The Death Penalty

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VA Doctors Claim Immunity from Malpractice

Paid Student Loans

Shop is responsible for damage from botched oil change - Car Talk

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May I ask you a rather personal question?

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Criticism is welcome to me. Criticism is the honing stone upon which I am sharpened.

In reading the gospels we are reading something that somebody said to yet somebody else a very long time ago. As quoted in the bible, when Jesus spoke, logically and semantically, he was speaking to the person(s) standing immediately before him. But, if we take it personally, if we take it to heart, he is speaking directly to us (the readers), so that, when he said:

“…Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”

(Matt. 5:48 KJV)

He was in fact speaking directly to us or, especially, to me – today.

In order to comprehend this, one must first accept certain premises:

1) One definition of father is as the originator, e.g., “George Washington was the father of our country.”

2) God is the Father/Creator of the whole universe, and you, as part of that creation, are thus, his child.

3) You accept Christ as your lord and you become subject to him, (i.e., as one knight accepts another as his overlord), his words become his will and thus a commandment directly to you.

Under these premises, when I read “ye” in the above quotation he is speaking directly to me.

On the other hand, whenever you read “ye” he is speaking directly to you.

Humanity seeks perfection but does it the hard way, pointing critical, accusing fingers at each other, instead of putting forth the effort of perfecting themselves. He did not say: “Make them perfect.” But, rather: “Be ye therefore perfect.”

I’ve given up on trying to make others perfect. It’s just not working. And this begs the question:

Is it even possible for someone to be perfect? And in what way?

I can’t straighten my crooked leg. There is no corrective measure for my lifelong amblyopia. Diet and exercise are hopeless against the ravages of old age. What can I perfect? What about me is perfectible?

Nothing, really, but I hit upon the idea that he meant logic and reason and the taming of the tongue – what pours forth from your mouth must be closely monitored; perfect in all cases. And what of the mind, purged of all sin, all hatred, and selfish motivation? Morally, as the Law is written, I stand condemned; and yet I still continue to strive for perfection. Why? Because God is my judge, and He being perfect, the closer I come to perfection the closer I come to Him. I gain assurance against that condemnation.

I invite you, as a friend, to criticize me:

criticize my spelling, my grammar, and my punctuation; but especially, my reasoning, that I make no error in the eyes of The Almighty.

In this life, on this plain of existence, perfection and it’s attendant assurance of God’s Love is the closest thing to happiness a man can find. So help me in my quest for my own perfection.

Your criticism is more than welcome here.

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The Time-Honored Conflict

There is no logical correlation between chronological age and wisdom. Wisdom is something you seek. If you do not value it, if you do not seek it out, you will not find it.

Wisdom is not genetically endowed nor is it hereditary. Wisdom is not distributed proportionate to birth order. While youth has a strong correlation with beauty so too does ignorance; ignorance can linger long after youth and beauty have fled.

Chronological age, relative age, and birth order logically does nothing to account for the distribution of wisdom, and leads to several patently false assumptions:

I am old, therefore I am wise.
I am older than you, friend, therefore I am wiser than you.
I was born before you, brother, therefore I am wiser than you.

Primogeniture and other such laws of inheritence involves the distribution of an estate – not wisdom. Property as a concept is not universal, but where it is, insipid fools can inherit vast estates. The rich man is no more deserving of his inheritence than the poor man is his; but the rich man likes to think himself superior, blessed, or even chosen by God; and fools buy into such nonsense. Inheritence is an invention of man.

The rich man who inherits a great estate is loathe to question or even discuss his own worthiness of it; and for the man of little estate, “me-too-ism” prevents him from questioning the order and magnitude of things and makes him ever so grateful for the bone he is thrown.

Throughout human history devastating wars have been fought between heirs and bastards; but only a handful of intellects ever dared to question inheritence as a concept.

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The Career Politician

Career politicians are individuals who view holding an elected office as a regular job. They’re in it for the money, They’re in it for themselves and nothing else. The only problem they see is their desire for money, status, power and control. The only problem they see is in first getting elected and then reelected; over and over again; all else is someone else’s problem.

If ever you have the opportunity to speak with a political candidate or current office holder ask them just what the problem is and how they propose to fix it. You’ll likely get a very vague response.

Every year, and all year long really, billions of campaign dollars change hands on all levels of government to the exclusion of the poor so that the career politicians prostitute themselves to their major contributors; they become nothing more than mouthpieces for the already rich. Career politicians are sorely lacking in individuality and creativity.

See a problem; get in; solve the problem; get out.

That’s not how a career politician thinks. If their election/reelection is their only problem, the only problems beyond that they are willing to address are those issues that threaten their own position, that threaten their own reelection.

In theory (and only in theory) an elected official represents the best interests of the electorate of his particular district; meaning ALL of the people, eligible voters or not; whether or not they voted for him and whether or not they contributed money to his election campaign.

But a career politician assumes anyone who DOESN’T contribute to his campaign coffers to be the enemy (he cannot tell whether you voted for him or not unless you TELL him) and thus, always gives attentive, cooperative service only to his contributors; even if they are a numerical minority. Under such circumstance, even if there appears to be no direct bribery under the table it is still de facto quid pro quo.

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Bean Counters and Paper Shufflers

Everyone has an ego that seeks power and control. The Bean Counters and Paper Shufflers (mid-level bureaucrats stuck-for-life in midst of the government hierarchy) are no exception. These bureaucrats can distribute only so much in government goods, services and benefits as they themselves are allotted to distribute. Since they cannot give more of what they don’t have or are not legally authorized to redirect and distribute to their political allies the only way they can wield any insider political power is to purposely withhold such benefits from those to whom it is intended. If they like you they will do all they can to expedite your case; but if they don’t like you they will engage in all manner of foot-dragging, make you jump through all the legal hoops and even withhold vital information so as to delay or deny your cause.

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The Plagiarists

Plagiarism in the usual, legal sense has to do with works published for profit or acclaim. It may be scientific research, books, magazine articles, plays, music and lyrics for sale. It is passing off an idea without acknowledgement that you are not the original source. It is falsely claiming to be the creator of that idea.

On a fundamental level however we are all guilty of plagiarism. If you are able to read this passage in English you are also able to think in English even though you yourself did not invent the English language. In thinking about how you think, you actually think in your “mother tongue” or the words and concepts first learned as a child from your very own mother; and may well be fraught with mythology, superstition and error. The words and ideas currently running through your head are hers and not your own; thus you are a plagiarist.

Of course most of the accumulation of words, ideas and values you carry around in your head have a source other than your mother. So, trace them back and consider the source.

There is reality and then there are the labels we hang on reality. We hang labels on things (nouns) and actions (verbs) and descriptors (adjectives and adverbs) and all manner of abstract concepts and toss them about too often unexamined. The labels, even of old, are, more often than not, both altogether wrong and terribly misleading.

From time to time your ideas and beliefs are challenged by someone and one might well be asked directly: “Wherever did you get that idea?”

Obviously, since we are all at bottom plagiarists, it is, in fact, a legitimate question. Every word, every idea coursing through your head has a source and you are not that source. So, Wherever did you get that idea?

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New Year’s Eve, 1976

It was more than 40 years ago; New Year’s Eve, 1976 to be exact, that I pulled a night shift as a volunteer operator with the Underground Switchboard. I got a call from a middle-aged man talking suicide.

Contrary to what you may have seen on TV, Hollywood movies or even what’s stated in the Underground Switchboard Operator’s Guide, we were actually unable and/or unauthorized to trace such a telephone call.

As I spoke quietly with him he seemed from the first to be somewhat groggy. He spoke in a depressed, indifferent monotone and, as he did, his voice gradually lowered in volume, trailing off until at last he just stopped speaking altogether and the line went dead.

It wasn’t a hang-up – the line just went dead.

I am a Vietnam War veteran and from time to time I’m asked if I’m proud to be an American. The answer is an emphatic “NO!” Although born and raised here I’m actually ashamed to be a United States citizen. Every few seconds someone is murdered in this country. Every few seconds someone commits suicide. In my heart-of-hearts I know we can be so much better.

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Tupperware, The Last Word

I haven’t actually attended a Tupperware Party since childhood but I learn by observing. While it’s nice to share cookies and soups and leftovers and such with all your friends, neighbors, relatives and co-workers there is a dark side to Tupperware.

When you die, if you still have so much as a single item of someone else’s Tupperware still in your possession, you go directly to Hell. It’s the law; really; – at least in my family.

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Let It Snow!

It is now Christmas Eve in the year of our lord, Jesus Christ, 2017. The decorations are up; the gifts, such as they are, are all wrapped. While some folks find snow messy and bothersome others ardently hope for a white Christmas. A light snow is falling at present. You got your wish.

At a local restaurant decked out in symbols of the coming holiday was a sign on the wall stating simply: “Let It Snow”. I thought to myself: “What do you mean, Let It Snow? How am I supposed to stop it?” I mean, it’s not up to me now, is it?

I imagine Mother Nature sitting on a log on a cold and clear Winter’s day with a group of children gathered about her, all chanting in unison: Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! And Mother Nature at last, worn down by their incessant demand, acquiesces, causing gray clouds to roll in. The snowflakes gently begin to fall to the cheers of the children.

We humans, the whole world in fact, are awash in such linguistic and logical absurdities: Let It Snow, indeed! How you gonna stop it?

Merry Christmas to all, – and God bless you and yours.

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