling of dementia around his actions of the time.  They took a statement made by a man that had been awakened in the middle of the night and twisted it to look as though he didn't know where he was at.  They then took his action in walking five miles to be with his wife (when his vehicle was damaged in an accident in which was another person's fault) as the act of a person without their right senses.  And, finally, they looked at him not bringing lunch with him as an act of a man that couldn't remember things, when in essence, he didn't want the food to spoil in the heat and had already eaten a healthy breakfast.

In the meantime, he continued to change her bed at the nursing home, feed her when staff failed to do so, take her to the bathroom when staff wasn't available, and calm her down by talking to her, rather than using the drugs the nursing home fed her constantly.

Now, you know why her sister is attempting to get guardianship.  It's only my guess, and
I Sometimes Look At My Wife And
Wonder, "What Would I Do If I Were
In My Father's Shoes?"
only a layman's assumption, that knowing all that my father was doing, the nursing home looked upon him as a threat.  What better witness against them than a man performing the tasks they were paid to complete?  And, wouldn't it be to their benefit to discredit the witness in advance rather than attempt to do it after he had testified against them?


Legal services for my father were retained immediately this time.  I wasn't playing around in hopes that they'd see for themselves that he was very competent.  He had tried that with his wife and the results weren't as he'd expected.  I knew better than to let the state office have their way early.

I scheduled appointments with the Veteran's Administration for mental and physical competency tests, the Department of Motor Vehicles for a driving test, and contacted the APS so they'd understand that proceeding ahead of those appointments might result in a legal suit against them.  As expected, they intelligently backed off.

Well, the physical examination showed that my 83-year-old father is in better shape than I am!  That was no surprise as his blood pressure was 105 over 54, his heart rate was a little less than 70 bpm, and he is on no medication for any ailment at this time.  He is constantly working in the yard in all types of weather, chops wood daily for the Winter and his Mother Earth News style home furnace, and eats no fast food whatsoever!

Then, the mental examination was given.  He got every question right but the date, and was only off by one day.  Hell, I've often miscalculated the date, thinking it was the 3rd and it was the 4th, etc.  

The doctor, after bragging about his state of physical and mental health, told me to cancel the driving test as he had given her no reason to proceed.  She smiled, told him not to forget to set an appointment for his check-up in six months, and bid him a cheery good-bye.

Still, even with that news, I knew that we needed to be careful.  So, I continued limiting his time at the nursing home to two hours a day.  Although he's greeted with smiling faces there by the staff, I'm not forgetting how they attempted to have him confined.  He's still a danger to them, and even more so now that he's been through all the examinations proving his competency.

Oh, there have been instances I look at him and think to myself, "He's not going to be in great health forever.  I need to keep a close eye on him."  

I think, throughout all the trauma this last year has brought us, and considering that he is suffering from being alone for the most part, my father and I have finally grown close.  At age 83, he respects me and my opinions now, something he never really demonstrated before.  It's as though we've changed roles, with me becoming the adult telling him how to stay safe and of what to beware.  The child has become the parent.

Although a man that cannot live without his independence, he calls me now when he needs help.  He's not above admitting that society has greatly changed since "his day" and it's not easy to keep up with.  Computers, electronic drafts, dealing with official agencies and legal representation may not be his cup of tea, but he knows I have no trouble with any of it.  So, he now looks at me as being there to take care of him when he needs it.  


You might say it's the first time since my days as a late 60's freak 
that he's shown me respect.


And, it's only taken me over 40 years to earn it.

Love ya, dad!

Just do as I say!

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     

***I was debating on when to publish the above.  I wrote it before the national election, but with all the hatred and spite in the air, I just couldn't publish it then.  I had thought during the Ten Things Of Thankful blog hop, or perhaps some other time.  

However, to every victory a small amount of tragedy occurs.  

Less than two hours ago I received word that my stepmother was being given a maximum of two days to live.  She is unresponsive, unable to swallow, and has had a Catholic priest by her side for quite some time.  The end is near.

I lost my real mother when I was thirteen.  For the last thirty-six years, this woman has been my mother and the wife of my father.  I know it will be a great loss for me when she passes, but his loss will be even greater.

We all get old.  It's a natural occurrence.  Acceptance of growing old finally sets in when common sense overcomes ego.  Acceptance of death arrives at about the same time.

The same compassion that allows us to love forces our hearts to ache when we lose a loved one.  I have told many to stop thinking of themselves and rejoice in the departed's release from misery.  Instead of thinking about how much we'll miss them, think about how they are now free and in a much better place.

It is time for me to practice what I preach.  It won't be easy, but one must do what one must do.  Otherwise, self-pity and grief overcome our sense of logic and create a deeper hole for us to climb out of when the sun rises and the clouds clear.

I worry about my father and how he'll take this.  Will he lose his sense of purpose?  Will he lose his desire to live on and continue to enjoy the ...

... Sorry, I just answered the phone.  The 48 hours just shrunk to less than two. 

My stepmother has passed.

Her suffering is over.

May God Bless You, Shirley.







Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Woe Is Me, The Sky Is Falling, The Sky Is Falling

Initially, I wanted to laugh.  Then, I decided that crying might be a better option.  Then, the tears turned to feelings of empathy.  Finally, I just sat back, let out some gas, and shook my head.

Facebook and other social media was filled with so many prophets of doom that one would swear Nostradamus had been running sexually rampant amidst the masses within recent years.


Trump had become "President Elect Trump" in the wee hours of the morning.  Clinton had conceded and the title was now Trump's.  He had given an acceptance speech, but as of six hours later, she had not given her concession speech.

Guess those items taken from the White House when the Clintons left years ago will remain missing.

Probably just as well.  Trump will probably redecorate anyway.  I understand there's quite a bit of shiny brass and multiple velvet curtains left over from the last casino he shut down.

I'm awaiting the news media to present cartoons of Trump's family marching the goose step behind him as they walk up the podium to be sworn in this coming January.  They've done a great job of underestimating and poking fun at him to this point, so I imagine they'll continue.

It brings in ratings and sells newspapers ... to those that can't afford cable.

Female Clinton supporters now fear for their lives.  Trump ... the male, chauvinistic pig of today, will bring forth a multitude of changes ... including allowing today's male to carry a club and "conk" the female of his choice and drag her back to his cave to have babies and clean the dirt from the rock furniture.  


Many of my minority friends, as if labeling was necessary, feel the fear in the air.  Visions of stormtroopers, smashing down doors in the middle of the night, collecting them and herding them like the Nazi's did the Jews during the years preceding WWII fill their heads.  Sounds of gunshots fill the air and lead finds its mark in the bodies of the innocent members of their family and community members.  The nightmare is to become a reality is to become a nightmare.


The airwaves of the Northeast and West Coast are filled with the sounds of R.E.M. ....
"Oh, woe is me, ain't this fun, 
 Trump is King, we all are done!!!!

Get out the BBQ grills ... our goose is cooked.

Or, is it?

First off, I didn't vote for either Trump or Clinton.  I couldn't validate voting for the lesser of two evils, so I didn't vote for either evil.  I, instead, chose to cast my vote for Gary Johnson.  

Now, Clinton's supporters are saying that a vote for Johnson was a vote for Trump.  Not so.  I wasn't going to vote for her anyway, just as I wasn't going to vote for Trump.  I had to cast my ballot for the only one I trusted ... and neither of the major candidates fit that requirement.  

Of course, Trump supporters are saying that I took the easy road and almost put Clinton in office by not voting for Trump.  Amazing how small minds all think the same, isn't it?

Folks, the world is not going to end.  It didn't end when O-Bam-Bama took office, and it's not going to end when the flaring Trump-ette takes the oath.  You forget, he's only the president ... not God (as some of O-Bam-Bama's supporters would like you to think).

Members of the male gender are not grabbing clubs and changing their ways just because
of the election results.  If they're asses to you, it's because they've always been asses.  

In fact, they are just as shallow as the women that voted for Clinton only because they were the same gender as her (yes, there were many).   I think these two gender groups kind of balanced out the negatives of each other's votes.  You know, "stupid is as stupid does."

Oh, come on, please don't sit there and tell me that being a member of the female or male gender makes you an automatic vote getter for the office of P.U.S.A.   I would hope you researched the candidates more than that prior to casting your ballot.

We have four years in front of us to judge what influence Trump can impose upon Congress.  Hopefully, he will make some changes.  There are necessary reforms that must be installed to social programs to eliminate freeloaders and those that haven't earned the right to participate.  There are corporations that need to be challenged about moving jobs and factories overseas and spitting on America's workforce, all the while expecting these same people to purchase the product they produce.  The forecasted rate hikes for Obamacare are astronomical and changes must occur or fines will be imposed those who can't afford the premiums.  And, racial tensions must be addressed in all areas.

Then again, he's only the president.  Congress is where most of these changes must occur.  Getting big business out of the pockets of these representatives and turning them around to really concern themselves with the needs of those they represent is an almost impossible challenge to take on.  

Regardless of who won the election, we were going to have to wait to see how they did. 

 That takes four years to take place.
Let's hold off forecasting doom and gloom until it's over.

Okay?

C'mon ... say "Okay!"

Okay!