No More Empty Fortune Cookies!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Old Dogs

Long lost BFF:"Do you remember that dog we used to visit, Geppetto, we knew his owner...some guy..."
me: " I remember Geppetto!! Yeah, we used to go over to that guy's house to see Geppetto. What was that guy's name?"
LLBFF: " I don't remember. But I remember Geppetto."
me: "Yeah, me too. ..And I remember that one dog we used to know named D-O-G."
LLBFF: "Oh yeah! I remember D-O-G! But I don't remember who owned him either."

What stuck out about Geppetto and D-O-G for LLBFF and I? We both remembered that both of those dogs were always outside all alone, and we felt sorry for them. Whenever we went to visit we always played with those dogs, and they were always so happy for the attention. It was like it was the best day of that dog's week when we went over and played with him.

I guess I've always been like that. I've always thought quite a bit more of the animals in my life than I have of the people around me. Maybe it's because they offer such unconditional, unconstrained love. Maybe it's because they don't know political lines, religious affiliations, social status or ethnic prejudice. All they see is another creature who lives and breathes.

I think we could all learn a little bit about life, love, and acceptance from the Geppettos and D-O-Gs around us.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Send a card!

I saw this on Facebook. It could be a hoax, but so what. What if it's not. What harm would it do to send a card anyway?

5yr old Noah is in the last stages Neuroblastoma Cancer. Family's celebrating Xmas nxt week & Noah's request is 2 get lots of Xmas cards! Plz send cards 2 Noah Biorkman 1141 Fountian View Circle South Lyon,Mi 48178. Let's C how many cards we cn get 2 ths Little guy. Thanks! (from Ernie Halter)

Veteran's Day vs. Memorial Day

Do you know the difference between Veteran's Day and Memorial Day?
We always stop to honor all of our service men and women on both days, but why are there two different days, and what is the difference between them?

According to the US Department of Veteran's Affairs, a lot of us confuse the two. They say:

Memorial Day is a day for remembering and honoring military personnel who died in the service of their country, particularly those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle. While those who died are also remembered on Veterans Day, Veterans Day is the day set aside to thank and honor ALL those who served honorably in the military – in wartime or peacetime. In fact, Veterans Day is largely intended to thank LIVING veterans for their service, to acknowledge that their contributions to our national security are appreciated, and to underscore the fact that all those who served – not only those who died – have sacrificed and done their duty.

A complete history of Veterans Day, and why it is observed on November 11, can be found on the Veterans Day History Web page.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Abortion, Pell Grants, and Capital Punishment

Let's see if we can get this correct...
God says "Thou shall not kill," therefore abortion is murder. That is why you can not under the current health care reform bill, receive federal money for any insurance company that covers abortions for any circumstances except rape or incest.
If you will need an abortion, you must buy private insurance that does cover abortion, without using your government provided tax credit, and you must pay for that out of pocket.
Now, since you typically don't know that you are going to have an abortion until it is time to have an abortion, I suppose just to be safe, all females, upon the onset of menstruation, should go ahead and prophylactically purchase abortion insurance, you know, just in case. Besides, you never know when you won't be able to prove that you were a rape victim.
I can't even prove to St. Edward School that I attended their institution for 5 years. They still say they have no record of me - even though I have yearbooks and class photos and report cards signed by teachers... I'm just saying, sometimes proof is harder to obtain than it sounds.

So what it boils down to is that the wealthy women, the ones who plan ahead of time and know they will one day need an abortion so they do go ahead and purchase the separate insurance with their money that was not provided by the government tax credit will be allowed to kill their babies, but the poor women, the ones who can't afford the separate, private insurance will just have to keep on trying to make ends meet, only with yet another mouth to feed.

OK, I get it, the rich reap the benefits and the poor get it in the can. That's nothing new.

Now, next up: God sent the guy to kill the abortion doctor in order to protect all the innocent babies. But I thought murder was wrong. Right? No?
And while we're at it, you know the DC Sniper guy is due to be executed tomorrow. I wonder if all the Republican, anti-choice, God- said -don't- kill -so- abortion- is -wrong! people will show up to protest his execution? Oh no, wait, they are the same ones that are pro- capital punishment. But murder is murder and God said "thou shall not kill," right? No?
Oy vey! I'm so confused already!

Moving right along: I've decided that I don't want any of my tax dollars to be used to pay for some college student who is getting a degree in theology. It goes against the principals of separation of church and state, I don't believe in funding a religious education with federal tax dollars, and this is my personal belief. So from now on, my taxes can not fund any Pell grants that have been awarded to theology or other religious studies majors.
I also don't agree with the murder of innocent lives, so I would like to stipulate that none of my tax dollars be used to fund any war effort, in any manner. Got it? Thanks.
Huh? What's that? I don't get to say where my tax dollars get spent? What? You gotta be kidding me? But what's all this about not wanting tax dollars to be spend on abortions being a legitimate complaint? How come they got to stipulate how their tax dollars will, or in this case will not be spent, but I don't?
Is anyone else as confused as I am?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Give Peace A Chance

As I sit at my computer to write this, I'm thinking about the recent events in my country and around the globe and how those events will impact peace for generations to come. I think that quite possibly, therein could be the key to finding and maintaining a lasting peace for mankind. We all too often act, speak, react without thinking first of the overall impact of those actions, words or reactions. Deeper than that though, is the inclination to expect everyone else to subscribe to our own personal set of morals, philosophies, and expectations. It won't happen. The thing is, this world is made up of so many different philosophies, different opinions, varying morals and expectations. That's what makes it interesting. You know that already.
I've been thinking about how to bring the changes that I want to see into fruition. Sometimes I get really overwhelmed and feel like I'm all alone in the epic battle to give peace a chance.
photo by Debbi Tannock

But I persist. Why? Because I envision a world in which by and large we can all be ourselves without fear of persecution. I envision a world that has learned from it's history and healed from it's wars. I dream of an earth with people of all ethnicities, all creeds, and all sexual orientations coming together to understand and accept each other, unconditionally - out of love. We're capable of it, in that I have no doubt. Sure, it won't be easy, but the path to improvement never is.
I believe that education is the true path to peace. We as humans fear that which is unknown. Because we are uncomfortable with fear, we subconsciously turn fear into anger, it's a natural reaction. The fight or flight kicks into action and poof, goodbye scared, hello mad. It's a primitive, innate form of self protection. Probably left over from when we had to escape those pesky saber toothed tigers.
As Dorothy Thompson said,
"Peace is not the absence of conflict but the presence of creative alternatives for responding to conflict -- alternatives to passive or aggressive responses, alternatives to violence."
And as The Dalai Lama said,
"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. Each of us must learn to work not just for oneself, one's own family or nation, but for the benefit of all humankind. Universal responsibility is the key to human survival. It is the best foundation for world peace."

How, though, do we instill this sense of universal responsibility? Teach creative alternatives to violence to an entire globe? How do we even create an atmosphere of receptiveness to these foreign ideas?

I can't bring peace to the world all by myself. I know that today. But I can change the world, one person at a time. One rally at a time, one blog post at a time.

If only one who person reads this, later reflects upon it before casting judgment upon someone else simply for being different, and decides to embrace that person for their difference and take a bit of time to learn more about them, averting conflict and building a new bridge...well, then it's been worth-while.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not perfect. I don't even pretend to be. I can cast judgment, I can be critical, and I too can sometimes be intolerant. I'm human. I try though, to step back and look at what it is that has triggered such a response from me, and then I try to make amends.
Introspection, empathy, education, and an instillation of universal responsibility. Those sound like tall orders, I know, but I also know that we are up to the challenge.

I'm not sure if this post is too convoluted, too rambling to make any sense. I apologize if it is.
I'll leave you with a poem I found from waaaaaaaaay back. I wrote this 20 years ago, when I was only 16. I don't remember what I called it. I share it, not for its strength in prose, for it is definitely the work of a 16 year old, but I share it for it's vision of hope for peace in the presence of overwhelming apathy.

People just don't care anymore,
They don't even seem to try.
I think about this everyday
And everyday I cry.
You see, life is very beautiful to me,
It's a wonderful thing to find.
I guess nobody understands-
That, or they're just blind.
Blind to this and so much more;
Like Peace, and Hope, and Love...
I hope one day the blind will see,
So we can be free,
Just like the dove.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Dear "Anonymous",

Dear "Anonymous",
I will not publish your comments that are nothing more than links to porn. If you have something articulate or even not so articulate to say, say it. However, your links to porn will get no attention here from this point forward. Please stop leaving them.
Thank you.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


I get really frustrated with the ignorance I encounter almost daily. Not stupidity, like the jackasses who approach the traffic circle's YIELD sign and stop, that's a whole different issue. I mean ignorance in the truest sense of the word.
For example, when a certain acquaintance of mine continuously comments negatively about "them Mexicans" or "those illegals" or "Mexican immigrants" and completely demoralizes Mexicans as a whole, even though I've told her time and again that I am in fact Mexican.
That's ignorance.
I recently read the comments section following an article in a online science journal about how 32 new planets have been identified, outside of our galaxy, in which someone went on a tangent about how these "stupid scientist expect us to believe that they've actually found planets so that we'll sink more money into their research projects, when most of us are smart enough to know that if there were more planets, we'd of found them by now."
Again, I cite ignorance.
Not to mention the Medicare recipients who showed up at Town Hall meetings all up in arms, shouting "The government needs to keep their hands off my health care!"
I mean, wow, really? I hate to be Mrs. Obvious, but hello?!

Beyond all of that ignorance, and believe me, I know that is a mountain already, lies something even more troubling to me; The ignorance exhibited by the children coming out of the school system here in my home state of Tennessee.
Looking at my state's report card, I see that the graduation rate is below 90% for the last 5 years. It has actually hovered just barely above 80%.
That is truly sad. I wonder why people here are so quick to drop out of school while other states have maintained a 96 -98% graduation rate? Have we made it too easy for kids to give up on education? There should definitely be stiffer repercussions for dropping out of school early.
Even if they don't drop out, the education that they do receive while in the school systems here is definitely lacking.
The Wifester and I were playing Taboo with some people one night, the other couple drew the card with Anne Frank. The one person went through everything one could possibly imagine to use to describe Anne Frank, without using the forbidden words. The buzzer finally rang and I stole the point. After the round was finished, the person who couldn't guess Ann Frank looked to her partner and said, "Oh my god! Did all that stuff really happen to that woman?"
I was flabbergasted. I could not imagine that a grown adult could have made it through the school system without knowing who Anne Frank was. It wasn't even a matter of having blanked out for a moment, she had no clue. She said over and over agian, "I've NEVER heard of her, I'm sorry." And she did graduate...and even attended college for a period of time.
I got a phone call from a business acquaintance the other day. She was aghast over some comments she had received on a discussion thread on Facebook because she had made a comment in support of President Obama. Someone hand called her a communist bitch and told her that she needed to leave the country. My only consolation for her was to again cite ignorance. It seems that the offending party was of the mindset that anyone who was not in agreement with his train of thought was not deserving of living in America.
"Get out of my country!" Ignorance.
The thing is, if we are graduating people who don't know about Anne Frank, and if those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it, what then is in store for us in the coming years?
If we are so intolerant of other cultures who are different from our own, and if we've forgotten that the only true Americans were all but totally annihilated by most of our ancestors, and to this day still live in the ghettos we call reservations, what then will happen in the coming years to other races... To our own, which ever it may be?
It seems even those of us who have read Anne Frank's diary and seen the play and studied the history of Germany and the Nazis and Hitler...even those among us have exhibited true ignorance when it comes to the cumulative, adverse effects of intolerance and bigotry.
Why else would we be fighting for equal rights still today? Why else would the false, but ever present idea that Barack Obama was a Muslim have been such an issue? Why else would my own marriage be denied?

When, I wonder, will it stop?